Transparency News 5/17/17

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

State and Local Stories

Ever wonder about the story behind the story — how our reporters got the scoop and broke big news in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and on Join us at the next RTD Presents Speaker Series event for a conversation with some of our top investigative and beat reporters on how they develop sources and get the stories you read in the RTD. You’ll hear from Sarah Kleiner and K. Burnell Evans, whose work covering the state’s mental health system and jail deaths earned the RTD the top award from the Virginia Press Association — the Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Lynchburg College students are learning the history of the Civil War from those who lived it. As part of a digital history project, 13 students have pored through and archived local documents from the Civil War to understand the life and times of those living in and around Lynchburg during this period. “A lot of the documents they are dealing with come from people who lived in Lynchburg during the war and wrote about their experiences,” LC history professor Adam Dean said. Those documents include letters, diaries, photographs and records. The students focused on three areas: the soldier experience, civilian life in Lynchburg and Civil War medicine used in hospitals. Students used cameras and scanners to digitize the historic Civil War documents and then designed a webpage, which included writing up descriptions and developing a narrative from their research.
News & Advance

A trio of student “city councils” rendered three different decisions on the same question Tuesday during a local government visit to Bristol Virginia City Hall. About 175 seventh-grade civics students learned first-hand about how local government works by participating in mock council meetings and hearing presentations from a variety of city officials at both City Hall and the school administration building. They also received a history lesson from officials at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. A group of about 35 filled the council chambers shortly before noon for a presentation by Vice Mayor Archie Hubbard, before five took their places as council members and five more as city staff members. Working off a mock agenda, they learned about conducting a meeting, making motions and voting on items.
Bristol Herald Courier

Loudoun County Sheriff's Office crash report contradicts the details provided by Loudoun County Public Schools regarding a collision involving an LCPS bus in Lovettsville last week. On May 9, an LCPS bus and a Ford truck collided near 38874 Ash George Road in Lovettsville.  The school system that day reported the bus was “at a full stop” during the incident. But a Loudoun County Sheriff's Office crash report states both vehicles were moving. Additionally, the Times-Mirror has learned the bus driver was involved in a crash the week prior, although Byard said the driver was not found at fault in that incident. LCPS will not disclose the name of the driver.
Loudoun Times-Mirror

National Stories

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that will allow government agencies to charge fees for electronic copies of records. While public agencies can already charge a default rate of up to 15 cents per page for photocopying documents in response to public records requests, current state law doesn't include comparable language for charging fees for documents that are scanned and sent by email, or records that are uploaded to an electronic delivery system. The new law, signed Tuesday, takes effect in July.  The measure allows agencies to charge up to 10 cents per page for scanned documents and up to 5 cents for every four electronic attachments when replying to public records requests. Agencies will also be able to charge up to 10 cents per gigabyte of data or impose a flat fee of $2 for larger requests.

A Minnesota attorney and journalist claims in court that the Department of Homeland Security has refused to hand over public records about a tour that hosted imams and Muslim community leaders at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Scott W. Johnson sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, its Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Minneapolis federal court on Monday, alleging a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Johnson claims Homeland Security, CRCL and CBP conducted a tour of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for local imams and Muslim community leaders in February 2016.
Courthouse News Service