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Daily Bacon's | October 23, 2009

Today’s Topics

Economy
Richmond-area home sales rise, prices drop | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Home sales in the Richmond area in the third-quarter rose slightly in the third quarter from the same period a year ago, according to a report released this morning by the Virginia Association of Realtors.

September home sales up | The Daily Press

September was the second consecutive month to show year-over-year gains in existing-home sales on the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula.

Closing of paper mill another blow to Franklin | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The economic heart of the small Tidewater city of Franklin will stop beating next spring when International Paper Inc. will close its mill there and put 1,100 people out of work.

More on this story:

International Paper plant in Lynchburg unaffected by mill closings| The News & Advance

The International Paper plant in Lynchburg will not be affected by the closure of three of the company’s mills, including one in Virginia, a company official said Thursday.

Technology
First public white spaces broadband network is alive in Virginia | The Computer World

The first public white spaces network officially launched on Wednesday in Claudville, Virginia. It is uses sensing technology from Spectrum Bridge with software and Web cams supplied by Microsoft and PCs supplied by Dell. The project was funded the TDF Foundation.

Environment
Does the James have multiple manatees, or just one on the move? | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Could more than one manatee be exploring the James River?

Greenvest Land Eyed For State Park | Leesburg Today

Supervisors this week sent a letter to Gov. Timothy Kaine suggesting the more 4,000 acres formerly owned by developer Greenvest that were taken over by a lender during a foreclosure in August would be an ideal location for the next Virginia state park.

Kaine announces easements to protect Mill Mountain | The Roanoke Times

More than 600 acres on Mill Mountain will be placed under conservation easements though an agreement with Roanoke City Council, Gov. Tim Kaine announced Thursday afternoon.

Voices Across Appalachia Weigh In On the Fate of Valley Fills | Article XI

Six hearings, in six Appalachian coal producing states, were held last week to determine the fate of Nationwide Permit 21. If this permitting process is suspended by the Army Corps of Engineers, coal companies seeking permits for mountaintop removal mining that include valley fills will be held to more rigorous standards, be scrutinized under individual review, and be subject to public hearings before being granted. The public was asked to come out and voice their concerns about the suspension or renewal of the permit, known as NWP 21. A panel of Army Corps representatives listened to politicians that came to stump, miners and contractors that came to fight what they see as outsiders taking their jobs, and environmentalists that came to fight for the health of the people and land of the coal field.

Education
New works of science nonfiction | The Washington Post

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Creating an original organism required no bolt of lightning for a team of University of Virginia students. But it did take buckets of ice, vials of bacteria and a FedEx delivery.

Plan aims to modernize Va.’s science curriculum | The Virginia Pilot

Modeling and simulation. Nanotechnology. Organic chemistry.
All three fields are in the draft of the state’s new science standards approved Thursday by the state Board of Education.

School Officials Get Creative in Bid to Diversify Teacher Ranks | The Sun Gazette

Having hit something of a brick wall in efforts to recruit a more diverse corps of teachers, Arlington school officials are now taking a different tack.

F.C. School Board Seeks Input on $300k in Cuts | Falls Church News Press

The Falls Church School Board put out a public call through its web site Tuesday for citizen input on how to cut $300,000 from its current fiscal year operating budget, the Schools’ principle portion of cuts to overcome a $5.6 million shortfall in the overall City of Falls Church $66 million budget.

Superintendent paints gloomy budget picture | The News Leader

STAUNTON — If city schools squeak through the current year without further cuts, the already lean operation could face a $3 million budget shortfall in 2010-11, Superintendent Steven Nichols told a joint School Board and City Council meeting Thursday.

Education officials seek rules for staff levels | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Virginia Board of Education wants the state to set staffing levels for full-time teachers of special, gifted, and career and technical education.

Transportation
New ride to the gate likely to arrive late | The Washington Post

A December start date for Dulles International Airport’s new gate-to-terminal train service appears increasingly unlikely after it failed to pass an important reliability test for the second time, officials say.

Board picks builder for light-rail stations | The Virginia Pilot

Hampton Roads Transit’s board on Thursday awarded a $3.96 million contract to build 11 light-rail stations, slightly under the $4.09 million projected budget.

VDOT to cut repair shops in the region | The Roanoke Times

ROCKY MOUNT — In a bid to save money but not sacrifice service or safety, the state Department of Transportation is slated today to finalize the closure of most of the region’s equipment repair shops.

Elections
Gaps found in Va.’s absentee ballot access | The Washington Times

The Virginia State Board of Elections is investigating why more than 10 percent of the state’s local elections boards have apparently failed to comply with a new state law requiring absentee ballots be ready 45 days before an election.

State police investigate whether felons voted last November | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia State Police have launched a statewide investigation into possible illegal voting by felons in last November’s election.

Federal
Virginia tribes take another step on road to federal recognition | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Six Indian tribes in Virginia and the Lumbees of North Carolina yesterday took another step toward federal recognition, which would make them eligible for federal aid.

Defense agency set to bring jobs to area, C’ville Expo told | The Star Exponent

They’re well trained, well paid, ready to join and may even bring a passel of jobs for local residents along with them.

Webb named chairman of Armed Service’s Personnel Subcommittee | The Virginia Pilot

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has been appointed chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate armed services committee, meaning he will oversee legislation affecting military pay and benefits, health care, education and housing.

Legal
McLaughlin voted ‘Leader of the Year’ | Virginia Lawyers Weekly Blog

Virginia Lawyers Weekly honored its ”Leaders in the Law” Class of 2009 last night at a reception at the Bolling-Haxall House in downtown Richmond. The 28 members of the class were asked to vote one member of their class as the “2009 Leader of the Year.” In a very close vote, this year’s Leaders selected Henry W. McLaughlin III for this honor.

Local
Top 10 Things the NYT Missed about RIC | Richmond.com

By now everyone read (or heard) that our beloved RIC received a write up in the Travel section of last Sunday’s New York Times.

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