Top 3 Headlines on WHSV.com January 29

These are the most viewed headlines on WHSV.com for Jan. 29. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

Shenandoah Valley Homes Contain Deadly Radon

Reporter: Channing Frampton

HARRISONBURG (WHSV) -- If you live here in the valley, your chance of lung cancer is higher than most of the nation.

It's all thanks to radon left over from the mountains that used to be here thousands of years ago.

Here in the Valley, the areas highlighted in red have the highest potential for radon exposure in your home.

That means there's a good chance you're breathing in radioactive air in your own house.

That air is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer and something local residents say they're worried about and why they turned out for free test kits Tuesday evening.

"I saw it on TV, and I'm here because I want to know whether my house might have radon. A friend of mine, I understand, has cancer, and they think it was caused by radon," shared Gail Lohr who lives in Broadway.

Experts say testing your house for radon is easy. Click the link for access to a kit and more information about radon in Virginia.

 

Three Rockingham County Elementary Schools Earn Title I Distinction

Reporter: Channing Frampton

Rockingham County, VA -- Three out of 15 Rockingham County Elementary Schools earn distinguished school awards.

Third grade teacher Deb Workman says earning the Title I Distinction at South River Elementary School is a big deal for her and her students.

"Oh, my gosh! It's why we teach! It's a joy to see them do so well," shared Workman.

She says getting kids that young ready for standardized testing isn't easy.

"It's a big deal for a third grader to take a test that's two or three hours long,” Workman added. “We're expecting a lot of them."

The award goes to schools based on student achievement in English and math.

Test scores need to be at the 60th percentile for two years in a row before the award is handed out.

It's an achievement fifth grade teacher, Linda Shifflett, says parents can help other schools in the county work toward.

"Parents can have their kids read, read, (and) read. If you can read well on grade level, you can learn just about anything you need to learn," Shifflett shared.

Both she and Workman, say despite the challenges they face every day for your kids, they're ready to keep up the hard work here in the Shenandoah Valley.

"They rise to the challenge every time," concluded Shifflett.

In addition to South River Elementary School, the other two elementary schools in Rockingham County to earn the award are Peak View and Pleasant Valley.

 

Small Business Reacts to Minimum Wage Change

Reporter: Khiree Stewart

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- President Obama's use of an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union address has put the spotlight back on minimum wage in Virginia.

Raising the minimum wage has been a big debate across the country and it could hurt small businesses.

Sharon Alphin, the owner of Wade's Store in Staunton said she might have to stop hiring and even cut hours if some lawmakers have their way.

Earlier this year, Delegate Joe Morrissey introduced a bill that would raise Virginia's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour.

Alphin said that an increase in minimum wage would lead to a decrease in her workforce because she would not be able to afford to hire more employees.

"I've been here 22 years and the last four or five have been the worst, if this goes up now I can't see it getting any better so please, think about what you're doing to us small people. We're the ones that started, Wal-Mart came after us," said Alphin.

The bill is currently before the House Committee on Commerce and Labor.

If passed, the next possible change in minimum wage could go into effect later this year.

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