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Most Read Articles Dec. 4, 2020


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.


As its birthplace, Mountain Dew can do more for Marion than just provide bragging rights

By STEPHANIE PORTER-NICHOLS, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Mountain Dew can do more for Marion — its birthplace — than just provide bragging rights. Developer Joe Ellis is confident that while preserving an aspect of the community’s heritage, a museum dedicated to the popular lemon-lime soda could also bolster the local economy through tourism.


Virginia schools plan gradual reopening as evidence of online learning gap piles up

By HANNAH NATANSON, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

More evidence emerged this week that online school is taking its worst academic toll on Virginia’s most vulnerable students, as superintendents in the state — facing mounting pressure to reopen schools — took tentative steps toward in-person instruction. Loudoun County Public Schools went the furthest, welcoming back more than 7,300 elementary school students this week. Other Northern Virginia districts are moving more slowly: Arlington Public Schools said it would return thousands of elementary and middle school students early next year, while Alexandria City Public Schools outlined plans to send some students with disabilities and English language learners back into school buildings in late January — followed in early February by kindergartners through fifth-graders.


With close ties to multiple candidates, Kaine says he’s not endorsing yet in Democratic primary for governor

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe are both part of the small club of Virginia’s living Democratic ex-governors and two of the most influential figures in state politics. While governor, McAuliffe appointed Anne Holton, Kaine’s wife, as his secretary of education. Kaine has also encouraged state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, whose wedding he officiated, to run for higher office one day. That day has arrived.


Dominion pulls plug on power plant plans for Southern Virginia Megasite

By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Dominion Power, which had hoped to invest about $200 million in a power plant at the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, has canceled its plans at the site. "We no longer believe it is possible to build the units planned in Pittsylvania County despite the economic and reliability benefits for our customers," Dominion spokesperson Jeremy L. Slayton wrote in an email to the Danville Register & Bee on Thursday afternoon.


Jordan: To be competitive, Virginia Republicans must pivot

By D.J. JORDAN, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

When I first got involved in Virginia politics in 2013, the commonwealth had a Republican governor and legislature in Richmond. My, how times have changed. Since then, the GOP has lost every statewide election. And after each loss, many political scientists and party leaders credited the same thing: changing demographics. It’s true. The Virginia of today is not the Virginia of 2009, the last year Republicans won statewide.

Jordan grew up in Hampton Roads, and now lives in northern Virginia. He served as chairman of the Virginia Board of Social Services in 2016 and 2017, and unsuccessfully ran for House of Delegates as a Republican in 2019.


Runion To File Solar, Health Care Legislation

By JESSICA WETZLER, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The future of solar energy is yet to be determined in Rockingham County, but for residents across Virginia, it’s a reality quickly settling in. During an informal town hall Thursday, Del. Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater, spoke with four constituents about the upcoming legislative session and bills he planned to file — one dealing with solar energy.


Misinformation, indifference fuels local COVID-19 spike

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Misinformation and indifference by some in the public to COVID-19 safety recommendations is fueling the current spike in local cases, Ballad Health officials said this week. Wearing face coverings in public, avoiding large crowds, staying apart from people outside your immediate household and regular handwashing have been the mantra from health care workers and government leaders as ways to limit spreading the disease, virtually since the pandemic began. Yet many in the public continue to distrust or reject such advice at a time when this region has one of the nation’s highest rates of COVID-19.


A clean energy transition won’t be free. Officials hope energy efficiency can offset costs.

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

Much of Virginia’s planned shift to a carbon-free electric grid involves grand plans: turbines sprouting hundreds of feet tall from the ocean waves and solar panels spread across thousands of acres. But another major part of the clean energy transition Virginia and other states are looking to make is often overlooked: energy efficiency. Unlike wind, solar and storage, in which progress is seen in new construction, new megawatts and new technology, energy efficiency successes are chalked up in terms of absence: projects that no longer have to be built, costs that no longer have to be paid.


New Virginia laws seek to close ‘school-to-prison pipeline’


The near future of in-person schooling is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Virginia students will return to a system where several penalties for misbehavior have been taken off the table. Two new laws seek to stop criminal punishments in elementary, middle and secondary schools.