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VPM Daily Newscast: June 30, 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.          

Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.      

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Wednesday, June 30, 2021: 

  • It’s been almost five months since a major ice storm hit the Richmond region – that downed power lines and toppled trees. Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced its completed the massive cleanup caused by the February 13 storm. In its wake, VDOT removed over 9000 loads of tree debris from highways and roads. Officials say the clean-up cost about $23 million. 

  • The city of Richmond held a press conference yesterday to provide a pandemic update.  As Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reports, health officials are mainly focused on increasing vaccination rates in the face of a highly contagious variant. 

  • Richmond is getting $4 million from the federal government to fight COVID-19. Mayor Levar Stoney says the city is one of 73 local governments that will receive grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. The only other locality in Virginia to receive funding through this program is Fairfax, which will receive a grant of just over $3.8 million. 

  • Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are pushing for more financial support to implement the Ashanti Alert system. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Warner and Kaine, along with Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, called for the system to be fully funded. The act was authored by Warner and named after Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old woman who was abducted and murdered in 2017. Due to her age, Billie’s disappearance did not trigger an emergency alert. The new program would cover missing persons that do not fall within the criteria for Amber or Silver alerts already in place for children and older adults.   

  • A bill that makes grant money available for advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing research passed the U.S. House this week. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, aims to strengthen the nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain and research. In a press release, Spanberger drew attention to the bio-pharma industry’s growth in Central Virginia. The commonwealth has announced hundreds of new  jobs in the industry this year, including in Albemarle County and Petersburg. The measure will now head to the U.S. Senate for debate. 

Editor's Note: We retracted a story on a McAuliffe ad yesterday, because we missed important details that were already reported by other outlets. We will republish a corrected version of the article later today.

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