Wooly Hemlock Adelgid bio controls

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park has seen its fair share of pests over the last 35 years.

The Wooly Hemlock Adelgid (HWA)has been one of the most challenging.

In fact, park staff have treated and protected over 32,500 hemlocks since 2005.

The Park has been working closely with Virginia Tech to release predatory beetles, bio controls, to help combat HWA in non-treated hemlock areas.

The long-term goal is for these predatory beetles to provide gradual suppression of HWA thereby allowing the Park to become less and less reliant on pesticides.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia Tech and USGS research sinking cities along East Coast

Virginia Tech and the U.S. Geological Survey recently completed a study on the East Coast’s rising sea levels and sinking coasts.

The study confirmed that some major cities are sinking as much as 5 millimeters per year, a decline which outpaces the global sea level rise.

The researchers used data points measured by satellites to create highly accurate digital terrain maps that show exactly where sinking landscapes present a risk to infrastructure.

They then used that information to create the world’s first high resolution depictions of land subsidence, or sinking.

Population centers like New York City, Long Island, Baltimore, and Norfolk have seen rapidly sinking land which increases the risk for issues with roadways, runways, building foundations, rail lines and pipelines.

To view the full report, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Youngkin announces $90 million in funding to launch “Virginia Research Triangle”

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Virginia will invest $90 million to launch the “Virginia Research Triangle.”

The one time funding will be split between the University of Virginia’s Manning Institute for Biotechnology, Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medicines for All Institute.

The colleges will work together through the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority to collaborate on commercialization and startup support.

The Authority will bring the colleges together to sign a memorandum of understanding between the parties.

Once this is completed, the funds will be dispersed with $50 million to UVA, $27 million to VT, and $13 million for VCU.

Governor Youngkin said, “Through this state commitment and private philanthropy, we are building Virginia’s research triangle and network, supporting our higher education institutions’ research endeavors, and expanding Virginia’s university research capacity that will enhance life-saving research development for generations to come.”

To view the full announcement, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Grant funding looks to reduce effects of frost on area’s apple production

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced yesterday that a $550,000 federal Specialty Crop Block Grant is coming to Virginia.

The funding was awarded to seven agricultural-related projects, one of which will take place in Winchester, to help promote and enhance the competitiveness of Virginia’s specialty crops.

Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, floriculture, and horticulture or nursery crops.

Virginia Tech’s satellite location in Winchester will receive part of the grant to support their research in preserving apples facing frost and freeze damage.

Researchers will investigate the effectiveness of cryoprotectants which are believed to help prevent frost damage.

Frost protectants are expected to increase the cold tolerance of buds which will allow the region to reduce the adverse effects of spring frost on apple production.

To view the Governor’s announcement and for more information on the agricultural projects, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia colleges reevaluate legacy admissions

Following the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, colleges and universities in Virginia are reevaluating their policies on legacy admissions.

Virginia Tech became the second public institution in the country to announce they will no longer consider relationships to alumni as a deciding factor.

The University of Virginia is adjusting their application to allow prospective students the opportunity to write about their personal or historic connection to the school instead of simply checking a box regarding their relation to alumni.

Some institutions, like VCU, never took legacy into consideration.

Attorney General Jason Miyares recently pleaded to all state colleges to do away with legacy admissions, urging them to focus on the individual and their experiences.

Colorado became first state to ban legacy admissions at public universities in May of 2021.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Youngkin and Warner team up to bring microchip manufacturing to Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin and Senator Mark Warner came together earlier this week at a conference in Fairfax in a bipartisan effort to encourage global leaders to bring microchip manufacturers to the Commonwealth.

Governor Youngkin highlighted a number of attractive benefits in bringing manufacturers to Virginia including lucrative incentives, the proximity to the federal government, the country’s defense contracting hub, one of the largest cargo ports, and one of the best public and private university systems.

The event held at Northrop Grumman’s global headquarters in partnership with Virginia Tech highlighted the Virginia Alliance of Semiconductor Technology program which is building a pipeline of graduate students to enter the semiconductor field.

The federal government recently dedicated $52 million in an incentive package that Senator Warner was heavily involved in developing to help bring semiconductor projects to the country as currently only 12% of chips are made domestically.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Brian Sullivan selected as SABF Grand Marshall

The 96th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced Brian Sullivan as the Grand Marshall.

Sullivan is a 1989 Graduate of James Wood High School and anchor of CNBC’s 7:00 pm show “Last Call.”

He originally moved to the area in ninth grade and graduated from James Wood before attending Virginia Tech.

He has spent over 25 years in financial journalism and television and has been nominated for Emmys and the prestigious Loeb Award.

Sullivan will attend numerous festival events on Friday and appear in both Firefighters’ and Grand Feature Parades.

Along with the announcement of the Grand Marshall  Apple Blossom Official announced the Store is now open for Official Festival clothing and souvenirs with hours found here.

Apple Blossom Ticket and events information is found here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia invests in driver safety

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced Virginia received $1.9 million in federal funding that will be invested in increasing safety for the state’s motorists.

The main focus will be on commercial motor vehicles which were involved in 5000 crashes and 100 fatalities last year.

$1 million will go towards the Department of Motor Vehicles to enhance crash data analysis as well as improving and increasing the reporting of data.

This will help identify trends, problems, and help target spending.

Other funding will go to high risk areas of Chesterfield County and Virginia Tech who will begin driver education programs at high schools around the state and sessions in partnership with the AARP.

The money to fund these programs comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s High Priority Grant program.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Youngkin asks colleges to flatten tuition

Ten Commonwealth colleges have answered Governor Glenn Youngkin’s request to flatten tuition costs this fall.

This effort attempts to help students, parents, and families impacted by inflation.

So far, Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University and a few others have frozen their rates.

Some schools like Virginia Tech and the College of William and Mary were not planning a tuition increase this fall.

The University of Virginia is the lone institution that refused the request citing a potential loss of $7.5 million to which Youngkin pointed out the school’s $2 billion budget.

Some schools are already planning to raise fees and cost of room and board next year.

Another plan includes a one time scholarship for in-state students to cover increases for next year while out-of-state and graduate students will pay an increased rate.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.