Tag Archives: Virginia

Travel tips and destinations in “ low season ” | Instant News


Today, Jeanenne Tornatore, Travel Expert, shared her take on Spring / Summer 2021 travel. By: Virginia This Morning Posted at 1:16 PM, April 12, 2021 and last updated on April 12, 2021 13: 16: 58-04 RICHMOND, Va. – Now is one of the best times to take your well deserved vacation! Today travel expert Jeanenne Tornatore shared her take on Spring / Summer 2021 travel. For more travel tips, visit Jeanenne’s website Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sign up for the Headlines newsletter and receive up-to-date information. .



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Skill game advocates expect another reprieve | Instant News


ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ) – On Monday morning, tables were empty at Wolf’s Den Billiards on Hollins Road, but after a challenging year, customers returned.

And the owner says without a game of skill around the corner, this popular business probably wouldn’t be here.

“When this machine was installed initially, of course we were all skeptical,” said owner Trena Wolford. “We don’t know how they will work, but they are just a blessing for us smaller places.”

Wolford and other small business owners said they were disappointed when Governor Ralph Northam proposed an amendment that would ban machines on July 1, especially when the skill game provided more than $ 140 million in state revenue for a COVID-19 relief fund.

Atul Patel owns ten One Stop Markets in Roanoke Valley.

“And now they want to stop it, and we as retail business owners don’t understand why,” Patel told WDBJ7.

“Nobody seems to have a problem with gambling anything except when it comes to the game of skill,” added Dan Switzer of the State Entertainment Company.

A spokesman for Governor Northam said he first proposed a strong skills game regulation in 2020, but the industry was against a 35% tax rate. The General Assembly overturned the bill and ultimately voted to ban the game.

Alena Yarmosky said the governor was consistent with her hopes that the engine would be phased out, after she proposed a one-year delay.

But game supporters hope lawmakers will reject the governor’s amendment.

“This is what we must have to survive,” said Kory Wolford, owner of Papa D.’s restaurant.

Lawmakers will discuss the matter on Wednesday, but with long chances of a last-minute reprieve.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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New $ 3.7 billion rail expansion in Virginia can save jobs, time | Instant News



ROANOKE, Virginia – Virginia will spend $ 3.7 billion to revamp the Commonwealth rail system. This will make it easier for passengers traveling to and from the New River Valley, especially university students. $ 1 billion will be set aside for several infrastructure projects over the course of a decade. an existing freight corridor between Doswell and Clifton Forge and turn it into a passenger service.The 10-year plan also includes increasing ERV service for commuters by 60 percent, as well as weekend service, doubling Amtrak trains to run hourly service and create a high-speed high-speed rail corridor from Petersburg to North Carolina. A passenger-only bridge will also be built over the Potomac River at a cost of $ 1.9 billion. ortham points out that train travel produces 83% less greenhouse gases than driving. “All of these cars on the road come at a price,” he said. Northam said that in a year, traffic delays can reach 230 million hours and congestion costs up to $ 6.5. He said investing in a railroad was cheaper and faster than building more highways. After reviewing a study of I-95, Northam said it would take 10 years and $ 12.5 billion to create a 50 mile lane in each direction. And by the time that was done, the hallway would be just as crowded as when we started. With Amtrak adding 12 more routes, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said more than 1,200 employees on leave could return to work. Workers are worried not only about their safety, but also about the safety of their job, their next paycheck, ”Buttigieg said. This major project is expected to boost the state’s economy by $ 2 billion a year and create tens of thousands of jobs. Co pyright 2021 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved. .



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The governor signs more bills into law; food insecurity and passenger rail included | Instant News


RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ / Governor’s Office Statement) – Governor Ralph Northam has signed several new laws into law, including measures designed to combat food insecurity, improve passenger trains in Southwest Virginia and expand access to broadband.

“This new law will make a real difference in the lives of Virginia’s citizens and position our Commonwealth for a strong post-pandemic future,” said Governor Northam. “I thank legislators for their hard work at this session and look forward to our continued partnership in the months to come to build on this progress.”

The Northam Governor’s bill was signed into law:

· House Bill 2203 and Senate Bill 1188 established the Virginia Agricultural Food Aid Program and Fund. This initiative enables Virginia farmers and food producers to directly donate or sell their food products to food banks, increasing the availability of fresh produce for food insecure families.

· House Bill 1893 and Senate Bill 1212 established the New River Valley Passenger Railway Station Authority to support the expansion of passenger trains west of Roanoke City.

· House Bill 1903 improve bicycle safety by allowing localities to reduce speed limits in residential or business areas.

· House Bill 1923 and Senate Bill 1334 expand the existing broadband capacity pilot program to increase access to high-speed internet in underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

· House Bill 2266 and Senate Bill 1471 gives the restaurant flexibility to serve alcohol outside and during permitted events. This law sets out the current policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· Senate Bill 1284 establishes a Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy to set goals for Virginia’s transition to a clean energy economy, including prioritizing transport electrification.

· Senate Bill 1300 directs Local and Regional Prison Councils to review and improve pregnancy-related care in consultation with stakeholders.

· Senate Bill 1442 established a public defender office in Chesterfield County, which is currently the largest county in Virginia without a dedicated public defender office.

Governor Northam proposed the following amendments to the bill:

· House Bill 2174 create state-run pension plans for workers without access to a 401k. The Northam Governor’s Amendment extends eligibility to allow part-time workers access to the program.

The full list of laws signed by Governor Northam from the 2021 special session is available here.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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Pakistani-born Police Chief Kamran Afzal is living the American Dream in Hopewell | Instant News


RICHMOND, Va. – Several Central Virginia police chiefs now head the departments they were born and raised in. Others have traveled half way around the world before calling Central Virginia their home.

Hopewell Police Chief Kamran Afzal was born in Karachi, Pakistan.

“My father is a Navy Officer, so we moved from Karachi to Northern Pakistan and back to Karachi, then another city called Pindi and finally back to Karachi before we immigrated to the US,” said Chief Afzal. “My mom and I came April 20, 1982. I still remember that.”

Afzal grew up in Northern Virginia and attended George Mason University with the goal of becoming a banker.

The plans changed when he looked at a job listing for a police officer.

“I knew right away that this was the right decision for me,” he said.

Afzal began his career with the US Capitol Police and later at the Arlington Police Department.

He was at work on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew a hijacked plane over to the Pentagon.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime event that I don’t think anyone was prepared to deal with, but you did,” he said of his time at the Pentagon after the attack.

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One time, he said, that helped shape himself to the way he is today.

“I consider myself a worthy American from Pakistan,” he said. “I really don’t think of myself as just Pakistani.”

Mona Afzal, his wife of 26 years, said her husband found the perfect landing site in Hopewell.

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“He can retire if he wants to, I think he is too young and he is a good, good person and a good cop and I think he should be in this field,” said Mona Afzal. “We are very comfortable where we are, we are here, living the American Dream.”

Chairman Afzal agreed with his wife’s assessment.

“This must be the American Dream, but I mean a lot of people live the American Dream, you don’t have to be an immigrant to live the American Dream,” said Chief Afzal. “It’s always been about improving things for others, as much as you can and hopefully leaving things in a better place than you find them.”

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