Blueprint for the Nation
11:28 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Budget Battles Continue

President Obama's new budget has of course sparked a battle on Capitol Hill.

We know Republicans aren’t happy with the president’s newly unveiled budget, but neither are some Virginia Democrats.

In his budget the President is embracing a new way to tie Social Security payments to the rate of inflation. It’s called the “Chained CPI” but let’s get past the Washington jargon. What it amounts to is less money in those Social Security checks for future generations of seniors.

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Transportation
8:51 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Weighing in on Transportation Funding

While Virginians wait for the dust to settle and lawmakers breathe a sigh of relief that the transportation funding battle is over, the nonprofit Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis has combed through the rubble to examine its effects. 

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Groundwater Warning
12:19 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Environment Virginia Symposium at VMI

Participants at the Environment Virginia Symposium
Credit Virginia Military Institute

Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources is warning that supplies of groundwater in the eastern part of the state are running dangerously low. 

Speaking at a conference on the environment at Virginia Military Institute, Doug Domenech said stores are down due increased demand from new homes, shopping centers and industrial parks.

The state is now urging industries that don’t need clean water to consider finding other sources, such as rivers, and the legislature recently approved money to monitor areas where ground water is in decline.

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Arts & Culture
11:50 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Charlottesville Group Announces Muzzle Awards

Credit At the First Amendment Monument, by Sam Welty.

It’s that time of year again in Charlottesville.  The Center for the Protection of Free Expression has issued its annual Muzzle Awards – also known as the Muzzies, and – as always – there are some incredible accounts of free speech repressed.

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Social Security Benefits
9:42 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Reaction to "Chained CPI" in Budget

A large contingent of Virginians says it will pressure congressional representatives to vote against a proposal by the Obama administration that cuts into Social Security benefits.

The AARP is part of the group that says the "Chained CPI" proposal breaks the promise made to millions of Americans. 

While the Consumer Price Index calculates inflation through the costs of basic goods, the Chained CPI factors in lower demand and the substitutions that consumers make when costs are higher.  Thus, it lowers cost-of-living adjustments for inflation.  

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TomTom Festival
4:12 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Weed Salad, anyone?

Patrick McCafferty, ready to chow down.

Spring has finally sprung here in Virginia, and that’s got one Charlottesville man on the move - pulling weeds, but he’s not just any gardener. 

26-year-old Patrick McCafferty is planning meals around the greens he gets for free. He finds his lunch by hiking a forest, or strolling around the yard.

He's learned the tricks of the trade of foraging for food, and become a master of plant identification.

“On the highway, I can identify weeds going 60 miles an hour from like, a hundred yards away.”

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17 Years Underground
3:36 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The Cicadas Emerge

April may be known for more than showers this year. Some insects will make a return this spring after nearly two decades underground. . .

These creatures look a little frightening with their red eyes, black bodies and gold wings but there’s nothing to fear with the cicadas about to emerge from the earth.  Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Chris Asaro says that’s where they’ve been waiting for the past 17 years.

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Wade Goodwyn is a NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.

Reporting for NPR since 1991, Goodwyn covers a wide range of issues from politics and music to breaking news and crime and punishment. His reports have ranged from weather calamities, religion, and corruption, to immigration, obituaries, business, and high profile court cases. Texas has it all, and Goodwyn has covered it.

Rick has been a member of the WFPL News team since 2001 and has covered numerous beats and events over the years.   Most recently heââ

16-Day Trade Mission
4:43 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Selling Virginia

Governor McDonnell heads out West this week … before flying to the Far East on a trade mission to China and Japan. 

A team of state economic development officials and cabinet secretaries will travel with the Governor on a 16-day job creation and marketing mission that begins in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

McDonnell says he and Utah Governor Gary Herbert will co-market their states to California companies.

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