Radiation levels not dangerous, Virginia officials say

As radiation readings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan worsened Sunday, health officials said Virginians are not in any danger.

Monitoring systems across the commonwealth “continue to show no levels of public health concern,” according to the Virginia Department of Health.

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been monitoring the air in the United States since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated northeast Japan and crippled nuclear plants there.

“As a result of the incident with the nuclear power plant in Japan, several EPA air monitors have detected very low levels of radioactive material in the U.S.,” Remley said. “To date, none of Virginia’s multiple monitoring systems has detected a level of radioactive material that would pose a public-health concern.”

Remley said the EPA has found “elevated levels of radioactive material in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.” But that had been expected, “since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere,” she said.

“However, we are not seeing that in any of the monitoring data for the state.”

Even so, the Virginia Department of Health is taking steps to address concerns in Virginia:

The VDH was scheduled to conduct routine quarterly radiological health division monitoring and is moving up that schedule by one week to begin on Monday [March 28]. This routine monitoring checks radiation levels in air, drinking water, vegetation and milk at multiple sites throughout the state.

The department is working with the state’s laboratory to implement the proposed baseline testing plan for rainwater, drinking water, vegetation and milk. Further testing will follow if warranted by the baseline testing and ongoing monitoring. This is a standard VDH response when routine monitoring indicates a need to test further.

The VDH is advising residents that the state’s drinking water supplies are safe but that, “out of an abundance of caution,” Virginians should avoid using rainwater collected in cisterns as drinking water.

Besides the VDH’s routine radiological monitoring, studies are being conducted in Virginia by the EPA, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Dominion Virginia Power and the U.S. military.

The VDH also continues to advise the state’s secretary of health and human resources, Bill Hazel, and Gov. Bob McDonnell on the status of monitoring and levels of radiation detected.

For more information about radiation monitoring in Virginia, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov.

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Theme for this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter announced

The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.

This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.


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The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Melissa Gay will share her book “When Are You Leaving” at Tuckahoe Library. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org/authors. Full text

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