Arts & Culture
9:01 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Harmonizing on Harmonicas

Jack Hopkins, left, and Frank Jamison, right, jam together at weekly meetings of the Capital Harmonica Club, which Jack founded in 1991.
Credit Eric Shimelonis

It’s said the harmonica was invented by German instrument maker Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann in 1821. Nearly 100 years later, a man was born who would take his passion for the harmonica to another level… and keep it there for nearly another 100 years.

 

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UVA Research
8:35 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Big Data & Bike Safety

Alec Gosse
Credit Fariss Samarrai

Urban planners in Virginia are trying to make bicycling safer, but they’re hampered by a lack of statistics about who’s riding where.

Alec Gosse rides his bike to work at a Charlottesville company that analyzes data, and this year he was working on a PhD in environmental engineering. Those interests led him to try and solve a problem daunting city planners.

“There was no data for how many bikes were using various roads in the city.  It just didn’t exist.”

Without that information, they didn’t know where to make road improvements for cyclists.

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Making the Festival Rounds
2:44 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Waking Marshall Walker

Few college students expect to end up working with their professors, but one of TV’s leading ladies is now sharing the credits with her mentor – a professor of drama department at UVA. 

Waking Marshall Walker is a short film about a man who owns a vineyard.  His wife has died.  He’s depressed, unable to remember things, and after several caregivers quit, his daughter is frustrated.

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Government & Politics
7:32 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Lawmakers Learn More Bad News about VA Budget Situation

Credit Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

State lawmakers learned yesterday that if state revenue collections do not quickly improve, Virginia could close out the fiscal year with hundreds of millions of dollars less than expected. May revenues were down 23 percent—or by nearly 300-million dollars in daily deposits from a year ago—and appear poised to dip below the official forecast by June 30th. Kelsea Pieters has more: 

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Economics & Economy
7:12 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Virginia College and University Presidents Among Highest Paid

VCU President Michael Rao
Credit Richmond Times-Dispatch

There were a few surprises in this year’s survey of college presidents’ pay.  The Chronicle of Higher Education surveyed more than 250 schools and found Virginia executives faring well.  

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Economics & Economy
1:53 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Roanoke Eatery Enjoys the Sweet Taste of Success

by Beverly Amsler

You may have heard of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other programs where people donate money to help fund a specific project, such as a film.  Roanoke is the first Virginia city to implement a new type of grass-roots crowd sourcing for small businesses. 

Viva la Cupcake is a shop in Roanoke’s eclectic Grandin Village Community.  On a street corner across from an elementary school, it’s the perfect spot for parents and their kids to stop for a sweet treat.  Pennie Ahuero and her husband opened the shop five years ago and now they’re ready to grow.

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Gator Troubles
7:44 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Alligators in Virginia?

Credit www.ccfriendsofwildlife.org

Another sign of global warming could make Virginians especially nervous.  That's because alligators have been spotted perilously close to the state line. 

The Great Dismal Swamp is a 126,000 acre preserve that straddles Virginia’s border with North Carolina.  It’s linked all the way to Florida by the Intracoastal Waterway, and a senior biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says alligators are moving north.

“Used to be about 60 miles south of us.  Now they’re probably within 15-20 miles of our southern border.”

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Government & Politics
7:32 am
Mon May 19, 2014

VaNews for 5.19.14

An apparent Paleo-Indian ritual site found in Virginia may pre-date Stonehenge by 50 centuries...and a perplexing question about Williamsburg's unemployment rate has been answered by a pair of college students.

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

    

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Criminal Street Gang
5:08 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Indictments in Kevin Quick Murder Investigation

Kevin Quick
Credit Virginia State Police

The U.S. Attorney for the Western Division of Virginia announced the indictment of nine people today. 

Four are charged with the murder of Waynesboro police officer Kevin Quick.   All but one are accused of other crimes committed as members of the Bloods street gang.

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Catawba Sustainability Center
12:16 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Resurrecting The American Chestnut Tree

American Chestnut trees used make up twenty-five percent of the Appalachian forest.  A blight, in the early 1900s changed that, and today they’re all but gone from the forests from Georgia to Maine. 

But the tree left us a way to resurrect it from the dead, and with it, a kind of message:  Only with the help of human beings will the towering Chestnuts return. 

"I was raised here in the valley and when I started hunting, about 1960 or so there were still these old gray giant trunks standing in the woods," says Carl Absher a semi-retired forester from the Catawba Valley.  

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