The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the basement of the state Capitol.

William & Mary gets $19M to start new center on conservation

WILLIAMSBURG—William & Mary says a new institute will focus on protecting the world’s ecosystems and tackling problems such as sea-level rise.

The university in Williamsburg, Virginia, said in a statement Monday that the Institute for Integrative Conservation was made possible by a $19 million gift. The money comes from an alumna who wants to remain anonymous.

The school said the gift allows the center to conduct leading research in an area known as “integrative conservation.” The research centers on improving the world on an ecological level but also socially and economically.

The center aims to balance conservation efforts with economic sustainability and the well-being of indigenous populations. It also hopes to develop new technologies for conservation and to reduce threats to biodiversity as well as conflicts between humans and wildlife.

Judge sets 2020 date for civil suit in CharlottesvilleCHARLOTTESVILLE—A lawsuit filed on behalf of Charlottesville community members injured in white supremacist violence two years ago is headed to trial.

A federal judge set a trial date of October 2020 last week in the lawsuit against prominent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and hate groups that were involved with the Unite the Right rally in August 2017.

The civil lawsuit accuses the defendants of engaging in a violent conspiracy to violate the rights of peaceful counterdemonstrators.

Co-lead counsel Roberta Kaplan said in a statement Wednesday that her clients are eager to go forward with a public jury trial.

She says it will show “how massive, how coordinated and how dangerous” the defendants’ conspiracy to commit violence was.

The defendants previously sought unsuccessfully to have the lawsuit dismissed.

State officials say it’s not too late to get flu vaccineRICHMOND—State officials are reminding Virginians it’s not too late to get their flu vaccine.

The Virginia Department of Health encourages all Virginians older than 6 months to receive the vaccine. State health officials gathered last week for an event in Richmond to highlight the importance of the vaccine and to get a flu shot themselves.

Flu season normally begins in October. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccination by the end of October is preferred, vaccination in November and beyond can be beneficial. Influenza activity usually peaks in January or later.

Fairfax firefighters join in study on carcinogensFAIRFAX COUNTY—Firefighters in Virginia are taking part in a study aimed at finding ways to reduce their exposure to carcinogens.

WTOP-FM reports that the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is partnering with the National Fire Protection Association Research Foundation on a four-phase study.

Part of the focus of the study will be on how chemicals can cling to breathing equipment used by firefighters, who are exposed to toxic chemicals released into the air by burning buildings and vehicles.

According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study, firefighters are twice as likely to get skin and testicular cancer and mesothelioma.

N.Va. museum will honor women’s suffrage fightLORTON—A new museum honoring the women’s suffrage movement is set to open in Virginia.

The Lucy Burns Museum is scheduled to open in January to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

The museum will present the story of 91 years of prison history and the imprisonment of suffragists who were arrested in 1917 for picketing the White House for the women’s right to vote.

The Workhouse Arts Center funded, designed and renovated the new museum, restoring a decrepit prison building vacated in 2001.

The museum is scheduled to open to the public on Jan. 25. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 9.

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From wire reports

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