Law & Crime
6:32 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Conference in Roanoke Emphasizes Region's Growing Heroin Problem

Medical, law enforcement, and drug recovery officials at yesterday's meeting in Roanoke

In the past year, heroin and opiate abuse has become significantly more prevalent in the Roanoke Valley – but it has not received the attention it deserves. Law enforcement and medical officials gathered in Roanoke yesterday to speak on the issue, indicating that it’s time to acknowledge and act on the detriment addiction has caused. 

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Open Enrollment
4:22 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Desiging a Health Insurance Plan

While states prepare for the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, Virginia lawmakers say they're not happy that almost a quarter of a million Virginians who are already insured are learning—or about to find out—that their current insurance policy will no longer be in effect.


Many are current individual policyholders whose health plans don't meet ACA mandates, but an effort is also underway to make policy start and end dates more uniform. Republican State Senator Frank Wagner finds this to be quite disturbing.

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MIlitary Campaign
2:39 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Sen. Kaine Urges Talks on ISIS

Ahead of President Obama’s national address tonight, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is urging the White House to come to Congress before extending its bombing campaign against the Islamic State.

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Government & Politics
7:03 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Virginia Lawmaker Takes On President's Decision

The U-S House passed a resolution condemning President Obama for swapping prisoners to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The bill was sponsored by a Virginia Republican Congressman. 

Lawmakers of all stripes were surprised to learn five members of the Taliban were exchanged for Sergeant Bergdahl. Lawmakers weren’t alerted even though Congress passed a law requiring thirty days notice before the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Congressman Rigell says that’s why the House voted to disapprove of the exchange.  

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Recommendations Expected
4:31 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Mental Health Panel Studies Disparities in Care

The legislative panel formed to examine and help improve Virginia’s mental health system spent hours learning foundational facts about mental illnesses, treatments, how the state’s system of care works, and how it is funded. 

One consensus that seems to be emerging among the joint subcommittee’s members is that there’s a disparity in services across the Commonwealth. While the multi-year study continues, panel members hope to endorse some recommendations for the next General Assembly session.  


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Parts 1 and 2
12:39 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

The Changing Culture of Cars

Still of Anne Baxter and Joseph Cotten in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

The automobile has shaped American culture for more than a hundred years. So how will the coming, so called, driverless cars change us?  Or how will we change them? 

There are many questions about how this new mode of transportation would work. Some of them echo questions of an earlier age, the last time we made a transition in personal transportation.  

The 1942 film, “The Magnificent Ambersons” directed by Orson Wells is set in the early 20th century when the new horseless carriage was about to replace the horse as a mode of transit.

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Policy Change Request
4:00 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Controversy over Chapstick

Stuarts Draft Elementary School student Grace Karaffa appears before the Augusta County School Board.
Credit Bob Stuart/The News Virginian

An Augusta County fifth grader is using the democratic process to try and get Chapstick allowed back into her elementary school. 

Eleven-year-old Grace Karaffa was playing on the school playground when her lips started bleeding.  She asked her teacher for some Chapstick but the teacher said no.

“Later that day they started to bleed again and I asked for Chapstick again and they said it was against the school policy.  They said it was some sort of medicine and it’s not because it’s just a little stick of vasoline.”

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10-Step Program
4:13 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Governor Proposes Limited Healthcare Expansion Plan

More than 200,000 Virginians —most without insurance— could access healthcare services under an executive plan announced today by Governor McAuliffe. 

The 10-step program is called “A Healthy Virginia” and does not require General Assembly approval.  The governor aims to secure as many federal dollars as possible—instead of funding the entire plan through the state budget.

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Open Mic
1:13 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Falling Towers and Linking Verbs: Making Sense of September 11

Thirteen years ago I was a teacher in a classroom of sixth graders in Culpeper, Virginia, an hour from Washington, D.C. When the first plane flew into the towers, I was notified by the principal, in subdued tones at the classroom doorway, of the unfolding tragedy, our voices lost in the din of migrating desks and exploding backpacks. I was instructed not to inform students of that morning's events. I knew that at least one child had a father working at the Pentagon.

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Constituent Services vs. Campaigning
9:56 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Following the Rules on 'Franked' Mail

Watchdog groups say Virginia lawmakers are blurring the line between their campaigns and official duties as representatives.

To see what lawmakers send voters with your tax dollars you have to go to the basement of a House office building. Photos are banned. Only black and white copies leave the sparse room. The privilege of elected office is dubbed franked mail – even though lawmakers now use it to buy Facebook, Twitter and Google ads. Lawmakers are alerted each time a reporter, researcher or political opponent asks to see what they’ve sent voters.

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