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All results / Stories / Michael Lee Pope

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Marijuana Is Now Legal

The long strange trip from a failed war on drugs to social equity licenses

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em because pot is now legal in the commonwealth of Virginia.

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Rebuilding Hospitality

Restaurants, hotels and performing arts venues struggle with recovery

Now that the pandemic is fading into a bad memory, Alexandria's hospitality industry is at a crossroads.

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Connecting the Unconnected

Less than 3 percent of broadband spending to help low-income people gain internet access

About 15 percent of Alexandria students did not have access to the internet when the pandemic began last year, a statistic that reveals how many households in Alexandria are locked out of the modern economy.

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Transforming Potomac Yard

Virginia Tech breaks ground for Innovation Campus in Alexandria.

Potomac Yard Groundbreaking

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Spending Spree

General Assembly returns to Richmond to appropriate federal stimulus cash

In the 1985 hit movie "Brewster's Millions," Richard Pryor is given the task of spending $30 million in 30 days.

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Baby Bust

Declining birth rates lead to shrinking Kindergarten enrollments.

Declining birth rates and the pandemic have conspired to send Alexandria's Kindergarten enrollment down 17 percent since 2018, a trend that school officials say will have a long-term influence on how the division operates and plans for the future. Some of the decline is driven by the pandemic as parents opted for private schools or kept their children in daycare rather than enroll them. But the long-term forecast for schools will be shaped one birth at a time.

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The New New Deal

Uncle Sam is about to make it rain.

Not since the days of the New Deal in the 1930s has the federal government showered so much stimulus cash on Virginia, and Alexandria is about to receive millions of dollars for everything from guaranteed basic income and flash flooding improvements to staffing at the Freedom House and planters to make the King Street pedestrian plaza look more inviting.

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Whistle Stop

McAuliffe launches DNC bus tour at Port City, dodges question about labor

The Build Back Better Bus caused quite a stir last week at Port City Brewing, and not just because of the alliteration.

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Drawing the Line

How much should cities and counties be divided among lawmakers?

For Mason Cook of the Middleridge neighborhood in Fairfax County, the problem of gerrymandering can be understood in an afternoon commute. During a public hearing of the Virginia Redistricting Commission this week, he explained that if he were to drive from his house to his grocery store and then drop off a package at his post office, he would have gone through three different House of Delegates districts. "We hear a lot of talk about voter suppression. These kinds of congressional districts are all about voter suppression, and they make the congressional elections totally meaningless." — Bill Millhouser of Fairfax County

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Big Money for Big Biz, Not as Much for Poor

Lawmakers go on a spending spree with billions of dollars from Uncle Sam.

Big business cleaned up this week, taking home the biggest prizes in the special session to spend $3 billion in stimulus cash. Meanwhile, low-income Virginians didn't fare quite as well.

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Reform Is in the Bag

City Council to consider new five-cent tax for each plastic bag.

Alexandria started pressing for a plastic bag tax when George W. Bush was in the White House and Virginia was a red state. Now the years of advocacy have finally paid off, and state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) has been able to pass a bill giving City Hall authority to impose a five-cent tax on each and every plastic bag that's used in grocery stores and convenience stores.

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Facing Eviction

Virginia has new protections for renters, but temporary measures expire next year.

The clock is ticking for renters across Virginia who are in danger of being evicted. People of color and low-income Virginians are most at risk.

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Taking on Beyer

Five Republican candidates seek nomination in convention to challenge incumbent congressman.

Usually Republicans have to recruit candidates to run against four-term U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8). Not this year. Five Republicans are seeking the Republican nomination for the 8th Congressional District in a convention later this month.

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Casting a Ballot

Recent changes to voting make casting a ballot easier than ever.

Recent changes to voting make casting a ballot easier than ever.

Ditch Warfare

House Republicans push for tax cuts; Senate Democrats push back.

Taxes

Election Mirage Evaporates in Alexandria

Governor signs bill to improve election returns at the precinct level.

Election

Up in Smoke

Black market to remain underground for now as lawmakers reject licensing scheme.

Cannabis

Texas Official Appointed to Lead Alexandria

City Council hires James Parajon as city manager.

New City Manager

A Government Divided

Lawmakers end session with little to show and no budget.

Budget talks

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Contaminated Legacy

From slave plantation to industrial pollution, a hidden history of North Old Town.

The shuttered power plant dominating the landscape in North Old Town has layers of industrial pollution, a hidden history buried under the contaminated soil of the Potomac River Generating Station. Even before the coal-fired power plant was constructed in 1949, the property was home to the American Chlorophyll Company and Potomac River Clay Works. That means the long and complicated task known as "remediating" the property could mean removing everything from coal ash and mercury to industrial fertilizer and hazardous metals.

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