Newscast for January 15, 2019

Greetings and welcome to the local and regional newscast for Tuesday, January 15, 2019. On this first day of the third week of the new year, our program is sponsored by Court Square Tavern, where the Roast Beef Chili is always a good option. Court Square Tavern is located in the old Monticello Hotel above the Downtown Mall. And now, onto the information.

Today the Commonwealth Transportation Board will be presented with the preliminary scores for new road and multimodal improvements across Virginia. Since 2015, projects submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation have had to compete with one another on a variety of different factors, including how they address traffic congestion and promote economic development. There are 468 submissions from across Virginia, including 43 in the Culpeper District, which includes Albemarle County and Charlottesville. There are 71 projects from the Staunton district, which includes Harrisonburg and Waynesboro. Competition is tight. In all, those requests total about $7 billion, and there’s only about $800 million available in funding.


A bill that would increase Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 2021 has made its way out of the Senate Commerce and Labor committee. The panel voted 6 to 4 Monday to advance the legislation from Senator Roz Dance of Petersburg. The bill passed with support from two Republicans including Chair Frank Wagner, who told the Virginia Mercury that “Virginia is getting more expensive.” The Mercury also reports that the bill may have the votes to pass the Senate assuming Wagner and fellow Republican Tommy Norment continue their support.


One seat remains open in the Virginia House of Delegates. District 86 is vacant now that Democrat Jennifer Boysko has won election to the Virginia Senate. The Virginia Mercury reports that Speaker of the House Kirk Cox has announced the special election to fill the open seat will be held on February 19. That’s four days after this session of the General Assembly is scheduled to conclude. All 140 seats in the House and Senate are up for election this November.


A state senator who represents Danville has told the Register and Bee that he thinks efforts to build a casino there would be a short cut in the city’s overall economic development plan. Ralph Stanley of the 20th Senate District said he has not made up on his mind on whether he will support legislation that would give Danville, Bristol and Portsmouth the ability to have one casino in each locality. House Bill 2536 from Delegate Israel O’Quinn and Senate Bill 1503 from Senator Bill Carrico await action in their respective committees.


Charlottesville’s City Council continues to get more crowded. Transit activist Paul Long has said he will make his fourth independent bid for Council. The Massachusetts native placed fourth in the 2009 race with 7.5 percent of the vote, withdrew from the 2011 race for health reasons and placed fifth in 2017 with three percent of the road. Another independent who is running, John Edward Hall, placed last in the 2017 race. Five people have declared so far for the Democratic primary, which is on June 11. They are Michael Payne, Don Gathers, Sena Magill, Lloyd Snook and Brian Pinkston. So far, incumbents Mike Signer, Kathy Galvin and Wes Bellamy have not indicated their plans.


There will be several key meetings across the region today. The Albemarle Economic Development Authority will have their first meeting at 4:00 pm in the county’s office building on McIntire Road. That will be followed by the Albemarle Planning Commission at 6:00 pm, with action on a utility transmission line as well as a steep slopes waiver for a new development off of East Rio Road. The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review meets at 5:30 pm with a review of the final phase of the William Taylor Plaza as well as installation of two metal grates at 500 Court Square. The BAR meeting will be televised.



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