Saturday, September 26, 2020

Special Saturday Edition

September 26, 2020
Top of the News

Trump attacks Northam, pledges 'heavy play' for Virginia

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

In his first campaign appearance in Virginia this year, President Donald Trump told the state's voters Friday night that only by voting for him "can you save your country," and he launched a wide-ranging attack on Gov. Ralph Northam. Trump promised voters gathered at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport to more actively campaign in the state, where he has so far spent little time and money. "We're going to put a heavy play in for Virginia. We're going to win this state," he said.

Virginia governor, wife test positive for coronavirus

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that he and his wife have both tested positive for the coronavirus, though he said he is showing no symptoms. He's among four governors around the country who have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, but one of the others turned out to be a false positive. Northam and his wife, who has mild symptoms, plan to isolate for the next 10 days, and the governor will fulfill his duties while working remotely, according to a statement from his office.

Fredericksburg officials who hosted first lady this week 'shell-shocked' to learn she tested positive for virus

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

Shawn Calaman wonders why Virginia first lady Pamela Northam was allowed to tour the preschool his son attends when parents haven't been able to enter the building since March, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "I guess the photo opportunity was worth more than protecting our kids," said Calaman, whose 3-year-old suffers from the aftermath of a respiratory viral infection. "I think the whole reason for her tour was just publicity and media attention."

Amid massive covid-19 outbreak, Virginia prisons accused of failing inmates again

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

Askia Asmar has filled out request after request — roughly 15 in all — asking officials at Virginia's Deerfield Correctional Center for proper care for health problems including lung and liver cancer, diabetes and hepatitis C, according to a sworn statement. His treatment has not only been scattershot, Asmar says. The 67-year-old prisoner, who is in a high-risk category for ­covid-19, also claims in a statement provided to the American Civil Liberties Union that he was left in a unit where there was a coronavirus outbreak this month.

Virginia lawmakers weigh budget proposals


House and Senate budget writers presented their proposed amendments to Gov. Ralph Northam's retooled spending plan Friday. Here's a first look at where the two chambers landed on funding for schools, criminal justice reform, evictions and past-due utility bills. The legislation is on its way to the floor of each chamber for an initial vote then lawmakers from the House and Senate will meet to work out the differences between their proposals.

Mountain Valley Pipeline regains permit to cross streams, wetlands

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

A path across nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands was cleared Friday for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued three permits for the natural gas pipeline being built in Virginia and West Virginia, nearly two years after they were invalidated by a federal appeals court. "Effective immediately, you may resume all activities being done in reliance upon the authorization" first given in January 2018, William Walker, chief of the Army Corps' regulatory branch in Norfolk, wrote in a letter to Mountain Valley.

The Cutty Sark, maybe the last great Ocean View waterfront dive, closes this week after 60 years

By MATTHEW KORFHAGE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

At the Cutty Sark Marina and Grill, it looks a little like everyone bought tickets to jump into the bay. On a Friday evening in the golden hour before twilight, there's a crowd lined up the whole length of a narrow dock in Norfolk's East Beach, booze invariably in hand. Even near low tide, the waters of Little Creek wobble perilously close to the boards. The old crowd has all come out to pay their last respects to the Cutty Sark, which will close after about 60 years of burgers and boats. But the Cutty is already too full to accept them, precisely half-packed with celebrants during the pandemic.

The Full Report
38 articles, 22 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.


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pam, test positive for coronavirus

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

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pam, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the governor said Friday. The two were tested Thursday afternoon after they learned Wednesday that a member of Northam's official residence staff, who works in the governor's mansion in Richmond, had developed symptoms and tested positive. Ralph Northam wasn't experiencing any symptoms, but Pam Northam was experiencing "mild" symptoms, according to a press release Friday morning.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, wife test positive for coronavirus

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

Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela Northam, announced Friday that they both tested positive for the novel coronavirus and plan to isolate for 10 days in the governor's mansion, where he will continue working as the state's chief executive. Northam (D) is experiencing no symptoms and the first lady's are mild, his office said.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, first lady Pam Northam test positive for COVID-19

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

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and first lady Pam Northam tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday afternoon, the administration announced Friday. Northam, the only physician among the nation's governors, is experiencing no symptoms, while his wife is experiencing mild symptoms, the administration said in a news release. Both will isolate for the next 10 days.

Nelson officials who hosted governor this week say safety measures made risk of transmission 'negligible'

By NICK CROPPER, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

After the news Gov. Ralph Northam and first lady Pamela Northam tested positive for COVID-19, Nelson County officials said they took appropriate safety measures when hosting the governor at a ceremony for the nearly-completed Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton on Wednesday. Given the enforcement of safety protocols at the event, which included wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, Director of Economic Development and Tourism Maureen Kelly said she felt the risk of any transmission of the virus for the few Nelson County officials who interacted directly with the governor were "Negligible simply because those protocols were followed."


Assembly's money committees adopt competing spending plans amid pandemic

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

Almost six weeks into a special session of the General Assembly called to revise the state budget, the legislature's money committees adopted a pair of competing two-year spending plans on Friday that rely heavily on federal emergency aid for the COVID-19 pandemic, while proposing targeted investments in K-12 and higher education, child care, behavioral health, Medicaid services and protections for the most vulnerable Virginians.

Virginia lawmakers unveil new budget plans

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginia lawmakers unveiled budget proposals Friday aimed at mitigating the effects of the coronavirus with funding for mental health services, high-speed internet access, and assistance for people behind on rent and utilities. The House of Delegates and the state Senate advanced their own spending plans out of committees that also included new funding for criminal justice proposals being considered in an ongoing special special legislative session that started last month.

General Assembly moves forward new budget priorities

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

More than six months after the General Assembly adjourned with a biennium budget, legislators are closer to adopting a new state spending plan to consider lost revenues and new priorities brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees tasked with writing the budget unveiled new and revised spending measures Friday, six weeks after the legislature went into a special session to primarily focus on coming up with a new budget.

Democrats Cancel Key Fundraiser Following Northam's Positive Test


Top Democratic lawmakers cancelled a marquee annual fundraiser set for Saturday following Gov. Ralph Northam's announcement that he'd tested positive for COVID-19. It's unclear if the event cancellation, which was relayed to lawmakers Friday afternoon, was related to the governor's positive COVID-19 test result. Spokespersons for the Democratic caucus in the Senate and House of Delegates declined to comment beyond confirming the cancellation.


Trump rallies thousands in Newport News: 'The best is yet to come'

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

Before a large crowd that gathered enthusiastically despite warnings from health officials, President Donald Trump made a pitch to Virginia and North Carolina voters for four more years. There has never been a more important election, he said. "The best is yet to come," Trump said. "Together we are taking back our country." Following an unexpected surprise appearance from Vice President Mike Pence, "the heavy artillery," Trump walked off Air Force One to address a crowd of thousands that gathered on the tarmac at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport Friday night.

Trump Again Says He Would Welcome a 'Smooth' Transition. But He Has Conditions.

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

President Trump said Friday night that he would welcome "a smooth, beautiful transition" of power after the election in November but that he would lose only if Democrats cheated — and that "we're not going to stand for it" if they did. Mr. Trump's comments to cheering supporters at an outdoor rally in Newport News, Va., were his latest intimation that he might mount an unprecedented effort to stay in power after an electoral defeat and lead the nation into uncharted waters at a moment marked by civil strife.

Hundreds gather at Newport News airport ahead of Trump rally

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

President Donald Trump was scheduled to arrive at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport at 8:50 p.m. Doors were set to open at 6 p.m. People started lining up long before that. Vance and Rose Field drove from their home in Yorktown around 10 a.m. to "scope out" the scene and get a good parking spot. So they did, then went about their day before taking an Uber to the airport and tailgating with a friend, Clay Schreiber.

At least 1,400 Virginia voters get duplicate absentee ballots amid rush to meet high demand, officials say

By ANTONIO OLIVIO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

At least 1,400 Virginia voters have received duplicate absentee ballots in recent weeks because of clerical errors, but election officials said Friday only one ballot per voter would be counted. Officials in Fairfax County, the state's largest jurisdiction, said a printing problem with absentee-ballot address labels led election workers to inadvertently mail out extra ballots to as many as 1,000 county voters.

Trump says he's extending offshore drilling ban off Virginia, North Carolina coasts


At a campaign rally in Newport News, President Donald Trump announced he would be extending a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina. The move comes after Trump extended and expanded the ban on new offshore drilling sites off the Florida coast as well as Georgia and South Carolina, earlier in the month.

Trump signs 'born alive' executive order


President Trump signed an executive order Friday ordering the Health and Human Services Department to ensure that federally funded facilities provide life-saving medical care for infants who survive abortions....The issue featured prominently in Trump's political messaging after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam indicated in 2018 that doctors should be able to refuse life-saving care to infants who survive abortions. Focusing on abortion will likely boost Trump's standing among social conservatives as he prepares to nominate another Supreme Court justice.


Inmates, staff, quarantined in COVID-19 outbreak at jail

By EVAN GOODENOW, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Twelve inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus at the regional jail earlier this month are quarantining there with none seriously ill, according to Superintendent James F. Whitley. They are the first inmates at the jail to test positive since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March. Ten staff, all of whom were asymptomatic, have also tested positive at the jail, officially known as the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

New Boss at Embattled Jail Asks for More Time Before Review


The newest superintendent of the Riverside Regional Jail says he's turning the facility around after years of problems. In 2019, the Virginia Department of Corrections put the prison on a three year probation following two suicides in 2017. This past June, 35 positive cases of COVID-19 were reported at the jail. On Wednesday, Larry Leabough appeared before the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to introduce himself and answer questions about the facility. He's the sixth superintendent in three years, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Lynchburg-area voices provide input on Virginia's African American history curriculum

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

Students across Virginia could soon see a more thorough and accurate education of African American history, thanks to recommendations made by the African American History Education Commission. Crystal DeLong, history teacher at Liberty High School in Bedford County Public Schools, served as a member of the commission, established in August 2019, and said she hopes changes to the state's African American history curriculum helps Black students across the commonwealth feel better represented. "No child should ever feel like their history is not represented," DeLong said.


Luria's bill to boost disabled veterans' benefits heads to President Trump for signature

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

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, to boost disabled veterans' benefits has passed the Senate and is on its way to the White House. Luria's bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase payments of veterans' disability compensation, as well as additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.


William & Mary president apologizes, plans to open a discussion about cut sports

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

College of William & Mary President Katherine Rowe and Rector John Littel sent a message to those in the college community voicing increasing opposition to the school's decision to eliminate seven varsity sports following the 2020-21 academic year: "We hear you." Rowe and Littel spoke at the Board of Visitors meeting Friday at the Alumni House. Two days earlier in the same room, 72 people — many of them student-athletes affected by the cuts — vented their disappointment at the decision, or vented their anger about a lack of transparency in its formulation, during a Board of Visitors Listening Session.

Trinkle and Maury halls at William & Mary to be renamed immediately

By ERIN ZAGURSKY & BRIAN WHITSON, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily (Metered paywall - 3 articles per month)

William & Mary's Board of Visitors on Friday adopted a set of principles and imperatives for the naming and renaming of structures and spaces on campus. The principles were developed by a working group of students, faculty, staff and alumni that was established this summer by university President Katherine A. Rowe in response to a charge from Rector John E. Littel P '22.

Betsy DeVos announces $17.7 million for small business program at Hampton University

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

The U.S. Department of Education is setting aside $17.7 million in coronavirus relief funds for a new small business incubator at Hampton University. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the grant in a visit to campus Friday morning. Virginia is one of eight states that won part of over $126 million set aside for workforce programs as part of the federal government's COVID-19 response.

Liberty University plans to send 2,200 students to D.C. for prayer march

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

Liberty University plans to send nearly 2,200 students to Washington, D.C., on Saturday to take part in a prayer march organized by Franklin Graham, an evangelical leader with close ties to the conservative religious institution. Acting Liberty President Jerry Prevo said the students will join about 50,000 marchers who will travel along the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol building, occasionally pausing at individual memorials to pray.

COVID tests show positive for 16 students at Hancock residence hall

By STAFF REPORT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

More than a dozen students living in the Hancock Residence Hall at the University of Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be moved into isolation housing, university officials announced Friday afternoon. Officials said 16 students, including six pairs of roommates, tested positive.

U.Va. identifies 16 cases of COVID-19 in Hancock dorm, will retest Hancock and Balz-Dobie

By ZACH ROSENTHAL, Cavalier Daily

Residents of the Hancock residence hall were notified Friday afternoon that the University has identified 16 cases of COVID-19 in the building, per an email from Provost Liz Magill and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis. According to a separate statement from the University, the cases were identified through a combination of wastewater testing, prevalence testing and testing at Student Health. According to Friday's email to residents, prevalence testing identified seven of the 16 cases, and 12 students were identified as roommates. 115 students live in the building, meaning 14 percent of residents tested positive.


Virginia COVID-19 cases rise by 941 from Thursday

By STAFF REPORT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The Virginia Department of Health reported Friday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 144,433 — an increase of 941 from the 143,492 reported Thursday. The 144,433 cases consist of 137,283 confirmed cases and 7,150 probable cases. There are 3,136 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 2,930 confirmed and 206 probable. That's an increase of 23 from the 3,113 reported Thursday.

Henrico is first Va. locality to hold jury trials after being halted statewide in March due to pandemic

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

When a Henrico County jury was seated recently to decide a criminal case for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, the courtroom environment was vastly different from what their predecessors experienced before the pandemic triggered a statewide prohibition on jury trials more than six months ago. Each juror was outfitted with a cloth face mask and plastic face shield. toThey sat in a jury box with plexiglass barriers that walled off each seat.

St. Catherine's School to remain closed two weeks after party, two positive coronavirus cases

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

High school students at St. Catherine's School remained at home this week and won't return to campus for an additional week following an off-campus party attended by dozens of students, two of whom later tested positive for the coronavirus. Students enrolled in the upper school of the all-girls private institution in Richmond's West End will take their classes on Zoom until Oct. 5, when they are scheduled to return. Students in the lower school and middle school remained on campus.


Parents, students call on Virginia officials to allow for immediate return of HS sports


More than one hundred parents and student-athletes gathered in Loudoun County Friday afternoon to push the largest sports governing body in Virginia to restart high school sports. The Virginia High School League (VHSL) says games for fall sports, like football and volleyball, wlll not begin until late February and March due to COVID-19. The VHSL has also ruled student-athletes can play sanctioned games for winter sports, like basketball, gymnastics, and indoor track, in December.


Loudoun County apologizes to Black community for fighting school desegregation


It took Loudoun County, Virginia, more than a decade to desegregate its public schools after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered it, and the fight to keep Black students out of classes with white students didn't stop there. On Friday, county and school officials issued an apology for those actions. On Friday afternoon, the Loudoun County School Board and administration, and the Board of Supervisors, issued "An Apology to the Black Community of Loudoun County," which detailed some of the ways county officials fought against desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s.

LGBTQ flag flies over Richmond's City Hall for the first time

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

As Mayor Levar Stoney gripped the intertwined rope outside City Hall on Friday and hoisted a flag that's never before flown in front of Richmond City Hall — one of unity that reflects the intersections of race, gender and sexual orientation — Zakia McKensey looked up in awe. No words were needed. In her 48 years in Richmond, this is what the longtime LGBTQ activist has fought for. Unity. Visibility.

Dominion Energy Christmas Parade will be televised only this year due to the pandemic

By COLLEEN CURRAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The Dominion Energy Christmas Parade will be a televised-only event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade will be broadcast on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon and viewers can watch it on WTVR. The parade will be rebroadcast on Christmas Day. The event typically draws a crowd of more than 100,000 onlookers on Broad Street and is a holiday tradition for many families. An additional 250,000 watch the parade on TV.

City police issue summonses during Fredericksburg protest

By KEITH EPPS, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Ten people were issued summonses during a protest Thursday in downtown Fredericksburg. A group of protesters gathered Thursday night primarily to protest a grand jury's decision not to file murder charges against police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in March in Louisville, Ky. About 40 people were marching in the early portion of the protest, which got underway shortly before 7 p.m. The crowd steadily grew as the night went on, police said, before dispersing about 10:30 p.m

City, County Exceed 2010 Census Response Rates

By JESSICA WETZLER, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

With the deadline to complete the 2020 census closing in, response rates in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg are exceeding those from 2010, and four incorporated towns are in the top 25 for highest response rates in Virginia. As of Friday, 71.4% of Rockingham County households and 65.3% of Harrisonburg households have completed the census, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed the Valley region above the statewide self-response rates. In 2010, the county had a response rate of 66.8% and the city's was 65.1%.

Rappahannock taxpayers footing the bill in Bragg lawsuit

By JOHN MCCASLIN, Rappahannock News (Metered Paywall)

Rappahannock County taxpayers aren't off the hook by any stretch despite Judge Designate Jeffrey W. Parker awarding attorney David Konick a mere $6,250 of the $132,769.46 in attorney's fees he claimed he was owed in representing Marian Bragg v. The Board of Supervisors of Rappahannock County. That said, the lawsuit filed by Bragg could have been far more costly to taxpayers. While an exact dollar amount has yet to be calculated by the Rappahannock County government, Treasurer Debra Knick said this week, it is safe to assume the county has already paid $50,000-plus in outside attorneys' fees to defend itself in the FOIA-related case ...

With pandemic stretching on, wheels of justice slowly turn with backlog in Pittsylvania County, Danville

By PARKER COTTON, Danville Register & Bee

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its seventh month, its effects continue to seep into everyday life, including how cases are processed through the court system. Across the state and the Dan River Region, jury trials are mostly on hold because jurisdictions do not yet have permission from the Supreme Court of Virginia to resume them.

Henry County School Board votes to send students back to classroom two days a week

By KIM BARTO MEEKS, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

After nine weeks of all-virtual learning, Henry County students will head back to the classroom on a part-time basis starting Oct. 12. During a special meeting Thursday night, the Henry County School Board voted 5-2 to resume in-person classes on a hybrid schedule. Students will be required to wear masks all day while in school buildings.



Virginia lurching toward a full-time legislature?

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

This falls under the broad heading of the Virginia lawmaking process. File it under "things thought about, but yet to be acted upon." That's a little cryptic but keep reading. An explanation requires some history on how Virginia structures its legislative work. "In the beginning" (after the American Revolution), Virginia harbored no enthusiasm for a strong executive and the "citizen" legislature annually met to keep a firm hand on the tiller. The passage of time brought new thinking, based on changing circumstances.

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