THE BULLETIN — News to know

Quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

‘Send Him Back’; Va. Democrats say they’ll boycott Trump at Jamestown commemoration

Virginia Democrats say they won't participate in any part of an event commemorating the 400th session of the state’s General Assembly attended by President Donald Trump.Trump’s visit has not been formally announced, but the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported he is expected to travel to Jamestown on July 30 to deliver an address.“The current president does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world," Democratic leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly said in a statement issued late Friday. "We offer just three words of advice to...

Department of Health warns of increase in respiratory illnesses, which heat could worsen

The Virginia Department of Health has received an increased number of reports of respiratory illnesses this summer, it said in a release.The department warned state residents and health providers about the uptick in diseases, which include influenza, Legionnaire’s disease, pneumonia and pertussis, or whooping cough.Each of the illnesses have their own particular seasonal pattern, said Jonathan Falk, epidemiology program manager with VDH. There isn't necessarily a common factor influencing the increase.“Generally speaking, we do see respiratory illnesses of different sorts year round,” he said. “We noticed this particular uptick happening once we were officially out of flu season and...
Virginia Mercury

Drugs ‘out of hand’ in Norton; Fretting about anti-Trump sentiment fading; GOP delegate withdraws candidacy; Chicken plant tanks catch fire and more news

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Residents of Norton were outraged but not shocked to learn pharmaceutical companies had shipped the highest concentration of opioids to their city of any locality in the country. “Prescription drugs got out of hand,” said Joey Collins, 61, the manager at a lumber yard. “My sister wrote a song: ‘Something in these mountains brings you down.’ And I think there’s something to that. I think it’s easy to get down and get depressed. I know that’s not an excuse for the pills.” – The Washington Post• Gov. Ralph Northam says he’ll...

Bill to boost federal minimum wage passes House, likely to fizzle in Senate

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House on Thursday voted to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The measure has little chance of being enacted by the GOP-led Senate, but will be widely touted by Democrats heading into the 2020 campaign season. The current federal minimum wage is less than half of that amount -- it has been stalled at $7.25 since 2009. This month marked a record for the longest period without raising the minimum wage since it was enacted. “America’s workers deserve a raise,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday ahead of the vote. The legislation...
Virginia Mercury

Riverside Regional Jail put on probation; Amazon to open 11th warehouse in Virginia; pipeline debris wash into Smith Mountain Lake and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• The family of a woman who died of a bowel rupture and subsequent infection while being jailed in Hampton Roads says in a lawsuit that jailers saw her in “obvious discomfort and throwing up blood” but disregarded her pleas for help. – The Virginian-Pilot• State officials put Prince George County’s Riverside Regional Jail on probation after determining two inmates who committed suicide in their cells in 2017 were improperly screened and monitored. The decision means the facility will be subject to two unannounced audits per year. – Richmond Times-Dispatch• Three people...

William & Mary will offer the state’s first Japanese degree program

The College of William & Mary will be the first public college in Virginia to offer a bachelor’s degree program in Japanese studies starting this fall, fulfilling a need for the business and governmental sectors.The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia approved William and Mary’s new program this week. The council must approve new degree programs at accredited institutions of higher education. "We're excited to offer students a deeper engagement with Japanese culture, society, politics and business, and to give them the cultural knowledge and linguistic skills to become experts on Japan," said Michael Cronin, program director for Japanese...

Two rural Virginia towns were saturated with opioid pills over four years, dataset shows

A federal judge ordered the release of a massive Drug Enforcement Administration dataset detailing just how big of a role drug companies and pharmacies have played in the country’s opioid epidemic.The data, according to the Washington Post, tracks the path of each pain pill sold in the country. Though Virginia wasn’t in the top five states with the highest concentration of pills, according to the Post’s analysis two towns, Norton and Martinsville, topped the list for per capital pills in rural areas from 2006 to 2012.Norton received the highest concentration, with 306 pills per person, while Martinsville followed with...

Virginia Lottery’s profits, which go to education, break record

The Virginia Lottery made nearly $650 million in the fiscal year that ended in June, all of which will be used for education funding.The amount breaks the agency's previous record of $606 million put toward education last year.The Lottery's profits came from $2.29 billion in sales, Lottery Director Kevin Hall said at a Lottery Board meeting Wednesday. The sales also broke the agency's previous record of $2.1 billion last year.Unclaimed prizes, which amounted to $6.5 million last fiscal year, are deposited into the Literary Fund. That provides resources for schools to finance capital projects, like building repairs.The agency pays...
Virginia Mercury

Virginia Democrats outraise Republicans; pork shipments to China expected to triple; the Jonas Brothers’ dad goes to Liberty University and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• A deeply divided federal appeals court revived a lawsuit challenging a Virginia law that lets judges designate people as “habitual drunkards,” which allows police to arrest them for possessing or even smelling like alcohol. – Associated Press• Virginia Democrats outraised Republicans over the last three months, closing the mid-summer campaign finance reporting period with $4.9 million in the bank in various party and PAC accounts compared to $3.7 million held by similar Republican groups. At the candidate level, Republicans as a group still hold more cash on hand. – The Washington Post•...

Capitol Police plan to test AI-powered weapon detection scanners

Under rules set by lawmakers, anyone with a concealed carry permit can bring a gun into the state Capitol. And lots of people do, as anyone who was around for last week’s special session on gun legislation undoubtedly noticed.That makes the Capitol Square complex a prime location to test a radio-wave powered scanner developed by MIT that relies on artificial intelligence developed to detect concealed weapons, according to Capitol Police and the company developing the technology.“We’ll have targets of opportunity,” said Bill Riker, CEO of Liberty Defense, though he added that the decision to approach Virginia had more to...