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VPM Daily Newscast: December 15, 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, December 15, 2021: 

  • Governor Ralph Northam is joining the tax cut bandwagon on his way out of office. The Democrat is calling for lawmakers to eliminate the state’s tax on groceries – echoing a promise from the Republican who'll succeed him, Glenn Youngkin. A spokesperson for Youngkin said Northam’s plans help lay the groundwork for the Republican to make good on his campaign promises. Ben Paviour reports.  

  • Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC secured a key permit from the State Water Control Board yesterday. The citizen members of the board voted 3 to 2, agreeing with state regulators that the project’s plans for laying pipe across streams, creeks and wetlands would sufficiently protect surface water.  Patrick Larsen has details.  

  • A Central Virginia group has been named a finalist in the one billion dollar Build Back Better challenge from the Economic Development Administration. The Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Growth Project was also awarded $500,000 as part of the EDA’s program. The money will go to further developing the pharmaceutical industry in the Richmond and Petersburg areas. Finalists can compete for one hundred million dollars. Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA was allocated $3 billion to help communities accelerate the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.  

  • COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing in the commonwealth and throughout the D.C. region. Colleen Grablick, from our partner station WAMU, has an update.  

  • In a joint statement, Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced the Richmond International Airport control tower will remain operational around the clock. The Federal Aviation Administration had considered closing the tower from midnight to 5 a.m. The FAA completed a study of the airport's operational costs and concluded the viability of keeping the operating hours for the tower at Richmond International.