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VPM Daily Newscast: December 14, 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 Tuesday, December 14, 2021: 

  • Myotonic dystrophy, known as DM1, is the most common type of muscular dystrophy worldwide - and it has no effective treatment. But a Virginia college student recently became the first participant in a national trial for a drug that targets DM1 at the source. Patrick Larsen has the story

  • Fairfax County Public Schools has settled a lawsuit with parents and disability rights advocates over the district’s use of seclusion and restraint with students with disabilities. Margaret Barthel, from our partner station WAMU, reports. 

  • Virginia’s legislative agencies were forced to shut down computer systems and websites due to a ransomware attack. This includes the Division of Capitol Police and Legislative Services, which is working on preparing bills ahead of the upcoming General Assembly session. According to the  Richmond Times Dispatch, the cyberattack started Sunday at the Department of Legislative Automated Systems. The governor’s spokesperson says the department is shutting down its servers to try to stop the spread – and has reached out to outside experts to help. 

  • Attorney General Mark Herring has reached settlements with two gas stations over their alleged price gouging during a state of emergency last spring. Herring alleges the gas stations raised prices on regular unleaded fuel by as much as 45 percent. Waynesboro Marathon will pay nearly $4,000 in fees and restitution, and Springfield-based Interstate Fuel will pay almost $19,000. Governor Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency in May after a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline disrupted gasoline supply throughout the commonwealth. 

  • Psychedelic plants and fungi are federally classified among the most dangerous illicit substances. But as Clara Haizlett reports, advocates and physicians say that categorization is long outdated. 

  • Outgoing Governor Ralph Northam says he wants to put another $1 million into tuition assistance for Virginia National Guard members. Northam’s office said in a release that the tuition assistance program has been funded at the same level - around $3 million - since 2008. The average cost of college has skyrocketed in that time, more than tripling over the last two decades. Northam’s office said between 400 and 500 Guard members apply to the assistance program each year. 

  • 530 acres in the Varina area of Henrico County could be rezoned for industrial use. Hillwood Development, a Texas based firm run, would like to rezone an area near White Oak Technology Park, according to  Richmond BizSense. The proposed changes include cold storage, distribution, warehouse, advanced manufacturing and fleet facilities. The Henrico County Planning Committee has already backed the proposal. It now goes to the Henrico Board of Supervisors for final approval.