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Charles Fishburne

Charles Fishburne's picture

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

CDC Says Flu Nationwide Has Passed Epidemic Threshold

The United States has officially surpassed the epidemic threshold with this season’s flu virus, according to the CDC.

The CDC says influenza is now widespread in 36 states and nationwide, a total of 15 children have died so far, two of them in Virginia.

Although the Virginia Department of Health has not released figures this week, Portsmouth Health officials told us last week that flu was widespread in the Northern and Eastern Parks of the State.

Richmond's Unemployment Lowest In Six Years

Richmond’s unemployed rate declined in November, to the lowest in six years. The local jobless rate was 4.8 percent in November, down from 5.1% in October and 5.3% last year.

Ann Lang, Senior Economist with the VEC, says it was not a surprise, the trend has been moving slowly and steadily downward.

The labor force was down by 4,800 in November, a possible sign some had stopped looking for work, but at almost 682 thousand it is up 12 thousand from the same time last year.

The statewide unadjusted rate was 4.5%, the national rate 5.5%.

State Officials Say Wallops Launch Facility Will Be Repaired By Late Next Year

Despite a massive explosion in October, authorities say Virginia’s space port will be back in business next year.

The Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority provided a media tour of the launch pad damage yesterday (12/18) and said the state-owned facility should be repaired and ready for testing late next year.

Two lightning towers were knocked down by the blast, two others were damaged, a water tower was charred and there is a large crater next to the launch pad.

McAuliffe Gift List Mostly “Trinkets.”

Governor McAuliffe says he has not received any big-ticket gifts since taking office this year, a departure from what was commonplace under past administrations. The Governor instituted a self-imposed $100 gift limit shortly after taking office, saying it was part of an effort to clean up Virginia’s reputation.

He recently filed a statement of economic interest, which confirmed that he received mostly trinkets related to trade missions.

Many Of Virginia's Rivers Are Polluted

The State Department of Environmental Quality says more than 16 thousand miles of Virginia’s rivers are polluted. That is three thousand more miles than reported two years ago. But DEQ says it is not that there is more pollution, they are just surveying more water.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says it costs Virginians billions of dollars in lost revenues, jobs, property values, and quality of life, and has called on the Governor and the General Assembly to fund efforts to reduce pollution from farms, lawns and streets.

Foundation Donates $28M For Pediatric Heart Center

The Children’s Hospital Foundation has just donated $28 million to underwrite a new pediatric heart center at the hospital.

The gift is the largest single donation to pediatric health care in VCU history. CEO Dr. Sheldon Retchin says it means children will no longer have to leave Richmond for cardiac surgery.

It will allow VCU to hire cardiac specialists and build a program that will eventually be part of a new free-standing children’s hospital proposed for the region.

Union First Market Identifies Debit Card Scheme

Union First Market says more than 3,000 debit cards have been compromised in a rash of skimming they say has hit other banks as well.

Skimming devices are placed by crooks at bank ATMs and gas stations. They can read information embedded on the cards and hidden cameras can capture personal ID numbers.

Union First Market says it has moved quickly to protect customers by first shutting off the ATM capability, then telling them what happened. Spokesman Bill Cimino says other banks have been hit, but “we are the only ones telling our customers.”

Richmond's Christmas Mother Is A Year-Round Crusader

Maya Smart is young, the wife of VCU’s basketball coach Shaka Smart, a Harvard graduate with a Masters in Journalism from Medill and a long-time advocate of early childhood literacy. She also practices what she preaches. She and Shaka agreed to match everything donated at Tuesday night's Ram basketball game. The event raised $19,000 dollars and their offer to match, makes $38,000 for the Christmas Mother’s fund.

Governor McAuliffe To Push For One-Gun-A-Month Legislation

Governor McAuliffe is pushing for new regulations on gun ownership. The Governor presented a package of gun control measures yesterday (102/15) he said were necessary to keep Virginians safe. Among the legislation he says he will pursue during the 2015 session, is a bill that would limit handgun purchases to one a month.

Another would prohibit people subject to protective orders from possessing firearms.