Friday, October 16, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

October 16, 2020
Top of the News

Progress on police reforms gets mixed reviews in Virginia


Almost five months after George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, the Virginia General Assembly has passed a host of police reforms as it nears the end of a special session. The reforms include legislation that bans no-knock search warrants, enables localities to establish civilian review boards with subpoena power and disciplinary authority, and makes it easier to decertify officers who commit misconduct.

Northam to send $73 million in hazard pay to home health workers

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

Hazard pay finally is on the way to personal care attendants for the risks they took last spring and summer in caring for elderly or disabled Virginians on Medicaid who were confined to their homes during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that he is allocating $73 million from the federal CARES Act to provide a $1,500 payment to 43,500 personal care attendants as hazard pay for their work from when the public health emergency began in March through the end of June.

Political fight over redistricting delays eviction, utility cutoff protections in budget


Cecelia Woodard gave a nervous glance down the road every time she heard a car approach. It was Tuesday morning and the sheriff was scheduled to arrive to evict her from the apartment she shares with her 64-year-old mother, who had left a few minutes earlier with a plan to donate plasma in hopes of scraping together enough money for a hotel room for the night.

Virginia Reports Successful Census on Final Day of Count


On the last day of counting, Virginia census officials say more than 99% of state residents were counted. Virginia's self-response rate was about 71%, higher than the national average of 67%. Richmond's self-response rate was lower than average at around 62%. Local census officials say door-to-door and over-the-phone follow-ups got both the city and Virginia as a whole to a complete count by the October 15 deadline, which was extended due to the pandemic.

Northern Virginia schools inch closer to reopening

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

Public school systems in Northern Virginia took more steps toward reopening campuses this week, with Alexandria City Public Schools announcing plans to phase students back to classrooms and Loudoun County Public Schools releasing more details of its reopening strategy. Fairfax County Public Schools outlined a program that would return thousands more Special Education students, elementary students and even middle- and high-schoolers to classrooms over the next few months.

VCU will continue with online classes, distancing in spring 2021

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

Virginia Commonwealth University will continue to offer online classes next spring with coronavirus safeguards remaining in place, the school announced Thursday. College presidents across the country, including VCU President Michael Rao, have said they expect the changes enacted to classes and student life to last through the next semester. Dormitories are below capacity, visitors are limited and large gatherings have been banned.

Sheriff's office, regional task force officers investigated; no charges filed

By C.E. ADAMS, Times-Virginian

The Appomattox County Sheriff's Office and the Central Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force overseen by the Virginia State Police were investigated into allegations of corruption, conspiracy and obstruction of justice spanning three years, but no charges were filed, and the incidents were considered personnel matters, the Times Virginian discovered. The investigation occurred between December and February after a now-former deputy of the Appomattox County Sheriff's Office was being investigated in December of last year into allegations of obstruction of justice. During that criminal investigation, the employee produced documentation alleging the misconduct of other employees of the sheriff's office and the regional narcotics task force.

The Full Report
63 articles, 37 publications


From VPAP Now Live: October 15 Campaign Finance Reports

The Virginia Public Access Project

Campaign finance disclosures filed overnight provide the public a look at September fundraising by local candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot and groups seeking to pass or defeat a state constitutional amendment calling for bipartisan redistricting. Users can see how much money each candidate raised during the month of September and browse the latest list of each committee's contributors.

From VPAP Is it 2021 Yet?

The Virginia Public Access Project

Disclosures filed overnight provide partial insights into the fundraising activity of 10 of the candidates jockeying for a 2021 statewide run for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. The reports cover activity from July through September. Not all potential 2021 candidates are listed. Some candidates -- including some of the 10 listed here -- are raising money via candidate committees, which are on a disclosure timeline. Next deadline? Check back in mid-January.

VPAP Visual Voter registration took a hit

The Virginia Public Access Project

In Virginia, voter registration went into a free-fall when the pandemic hit in March. Registrations fully recovered by July, but not before about 50,000 fewer voters had been added to the rolls compared to the presidential election year of 2016.

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.


Juneteenth Is Now a Paid Holiday in Virginia

By JANE RECKER, Washingtonian

Juneteenth, the celebration of the emancipation of enslaved people, is now a permanent statewide holiday in Virginia. In a press conference Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that the legislation to make it so had been unanimously passed. All state employees will now get June 19 off as a paid holiday.


Bill banning 'no-knock' warrants in Virginia heading to governor's desk


A bill banning "no-knock" warrants is heading to Governor Ralph Northam's desk for final approval. House Bill 5099 is Virginia's version of "Breonna's Law" named after Breonna Taylor. The bill bans police officers from executing no-knock search warrants. The House and Senate voted roughly along party lines Wednesday to approve it.

Bill establishing use of force standard for rubber bullets, tear gas passes Virginia legislature


The Virginia legislature passed a bill that would prevent local police from acquiring military equipment on Wednesday. The bill does not ban the use of tear gas and rubber bullets, but does establish the first comprehensive use of force standard for kinetic impact munitions.

Virginia budget negotiators preserve adult Medicaid dental benefit

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

Virginia's pared-down state spending plan retained one major priority for health advocates — a dental benefit for adult Medicaid patients. General Assembly budget negotiators restored roughly $17.5 million in state funding to implement the coverage by July 1 next year. The two-year spending agreement, announced Wednesday afternoon, still has to go for a final vote before state legislators — and be signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, who can veto or request changes to specific spending items.

Poindexter: "I have voted against every one of them"


Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith and Del. Charles Poindexter stumped in Patrick County last week during the grand opening of the Patrick County Republican Committee's election headquarters. Poindexter, R-Glade Hill, said that a virtual special legislative session continues. Currently, there are proposed budget reductions for law enforcement, and "raises passed in February and March have been reduced to zero. There have been quite a few bills that I considered totally anti-police and I have voted against every one of them," Poindexter said.


Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman considering run for governor

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

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman says he is considering a run for Virginia governor in 2021. Chapman, a Republican, confirmed the news with the Times-Mirror Thursday after he was listed as a potential candidate on Bearing Drift, a conservative blog.

Del. Lopez to Get Primary Challenger in 2021


A new candidate is poised to provide a primary challenge to Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) from his left. Karishma Mehta, a "preschool teacher, community organizer and daughter of immigrants," said earlier this week that she will be running as a Democrat in Virginia's 49th House of Delegates district.


Bob Good warns against 'radical socialist agenda'

By DANIEL BERTI, Fauquier Times

At a private campaign event in Nelson County, 5th Congressional District Republican candidate and self-described "biblical conservative" Bob Good stood before a crowd of about 40 supporters and delivered a fiery speech outlining his vision for the sprawling rural district.   "We are at war, and this is where we make our stand," Good told the audience.

Jennifer Wexton, Aliscia Andrews spar over immigration, health care

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

Virginia Rep. Jennifer T. Wexton and her Republican challenger, Aliscia Andrews, sparred over health care, immigration and workers' rights during a debate Thursday against a backdrop of local antipathy toward President Trump. In a Northern Virginia district that has become increasingly blue, Wexton (D) used the last debate between the two candidates before the Nov. 3 election to attack the president and to remind voters of her own moderately liberal views, which helped her oust two-term Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in 2018.

Wexton, Andrews Meet for Chamber Debate

By RENSS GREENE, Loudoun Now

Rep. Jennifer T. Wexton (D-VA-10) and her Republican challenger, Aliscia Andrews, met for a debate Thursday that pitched two different visions for Congress's role in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate, organized and hosted by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, focused on issues facing businesses and drew from the Chamber's own policy positions, ranging from relief for small businesses and the airport, to workforce development, to supporting laws that suppress unionization.

Griffith talks politics and Coronavirus in Richlands stop

By JIM TALBERT, Richlands News-Press

Morgan Griffith has had the Coronavirus but he still isn't taking any chances. "I had the coronavirus earlier this summer and even the liberal scientists say you are good for three months from the day you first show symptoms and it is three months today, so I am good for a few more hours,' he said during a stop in Richlands Oct. 10.

Culpeper Latinos gather to support Trump

By JOSH GULLY, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

After mingling over enchiladas, pupusas and other Hispanic cuisine Saturday at Yowell Meadow Park, those gathered heard several pro-President Donald Trump speeches at a Latinos for Trump rally. Event organizer Alexander Valle explained that he is a Latino for Trump because the president wants to deport criminals such as gang members and drug traffickers. The Latino families who are key contributors to Culpeper, he said, do not have anything to worry about.

Riggleman condemns Trump's retweet of 'ludicrous' conspiracy about Navy SEALs, bin Laden

By MEAGAN FLYNN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Outgoing Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) is condemning President Trump's amplification of a false QAnon-linked conspiracy theory that then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden may have had Navy SEALs killed to cover up a plot involving an Osama bin Laden body double. Riggleman, who last week co-led a House resolution condemning QAnon, appeared on CNN Wednesday night with Jake Tapper to continue sounding the alarm on what he described as dangerous, wildly fantastical conspiracies that could lead to violence — including the one Trump promoted on Twitter Tuesday.

Roanoke College Poll: Biden maintains comfortable lead over Trump in Virginia

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

With just over two weeks before Election Day, a new poll of likely Virginia voters from Roanoke College shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by a comfortable margin. The poll shows former Vice President Biden leading at 53% compared to Trump at 38%, with 95% of the voters certain of their choice. Of the remaining 5% of people polled, only 1% were undecided while 4% said they will vote for Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate.


Virginia is among the last states to distribute $300 unemployment supplement authorized by Trump

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

State employment officials say they began distributing a fresh round of supplemental unemployment benefits on Thursday, making Virginia among the last states in the country to get the money in the hands of jobless residents. President Donald Trump announced the Lost Wages Assistance program back in early August after it became clear Congress couldn't agree on a plan to extend the CARES Act. The new $300 weekly benefit began to flow in most states about 30 days later and at this point, most have already wrapped up the program after exhausting the maximum six weeks of coverage Trump's plan provided.

Virginia has been releasing hundreds of prisoners during the pandemic. Critics argue it's not enough.

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

Virginia officials have OK'd at least 1,172 prisoners for early release under a plan the governor announced at the outset of the pandemic to help curb spread of the coronavirus. Of those, 910 had actually been let out as of Tuesday, according to data from the Virginia Department of Corrections. The majority, 606, had been in state prisons, while 303 were serving sentences in local jails. One was in an institutional hospital.

Flags in Virginia to be flown at half-staff in honor of Loving v. Virginia lawyer Bernard S. Cohen


Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that flags in the Commonwealth will be flown at half-staff in honor of former Virginia Delegate Bernard S. Cohen, the lawyer who successfully challenged a Virginia law banning interracial marriage. Cohen died this week of complications from Parkinson's disease, according to the Associated Press. He was 86.


First-time unemployment claims drop in Virginia, but hundreds of thousands still receiving benefits

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

The number of Virginians to file first-time unemployment claims after being laid off or furloughed from traditional jobs dropped to 9,110 during the week ending Oct. 10, down by 1,733 claims compared with a week earlier. The Virginia Employment Commission reported that 142,220 people continue to collect traditional unemployment benefits statewide. A year ago, pre-pandemic, there were 16,866 Virginians collecting weekly jobless benefits week.

Survey indicates some improvements in sales and hiring outlook among Virginia business executives

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

A recent survey of executives with small- and medium-sized businesses in central Virginia indicates the outlook for sales and hiring over the next six months has improved from the first half of 2020, though the pace of the economic recovery seems shaky.

Richmond's first licensed medical marijuana production facility set to open first dispensary

By ZACH JOACHIM, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The potent aroma at 2804 Decatur St. in the Manchester neighborhood of South Richmond could be described as either overwhelming, intoxicating or both. One way or the other, the smell outside and in Richmond's first licensed medical marijuana production facility is exactly what you'd imagine.

Governor celebrates opening of South Boston hemp processing facility

By MIRANDA BAINES, Gazette Virginian

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam visited South Boston on Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of Golden Piedmont Labs, a large-scale hemp processing facility that's now playing a key role in Virginia's No. 1 industry: agriculture. The processing and cannabinoid oil — known as CBD — extraction plant is the first of its kind in Virginia.

Port of Virginia gets $20 million federal grant for rail yard expansion

By TREVOR METCALFE, Inside Business

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the Port of Virginia more than $20 million to complete an expansion project at its Central Rail Yard. The $20,184,999 grant will help the port expand the yard at Norfolk International Terminals to eight working tracks — two new bundles of four tracks — plus a center area for transferring and staging containers.

Henry County awarded $1.5 million grant to connect natural gas service

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

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced a $1.5 million grant to Henry County this week to help connect the Commonwealth Crossing industrial park to natural gas. This funding will go towards an overall project budget of about $7.5 million to build a steel natural gas pipeline from the Patriot Line to the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre and nearby facilities, located in the southernmost part of Henry County near the North Carolina line.


Hampton should expect traffic woes to 'exacerbate' when HRBT construction begins, VDOT says

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

When the state locked down in the spring, traffic eased somewhat in Hampton, particularly on the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. But last weekend when the Virginia Department of Transportation shut down the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel for repaving, the domino effect from the closure turned Woodland Road into a traffic nightmare.

OmniRide cutting services; bus ridership continues to decline

By JARED FORETEK, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

A series of OmniRide service reductions could be the first sign of long-term trouble for the transit operator as 2020, and federal money that has helped it maintain service through the COVID-19 pandemic, comes to an end. Last week, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, which operates the bus service, announced a host of changes to reduce expenses that will take effect Nov. 2.


Alger moved JMU away from transparency, skirts open meetings laws

By JAKE CONLEY, The Breeze

When Jonathan Alger took over as the president of JMU, many argue, transparency and accountability from leadership turned toward a new direction. Under Alger's tenure, the JMU Board of Visitors (BOV) and its operational and decision-making processes were deliberately restricted from the public eye, multiple sources say, and that obscurance has been brought to a head in light of COVID-19 and its effect on JMU's operations.

President James Monroe owned slaves. Some descendants want his statue to stay on William & Mary's campus.

By WILFORD KALE, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 4 Articles per Month)

Cousins Jennifer L. Stacy and George R. Monroe Jr. do not want the College of William & Mary to remove President James Monroe's name from a residence hall, nor would they support the removal of the new statue of the fourth president of the United States placed on campus a few years ago. The family members are descendants of enslaved persons who labored for Monroe more than two centuries ago at Highland — his Albemarle County plantation now owned, maintained and interpreted by William & Mary.

Group Fighting Back Against Bridgewater College Cuts

By MEGAN WILLIAMS, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Concerned about the path that Bridgewater College is headed down, a group of alumni is banding together to share information and ask other alumni to withhold donations to try to get the board of trustees to reverse course. Recently, a task force recommended that six majors and five minors be phased out, as well as some sports programs.


Virginia COVID-19 cases increase by 1,331 from Wednesday

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

The Virginia Department of Health reported Thursday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 162,941 — an increase of 1,331 from the 161,610 reported Wednesday. The 162,941 cases consist of 153,117 confirmed cases and 9,824 probable cases. There are 3,388 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 3,149 confirmed and 239 probable. That's an increase of 7 from the 3,381 reported Wednesday.

Covid-19 cases still on rise in Prince Edward

By ALEXA MASSEY, Farmville Herald (Paywall)

Prince Edward County is still seeing an uptick in Covid-19 cases, with Longwood University and Hampden Sydney College experiencing 60 new cases in the last week. Last Wednesday, Oct. 7, Longwood had 61 cumulative cases of the virus between students and staff, with 11 active cases. As of this Wednesday, Oct. 14, the total number of cases had jumped to 95, with 39 active cases.That's 34 new cases in one week.

Roanoke Valley fire crews fight Covid-19

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Salem Fire-EMS is managing an outbreak of COVID-19 after five of its first responders tested positive for the virus within about two weeks. The cluster appears to be stabilizing, but city officials said they continue to be vigilant and closely monitor conditions. A facility must be free of COVID-19 for four weeks, or two potential incubation periods, before an outbreak is considered cleared, according to the state health department. The firefighters affected all had mild cases, said Chief John Prillaman.


Richmond Diocese issues $6.3 million to individuals who were sexually abused by clergy

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

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has given $6.3 million to people who were abused by clergy when they were minors, according to a report released by the church Thursday. Altogether, 68 claims were initiated, 60 were eligible and 51 offers were made and accepted. The report also said six claims were ineligible, two were withdrawn or never completed and nine were denied by an administrator.

Virginia judge dismisses suit challenging removal of 'neutral' Civil War marker, obelisk

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

A judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit brought by a group of Civil War history buffs, including a Democratic state senator, that had sought to prevent Fairfax County from removing a stone obelisk and state historical marker on the spot where Union and Confederate forces first exchanged fire on land. Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret P. Spencer, presiding over a virtual hearing in the Fairfax Circuit Court case because all local judges had recused themselves, ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the legal right, or "standing," to sue.

Northampton Supervisors Hold Hearing on Confederate Monument

By STEFANIE JACKSON, Eastern Shore Post

A public hearing on Eastville's Confederate monument drew participation from citizens who agreed that something should be done about the war memorial, but they didn't agree on what should be done. Northampton supervisors held the public hearing during their Oct. 13 meeting. Speakers appeared divided on whether the image of a Confederate soldier towering over the courthouse green should be removed or balanced by another monument built to represent an African American Union soldier.

Park Police officers indicted in shooting of unarmed driver

By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press

Two U.S. Park Police officers were indicted Thursday on manslaughter charges in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed motorist who led officers on a stop-and-go chase outside Washington, capping nearly three years of inquiry into a case that caused an outcry over concerns of excessive force. The charges against officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard come after years of agitation by the family of Bijan Ghaisar, 25, of McLean, a Virginia suburb of the nation's capital.

Two Park Police Officers Face Manslaughter Charges in Virginia Shooting

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

Two U.S. Park Police officers in Virginia were indicted Thursday on state manslaughter charges in a 2017 case in which they fired nine shots at close range into the car of a 25-year-old man, a prosecutor announced. Each officer was indicted on single charges of manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm, according to the prosecutor, Steve Descano, the commonwealth's attorney in Fairfax County. If convicted, the officers, members of the U.S. Park Police, a unit of the National Park Service within the Interior Department, face up to 15 years in prison, he said.

DEA recruits cite 'monkey noises' among claims of racism

By JIM MUSTIAN, Associated Press

At the Drug Enforcement Administration's Training Academy in Virginia last year, an instructor on the firing range called out a name that was shared by two trainees, one Black and one white. When both responded, the white instructor clarified, "I meant the monkey."

Attorney: Virginia boarding school, conservative student at odds over Insta posts


A 17-year-old high school student at a prestigious northern Virginia boarding school is fighting possible expulsion that her attorney says is unfairly due to her conservative viewpoints expressed in a "cancel culture." The student's attorney, Jesse Binnall, who also represents former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, told Fox News his client, Mackenzie, is involved in disciplinary hearings at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., this week.


Loudoun Co. offers $3.4 million to aid home buyouts in flood-prone development


A Loudoun County Board of Supervisors committee has voted to approve $3.4 million in funding to help eight homeowners in the flood-prone Selma Estates development sell their homes to the federal government, and blasted two local developers in the process. Located off Virginia Route 15, between Leesburg and Lucketts, the Selma Estates development — which began in 2003 — now consists of 277 homes.

Request to reconsider filed after judge rules Prince William board members didn't violate meeting laws

By JARED FORETEK, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

Plaintiffs are asking Circuit Court Judge Dennis Smith to reconsider his decision to dismiss their suit against the five Democrats on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for a public forum they attended in May. Alan Gloss, one of three petitioners in the motion to reconsider, told InsideNoVa that the judge used too narrow a definition of what would constitute a public meeting.

Maggie L. Walker Governor's School waives admissions test due to COVID-19

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

The board of the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School on Thursday voted 8-2 to waive the admissions test for the Class of 2025 due to the pandemic. The magnet school's planning committee is weighing permanently striking the test, which some experts say is a poor indicator of future performance and a barrier to boosting equity.

Emergency childcare centers in Richmond continue to open

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

Emergency child care centers continue to pop up across the city more than a month into the school year. With hundreds of slots already filled at churches and some schools tapped to help families in need, more help is coming to the East End effective Oct. 26, according to the director of a nonprofit that's operating a center at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

New Kent one step closer to universal broadband internet access following Board of Supervisors vote

By EMILY HOLTER, Tidewater Review

New Kent residents could see universal broadband internet access throughout the county in three to four years, following the Board of Supervisors' unanimous vote to move forward with the project. A North Carolina-based company that specializes in providing broadband access to rural communities, RiverStreet Networks issued a proposal offering to engineer a design that works with the county.

Virginia Beach's new online COVID dashboard offers virus stats by school

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

On the first day of the month, someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus was inside the Virginia Beach school administration headquarters. That same day, about six miles away, another positive case was inside Green Run High School. And two people bouncing along on two different school buses that day would also find out they had the coronavirus. That data comes courtesy of a "COVID Dashboard" the Virginia Beach school district unveiled Thursday on its website.

IW wants to act on student equity

By NATE DELESLINE III, Smithfield Times (Paywall)

Black students are twice as likely as white students to receive disciplinary referrals in three of Isle of Wight County's nine public schools, and they are less likely to pursue an advanced studies high school diploma. The fact that minority students receive more discipline and less encouragement to higher academic aspirations and opportunities is not new information, said Superintendent Jim Thornton.

Town attorney representing Luter in Pierceville sale

By STEPHEN FALESKI, Smithfield Times (Paywall)

The lawyer representing former Smithfield Foods chairman Joseph W. Luter III in his efforts to buy the historic Pierceville farm is also representing the Town of Smithfield in a lawsuit it is facing concerning the same property. Pierceville's owner, Mary Delk Crocker, filed the lawsuit in August 2019, which names each of the seven Smithfield Town Council members serving in 2019 as defendants, plus Luter's attorney, William H. Riddick III, in his capacity as the town's solicitor.

Fredericksburg offers grants for restaurants to buy outdoor heaters

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

City of Fredericksburg officials are aiming to become creative in helping restaurants survive the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the typical post-holiday downturn. The city's Economic Development Authority recommended this week to spend $50,000 of CARES Act funds to help purchase outdoor heaters for 25 restaurants.

Vault privy discussion ends

Northern Neck News

Richmond County's Board of Supervisors, once again, concluded that they're not going to make special septic system exceptions for the Amish and Mennonite communities. Last month, elders from the Amish community called on the board of supervisors to reconsider the ban on vault privies. John Parr, the supervisor for District 2, then asked that the matter be placed on the agenda for this month.

Charlottesville committee recommends staying online

By KATHERINE KNOTT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Charlottesville students should continue with virtual learning for at least the first part of the second quarter, with some students possibly starting in-person classes in January, the division's COVID-19 advisory committee recommended Wednesday.

The militia in Louisa

By DAVID HOLTZMAN, Central Virginian

Members of the Louisa militia say they are not like those groups you've heard about in the news. When some people hear the word militia, their minds jump to the people in Michigan who were charged by the FBI last week with plotting to kidnap that state's governor, and who allegedly discussed doing the same to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Those militias are known to be anti-government, sometimes even anti-police.

App aims to increase Blacksburg businesses' cash flow

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

A new app is aiming to help those who may not be able to come to Blacksburg this fall to support the businesses they know and love. Localyte — an app that allows people to buy gift cards to local businesses with the money going directly to the business — was created by a group of local software developers from the Roanoke and New River valleys in an effort to help local businesses mitigate the costs of losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those hit hardest by Virginia Tech football games not being open to the public.

Danville School Board plans to bring students back to classrooms Nov. 9

By PARKER COTTON, Danville Register & Bee

The Danville School Board on Thursday evening accepted Interim Superintendent Catherine Magouyrk's recommendation for a phased return-to-school plan for students starting Nov. 9. The vote passed 5-2.



Why the future of Appalachian coal may depend on India

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

We write a lot about coal — and its long, slow demise as an energy source — for lots of reasons. We have some counties in the corner of Southwest Virginia whose economy has been based on coal, and which are in dire need of building a new economy. These are counties that are easy for both the state and federal government to ignore, and journalists have traditionally adhered to the mantra of "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Energy progress off the Virginia coast

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

Here's the energy headline out of Abu Dhabi, via a recent Columbia University podcast: "The energy sector landscape is experiencing profound change, complexity and uncertainty ... to a rapidly rising recognition of the urgency of combating climate change and accelerated investments in low-carbon technologies. The United Arab Emirates is at the center of these shifts .... "

Put customers first in Virginia's broadband future, not 'cable companies'

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

Is the carousel of General Assembly budget conversations coming to an end? It took almost as much time as a normal 60-day session, but after weeks of negotiations, The Times-Dispatch reported on Wednesday that a two-year spending agreement was reached. "Given the challenges we faced with COVID-19, we believe the budget is good for the Virginia economy," House Appropriations Chairman Luke Torian, D-Prince William, said in the RTD report.

Another reason to support redistricting reform

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

The fight in the General Assembly over redistricting reform underscores why Virginians should support the constitutional amendment that would change how lawmakers redraw political boundaries. This special session of the General Assembly was convened during a public health emergency to address the immediate issues of COVID-19 relief, as well as police reform stemming from the tumultuous events of this summer's racial protests.


Brouillette: Coal from Hampton Roads serves nation's interests

By DAN BROUILLETTE, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Norfolk and Newport News are synonymous with American naval power and national security. Since the late 19th Century, Virginia has built and deployed the ships that provided the naval supremacy to win two world wars and keep our nation safe to this day. But along the coast of the James River, there is another, less conspicuous, activity that also plays a role in ensuring our national security: exporting American coal to overseas markets.

Brouillette is the U.S. secretary of Energy.

Penniman: Building code updates are needed to protect Virginians

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

Virginia's Uniform Statewide Building Code is required by law to "protect the health, safety and welfare of residents of the commonwealth" and to be, at least, "consistent with recognized standards for health, safety, energy conservation and water conservation." Unfortunately, today's statewide building code does not protect Virginians from either high energy costs or the growing harms from climate change, which the governor and legislature have recognized are urgent threats to residents' health, safety and welfare, and to the commonwealth's future.

Penniman practiced law regarding energy issues for more than 40 years. Now retired, he volunteers in various capacities, including as the sustainability issues chair for the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club.


In Pulaski, a man's home on town land prompts discussion, rally

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

Gary Martin has called a small plot of land at MacGill Park his home for nearly 40 years — but that may not be the case for much longer. Martin — a town employee from 1975 until he retired at the end of 2015 — said he made a "handshake" deal in 1981 with the head of public works that allowed him to put his trailer on a portion of the just over 10-acre park in exchange for him watching over and maintaining the property in addition to his regular duties with the parks and rec department.

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
Participation in the VaNews Referral Program constitutes your acceptance of the VPAP Terms and Conditions of Use.

This email was sent to
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