Thursday, October 22, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

October 22, 2020
Top of the News

Northam amends bill that would restrict police from making traffic stops

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

Gov. Ralph Northam proposed changes to a bill that would bar police officers and sheriff's deputies from pulling drivers over on a wide array of vehicle equipment violations. The governor supports nearly all of the proposed restrictions on such stops that the bill's proponents contend will help reduce racial disparities in the justice system.

Push to open police records to public inspection continues in Virginia

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

Police in Virginia almost never release case files and body camera footage, even long after their investigations have concluded. A bill aimed at changing that failed during the special legislative session, which concluded last week. But lawmakers are already working to revise the legislation in response to concerns raised by police about graphic crime scene photos and victim privacy.

Virginia lawmakers pass 'revolutionary change' largely taking criminal sentencing decisions out of juries' hands

By PETER DUJARDIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

A bill to revamp Virginia's jury sentencing system has passed the General Assembly and now awaits a decision by the governor on whether to sign it into law. Those on both sides of the issue say the change — which would largely take criminal sentencing decisions out of juries' hands — would mark one of the state's biggest criminal justice reforms in decades.

Radford University fraternity chapter faces interim suspension for COVID-related violations


A Radford University fraternity chapter is the second fraternity at Radford University facing consequences for violating COVID-19 safety guidelines this year. This week, Radford University administered 270 COVID-19 tests, 59 of which were positive. University officials said half of the cases were attributed to an off-campus party hosted by the Rho Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

COVID cases are exceeding Ballad's capacity to provide care

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

Last week, 1,800 people living in Ballad Health's Virginia and Tennessee service area tested positive for COVID-19. Statistically, this means that soon 110 of them will become so ill that they will need to be admitted to one of Ballad's hospitals. Of those patients, 35 will die. CEO Alan Levine said Wednesday there's not a thing that can be done now to prevent that from happening, nor from similar things happening to an increasing number of people finding out this week of their infections.

COVID-19 relief money proves hard to spend

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

As of Sept. 30, Prince William County had spent just $36 million of the $82 million it received in federal relief funds to help local government, schools, businesses and residents weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic -- and time is running out to dole out rest. The county received two $41 million installments of federal CARES Act relief, one in March and the other in September.

Liberty University finance probe issues call for whistleblowers

By KATE ANDREWS, Va Business Magazine

A firm conducting an investigation at Liberty University will use an encrypted website to allow anonymous whistleblower complaints focused on financial misconduct by "current or former members of university leadership," the university announced Tuesday night.

The Full Report
52 articles, 23 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.


Governor requests changes to bill prohibiting no-headlight traffic stops

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

Gov. Ralph S. Northam tapped the brakes Wednesday on recently passed legislation that would have prohibited police officers to stop vehicles driving without headlights during evening hours. Northam sent a Senate bill back to the General Assembly with amendments that essentially reinstates existing state code about nighttime driving without headlights or brake lights.

Northam signs COVID-19 laws, including clarifying publication of outbreak information

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

Gov. Ralph Northam has signed more than a dozen new laws, including ones ensuring that information about COVID-19 outbreaks is published for public view and that schools post their plans for mitigating the spread of the virus. Northam is signing bills from the special session that began in August. The session focused on the response to COVID-19 and police and criminal justice reform.

Northam Signs Bill Strengthening AG's Power to Investigate Police


Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday he's signed a bill that would empower the state attorney general to investigate patterns of misconduct by law enforcement officers. Advocates like Attorney General Mark Herring, a fellow Democrat, argued the law is necessary to prevent practices like repeated use of excessive force, illegal searches, or biased policing.

Northam announces $65.8M to increase child care access

By RICH GRISET, Virginia Business

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and first lady of Virginia Pamela Northam announced $65.8 million in new funding on Wednesday to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new investment is supported by $58.3 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars as well as a reallocation of $7.5 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Virginia can start inspecting its ICE facilities in early 2021

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

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill Wednesday backed by immigrant rights advocates that would widen the state's ability to inspect its two privately owned immigration facilities and require health safety standards of the detention centers. It would also allow the state to pursue wrongful death investigations involving the centers.

Northam breaks hand while winterizing boat

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

Gov. Ralph Northam broke his hand over the weekend while working on his boat. An Eastern Shore native who grew up fishing, Northam (D) was winterizing his skiff when the winch he was cranking flew back and hit the back of his hand, spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said Wednesday. It caused a minor break that the governor only got checked out Tuesday, after helping to unload pumpkins at the Executive Mansion to recognize Virginia Pumpkin Month.


Assembly restores some of court clerk staff money

By PETER VIETH, Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Subscription required for some articles)

Understaffed district court offices may be able to bring on some new employees in the next two budget years with the budget package approved by the General Assembly this month. Most of the new hiring will have to wait until the second budget year. In its regular session, the Assembly authorized spending for 90 new deputy clerk positions in the first year of the two-year budget and 30 additional posts in the next year. Then COVID-19 struck and the belt was tightened.

Virtual participation in public meetings recommended by Virginia FOIA advisory council subcommittee

By TYLER ARNOLD, Washington Examiner

Legislation that would expand the use of virtual participation in public meetings received a thumbs up Tuesday from a Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council subcommittee. House Bill 321, sponsored by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, would allow a person to conduct public business virtually if that person cannot attend the meeting in person because of a serious medical condition or a serious medical condition of an immediate family member. There would be no limit on how many meetings a person could miss in this instance.


Crucial suburban voters weigh in on Congressional 7th District race


Voters in the suburban areas outside Richmond may once again play a major role in deciding the 7th Congressional District. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D) is running for a second term against Delegate Nick Freitas (R), in a race that is being watched closely on the national level and seeing millions of dollars spent on attack ads.

Cook shifts Luria-Taylor race to 'leans Democratic'

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

In the middle of two debates between Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Republican challenger Scott Taylor this week, the Cook Political Report changed its rating of the race in Luria's favor, just as a poll was released showing her with a slight lead. Cook shifted the race, which had been considered one of the most competitive in the nation, from a "toss-up" to "leans Democratic."

Poll: Elaine Luria leading Scott Taylor in rematch for 2nd Congressional District

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

Rep. Elaine Luria has a healthy seven-point lead — 50% to 43% — over Scott Taylor in the congressional race for Virginia's 2nd District, according to a poll released Wednesday. Her gains are due largely to her majority support with women, independents and college-educated voters, according to the poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Taylor's 2018 election fraud scandal also continues to hang over him, the center's analysts said.

Webb continues to outraise Good in 5th Congressional District  race

By DANIEL BERTI, Fauquier Times

5th Congressional District Democratic candidate Dr. Cameron Webb has outraised every other Virginia congressional candidate, including his Republican opponent Bob Good, between July 1 and Sept. 30,  according to campaign finance reports filed Oct. 15.  The candidates are vying for the seat currently held by Rep. Denver Riggleman in the sprawling 5th Congressional District, which stretches from the North Carolina border to Fauquier County.

Additional early voting sites open in Richmond area; advance balloting surging

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

Richmond-area voters have additional places where they can cast their ballots early ahead of the Nov. 3 election, as advance voting reaches unprecedented levels locally and throughout the state. Statewide through Tuesday, 1.55 million Virginians already had voted — 900,804 in person and 658,482 by mail, with 483,586 mail-in ballots still out, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

In absentee ballot mixup, hundreds of York County voters were mailed the wrong oath

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

At this historic scale of mail-in voting, there's bound to be screw ups on both sides of the process. Take what happened in York County, where up to 300 voters were mailed the wrong type of "secrecy sleeve" — otherwise known as Envelope B, where completed ballots are tucked before the whole shebang is slipped into the return envelope.


Va. 28 bypass faces another possible roadblock – Fairfax County residents

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors' decision to move forward with the Va. 28 bypass has sparked a backlash from residents in neighboring Fairfax County who say their supervisors have not allowed residents to voice concerns about the road's impact to Bull Run Regional Park. The $300 million bypass would extend Godwin Drive to create a new four-lane road along Flat Branch Creek in Manassas that would cross Bull Run Creek and cut across Fairfax County's Bull Run Regional Park to connect with the existing Va. 28 near Compton Road in Fairfax's Sully District.

Governor and regional officials announce name for new 40-mile Ashland-Petersburg trail

By C. SUAREZ ROJAS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

An approximately 40-mile biking and walking route that will stretch from Ashland to Petersburg now has a name: the Fall Line Trail. Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled the upcoming north-south trail's new name Wednesday in a groundbreaking ceremony with local officials and trail advocates from throughout the region at the planned trail's northern terminus in Ashland's Carter Park.


Changes have increased costs for college students

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

College classes were moved online, extracurriculars were derailed, and the campus experience has been transformed because of the pandemic. But the price tag of a public college education in Virginia increased anyway. The average cost for an in-state student rose nearly 2% this year to $25,112.

As COVID cases go up, Radford University fraternity placed on interim suspension for party

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

Radford University placed the Rho Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity on interim suspension this week for hosting an off-campus party that exceeded the school's 10-person gathering limit. The school's announcement comes as its coronavirus dashboard data Tuesday showed 59 new COVID-19 cases from 270 tests at the student health center over the last week. The city has also seen a spike in cases over the last several days after the rate had gone down in recent weeks.

JMU Athletics short $5.5 million since COVID-19


As JMU Athletics stares at a deep loss, it's one of many college athletic departments across the country that's facing sizable financial burdens. In a Zoom call with members of the media, Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said JMU is looking at an estimated loss of $5.5 million due to factors caused by the coronavirus. "We need a lot of money," Bourne said.

Hampton University to stay with online instruction in the spring

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

Hampton University students will not return to campus this spring, President William Harvey announced Wednesday. Harvey cited in a letter to the community current trends in COVID-19 data as the basis for the decision. The college's campus has been closed to students and visitors since March.

Black Former Cadets Say Racism Probe At Virginia Military Institute Is Overdue


Chris Ferrill says he was at a track workout in his first month at the Virginia Military Institute, lying on his back and doing flutter kicks. The sun beat down and the teenage football player pulled down his hat to shield his face. Ferrill says a fellow student who was tasked with discipline approached him, saying, "take your hat off, you're not in the hood anymore." "Mind you, I live in Northern Virginia," Ferrill recalled.


October becomes deadliest month for COVID-19 in Pittsylvania-Danville Health District

By STAFF REPORT, Danville Register & Bee

October officially has tilted to the deadliest month in the coronavirus pandemic for the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District. With the addition of another fatality Wednesday morning — a Danville man in his 60s — more residents have died from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus this month than any other.

Virginia COVID-19 cases increase by 1,018 from Tuesday

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

The Virginia Department of Health reported Wednesday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 168,772 — an increase of 1,018 from the 167,754 reported Tuesday. The 168,772 cases consist of 157,998 confirmed cases and 10,774 probable cases. There are 3,515 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 3,266 confirmed and 249 probable. That's an increase of 30 from the 3,485 reported Tuesday.

Ballad to defer some procedures as cases climb

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

Ballad Health announced steps Wednesday to address a surge of COVID-19 cases but officials stopped short of petitioning elected officials for additional public restrictions. On Wednesday Ballad reported 135 COVID-positive patients in its hospitals — a one-day record — plus 29 suspected cases. Its previous single-day record was 125 inpatients. Additionally, the region's average testing positivity rate hit a record 12.6% — prompting officials to anticipate even more cases in the days ahead.

6 area virus deaths reported in single day

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

The Rappahannock Area Health District reported six new deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest daily total since the pandemic began. The people who died represented every locality in the health district, except King George County. Three were residents of Spotsylvania County, and there was one death each in Fredericksburg, Caroline County and Stafford County. Three were white, two were Black and one was Asian or Pacific Islander. Two were in their 50s.

Health Officials: Richmond Will 'Probably' See COVID Spike Soon


Richmond health officials are continuing to warn of a potential spike in coronavirus cases as we head into the winter. Currently, Richmond is seeing an average of 25 new cases each day. New cases have trended downward over the last five days, but Dr. Danny Avula, who heads the Richmond City Health District, says the overall trend since early October has been upward. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Avula said he expects to see bigger spikes heading into late November and December.

Regional rise in COVID-19 cases reflected in schools, who report uptick in infections

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

Several school divisions in the Roanoke and New River valleys have reported an increase of student and staff COVID-19 cases throughout the month of October, reflecting a regional trend in the larger community. The uptick comes as local health officials plead with people to continue following health recommendations, and as school divisions enter the second half of the semester.


Arlington County grappling with budget shortfall from pandemic

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

In flush times, money left over from Arlington County's previous fiscal year would be used for County Board members' priorities, such as affordable housing, in the next budget. But this year, the cost of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will soak up virtually every penny that's available, making additional funding uncertain for building or renovating apartments for those who make less than the median income in this wealthy inside-the-Beltway community.

White House weighs in on Fairfax teachers' union virtual-learning stance

By KARI PUGH, Inside NOVA (Metered Paywall)

The Fairfax County Education Association put out a statement two weeks ago advocating for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year to remain virtual. Now, two weeks before the presidential election, the group's stance appears to have grabbed the attention of the White House. The regional communications office for President Donald Trump reached out to on Tuesday, offering reaction from the White House to the FEA's position.

Loudoun Students Quarantined After Contact with Infected Staff Member

Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

As Loudoun school administrators continue to gear up to the expansion of in-person learning, the school division today reported the first instance in which students were directed to quarantine at home after coming in close contact with an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19 while on campus. The cases were reported at Mountain View Elementary School, where it was determined that an unspecified number of students and staff members had spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of the staff member who had a positive test.

Loudoun School Board, Board of Supervisors talk learning models, broadband, equity

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

The Joint Committee of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Loudoun County School Board met virtually Monday afternoon to exchange updates regarding their recent respective efforts. Committee members — including supervisors Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and Sylvia Glass (D-Broad Run) and School Board members Denise Corbo (At-Large) and Leslee King (Broad Run District) — particularly focused on Loudoun County Public Schools' staged implementation of a hybrid learning model, as well as equitable community practices and broadband access for western Loudoun residents.

Prince William School Board Approves 2nd Phase of Return-to-Learning Plan

By STACY SHAW, Bristow Beat

The Prince William County School Board voted to approve the Superintendent's return-to-learning in-school plan for the second and third quarter with the flexibility to make changes in response to pandemic needs. The voted occurred two minutes to 1 a.m. on Thursday. The new calendar information will have students in grades 5-12 return in the third marking period.

Prince William board creates commission to examine racial justice concerns

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted Tuesday to create a "racial and social justice commission" tasked with improving race relations and examining local police, government and school policies despite objections from the board's Republican supervisors. The 12-member commission will consist of eight citizen members appointed by the board of supervisors in addition to the Prince William County police chief, county executive, human rights commission chair and a representative from the Prince William County school division.

First reported COVID-19 case among public school students announced at Kettle Run

By STAFF REPORTS, Fauquier Times

A student attending in-person classes at Kettle Run High School has tested positive for the COVID-19, a health department letter to Kettle Run parents and staff announced Monday. No students or staff members were considered "close contacts" of the infected individual, the letter said. The case is the first reported in a student attending a Fauquier County public school.

Henrico school officials are one day away from a decision on in-person learning

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

On Thursday, the Henrico County School Board is slated to weigh expanding in-person learning for up to 50,000 students — a decision that comes amid tears, frustration and optimism from families and teachers with competing hopes. Some are begging the School Board to think about physical safety. Others want the option of in-person instruction.

Virginia Beach to move forward with renovations to building where mass shooting occurred

By STACY PARKER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Building 2 of the municipal center — abandoned after the mass shooting on May 31, 2019 — will be renovated soon. City officials this week released millions of dollars for several projects that had been on hold during the pandemic, including money to refurbish the building where 12 people were killed and four were critically injured.

Norfolk won't bring students back into schools Nov. 4 — that much is for certain

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

Health metrics need to be in the lower- to lowest-risk categories before Norfolk will resume in-person instruction, the school board decided Wednesday. Only after the health measures are "in the green" for 14 consecutive days can students begin returning, starting with some students with disabilities and those learning English.

Hampton schools set Nov. 4 target date for some grades to return

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

Some students could return to Hampton schools on Nov. 4 under a plan Superintendent Jeffery Smith presented to the school board Wednesday. The board didn't vote on Smith's proposal at the virtual meeting — it has voted to give him the authority to lead the decision on reopening. But a majority of members supported the return date for some grades as part of a two-day-a-week hybrid model, Phase 2 of a four-phase plan to return to full-time, in-person instruction.

Stafford supervisors seek regional buy-in on library concerns

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

Still dissatisfied with a litany of issues related to Stafford County libraries, Stafford supervisors on Tuesday agreed to take further action at their next meeting. On Nov. 4, supervisors will vote to make their concerns official before they are brought to the library's board of trustees for consideration.

County to update code to use pronouns other than 'he'

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

Albemarle County will now expressly allow the use of pronouns other than "he" in the County Code. On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors voted to change the way that gender pronouns are applied throughout the county code. Gender was defined in the code as "a word used in the masculine includes the feminine and the neuter," and now gender pronouns will be defined as " a word used in the masculine or the feminine, in particular 'he,' 'she,' 'him,' and 'her,' includes all gender identities."

COVID-19 pandemic affects free bus rides to polls in Danville

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

For the third year in a row, Danville is offering free bus rides to the polls on Election Day — even with COVID-19 forcing the city to make adjustments in the way it offers public transportation. On Nov. 3, the city's transportation department will have an additional bus sent to pick up passengers at heavy ridership routes because only 12 riders are allowed to be on a bus at a time, transportation director Marc Adelman said.



'Special' session it wasn't

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

About the only thing "special" about the General Assembly's special session this year is that it lasted longer and got much less done than the 46-day regular legislative session that ended in March. The legislature had already passed a $135 billion biennium budget, and Gov. Ralph Northam's subsequent freeze on new state spending in April, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Virginia, should have made short work of adjusting budgetary wish lists to the new coronavirus reality.

Legislators rig the redistricting system to benefit themselves

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

The fix is in. Virginians this fall are being asked whether to approve an amendment to the state constitution that would take the power of drawing new legislative lines out of the hands of the majority party in the General Assembly and give it to a bipartisan commission composed of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Democrats, who for years argued in favor some sort of commission when they were the minority party, have mysteriously decided this particular version isn't quite good enough and now argue for a "no" vote.

State Parole Board's continuing violations

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

Five of seven new complaints lodged against the Virginia Parole Board were substantiated earlier this month by the Office of State Inspector General Michael Westfall, which found that the VPB once again violated state law and its own policies and procedures by releasing inmates without first notifying prosecutors, victims and their families.

Time will tell effectiveness of legislature's special session

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

The long, long, special, special session has reached a conclusion. Or will reach a conclusion, soon. Any day now. Brave assurances have been dispatched to the population that our citizen legislature will at last stop legislating. At least until January.

Depression and COVID-19

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The global coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on all aspects of our lives. It's upended our work routines, our children's education and our economic stability. And it's affected another arena that needs attention: mental health. October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, designed to raise awareness of a condition that's becoming more prevalent during the pandemic.

The Virginia legislature just achieved good criminal justice reforms. But there's a long way to go.

Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

After two months of deliberation, the Virginia special legislative session has effectively ended. State lawmakers should congratulate themselves for a number of worthwhile criminal justice and policing reforms and prepare themselves for even more difficult, necessary work when the regular session begins in January.


Schapiro: Change at the point of a political bayonet

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Every 25 years or so it's April 1865 again at the Virginia Military Institute. The school, as the South did 155 years ago, surrenders to reality. In 1968, it admitted Blacks for the first time, the last public college in Virginia to do so. In 1997, women enrolled at VMI, the school having lost in the U.S. Supreme Court the previous year its long battle to remain males-only. In 2020, VMI is struggling to strike a balance between its Confederate past and people of color who represent its future.

PolitiFact: Ad Claims Spanberger Wants Public Campaign Financing


Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger wants the public to pay for her campaign, according to Nick Freitas, her Republican challenger this fall. "Washington Democrats love to spend your money," says a Freitas TV ad. "They even voted to spend public public funds on their political campaigns; up to $5 million each for travel expenses, staffers, even TV ads. And Abigail Spanberger voted with them, not you." . . . We fact checked whether Spanberger voted to give politicians up to $5 million for their campaigns.


Munley: MVP should not cross water bodies

By CYNTHIA MUNLEY, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The virtual Roanoke River Currents Conference this October 21-22 is timely because our Roanoke River and hundreds of Southwest Virginia streams across MVP's (Mountain Valley Pipeline) path are in imminent danger now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has extended the Mountain Valley Pipeline's (MVP) certificate for two years and lifted its stop-work order.

Munley is an organizer of Preserve Salem.

Miller: The last days of the Lee monument

By PENN MILLER, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Some see vandalism and desecration, others see art. The dramatic tagging of the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue might be giving some people distress, but it is giving me joy in the finest traditions of graffiti art. Art that easily is accessible to the public, placed there outside the boundaries of the law, and ephemeral. It is an expression and celebration of people, making Lee Circle a more egalitarian shrine than an oligarchic one.

Penn Miller of Ashland is the author of the novel "Confederate Gold: A Modern-day Romp through the Civil War History of Richmond, Virginia."

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