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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.


Patti Smith Reveals Her Solitary Soul In The 'M Train'

Smith follows up to her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, with another memoir, M Train. Critic Maureen Corrigan says it is a haunting story about weathering life's storms.

California City Orders Restaurants To Use Disposable Plates, Cups

Officials in Fort Bragg also ordered restaurants to serve water to customers only upon request. As part of a stage 3 water emergency, things like washing cars using city water are prohibited, too.

GOP Candidates Criticized For Oregon Shooting Response

Most Republicans are calling for a renewed focus on mental health services, but some of the presidential candidates have been criticized for their word choice in responding.
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Environmental Outlook: Lessons From Israel's Search For Water

For this month's Environmental Outlook: Ten years ago, Israel experienced a prolonged drought that forced the country to come up with a strategy to address water scarcity. What its experience could teach an increasingly water-starved planet.

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