Sandy Hausman

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago.  Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association. 

Sandy has reported extensively on issues of concern to Virginians, traveling as far afield as Panama, Ecuador, Indonesia and Hong Kong for stories on how expansion of  the Panama Canal will effect the Port of Virginia, what Virginians are doing to protect the Galapagos Islands, why a Virginia-based company is destroying the rainforest and how Virginia wines are selling in Asia.

She is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. 


Earlier this month a rock slide closed one of the main roads connecting communities east and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Crews are now working sun up to sun down, but officials say Route 250 over Afton Mountain won’t re-open until mid-June.

Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman reports on why repairs are taking so long, and why we could be seeing many more slides in the future.

Calvin Pynn

The COVID crisis led many universities to move classes online, but some enterprising professors took their classes outside instead.  And one prof at James Madison University says he’s going to keep his students away from the classroom even after the pandemic is over.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman reports.


For many children, COVID-19 has meant educational setbacks as they struggled to absorb lessons online.  But for others the pandemic has underscored the value of learning outside.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman reports on a school near Charlottesville where students spent 90% of their time in fields, forests and tents.


Wetlands go by many names -- marshes, bogs, swamps and bayous, but whatever they’re called, the fact is they’re disappearing here in Virginia.  More than half have been drained and developed since the first settlers arrived.  But now, some communities are reversing that trend.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman has the story.

Sandy Hausman / Virginia Public Radio

A statewide study recently found that 40 percent of Virginia’s 5-year-olds were not ready for kindergarten.  Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, and First Lady Pamela Northam, a teacher, knew some of those kids would fall behind in school and never catch up.  That’s one reason why the state hired a chief school readiness officer and launched a 10-million dollar program to study and fix the problem.  Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman reports.

Sandy Hausman

When it comes to apple production, Virginia ranks sixth in the nation – well behind the leader: Washington State.  But it’s worth noting that farmers here offer a huge variety and Virginia's cider industry is growing.  Virginia Public Radio's Sandy Hausman stopped at the state’s oldest cidery to learn more about the fruit and its delectable juice.

Officials have declared a state of emergency for Charlottesville and the Commonwealth in advance of this weekend.  If white supremacists return to Charlottesville, they will find a very different city.  Besides the state of emergency, new leaders are in charge, and there is an even larger group of vocal opponents.  Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman reports.

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A poll by the National Resources Defense Council shows 88% of Virginians want the state to use more wind and solar power, and the federal government has offered the state 47 million dollars to build a couple of turbines offshore, but Dominion Power is hesitant. In part three of our series on the promise of wind power in Virginia, Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman reports on why the utility is reluctant to begin work on offshore wind, and what it might take for the state to move forward.


Dominion Virginia Power has leased land offshore for a wind park, but it’s not clear when construction might begin.  The company says a demonstration project is needed to guide future development, but the cost to build those turbines offshore is too high.  In Denmark - which has more than 30 years of experience - experts say driving costs down is the name of the game, and they’re happy to share their secrets with Virginia.  


This year, the federal government said it would give nearly $47 million to each of three states hoping to develop offshore wind power – Virginia, New Jersey and Oregon. 

Virginia said it would partner with Dominion Power to build a demonstration project, but the utility now says it can’t get started, because installing a couple of turbines is too expensive.  Meanwhile, Denmark reports it’s getting nearly 40% of its power from wind.  How did such a tiny country do that, and what could we learn from the Danes?

Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, the route that allowed Southern slaves to escape North. Some slaves found freedom by hiding closer to home, however — in Great Dismal Swamp.

The swamp is a vast wetland in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In George Washington's time, it was a million acres of trees, dark water, bears, bobcats, snakes and stinging insects. British settlers, who first arrived in 1607, believed the swamp was haunted.

By 1620, some of their slaves may have overcome that fear to find freedom there.

Plenty of people toy with the idea of writing a book, but few will actually get published, and by the time we reach our mid-60’s, those dreams may fade.

The pilot of the military jet that crashed Wednesday morning in Augusta County died in the crash, officials say. No one on the ground was injured, and the investigation continues into the cause of the crash.

The pilot’s name is being withheld until family members can be notified.*

It’s been nearly two months since a train derailed in Lynchburg, sending a fireball into the sky above that city’s downtown and spilling oil into the James River.  Experts said the accident could have been far worse, and many communities along the state’s 32-hundred miles of railroad face similar dangers.

Sandy Hausman has this series on rail safety and why the risks have risen dramatically.

On a warm spring night, more than 150 people gathered in Shockoe Bottom, a name taken from the Native American word for a site in Richmond, Va. This part of town, bounded by I-95 and bisected by railroad lines, was central to a city that prospered from the slave trade.

"The best guesstimate is several hundred thousand people were sold out of Shockoe Bottom," says Phil Wilayto, a leader of the grassroots movement to establish a memorial park here. "Probably the majority of African-Americans today could trace some ancestry to this small piece of land."

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There are only about 1,000 people of pure Hawaiian descent left in the world, but island residents are cooking up an idea to keep native island culture from fading away. The key ingredient? Reviving a starchy food called poi.