Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

August 19, 2020
Top of the News

Northam presents scaled-down budget recommendations to lawmakers ahead of special legislative session

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER AND LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam presented a scaled-down state budget recommendation to lawmakers Tuesday morning as the General Assembly prepared to convene a special session aimed at tough issues of finance and social justice. Virginia's governor always updates legislators on state revenue at this time of year, but Northam did so as lawmakers prepare to rewrite the state budget to reflect the crushing economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia panel approves sweeping police reform bill


A sweeping police reform bill that would eliminate the use of no-knock warrants, limit the use of chokeholds and make it easier to decertify officers for misconduct won approval from a key Virginia legislative committee Tuesday amid widespread calls for change sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Lawmakers kick off special session with debate over pandemic logistics

By MEL LEONOR AND MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Virginia lawmakers kicked off a special session on COVID-19 and police reform on Tuesday, but the day was largely consumed with debating the logistics of the gathering as the pandemic unfolds. Both houses met outside of their traditional chambers to comply with public safety restrictions around COVID-19, with the House meeting at VCU's Siegel Center while the Senate met at the Science Museum of Virginia.

Northam limits admissions to state psychiatric hospitals to deal with COVID-19

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The governor on Tuesday issued an executive order that will curtail admissions to state psychiatric hospitals that are dealing with more patients than beds and relieve pressure on four facilities dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. Gov. Ralph Northam's order says state hospitals at 100% capacity will not accept people on temporary detention orders who need to be evaluated if they are not under emergency custody orders.

Portsmouth police list city's chief prosecutor as a witness, which could force her off monument case

By MARGARET MATRAY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Portsmouth police have listed the city's top prosecutor as a potential witness in the felony cases they filed Monday against state Sen. Louise Lucas and 13 others in a June protest at Portsmouth's Confederate monument. The move could effectively block Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales and her office from being involved in the prosecution of the cases.

SCC: Dominion under-earned last year, but excess profits have topped half a billion since 2017

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

Dominion earned $75 million less than it was authorized to in 2019 but still collected an estimated half a billion dollars more than allowed between 2017 and 2019, the State Corporation Commission reported Tuesday. The numbers appeared in a report the body, which oversees electric utilities, is required to submit to lawmakers every year.

Report: Pandemic has reshaped Northern Virginia's commute for years to come

By JARED FORETEK, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

The pandemic is likely to impact commuting across the region for years to come, according to a new analysis from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Its results paint a different picture than existed just months ago. Conducted by infrastructure engineering firm AECOM, the analysis predicts far lower vehicle miles traveled across the region in 2025 than would have otherwise occurred and, as a result, fewer traffic delays for the area's commuters. It also projects much lower transit ridership, which could create problems for the region's transit providers.

The Full Report
58 articles, 24 publications


VPAP Visual Paths to the House of Delegates

The Virginia Public Access Project

VPAP takes a closer look at the backgrounds of the 99 men and women who currently serve in the Virginia House of Delegates. This visual timeline traces each Senator from their place of birth, their education, military experience, current occupation and, finally, any previous political experience.

From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our COVID-19 dashboard makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. There's a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.


Governor orders COVID-19 screening of mental patients in custody prior to state-hospital admission

By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 10 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph S. Northam has ordered mandatory COVID-19 testing for all mental-health patients in police custody before they can even be considered for placement in one of Virginia's 12 public psychiatric hospitals, including Dinwiddie's Central State Hospital.

Northam cuts spending priorities to fill $2.7 billion shortfall

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam promised the General Assembly on Tuesday that he remains committed to "the progressive budget" it passed this year, but said the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the state's economy and drained tax revenues needed to pay for the priorities of the Democratic-controlled legislature. Northam said a projected $2.7 billion revenue shortfall means that the state can no longer afford many of his preferences — especially in education — or theirs.

Northam halts non-emergency admissions at full state mental hospitals; four have virus outbreaks

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam will allow state mental hospitals to deny or delay non-emergency admissions if they are operating at full capacity, a move aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Four state hospitals have active coronavirus outbreaks, including one that has killed seven patients at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital in Nottoway County.

Northam order responds to overcrowding at state psychiatric hospitals

By DAVE RESS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Virginia's overcrowded state psychiatric hospitals will no longer have to serve as beds of last resort once they reach 100% of their capacity, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered Tuesday. The order is meant to ease pressure on the facilities as they try to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic.

Northam pitches policies to make it easier to vote absentee in the November elections

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam is championing legislation to make it easier for Virginians to vote using absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 election, including drop boxes for the ballots in localities amid uncertainty facing the U.S. Postal Service. Northam announced Tuesday his administration is throwing its weight behind language that would explicitly allow localities to set up drop off systems for absentee ballots — either boxes or staffed locations — and require the Virginia Department of Elections to create security standards for the process.

Northam proposes voter protection measures for November election

By JESSICA NOLTE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam announced three proposals Tuesday to address the challenges the coronavirus poses to Election Day in November. "As we continue to navigate this pandemic, we must take additional steps to make it easier to vote, not harder," Northam said during a virtual Joint Meeting of the House Appropriations, House Finance, and Senate Finance & Appropriations committees.

Northam to lead Chesapeake Executive Council as it outlines new diversity, equity goals

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

Gov. Ralph Northam assumed the chairmanship of the Chesapeake Executive Council Tuesday, taking the reins from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for a one-year term. The annual meeting of the council — which includes the governors of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, the mayor of Washington, D.C., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and the Chesapeake Bay Commission chair — was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Protesters gather in Richmond as Virginia lawmakers convene for special session

By SABRINA MORENO , ALI ROCKETT AND ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

On Tuesday afternoon, as the Virginia Senate was gaveling in at the Science Museum of Virginia and the House prepared for the special legislative session at the Siegel Center, hundreds turned out on Broad Street to call attention to their legislative priorities. One group marched down Broad Street demanding their calls to fund a statewide Marcus Alert System be heard. Another marched from the Capitol to the Science Museum in tactical gear and carried rifles for their Second Amendment rights.

Northam outlines coronavirus-related spending changes; House likely to shift to meeting online

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Virginia General Assembly opened its special session Tuesday with Gov. Ralph Northam rolling out his proposed changes to the two-year budget that had been disrupted by the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. "This is no ordinary year," Northam told the two budget-writing committees Tuesday morning. "The coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives, our economy and our budget."

Virginia lawmakers launch a special session where they'll tackle coronavirus impact and police reforms

Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

State lawmakers spent the first day of a special session — intended for them to amend a budget completely transformed by the coronavirus pandemic and vote on a laundry list of criminal justice and COVID-19 related measures — debating whether to meet virtually and what bills they should consider. There were tensions across the aisle and across the figurative chambers throughout the day Tuesday, with senators — meeting at the Virginia Museum of Science — calling House Democrats who met at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center unprepared.

Senator: 'I will be vindicated' in Confederate monument case


A Virginia state senator charged with damaging a Confederate monument said Tuesday that she will beat the case against her. "It's just an unnecessary nuisance, but you know what? I will be vindicated," Sen. Louise Lucas, a Democrat, said in Richmond. Police in the city of Portsmouth said Monday that they charged Lucas and several others with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.

Sen. Louise Lucas served with arrest warrant over Confederate statue protest as some decry charges

By EMILY DAVIES, GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER AND LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Sen. L. Louise Lucas was served with a warrant for her arrest Tuesday afternoon, one day after police charged her with being part of a conspiracy to topple Portsmouth's Confederate Monument in June. Lucas was released on her own recognizance by the Portsmouth sheriff — who traveled to Richmond to serve the papers — with a court date set for early September, according to her attorney, Del. Don L. Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth).


McAuliffe Favors Gubernatorial Run Over Biden Cabinet Post


Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he'll make up his mind on whether he'll run for governor within a week of election day. His current focus, he told VPM in an interview on Monday, remains on electing his "very good friend," former Vice President Joe Biden.

Riggleman mulls run for governor, denounces current state of politics

By COY FERRELL, Fauquier Times

Denver Riggleman is not impressed by partisan extremes. If he runs for governor next year, it will be because he believes most Virginians share that distaste. Riggleman is a freshman Republican congressman representing the 5th District, which includes most of Fauquier County's population; he is also a member of the congressional Freedom Caucus. However, he was unable to secure his party's nomination for the seat after most delegates voted for challenger Bob Good at a drive-thru nominating convention in June.


Warner Challenger Campaigns At Fairgrounds, GOP Office

By IAN MUNRO, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Republican Senate candidate Daniel Gade, who grew up on a small farm in North Dakota, found himself in familiar surroundings while at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds Tuesday as he met and spoke with voters. "I grew up showing sheep. I grew up doing 4-H, so this is like coming home for me," the Fairfax Army veteran and university professor said outside an animal show area at the fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg.

Good holds closed door 'pastor summit' in Madison County as protesters gather in Charlottesville

By TYLER HAMMEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Bob Good, the Republican candidate vying for Virginia's 5th District Congressional seat, held a closed-door meeting with Central Virginia pastors in Madison County on Tuesday after on Monday canceling a similar event in Charlottesville. Billed as "Pastor Summits," by Good's campaign, the self-described "Biblical conservative" candidate initially scheduled six events over the course of three days this week across the district.

Scott Taylor sends cease and desist letter to Elaine Luria alleging defamatory statements


Scott Taylor is accusing Elaine Luria as well as her congressional and campaign staff of making "false and defamatory statements" about him. That's according to Taylor who said on Tuesday that he sent a cease and desist letter to Luria.


Appalachian Power backs bookkeeping used for rate increase request

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Appalachian Power Co. is defending what critics call an improper accounting practice used to justify its request for a rate increase. The company "exercised its statutory rights in December 2019 pursuant to the plain and unambiguous text" of the law that was in effect at the time, it said in a filing Friday with the State Corporation Commission.

SCC: Dominion overcharged customers by $502M in 2017-19

By KATE ANDREWS, Va Business Magazine

Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc. recorded more than $500 million above authorized earnings levels from 2017 to 2019, according to a State Corporation Commission report released Tuesday. The report, which was sent to Gov. Ralph Northam and the House and Senate labor and commerce committee chairs, says that the publicly traded Fortune 500 utility earned $300.8 million in 2017 and $277.3 million in 2018 over the state-determined 9.2% return-on-equity base.


Weekly unemployment claims fall again in Virginia and Hampton Roads

By TREVOR METCALFE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Virginia and Hampton Roads have reported a second straight week of declines in unemployment claims. The Virginia Employment Commission said 13,265 people statewide filed a new claim for the week ending Aug. 8. That's a 45% decline compared with the previous week.

NVTC taps tech marketing veteran as new CEO to replace Bobbie Kilberg

By SYDNEY LAKE, Washington Business Journal (Subscription required for some articles)

The search for the next president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council is over. The Herndon-based technology trade association named Jennifer Taylor as its next chief executive Wednesday, succeeding Bobbie Kilberg — who helped shaped Northern Virginia into an East Coast omphalos of tech development and made NVTC its megaphone....Taylor will officially become NVTC chairman and CEO on Sept. 10. She comes from the Consumer Technology Association, an Arlington trade organization where she has served as vice president of industry affairs for the past three years...

Seaford Coke warehouse, distribution center in Yorktown to close; 100 employees affected

By JULIA MARSIGLIANO, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily (Metered paywall - 3 articles per month)

Coke Consolidated is closing its Seaford-based warehouse and distribution facility in York County by Oct. 26. One-hundred employees will be affected by the facility's closure, according to company officials. Brian Nick, vice president for Coke Consolidated, said the employees were told Tuesday the plant would close and the plan is to consolidate operations in Sandston and Norfolk.

Pandemic has picked the pockets of zoo, aquarium, living museum

By JOANNE KIMBERLIN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

...At the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk — where 700 animals eat more than $20,000 worth of food every month — visitor counts are down nearly 50%. Revenues are off by $2.2 million. Half the staff has been furloughed. And what's typically a time of plenty — spring/summer — is fading fast in the rear-view mirror.


Transportation funding down, even though gas taxes have gone up

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Virginia gasoline dealers are not happy to see transportation revenues going down less than two months after fuel taxes went up. State officials estimate that decreased driving during the coronavirus pandemic helped lead to a $121 million reduction in transportation revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30 and the will slash expected money for roads and transit projects by $750 million in the two-year budget that took effect on July 1.


As Lynchburg colleges begin classes, health officials brace for campus outbreaks

By RICHARD CHUMNEY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

As Lynchburg-area college students begin to settle into the fall semester, local health officials are bracing for the first coronavirus outbreaks to emerge from the region's college campuses. With the number of new coronavirus infections climbing in the region, it is likely only a matter of time before the virus spreads through dorm rooms and dining halls, according to Dr. Kerry Gately, director of the Central Virginia Health District.

'Their preparation was not enough': Virginia Tech reacts as UNC, others close campuses

By HENRI GENDREAU, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia Tech leaders are urging students to comply with public health guidelines as the abrupt closure Monday of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other colleges' recent actions, send shock waves through the campus and higher education communities. The pleas come as Tech has welcomed back roughly 4,000 of an estimated 8,600 students expected to live on-campus this fall.

SU students put to the test as campus reopens

By ANNA MEROD, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

No marching band played and no student athletes helped freshmen move into their dorms on Tuesday, but Shenandoah University's newest students said they were still excited to launch their college careers. Students began arriving Tuesday for in-person classes, the first time SU has welcomed students since the campus closed in March due to the coronavirus. SU officials said they are prepared to switch any class to online-only at any time for the safety of the students and the community.


861 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday in Virginia

By SALEEN MARTIN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported 861 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state's tally to 108,282. At least 2,396 Virginians have died from the virus as of Tuesday morning, an increase of 11 overnight.

Targeted restrictions may be ahead as Northern Virginia, leaders warn

By BRUCE POTTER, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

Northern Virginia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is moving from the "critical" phase to the "chronic" phase, and some targeted restrictions may need to be implemented to prevent the virus from spreading further, some of the region's top elected leaders warned Tuesday. The number of new daily coronavirus cases in the region has fallen significantly since reaching a peak in late May, but a recent uptick, particularly associated with bars, restaurants and family gatherings, may require tightening some restrictions, said Libby Garvey, chair of the Arlington County Board.

Almost 6 months in, Black and Latino residents are still 80% of Richmond's COVID cases

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

When Virginia first released race and ethnicity data, it confirmed what many were already suspecting: Black and Latino Virginians were the most vulnerable to a virus that runs rampant in close quarters and would heavily impact low-wage workers without paid sick leave and enough workplace protections. Nearly 275,000 Black and Hispanic Virginians bolster essential industries, many of which don't allow working from home, making quarantine while living paycheck to paycheck all but impossible.

New area COVID-19 cases linked to socializing and travel

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The doctor leading the Roanoke area's pandemic response said people are acting as though the coronavirus clocks off the job when they do. "The big issue that we see, regardless of what the education level is or the occupation is, people know what to do, particularly on the job. But a lot of our cases are coming from off-hours activities," Dr. Molly O'Dell said Tuesday during her weekly COVID-19 briefing for the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts.

Could antigen tests solve Virginia's testing problems? Experts say it's not so simple.

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

Calling the current turnaround time for COVID-19 test results "unacceptable," Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week that Virginia would join a consortium of other states to pursue a mass purchase of 500,000 rapid antigen tests — a relatively new technology when it comes to diagnosing cases of the virus. The potential purchasing agreement is still preliminary, but a total of 10 states are now involved, from neighboring Maryland and North Carolina to Utah and Arkansas, according to Northam's spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky.

UVa modelers forecast COVID-19 cases to peak at end of September at more than double the current weekly rate

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

University of Virginia modelers forecast a peak in new coronavirus cases by the end of September, although they cautioned there is considerable uncertainty as to the effect of weather changes and school openings. Should these changes prompt the virus to spread, cases will continue to rise until mid-October. The modelers with UVa's Biocomplexity Institute said Friday 16 health districts, including the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts, are experiencing surges in cases.

Mulberry Creek hit with outbreak of 18 new cases

By HOLLY KOZELSKY, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Five employees and 13 residents of Mulberry Creek Rehab have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks. Robert McClintic III, the CEO of Kissito Healthcare, which owns the skilled nursing facility, confirmed the outbreak, which he said brings the total of positive coronavirus cases at Mulberry Creek to 11 employees and 18 residents.

Fauquier reports its first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care setting Tuesday

Fauquier Times

The Virginia Department of Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak in progress at the Brookside Rehab & Nursing Center on Hastings Lane in Warrenton; eight cases are associated with that outbreak. It is the first outbreak in a long-term care setting in Fauquier County, the sixth in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District.


No immediate ruling on motion to dismiss Lee statue lawsuit

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

A judge heard arguments Tuesday but did not immediately rule on whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's plans to remove an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond's famed Monument Avenue. An injunction issued in the lawsuit currently prevents Northam's administration from moving forward with plans announced after the death of George Floyd to take down the bronze equestrian statue of Lee. The figure erected in 1890 is now one of the country's most prominent tributes to the Confederacy.

Richmond judge to rule within a week on state AG's request to toss lawsuit blocking removal of Lee statue

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant said Tuesday he expects to rule within a week on a request from the Virginia attorney general's office to toss out a suit that is blocking the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the statue, which is designated a National Historic Landmark, taken down on June 4.

Virginia Museum of History & Culture agrees to accept Lee statue from U.S. Capitol

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond has agreed to take ownership of Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue at the urging of a state panel that voted to remove it from the U.S. Capitol. Museum President & CEO Jamie Bosket responded Tuesday to a formal request from the Virginia Commission for Historical Statues in the U.S. Capitol.

Group issues call to form 'unorganized militia' in Marion

By STEPHANIE PORTER-NICHOLS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

An apparent citizens group issued a muster call in Marion on Saturday for those who want to form an "unorganized militia" and asked those who turn out to bring an unloaded rifle, "preferably a variant of the AR-15 platform." In a letter posted on Facebook, the group said it is operating under Virginia Code 44.1, which defines the composition of a militia.


Mayor Stoney asks School Board to open schools for emergency child care

By KENYA HUNTER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Mayor Levar Stoney wants Richmond Public Schools to open its buildings for emergency child care as classrooms remain closed to students and teachers to prevent the spread of a virus that has killed 42 people and infected at least 3,425 in the city. Stoney in a letter to the city School Board on Monday said Richmond would use $3 million in federal pandemic relief funds to support the effort, a move he said would provide critical support for families.

Richmond Councilwoman requests investigation into mayor's handling of Confederate statue removal contract

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

A Richmond councilwoman wants the city's top prosecutor to investigate Mayor Levar Stoney's award of a $1.8 million contract to take down the city's Confederate statues. Stoney authorized the payment last month to a shell company linked to a contracting firm owned by one of his political donors, breaking with the city's emergency purchases policy in the process.

Walker passing reins to Payne on CRB interactions

By NOLAN STOUT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker is taking a step back from interactions with the Police Civilian Review Board, asking Councilor Michael Payne to try rebuilding the fractured trust between the oversight panel and the city government. Walker asked Payne to be an "unofficial" liaison to the board during City Council's virtual meeting on Monday.

Schools kick in $275k for childcare, including for an outdoor school at Camp Horizons

By RANDI B. HAGI, Harrisonburg Citizen

The Harrisonburg School Board has committed about $275,000 to help offset childcare costs this semester — a major concern for working parents since the division announced its decision to offer remote instruction for most students because of the pandemic. Some of the money will go to childcare providers, while some will go directly to families to help subsidize the costs.

Local and federal candidates appear at Back the Blue rally in Roanoke

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Contenders for local and federal office gathered at a rally Tuesday to voice their support for the message Back the Blue. "They will put their lives on the line for us without even thinking," said Peg McGuire, a GOP candidate for the Roanoke City Council who organized the event alongside fellow Republican Maynard Keller.

Franklin County won't use new powers to regulate firearms locally

By MIKE ALLEN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution related to the Second Amendment on Tuesday as a response to a recently enacted state law that grants local governments new powers to regulate firearms in public spaces.

Danville nears agreement with Caesars Entertainment for casino; now council must approve

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Danville and Caesars Entertainment are nearing a development agreement for a proposed casino in the city, should residents vote "yes" on the Nov. 3 referendum. Now Danville City Council must decide whether to give it a stamp of approval at its next meeting Sept. 1.

Montgomery County School Board approves virus notification letter to families

By YANN RANAIVO, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

All families served by Montgomery County Public Schools will receive a written notification if - or when - an individual within a certain school has tested positive for COVID-19. The correspondence will identify the school with the positive case, and all potentially affected employees will be notified as part of the contact tracing done by the health department.

Bristol, Virginia schools to provide rapid COVID-19 testing for students and staff

By SARAH WADE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Bristol, Virginia schools will provide voluntary rapid COVID-19 testing for students and staff through a partnership with Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Superintendent Keith Perrigan announced Tuesday. The school system will open Thursday with both in-person and online learning.



Why is Trump intentionally hurting his strongest supporters?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

For a president elected with thunderous support from rural voters, Donald Trump has an odd way of returning the favor. His first budget tried to eliminate funding for the federal agencies most closely connected with rural economic development — including the Appalachian Regional Commission. He also tried to eliminate federal funding for small, rural airports — facilities that are often an important selling point in economic development.

Telling city's history in its entirety

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

History is not always written by the winners. Take the Confederacy. (Some would say, "Take the Confederacy, please.") Go into most towns in this part of the world and you'll find something commemorating that rebellion. Drive down a state or U.S. highway in Virginia, and you have a good chance of spotting a marker noting some often-obscure fact about the Late Unpleasantness.

Special session requires financial prudence

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Ralph Northam, the only U.S. governor who is a physician, appropriately invoked the Hippocratic oath during his address to the General Assembly's money committees on Tuesday: First, do no harm. We believe that's the correct approach for Virginia's budget amid an economic crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. But how will it be executed?


Slone: Don't reduce Jackson to a single word

By SANDY SLONE, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Regarding Stonewall Jackson: I appreciate and applaud VMI's decision to address the recent political climate in-house. As a Virginian, and a great believer in the necessity and power of good traditions in the strengthening and improvement of our better natures, I would like to contribute some calm comments. Before we start pulling down statues, renaming cemeteries etc., perhaps we should take a closer look at the man.

Slone is semi-retired from a career in physical therapy. She lives in Roanoke.

Cannizzo, Cooper and Weiss: We're all in this together, so wear a mask

By FRANK CANNIZZO, CARNELL COOPER AND PATRICE M. WEISS, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

We are in this together. It doesn't matter your political affiliation, what you do for a living, for whom you work, where you live, or how much money you have. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all fighting the same battle—to protect one another and ourselves from a virus for which there is currently no vaccine and no cure. The best possible weapons in stopping this invisible threat are simple steps we can all take.

Cannizzo is Chief of Staff for the Salem VA Health Care System. Cooper is Chief Medical Officer for the LewisGale Regional Health System. Weiss is Chief Medical Officer for Carilion Clinic.

McDonnell: For Virginia, an unprecedented moment for racial honesty

By ROBERT F. MCDONNELL, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Just a quarter century before the clock strikes the dawn of a majority non-white America, an unprecedented moment for racial honesty has arrived. We teach history poorly. Virginia kids don't learn the fullness of African American and Native American history, and they don't learn why our nation, with all its shortcomings, is still the great beacon of hope and freedom.

McDonnell served as the 71st governor of Virginia.

Guzman: The dignity of the Latino community is on the ballot in November

By ELIZABETH GUZMAN, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Beginning last fall, I had the opportunity to travel across the commonwealth as the co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders' Virginia campaign. I was honored to serve the senator, who inspired me to run for office with his inclusive message of economic empowerment for all working people. As a Latina, I knew he would fight for policies that will help my community (63% of Latinx workers are in low-wage jobs).

Guzman represents parts of Fauquier and Prince William counties in the House of Delegates. She is a Democrat.

Edwards: Twenty years of the Roanoke Higher Education Center

By JOHN S. EDWARDS, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Twenty years ago the Roanoke Higher Education Center opened to serve what was then the largest region in Virginia without a four-year public college or university. In the mid-1990s citizens were pushing to expand opportunities for public higher education in the Roanoke region. A small graduate center in a downtown parking building needed additional space to grow. The community college was looking for a corporate center to offer workforce training programs.

Edwards is Chairman of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority and a Democratic state senator from Roanoke.

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