Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 22, 2020
Top of the News

Virginia COVID-19 deaths surpass 3,000; nearly half at long-term care facilities

By STAFF REPORT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported Monday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 141,138 — an increase of 2,436 from the 138,702 reported Friday. The 141,138 cases consist of 134,301 confirmed cases and 6,837 probable cases. The VDH defines probable COVID-19 cases as people who are symptomatic with a known exposure to COVID-19, but whose cases have not been confirmed with a positive test.

Clemons Library closed early Sunday following low face mask compliance

By ZACH ROSENTHAL, Cavalier Daily

Clemons Library was closed Sunday afternoon and Monday morning following low compliance with the University's face mask policy as outlined in SEC-045. Policy SEC-045 mandates that students wear masks in indoor spaces except when they are alone and in their private spaces, such as their dorm rooms or apartments. According to an email statement from Elyse Girard, director of communications for the University library system, face mask compliance was low on Sunday afternoon with "75 percent of the occupants in Clemons not wearing their masks throughout the afternoon."

Fuente hopeful that Tech will have enough healthy players for Saturday's game

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

Virginia Tech announced a depth chart on Monday for its season-opening football game against N.C. State. Tech coach Justin Fuente put together the two-deep as if he would have his full roster available, but he expects an unspecified number of players listed won't be available on Saturday as the program continues to grapple with COVID-19 related issues. "We will not have a full roster," Fuente said. "I hope we are able to play. We still have three more tests this week, I mean we have one today, we got one Wednesday and we got one Friday. Taking it day by day."

Child welfare calls have plummeted during the pandemic

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

Beginning in April, child welfare calls from Virginia schools — usually the state's top reporter for cases of suspected abuse or neglect — dropped by about 98 percent. The Virginia Department of Social Services traced the sudden decline to statewide school closures in late March, which limited face-to-face interactions between students and teachers. Since then, calls have increased incrementally, but still haven't returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to Kristin Zagar, director of the agency's Division of Family Services.

Nonfatal opioid overdose ER visits increased by 123% in Richmond area during pandemic

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

While overall emergency room visits are down nearly 30% from last year, nonfatal opioid overdose visits at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center are up 123%, according to data from the Journal of the American Medical Association. Published Friday, the paper compares nonfatal opioid overdose visits at VCU Medical Center's emergency department between March and June of both 2019 and 2020. In 2020, visits increased from 102 to 227; nearly half of all patients were uninsured and 73% were male; 80% of patients were Black - up nearly 20% from 2019.

Pittsylvania County native announces bid for lieutenant governor

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

A Pittsylvania County native is running for lieutenant governor of Virginia. Xavier Warren, 32, a business owner who lives in Arlington, announced his bid Monday. "I'm not a politician," Warren told the Danville Register & Bee on Monday. "I'm not here to add to my career as a politician. I'm just a concerned Virginian like everyone else."

Planned BLM Road Mural Pulled After Anti-Abortion Mural Proposed


Organizers have abruptly called off a planned "Black Lives Matter" road mural on Richmond's East Grace Street. The non-profit Venture Richmond got approval from the city to paint a nearly 200-foot-long street mural last month. It would have been similar to other yellow "Black Lives Matter" murals that have been painted in places like Washington, D.C., Seattle and a host of other cities. But Mike Dickinson, a right-wing candidate for Richmond City Council, countered with an application to have a "Baby Lives Matter" mural painted in front of the Richmond Planned Parenthood on North Hamilton Street.

The Full Report
28 articles, 15 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.


Reported positive for COVID-19 in August, delegate returns to assembly after absence

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

Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg, reported positive for COVID-19 in late August, returned to the General Assembly on Monday after a publicly unexplained absence. The House has met intermittently, so Wright missed four floor sessions between Sept. 4 and Sept. 11. The House did not hold any full floor sessions last week. House Republican Caucus leaders have declined to answer questions about Wright's absence or medical status.


Xavier Warren, a lobbyist for nonprofits and an NFL player agent, announces Dem run for LG

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Xavier Warren, a partner in a lobbying firm that seeks grants for nonprofits, and an agent for NFL football players, is the latest Democratic candidate to join the running for lieutenant governor in 2021. Warren, 32, who was born in Danville and raised in Pittsylvania County, played football at Dan River High School, and at Hampton University, where he graduated cum laude before earning a master's degree in sports management from Georgetown University. He now lives in Arlington County.


Warner says he takes nothing for granted; challenger Gade confident he can win

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

Public opinion polls suggest a comfortable advantage for Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in his bid for re-election this fall, but after a close call in 2014 that saw the incumbent barely eke out a victory, his GOP challenger this time, Daniel Gade, is confident he can prevail. Gade, a U.S. Army veteran and public policy professor, is seeking to deny the former governor a third Senate term.

Pandemic Shifts Spanberger's Playbook on Door-Knocking


Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th) and her allies seemed to be in every nook and cranny of Virginia's 7th Congressional District in 2018, when she bested Republican Dave Brat by less than 7,000 votes. The campaign knocked on tens of thousands of doors in an effort to mobilize voters and energize volunteers; one supporter knocked 6,000 doors on her own. The coronavirus has dashed any plans to repeat that effort this year, with the campaign citing the pandemic-related risks of the tactic. Pundits say that could give an opening to Republicans like Spanberger's opponent, Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper).

Trump encourages voters to turn out for Bob Good, lays into Cameron Webb as 'radical Democrat'

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

In a call with Republican congressional candidate Bob Good and his supporters Sunday night, President Donald Trump blasted opponent Cameron Webb as a "radical Democrat puppet" and sought to generate excitement for Good's campaign. "Bob is going to help very much, and we need strong warriors like Bob," Trump said in a seven-minute phone call. Webb has been outraising Good and enjoying unified Democrats after a four-person primary, while Good has been struggling to raise money and still dealing with the fallout from an unusual drive-thru convention, where he ousted first-term Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson.

Wittman, Rashid exchange barbs in Monday night debate

By JAMES BARON, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican 1st District Rep. Rob Wittman and Democratic challenger Qasim Rashid exchanged barbs on numerous occasions Monday night during an hourlong virtual debate, hosted and organized by the University of Mary Washington. Because of COVID-19 concerns, the two candidates, each vying for Virginia's 1st Congressional District seat, participated remotely and addressed questions submitted online.


Virginia expands criteria for small business loans to help more businesses

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

A new grant program to help struggling small Virginia businesses is expanding its criteria in an effort to help more small businesses. Virginia launched the program called Rebuild VA last month to provide grants to small businesses that may not have had access to money from previous federal coronavirus relief programs.


Solar array planned for top of Dominion Energy garage in Richmond

By GREGORY J. GILLIGAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Dominion Energy wants to put a solar array on top of the parking garage at its Tredegar Street office complex along the north bank of the James River in downtown Richmond. Plans call for adding 1,400 solar panels on top of the five-story, 400-vehicle parking garage that is part of a complex of three office buildings at 120 Tredegar St. that the company has used as its corporate headquarters for the past 21 years.

Wintergreen Resort lays out plans for 2020-21 ski season

Nelson County Times

Hitting the slopes at Wintergreen Resort is going to look different this season, with social distancing, capacity limits and a mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter from General Manager Rod Kessler posted to Wintergreen's website, the resort is tentatively planning to open for the winter season Dec. 11 and will follow all local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations.


College Town Economies Suffer as Students Avoid Bars, Football Tailgating

By JUSTIN BAER, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

College students came back to Blacksburg, Va., last month, but so far many remain reluctant to fill the restaurants, shops and other local businesses that have helped insulate this southwestern Virginia town from past downturns. It is a bad sign for Blacksburg and other college towns that rely heavily on spending by students, alumni and their families. The coronavirus pandemic, which emptied out Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University along with hundreds of other U.S. colleges in March, still weighs on these local economies.

William & Mary criticized for copying Stanford's wording in announcing cuts of 7 sports

By MARTY O'BRIEN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

William & Mary's announcement on Sept. 3 that it was cutting seven of its 23 sports is being criticized for its similar, and in places verbatim, wording to a July letter from Stanford University announcing it was cutting 11 sports. W&M Director of Athletic Samantha K. Huge acknowledged in a statement on Friday that the Sept. 3 communication from her, W&M President Katherine Rowe and W&M Provost Peggy Agouris "clearly fell short of William & Mary's community standards" because it did not meet the goal to "emulate best practices, not imitate."

UVa athletics department reports 22 positive COVID-19 tests in latest round of testing

By BENNETT CONLIN, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The University of Virginia athletics department announced a COVID-19 testing update Monday, sharing that there were 22 positive tests out of the 703 tests administered to student-athletes and staff members last week. That's a positivity rate of 3.1%. UVa did not specify which sports the positive tests came from. Head football coach Bronco Mendenhall shared Monday that none of those positives come from within Virginia's football team.

JMU Students Not Optimistic About School's Reopening

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

By the second week of classes at James Madison University, sophomore Dylan Kellum of Burke tested positive for COVID-19. "I did everything I was supposed to," Kellum, 20, said outside JMU's D-Hall dining facility Monday. "I wore a mask everywhere, I tried not to eat inside and I still got it," the recovered COVID-19 patient said. "I don't think there's anything JMU can do in-person to stop [the virus] from spreading."

Despite pandemic, enrollment is up at Germanna Community College

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

Germanna Community College is continuing to see its enrollment numbers climb, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enrollment for the current fall semester is up 4 percent over last fall's numbers, Germanna announced Monday. Summer school enrollment was up 25 percent. This comes at a time when colleges and universities, many of which have seen declining enrollment for several years, are now struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Va. COVID-19 positivity rate falls to 5.7%

By SYDNEY LAKE, Va Business Magazine

The Virginia Department of Health reported 6,567 new COVID-19 cases last week and an increase of 278 deaths from the virus — a larger number than most weeks because of a backlog of death data that was entered since last Tuesday, VDH said. The state now has 141,138 cases and 3,021 fatalities, as of Sept. 21. The state's positivity rate is 5.7%, a significant decrease since Sept. 14, when it was 7.2%.


Norfolk Naval Shipyard's commanding officer relieved for loss of confidence

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

Norfolk Naval Shipyard's commander, Capt. Kai Torkelson, has been relieved of his post due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, Naval Sea Systems Command announced Monday evening. The announcement gave no further details. But NAVSEA spokesman Rory O'Connor told Navy Times that Torkelson's relief reflected a loss of confidence in his ability to fix underlying performance issues. Those performance issues affected Norfolk Naval Shipyard's ability to meet ship maintenance schedules, O'Connor added.


Loudoun Supervisors Look to Hurry Western Broadband

By RENSS GREENE, Loudoun Now

County supervisors have voted to hurry plans to expand broadband into western Loudoun as rural residents struggle with virtual learning and teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We've kind of reached a critical point, and an untenable impasse," said Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin), who led the initiative together with Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).

Manassas Tells Veteran to Remove American Flags He Put on Utility Poles


A Virginia man who thought he could boost morale during the pandemic was ordered to remove American flags he put on utility poles. Greg Neiss took it upon himself to put American flags on utility poles up and down his street in Manassas. "Before you know it, people were dropping money in my mailbox so I could go buy some flags," he said. Neiss put up more than a dozen flags before the city told him to stop and take them down.

Richmond families, teachers share concerns about length of virtual school day

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

Families and teachers who largely described feeling drained and concerned by a virtual school day they said stretches on too long wrote en masse to the Richmond School Board, ahead of Monday's meeting, hoping to affect change. School leaders prepared draft revisions after hearing an earful last week from families adjusting to classes that put children in front of screens while buildings remain closed to due to COVID-19, but the board did not vote.

Getting a grocer into Norfolk food desert hasn't been for lack of trying, broker and city say

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

It was pre-pandemic and Neal Sadler, a broker with S.L. Nusbaum, knew that the Save A Lot grocery store in the Norfolk shopping center he leased was on its way out, taking with it the only fresh food market option for many residents nearby. Sadler said he was close — this close — to having a new grocer move in when COVID-19 upended the world earlier this year.

Roanoke County elementary school classroom temporarily closes due to COVID-19

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

A single classroom at Oak Grove Elementary School in Roanoke County has temporarily closed "out of an abundance of caution" due to at least one positive COVID-19 case, according to letters notifying staff and families. The shutdown began Monday. One student and one staff member have tested positive, Roanoke County Public Schools spokesman Chuck Lionberger confirmed. He declined to say whether both cases were connected to the affected classroom.

Danville NAACP membership surges after visit from Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, more visibility in community

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Membership in the NAACP's Danville branch has more than doubled since early July. President Tommy Bennett attributes the rapid increase to a visit from Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and more community outreach. The branch had 93 members when Bennett became president in June. "We're up to 257 as of today," Bennett said Monday.



Has the sheriff of Culpeper County just given criminals an 'out'?

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

This would be a really good time to be a criminal in Culpeper County. Suppose you get caught — always a hazard of the criminal trade. There you are in court where an investigator from the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office is testifying about all the circumstantial evidence that led from the crime scene to you. You think you're done for; you're just a verdict away being sent to the big house.

Legislators abdicated power during pandemic

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

When there's an emergency—defined in the dictionary as a "serious, unexpected and often dangerous situation"—it's time for immediate action, not thoughtful reflection. But when does an emergency stop being an emergency and become a chronic condition that has to be managed instead? The General Assembly, or more specifically the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, had a chance last week to answer that question while reasserting the legislative branch's duty and prerogative to govern by curbing the executive branch's power to declare open-ended emergencies by passing a bill that would time-limit them to a maximum of 18 months.

Time to wash hands of fight

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

Gavin Grimm has moved on with his life in the six years since his use of the boys bathroom at Gloucester High School prompted the local school board to rule that school restrooms and locker rooms were reserved for students of the "corresponding biological genders." Now that a federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court's ruling that the board's policy is an unconstitutional violation of Grimm's rights, it's time for the Gloucester County School Board to let this controversy become history as an affirmation of equal rights for transgender Americans.

Community colleges continue to lead in setting expectations during COVID-19

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

For students and families, fall 2020 learning remains a work in progress. K-12 divisions across the Richmond region still are seeking the normalcy of full classrooms. Per a Virginia Public Access Project map, the city of Richmond and Henrico, Chesterfield and Goochland counties are among the localities with virtual learning for the first nine weeks.


Kilgore: The public option would be harmful to Virginians

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

Throughout Virginia, families are facing challenges few could have imagined. This is a time when the connection between the economic well-being of our communities and the health of our families is very clear. I believe that all Virginians deserve access to affordable health coverage, and in representing the 1st legislative district in Virginia's House of Delegates, I have supported commonsense steps to expand coverage and make care more affordable for people throughout the commonwealth.

Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, represents the 1st District in the Virginia House of Delegates

Invite Friends to read VaNews

Invite two friends to read VaNews and you'll receive VaViews, a weekly compilation of commentary from a variety of viewpoints.


You don't have any referrals yet.

Or use your personal referral link:

For questions email vanews@vpap.org.
Participation in the VaNews Referral Program constitutes your acceptance of the VPAP Terms and Conditions of Use.

This email was sent to va@PeninsulaTeaParty.org
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Virginia Public Access Project · P.O. Box 1472 · Richmond, VA 23218 · USA

No comments:

Post a Comment