Monday, September 21, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 21, 2020
Top of the News

Like running a country: What it meant to be a schools superintendent this summer

By HANNAH NATANSON, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

He was wearing one of his beloved bow ties, which was the only normal thing about the situation. It was July 21. As had been the case all summer, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings Jr. was on a Zoom call. He was sitting in his dining room, which is what counted as his workplace these days.

RPS to shorten K-2 school day after parents raise health concerns


Richmond schools will be shorting their virtual school days, according to a presentation the district's superintendent is set to give during Monday's school board meeting. Under the new school day schedule, live online instruction will end for students in kindergarten through second grade at noon, and at 1:30 pm for students in third through fifth grade. Students in all school grades will now also have lunch around the same time.

Coronavirus is in Hampton Roads schools — but which ones? Districts won't say.

By SARA GREGORY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

When school employees in Hampton Roads test positive for the coronavirus, the public won't know where they work. Districts are providing citywide totals at most, even as teachers — and in some cities students — get ready to return to school buildings for the first time since March. Norfolk Public Schools would not disclose whether it had any cases, period, since the start of the school year. Every other district in the seven cities would provide only the number of cases reported districtwide, not by school.

NC gets federal grant to buy corridor for Raleigh-Richmond high-speed rail

By RICHARD STRADLING, Raleigh News & Observer

The effort to establish high-speed passenger rail service between Raleigh and Richmond, Virginia, got a boost Friday with a $47.5 million federal grant to the N.C. Department of Transportation. The money will allow the state to buy a rail line between Raleigh and Ridgeway, near the Virginia state line, from freight railroad CSX. . . . North Carolina and Virginia have been planning for high-speed passenger trains through the two states since 1992 and have long coveted access to CSX's so-called S-line between Raleigh and Petersburg.

Virginia's largest insurance company cut reimbursement rates, and some doctors say primary care will suffer

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

One of Virginia's largest insurance companies is lowering reimbursement rates for nurse practitioners and physician assistants amid the COVID-19 pandemic — a move that many doctors say will hurt already struggling primary care practices. Clark Barrineau, assistant vice president of government affairs for the Medical Society of Virginia, said the group began receiving calls from doctors around the state after they noticed a 15 to 20 percent reduction in the repayment rates that Anthem was offering for nurse practitioners and physician assistants under their supervision.

Juries in Roanoke and beyond still stalled by COVID-19

By NEIL HARVEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

At a status hearing in a murder case last Tuesday in Roanoke Circuit Court, the defendant's upcoming jury trial was bumped from early next month into early next year, to the first week of February. But when the prosecutor said the delay was necessary because "due to the present situation, we are not there yet," the judge spoke up to confirm a point: that all parties were, in fact, fully prepared to proceed, but remain unable to because of the state's current COVID-19-related prohibition on jury trials.

Volunteers swell ranks of Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps

By CAROLYN R. WILSON, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

You don't have to look far to find bright spots amid the bleak news of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kristina Morris sees that light every day she goes to work. Morris couldn't be happier with the number of people who have stepped up to volunteer at the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in the past seven months.

The Full Report
49 articles, 18 publications


From VPAP New: Facebook, TV political ad archive for federal elections

The Virginia Public Access Project

With political ad spending already topping $25 million in Virginia, VPAP has launched new tools that make it easy to follow the money and to view the spots running on broadcast TV and Facebook. The data covers races for President, U.S. Senate and congressional districts 2, 5 and 7 and includes spending by outside groups as well as candidates.

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.


Virginia House bill that would guarantee free school meals to students advances to Senate

By ALIVIAH JONES, VCU Capital News Service

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill this month to provide free school meals for 109,000 more public school students in the commonwealth. House Bill 5113, introduced by Del. Danica Roem, D-13th, and passed the chamber unanimously. Roem's bill requires eligible public elementary and secondary schools to apply for the Community Eligibility Provision through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service.


Sen. Hanger launches redistricting PAC — and tests waters for GOP run for governor

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

Sen. Emmett Hanger, a moderate Republican who bucked his party to expand Virginia's Medicaid program, is launching a political action committee to boost voter support for a constitutional amendment on non-partisan political redistricting - and test the water for a possible bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Hanger, 72, confirmed on Sunday that he is considering a run for the Republican nomination for governor this year as an attempt to broaden the party's base of support and set the state on a path of "good governance" instead of partisanship.

After losing the speaker's gavel, Kirk Cox seemed done. Now he's building a 2021 campaign.

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

When Kirk Cox lost his Republican majority in his first and only term as speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, he seemed like a man who just wanted to avoid attention. He had survived his own race in a district that got much tougher for a Republican due to court-ordered redistricting. But with the speaker's office gone, he gave up leadership duties, going back to being a regular delegate instead of trying to lead a minority party into a new era of Democratic dominance.


Trump Supporters Disrupt Early Voting in Virginia

By NICK CORASANITI AND STEPHANIE SAUL, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

A group of Trump supporters waving campaign flags disrupted the second day of early voting in Fairfax, Va., on Saturday, chanting "four more years" as voters entered a polling location and, at one point, forming a line that voters had to walk around outside the site. County election officials eventually were forced to open up a larger portion of the Fairfax County Government Center to allow voters to wait inside away from the Trump enthusiasts.

Early in-person voting "a smooth process"

By JOSH JANNEY, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election kicked off Friday in Virginia, and local election officials say the day was a success. Early in-person voting at voter registrar offices or satellite locations across Virginia is taking place until Oct. 31. Despite the unprecedented nature of early voting in Virginia, local voters said that the process was swift and easy. Winchester resident Christina Chasler, 72, said that early voting for her went "perfectly." At around 9 a.m. she traveled to the City Voter Registration Office at 107 N. East Lane to cast her vote. She said she wanted to vote "as soon as possible" and that the process was simple and quick. Chalser voted for Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden.

Nearly 200 Pittsylvania County voters cast their ballots Friday

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

About 200 Pittsylvania County voters showed up at the Olde Dominion Agriculture Complex in Chatham to vote early when no-excuse, in-person absentee voting began Friday. "It was more than I expected for the first day," said Pittsylvania County Registrar Kelly Keesee.

UMW student working to establish polling location on campus

By ADELE UPHAUS–CONNER, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Depending on where they live, residential students at the University of Mary Washington could be in one of three Fredericksburg City wards or one of two Virginia House of Delegates districts. So when elections come around every November, students are always confused about where to vote and who is on their ballot, said UMW sophomore Callie Jordan of Chesapeake.


Narcan training and distribution events planned as region warned of heroin overdoses

By ROBERT SORRELL, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

With heroin on the rise, the LENOWISCO Health District in Southwest Virginia is preparing people with free naloxone — a spray used to reverse an opioid overdose. The Virginia Department of Health warned the public Thursday of heroin in the area that could be laced with fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives, which could be fatal.

Ray Pethtel remembered as transportation, oversight visionary 'known for doing the impossible'

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

Ray Pethtel Jr., who played a key role in former Gov. Gerald Baliles' historic transportation package, was the first director of the Virginia General Assembly's oversight commission, and who long supported and later led the Smart Road project at Virginia Tech, died Sept. 12 in Christiansburg. He was 83. As founding director of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, Pethtel cemented the new oversight commission's future before serving as commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, where he oversaw sweeping changes and increased efficiency.


$100 million Sentara, LISC partnership begins with financial literacy and job training

By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

It was early October when Sentara announced it had partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation on a $100 million multi-year effort to make Hampton Roads healthier. Sentara and its insurance subsidiary Optima Health pledged to contribute $50 million toward the effort to be matched by LISC, including $10 million in cash (about $1 million annually for the next 10 years) and $40 million worth of loans or loan guarantees to build affordable housing.

New partnership aims to help Northern Virginians get back to work


Having trouble finding work? A new partnership is hoping to change that with free classes for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is partnering with the City of Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia Career Works and the SkillSource Group to offer free resources for displaced workers.


Metro moves toward service cuts as talks stall on coronavirus aid bill

By JUSTIN GEORGE, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The Metro board on Friday took the first step toward cutting $212 million from its operating budget, endorsing a plan that could lay off up to 1,700 employees, move up rail closing times and create longer transit waits. At a special board meeting on Friday to address the unprecedented budget crisis caused by the pandemic, the board unanimously endorsed several service cuts, which would go into effect in January.


Students move out of East Eggleston Hall to create more COVID-19 isolation space

By KATIE SMITH, Collegiate Times

Virginia Tech relocated residents of East Eggleston Hall in efforts to expand isolation space for students who test positive for COVID-19. Residents moved out of East Eggleston from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 to other residence halls across campus where they will stay for the remainder of the year. Virginia Tech began the fall semester with 172 isolation spaces where on-campus students will be able to complete their 14-day quarantine.

UVA identifies 14 COVID-19 cases across two dorms

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

The University of Virginia has identified 14 coronavirus cases in two more residence halls. Five cases have been confirmed in the Echols residence hall, and nine have been found in Kellogg, UVA announced Saturday. Echols is home to 117 students, and Kellogg houses 161. Officials first found four cases in each residence hall through wastewater and individual testing. Follow-up asymptomatic prevalence testing confirmed the other cases.

Radford University students turn out for peaceful protests Saturday

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

More than 500 people flocked to Radford University's grounds Saturday to join a student-led rally against racial inequality and injustice. The event, formally called The Bigger Picture March, was open to students and other people affiliated with the university, which placed barricades, police and event staff around the campus to enforce the perimeter.


Virginia COVID-19 cases rise by 856 from Saturday

By STAFF REPORT, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported Sunday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 140,511, an increase of 856 from the 139,655 reported Saturday. The 140,511 cases consist of 133,722 confirmed cases and 6,789 probable cases. There have been 3,015 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 2,811 confirmed and 204 probable. That's an increase of 25 from the 3,015 reported Saturday.

COVID-19 cases increase as rates in Montgomery County, Radford parallel Northern Virginia's

By STAFF REPORT, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Montgomery County and Radford saw more cases of COVID-19 reported Saturday and both had rates of infection per 100,000 similar to the hardest hit localities in Northern Virginia. Montgomery County reported 42 new cases and Radford another six. But their infection rates stood at 1,696.2 per 100,000 population in Montgomery and 3,871.5 per 100,000 in Radford.

3 siblings from Suffolk contracted COVID-19. Only 1 survived.

By TIM EBERLY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Three elderly siblings. All living in the same nursing home in Suffolk. They all got COVID-19. Only one survived. The 92-year-old sister died first. Then the 94-year-old sister died four days later at Autumn Care nursing home. For a stretch, it looked like the virus was going to take their 87-year-old brother, too, but he survived.

Limiting screen time used to be a parenting challenge. With virtual learning, it's impossible.

By HOLLY PRESTIDGE, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The changes were gradual. The realization, however, hit like a ton of bricks. Henrico County parent Debbie Long said she had a moment this past summer when she realized that all of her household rules about screen time for her two children, a second-grader and a fifth-grader this school year, had completely dissolved.


Beneath a Virginia parking lot rest the bones of an old Black church and, perhaps, its worshipers

By MICHAEL E. RUANE, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The earth where Deshondra Dandridge was digging with her pick and trowel was packed hard and filled with stones where she knelt, searching for the bones of the old church. Buried here in the orange clay of a former parking lot on Nassau Street are the remains of a vanished history — the story of a Black congregation that didn't fit the Williamsburg narrative, whose people once worshiped, and may be buried, on this spot, and whose roots are as old as those of the United States.

75 Fort Eustis soldiers bring boost to overgrown slave-era cemeteries in Hampton

By PETER DUJARDIN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Ghana Smith got a call from Army Staff Sgt. Israel Lopez a few weeks back, telling her he was bringing "a group of people" from Fort Eustis last weekend to help cut the grass at two overgrown historic cemeteries in Hampton. Smith thought that meant "five or 10″ soldiers would show up at the Bassette and Elmerton burial grounds — where grass up to four feet high covered the 1800s gravestones of African Americans, including many former slaves.

King George seeks to unravel 'knotty history' of Confederate memorial

By CATHY DYSON, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Unraveling the "knotty history" of the Confederate memorial on the King George Courthouse lawn is going to take some time, money and title searches, according to county officials. If the research determines that the county owns the obelisk-shaped monument and the ground under it—because there are some questions about both issues—then County Administrator Neiman Young suggests King George put the matter to the voters to decide.

Supervisors chairman: Deciding the Confederate monument's fate will take months

By MICKEY POWELL, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

It will take months to decide the fate of a controversial Confederate monument outside the Clarke County Courthouse, county officials maintain. As of Friday morning, at least six people have voiced interest in serving on a citizens committee that will explore options, Clarke County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Weiss said. The board announced its plans to form the committee earlier this week.

A buggier-than-normal summer in Virginia? Yes — for cicadas

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

Ants. Mosquitoes. Chiggers. Was this summer buggier than normal or did it just seem that way? "I don't think it's been any worse this year — I mean, summer's always bad for bugs, right?" said Bob Borlase of Hampton Roads Termite & Pest Control. "Maybe it just seems worse because we're living with them more." In other words, the pandemic has us spending more hours in our homes, yards and outdoors in general, where we simply notice the bugs more.


As city commits additional $1 million for emergency childcare program, Stoney asks school system to take more responsibility

By CHRIS SUAREZ AND TAMICA JEAN-CHARLES, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

As hundreds of Richmond families that report needing childcare struggle with virtual school schedules, city School Board members say Mayor Levar Stoney is shifting the responsibility for the city's emergency childcare program onto the school system. Stoney initially proposed the program last month after the School Board voted to keep schools closed this semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special prosecutor tapped to investigate Richmond's $1.8 million statute removal deal

By BRAD ZINN, News Leader (Metered Paywall - 3 to 4 articles a month)

Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Martin has been named as a special prosecutor who will lead an investigation into Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney's handling of a $1.8 million contract reportedly given to one of his donors to remove the city's confederate statues. Martin was appointed Friday, according to a court order signed by Chief Judge Joi J. Taylor.

Newport News battles laptop shortage in second round of virtual learning

By MATT JONES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

Around the second day of school, Newport News Public Schools technology staff ran out of laptops for students. "We emptied out all of our classrooms, all of our carts, every closet," director of technology Chris Jenkins told the School Board Tuesday. "We literally just ran out of devices."

Council candidate sets personal Facebook profile to private amid criticism of posts

By CALVIN PYNN, Harrisonburg Citizen

After facing criticism for her Facebook posts promoting QAnon and far-right political memes, council candidate Kathleen Kelley has set her once-public profile to private. Kelley said she did so after the backlash reached those close to her. "I made my Facebook page private because I didn't want my friends harassed, my family harassed, and friends of my family harassed," Kelley told The Citizen.

City of Staunton acknowledges Courthouse-related announcement from Augusta County

By MONIQUE CALELLO, News Leader (Metered Paywall - 3 to 4 articles a month)

In a release from the City of Staunton, the city acknowledges a public announcement made by Augusta County that the county has secured purchase options for nine properties surrounding the Augusta County Circuit Courthouse in downtown Staunton. The follow-up release from the City of Staunton was issued shortly after Augusta County made the announcement. The City of Staunton went on to state that because the nine properties are located in a designated historic district, certain activities possibly under consideration by the county may fall within the purview of the city's Historic Preservation Commission.

Danville officials say casino proximity was no factor in pitch to move police station

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

A new police station off Memorial Drive close to the planned casino location in Danville is long overdue to give the police department much-needed additional space, officials said. But the fact that a new headquarters could possibly end up almost next door to the proposed Caesars Virginia casino in Schoolfield was not planned. "It's totally coincidental," said City Manager Ken Larking.

With disconnections resuming, hundreds opt for equal-payment plan offered by Danville Utilities

By CHARLES WILBORN, Danville Register & Bee

For residents facing the possibility of utility disconnection, Danville Utilities offers a program that could help keeps the lights on. The city-owned utility resumed disconnections for delinquent customers Sept. 14 following a monthslong moratorium established when the coronavirus pandemic sliced jobs and slashed available cash for residents. Even though the equal payment plan isn't new, some changes to the program have made it an attractive alternative.



Don't be distracted by amendment foes

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Details of a lawsuit and its resolution might be boringly technical, but the dispute is anything but. The important thing is that Virginians will be able to vote on a constitutional amendment that finally will put some restraints on partisan redistricting and will help curtail the anti-democratic practice of gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when politicians draw up voting districts in ways that advantage them or disadvantage their opponents.

Vote 'Yes" on Amendment 1

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

Every 10 years, we get a chance to let voters pick their political representatives rather than vice versa. For Virginians, now is that time. A proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November will go a long way toward putting power into the hands of the people rather than the politicians. The year following each United States decennial census, we get to redraw district maps, ostensibly to reflect shifts in population.

Suicide awareness can save lives

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

Every year, we're reminded that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and that the effort is particularly important in the military-rich areas of Hampton Roads and Virginia because of the appallingly high rate of suicide among veterans. This year, those reminders are more important than ever. So are calls for participation in this month's suicide awareness and prevention events.

Preventing more COVID-19 learning losses

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The Tuesday after Labor Day traditionally is when students — armed with new backpacks and school supplies — returned to the classroom to start another academic year. But legislative changes and the coronavirus pandemic have upended that tradition. Students in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County already returned to school on Aug. 17, and the first day of school in Stafford and King George counties was Aug. 31. But the major change this year is that most classrooms remain empty as students, faculty and staff attempt another round of virtual learning.

Don't let the presidential campaign crowd out important local decisions this fall

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

It's often said that Labor Day serves as the de facto start of campaign season — when summer vacations are finished, the kids go back to school and likely voters begin thinking about casting their ballots in November. This year is unlike any other, however, with the coronavirus pandemic and numerous other factors affecting how campaigns and elections are conducted. That's before mentioning a presidential campaign that has voters motivated like never before.

The questions the JLARC report didn't ask about Southside and Southwest

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

In 1994, Botetourt County voters approved a bond referendum that, among other things, set aside money to acquire potential industrial sites. That turned out to be the old Greenfield farm between Fincastle and Daleville, now better known as Greenfield Center. Botetourt bought the land in 1995 — which then sat mostly vacant for two decades. Was Botetourt's decision to acquire Greenfield a mistake? It probably looked that way in, say, 2003. But today that decision looks quite prescient.

Criminal justice reform should be rooted in how we act together

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

When the Virginia General Assembly convened its special session in August, Richmond and other cities across the nation were reeling from a summer of nightly protests calling for criminal justice reform. The pressure of an historic pandemic, the wrecking of a well-built economy, the horror of a human being suffocated to death on tape, and the reckoning of how race plays a role in the relationship between police and citizens all set the tone for the flurry of proposals flowing through the House of Delegates and state Senate.

State audit poses serious questions for Southside and Southwest

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

Your tax dollars have gone to fix up a sex shop in Richmond. Government reports aren't usually the source of salacious reading. However, the report that Virginia's legislative watchdog agency issued last week on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the state's economic development incentive programs did unearth that eye-opening fact above.


McEachin: Congress must deliver bold action on climate change

By REP. DONALD MCEACHIN, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

As our country grapples with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the disease continues to infect and kill in communities fighting legacies of pollution at disproportionate rates. The statistics are disturbing, but unsurprising: the latest data shows people living in areas with elevated levels of fine particulate matter are 8% more likely to die from COVID-19. This research should propel policymakers into action, yet the Trump administration continues to turn a blind eye to front-line communities and leave behind those most gravely affected.

McEachin represents Virginia's 4th Congressional District. He is a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Reynolds: Your oral health is essential

By ELIZABETH REYNOLDS, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

When I was elected president of the Virginia Dental Association's (VDA) board of directors this past fall, I never imagined I would stand beside the governor of Virginia the following spring to announce enhanced safety guidelines for dental offices. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world. It has caused devastating personal losses and created financial burdens. It also has reshaped how we practice dentistry.

Reynolds is president of the Virginia Dental Association and practices dentistry at Brown Reynolds Snow LeNoir Dentistry.

Schalow: History, perception and education

By AL SCHALOW, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

I am a native Virginian and grew up in the Richmond area. In my young years, the statues along Monument Avenue, and other Confederate icons, were just a taken-for-granted part of our historical city. I admired the artistry of the statues, but gave little thought as to why they existed. n school, we were taught that the North's Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War, then mostly referred to as "The War Between the States," and that Southern Gen. Robert E. Lee was the epitome of being a good loser.

Al Schalow is a retired pharmacist. He performs The Medicine Wagon Show for incoming VCU School of Pharmacy students each year.

Gibson: 60% in Virginia may vote before Election Day

By BOB GIBSON, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Election Day is technically still Nov. 3 this year, but that one day now is simply the last chance to cast a vote in person the traditional way at a polling place. Given expanded voting options put in place this year, most Virginians are likely to have already voted before Nov. 3, elections officials say. Election Voting Season, which started Sept. 18 in Virginia (and differs state by state), could more accurately describe the 47-day period in which record numbers of voters are expected to cast ballots, often early and in new ways.

Gibson is communications director and senior researcher at the University of Virginia's Cooper Center for Public Service. The opinions expressed here are his own.

Morse: Legislature's half-baked police review plan needs work

By GORDON C. MORSE, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The creation of local citizen panels — with subpoena and binding disciplinary powers — to check city and county police abuses, thereby holding them "accountable," presumably would require serious legislative work in Richmond. Presumably. Tuesday afternoon's debate, however, on the state Senate version of this proposal (SB5035) opens to challenge any notion that the controlling Democratic Party is serious at all.

After writing editorials for the Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot in the 1980s, Gordon C. Morse wrote speeches for Gov. Gerald L. Baliles.

Reverse athletics cuts at William and Mary

By D. R. HILDEBRAND, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Since April, colleges and universities have cut more than 200 teams from their athletic departments. The vast majority are mid-majors — medium-sized schools that comprise 81% of NCAA Division I teams. When cutting these teams, athletic directors have used the financial effects of a temporary virus as justification for permanent, draconian measures. The result is an ever-shrinking list of teams in which our youth can participate.

D. R. Hildebrand lives in New York City and swam for William and Mary from 1999 to 2003.

Bolling, Lennox and Manning: Racial trauma and our community

By L. ROBERT BOLLING, KRISTIN LENNOX AND TRACIE CHARLENE LEWIS MANNING, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

An important conversation about systemic racism's negative and inequitable impact on communities of color is happening across the country and throughout our region. It's long overdue and more is needed. As we unpack racism's toll, it is critical we examine the emotional trauma it has inflicted. Racial trauma is hurting communities of color, especially Black families. It also is harmful to all communities.

Bolling is the CEO of ChildSavers. Lennox, a licensed clinical social worker, is the Immediate Response Program supervisor at ChildSavers. Manning is the executive assistant at ChildSavers.

Regionalism is working for Northern Virginia

By VICTOR HOSKINS AND STEPHANIE LANDRUM, published in Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A hallmark of economic development in the Washington area typically has been competition between localities and states, not collaboration. As we plan for post-pandemic recovery, it's time for that to change for good. To maximize its economic competitiveness globally, the region must expand collaboration locally. This month marks the first anniversary of a coalition created to support regional prosperity: the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, made up of 10 jurisdictions working across borders on business recruitment and marketing efforts.

Victor Hoskins is president and chief executive of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Stephanie Landrum is president and chief executive of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.

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