Thursday, September 24, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 24, 2020
Top of the News

Warner, Gade meet in first debate of Senate race

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and his Republican opponent Daniel Gade sparred over the dangers of the conoravirus, when to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court other topics Wednesday during their first debate in a little-noticed Senate race. Warner, a Democrat and former governor, is a the heavy favorite to win re-election for a third Senate term despite the fact that he almost lost six years ago.

Virginia prisoners request independent monitor as COVID-19 cases and deaths mount

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

Lawyers representing Virginia prisoners are asking the state to install an independent expert to evaluate the Department of Corrections' response to the coronavirus pandemic. The request comes as COVID-19 cases surge and the death toll rises amid an ongoing outbreak at Deerfield Correctional Center, which houses elderly and medically vulnerable inmates. As of Wednesday, the department reported 462 active infection among prisoners at the facility and 10 deaths — more than any other prison in the state.

Bill that would reform Virginia's jury trial sentencing system passes key House committee

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

A key judicial committee has signed off on a bill to revamp Virginia's jury trial sentencing system. The legislation — allowing defendants to be sentenced by judges rather than the juries that just convicted them — passed the House Courts of Justice Committee Tuesday on an 11-9 vote. Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, said that was a key hurdle, given that a subcommittee of the same House committee killed off the same measure earlier this year.

Culpeper sheriff responds in video to his controversial BLM posts

By STAFF REPORT, Culpeper Star Exponent (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

In an approximate eight-minute video posted last weekend on Facebook, Culpeper County Scott Jenkins doubled down on previous online statements that Black Lives Matter is a violent organization attacking towns and cities everywhere. And the county's top elected Republican lawman warned that while Culpeper has stayed peaceful in these unprecedented times that things were going to get a whole lot worse as November approaches.

William & Mary student-athletes express frustration over the school's decision to cut 7 sports

By MARTY O'BRIEN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

William & Mary student-athletes are making their voices heard in large numbers in opposition to the school's decision to cut seven sports after the 2020-21 school year. More than 100 from the sports affected – men's and women's swimming, men's indoor and outdoor track, men's and women's gymnastics and volleyball – stood outside the William & Mary Alumni House on Wednesday in support of several dozen others inside who spoke to the school's Board of Visitors about their opposition.

King William residents bring improper tax collection to Board of Supervisors, sparking internal financial probe

By EMILY HOLTER, Tidewater Review

With 150-acres of land and several historic buildings to renovate on his property, King William resident Bob Hubbard knew he was in for a challenge. But when he realized his property assessment did not reflect its actual categorization, he didn't expect he'd have to wait six years to fix it. When he took the problem to the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office, he said he was told he missed an opportunity to appeal and as a result, would pay more in taxes on land that was estimated higher than its worth.

Witnesses aren't needed for absentee voting in Virginia. But the instructions sometimes say otherwise.

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

Some Virginia voters who received absentee ballots by mail this week were left scratching their heads at the included instructions, which told them they didn't need witness signatures this year to make their ballots count — but, if they wanted their ballots to count, they needed witness signatures. Virginia voters do not have to have a witness signature on their absentee ballots this fall.

The Full Report
42 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.


In first debate, Warner and Gade air views on Supreme Court confirmation, COVID-19 and countering racism

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

In their first debate, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Republican challenger Daniel Gade found themselves at odds Wednesday night on the federal government's handling of the pandemic, health care and early voting. Recent polling shows Virginians leaning toward Warner, the former governor who has represented Virginia in the Senate since 2009.

Biden, Warner leading in latest Va. poll

By SYDNEY LAKE, Va Business Magazine

Democratic presidential challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden leads incumbent President Donald Trump by 5 points in Virginia, according to a poll released Thursday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic incumbent, is also ahead of Republican opponent Daniel Gade by 13 points among likely Virginia voters at 52% to 41%.

Early voting turnout hits record numbers in Virginia

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

Record numbers of Virginians are voting early and requesting absentee ballots this year, as the coronavirus pandemic and newly loosened election laws reshape Old Dominion voting habits in a presidential year. Some 100,356 voters have cast ballots in person since early voting began Friday, while 884,032 have requested absentee ballots, state elections officials reported Wednesday.

Nearly a million Virginians have asked for ballots through mail or already voted in person

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

Just over 100,000 Virginians have already cast ballots in person ahead of the Nov. 3 elections — about a third as many as were cast in 2016 — just five days into the early voting window. The Virginia Department of Elections confirmed Wednesday afternoon that 100,356 people had cast ballots in person since early voting began on Friday. In 2016 — before the state expanded its early voting window and stopped requiring an excuse — just under 353,000 people cast early ballots in person.

Electoral board expects record turnout this fall

By DON DEL ROSSO, Fauquier Now

The Fauquier Electoral Board vice chairman expects county voters to turn out in record-breaking numbers on Election Day. "I'm anticipating close to 80 percent will vote, which will be the best ever," said Bob Zwick, who has served eight years on the three-member board, which oversees all elections in the county. "We're normally in the low 70s for presidential elections."

It's legal to bring guns to polling places in five battleground states, a new study says

By REID J. EPSTEIN, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

Five battleground states in the presidential election have no laws prohibiting people from carrying guns into or near polling places, according to a study released Wednesday by two gun control organizations. The study by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, one of the country's oldest gun control organizations, and Guns Down America, a group on the fringe of the gun-control movement that advocates reducing the number of guns in circulation, examined polling place laws in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.


As regulators weigh rate hike for Appalachian Power, years of legislative intervention complicate task

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

On Friday, after nearly a week of hearings that involved thousands of pages of filings from parties ranging from Attorney General Mark Herring's office to the Virginia Poverty Law Center, Virginia regulators began deliberations about whether Appalachian Power should be able to raise its electric rates to increase its revenues by roughly $65 million. All over the country, public utility commissions are regularly charged with such decisions, trusted by state governments to strike the correct balance between the interests of utilities that must raise capital to build and maintain some of the nation's most fundamental infrastructure and the interests of the customers who pay the bills.

GO Virginia grants awarded to Region 2 projects

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

Nearly $1 million in state funds was awarded this week to projects aimed at growing the regional economy and helping it recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The GO Virginia state board on Tuesday approved three funding requests from the initiative's Region 2 Council, which represents a broad swath of Virginia that stretches from the Lynchburg area to the New River Valley and north to the Alleghany Highlands.


With COVID cramping campaigning, Warner running on his record

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

Mark R. Warner is by no means new to campaigning, but the incumbent U.S. senator said this election has been an adjustment. The Democrat is seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate but, like every candidate running for office, he has been forced to take a step back from typical door-to-door campaigning in a bid to reduce human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

One Senator's Strategy for Containing Chinese Technological Dominance

By GREG IP, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

When Mark Warner was in the telecommunications business in the 1980s and 1990s, he didn't think much about how U.S. rules and standards shaped the global use of technology—it was a given. "I never appreciated how much we set the standards on almost every technology and innovation, even if not invented in America," Mr. Warner said in an interview this week. "We flooded the zone with engineers. We had the best schools, we had most of the companies. It got built in as an assumed advantage, and we kind of got lazy about it." Today, as the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he sees China's erosion of that technological advantage as an existential threat to American values at home and abroad.


Mountain Valley seeks to resume construction of pipeline

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

After a winter hiatus in construction that stretched into the spring, summer and fall, builders of the Mountain Valley Pipeline say they are ready to return. In a letter filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late Tuesday, an attorney for the joint venture of energy companies requested that a stop-work order issued last Oct. 15 be lifted.

Amazon buys Pentagon City hotel, now has full control over superblock as vision for HQ2 expands

By JONATHAN CAPRIEL, Washington Business Journal (Subscription required for some articles) Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has purchased the Residence Inn by Marriott in Pentagon City with plans to demolish it and expand its second headquarters, the company tells the Washington Business Journal.

Blue Ridge Bank touts new Operations Center with new merger on the horizon

By RANDY ARRINGTON, Page Valley News

When Dorothy Welch first came to work at Blue Ridge Bank five years ago, there were about 75 employees and the company held assets of $269 million at the close of FY2015. In 2020, the Luray-based bank surpassed the $1 billion mark in assets and now employs nearly 375. Those assets are expected to grow to more than $2.5 billion next year, according to Welch, as yet another merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. On Wednesday morning, Welch, Senior Vice President of Strategic Engagement, led a group of local officials through a tour of the bank's new Operations Center at 52 West Main Street.


Clemons Library closes for the second time in four days due to low mask compliance

By ZACH ROSENTHAL, Cavalier Daily

Clemons Library temporarily closed for two hours on Wednesday following low levels of mask compliance, marking the second time in four days this measure was taken. According to Elyse Girard, director of communications for the University library system, the level of face mask compliance was 87 percent and then 91 percent following multiple warnings. Despite the bump up in compliance, the library was closed. When Clemons was closed on Sunday, compliance was 75 percent.

U.S. Drops Case Against Chinese Scientist at UVA

By KATE O'KEEFFE AND ARUNA VISWANATHA, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Prosecutors abruptly moved to drop criminal charges against a visiting Chinese scientist at the University of Virginia who had been arrested last month on allegations of stealing trade secrets from his professor, after the university acknowledged the scientist was authorized to access some of the material. In a motion filed Sunday, the U.S. Attorney's office in Charlottesville, Va., asked the court to dismiss its case against Hu Haizhou, who works for a military-funded lab at Beihang University in Beijing and was researching underwater robotics, according to a previously filed FBI affidavit.

University of Richmond president to step down in 2022

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

University of Richmond president Ronald A. Crutcher will resign in early 2022, the school said in a statement Wednesday. The university intends to have his replacement in office by July 1 of that year. Crutcher, 73, was named UR's 10th president in 2015, becoming the school's first Black president. Given the upheaval higher education has seen this year, Crutcher said he wanted to give UR ample time to find his successor.


Statewide COVID-19 cases increase by 580 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 142,590 — an increase of 580 from the 142,010 reported Tuesday. The 142,590 cases consist of 135,626 confirmed cases and 6,964 probable cases. There are 3,089 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 2,882 confirmed and 207 probable. That's an increase of 29 from the 3,060 reported Tuesday.

Ten inmates at Deerfield Correctional Center now dead from COVID-19

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Ten inmates with COVID-19 at the Deerfield Correctional Center have now died. The rural Southside prison holds many elderly and otherwise vulnerable inmates. With 925 inmates, Deerfield has an assisted living unit and infirmary and holds many of the state prison system's elderly and medically impaired offenders. Many of the inmates at Deerfield sleep in dormitories, making social distancing difficult if not impossible.

Richmond-area schools surpass 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases among employees

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

At least 106 public school employees have tested positive for COVID-19 across Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico and Richmond since March, according to school officials. While all four districts are in week three of fall instruction, only Hanover County Public Schools brought students back into classrooms.


Hundreds of protesters march in Richmond after Ky. officers not charged in Breonna Taylor's death

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

In Richmond, after the announcement in Kentucky, a flyer promoting a "Justice for Breonna Taylor" protest in Monroe Park circulated on social media. On Twitter, the Richmond Police Department acknowledged that it was aware of the event Wednesday night. "Officers will be present to monitor the events & respond, if necessary," RPD wrote. "We will work to keep citizens & businesses safe while supporting the public's right to free speech."

Dozens of protesters in Norfolk call for justice after grand jury decides not to charge officers in Breonna Taylor's death

By JESSICA NOLTE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Dozens of activists called out Breonna Taylor's name Wednesday night before taking to the streets of Norfolk to call for justice. "The only thing we can do is continue to fight at this point because I'm telling you — don't be surprised when you wake up tomorrow or the next day and somebody is dead at the hands of the cops," Angie Day, an organizer from The Underground 1865, LLC, told the crowd as they stood in Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

Appeals court denies re-hearing in Gloucester transgender bathroom case; U.S. Supreme Court could be next

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

A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Gloucester School Board's request for a full rehearing in the long-running lawsuit filed by a transgender student. The next step could be the U.S. Supreme Court — where the case had once been destined before the high court sent it back to lower courts three years ago.

Appeals court rejects rehearing in transgender bathroom case

Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Wednesday denied a request for a full-court review of a ruling that a Virginia school board's transgender bathroom ban is unconstitutional. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rejected a request from the Gloucester County School Board for a rehearing to review a ruling that the board's policy discriminated against Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who was barred from using the boys bathrooms at Gloucester High School.

Virginia lawmakers ask Trump for offshore drilling exemption

By JULIA RENTSCH, Salisbury Daily Times

A group of Democratic congressmembers from Virginia wrote to President Donald Trump this week requesting their state be granted a moratorium on offshore oil and gas development that, so far, as only been granted to states led by Republicans. . . . The document was signed by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, A. Donald McEachin, Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton, all D-VA.

Restrictions may be loosened even further for John Hinckley

By BEN FINLEY, Associated Press

The man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan may soon get the most freedom he's had since since the shooting outside a Washington hotel in 1981. A lawyer for John Hinckley Jr. is discussing a possible agreement with U.S. attorneys that would substantially reduce conditions imposed on him after his release from a Washington mental hospital in 2016, according to discussions at a federal court hearing on Wednesday.


Fairfax School Board Blasts Return-to-School Plan for Being Light on Numbers

By JO DEVOE, Reston Now

About 6,700 students could start trickling into Fairfax County Public Schools during October, according to a plan for limited in-person learning developed by the district. Although Board of Education members indicated they approve of bringing back students, prioritizing those who need extra support in school, they criticized the plan as Superintendent Scott Brabrand presented to them during a work session Tuesday evening.

Chesterfield supervisors approve $85 million in deferred maintenance

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

The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors on Wednesday night approved borrowing at least $85 million toward deferred maintenance projects for both the school system and the county. The decision to pay for projects ranging from road and drainage fixes to school HVAC improvements came with no questions from the board or comments from the public.

Grand jury indicts former School Board candidate on charges related to alleged election fraud

By JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE, Princess Anne Independent News

A grand jury has indicted a former Virginia Beach School Board candidate on charges of alleged election fraud and filing a forged document. Justin Burns, a college student who in late August ended his candidacy in the at-large School Board race, is accused of making a false statement or entry in a report under a section of election law and representing a forged document as true, according to a copy of the Tuesday, Sept. 8, indictment filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court. The charges are felonies.

First students return for in-person classes in Virginia Beach

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

About 1,200 special needs students in Virginia Beach returned for in-person classes Tuesday, with more set to go back to school in the next two weeks. Administrators said they prioritized returning students with disabilities as soon as possible because they are among those who most need in-person learning to succeed. These students will receive their special education and related services face-to-face with teachers.

Norfolk could launch new police oversight board this year. But how much power it will have is unclear

By JONATHAN EDWARDS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Top city officials — including the city manager and police chief — want a citizen oversight commission that would have the power to investigate police officers' wrongdoing. The panel could also recommend more sweeping changes in how the police department hires recruits, trains officers and polices the city. But it's unclear how much power the commission would have and how much support the idea has among City Council members.

Albemarle County residents could qualify for COVID relief

By STAFF REPORT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Albemarle County residents feeling the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic could find assistance through an emergency program funded by the county and administered by the United Way of Greater Charlottesville. The funds are from federal CARES Act money for coronavirus relief allocated to the county by the state.

In-person teaching at William Fleming High School closes for two weeks after positive COVID-19 cases

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

In-person instruction at William Fleming High School has been shut down for two weeks "out of an abundance of caution" after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, Roanoke City Public Schools announced Wednesday. Approximately 100 students are affected by the closure and will shift to virtual learning, according to spokesman Justin McLeod.

Fauquier County schools will offer some in-person learning beginning Nov. 9

By ROBIN EARL, Fauquier Times

Fauquier High School's cafeteria exploded with applause Wednesday night after the school board voted to commence on Nov. 9 a hybrid instruction model that will include some in-person teaching. Fauquier County schools opened Aug. 24 with an all-virtual learning model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 40 or so people in the audience Wednesday, some wearing "Go for the Green" shirts proclaiming their desire for in-person instruction, seemed pleased with the proposed move away from 100% virtual learning.

Students back in schools 2 days a week in November


All students have the option of returning to Fauquier County Public Schools for some face-to-face instruction in November. The school board Wednesday night voted, 5-0, to approve a revised plan for "hybrid" instruction that will start Monday, Nov. 9.

Town of Remington residents choose new town seal

By ROBIN EARL, Fauquier Times

Remington's Town Council members revealed the town's new seal at their meeting Monday night. Vice Mayor Devada Allison said that his personal favorite, created by local graphic artist Alison Wargo, was the winning entry. "There was so much history in her design," said the vice mayor, "and I think it was the most upscale of the three." . . . The town seal, in place for decades, featured a small depiction of the battle flag used during the Civil War by the Army of Northern Virginia, which fought for the Confederacy.

Halifax Militia seeking official recognition by county

By MIRANDA BAINES, Gazette Virginian

An unofficial organization in Halifax County — the Halifax Militia — is seeking official recognition. The Halifax County Board of Supervisors discussed adopting a resolution formally recognizing the militia at its Sept. 8 meeting. The vote on the resolution was tabled. Mitzi Thompson, commander of the Halifax County Militia, told The Gazette in a follow-up interview that she would like for the militia to have official recognition from the county government.



Trump is wrong. NAFTA didn't 'devastate' the 5th District. Here's what did

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

On Sunday, President Trump held a telephone call with 5th District Republicans to talk up congressional candidate Bob Good (and say the obligatory bad things about Democrat Cameron Webb). In the course of that conversation, Trump said: "The Fifth District was devastated by the NAFTA catastrophe that was supported by Biden, actually. I ended the NAFTA nightmare with the USMCA, and Bob and I will work closely to fight for your jobs in the 5th District."

Please tell McAuliffe: One term is enough

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

ARTICLE V of the Virginia Constitution makes it clear that the governor "shall be ineligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he was elected." This gubernatorial one-term limit, which has been in place since the adoption of Virginia's second constitution in 1830, makes the commonwealth unique among the 50 states.

Greater flexibility with Rebuild VA grants is welcome news

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

The presence of COVID-19 has shaken expense reports for small businesses and nonprofits across Virginia. Retail establishments had to upgrade their cash register areas to include protective measures such as Plexiglas shields. Offices had to adjust ventilation systems and hand-washing stations to meet new federal and state safety standards. Restaurant spaces had to alter seating arrangements to comply with social distancing guidelines.


Schapiro: Opening VMI to women, opening up Va. politics

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

The playing field is a bit more level for women because the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opened Virginia Military Institute's (VMI) parade grounds to them. In 1996, Ginsburg — a pioneer in women's rights well before she joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 as its second female justice — wrote the majority opinion in the 7-1 ruling that threw out the males-only admissions rule of the taxpayer-financed VMI.


LaRock and Braunlich: Unions protect 'bad cops'; Special session ignores reform opportunity

By DAVE LAROCK AND CHRISTIAN N. BRAUNLICH, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

A very few bad cops make life really difficult for the brave and dedicated law enforcers who absolutely are essential to maintaining order and keeping us safe. Those few bad cops might wear the same uniforms but they are very different. So why is it so hard to discipline or fire a bad cop? The answer is simple: No matter how bad they are, most are protected by police unions and the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) the unions negotiate.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

September 22, 2020
Top of the News

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

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

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

Clemons Library closed early Sunday following low face mask compliance

By ZACH ROSENTHAL, Cavalier Daily

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

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

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

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

Child welfare calls have plummeted during the pandemic

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

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

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

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

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

Pittsylvania County native announces bid for lieutenant governor

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

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

Planned BLM Road Mural Pulled After Anti-Abortion Mural Proposed


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

The Full Report
28 articles, 15 publications


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our COVID-19 dashboard makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. There's a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Pandemic Shifts Spanberger's Playbook on Door-Knocking


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

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

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

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

Wittman, Rashid exchange barbs in Monday night debate

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

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


Virginia expands criteria for small business loans to help more businesses

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

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


Solar array planned for top of Dominion Energy garage in Richmond

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

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

Wintergreen Resort lays out plans for 2020-21 ski season

Nelson County Times

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


College Town Economies Suffer as Students Avoid Bars, Football Tailgating

By JUSTIN BAER, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JMU Students Not Optimistic About School's Reopening

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

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

Despite pandemic, enrollment is up at Germanna Community College

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

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


Va. COVID-19 positivity rate falls to 5.7%

By SYDNEY LAKE, Va Business Magazine

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


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

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

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


Loudoun Supervisors Look to Hurry Western Broadband

By RENSS GREENE, Loudoun Now

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

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



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

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

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

Legislators abdicated power during pandemic

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

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

Time to wash hands of fight

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

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

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

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

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


Kilgore: The public option would be harmful to Virginians

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

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

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

Invite Friends to read VaNews

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


You don't have any referrals yet.

Or use your personal referral link:

For questions email
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