Category Archives: Capital News Service

Shad Smoked; Candidates Roasted

Amanda Ladden-Stirling
VCU Capital News Service

WAKEFIELD – The 61st annual Shad Planking kicked off Virginia’s political season with cold beer, smoked shad and a poignant roast of the 2009 gubernatorial candidates.

Three of the four candidates for governor – Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrats Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran – poked fun at each other in a Shad Planking tradition that began in 2001. (Another Democratic contender, Creigh Deeds, was campaigning in Southwest Virginia.)

“Terry’s a little disappointed,” McDonnell said of McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman attending the Shad Planking for the first time.

“He was told there would be a lot of big fish here. He didn’t realize we meant that literally.”

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Nicholas Langhorne Talks General Assembly

By Brittany Allen
VCU InSight

VCU’s Capitol News Service students have a special assignment. They report on the goings-ons of the Virginia General Assembly. InSight’s Brittany Allen sat down to talk to CNS reporter Nicholas Langhorne about Crossover Day.

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Donations, Like Votes, Favor Obama

By Alyssa W. Walden
VCU Multimedia Journalism

If dollars were votes, Virginia still would have swung blue in 2008 for Barack Obama.

Barack Obama received $17,031,854.04 from Virginians alone in the time before the Nov. 4 election. Virginians gave $15,404,295.78 to presidential hopeful John McCain.

According to a recent computer analysis of data from the Federal Elections Commission, Virginians gave $32,436,149.82 to the two candidates in total. If the dollars were votes, Obama would have won Virginia with 52.5 percent to McCain’s 47.5 percent.

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Tough Job Listing Donors’ Occupations

By Alyssa W. Walden
VCU Multimedia Journalism

RICHMOND, Va.–Presidential incumbent Barack Obama’s campaign team may have been more diligent in following campaign finance laws, a recent computer analysis shows.

Based on data from the Federal Elections Commission, more dollars from Obama’s Virginia contributions were properly documented than those received by Republican John McCain.

According to federal campaign finance law, each candidate must make a good faith effort to obtain complete and accurate information on each contributor, including the donor’s occupation.

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Film industry says it’s too quiet on the set

By Alexander Harris
Capital News Service

The red carpet was rolled out in front of the Byrd Theatre for the premiere of the HBO miniseries “John Adams.” Executive producer Tom Hanks and actor Paul Giamatti, who plays Adams, attended, as did Gov. Tim Kaine. Hundreds of cast and crew were invited, and crowds filled the sidewalks to catch a glimpse of celebrity.

Despite the premier’s flashbulbs and fanfare, new film projects – some that are even set in the state – are bypassing Virginia for location shootings for other states offering competitive incentive packages.

From major-studio directors to independent amateurs, filmmakers say they’d like to work in Virginia, but they can’t afford to because the state doesn’t provide enough financial help.

According to the Virginia Production Alliance, 10 major filmmakers that considered production in Virginia chose to film elsewhere at a cost to the commonwealth’s economy of $356 million since 2006.

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Top 5 Communities for Recycling

By Alex Bahr
Capital News Service

Here are the five solid waste planning units with the highest recycling rates in 2006, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. All of these localities have population densities higher than the state average, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

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How Localities Rank in Recycling

By Alex Bahr
Capital News Service

Here is the percentage of solid waste recycled in every city and county in Virginia during calendar year 2006, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

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Vienna Leads State in Recycling

By Alex Bahr
Capital News Service

The town of Vienna has taken the lead when it comes to recycling in Virginia, recycling more than 55 percent of all solid waste produced in 2006, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

While Mayor Jane Seeman said she couldn’t name the exact reason for the town’s high rate, she cited convenience and a long history of recycling as two factors.

“We publicize it quite a bit, and make it as convenient for people as we can, but I really don’t know what to give credit to that for,” Seeman said in a telephone interview. “We’ve been doing it for a long time, so that’s another thing.”

Vienna also had the highest recycling rate in Virginia in 2004 and 2005.

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Recycling Rises Overall but Varies by Locality

By Alex Bahr
Capital News Service

Recycling is on the rise in Virginia, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality, but several localities are having trouble getting residents to recycle their trash.

Statewide, Virginia’s recycling rate topped 38 percent in 2006 – up from about 32 percent the previous year, the department’s latest data showed.

Of the 9.7 million tons of solid waste produced in Virginia in 2006, about 3.7 million tons was recycled. That was an increase of more than 1 million tons of recycled trash from 2005.

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Investments help fuel genocide, delegate says

By Julia Linden
Capital News Service

Shannon Valentine’s life suddenly changed when high school students approached the state legislator from Lynchburg, voicing their concern about American investments helping fuel genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Valentine, a Democrat, decided to introduce legislation that human rights activists believe could help bring an end to a genocide that has killed more than 300,000 and displaced an estimated 2 million civilians since the crisis began in 2003.

Across the United States and the world, public and private entities have been dumping investments in companies that do business in Sudan.

Over the past few years, 24 states from Maine to California have enacted legislation to sell off investments in companies linked to Sudan. Those investments help fund the Sudanese government, which U.S. officials and human rights activists say has helped rebels massacre Darfur residents.

This year and last, Valentine introduced a bill that would have required the Virginia Retirement System to divest from these companies. VRS owns about $51 million in stock in companies that do business in Sudan. Most of them are oil companies.

“There is a tremendous movement with divestment. At least 13 states are introducing it this year,” Valentine said. “The strategy is working.”

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