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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

Henrico County Manager’s Budget Proposes Full Funding For Schools, Raises for Employees, No New Taxes

Henrico County’s Proposed new budget includes full funding for public schools, raises for all employees and no tax increases.

County Manager John Vithoulkas presented a budget yesterday that would fully fund public schools and provide a 2.4 percent raise to all county employees.

Real estate taxes would remain at 87 cents per hundred, the 38th year they have held steady or declined. The budget is based on an increase in the general fund from 786 to 811 million.

Woman Escapes From Her Car Just Before It Was Struck By a Train in Chester

A woman in Chester escaped from her car just before it was struck by an Amtrak train late yesterday.

Police say the woman lost hear bearings when trying to make a turn and accidently wound up on the tracks, just before the crossing gates were lowered and the train was bearing down on her.

The car stuck, but she managed to get out before the train hit the car, pushing it about 200 feet down the tracks. She received minor injuries. She was not identified.

Police are investigating, but say other vehicles have been struck near that spot in the past.

Stafford County Volunteer Fireman Reinstated After Transporting Sick Child in Firetruck

A Virginia fireman, who took a sick child to the hospital in a firetruck against regulations has been reinstated to his job, after a nationwide outcry over his suspension.

Captain James Kelley of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department knew he was breaking the rules. But when he was handed an 18-month old girl who was having a seizure and turning blue and knew an ambulance was 15 minutes away, he strapped the child in the firetruck seat, piled coats around her, hooked her up to oxygen and took her to the hospital anyway.

City School Board Contemplates Closing Six School To Bridge Budget Gap

Richmond Public School officials are proposing closing six schools to bridge the gap between their budget requests and the mayor’s proposed spending plan.

At the school board meeting last night (3/7), the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services said the cuts would be necessary to close the gap between what the system needs and what Mayor Dwight Jones’ budget provides. The schools were not named.

Commonwealth Reviewing More Tax Refunds for Fraud and Identity Theft

The Commonwealth of Virginia has refunded over one million taxpayers so far this season, but for some there has been an unpleasant surprise. One Henrico couple got a letter in the mail instead. “…saying that we couldn’t get a refund until we sent them my last month’s paycheck stub and a copy of the W2…,” said Joel Davison, Department of Taxation.

Lower Gasoline Prices Mean Lower Tax Revenues for Regional Transportation Projects

Low Gasoline prices are hurting the bottom line in some Virginia communities.

Falling gasoline prices have cut the tax revenue localities receive for transportation. A bill to fix the problem has failed in the General Assembly.

The Frederickburg Free-Lance Star reports it is particularly difficult for Virginia Railway Express Localities to help them pay for the commuter rail service and fund additional road transportation projects.

Gasoline prices have dropped by more than half since 2013.

Legal Aid Center Represents Homeless Alcoholics

A group of homeless alcoholic Virginians has sued the state over laws that make it illegal for them to drink or possess alcohol. The Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center has filed the class-action suit on behalf of some 1,200 people who have been labeled “habitual drunkards” by the courts in the past nine years.

Three of the six plaintiffs named in the suit are from Richmond.

They claim they are being harrassed under “habitual drunkard laws” which subject them to more severe punishment than public intoxication charges.

Bill Passes To Allow RMTA to Rebuild and Operate Coliseum

The General Assembly has passed a bill to authorize the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build and operate a new coliseum.

It is a first step in replacing the 45-year old coliseum that has hosted everybody from Elvis to Obama,sports, monster trucks, bull riding and Disney shows among other things.

The VCU Rams used it until the Siegel Center opened in 1999. It is owned by the City of Richmond and has been run by SMG, a professional management group.

Petersburg Fires City Manager

Petersburg City Council dropped the formalities and fired City Manager William E. Johnson, III last night.

Council fired the city manager for cause two weeks after agreeing to negotiate an amicable settlement. They did not say what changed, but it was a personnel matter.

A recent audit found seven million dollars in general fund liability overdrafts, overspending of the total general fund budget by 1.8 million, and a deficiency of revenues over expenditures of nearly six million.