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Virginia's Vacant Buildings Bill Could Revitalize Local Cities

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Under a bill heading to Gov. Bob McDonnell, some historic Virginia cities could get an economic boost without imposing extra taxes on the localities, or getting more funding from the state.

Del. Rosalyn Dance of Petersburg says her vacant building bill will help restore her city and those like it. She says the measure would allow officials to raise registration fees, as well as impose penalties on folks that are not taking care of their properties.

Those penalties would increase the annual registration fee on the owner of a derelict building from $25 to $100. The civil penalty for failing to register that building increases from $50 to $200, and from $250 to $400, if that building is in a designated conservation or rehabilitation district.

Dance says ultimately, the goal is to boost tourism. She adds as many as 15 Virginia cities could benefit from this bill.

NPR

He Died At 32, But A Young Artist Lives On In LA's Underground Museum

When Noah Davis founded the museum, he wanted to bring world-class art to a neighborhood he likened to a food desert, meaning no grocery stores or museums. Davis died a year ago Monday.
NPR

The Strange, Twisted Story Behind Seattle's Blackberries

Those tangled brambles are everywhere in the city, the legacy of an eccentric named Luther Burbank whose breeding experiments with crops can still be found on many American dinner plates.
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State Taxes, School Budgets And The Quality Of Public Education

Budget cutbacks have made it impossible for many states to finance their public schools. But some have bucked the trend by increasing taxes and earmarking those funds for education. Taxes, spending and the quality of public education.

NPR

Surfers And Scientists Team Up To Create The 'Perfect Wave'

Surfers once deemed man-made waves weak and mushy compared to the best that break along the coast. Then engineers and an 11-time world champion surfer showed just how good an artificial wave can be.

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