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VPM Daily Newscast: July 20, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.           

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, July 20, 2021: 

  • John Tyler Community College could become Brightpoint Community College. As Ian Stewart reports, college officials are waiting for approval from the state board. 

  • The commission tasked with redrawing Virginia’s Congressional districts will hold a public hearing today for Hampton Roads. It’s part of a statewide effort. Hannah Schuster with partner station WHRV has details. 

  • Federal data show a rise in drug overdose deaths inside prisons and jails across the country in recent years. County jails saw a 200% increase from 2001 to 2018. But the rise in state-run prisons is even more dramatic at 600%. As Whittney Evans reports, Virginia falls near the middle of the pack. 

  • The largest solar farm on the East Coast is now halfway operational in Spotsylvania County. The project has been producing energy since last August, and will be generating its full capacity of nearly 500 megawatt hours yearly by fall. Project spokesperson Helen Humphreys says that will displace over 780,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise be emitted from fossil fuel plants. The project only represents a small fraction of Virginia’s energy consumption, but Humphreys says it’s just one of many facilities in Virginia’s mission to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

  • The Virginia Department of Health is reported 275 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Monday. Over 685,000 Virginians have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic began a year ago. To date, there have been 158 confirmed cases of the new Delta variant in Virginia. In all, 11,483 people have died from COVID-19 in Virginia since the start of the pandemic. As of yesterday, 59 percent of the Virginians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 53 percent have been fully vaccinated. VDH updates the statewide COVID-19 dashboard each day at 10 in the morning.