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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

Virginia State Police Receive Grand Jury Approval in Probe Involving Mayor Jones’ Church

Virginia State Police have received grand jury approval to investigate Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and his church’s connection to city government. The mayor himself asked for a probe after a city auditor’s report found that the director of public works, Emmanual Adediran was overseeing a church construction project on city time, but his letter asked for a review only of Adedrian’s activities, not his own.

City Commonwealth’s attorney Michael Herring said the broader investigation logically must include the principal actor.

Major Coal Companies Contemplate Bankruptcy; Virginia Already There

Peabody Energy, one of the world’s biggest producers of coal, has warned it is at risk of going bankrupt in the near future because of the continuing downturn in the coal industry. Some Virginia companies are already there.

Peabody doesn’t mine in Virginia, but in the Southwest Coal Fields, there is already enough misery to go around.

Butch Lambert is Deputy Director of the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy. Coal demand and jobs and production have plummeted as governments across the world are looking at renewable energy sources and lower carbon emissions.

Committee Considers Smaller Statue for Maggie L. Walker Memorial

A committee of the Richmond Public Art Commission has refined the plans for a Maggie L. Walker Memorial in downtown Richmond. The statue is smaller and there are fewer plantings at the plaza at the intersection of Brook Road, Broad Street and Adams.

Artist Toby Mendez made the changes at the request of the committee, which expressed concerns the city would not take care of too many plantings, and the larger statue would be too big for the small plaza.

It was originally planned at 14 feet on a five-foot pedestal. New renderings show it at nine feet on a 40-inch pedestal.

More UVA Students Seeking Psychological Help

University of Virginia Health officials say that students at the school are seeking out psychological help in record numbers. Dr. Chris Holstege says the number of UVA students seeking appointments at the schools office of Counseling and Psychological Services rose 25% in the past year, and that follows a 19% rise over the past 10 years.

It reflects a national trend that identifies depression, anxiety and social anxiety as the most common reasons.

Counselors say it shows more students are comfortable seeking help.

UVA Student Sentenced to 15 Years Hard Labor in North Korea

A University of Virginia student has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for attempting to steal a propaganda banner from a hotel in North Korea where he was staying.

Otto Warmbier was 21 years old when he went into a restricted area of the hotel in the North Korean capitol and attempted to take the sign as a “trophy.” He was taken away at airport immigration, charged with subversion, and made a widely circulated public confession.

Yesterday (3/15), North Korea’s supreme court sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor for crimes against the state.

Offshore Drilling Opponents Encouraged by Navy Objections

Opponents of offshore drilling are encouraged by a Washington Post article that suggests Navy objections could take most of the waters off Virginia out of the running for oil and natural gas leasing.

The Post says it obtained maps from the Department of the Interior showing that the Navy has objected to drilling in most waters off Virginia. The Pentagon has issued a statement that identified areas where offshore readiness activities are not compatible, and raised concerns about munitions tests, exercises and other activities.

Unemployment Drops To Lowest Level Since the Recession

Virginia’s Unemployment Rate has dropped to the lowest level since the 2008 recession. Figures released yesterday (3/14) by the Virginia Employment Commission show the January unemployment rate was 4.1%.

Virginia’s rate is lower than the national average of 4.9% and the 14th lowest among the states.

The state’s labor force expanded in January by almost 5,000 and that is the sixth consecutive monthly increase.

State Senator Don McEachin Set To Announce Run for Congress in the 4th District

State Senator Don McEachin is set to announce he will run for Congress in Virginia’s redrawn 4th district.

Senator McEachin, a Democrat from Henrico, turned in his paperwork and petitions yesterday (3/14) with 3,000 signatures, three times the required number, and will make his formal announcement today.

The UVA law school graduate is an attorney in private practice and has served in the General Assembly for 16 years.

Efforts to Remove Confederate Symbols Slowed

Efforts to remove Confederate symbols have slowed somewhat in recent months.

The New York Times reports this morning (3/14) that legislators in a least 12 states, including Virginia, have considered how the Confederacy should be recognized.

The Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly passed a bill that would have made it illegal for local officials “to disturb or interfere” with military memorials, any of them from any war. Governor McAuliffe vetoed that one.

Francis Gary Powers, Cold War Spy Plane Pilot From Virginia, Honored at Wise County Airport

A terminal at the Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise County was dedicated over the weekend in honor of Francis Gary Powers, the pilot of a U-2 Spy Plane that was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.

Francis Gary Powers, the son of a Virginia Coal miner, was caught flying over the Soviet Union in a super secret spy plane in the middle of the Cold War. Powers was shot down, captured, convicted as a spy, imprisoned, and finally released in a prisoner exchange.