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VPM Daily Newscast: August 31, 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, August 31, 2021: 

  • The families of seven Black men who were executed in 1951 are scheduled to meet with Governor Ralph Northam today to discuss a posthumous pardon. The men, known as the Martinsville Seven, were convicted for the rape of a white woman in Martinsville. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the pardon request does not argue innocence. It instead questions the fairness of the legal system and the use of execution for seven men in a single assault. At the time, predominately Black men were sentenced to death in rape cases, not white men. Capital punishment was abolished in Virginia this past March, in part because of racial disparity in its use. 

  • Republican Glenn Youngkin proposed a series of tax cuts in a campaign announcement yesterday. He says the plans won’t cause any cuts in state services if he’s elected governor. But as Ben Paviour reports, it’s not clear how he will pay for it. 

  • Yesterday, Senator Tim Kaine visited Afghans who recently arrived at Fort Lee, many of whom are families with young children. He told reporters that although the situation overseas is heartbreaking - he’s excited to welcome America’s new residents. After the withdrawal deadline on August 31st, Kaine sees America’s role in Afghanistan as a diplomatic one. He said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of smaller military actions to evacuate more people or strike ISIS-K, but added negotiations with the Taliban would be civil. 

  • The competition to hire school bus drivers in the region just got turned up a notch. Chesterfield County Public Schools announced yesterday that new and existing bus drivers will see an increase in pay and incentives. Ian Stewart reports. 

  • The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is soliciting public comments on a draft permit for the Mountain Valley pipeline project. The permit would allow the pipeline to be built through streams and wetlands. According to The Roanoke Times, the decision could impact surface water in nearly 430 locations throughout the pipeline's path. Two public hearings will be held in late September, one in Rocky Mount and the other in Radford. The deadline to submit written comments is October 27th. The State Water Control Board is expected to make a final decision on the draft permit in December.  

  • More people, including young children in Virginia are being hospitalized for ingesting marijuana edibles.  As Whittney Evans reports, the number was on the rise before the state legalized possession last month. 

  • Virginians who want to help Afghan evacuees arriving in the state are encouraged to call 211. That’s according to a guidance from the Virgnia Department of Emergency Management. The guidance, released late last week, recommends people give financial donations to resettlement organizations, who can then get supplies to evacuees. VDEM says when you call 211, trained professionals can provide information on trusted partners to take donations. 211 Virginia is a service of the department of social services and various community partners.