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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

State Official Says CSX Knew About Defect Before Wreck

A State official says that a CSX inspector found a defect in the tracks the day before an oil train derailed in Lynchburg. The Richmond Times-Dispatch says that the state’s utility and safety director told a state rail safety task force about the defect, but could not elaborate on its nature or say whether it contributed to the April 30th accident.

Current regulations require railroads to analyze and act on defects they discover within 30 days. The accident resulted in a 17-car derailment, including three cars, loaded with crude oil, plunging into the James River.

Judge Dismisses Virginia From Student’s $40 Million Suit

A federal judge has dismissed the state of Virginia from a 40 million dollar lawsuit, filed by a UVA student who spent the night detained after being falsely accused of buying alcohol. Elizabeth Daly’s suit says she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, after undercover agents - looking for underage violators - mistook her case of canned water for beer. She was charged with assaulting two of the agents, grazing them as she drove off.

VDH Advises Consumers Not to Drink Tainted Milk

The Virginia Department of Health is advising consumers not to drink Marva Maid Dairy milk in half-pint containers with sell-dates from May 30th through June 2nd. The department issued the advisory yesterday following an investigation that began after it received complaints from the Henrico School District about milk with a bad taste and odor. The schools reported several people feeling sick and stopped serving it.

Both Violent and Property Crime Rates Down

Virginia State Police released the annual state-wise crime report yesterday, that showed violent crime declined by 1.6%, while property crime was down 3.9% from the 2012 figures. The homicide rate remained about the same at 3.84 per 100 thousand. Vehicle thefts and attempted thefts were down six% and robbery was down 3.7%. The exceptions were fraud and drugs. Fraud offenses increased by 7.6% and drug offenses increased for the fourth year in a row, this time by 3.8%.

Supreme Court Rejects Reporter’s Appeal

The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by James Risen, the New York Times reporter who refused to testify against a former CIA officer on the grounds that he has a right to protect his source’s identity. Reporters have long argued they have a constitutional right not to reveal their sources. The government, in most cases, has denied that right exists.

Alliance Says 77,000 Uninsured Virginians Have Mental Health Problems

An advocacy group says Virginia’s response to the needs of mentally ill individuals is insufficient, and more needs to be done to help prevent crises.

There is a graveyard in Staunton, with the bones of 2,900 people, who lived and died at Western State Hospital, in an era when mental illness was considered incurable, and they were simply put away. Attitudes changed and so did public policy and in the 1990’s Virginia, and the nation, began to discharge patients into the community but there was a problem.

State’s Graduation Rate Second In Nation For Public Four-Year Institutions

A new report says Virginia has the second highest graduation rate in the country of students attending the state’s four-year public colleges and universities. The State Council of Higher Education says 70% graduate within six years, based on a group of students who began attending colldge in 2007. That’s second only to Delaware that has a graduation rate of 73%.

Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason’s rates increased by 10 percentage points during the period. Christopher Newport improved points from 59% to 79%.

One Person Killed, Five Others Injured In Chester Fire

One person died and five others were injured in a house fire early yesterday morning in Chester. It happened at 2:25 a.m. in the 4100 block of Hamlin Court in Chester.

Family members identified the victims as David Vance, Jr., his wife Stacey, their two young boys, David’s father and Stacey’s mother. Five were hospitalized with life threatening injuries, three of them were serious injuries, one of those later died. Relatives said it was Stacey’s mother, but officials have not yet confirmed the identity.

Gasoline Prices Up As Summer Driving Season Begins

Gasoline prices are higher than last year at this time, as the summer driving season begins. Triple A says the summer driving season started last weekend, and motorist paid slightly more for gasoline that in the previous two years. They blame higher global oil prices, driving by tensions in key oil producing regions, most notably the Ukraine and Libya.

Triple A still believes prices have likely hit their peak and should decline into the summer, unless geopolitical conditions get worse.