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Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI)
5:15 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Virginia School Boards Association Claims Policy Violates State Constitution

Virginia’s School Board Association and the Norfolk Board of Education are suing the state to stop implementation of a new law that would allow Richmond to take over local schools when they consistently fail Standards of Learning tests.

State lawmakers recently approved the establishment of a new organization – the Opportunity Educational Institution or OEI.  Its job – to take over the supervision and operation of any local school accredited by the state with a warning for three consecutive years.  Barbara Coyle heads the Virginia School Boards Association.

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Virginia Public Access Project
9:25 am
Mon August 26, 2013

VaNews for 08.26.13

Virginia Democrats have a placed an order - a big one - for voter information from local registrars around the state....and Tesla Motors is still trying to get permission to sell its electric cars out of showrooms in Virginia.

Those stories have been among the most clicked over the past week at Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link.

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

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Hold on Tight
4:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Hard Wired for Friends

A new study from the University of Virginia suggests human beings are hard-wired for friendship – that our brains actually view friends and loved ones as part of ourselves.  

You might remember UVA Professor Jim Coan from studies he’s done on hand-holding.  He put women in an MRI scanner and threatened to administer a mild electric shock to their ankles – then watched what their brains did.

“When you’re alone in the MRI scanner, facing the threat of electric shock, your brain is pretty active. As one of my students said, it lights up like a Christmas tree.”

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Private Medical Records
4:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

State Employee Information Mistakenly Shared

The Health Flexible Spending Account records of 13,000 Virginia state employees were erroneously sent last month to the wrong human resources or payroll officials … who should have received information only for their own locations.

An insurance subcontractor electronically distributed the confidential health records, which included the employees’ names and Social Security numbers.  The exposure of private information was not due to a hacker—but was instead caused by human error.

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Big Meadows Unique Eco-System
1:43 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

Fire Officials Plan Controlled Burns

As firefighters battle huge blazes in the west, officials at our nearest national park are preparing to set fire to one of the most beautiful parts of the Shenandoah – the Big Meadows, an ecosystem found nowhere else in the world.  

There was a time in history when Smokey Bear was the second most recognized character in America – behind Santa Claus.

But after thirty years of public service announcements and heroic efforts by park rangers and firefighters, science persuaded the National Park Service that setting small, regular fires could be a good thing.  

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