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

GRTC’s Proposed Rapid Transit System’s Costs Exceed Estimates

The cost of designing and building of GRTC’s proposed rapid transit project down Broad Street will be at least $11.5 million more than expected.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that VDOT issued a notice of intent to award contracts for the so-called Pulse project to Lane Construction for $47.3 million. Lane was the low bidder and the Commonwealth Transportation Board is set to vote on it next week.

Of the total, the federal government will pay $25 million, the city $7.5 million and Henrico $400,000, and those figures won’t change.

Richmond High School Students March to Demand More School Funding

Richmond High School students protested in front of City Hall yesterday, as the school system threatens to shut down five schools unless they get their budget demands.

About 100 students, mostly from Open and Community High, marched to city hall and walked around the building chanting for officials to increase funding for the district.

They were later joined by parents and teachers for an evening rally in advance of council’s first public hearing on the mayor’s budget. And, last night’s public hearing drew overflow crowds.

Petersburg Mayor Weathers Challenge to Have Him Removed

The Mayor of Petersburg has weathered a challenge from another member of City Council to strip him of his mayoral duties.

Another packed meeting at city hall last night as the city continues to deal with aftershocks of a financial crisis.

It resulted in both the city manager and the city attorney leaving, and now Councilwoman Treska Wilson-Smith has filed a motion to oust Mayor W. Howard Myers.

But, interim city attorney Mark Flynn told council members in a special meeting last night that under city law, they don’t have the power to do that, without cause.

Science Matters: University of Richmond Installs Advanced Solar Panels

The University of Richmond has just installed some of the world’s most advanced solar panels. These panels are just four weeks off the assembly line. It’s first installation in North America. The panels produce 25% more electricity.

The deal was part of a solar purchase power agreement authorized as a pilot program by the 2013 General Assembly in which the installer owns the panels and they buy power under a 20 year agreement. The panels go online next week.

DOE Grants for Math and Science Teachers

The Virginia Department of Education has awarded more than $2.4 million dollars to help math and science teachers learn more about their subjects and sharpen their classroom skills.

The department initiated the 13 programs last year with grants from the federal Mathematics and Science Partnerships. The grants incluse $238,000 to VCU and UVA for 85 teachers in Caroline County, Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond, $98,000 for VCU and the MathScience Innovation Center for 25 teachers in Richmond, and $166,000 for VCU and Virginia state for 65 teachers in Dinwiddie and Petersburg.

Governor McAuliffe and Legislative Leaders Agree on $2.1 Billion Spending Plan for Capitol Square Improvements

Governor McAuliffe and top legislative leaders have agreed on a $2.1 billion dollar spending plan for improvements around capitol square. The money will build a $300 million dollar facility to replace the General Assembly building, and add a parking deck and renovate Old City Hall.

It also provides funding to build a new juvenile correctional center and a new facility for civilly committed sexually violent predators. It ends a standoff over the two-year old plan adopted by the General Assembly, and frees $2.1 billion in money for pending capital projects.

Dominion: Bids Too High On Proposed Wind Farm Off Virginia Coast

Dominion Virginia Power is fighting to keep costs down on a pilot program to build wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach. First round of bids came in at over twice Dominion’s projected $230 million dollar cost estimate, and the company said in a teleconference yesterday (4/7) a key expense is the cost of huge oceangoing vessels needed to deliver and install the turbines.

Dominion wants to build the reseach turbines on a wind farm on 113 thousand acres in the Atlantic, 27-miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

Search for Chesterfield County Administrator Progressing

The Search for a new county administrator for Chesterfield County is stepping up. Chesterfield is undertaking the difficult task of replacing 62-year old County Administrator James Stegmaier, who announced he is retiring in July, and a national search firm is ramping up its efforts to fill the job.

Yesterday (4/7), was the deadline in the application process, and a spokesperson for Waters & Company said there is a lot of interest and they are running on a short time-line.

Richmond Area Outpaces State and Nation in Job Growth and Low Unemployment

The Richmond area is outpacing both the state and the nation in job growth and low unemployment. The Virginia Employment Commission released February numbers yesterday (4/6).

That puts Richmond 13th, best among large metro areas in the county.

Chesterfield’s jobless rate was 3.9% down from 4.9% same time last year, Hanover 3.5%, down from 4.8% and Henrico 3.9%, down from 4.8% a year ago.