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VPM Daily Newscast: August 18, 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 Wednesday, August 18, 2021: 

  • Last month, the Virginia Department of Health stopped reporting the specific locations of COVID-19 outbreaks – including the names of school districts and nursing homes. But as VPM’s Megan Pauly reports, that decision is being called into question as cases and outbreaks increase. VPM reached out to Governor Ralph Northam’s office for his position on the reporting of COVID outbreaks. His press secretary responded that the Governor believes it is critical to provide as much information to the public as possible and said VDH will be updating its dashboards to include this information in the coming days. 

  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam announced yesterday that they anticipate a record number of Virginia children will enroll in pre-K this year. As many as 25,000 pre-K students are expected to enroll across two programs and 126 school divisions. The state invested over $151 million in the programs for the upcoming school year – more than double the state investment made last year. 

  • Advocates for Virginia’s new redistricting commission said it would limit the influence of partisanship on the state’s political maps. But in a meeting yesterday, the group took votes that cemented the role parties play in the process. Ben Paviour has more

  • The US Department of Defense says as of Sunday night that nearly 2,000 Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas have arrived in the United States over the past few weeks. Resettlement agencies including the International Rescue Coalition and Commonwealth Catholic Charities are already helping some of those Afghan families lay down roots in Virginia. The agencies say that finding housing is a big concern, given the lack of affordable supply in places like Richmond and Charlottesville. IRC and CCC are seeking leads on affordable housing in the Commonwealth and taking donations online to cover early living costs for families. 

  • Virginia’s representatives in Congress have their eyes on the U.S. government, as allies are evacuated from the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. VPM’s Ben Paviour spoke with Senator Mark Warner, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, about the evolving situation.