Friday, September 4, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 4, 2020
Top of the News

Tensions flare as Virginia lawmakers debate police reforms

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press

Tensions flared Thursday as Virginia lawmakers took up a series of reforms that Republicans denounced as anti-police and Democrats insisted are long overdue. The Democratic-controlled House of Delegates advanced more than a half dozen police reform bills — including legislation to prohibit the use of chokeholds and no-knock search warrants, eliminate qualified immunity for police in state lawsuits and make it easier to decertify police officers for misconduct.

As special session drags on, Northam asks high court to extend evictions moratorium

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

Gov. Ralph Northam is again asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to halt eviction proceedings, as the General Assembly trudges forward with legislation to offer housing relief. Northam asked the court to extend its current evictions moratorium, which expires Sept. 7, until Oct. 1, pleading that lawmakers needed more time to address the issue.

Virginia expects to begin distributing $300-a-week unemployment supplement in late September

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

The Virginia Employment Commission said Thursday it expects to begin distributing $300-a-week in additional unemployment benefits in "about two and a half weeks," which would fall on the week of Sept. 20. Joyce Fogg, a spokeswoman for the commission, said in an email that text messages will go out to eligible recipients within the next week.

Kanye West for president? Not in Virginia, judge kicks rapper off ballot over fraud

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Kanye West can't be on Virginia's ballot as a presidential candidate, a judge ruled Thursday, saying people working on his petition effort committed fraud. The ruling came after several voters filed suit against the state Board of Elections to get West's name off the Nov. 3 ballot.

Virginia prepares to vaccinate millions once COVID-19 vaccine is approved

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

Virginia's health commissioner on Thursday said plans have been underway for months to figure out how to get a COVID-19 vaccine quickly to millions of people. "When we get the vaccine, we are going to be in an unprecedented effort to vaccinate millions of people in the commonwealth of Virginia to protect the population from this disease," Dr. Norman Oliver told the state's Board of Health during its quarterly meeting. "It will be a huge number of people we will be attempting to vaccinate in a very short time."

Financial crunch from COVID-19 causes William & Mary to cut seven sports

By JOHN O'CONNOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Falling in line with a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of William & Mary will eliminate seven sports for financial reasons, the school announced Thursday. Men's and women's gymnastics, men's and women's swimming, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball will be discontinued after this academic year.

New parking meters? Not quite -- Lynchburg installs 'caring' meters collecting coins for change

By RACHAEL SMITH, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

Peggy Nolley was vacationing last summer on Prince Edward Island in Canada when she saw what she first thought was a parking meter. Oddly enough, it wasn't in front of a parking spot but rather a bike rack, with a sign that said any change put into it would be donated to the area's homeless population. "I thought, 'That's such a great idea, we can do this in Lynchburg,'" Nolley said. "I knew right then and there that Lynchburg was a place caring enough and we could make this happen."

The Full Report
57 articles, 27 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.


Northam pushes for overdue electric bill forgiveness

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants Dominion Energy to cover unpaid residential electric bills with $320 million that regulators say the company previously overcharged. The governor is pushing for new budget language requiring the state's largest electric monopoly to return most of the $503 million that state regulators recently said Dominion had earned above authorized levels in 2017 through 2019.

Northam asks Va. Supreme Court to extend eviction moratorium again

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

Gov. Ralph Northam is once again asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to extend a temporary moratorium on evictions set to expire Monday, citing a later-than-expected end to the special legislative session and uncertainty about how the Trump administration's recently announced federal moratorium will be interpreted. "While my administration works with our federal counterparts to understand the implementation of the new CDC order, and while we continue to work with the General Assembly on protections that will enable more landlords and tenants to utilize rent relief funding, I write to seek additional time from this court," he wrote in a letter dated Thursday.


General Assembly scraps attempt at COVID-19 civil immunity for businesses

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

The Virginia General Assembly on Thursday scrapped bills to grant immunity from coronavirus liability lawsuits to businesses as they reopen, rehire employees and serve customers. The decision to discard the bills marked a win for labor groups that worried about eroding protections for workers and customers against contracting COVID-19.

Paid Quarantine Leave Bill Receives Committee Approval


The full House of Delegates will soon consider a proposal that requires employers to provide two weeks of paid quarantine leave for workers exposed to COVID-19. The legislation, proposed by Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William), also affects workers caring for a family member diagnosed with the coronavirus disease.

Differing legislation to create local police oversight panels advances in House, Senate

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

Legislation intended to boost community oversight over local police departments moved ahead in the Virginia House and Senate on Thursday, but vastly different approaches mean the chambers will have to reconcile their differences to enact legislation. The House of Delegates on Thursday cleared a bill that would require localities in Virginia to create panels by July 1, 2021, with the power to investigate and take disciplinary action against police officers facing complaints of wrongdoing.

Virginia delegate recounts nephew's critical wounding by 'non-lethal' round at Texas protest

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

A bill to govern training and use of non-lethal weapons by police to control protests hit close to home for Del. Cliff Hayes, D-Chesapeake, whose 20-year-old nephew was critically wounded by a "bean bag" round fired at him mistakenly during an anti-racism protest in Texas at the end of May. He told his colleagues Thursday that Justin Howell, a student at Texas State University, suffered a fractured skull and brain damage after police fired a so-called "non-lethal" munition during a protest at the University of Texas in Austin on May 31 after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota.

Virginia schools set to lose another $95 million in funding

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

Virginia schools are set to lose another $95 million in funding this year due to revisions in the state budget related to declining sales tax revenue. Districts in Hampton Roads would lose $10 million or more.

House advances state version of Breonna's Law to final vote Friday

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

The House of Delegates gave a tentative nod of approval to a bill banning no-knock search warrants in Virginia, clearing the way for its expected passage Friday along party lines. Most of the debate in Thursday's virtual meeting involved two lawmakers — the bill's sponsor, Del. Lashrecse D. Aird, D-Petersburg; and Del. William A. Wampler III, R-Washington County.


Richmond judge orders Kanye West removed from Virginia presidential ballot

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

A Richmond judge ruled Thursday that state elections officials should bar rapper and entrepreneur Kanye West from Virginia's presidential ballot. Circuit Judge Joi Taylor found that 11 of the elector oaths West submitted "were obtained by improper, fraudulent or misleading means" or are otherwise invalid because of notary violations and misconduct.

Judge orders Kanye West off Virginia ballot

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

A Circuit Court judge ordered state officials to remove independent presidential candidate Kanye West from the Virginia ballot Thursday, granting an emergency order sought by two voters who said they were duped into helping the rapper-entrepreneur qualify for the ballot. Circuit Court Judge Joi Jeter Taylor made the ruling in a lawsuit filed this week by Matthan Wilson and Bryan Wright, who sued state elections officials for putting West on the ballot but faced their only opposition from West, whose attorney petitioned to intervene in the case.

Sen. Mark Warner swings through Hampton Roads, says Virginians on financial ledge from COVID-19

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

After a swing Thursday through Hampton Roads, taking him from Virginia Beach to Smithfield, Sen. Mark Warner says he's going back to Washington with a message from Virginians for his senate colleagues: "Let's cut the baloney and get a real deal" to help people and businesses still reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19, he said.

Betts lays out vision for 6th district in bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Cline

By JUSTIN FAULCONER, Amherst New Era Progress

Wearing an American flag- decorated mask, Democratic challenger Nicholas Betts during a recent visit to Amherst laid out his platform for his bid to defeat U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-6th District, in the Nov. 3 election. Betts, who seeks to deny Cline a second term, told the gathering at the Monroe Community Center on Aug. 25 he believes residents of the district, which includes Amherst County, are fired up, motivated and ready for a change he believes will carry the Democratic ticket to victory.

Election officials work to ensure a safe, secure vote

By RICH GRISET, Chesterfield Observer

Whenever he's asked how he's doing these days, Chris Piper has a stock answer. "I don't know," responds the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections. "You ever try to put on an election in a pandemic?" It's more than a question of having enough hand sanitizer and face masks at polling locations this November.


New jobless claims fall for second week across Virginia

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

The number of initial unemployment claims filed by Virginians has fallen for the second week in a row, according to data released Thursday from the Virginia Employment Commission. The agency said 9.9% fewer new claims, a total of 10,305, were filed last week. Initial claims are the first step for workers who have been laid off or furloughed.

Hampton Roads has been filling more of its hotel rooms than San Diego, Orlando, Hawaii

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

The door to each room is sealed shut with a sticker, not as some sort of movie-style trap to detect a burglar, but to guarantee to those staying the night that no one else has dared enter since it was cleaned. It's just one of the steps the new Tru by Hilton Norfolk Airport hotel is taking since it opened six months into a global health pandemic that still keeps many people closer to home and on the ground, eschewing air travel for road trips.

Medical workers protest outside Hampton VA center as union fights proposed contract changes

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

Chanting "union busting is disgusting" a group of medical workers clustered at their lunch hour Thursday outside the Hampton VA Medical Center to rally for a fair union contract. It's not a new fight, but it's a battle the American Federation of Government Workers, Local 2328 vow to continue against the Department of Veterans Affairs until change happens.

Solar alliance to bring jobs to Southwest Virginia

Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia on Wednesday announced a partnership with Secure Futures to provide commercial-scale solar installations in the coalfield region that will employ local workers, according to a news release. The initiative, "Securing Solar For Southwest Virginia," will provide affordable solar solutions for businesses, nonprofits and local governments in the seven-county region, while building local workforce skills and opportunities for well-paying jobs in the growing solar energy sector, the release states.


Virginia rail deal on track with completion of environmental planning for new Potomac River crossing

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

Environmental planning is complete for a new rail crossing of the Potomac River that is essential to Virginia's plan to provide hourly passenger rail service between Richmond and Washington in the next decade. Virginia and District of Columbia transportation officials announced on Thursday the completion of a final environmental impact statement for construction of two railroad tracks and a pedestrian bridge across the Potomac next to Long Bridge, a 116-year-old river crossing owned by CSX Corp. that has become a choke point for passenger trains on the East Coast.


UVa students begin to move in amid controversy over in-person classes

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

Marking the beginning of an unusual — and controversial — semester, University of Virginia students and their families were in good spirits Thursday as first-years started moving into dormitories. The students are moving in at staggered dates and times in a bid by the university to reduce human contact and the potential spread of COVID-19. Masks were required during the move-in process and all students living in university housing will be required to agree to follow UVa's COVID-19 policy.

Leaders project confidence as Virginia Tech enters 'crucial' weeks of pandemic

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

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and local leaders on Thursday projected confidence that the university will see COVID-19 cases taper off after an initial surge that could last weeks. "If we're really careful and diligent, we're going to get through this in a few weeks. And in a few months, we should hopefully put this behind us," Sands said.

As virus cases mount, who's overseeing Virginia universities?

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

As colleges and universities across Virginia reopen their campuses to students — leading, in some cases, to surging cases of COVID-19 — many have done so with plans that weren't vetted by the Virginia Department of Health or even, in some cases, their local health departments. Dr. Laurie Forlano, VDH's deputy commissioner for population health, told the Mercury that the agency's central office in Richmond did not review college reopening plans prior to students' arrival for the fall semester.

William & Mary eliminates 7 sports to fix budget issues

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

Citing a dramatic growth in athletic department costs and projected budget deficits, William & Mary announced Thursday it will eliminate seven of its 23 varsity sports, effective at the end of the 2020-21 academic year. The sports affected are men's and women's gymnastics, men's and women's swimming, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball. The cuts, which are final, are the only permanent changes the school expects to make regarding varsity sports.

'It's a ticking time bomb': Students consider the decision to return to on-Grounds housing

By PATRICK RONEY, Cavalier Daily

As the University welcomes back students, Resident Advisors are tasked with ensuring that students adhere to University guidelines in order to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19. However, with the University committing to an in-person semester, some RAs feel uncomfortable with current policies and the lack of agency given to them.

VCU provides vending machines with free masks, sanitizer


Students returning to campus this fall will find vending machines stocked full of snacks, sodas, and now personal protective equipment, too. The machines located throughout Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University are filled with masks and hand sanitizer and soon, wipes. The supplies are available to students and employees for free, with a once a month limit per each product.


Virginia reports 1,126 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths Thursday

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

The Virginia Department of Health reported 1,126 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the state's tally to 123,668. At least 2,652 Virginians have died from the virus as of Thursday morning, an increase of 11 from Wednesday.

With large jump in Smyth County cases, health district no longer providing active case numbers

By JASMINE FRANKS, Bland County Messenger

Smyth and Washington counties have seen the largest jumps in novel coronavirus case counts within the Virginia Department of Health's Mount Rogers Health District this month. Smyth County recorded 146 new cases of the virus since the end of July, bringing its total case count to 253 on Friday. Washington County, which saw 175 new cases this month, now totals 345.

Galax sees improvement in COVID-19 cases

By BRIAN FUNK, Galax Gazette

At the height of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Galax this summer, there were about 8.2 cases per day on average, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Now, the VDH says there is an average of one case or less per day in the city. State health officials have said this is due in part to people taking the virus more seriously and practicing social distancing. Statewide and locally, the downward trend began when more businesses started requiring patrons to wear masks.

Mt. Rogers Health District urges church precautions to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks

Carroll News

The Mount Rogers Health District is alerting the public about the potential for COVID-19 outbreaks in churches and other faith-based settings. There have been multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in houses of worship throughout the district. Recently, one outbreak associated with a church has recorded more than 40 associated COVID-19 cases.

Ballad officials warn against misunderstanding CDC report

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

People shouldn't dismiss a recent Centers for Disease Control report showing that 94% of those who died from COVID-19 had other health issues, because many in this region suffer from those same conditions, Ballad Health officials said Wednesday. Released last week, the report showed about 6% of the 162,000 U.S. residents who died of COVID-19 since March had just the novel coronavirus, while the remainder also had influenza, pneumonia, respiratory failure, hypertensive disease, diabetes, cardiac arrest, heart or kidney failure and a host of other medical conditions.

Thousands of Local Child Care Centers Closed Due to COVID-19


Nearly 4,500 local child care centers are closed, some permanently, six months into the COVID-19 crisis, according to a News4 I-Team investigation. Safety restrictions, reduced enrollment and growing costs have knocked child care businesses out of commission regionwide, according to interviews and records reviewed by the I-Team. Though some operators hope to reopen, a number of local child care businesses said they are operating at a loss and risk closing next year.


Judge: I-64 Confederate flagpole is not a monument

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

A flagpole bearing a Confederate battle flag visible from Interstate 64 is not a monument, according to an opinion from a Louisa County circuit judge. The judge's decision follows an Aug. 21 court hearing in which the plaintiffs, who are appealing an earlier decision by Louisa's Board of Zoning Appeals, argued that the flagpole was part of a monument to a Confederate soldier buried nearby.

Portsmouth prosecutor fights effort to subpoena her in Confederate monument case

By ANA LEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Portsmouth's top prosecutor is fighting an effort by the city's police department to subpoena her as a witness in the felony cases filed against state Sen. Louise Lucas and more than a dozen others after a June protest at Portsmouth's Confederate monument. In a motion filed Thursday in Portsmouth General District Court, Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales asked a judge to quash the requested subpoena.

Removal of Albemarle's Confederate soldier statue is set for Sept. 12

By ALLISON WRABEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Albemarle County's Confederate soldier statue in Court Square is slated to be removed Sept. 12. Around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, deep into the county Board of Supervisors' regular meeting, county staff outlined the process by which the statue will be taken down. The board voted in August to remove the life-sized bronze likeness of a Confederate soldier, two cannons and a pile of cannonballs.

Battle over courtroom portrait of Robert E. Lee renewed in Louisa County

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

A judge is expected to rule soon on a request to remove the portrait of Robert E. Lee from its prominent position in a Louisa County courtroom. Initiated in 2018, the effort predates many of the current attempts in Richmond and across Virginia to remove monuments and other public memorials honoring the general and other Confederate figures. Lawyers for Darcel Murphy, a Black man facing a capital murder trial in Louisa County Circuit Court beginning Sept. 28, are asking a second time that Circuit Court Judge Timothy K. Sanner have the portrait and other Confederate displays be removed or that the trial be held elsewhere.

Fate of monument to be decided by Mathews voters in 2021

By CHARLIE KOENIG, Gazette-Journal

The fate of the Confederate monument in Mathews will be placed in the hands of county voters. By a 5-0 vote Wednesday night, the Mathews County Board of Supervisors decided it will petition the circuit court to have the matter placed on the November 2021 ballot.

Behind a father-and-son protest, a history of laughter and struggle

By MICHAEL LARIS, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Two Black women in a Hyundai honked their support. A White man in a Prius raised his fist in solidarity. An ambulance blared its piercing whoop-whoop in their direction. And Leteane Monatsi's cheeks lifted from the smile behind his sagging surgical mask and Washington Nationals cap. The look on Monatsi's face as he sat protesting in his wheelchair on the Northern Virginia street corner suggested nothing of his struggle to get there.


Loudoun County Public Library board chairman resigns after childcare program controversy

By NATHANIEL CLINE, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Denis Cotter has resigned as a chairman and member of the Loudoun County Library Board of Trustees following the Board of Supervisors' decision to use two libraries to expand the county's childcare services. The Board of Supervisors, Library Board of Trustees and members of senior leadership in county administration and library administration were notified of Cotter's resignation by email at 4:17 p.m., according to Pete O'Brien, communications manager for the public library system.

Loudoun County High School announces Captains as new mascot

By JOHN BATTISTON, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Captains will be the new face of Loudoun County High School, school system officials announced Wednesday night. Members of the LCHS community were able to watch the mascot reveal ceremony, which occurred on the school's campus at 8:30 p.m., via live-stream. ...The change comes after the Loudoun County School Board on June 29 voted unanimously to remove the former Raider mascot due to its Confederate roots. A segregated, all-white student body chose the former mascot in the 1950s, paying homage to Mosby's Raiders, a squad of Confederate soldiers led by John Mosby.

Richmond schools complete new buildings, hand keys to principals

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

Jonathan Rodriguez came face to face on Thursday with Cardinal Elementary, a brand new school he'd be walking into for the first time when classes launch next week, were it not for the pandemic. He liked what he saw. "I am very excited about my new school. It's big, new, and beautiful," Rodriguez told School Board members and others gathered to celebrate the school's completion.

Schools to receive $28M in CARES Act funding

By JIM MCCONNELL, Chesterfield Observer

As the Chesterfield School Board continues to evaluate COVID-19 health metrics and thousands of local families prepare for the first day of school next Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors has provided an infusion of new funding to support virtual learning and accommodate an eventual return to in-person instruction. The board voted unanimously at its Aug. 26 meeting to allocate $28.1 million, or about 45% of the county's total appropriation of federal coronavirus relief funding, to Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Stafford supervisors reaffirm support to keep and bear arms

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

Stafford County supervisors have adopted a resolution to reaffirm their support for residents and visitors to keep and bear arms. The resolution is in response to gun-control measures signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Ralph Northam that give localities the ability to prohibit firearms and ammunition from such facilities as government buildings, parks and community centers, as well as sidewalks and public rights-of-way.

Authorities investigating death of woman in back of Spotsylvania patrol cruiser

By SCOTT SHENK, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

An investigation is underway after a woman died of what authorities say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound while being transported by Spotsylvania County Sheriff's deputies in a patrol car. It happened as the sheriff's cruiser was leaving Mary Washington Hospital early Monday morning, according to the Virginia State Police.

Lexington council votes Stonewall Jackson cemetery name change into law

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

Lexington City Council made the name change from Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery to Oak Grove Cemetery official during Thursday night's regular meeting. With a unanimous vote, council adopted a new law that makes the change part of the city code.

Supervisors agree to let law-abiding residents carry guns on county property

By STAFF REPORT, Greene County Record

The Greene County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted 4-0 to not impose any new gun restrictions in public areas for law-abiding citizens even though a new law passed by the General Assembly allows localities to create such ordinances. At-Large Supervisor Dale Herring was not present for the meeting. Ruckersville Supervisor Davis Lamb offered the resolution, endorsed by the Greene County Republican Committee, Greene County Sheriff Steve Smith and Greene County Commonwealth's Attorney Edwin Consolvo at the board's regular Aug. 25 meeting.

Guilty pleas set aside for 1 year for former member of Patrick County School Board

By BILL WYATT, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Judge Marcus Brinks has taken under advisement guilty pleas from a former chair of the Patrick County School Board on felony charges of election fraud and forging a public document and will review the case again next June. Records on file with the Patrick County Circuit Court Clerk's office have remained clear of any details on the matter, but Ronnie Neal Terry admitted, after he was indicted almost a year ago, of committing a "foolish mistake."

Gloucester board affirms 2nd Amendment rights

By TYLER BASS, Gazette-Journal

The Gloucester Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night to approve a resolution designed to protect the rights of gun owners, by stating the county would not enforce the recent gun restriction laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly. During the meeting at the T.C. Walker Education Center, chairman Phillip Bazzani presented a resolution to support Gloucester County residents' right to bear arms. Bazzani's resolution was brought after the General Assembly approved gun restriction laws that came into effect on July 1.

Danville officials sign development agreement with Caesars for casino

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

It's official — almost. Representatives with the city of Danville and Caesars Entertainment signed a development agreement Thursday afternoon for a casino resort to be built and operated at Schoolfield. But citizens must approve the project at the ballot box on Nov. 3 before it can happen.

BVU seeks millions in past due rent

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

BVU Authority claims it owns Bristol Virginia City Hall and wants a court to order the city to pay millions of dollars in past rent, as part of its response to the city's recent lawsuit. The city is seeking $6.5 million from BVU for the city's "share" of proceeds from the $48 million sale of BVU's OptiNet telecommunications division in 2018, citing a transition agreement signed by both parties. City and BVU officials have sparred for some time over what, if anything, the city is owed.



The election begins

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

In "Lord of the Rings," there's a scene where the grim-faced King Theoden of Rohan looks out over the army of orcs gathered outside his gates at Helm's Deep. He utters a phrase that has become a popular, all-purpose meme on social media: "So it begins." Today, we get our chance to appropriate that line. So it begins. In our case, the context is voting in the presidential election. Notice we didn't say in November's presidential election. We no longer have a singular Election Day.

Gas taxes are for roads

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

On July 1, a new 5-cent-a-gallon gas tax passed by a bipartisan majority during the General Assembly's regular session went into effect, raising the statewide gas tax from 16.2 cents per gallon to 21.2 cents per gallon (an increase of 31 percent). So why are state officials now warning that they will have to reduce transportation funding by $750 million in the commonwealth's biennial budget? Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many daily commuters started working from home, so the net effect has been a $122 million decrease in gas tax collections during the fiscal year ending June 30.

Legislative assault on first responders

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

Certain members of the Virginia Senate must have been cooped up too long during the COVID-19 lockdown, or else they are pandering to "activists" who demand an end to police abuse, but not abuse against the police. Senate Bill 5032, introduced by Sen. Scott Surovell, D–Mount Vernon, would eliminate the mandatory six-month minimum prison sentence for assault and battery not only on police officers, but also on "a judge; magistrate; correctional officer; person directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of inmates; firefighter; or volunteer firefighter or any emergency medical services personnel."

Jerry Falwell Jr. did not fall well

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

It seems almost cruel to heap coals on Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced former president and (we thought) emperor for life of Liberty University. Almost. Sure, he made it too easy. He was a 50-pound catfish in a very small barrel, and he gave us a fully loaded semi-automatic, then dared us to fire away. An alleged voyeuristic threesome with your wife and the pool boy? Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert must be muttering to themselves, "Dang, I never thought of that."

Halting evictions only addresses half the problem

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

In the movies, it's easy to resolve landlord/tenant issues. Don Vito Corleone steps in and makes the hard-hearted landlord an offer he can't refuse. "The rent stays," says the chastened landlord, "like before." Wait, no, I'll reduce it, the landlord promises. The Don smiles and shakes his hand. In Godfather II, it seems like a fair outcome. The Don wins our admiration because, gee, the poor old widow deserves a break. In the real world, it's not so simple.


Politifact: Nick Freitas' Record on Pre-Existing Conditions


Democrats have launched a TV ad accusing Nick Freitas, the Republican congressional candidate in Virginia's 7th District, of seeking to undermine insurance protections for people with preexisting conditions. The ad, sponsored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, features black-and-white photos of Freitas, ominous -sounding piano notes, and footage of an elderly person in a wheelchair, then a young girl sleeping in bed. . . . What caught our attention was the second part of the sentence, that Freitas "supports a plan letting insurance companies deny coverage for preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes." We decided to fact check it.


Gorog: Reconsider artificial reef plan for Lynnhaven Inlet

By COLBY GOROG, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Blunt trauma to head, massive hemorrhaging from right arm, eyes fixed and dilated, no respiratory effort. This may sound like the language of a paramedic, but it will soon be the language of the Lynnhaven Inlet, as the city of Virginia Beach moves forward with a project that will put our friends and family at risk. In an inlet with notoriously shallow water the city of Virginia Beach and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to build an artificial reef, but it will look more like a naval mine field.

Gorog has been a Virginia Beach resident for 23 years. He is a student at Columbia University and a former Army Ranger.


'But I Saw It on Facebook': Hoaxes Are Making Doctors' Jobs Harder

By SEEMA YASMIN AND CRAIG SPENCER, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

The news came from a colleague — not a doctor but someone who works in the emergency room and has seen firsthand the devastation caused by the pandemic. "There is a cure for Covid-19," he said. "It must be true because a doctor friend shared a Facebook post about this cure." When confronted with the latest, credible scientific evidence — that there is no cure for Covid-19, that the disease has killed more than 180,000 Americans precisely because we have no effective way of averting death for the millions who are infected — he doubled down. "But I saw it on Facebook," he said.

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