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Daily Bacon's | November 19, 2009

Today’s Topics

Transportation


VDOT budget facing $84 million ax | The Washington Post

The cash-strapped Virginia Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed slashing an additional $84 million from its budget this fiscal year, by doing less paving, pushing old equipment for another year and curtailing maintenance of its facilities.

Computer helps prioritize region’s transportation needs | The Virginian Pilot

If a computer were to rank local highway priorities, it would make its top picks widening many sections of Interstate 64, rebuilding Interstate 264 interchanges in Virginia Beach and widening Holland Road in Suffolk.

Va shifts scarce road funds to priority projects | The Bristol Herald-Courier

Virginia transportation officials are moving hundreds of millions of dollars from secondary and urban road projects to higher priority Interstate and primary highways.

Corporate welfare and the Beltway HOT lanes, part 3: Don’t worry until it’s too late | Greater Greater Washington

Virginia’s contract for the Beltway HOT lanes are not just far from free to taxpayers and even worse if people carpool. The structure of the deal ultimately minimizes public outrage until it’s too late, saddling taxpayers with a high bill and no voice.

Energy


Governors say a clean energy answer is blowing in the wind | The Washington Post

The governors of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware have announced a partnership designed to promote and coordinate the development of wind energy off the mid-Atlantic coast.

The Kaine Administration


Gov. Kaine cites concerns on Virginia’s budget, roads | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s term expires in less than two months, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving behind his concerns about the future of the commonwealth.

Education


Virginia University of Lynchburg launching $5 million fundraising effort | The News & Advance

The Virginia University of Lynchburg is launching the biggest fundraising effort in its history Thursday in support of the ongoing restoration of its campus.

Alternative test may inflate score gains | The Washington Post

Lynbrook Elementary School, which serves one of the poorest communities in Fairfax County, seems to be a model for reform. Three years ago, the Springfield school failed to meet state testing goals in English. Since then, it has charted double-digit gains in passing rates for every one of its closely monitored racial and ethnic groups of students.

U.S Education Secretary seeks ideas from Newport News on improving education | The Daily Press

U.S Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be at An Achievable Dream Academy at noon Friday with Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott to tour the school and meet students. An hour later, Duncan will sit down with administrators, educators, staff and students at the academy’s sister middle and high school. The visit is one of 15 Duncan is making on his Learning and Listening tour, a barnstorming effort to ask educators, parents, students and community members what is working in their schools, and what’s not. The tour began last May and has been chronicled by Duncan and his staff in a blog. Duncan said he is gathering ideas and criticism from people across the nation on changing and improving education policy as lawmakers consider reauthorizing the 34-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind. The federal law provides funding for a range of school programs through its chapters, called titles. People are most familiar with Title I, which provides funds and support for low-income students and others who are considered academically at risk.

Taking healthy habits’ measure | The Washington Post

Students at Hollin Meadows Elementary School were harvesting lettuce from the school’s garden Wednesday morning when they received a visit from Gardener-in-Chief Michelle Obama.

Alexandria students face more crowded classrooms | The Washington Examiner

Students in Alexandria City Public Schools would have fewer computer labs next school year and more crowded classrooms, according to the district’s modest plans for capital improvements.

General Assembly


Transportation, schools top county’s legislative wish list | The Washington Post

Prince William County supervisors set their legislative agenda Tuesday, and as in years past, funding for transportation and education are the top issues they want addressed when the General Assembly convenes in January.

Military


Alexandria’s Victory Center sits empty after BRAC loss | The Washington Examiner

When the Defense Department chose to move thousands of employees to Alexandria’s Mark Center site off Interstate 395 last year, it left the competing Victory Center building empty — and still waiting to be filled.

Elections


Groups ask Kaine to restore felon rights | The Washington Examiner

RICHMOND, VA. — Civil rights organizations are asking Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to sign an executive order restoring the rights of nearly 300,000 felons before he leaves office in January.

Health


UVa medical center named among tops for heart care | The Daily Progress

The University of Virginia Medical Center has been named one of the nation’s 100 top hospitals for inpatient cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters, a market information company.

Seven local hospitals ban smoking campuswide | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

RICHMOND, Va. — Employees, thispatients and visitors smoked their last cigarettes at Henrico Doctors’ and Bon Secours Richmond hospitals yesterday.

Legal


Federal grand jury subpoenas House documents related to Hamilton | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed from the Virginia House of Delegates documents related to former Del. Phillip A. Hamilton’s job at Old Dominion University.

Kaine wants ethics probe of Hamilton to continue | The Virginian Pilot

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Wednesday he opposes shutting down a state ethics investigation of former legislator Phil Hamilton’s financial ties to Old Dominion University.

The Hamilton case has gone federal. | Waldo Jaquith

Del. Phil Hamilton lost his reelection bid earlier this month, I was relieved to see–voters saw fit to hand him his hat for lining his own pockets with taxpayer dollars (or so it appears). Democrat Robin Abbott won the Peninsula district with 54% of the vote. Like every other outgoing delegate, Hamilton remains a delegate until January, when his replacement will be sworn in, when he’ll wrap up two decades in the house.

Kaine, House GOP headed for showdown? | The Washington Post

Gov. Tim Kaine (D) said this week he plans to appoint a replacement to the Virginia Supreme Court if Congress confirms Justice Barbara Keenan to the federal bench before his term expires in January.

Smoke-free restaurant law less than two weeks away | The Danville Register and Bee

Just 12 days remain until a new Virginia law restricting smoking in restaurants goes into effect.

Gloucester’s 40 petitioners appeal to state Supreme Court | The Daily Press

GLOUCESTER – — Forty citizens filed a petition Wednesday with the Virginia Supreme Court that seeks to overturn $80,000 in sanctions levied against them by a judge who said they abused the judicial system in trying to remove four county supervisors from office.

Jury awards $8 million to state librarian injured by GRTC bus in 2007 | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

A Richmond jury awarded a research librarian at the Library of Virginia $8 million in damages yesterday, the full amount sought by her lawyers after the woman was struck by a GRTC Transit System bus and severely injured.

Crime


Analyst proposes putting corrections projects in Va. on hold | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia and its localities should stop building more prisons and jails because a decade-long building program has led to undercrowding, a state budget analyst said yesterday.

Agriculture


Shellfish harvesting prohibited after nor’easter | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Virginia Department of Health is closing Chesapeake Bay tributaries, including all of them in Hampton Roads, to shellfish harvesting because of last week’s nor’easter.

Va. officials caution against eating Lake Gaston walleye | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia health officials are advising against consuming walleye fish caught in Lake Gaston because of mercury contamination.

Local


Nor’easter victims: Rebuilding Hampton sand spit will keep homes safe | The Daily Press

HAMPTON — Last week’s nor’easter blew off course a major project that flood-prone Hampton residents hope will alleviate their problems, as well as a giant barge that was being used for the project.

Richmond projects $10 million revenue shortfall | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

RICHMOND, Va. — The city of Richmond is projecting a $10 million revenue shortfall in the current budget year because of sagging sales-tax collections and cuts in state funding.

As Economy Dipped, Fairfax Library Usage Posted Increase | The Sun Gazette

County government budget cuts have put a dent in the hours county libraries are open and some of the services they provide, but the public continues to flock to them, according to new figures.

City council considers ending Internet service | The News & Messenger

If Manassas Councilman Jonathan L. Way had his druthers, he’d shut down the city’s low-cost Internet service as soon as possible, because it’s costing the city more than $100,000 a year.

Housing authority readying plan for redevelopment | The Daily Progress

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will present a draft master plan next month for redeveloping the city’s public housing.

Storm reinforces effort to replenish sand in Va. Beach | The Virginian Pilot

When Hazel Lawson and her husband built a tin-covered cottage in Chic’s Beach 57 years ago, sprawling, grass-topped dunes and a canopy of oak trees separated their summer home from the ocean.

Hampton OKs upscale hotel for Power Plant | The Daily Press

HAMPTON — A proposal for a new boutique hotel, restaurant and shops near the Power Plant retail area was approved by the City Council on Wednesday night, but a rezoning to allow the development of up to 128 residential units near Buckroe Beach has been deferred for further discussions.

Franklin County loses commerce leader | Roanoke Times

Scott Martin is convinced that economic growth and tree-hugging go together just fine.

Invista announces additional layoffs in Waynesboro | The News Leader

WAYNESBORO — Invista’s Waynesboro operation told its employees Wednesday afternoon that a round of layoffs will see about 110 employees and contractors lose their jobs.

Fairfax libraries set to lay off 107 employees | The Washington Post

The Fairfax County Public Library is set to lay off 107 full- and part-time employees to help close a $4 million budget gap next year, officials told library staffers Wednesday.

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