Soothing the Soul

Mar 6, 2013

One of every 88 children in this country has some degree of autism – up 78% over the last ten years.  It’s a puzzling psychological condition that makes it difficult to communicate, but it is possible to help these kids relate to the world around them.  One Staunton couple has made some surprising discoveries in that vein.

Barry Kolman conducts the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra – an exciting job that brings him great satisfaction.  He also teaches music at Washington and Lee University, but of all the musicians he’s encountered, one gives him the greatest joy.

Blacksburg Represents at South by Southwest

Mar 6, 2013

There will be a strong showing from Blacksburg at next week’s South By Southwest Festival in Austin Texas. Two local start-ups are heading out there to participate. The annual conference is known for original music and independent film, but,  it also has a tech side.

Cigarette Smuggling

Mar 6, 2013

Over the last few weeks, Governor McDonnell has been scrutinizing 812 bills sent to him by the General Assembly.  Among them is a package of legislation to penalize “possession with the intent to distribute” a legal product.  Its goal is to stop the traffickers of contraband cigarettes, who’ve made millions of dollars while the Commonwealth loses revenue.

A report in the Washington Post suggests that University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas is again at odds with the university’s president, and the faculty is taking sides.

When UVA President Teresa Sullivan was reinstated last summer, she and Rector Helen Dragas assured the public they could work together, but it appears the two are feuding over long-term goals for the university and its medical center and the role that a governing board should play in day-to-day operations.

The blogosphere is buzzing again about the Morgan Harrington case after a Pennsylvania man claimed he might have evidence linking her murder to the disappearance of a young woman in his state.  Police say they have not made a connection, but Harrington’s parents are still hopeful.

Virginia's Drone Moratorium

Mar 4, 2013

The federal government’s role in the use of drones inside the U.S. may be expanding, but state lawmakers have put the brakes on deploying them within Virginia’s borders.  Legislation that’s now under review by Governor McDonnell would place a moratorium on state and local use of drones.  The unmanned aircraft could not be deployed for two years—while parameters and safeguards are studied.

Concerns that drones could violate rights and invade privacy prompted an alliance between the state ACLU and lawmakers to put drone deployments on hold—at least temporarily.  

VaNews for 03.04.13

Mar 4, 2013

Owners of hybrid vehicles in Virginia are letting Governor McDonnell know what they think of one provision of the new transportation bill and a lawmaker from Hampton Roads is retiring after 30 years in the General Assembly. Those are two of the most read newspaper stories at Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.

Life After Knee Replacement

Mar 4, 2013

Each year, half a million people in this country have knee replacement surgery, and by 2030 that number is expected to reach three million. After surgery, you might expect those patients to be more active and to lose weight, but a study by Virginia Commonwealth University suggests the opposite is true – and that could spell trouble for the nation’s long-term health. 

Prosecutors and public defenders in Virginia are paid by the state, but on average, lawyers who work for the Commonwealth’s Attorney make 25% more than lawyers who defend the poor.  Now that  one public defender is asking for a raise, and others may follow suit.

Revitalizing Cities

Mar 1, 2013

When the average tourist thinks about historic Virginia cities to visit, one of the most popular destinations is Colonial Williamsburg.

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