Friday, September 18, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 18, 2020
Top of the News

At governor's request, House panel kills bill to limit public health emergency orders

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam had his way Thursday in a House of Delegates committee that killed legislation that would have limited the duration of emergency orders by the state health commissioner and required the state to make long-term-care residents and employees the top priority for testing for COVID-19. Both bills were sponsored by Republicans and killed on party-line votes by the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions at the request of the governor.

4 in 10 Virginians say they aren't likely to get COVID-19 vaccine, according to poll

By KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Four in 10 Virginians told canvassers they are not likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available — even if it was free and federally approved, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University poll released Thursday. On the flipside, 58% said they were somewhat or very likely to do so.

Virginia college leaders expect online classes to continue at least through the spring semester

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Life on college campuses as it currently exists, with online classes, COVID-19 tests randomly administered to students and distancing measures taken in dorms and academic buildings, is likely to extend into the 2021 spring semester. Multiple college presidents have said that the next semester is likely to resemble the current one. "We're in this for the long haul," Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands said last week in a virtual town hall. "This is a at-least-a-year [ordeal]."

Virginia public schools are seeing an early drop in enrollment, which could put millions in state funding at risk

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

Since the start of the school year in August, Radford City Schools have lost around 75 students compared to enrollment counts last May, according to district Superintendent Robert Graham. Across the state in Middlesex County, public schools are down roughly 47 students, said Superintendent Pete Gretz....Those districts are far from alone. An early survey by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents — which captured responses from 113 of the state's 133 divisions — found that public schools are facing an enrollment loss of 35,000 students so far this year.

OC teachers speak of frustration, exhaustion at school board meeting

By HILARY HOLLADAY, Orange County Review

In a school division that prides itself on being a family, Monday's school board meeting revealed a family in crisis. Five teachers expressed extreme frustration with a ballooning workload they feel they can never escape, and Curtis Harris of Locust Grove, a father of four, told members of the school board they need to take responsibility and help teachers and students deal with the huge challenges of virtual learning during the pandemic.

Area tops 5,000 virus cases; first person diagnosed still in recovery

By CATHY DYSON, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

It started on March 9 with a single confirmed case. Eric Bryant, a 51-year-old Spotsylvania County resident, went to the hospital because he was so sick with chills, fever and weakness that he could barely take a few steps without losing his breath....Bryant said on Thursday that he continues to rebuild his strength as he faces lingering side effects from COVID-19. He still has fatigue and occasional tightness in his chest. He wasn't on any medicine before his bout with the virus, but has to take it daily to counter the high blood pressure and kidney damage he suffered.

Tony Pham's story: From refugee to head of ICE

By JIM MCCONNELL, Chesterfield Observer

The single piece of unlined white paper, neatly folded and tucked away in the inside breast pocket of Tony Pham's suit jacket, is a testimony to both how far he has come over the past 45 years and what he left behind. It's a copy of his family's aircraft boarding pass from April 19, 1975, when the 2-year-old Pham, his mother and his two older sisters fled Vietnam with little more than the clothes on their backs just 11 days before the capital of their war-torn country fell under Communist control.

The Full Report
48 articles, 26 publications


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our COVID-19 dashboard makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. There's a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.


Gov. Northam visits Virginia Beach, hears from Hampton Roads doctors on pandemic front lines


Governor Ralph Northam stopped by Virginia Beach on Thursday to hear from Hampton Roads doctors and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. They came together for a round table that was put together by Jody Wagner, a mayoral candidate running against Mayor Bobby Dyer in the fall. "People I talk to go, 'This isn't a big deal because I don't know anyone who has COVID,'" said a Virginia Beach nurse. "And I am like, 'Come to work with me, and I will show you.'"


Here's how Virginia lawmakers are doing after a month debating coronavirus and police reform

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

It's been one month since state lawmakers convened for a special session unlike any other, with the coronavirus pandemic leading the House of Delegates to hold all its meetings and votes remotely, and the Senate to meet in a socially distanced science museum, with occasional online meetings. Lawmakers haven't tackled the first task Gov. Ralph Northam assigned to them when he called the special session — to reshape a budget transformed by a loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic.


Rally for Trump attracts big crowd

By DAVID HOLTZMAN, Central Virginian

A large crowd attended a rally for President Donald Trump and other Republican candidates on the Louisa Circuit Courthouse lawn on Sept. 16. Speakers included Nick Freitas, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger for her seat representing Louisa and the 7th Congressional District. Also present was Wendy Gade, the wife of U.S. Senate hopeful Daniel Gade, who is running against two-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

Virginia Supreme Court denies Kanye West's appeal - he's off state's presidential ballot

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday denied Kanye West's appeal of his ouster from Virginia's presidential ballot. The high court's decision came a day before Virginians begin in-person absentee voting and voter registrars mail absentee ballots to more than 800,000 Virginians who have requested them.

Virginia Supreme Court says no to rapper Kanye West

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Rapper Kanye West's presidential campaign in Virginia has come to an end. His name won't be on the November ballots — which have already been printed — the Virginia Supreme Court decided Thursday when it declined to hear his appeal of a lower ruling that removed his name from the ballot earlier this month.

Good honors police in rally in Greene Co.

By KATHLEEN BORRELLI, Greene County Record

Bob Good, Republican 5th district nominee for Congress, held a campaign rally in support of law enforcement on the steps of the Stanardsville courthouse on Thursday, Sept. 10. Roughly 25 people gathered, the majority of which were not masked, to hold signs and wave flags as the national anthem was sung by Stanardsville resident Bert Nye, pledge of allegiance was recited and prayers were said by Pastor Wendell Lamb ahead of Good's speech.

GOP election headquarters in Warrenton very busy

By DON DEL ROSSO, Fauquier Now

The response to the Fauquier County Republican Committee's campaign office in downtown Warrenton took him aback. "We are kind of actually blown away by the excitement about having the location, about the degree to which folks are coming in, sharing their excitement," FCRC Chairman Greg Schumacher said. "It's palpable. It's markedly and discernibly greater" than four years ago.

'Free to be Absentee' is new slogan in Virginia ahead of early voting


With absentee voting set to start Friday in Virginia, the state's elections department launched an awareness campaign called "Free to be Absentee," meant to help voters understand the process of casting a ballot early. ... The department's campaign includes a website with individual tabs that voters can click on, showing them exactly what they need to do to register to vote, request an absentee ballot or track their ballot.

Virginia Early Voting Begins With Record Interest


Early voting begins Friday in Virginia under new rules passed by Democrats in the General Assembly. For the first time, Virginia voters don't need an excuse to cast an absentee ballot and no longer need a photo ID. Voters in some cities and counties will also be able to leave ballots in drop boxes. At least 790,000 Virginians have requested absentee ballots as early voting begins on Friday, more than triple the total for all of 2016.

In-person voting begins Friday as absentee ballot requests higher than 2016 election

By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

In-person voting opens Friday across Virginia as local registrars prepare for an influx of early and absentee voters. Election offices in the Roanoke and New River Valleys already have seen increased numbers of absentee ballot requests and are expecting big turnouts for in-person voting beginning Friday.


State lender controlling $80 million in COVID-19 relief, has record of sitting on funds

By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

A state agency tasked with distributing more than $80 million to Virginia businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has not been effective at loaning money in the recent past, according to a report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. In 2018, the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority let 92% of the $25.7 million it could loan to small enterprises sit unused after getting just 72 applications, down from 145 the year before.

State board narrowly approves new Prince William juvenile detention center

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

The Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice narrowly approved a program design and planning study for a new Prince William County juvenile detention center after an hour of debate about whether the county needs a new detention center. The eight-member board, which is appointed by the governor, voted 3-2, with three members absent, on Wednesday to move the project forward.

Air Board beefs up public notice requirements for new fossil fuel plants

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board voted Thursday to expand public notification requirements for applications to construct or make major changes to certain fossil fuel plants or natural gas compressor stations. The regulatory changes were the product of legislation sponsored by Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, during the 2020 regular section as a result of concerns about two major new natural gas plants planned to be built within roughly a mile of each other in Charles City County.


Weekly jobless claims in Virginia at lowest level since March

By PAUL WISEMAN, Associated Press

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high number of people that illustrates the broad economic damage still taking place nine months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. ...In Virginia, initial jobless claims stood at 10,105, down 1,035 claims from the previous week, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.


VDOT OKs work to begin on $3.8B Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion

By KATE ANDREWS, Va Business Magazine

The Virginia Department of Transportation has issued its approval for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel's five-year, $3.8 billion expansion to proceed, VDOT announced Thursday. Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) received a notice to proceed for the project, allowing the builder to start interstate and tunnel work in the 9.9-mile corridor.


Pandemic impacts lead to $90 million in UVa budget cuts

By BRYAN MCKENZIE, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred an estimated $90 million in cuts to the University of Virginia's budget for the current fiscal year, about a 2.3% reduction in the budget officials proposed in June. The $3.76 billion budget was approved Sept. 11 by the Board of Visitors. That includes operating budgets of the university's academic division, Medical Center and the University of Virginia at Wise.

With big parties and dorm visitors banned, Virginia students adjust to social life on restricted campuses

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Shane Rounds and his friends at Virginia Commonwealth University have developed a daily routine for their recreation. First, they grab a bench or plot of grass in Monroe Park. Later, they walk across North Laurel Street and sit on the steps of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. After that, they swing by Insomnia Cookies on Grace Street for an evening treat. Finally, the night ends with an after-midnight visit to Waffle House on Broad Street. All the while, the VCU students sit and chat. "We just loiter," said Rounds, a freshman cinema major. "We do the same thing every day."

U.Va. selects 114 Lefevre residents for prevalence testing after wastewater indicates possible COVID-19 infection

By JENN BRICE, Cavalier Daily

The University instructed 114 residents of the Lefevre residence hall to partake in asymptomatic prevalence testing at the Student Activities Building on Friday in an email sent to Lefevre residents Thursday evening. There are currently no known positive cases of COVID-19 in the dormitories, but wastewater testing indicated possible infection, University Spokesperson Brian Coy confirmed. . . . The University is monitoring wastewater from residence halls, which can detect the presence of COVID-19. If the wastewater indicates a breakout, the University plans to test all residents of the building.

IBM pledges $100 million in support to HBCUs, including Hampton and Norfolk State

By MATT JONES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Hampton University and Norfolk State University will receive support from IBM as part of a multi-year effort to promote experiences for students at historically Black colleges and universities. In a news release Thursday, the company said that it is donating more than $100 million in such assets as guest lectures, curriculum content and software by the end of the year.

PETA alleges Tech and UVa misused state funds

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked Virginia to investigate the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, saying the schools misused state funds by conducting unnecessary experiments on animals that they planned to kill during the pandemic. Both universities deny PETA's claim.


Virginia reports 1,101 new COVID-19 cases, 81 deaths Thursday

By KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported 1,101 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the state's tally to 137,460. At least 2,920 Virginians have died from the virus, up 81 from Wednesday.

VCU poll finds 40% of Virginians unlikely to get a no-cost, FDA-approved vaccine

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Two-thirds of people statewide are against requiring residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine and 40% of Virginians said they're unlikely to get a no-cost COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University poll released Thursday. Conducted by the Center for Public Policy at VCU between Aug. 28 and Sept. 7, the 804-person survey also found that about 60% of respondents would be very or somewhat likely to get vaccinated for the virus.

UVa, TJHD detail agreement to hire more case investigators, share data

By KATHERINE KNOTT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The University of Virginia is paying $177,533 to the Thomas Jefferson Health District to support seven new staff members who will be responsible for investigating all UVa-affiliated positive cases of COVID-19.

Two more inmates with COVID-19 die at Virginia prison housing elderly and ailing inmates

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Corrections is reporting that two more offenders with COVID-19 have died at the Deerfield Correctional Center, where many older inmates and those with medical problems are held. Lisa Kinney, a spokeswoman for the department, said a 70-year-old inmate died Wednesday and a 56-year-old inmate on Tuesday. That brings the total COVID-19 fatalities to eight at Deerfield, a 925-inmate prison with an assisted living unit and infirmary located in Southampton County, east of Emporia.

First COVID-19 outbreak reported in a RRHD correctional facility

Fauquier Times

In the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, of which Fauquier is a part, there was a new outbreak reported Thursday morning, this time in a correctional facility; it's the health district's first such outbreak. The VDH does not identify specific correctional institutions where there have been outbreaks, but Sgt. Steven Lewis of the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the outbreak was not at the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center.

Albemarle extends COVID-19 restrictions until Nov. 18

By ALLISON WRABEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Albemarle County's COVID-19 restrictions will now be in place until Nov. 18. On Wednesday night, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors adopted a new, non-emergency ordinance — nearly the same as one it passed in July — that still makes masks mandatory in public, limits restaurants to 50% occupancy indoors and restricts certain public and private in-person gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.

6 Fauquier school system staffers tested positive at complex


Six Fauquier County Public Schools employees who work at an administrative complex in Warrenton had tested positive for COVID-19 as of early last week. Those cases prompted temporary closure of Building B at the Central Community Center at 430 E. Shirley Ave., school system spokeswoman Tara Helkowski confirmed Wednesday.


High school sports will restart Dec. 7

By GREG GIESEN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia High School League approved its "Championship + 1" schedule for the 2020-21 athletic calendar during an Executive Committee meeting Thursday. The schedule was approved with a unanimous vote (33-0). "We want our kids on the field as soon as possible," York High principal and Executive Committee chairwoman Shannon Butler said.

Constitutional institute warns Broadway and Elkton police about coordinating with militia groups

By RANDI B. HAGI, Harrisonburg Citizen

Following their responses to Black Lives Matter rallies in Broadway and Elkton this summer, militias and two police departments in Rockingham County have caught the attention of a national legal center that monitors militia groups and sometimes takes constitutional issues to court. Mary McCord, the legal director of Georgetown University's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, sent letters on Aug. 21 to the police departments in both towns warning them about the constitutional risks of coordinating with militia groups, providing a toolkit for responding to protests and offering training and advice about protecting "public safety while preserving constitutional rights during public protests and demonstrations."

Looking beyond protests, Wilder urges Virginians to hold elected leaders accountable

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said Thursday that protesters and other Virginians must demand more of their leaders in order to redress systemic inequities in education, health care and housing. "The problems didn't (first) come to bear when George Floyd was killed. They were there before," Wilder said during a daylong virtual leadership symposium marking the 30th anniversary of his inauguration as the nation's first elected Black governor.


City experiences another '100-year' flood

By MISSY SCHROTT, Alexandria Times

On the afternoon of Sept. 10, flash flooding at a rate as high as 3 inches in 10 minutes overwhelmed the city's infrastructure for the third time in three months, resulting in flooding throughout the city. Alexandria residents, particularly those in hard-hit neighborhoods, such as Del Ray and Parkfairfax, are expressing increasing frustration with the city.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Passes Ban on Guns on Public Property After Hours of Public Input

By NEAL EARLEY, Reston Now

After hours of passionate public input at their meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed a ban on carrying guns on county property. The Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance 8-1, immediately taking effect and applying to County buildings, parks, recreation and community centers.

Plans to use Richmond schools for day care program break down


Talks between City Hall and Richmond Public Schools over using five school buildings as day care sites have broken down. That represents a blow to a planned, but modest expansion of a still limited, city-supported day care initiative to provide supervised and safe learning spaces for students to take virtual classes while their parents work. The city's program, managed by the YMCA, currently offers slots for a total of 80 children at two churches. Those slots have long been filled, with extended waiting lists of parents desperate for a place to send their children so they can work.

New Registrar's Office Raises Accessibility Concerns


On September 11, city officials and Mayor Levar Stoney inaugurated the new Registrar of Voters office at 2134 West Laburnum Avenue. The old downtown office will remain open for the current election as a 'satellite' in-person voting site. Officials said the move to Northside will let them serve more people at once with social distancing measures in place, but advocates say the location is inaccessible to the nearly 17% of Richmond households without cars.

Chesterfield fields 1,500 technology support calls in a week of virtual learning

By JESS NOCERA, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

As Chesterfield County Public Schools wraps up its second week of virtual learning, technology issues are still running amok. Instances of connectivity problems, frozen screens and virtual classroom interruptions are occurring as the school system grapples with nearly 63,000 students learning by sitting in front of a computer each day.

In special meeting, Virginia Beach School Board again leaves reopening plan as is

By PETER COUTU, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

In a brief special meeting called by three members eager for in-person learning to resume, the Virginia Beach School Board again opted for no changes to its reopening plan. "I find this meeting totally inappropriate and unnecessary," board member Dan Edwards said. "Clearly, this body should not and will not order the superintendent to do something that is unsafe and for which we are not and cannot be prepared to do."

Pandemic plans: Orange County's historic courthouse may be put back in use

By HILARY HOLLADAY, Orange County Review

Orange County's historic courthouse—the one that faces Main Street in Orange—has sat empty since the early 2000s. But that may change, if the Virginia Supreme Court approves Orange County Circuit Judge David Franzen's pandemic plan for jury trials. The state has required every circuit court to submit a plan accommodating physical distancing and other safety measures during the pandemic.

School opening brings praise despite frustrations

By KATHLEEN BORRELLI, Greene County Record

After an unprecedented six-month closure of all public school buildings in the county due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Greene County Public Schools (GCPS) finally opened last Tuesday for a truly unique fall semester. Students climbed off buses one by one, wearing masks and greeting teachers and administrators with hand-waving or "air" fives rather than hugs. Temperature checks were performed before entering the buildings while students stood on markers spaced six feet apart on the sidewalk.

'Happy to be back in school'

By JUSTIN FAULCONER, Amherst New Era Progress

In observing lines of vehicles bringing kids into Amherst County Public Schools' buildings for the opening of a new school year following a six-month hiatus, Superintendent Rob Arnold said he never saw parents smile so much. "They seemed to be the happiest out there," Arnold said to the Amherst County School Board while reporting on how the first day of school on Sept. 9 went. "I believe our students were happy to be back in school."

US Assistant Secretary of Education extols Rappahannock's strides in education

By RACHEL NEEDHAM, Rappahannock News (Metered Paywall)

During his visit to Rappahannock County Public Schools on Thursday, US Assistant Secretary of Education Frank Brogan applauded the district for being "probably the northernmost schools in the state of Virginia that are reopened in a traditional model." Superintendent Shannon Grimsley escorted Secretary Brogan on tours of both high and elementary schools, visiting classrooms to observe the new COVID-19 safety protocols and even popping his head into the high school library to exclaim to the librarian, "I like your school!"



Why you shouldn't vote by mail

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Today is Election Day. No, this isn't one of those bad jokes (or intentional deceptions) that float around social media that say Democrats should vote on this day and Republicans should vote on that day. Starting today, Virginians can vote in the presidential election (and the other elections on this fall's ballot). So can voters in Minnesota and South Dakota. Virginia this year has adopted "no excuses" early voting, which means just what it says — you can vote early (just not often).

Weekend flooding offers glimpse of region's future

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Hampton Roads expects to see between 4-6 inches of precipitation from the remnants of Hurricane Sally, with rain that began Thursday expected to continue throughout the day. It coincides with a substantial tidal event that will cause significant flooding throughout the region. Consider this weekend's slog a window into our future without urgent movement to protect against the effects climate change. Denial won't change what's coming, and delay only serves to worsen the risks to our communities. Now is the time to act.

Welcome to "Election Season"

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Virginians can start heading to the polls on Sept. 18 — even though it's not November. During this unprecedented year, where a high-stakes presidential election will take place amid a global pandemic, a record-shattering number of voters are expected to cast their ballots before Nov. 3. Many voters want to avoid the threat of the highly contagious coronavirus, a trend we saw in the spring municipal elections, as well as long lines.

New bus lines would keep us moving

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Drive down Broad Street on a weekday morning and it's easy to see some interruptions sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in March, Pulse bus stops from Willow Lawn to Scott's Addition to the Arts District to Rocketts Landing were brimming with potential passengers, some of whom rushed to fare machines to catch their ride. Now, fares are on hold due to public health and safety issues and, for a variety of reasons, some workers have not been commuting downtown as they had been prior to the pandemic.

The D.C. Metro could be unrecognizable next year

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Drastic service cuts are ahead for the D.C. area's transit system as officials face a loss of roughly a tenth of current operating revenue. To grasp the potential meltdown facing Metro — second in subway ridership nationally only to New York's system — look at what may come next year, assuming no change in the dysfunction on Capitol Hill that has shelved hopes for a desperately needed rescue for mass transit.


Cavanagh: Seize this chance to rethink college sports

By MICHAEL F. CAVANAGH, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Intercollegiate sports at state universities cost Virginia students and their families a fortune, and most are totally unaware that this is happening. These high mandatory fees are just being tacked on, and college administrations appear to be fine with that. Some major public universities in Virginia, including James Madison, William & Mary, Longwood, Virginia Military Institute and several others, charge students and their families more than $2,000 per year in fees for intercollegiate sports.

Cavanagh is an independent researcher in Alexandria.


Getting Wise to Fake News

By PAULA SPAN, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

Lindsay Dina wasn't fooled by a photo on Facebook that supposedly showed masses of dolphins frolicking in the canals of Venice. Ms. Dina, 75, ventured onto the social media platform roughly a decade ago, and has developed some savvy. She mostly shares information from established news organizations. She has deleted posts making bizarre claims about Hillary Clinton. She knows how to use, the fact-checking site. Still, she said, "I've seen things and thought, 'Well, that's not true.'" But I wasn't sure how to verify that it wasn't." To Ms. Dina, a retiree in Easton, Conn., the internet can still feel like a hazardous place.

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