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VPM Daily Newscast: July 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 Friday, July 30, 2021: 

  • Governor Ralph Northam announced funding priorities for behavioral health care this week. They include cash to stabilize the state’s understaffed mental health hospitals and improve substance abuse treatment. Patrick Larsen reports. 

  • Yesterday, Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin proposed using more than half of the commonwealth's estimated 2.6-billion-dollar budget surplus on a tax rebate for Virginians. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Youngkin is calling on the state to send 300 dollars to individuals, and 600 dollars to families. And he wants to delay the implementation of a new, higher tax on gas by one year, bringing the combined price tag to 1.5 billion dollars. This comes as legislators are set to meet in Richmond next week to debate Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal for spending over 4 billion dollars of federal relief funds. However, in this special session legislators will not decide how Virginia will use its surplus. Lawmakers will make that choice in January, after the November elections for governor and the House of Delegates. 

  • A federal eviction ban ends Saturday. It comes as more than 60,000 Virginians say they could lose their homes soon because they’re struggling to make rent. That’s according to the U-S Census Bureau. Sam Turken of partner station WHRV reports. 

  • The Virginia Department of Health has issued a recreational water advisory that extends from the James River at Robious Landing Park to include all of Belle Isle. For the safety of people and pets, VDH is advising that recreational water activities, such as swimming, tubing, and whitewater kayaking should be avoided. VDH announced the advisory out of an abundance of caution due the release of about 300,000 gallons of raw, undiluted sewage into Tuckahoe Creek on Wednesday. Boating, fishing and canoeing may continue with proper caution to avoid contact with the water. VDH has observed no evidence of impacts to drinking water at this time. 

  • Partner station WHRV is reporting that there may be significant new business opportunities soon near Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. The Navy plans to lease about four hundred acres of land around the base. Navy officials are weighing the move partly to defray the high costs of maintenance at the aging facility, said Oceana’s Commanding Officer Captain John Hewitt. Hewitt says the Navy and the city of Virginia Beach plan to sign a nonbinding agreement to proceed with the plan next week. If all goes as planned, among the possible lessees is Dominion Energy, which has been in talks with Navy officials to use a parcel at the base for its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Hewitt said a deal with Dominion would be the "first win on the board." 

  • The Virginia Department of Health reported over 1,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 in the state for Wednesday. It’s the first time the number has topped 1,000 since April, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This comes after new CDC guidance that vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors to guard against the more contagious Delta variant, which is currently the dominant strain in the country. As of Wednesday, 448 people in Virginia are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. VDH updates the statewide COVID-19 dashboard each day at 10 in the morning. 

  • For many Virginia students, the first day of school is still a month away. But on Monday, students across the district in Hopewell City Public Schools returned for a new year. And they became the first in the state to launch a district-wide year-round school schedule. Megan Pauly was there and has this report

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