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

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.

General Assembly Doubles Funding for Bay Cleanup

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says cleanup efforts received a significant boost in funding from this year’s General Assembly, and is on track for a complete restoration by 2025.

The General Assembly approved almost $62 million to help farmers with better practices. Peggy Sanner, Attorney for Chesapeake Bay Foundation says that’s double last year’s allocation.

There is $59 million to improve wastewater treatment plants. Hanover will get $157,000, Richmond $3.5 million and Hopewell $35 million over the next three years.

Henrico County School Board Votes to Change Name of Byrd Middle School

The Henrico County School Board has unanimously voted to change the name of Harry F. Byrd Middle School. The action came after a petition drive and complaints that many students would not have been allowed to go there if the architect of massive resistance in Virginia had his way.

Byrd was a governor, US Senator and a powerful political force in the 20th century who attempted to keep the state’s public schools segregated after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed it.

No replacement name was offered, but suggestions will be taken over the next 30 days.

Henrico Planning Commission Improves Major Development Near Virginia Center Commons

The Henrico County Planning Commission has approved a plan to rezone 250 acres west of Virginia Center Commons, for a proposed 1,035 home development. HH Hunt, plans to build the community in what it calls River Mill with 450 single family homes, 300 town homes and 285 apartments.

Homes would start at $340,000, but escalate to $420,000+ for lots along the bluff of the Chicahominy River. It is adjacent to the proposed Greenwood Park and a proposed extension of Woodman Road.

Potential neighbors in Magnolia Ridge worry about increased traffic and overcrowding schools.

Governor Vetoes Bill to Prohibit Localities from Removing War Memorials

Governor McAuliffe has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited cities and counties from removing war memorials, including Civil War Monuments that recall the South’s history of slavery.

Supporters of the bill said it would protect the state’s historical record, opponents said that it would stymie local debate over how to treat painful symbols of the Confederacy.

The Governor said “these discussions are difficult and complicated, unique to each community, and the bill would have effectively ended what he called “these important discussions.”

State Emergency Preparedness Officials Plan State-Wide Tornado Drill

Following Virginia’s deadliest tornadoes, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service are planning a statewide drill to help you prepare.

Officials say the actual tornado warning is not the time to figure out where to go or what to do.

Each year about one million people sign up to participate. You don’t need to register to participate.

The drill is at 9:45 a.m. March 22nd and you can find more about it at

At Least Five Injured In Crash of a Richmond-Bound Greyhound

At least five people have been injured in the crash of a Richmond-bound Greyhound bus in Northern Virginia. It happened yesterday morning (3/9) on State Route 123 in Fairfax County, when police say the bus rear-ended a pickup truck.

Reports vary on the number hospitalized, police said 12, rescue personnel reported five, Greyhound counted seven, none of which sustained any life-threatening injuries.

Another two dozen passengers who were not hurt were taken to a park where they waited a few hours for another bus to arrive.