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Agritourism Bill
5:04 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Farm Bill Flap

Senate Bill 51 sounded like a no brainer – a way to help farmers and promote agritourism, but it turns out that measure and a similar one approved by the House could make life miserable for people who live near farms that invite people to pick their own fruit, wander through corn mazes or take part in pumpkin carving competitions. 

Senate Bill 51 prevents counties from regulating the noise and traffic generated by such events.

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Taking it to Heart: Ut Prosim
1:54 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger Reflects

Dr. Charles Steger, Virginia Tech's 15th President

After more than 14 years as President of Virginia Tech, Charles Steger is handing the reigns over to his successor, Timothy Sands who hails from Purdue.

During his tenure, Steger led the largest building boom ever seen at the school, and expanded its presence beyond Blacksburg to Roanoke, the National Capital, Europe, Asia and beyond.

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Transformation of the Banjo
12:26 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Africa to Appalachia

It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans. 

Virginia has a long history with the banjo, and it didn’t start with bluegrass--it started with enslaved Africans. 

As early as 1781, Thomas Jefferson took note of the stringed gourd instruments his slaves played. Over the years, the banjo was transformed from an African instrument, to a predominantly white instrument with the familiar bluegrass twang.

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Government & Politics
4:37 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Fox Pens Phase Out

A Virginia Senate bill that would limit the use of—and eventually phase out—the controversial practice of fox-penning has cleared another legislative hurdle.  

The bill, which is now a compromise version, would allow the state's 36 pens to remain open for 40 years but ban the creation of new ones. 

The measure would also cap the number of penned foxes statewide to 900—down from an average of 1200.

For those unfamiliar with the practice, trapped foxes are placed in large acre, fenced-in preserves, where dogs are allowed to chase them.

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Pilotless Plane Industry
12:18 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Drones & Jobs

File Photo
Credit Virginia Tech/College of Engineering

There’s been a lot of attention on Drones recently.  But alongside concerns about privacy and military applications, is potential job creation in Virginia as a new industry rises. 

Virginia is one of seven sites selected for Drone testing research projects.  That got Virginia Tech’s office of economic development thinking about what that might mean for the state if this new industry takes off.  Estimates are as many as 100,000 jobs could be created, nationwide over the next ten years.

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