Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

August 26, 2020
Top of the News

Legislators' bid to craft exceptions to any COVID-19 vaccine mandate stopped in Virginia House

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

A Virginia House of Delegates committee has halted legislation that would create exceptions for people who don't want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Democratic-controlled Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee defeated the proposals Tuesday after a lengthy discussion about vaccines. The proposals from Dels. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, and David LaRock, R-Loudoun, would have created exceptions, including for religious reasons, for people who don't want to receive a mandated vaccine during a public health emergency.

House panel backs ban on tear gas, rubber bullets

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

Lawmakers in the House of Delegates gave a preliminary thumbs up Tuesday to legislation banning police from using tear gas and rubber bullets — so-called nonlethal weapons that departments around the state and country have deployed in response to recent widespread civil unrest. "It's currently legal for police in Virginia to use chemical weapons against civilians that we don't even allow our troops to use in warzones," said Del. Dan Helmer, D-Fairfax, who sponsored the legislation.

College life activities driving up count of COVID-19 cases

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

What happened in Radford could happen in Blacksburg if students rush headlong into the college life they want to experience rather than the one COVID-19 has given them. Dr. Nicole Bissell, director of the New River Valley Health District, said Tuesday that Radford University students had a two-week jump on Virginia Tech students in returning to campus.

FDA: W&M COVID-19 testing provider has no emergency use authorization

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

As more and more universities in the nation that have opened for in-person classes continue to see a surge in positive coronavirus cases, William & Mary seems to be poised to proceed with its own classes as planned. The university decided to test all its students for the coronavirus before arriving on campus for the fall semester but it appears it used a provider whose coronavirus tests were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

ICE officers are using 'pullovers' in unmarked cars to arrest local immigrants

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

Plainclothes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have targeted and pulled over at least two people in their vehicles and arrested them on immigration charges in Woodbridge and Manassas in recent weeks, a tactic local attorneys say they have never seen before. . . . The reports came as a surprise to Prince William County Chief Public Defender Tracey Lenox and Lisa Shea, a longtime local immigration attorney, both of whom say they have never heard of ICE officers using such tactics in the county.

Anonymous plaintiff asks Supreme Court to return Richmond's Confederate statues to their pedestals

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

An anonymous Virginian wants the state's highest court to order Richmond's Confederate statues returned to their pedestals, according to a new court filing. The plaintiff petitioned the Supreme Court of Virginia on Aug. 21. They challenge Mayor Levar Stoney's use of his emergency powers to order removal of the statues last month, and a subsequent vote by the City Council earlier this month to make permanent the monuments' removal.

Falwell confirms Liberty resignation, will get $10.5 million in compensation

By SARAH PULLIAM BAILEY, SUSAN SVRLUGA AND MICHELLE BOORSTEIN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned as president of Liberty University after a series of personal scandals, ending back-to-back Falwell leadership eras at an evangelical institution that is a major power center for conservative Christians and politicians. His contract entitles him to a $10.5 million severance package, Falwell, 58, told The Washington Post late Tuesday — in part because he is departing from the university without being formally accused of or admitting to wrongdoing.

The Full Report
52 articles, 24 publications


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.

VPAP Visual In July, Trump narrowed Virginia fundraising gap

The Virginia Public Access Project

In July, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reported more than $1 million in donations from Virginia residents -- his fourth six-figure haul in the last five months. President Donald Trump narrowed the gap by reporting $913, 578, his best month so far this year.


Virginia lawmakers advance bill on police misconduct

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press

Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday advanced legislation designed to make it easier to decertify police officers who commit misconduct and make it more difficult for them to get hired by other police departments. The House Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would require sheriffs and police chiefs to notify the state Criminal Justice Services Board within 48 hours of becoming aware that any of their officers have been fired for misconduct.

House committee rejects legislation limiting the state's ability to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

A Virginia House committee voted down three bills on Tuesday that would have limited the state's ability to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. A key focus of the failed legislation was a current law allowing the state's health commissioner to require immediate immunization during a public health emergency, regardless of religious objections. The little-used code section made headlines earlier this week after Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said he had plans to mandate any future coronavirus vaccine — a statement that was quickly walked back by Gov. Ralph Northam.

MARCUS alert bill progresses out of House committee

By ANDREW RINGLE, Capital News Service

A bill that could reshape how law enforcement responds when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis reported out of the House Public Safety Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 13-9. House Bill 5043, introduced by Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond, would create teams of mental health service providers, peer recovery specialists and law enforcement to help individuals in a crisis situation.

Virginia state senator tests positive for coronavirus a week after meeting in special session

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

State Sen. Bryce E. Reeves said Tuesday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, making him the first state legislator confirmed to have the virus since the state Senate began meeting in person days ago for its special session. Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) had met with Virginia's other 39 state senators for three days last week as the session got underway.

Senator tests positive for COVID-19 amid special session

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

Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, has tested positive for COVID-19 amid the ongoing special session of the General Assembly, but the case is not immediately prompting any changes to the Senate's logistics. Reeves tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday after experiencing "very mild" symptoms that started a week ago, including a sore throat, coughing and sneezing, according to an email from Senate Clerk Susan Clarke Schaar to lawmakers that was obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Whatever happened to ... a Navy license plate in Virginia?

By KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Roger Hirsh thought it'd be an easy task. The retired Navy captain often saw license plates sporting the logos of the Army, Coast Guard or Marines when driving around. But Virginia, which offers more than 300 specialty license plates, had none for the Navy. The Navy Reserve, Naval Air Station Oceana, the Navy Cross, but not the branch itself.


Warner calls for more financial relief to overcome pandemic

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

During a community meeting Tuesday morning in Martinsville, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said the federal government should do more to bring financial relief and internet service during the pandemic. Warner held the meeting with local leaders and businesspeople at New College Institute.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner calls for more business, family aid

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner on Monday said the federal government must do more to assist small businesses and families amid the public health pandemic while noting localities may get some breaks on federal CARES Act funding restrictions. The Virginia Democrat hosted an hourlong town hall meeting with 14 Southwest Virginia community leaders and residents during a campaign swing through the region. He faces Republican nominee Daniel Gade, an Army veteran and instructor at American University, plus two independent candidates, on Nov. 3.

Healthcare workers urge Webb, Warner to ditch politics and listen to science

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

Politics must stay out of COVID-19 testing and treatment if the pandemic is to be controlled, several medical professionals told Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., during a Tuesday panel hosted by Democratic hopeful Dr. Cameron Webb. Webb, who is vying for the seat representing Virginia's 5th Congressional district, arranged the event, and said he hoped it would help frontline workers bring their issues directly to the Warner.

Pot Plank Sparks Protest from some Progressives


Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott has helped Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden craft the party's platform on criminal justice and drug policy. Scott and Biden are getting pushback from progressives on their plan.

Warner holds "community check-up" with local Lynchburg leaders

By SARAH HONOSKY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

Senator Mark Warner stopped by The Virginian Hotel on Tuesday in downtown Lynchburg for a rooftop visit to hear concerns from local leaders, and discuss the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis and the steps being taken on the national level to ensure support for communities like Lynchburg. Warner said the White House gets a "failing grade" for how it prepared the country for the pandemic and said it's crucial that congress reconvene as soon as possible to begin passing more legislation to support the country through the crisis.


Virginia Colleges Steer Millions in No-Bid Contracts to New Covid-19 Testing Company

By MICHAEL VASQUEZ, Chronicle of Higher Education

...At least three Virginia universities have hired a fledgling New Orleans-based company on no-bid contracts to provide Covid-19 tests to students before allowing them to move into campus dorms, sparking criticism from some faculty members and students....There's one problem: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed to The Chronicle this week that Kallaco's throat-swab test is not approved for at-home use. That means the FDA has approved the test's use only when a medical professional collects the samples. That's not what's happening.

Virginia Tech optimistic on managing finances, containing 'inevitable outbreaks' of COVID-19

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

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands told members of the board of visitors Tuesday he is optimistic the university can overcome "inevitable outbreaks" of COVID-19 as Tech enters its first week of the fall semester. As the university braces for an expected increase in cases, its governing board concluded its third and final day of events on campus, the first in-person meetings it's held since the pandemic shuttered campus in March.

Photo of crowded classroom worries some Virginia Tech students


Some Virginia Tech students are raising concerns after a picture spread on social media showing a classroom over capacity and not allowing social distance. "He (the professor) definitely said that we'll break the rules today," said the Virginia Tech student who took the picture and posted it. He didn't want to be identified, fearing backlash. Breaking the rules is exactly what dozens of Virginia Tech students saw in a classroom Monday, raising questions as the picture hit social media and quickly went viral.

JMU reports 27 positive cases among students, 6 faculty; classes begin Wednesday

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

James Madison University announced Tuesday that there are 23 self-reported positive cases among students and six among faculty but that due to patient privacy laws, the school can't verify those tests. Four additional students have tested positive through the University Health Center since July 1 — three were athletes who are asymptomatic — bringing the total to 33 cases the day before classes start on Wednesday and four days after freshman move-in.

COVID-19 cases at University of Lynchburg increase by 30 in a week, classes to remain online

By JAMEY CROSS, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

The University of Lynchburg announced Tuesday it will continue to hold classes online through Sept. 2 as cases of COVID-19 in the student body have increased by 30 since last Wednesday. The university reported a total of 35 COVID-19 cases Tuesday among its around 3,000 students. Of those cases, the university's announcement said, 22 are on campus and 13 are off campus.

Roanoke College pushes back move-in, in-person classes due to COVID-19 cases

By CLAIRE MITZEL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Roanoke College classes will remain online until Sept. 14, and the second phase of student move-in has been delayed until the weekend of Sept. 11 due to positive COVID-19 cases on campus. As of Monday, 15 students had tested positive for the virus and were in isolation, President Michael Maxey wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Richmond-area community colleges expected enrollment rise during the pandemic. Instead, they're seeing a decline.

By MIKE BARBER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

As the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to shut down in-person learning at four-year universities, the area's community colleges had hoped for a spike in enrollment. The thought was that students would see the value in taking their online courses through the less expensive two-year colleges instead of paying full price for four-year schools without getting much if any of the so-called college experience.

Institute, DCC awarded $1.78 million contract to develop training program

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

A job-training program to prepare the region's workers for careers in the defense industry is coming to Danville. During a visit to Danville on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner announced that the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Danville Community College have been awarded a $1.78 million contract for a pilot project to develop a training program, Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing.

William & Mary approves design for memorial to those the school enslaved

By JOE HEIM, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

At least 180 individuals were enslaved by William & Mary from the college's founding in 1693 until the Civil War. Some were owned by the institution for most or all of their lives. On Tuesday, the school approved a final design for a memorial to them and announced that it had secured all of the funding for the project.

Falwell confirms resignation, calls departure 'a relief'

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

Jerry Falwell Jr., engulfed in a string of escalating scandals, has resigned as president and chancellor of Liberty University, ending an often tumultuous 13-year reign as the face of the evangelical institution. Falwell submitted his resignation late Monday night after a stunning series of reversals, in which he first agreed to resign, but later backtracked and then finally capitulated to mounting calls — including from individual board members — to permanently step aside. "It's a relief," Falwell said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday.

Falwell says he's resigned from Liberty University


Jerry Falwell Jr. announced his resignation Tuesday as the head of Liberty University after a provocative photo and revelations of his wife's extramarital affair roiled the evangelical school founded by his father. Falwell's exit marks a precipitous fall from power for one of the country's most visible conservative Christian leaders and ardent supporters of President Donald Trump. He confirmed his decision to resign in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press.

Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Departure Brings Relief on Liberty University's Campus

By RUTH GRAHAM, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

Jerry Falwell Jr. had long made a point of emphasizing that he was not trying to be a moral leader. He made crude jokes, insulted fellow Christians and was photographed partying on yachts and in nightclubs. But he rarely apologized or expressed regret. "I have never been a minister," he explained on Twitter last year. He liked to tell reporters that Jesus did not tell Caesar how to run Rome.


Virginia reports more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday

By JONATHAN HEETER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported 1,005 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state's tally to 114,635. At least 2,494 Virginians have died from the virus as of Tuesday morning, an increase of 23 from Monday.

Virginia still not seeing improvement in COVID-19 metrics

By MAX THORNBERRY, Northern Virginia Daily

With local cases still crawling higher, the modelers at the Virginia Department of Health and the University of Virginia expect the Lord Fairfax Health District to see its peak in new weekly cases in early November, compared to late September for the state as a whole. The local health district has been improving its containment of COVID-19 but still has not stifled it completely.

UVa to start producing 75,000 COVID nasal swabs per week

By STAFF REPORT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The University of Virginia is providing 60,000 nasal swabs to the state each week in support of high-priority coronavirus testing. UVa officials worked with a local engineer to design the swabs and the school plans to produce 75,000 a week, according to a press release. Of those, 15,000 will remain at UVa Health to support testing locally.

Radford COVID-19 update: RU sets 10-person limit; city schools hybrid model soon to resume

By SAM WALL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

City public school officials announced Tuesday that a gathering over the weekend that resulted in the school system going all virtual was not as bad as initially expected, and it will revert to the hybrid model it was previously using on Monday. Meanwhile, Radford University announced Tuesday afternoon that it is banning gatherings of more than 10 students on or off campus, according to an email from President Brian Hemphill.

Red Cross blood drive donations in Hampton will test for COVID-19 antibodies

By LISA VERNON SPARKS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

The American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive in Hampton on Thursday and will be testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The drive takes place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the City Hall lobby on Lincoln Street. The Red Cross typically tests for many infections when accepting blood donations, according to its website. Since June, the nonprofit has included tests for coronavirus antibodies for all blood platelet and plasma donations.

Hampton Roads nursing homes begin easing restrictions

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

They call it the mousetrap game — one of the ways Riverside Health System staff have tried to deal with the isolation the COVID-19 control measures have forced on nursing home residents. Now, as nursing home restrictions begin easing, Peninsula facilities are moving to let residents move around a bit more — some even have family visits out of doors, as Riverside now allows.

Warrenton nursing home reports 45 'active' cases of COVID-19, 1 possible death

By ROBIN EARL, Prince William Times

Warrenton's Brookside Nursing and Rehab Center had 45 active COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday morning and one possible death. The cases involved 35 residents and 10 employees, according to Beverly Greene, the administrator of the facility.

33 inmates at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail test positive for coronavirus

By JESSICA NOLTE, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

The Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail said 33 inmates in the same housing unit tested positive for the coronavirus during a recent round of testing. In a news release shared on its Facebook page, the jail said it tested all of its staff and all the inmates living in the housing unit after a person in the unit tested positive on Aug. 13.


Judge sets trial date for lawsuit blocking removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

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

A Circuit Court judge has scheduled a trial for Oct. 19 to consider whether Gov. Ralph Northam can remove the enormous statue of Robert E. Lee from state property on Monument Avenue. Judge W. Reilly Marchant ruled Tuesday against efforts by state Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) to dismiss the case. Marchant stripped some plaintiffs from parts of the suit for lack of standing and threw out a portion of the case that questioned whether a particular section of state law prohibited Northam (D) from removing the statue.

Judge won't dismiss Lee statue lawsuit; case heads for trial

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

A lawsuit seeking to prevent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's administration from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee can proceed, a judge ruled Tuesday, clearing the way for a trial in the fall. Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant rejected much of the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a group of property owners along the residential boulevard where the statue is situated.

After judge's ruling, Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue will stay in place until at least October

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue, which was erected on Monument Avenue in 1890 and has become the focal point for local protests against racial injustice, will continue standing until at least October. Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to take down the monument, calling it a racist symbol. But nearby residents filed a lawsuit to keep it in its place, and a judge ruled Tuesday that the suit will proceed to trial Oct. 19.

Caroline officials vote to remove Confederate monument from courthouse lawn

By TAFT COGHILL JR., Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to remove the Confederate monument that has stood on the courthouse lawn for 114 years. The decision to relocate the monument was made at the end of a public hearing that saw 31 speakers, 24 of whom were in favor of moving it to another location.

Richmond's Toppled Jefferson Davis Statue Could Find New Home At The Valentine


On the night of June 10, protesters used rope tied to a car to pull a bronze statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis off its towering pedestal on Richmond's Monument Avenue. The action was part of the Black Lives Matter movement and near-nightly protests since late May. Now, the statue of Davis could end up in Richmond's local history museum, the Valentine.


Virginia Beach to offer short-term mortgage assistance to residents affected by coronavirus

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

Virginia Beach will begin accepting applications Wednesday for residents who need short-term assistance paying their mortgages to prevent foreclosure after experiencing financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic. The one-time payments will be made directly to the mortgage company for qualifying low- and moderate-income homeowners in the city with delinquent mortgage payments on or after April 1.

Norfolk delays decision on gun ban in city buildings, citing confusion with legal language

By RYAN MURPHY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Norfolk's City Council won't be voting Tuesday on a gun ban in public buildings and parks because of concerns the ordinance as written could be read as making it illegal to carry a gun on any public street or sidewalk. Hours before the meeting, the city attorney requested that it be pulled from the agenda to be reworked.

Portsmouth man takes out criminal charges against Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke over her call for police chief's ouster

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

A Portsmouth man has taken out criminal charges against Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke, alleging she violated a section of the city charter when she called for the resignation or firing of the police chief. The move comes amid the controversy over charges Portsmouth police filed against Lucas-Burke's mother, state Sen. Louise Lucas, and others after a protest at which some — though not Lucas — vandalized the city's Confederate monument.

Council moves toward rewriting AirBnB regulations … again

By RANDI B. HAGI, Harrisonburg Citizen

City residents living in single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes will soon have the right to host up to four guests in their home through platforms such as AirBnB, as the council on Tuesday approved a first reading of revisions to the city's short-term rentals policies. In fact, zoning issues took the forefront at the meeting, with additional rezoning approvals, a couple special permit applications and engaged in an initial discussion of a comprehensive update to Harrisonburg's zoning ordinances.

Proposed change would ban WPS students from wearing Confederate flag

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

The Winchester School Board is considering a revision to its student conduct policy that would prohibit clothing that "denotes Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation-White Supremacy, Neo-Nazi, racial hate groups or Confederate flags." The proposed dress code change would ban students from wearing clothing "that is racially divisive at school, on school property, or at school-sponsored activities."

Roanoke City Public Schools readies for virtual first day as district grows short on laptops

By CLAIRE MITZEL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

With less than a week until Roanoke City Public Schools' first day of virtual classes, the Roanoke School Board received information Tuesday night about a growing laptop shortage and details about a typical school day. Schools have distributed laptops to city families that need one to participate in school, which for nearly all students will be completely virtual in the first nine weeks. But the district underestimated the number of laptops needed, and subsequent order delays — mirroring a national trend — have left the district making last-minute adjustments.

City of Bristol receives positive financial report

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

City leaders celebrated some surprisingly positive financial news for the just completed fiscal year on Tuesday, despite some revenue erosion due to COVID-19. The deeply indebted city finished fiscal 2019-20 with more than $19 million in the bank on June 30. It had $3.4 million in reserve and a more positive outlook toward addressing its indebtedness, Chief Financial Officer Tamrya Spradlin told the council.



Taking another look at police use of force

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

Fredericksburg Police Chief Brian Layton's use of force" report issued earlier this month on the police department's reaction to the demonstrations following the death of George Floyd concluded that the use of CS smoke canisters and rubber projectiles to disperse protesters was not only justified, but in accordance with departmental standards. The report also contradicts some protesters' insistence that all of the demonstrations were lawful and peaceful.

Commission can help level the field for minority businesses

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

Virginia's new Minority Business Commission could make a real difference for minority business owners trying to get ahead in a competitive economic environment that sometimes seems stacked against them. Lawmakers approved creation of the commission in the two-year budget Gov. Ralph Northam signed in May. The bill took effect on July 1. It's already been holding virtual forums with business owners in Hampton Roads to find out how they think the commission can help them.


Cathcart: 100 years since the 19th amendment women are still fighting for equality

By FREEDA CATHCART, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Aug. 18 marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification, but it was not entered into the constitution until August 26, 1920 when it was signed by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. Aug. 26 is celebrated every year as Equality Day. Virginia became the key 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this past Jan. 27, 2020. Yet women are still waiting for the archivist to enter the 28th Amendment into the constitution guaranteeing that: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Cathcart is Founder of By The Women For The Women Vote and the great-granddaughter of suffragist Ann Sloan Cathcart.

Fogarty: Spotsylvania Board finds itself boxed in by sPower

By SEAN FOGARTY, published in Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In April of 2019, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors voted to approve three special use permits (SUPS) to allow sPower to construct a massive industrial solar facility in the western part of the county. The solar power plant is being built on a 6,350-acre site after 4,500 acres of trees were clear-cut to make room for this "green energy" project. Hundreds of huge sediment basins are being carved into the landscape to capture the water that would normally be absorbed by the natural vegetation.

Fogarty lives in the Livingston District of Spotsylvania County.

Lee: Black women suffragists in Virginia: "Lifting as we climb"

By LAURANETT L. LEE, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

On Aug. 19, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called the roll, naming many of the women who paved the way for her to stand as the first Black woman on a major party ticket when she accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president. Of the women who came before her she said, "Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched and fought — not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. We're not often taught their stories. But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders." In Virginia, we know very little about the Black women on whose shoulders she stood.

Lauranett L.Lee, Ph.D., is a public historian and was the founding curator of African American History at the Virginia Historical Society, now the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Wirth: Remembering the Silent Sentinels of 1917

By PATRICIA DEPEW WIRTH, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

According to nationally renowned historian Edith Mayo, the suffrage movement is considered the best kept secret in American history. "The white men who wrote the history books didn't think it was important and they left it out!" Little can be found in classroom textbooks still today save a postage-stamp-sized picture of Susan B. Anthony and perhaps a paragraph or two.

Patricia Depew Wirth is executive director and CEO of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association.

Treadway: The quest for suffrage in Virginia

By SANDRA GIOIA TREADWAY, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

One hundred years ago on Aug. 26, American women secured the right to vote when U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified that the 19th Amendment had been properly ratified as part of the United States Constitution. Virginia was not one of the ratifying states in 1920, but Virginia women deserve a great deal of credit for the outcome. They worked tirelessly for more than a decade to make women's suffrage a reality.

Sandra Gioia Treadway is Librarian of Virginia.

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