VA at a glance [Virginian - Pilot]
(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Teenagers participating in the state's youth-smoking prevention campaign are sending letters and postcards to the top executives of some retail and convenience stores, asking them to post tobacco- prevention awareness signs.
The campaign grew from a survey showing that most young people in Virginia regularly see point-of-purchase tobacco advertising in stores and consider it highly noticeable.
The survey of 6,438 Virginia residents included 3,750 younger than 18. Of those, 88 percent said tobacco ads in convenience stores and gas stations are "noticeable" or "very noticeable."
va. tech prof gets research contract
Virginia Tech is using a multimillion-dollar contract to accelerate research using supercomputers. The school says the Air Force's Office of Scientific Research has awarded one of its engineering professors with a three-year, $3.5 million contract for the research.
The goal of the contract is to use supercomputers to increase the simulation speed of computations for a class of unmanned aerial vehicles called micro air vehicles.
Associate professor Wu Feng has pulled together a team of researchers from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State for the effort.
Officials say the team's efforts should support the aerodynamic predictions for these increasingly tiny vehicles.
union member rolls shrink again in 2012
The number of unionized workers in the state fell by 4,000 last year and is nearing its lowest level in three decades.
A report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 159,000 union members, or about 4.4 percent of the workforce, employed in the state in 2012. That's down from 4.6 percent in 2011.
Virginia's union membership has generally declined annually and has remained below the national rate since state data were available in 1989. That year, the state rate was 9.1 percent.
Governor encourages use of free tax prep
Gov. Bob McDonnell has urged low- and moderate-income Virginians to find out whether they're eligible for a program to allow them to prepare and file their taxes for free.
The Virginia Free File program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Taxation and a coalition of tax-software companies. It lets taxpayers who made less than $57,000 in 2012 to electronically complete their state and federal tax returns for free online using commercial tax-preparation software.
The governor's office says that most taxpayers who don't qualify for the program still can file their taxes online for free using the state tax department's fillable forms program. More information is available at http://www.tax.virginia.gov.
- From wire reports
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