VA Atty Heads to the U.S. Supreme Court
3:17 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Beards Behind Bars

Gregory Holt

A Virginia lawyer is on his way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the right of a man to grow a beard.  Seven states will be watching that case closely.  

Gregory Holt is serving a life sentence  for burglary and domestic battery in Arkansas – one of seven states that bar prisoners from growing a beard.  His lawyer says that’s a problem, because Holt is a Muslim.

Douglas Laycock, a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Virginia.  He says Holt got all the way to the Supreme Court without the help of a lawyer:

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Restoring Civility One Sip at a Time
2:46 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Bills & Brews

A Capitol Hill reporter has just launched a new project that aims to get lawmakers away from their usual scripts.  It all starts with a cold craft beer and a little distance from the hallowed halls of Congress.

Reporter Matt Laslo covers Congress for more than 40 NPR affiliate stations, including this one.  His new Bills and Brews online political show pairs politicians, craft beers, and conversation.

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Attached to State Budget
2:30 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

General Assembly Ethics Reform Package

While Virginia's former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife fight a host of charges that they contend broke no ethics laws, Virginia lawmakers have advanced a series of bills that give elected officials and lobbyists a clearer picture of what's legal and what isn't. 

State lawmakers sought to close some loopholes in existing law, while not making the requirements so burdensome that honest mistakes would be severely punished.

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Virginia Public Access Project
2:18 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

VaNews for 03.10.14

One of the more brutal events of Virginia's 20th Century history is remembered and Charlottesville City Council says “no” to a budget cutting suggestion.

Those stories have been among the most read this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project's VaNews link on

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Stefan Fatsis began talking about "sports and the business of sports" with the hosts of All Things Considered in 1998. Since then he has been a familiar weekly voice on the games themselves and their financial, legal and social implications.

The author of three books, Fatsis' national bestseller, Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players, chronicled the subculture of the game and his own rise from novice to expert-level player. A 10th anniversary edition of Word Freak will be published in the summer of 2011.

Despite some disruptive winter weather, your spring campaign concluded Friday (3/7) evening, and listeners once again demonstrated outstanding support for intelligent, meaningful, and substantive public radio programming for our community. 

Individual contributions are the lifeblood of public radio and we are most grateful for all of the support and encouragement that was shown over the past couple of weeks. 

WVTF/RADIO IQ’s mission to serve you with the highest quality programming is undaunted in the face of our many challenges, and together, we are keeping public radio strong.

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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