Charles Fishburne | Community Idea Stations

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Charles Fishburne

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Charles Fishburne is a correspondent for WCVE Public Radio. He brings over 40 years experience as a broadcast journalist and news executive in Richmond, Washington D.C. and New York. Charles was also a long-time television news anchor and news director in Richmond.

Articles by Charles Fishburne

Weekend Rains Help Knock Down Flames in Shenandoah National Park

Firefighters say rain over the weekend, has helped them with a major forest fire in the Shenandoah National Park.

It was light, but steady, and enough to help knock down the flames Friday (4/22) and Saturday (4/23). But the fire has already burned more than 9,000 acres in ten days and only 40% contained Saturday.

At that time there were 342 firefighters from 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico battling the blaze.

Permit for Feasibility Study Requested for Hydroelectric Facility at Bosher’s Dam

Plans by a Spanish investment company to build a hydroelectric facility at Bosher’s Dam on the James River are running into opposition.

Energy Resources USA Inc., is seeking permission to study the feasibility of building a powerhouse and four generators at Bosher’s Dam nearly on top of a fishway that allows shad, herring and other species to swim upriver to spawn.

The City of Richmond is opposing the permit filed with the Federal Energy Regulator Commission for a feasibility study and the James River Association has concerns.

Governor Schedules “Major Announcement,” On Felons’ Rights

Governor McAuliffe has scheduled a major announcement today on his efforts at restoring certain civil rights of former felons.

The Governor has already restored the rights of 18 thousand Virginians, more than the combined total of his seven predecessors, and today, plans to announce what his office is characterizing as another major milestone.

The Democratic Governor has made restoring rights, including the right to vote, the right to hold public office and the right to serve on a jury, a top priority.

Virginia Tech Flint Researcher Named to Time Magazine List of 100 Most Influential People

A Virginia Tech environmental engineering professor has been named to Time Mazazine’s list of 100 Most Influencial People, for his role in exposing the water crisis in Flint Michigan and an alleged EPA coverup.

The Time Article cites Tech’s Marc Edwards and his team that investigated the ongoing lead water crisis in Flint and what he called a coverup and a climate of dishonesty at the highest levels of the EPA in Michigan.

Earlier this week, local and state officials were charged criminally for their roles in the water crisis.

State Regulators Begin Public Comment on State’s First Commercial Wind Farm Project

State Regulators are about to take public comments on what could be Virginia’s first commercial wind farm. Apex Clean Energy has applied to build a Y-shaped formation of turbines along two ridges on North Mountain in Botetourt County, that would use existing power lines and provide power to 20,000 homes.

Opponents say the giant spinning blades will kill birds and bats, cause erosion and stream water contamination.

But the State Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward calls it a huge step toward the Commonwealth’s renewable energy goals.

Dry Conditions Continue, So Do Forest Fires Across State

Latest reports indicate that fire in the Shenandoah National Park has now scorched about 6,000 acres, and there are dozens of fires still burning across the state. Two weeks before the end of Spring Fire Season and conditions do not look good.

We talked with Ed Stoot, Western Regional Forester, where dozens of fires in eight counties were keeping firefighters busy.

One firefighter was hospitalized with exhaustion.

No homes or structures have been damaged at last report, but thousands of acres have burned.

Commonwealth Transportation Board Approves $43.7 Million Dollar Contract for Richmond Pulse Project

Richmond’s ambitious plan for a rapid transit line down Broad Street got an infusion of cash from the state yesterday (4/20) that keeps the program alive.

It was an unusual partnership in which the state basically agreed to pick up the tab on the difference between the original projected costs and the final contract numbers.

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane said the Commonwealth Transportation Board signed off on a $47.3 million dollar design-build project, even though it was $11.5 million above original estimates. Only the state will pay more.

Virginia’s Consolidated Labs Designated ZIKA Test Site

The Commonwealth of Virginia is now able to test for potential Zika virus outbreaks and get the results more quickly.

Virginia’s Division of Consolidate Laboratory Services announced this week that it has now been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to function as a test site.

Before, all suspected blood samples were send to CDC for testing with results sometimes delayed two to three weeks, now it will take only days.

Zika is a virus spread by mosquitoes and sexual activity and causes a mild illness, which can cause birth defects.

Coalition in Ashland Begins Effort to Provide Housing Options for Long-Term Motel Guests

A Coalition in Ashville will begin to help the town’s long-term motel guests find better places to live.

It has been a problem for years, people who had no other place to go. Now, Town Council has passed an ordinance restricting motel and hotel stays to 29 days, that ordinance goes into effect in July, and beginning in six weeks, a grass-roots coalition of faith and community groups will try to help them relocate.

The Coalition called Ashland Open Door has raised money, an executive director has been hired by Hanover Safe Place.

Wildfires in State Worsen With Low Humidity, High Winds, High Temperatures

Richmond Firefighters had to deal with brushfires in the Stratford Hills Area late yesterday, and it is part of a statewide problem with thousands of acres still burning in the West.

The biggest single fire is at the Shenandoah National Park with 3,000 acres burning, but worse is in far Southwest Virginia where fires are spread among half-a-dozen counties.

A high school in Buchanan County had to be closed.

The last few days have seen more fires in Pulaski, Russel and Bland Counties, with no end in sight.