Saturday, August 8, 2020

Special Saturday Edition

August 8, 2020
Top of the News

Virginia Supreme Court temporarily halts evictions

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

A sharply divided Virginia Supreme Court on Friday granted Gov. Ralph Northam's request for a statewide moratorium on evictions, extending protections for another month. As state and federal measures against evictions expired last month, Northam (D) asked the court in a letter to suspend evictions through early September to give the state time to come up with a legislative solution.

Canadian dies after being held in U.S. immigration detention centre with COVID-19 outbreak

By TU THANH HA, Globe and Mail

A 72-year-old Canadian has died in hospital after he was held for nearly three months in a U.S. immigration detention centre that had a major COVID-19 outbreak. James Hill had been in custody at the privately run detention centre in Virginia operated on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Farmville Detention Center has made headlines because hundreds of detainees have been infected with the novel coronavirus, amid complaints of overcrowding and poor sanitation.

Bedford County Public Schools remains optimistic about in-person reopening plan

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

As school divisions locally and across the state shift to remote learning to begin the upcoming school year, Bedford County Public Schools is moving forward with plans for in-person learning. Division staff reported to the school board at its Thursday meeting that the division is pursuing the reopening plan administrators released in July, which prioritizes in-person learning for its youngest students and mainly remote instruction for older students.

One-day surge in reported COVID-19 cases attributed to data backlog

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

A surge of new COVID-19 cases on Virginia's daily dashboard was attributed to a data backlog earlier this week. The Virginia Department of Health registered 2,015 new cases on Friday — a significant increase from the state's typical numbers, which have largely hovered between 900 and 1,300 daily reported infections since the beginning of August. VDH spokeswoman Maria Reppas said the error originated with the department's "system-managed flow" of data, which queues pending cases before reporting them publicly.

Testing continues in SW Va., positivity above state average

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

Concern over COVID-19 isn't taking a vacation during the dog days of summer. On Friday, nurses encased in blue medical gowns, gloves, masks and plastic face shields greeted a steady stream of patients at the city health department's drive-up testing site. Wait times were brief as each nasal swab test took but a few seconds, specimens were sealed into a plastic biohazard bag and the driver pulled away.

Liberty U's Falwell takes leave after social media uproar

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Jerry Falwell Jr. took an indefinite leave of absence Friday as the leader of Liberty University, one of the nation's top evangelical Christian colleges, days after apologizing for a social media post that caused an uproar even among fellow conservatives. The private university in Lynchburg, Virginia, gave no reason for Falwell's departure in a one-sentence announcement Friday afternoon.

Alexandria remembers a young lynching victim

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

Benjamin Thomas was just 16 when he was accused in 1899 of trying to assault an 8-year-old White girl who lived next door to him. Thrown in the basement jail of the Alexandria, Va., police station, he heard a crowd bashing through the wooden doors, overpowering the guards, breaking through the iron cell doors and calling his name. The Black teenager hid, either in a fish barrel or a hole. But the mob found him. They threw a rope around his neck and arm and dragged him over rough cobblestones to a lamppost near City Hall.

The Full Report
45 articles, 20 publications


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

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


Virginia Republicans to elect party leader as losses mount

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Facing a decade-long drought in statewide elections, Virginia Republicans will decide next week on a party chairman for the next four years....In the last three election cycles the GOP has lost control of the state Senate and the House of Delegates and the majority in the state's congressional delegation, thanks in part to an anti-Trump wave.


Company explains 'major error' that led to half-million erroneous ballot applications in Virginia


The company that printed a half-million incorrect absentee ballot applications for people in Virginia apologized for its "major error," saying the mistake was made because someone "incorrectly aligned a spreadsheet" that matched voters with their local registrar's offices. "We are keenly aware of the seriousness of this mistake," said Jonathan Shapiro, CEO of Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Co.

Good declined to participate in debate, per Webb

Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Bob Good, the Republican candidate for Virginia's 5th District congressional seat, has declined to participate in the first scheduled debate, according to his opponent. In a news release Friday, Democratic candidate Dr. Cameron Webb said that Good had declined to participate in a debate hosted by Piedmont Virginia Community College and CBS19.


Virginia Supreme Court grants eviction moratorium

Associated Press

The Virginia Supreme Court has granted a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to suspend judicial proceedings related to evictions for tenants who can't pay rent. The court ruled 4-3 on Friday to grant a moratorium on evictions through Sept. 7 as the state grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia Supreme Court extends eviction ban until Sept. 7

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

The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday approved a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to extend a statewide moratorium on evictions until Sept. 7, as thousands of cases remain pending in Virginia. The court was split 4-3 on the decision. The majority ruled that the pandemic may "substantially endanger" or "impede" tenants' ability to defend themselves in court.

Virginia Supreme Court declares another ban on evictions at Northam's request

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

Evictions hearings will be suspended again starting Monday, the Virginia Supreme Court declared Friday. Thousands of Virginians were scheduled to go to court for unpaid rent, just one consequence of the coronavirus pandemic that upended the state's economic stability and forced people out of jobs. As unemployment rates rose, tenants struggled to make their monthly housing payments, and a previous eviction moratorium ended in June.

Virginia inmate, at odds with prison officials and white supremacist gang, fears for his life

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

A state inmate contends his life is in danger after acting as an informant for the Virginia Department of Corrections against the Aryan Brotherhood, a violent white supremacist prison gang. In a pending federal suit and in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch this week, Joshua Wayne Phelps alleges the gang has placed a statewide KOS, or "kill on sight," order against him and that the department of corrections will not place him in protective custody or move him to another state.


House committee seeks records in coronavirus outbreak inside Virginia immigrant detention center

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

The House Committee on Homeland Security on Friday asked for records related to a widespread outbreak of the novel coronavirus inside a Virginia immigration detention center after a 72-year-old detainee there died while hospitalized with the disease earlier this week. Also on Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's office said the nation's top public health agency has agreed to conduct widespread coronavirus testing at the facility located in Farmville.


Jobless residents wait for Congress to deliver relief

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

It's been about a month since Melanie Bianco first learned she would be losing her job. Now, she's unemployed, frustrated and fed up as she waits for Congress to strike a deal to extend jobless benefits as her mortgage and student loans hang in the balance. The 30-year-old North Richmond resident spent the past seven years planning corporate and group travel for a Richmond-based travel management firm.

The pandemic made telemedicine essential, but will virtual care continue?

By ELIZABETH BELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The VCU Massey Cancer Center looked for ways to continuously care for patients while keeping them out of the hospital or clinics during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of setting up multiple face-to-face appointments to monitor cancer patients, VCU doctors used mobile testing services to collect blood samples at patients' homes and video calls to discuss the results.

Survey: A fifth of Virginia military families say they don't have reliable food access

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

Nearly a fifth of active military families in Virginia say they can't reliably afford enough food — and many even experience longer term hunger, according to a survey conducted by the Military Family Advisory Network. Most of those families are concentrated in the Hampton Roads area, the nonprofit said.

Richmond area's hotel occupancy and tax collections down significantly

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

The coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the local and national hospitality industry. Occupancy levels at hotels in the Richmond region fell 40.3% in June compared with the same month a year ago as fewer business and leisure travelers stayed in area hotels and motels, according to data from STR Inc., a lodging industry research firm that is a division of CoStar Group.

Amazon facility opens in Prince George

By SEAN JONES, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 10 articles a month)

A new Amazon fulfillment center has opened in Prince George, bringing 150 jobs to the area. Amazon leaders welcomed new team members on Tuesday, August 4 with a morning of training and activities. The first item shipped from the new facility - Dog and puppy potty training pads.

Virginia-based Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones

By BYRON TAU, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

A small U.S. company with ties to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities has embedded its software in numerous mobile apps, allowing it to track the movements of hundreds of millions of mobile phones world-wide, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Anomaly Six LLC a Virginia-based company founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps.


Mary Washington to start with three weeks of remote learning

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The University of Mary Washington plans to start classes with remote learning for the first three weeks of the fall semester, commencing Aug. 24. Students who will be on campus from Sept. 10 through Nov. 20 and commuting students who signed up for a fall dining plan will be eligible for refunds.

At-home COVID-19 tests: W&M expects students to stick to the 'honor code'

By JULIA MARSIGLIANO, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily (Metered paywall - 3 articles per month)

William & Mary plans to welcome back its students for the fall semester during the coronavirus but with some requirements. One of them is having students test themselves for COVID-19 prior to coming to campus. . . . All students are required to take the test, which is paid for by the university at no charge to students. But how will William & Mary ensure the credibility of each test? The answer: By giving students the benefit of the doubt and relying on the university's honor code.

UVA Wise will delay fall semester start

By STAFF REPORT, Coalfield Progress

The University of Virginia's College at Wise announced Monday that it will delay the start of the fall 2020 semester by two weeks and will mail at-home COVID-19 test kits to students before they arrive on campus. Classes will now begin on Aug. 26 instead of Aug. 12, and residential students who have not yet returned to Wise will wait until Aug. 19 for their staggered and prescheduled move in to campus housing.

After racy photo, Falwell takes leave from Liberty U.

By SARAH PULLIAM BAILEY, SUSAN SVRLUGA AND JOE HEIM, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Jerry Falwell Jr., an early and prominent supporter of President Trump, will take a leave of absence from leading Liberty University after posting a provocative photo to social media that drew widespread criticism, including from other evangelical leaders. The school issued a brief statement Friday afternoon saying that the executive committee of Liberty's board of trustees met earlier that day and requested that Falwell take an indefinite leave. That committee of eight people includes Falwell, according to the school's website. Falwell's brother, Jonathan Falwell, is also on the board of trustees.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. taking leave of absence

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

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking an indefinite leave of absence starting immediately, the university announced Friday. In a statement, the university said Falwell agreed to step aside after the executive committee of Liberty's Board of Trustees requested he take a leave of absence. The university's one-sentence announcement gave no reason for Falwell's departure, but the move comes two days after Falwell apologized for posting — and quickly deleting — a photo on Instagram showing him with his pants partially unzipped and his arm around a woman with her pants also partially unzipped.

Roanoke College appoints independent investigator to review sexual misconduct response

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

Roanoke College has retained a Richmond-based attorney to conduct a third-party investigation into whether the college's former Title IX coordinator improperly responded to students' sexual misconduct complaints. Karen Michael will immediately begin an eight-week investigation into the allegations against Dean of Students Brian Chisom, who until 2018 was the college's Title IX coordinator.


Data backlog pushes Friday spike in statewide COVID-19 cases

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

The Virginia Department of Health reported Friday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 97,882 — an increase of 2,015 from the 95,867 reported Thursday. That spike is due to a two-day backlog of information that should have been reported Wednesday and Thursday, combined with Friday's normal count, the health department said. It caught the issue late Thursday, the result of a "system performance configuration."

Virginia sets record for coronavirus infections after tech problem causes backlog

By DANA HEDGPETH, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia's seven-day average coronavirus caseload surged to near-record levels Friday as the state reported a backlog of infections that should have been counted over two previous days. The 2,015 new daily infections marked the state's highest daily total but included numbers that should have been reported Wednesday and Thursday. Distributing the cases among recent days still lifted Virginia's seven-day average caseload to 1,142 — second only to a record set May 31.

Virginia continues to grapple with testing delays as public officials seek workarounds

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

As public activity steadily rises and the bustling fall season nears for schools and businesses, lengthy waits for COVID-19 testing continue to plague Virginia....The source of the delays for publicly available testing rests with shortages at national labs, but health officials in Virginia are pursuing workarounds to abate the impact of the impact of the delays. They include a new multi-state agreement to negotiate the purchase of quicker tests, guidance to labs to batch tests for low-risk groups and a new app to help notify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Local virus cases up among 20-somethings; outbreaks reported at Caroline school and Stafford care facility

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

Friday's report from the Rappahannock Area Health District showed an even bigger daily increase in COVID-19 cases than the day before, as another school has been impacted, more young people are testing positive and another long-term care facility is dealing with an outbreak.

District on track for another record month of virus cases

By NOLAN STOUT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Ahead of the return of University of Virginia students, Central Virginia is on track for another record month of coronavirus cases as health officials say residents continue to flout social distancing recommendations. The first seven days of August have seen 189 new cases of the coronavirus in the Thomas Jefferson Health District, roughly 38% more than the record set in the first week of July.

Outbreaks lead to increased cases, deaths in and around Lynchburg

By RACHEL MAHONEY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

Coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes, churches and other settings continue to spread COVID-19 to residents in Central Virginia. Data from the Virginia Department of Health indicates since March, there have been 13 outbreaks in the Central Virginia Health District, which includes Lynchburg and the surrounding counties. Of those, five outbreaks have been at long-term care facilities, seven have been at congregate settings and one has been in a healthcare setting.

Roanoke looks for ways to reach Hispanic residents to help curb spread of COVID-19

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

Roanoke and public health officials Wednesday met with leaders of the city's Hispanic community to figure out ways to spread information about the coronavirus. The disease had disproportionately affected Latinos in both Roanoke and Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health has race and ethnicity data for only about half of the city's 973 COVID-19 cases.

Va. group homes for adults with disabilities feel 'forgotten'

By JESSICA CONTRERA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The letter to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam warned of a crisis within a crisis: The industry built to support adults with developmental disabilities was being financially crushed by the pandemic. Day programs had been shuttered for months. Group homes had sunk hundreds of thousands into attempts to keep their residents from contracting the novel coronavirus. A coalition of service providers, desperate for personal protective equipment and other supports, hoped to alert the governor to their increasingly desperate situation.

For the second time, Virginia erroneously reports coronavirus death of a child

By MOSS BRENNAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported the death of a child age 9 or younger Friday morning, but in the afternoon, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health said it was a typographical error. VDH provided no additional information beyond saying the error had been corrected. No children in Virginia have died from the coronavirus.

72-year-old Canadian man dies in ICE custody after being held at Farmville Detention Center

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

A 72-year-old Canadian in custody at an immigration detention center in Farmville - the site of the largest coronavirus outbreak in a U.S. immigration facility - has died. ICE spokeswoman Kaitlyn Pote said the 72-year-old died Wednesday night in a Virginia hospital but said more information is not available at this time, including whether the death was COVID-related.


State panel recommends moving Lee statue from U.S. Capitol to history museum in Richmond

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

A state panel on Friday unanimously recommended that Virginia's statue of Robert E. Lee at the U.S. Capitol be moved to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond. Historian Ed Ayers, former president of the University of Richmond, made the motion to ask whether the museum wants to take ownership of the statue.

City's Confederate statues now up for disposal

By JEREMY M. LAZARUS, Richmond Free Press

Let the disposal begin. The Richmond City Council on Monday set in motion a plan to finally rid Richmond of most of the city-owned statues and icons of Confederate traitors, although surprisingly, not all. As expected, the council voted 9-0 to approve the permanent removal of the Confederate statues and to start the process to receive bids for 10 of the 12 items under city control.

Marching home? Confederate monument foe works with Stuart descendant to send statue to general's birthplace

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

Richmond City Councilman Michael Jones may seem an unlikely ally for the great-great-grandson of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, but they share a common goal of finding a new home outside of the city for a Confederate monument that no longer stands over Stuart Circle on Monument Avenue. Jones is an African American minister from South Richmond who has led the council effort to remove Confederate statues in the city.

As protests at Robert E. Lee statue continue, nearby residents live in constant state of unrest

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

During the past two months, the block surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue has transformed into ground zero for Richmond's racial justice protests. Anywhere from a half dozen to hundreds of visitors have occupied the grassy circle and the nearby median strips 24 hours a day, blanketing the statue's base in graffiti and filling the air with noise, including gunfire.


Data Centers Only Bright Spot in Loudoun Tax Revenue Forecast

By RENSS GREENE, Loudoun Now

Less than a month into the fiscal year, as is customary, supervisors on the county finance committee and county staff members have begun work on the next annual county budget—one that will be shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on the economy and tax collections. The county government's main sources of funding—real estate and personal property tax revenues—could both see significant dips as the county and country navigate the pandemic's fallout. In particular, said Chief of Staff Caleb Weitz, commercial real estate values could be vulnerable.

County early-voting system will cost up to $300,000

By DON DEL ROSSO, Fauquier Now

Making it easier for people to vote comes with a price. Fauquier's board of supervisors on Thursday, Aug. 13, will decide whether to designate two county-owned buildings — the Bealeton Depot and the Vint Hill Community Center — as early in-person absentee voting "satellite" polling places for the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections. County Administrator County Administrator Paul S. McCulla put the effort's start-up expenses at about $300,000.

How the Virginia Citizens Defense League won in Rappahannock County

By RACHEL NEEDHAM, Rappahannock News (Metered Paywall)

Gun owners in Rappahannock County can sleep well at night knowing for a fact that their Board of Supervisors plans to leave their firearms in peace. On Monday night upwards of forty Rappahannock residents attended the evening session in support of a measure colloquially known as the "No Local Gun Control" resolution. At least fifteen people in attendance — including some county employees — were not wearing masks, despite Virginia Executive Order 63 mandating that face coverings must be worn indoors at public events.

Charlottesville's stop-and-frisk data largely unchanged by pandemic

By NOLAN STOUT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The Charlottesville Police Department's use of what it calls "investigative detentions" was at an all-time low in June after reaching a six-month high in May. The coronavirus pandemic doesn't seem to have had much overall impact on the department's use of the practice, commonly called stop-and-frisk, although it is changing the neighborhood encounters.

Sheriff walks out on supervisors during questions about budget overages

By RANDY ARRINGTON, Page Valley News

Neither side thinks the other understands. Both sides are calling for better communication. And both blame the other for the confusion and not dealing with the reoccurring problem. The same drama has played out for four of the last five years between the Page County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Chad Cubbage. The sheriff has consistently gone over budget for four of the five budget cycles since being elected in 2015, while the supervisors continue to repeatedly request the sheriff to deal with budget shortfalls sooner and make adjustments, rather than simply reporting a deficit at the end of the fiscal year.

Lawyers guild says Floyd Courthouse's Confederate monument sends wrong message

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

A small local lawyer's group connected to a long history of civil rights activism took aim Friday at the Confederate monument at the Floyd County Courthouse, calling it a symbol of unfair treatment for Black and other defendants of color — and urging defense attorneys to try to move their cases out of the county. The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild released a statement saying that the statue of a Confederate soldier outside the courthouse's front entrance "sends a message that equal justice under the law will not be administered."

Hillsville's Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show canceled for first time in its 53-year history

By TONIA MOXLEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Sandra Terry reckons there's a first time for everything. And this year it's the first time in more than 50 years that Hillsville's Grover King VFW Post 1115 won't sponsor the annual Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show. "This would have been the 53rd year," Terry said. "This is the first time it's been canceled." And the town is in an uproar over it.

'Now it's in the hands of the citizens:': Casino question officially on November ballot

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

There have not been any formal surveys or polling surrounding the question of a casino done by the city, but Councilman Lee Vogler and Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones said most of the feedback they've heard has been very positive. "I've heard from just very very small numbers of people that were … apprehensive about it," Vogler said.



No going back

Richmond Free Press Editorial

Confederates don't go easy. When the recent surge began to remove the Monument Avenue statues that tragically honor traitors to our nation and racist slavers who sought to deny our humanity, there was no doubt the blowback would come. We point to recent events in Richmond and Hanover County as examples.


Schapiro: Stoney's path to second term might not be that bumpy

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

In the West End and in Westover Hills, red-brick neighborhoods where Mayor Levar Stoney has more than his share of critics, yard signs are popping up for Kim Gray and Justin Griffin. Alexsis Rodgers, aiming to harness youthful, progressive hostility for Stoney, is a constant presence on Twitter.

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Virginia Public Access Project · P.O. Box 1472 · Richmond, VA 23218 · USA

Friday, August 7, 2020

Hi Rob: can you sign these top #5Actions?

5 Actions

Dear Rob,

We're excited for the weekend, but are also very, very concerned that the Republican-led U.S. Senate has so far failed to extend critically needed unemployment benefits, has let the eviction moratorium expire, and has not yet done enough to save childcare or advance paid leave and sick days.

Your voice is needed to get the U.S. Senate moving! So, please take a moment to reach out to Congress on these key issues through the actions below. The more of us who raise our voices, the faster change will happen. You can also sign up below for postcards that will be sent in September to help get out the vote.

Have a great weekend and as always thanks for all you do.

1. Support the Women's Health Protection Act
Your Action Status: NOT YET SIGNED -> Sign Now

BACKGROUND: There are attacks on abortion happening in several states around the country -- and have been for decades: Roe v. Wade -- and the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) is a federal bill that will protect abortion privileges for all people, nationwide, ensuring that people have attainable access to quality, affordable, and compassionate reproductive services and abortion in their state. We will continue to fight against laws that exploit people during the COVID-19 public health crisis and block access to health centers and clinics. Sign on with us!

**ACTION: Your voice matters. With your signature, we will tell lawmakers to support the Women's Health Protection Act NOW!

2. We can't reopen without saving childcare and paid leave
Your Action Status: NOT YET SIGNED -> Sign Now

BACKGROUND: We can't safely go back to school without all workers having access to pandemic paid sick days and paid leave. Pass it on.

**ACTION: Tell your U.S. Senators that they must act quickly to support child care and extend and expand access to pandemic paid leave before school starts. Otherwise, there is no way schools, or anything else, will be able to safely reopen.

3. Letters to the Editor needed to help struggling families!
Your Action Status: NOT YET SUBMITTED -> Submit Now

BACKGROUND: Last week, we saw the deadline to extend key unemployment benefits expire and the week before that our families lost the protection of the federal eviction moratorium. Our families are hurting in this COVID economy, yet U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate offer weak legislation that benefits wealthy corporations over families and our economy. It's time to take a stand!

**ACTION: Your U.S. Senators are very important in this fight. One of the most high impact, powerful things you can do right now is send a letter to the editor to your local paper calling on your elected leaders to do the right thing. It's very easy and we'll walk you through all the steps below.

4. Last chance to sign up for GOTV postcards!
Your Action Status: NOT YET SIGNED UP FOR THIS ROUND -> Sign Up Now

BACKGROUND: MomsRising is making it super easy (and totally FREE) for you to participate in our powerful Get-Out-The-Vote effort for the 2020 election! Sign up now to write 10 or more postcards to registered voters who haven't always voted on Election Day in the past. In September, we'll send you a packet of pre-addressed, pre-stamped postcards along with some quick instructions. All you'll need to do is write a short note of encouragement (we'll provide sample messages) and send them directly to voters ahead of the November 3rd election!

**ACTION: Sign up now to get your voting reminder postcard packet in September!

5. Take action now! Tell Congress to include immigrants for COVID-19 relief!
Your Action Status: NOT YET SIGNED -> Sign Now

BACKGROUND: Immigrants make up nearly 16% of healthcare workers in the U.S.[1] and are putting their lives on the line to fight COVID! Effective public health responses require attention to all community members, as a pandemic response that excludes any members of our communities will weaken its effectiveness. None of us can be healthy if any one of us is denied access to testing, care, and economic relief.

**ACTION: Tell Congress to include immigrants in the next COVID-19 relief legislation!

Thank you for all you do, and have a good weekend.

-- Sue Anne, Kristin, Jordan, Diarra, Elyssa, Sara, Ruth, Claudia, and the rest of the MomsRising / MamásConPoder Team


P.S. Are you an immigrant who is on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic (health care, home health aids, sanitation, child care, and other essential positions)? Tell us your story!

P.P.S. This list is also on the blog!


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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Political Headlines from across Virginia

August 4, 2020
Top of the News

Former GOP House Speaker Kirk Cox considering run for Virginia governor

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

Former House Speaker Kirk Cox confirmed Monday that he is "seriously looking" at running for Virginia governor next year, adding his name to a relatively small list of Republicans eyeing the Executive Mansion in a longtime swing state that has been steadily trending blue. Cox, a veteran legislator and retired teacher who turns 63 this month, held onto his House seat in November in a drastically revamped district, but lost the speakership as Democrats won control of the House and Senate for the first time in a generation.

Guns taken in 1st local case involving Virginia's new 'red flag' law

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

"What's the point in living?" "I just want to die." Those were the comments police said a man made prior to having his guns taken in the first local case involving Virginia's new "red flag" law. The case was adjudicated on Monday in Winchester Circuit Court. The 45-year-old Winchester man made the suicidal threats while in possession of a pistol on July 17, according to police. He voluntarily surrendered three guns to police and will not be allowed to possess guns until at least Jan. 30.

Arlington GOP leader doxes neighbors who complain about mask-less businesses

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

The chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee was kicked out of a Facebook group Sunday for posting personal information of people who complained about county businesses not enforcing rules on masks and physical distancing. Andrew Loposser posted a set of names with contact information he obtained from the Virginia Department of Health to the 11,276-member group "Arlington Neighbors Helping Each Other Through Covid-19." "Only part of the snitches in Arlington County," Loposser wrote.

Congress pushes back on White House bid to cut funding for Virginia-class submarines

By ALLISON STEVENS, Virginia Mercury

A high-profile dispute over whether to rename military installations that honor Confederates isn't the only fight between the White House and Congress over this year's defense authorization bill. Another battle has been brewing below the surface that also has major implications for Virginia: whether to fund construction of one or two next-generation Virginia-class submarines next year.

After Richmond City Council backs permanent removal, city to field offers for Confederate statues

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

Already pulled from their pedestals and put in temporary storage at a sewage plant, Richmond's Confederate statues are now officially up for grabs. The Richmond City Council on Monday voted unanimously to permanently remove the statues already being held in storage, the result of Mayor Levar Stoney's decision last month to take them down as protests gripped the city.

Hanover will temporarily return signs to Lee-Davis High, Stonewall Jackson Middle

By C. SUAREZ ROJAS AND KENYA HUNTER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Hanover County Public Schools says it is temporarily returning signage with the current names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School as the school system works through the process for renaming them. The names will be added back to primary signs and the school buildings themselves.

Luray Mayor's Facebook Post Draws Ire

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

A Sunday evening Facebook post by Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves on his personal page has drawn the ire of some Town Council members. Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Presgraves posted on Facebook that "Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick." Aunt Jemima, a breakfast brand from Quaker Oats, was retired in June after the company said the Black character's origins were "based on a racial stereotype," The Associated Press reported.

The Full Report
46 articles, 27 publications


VPAP Visual COVID-19 Stress Test for Local Governments

The Virginia Public Access Project

Using three measures of fiscal health, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has come up with an index to show which local governments could be most vulnerable to fiscal fallout from COVID-19. This map shows the most vulnerable locality could be the City of Williamsburg, where the local economy is heavily dependent upon tourism.

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.


Housing advocates urge Gov. Northam to ban evictions during pandemic

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

Affordable housing and antipoverty advocates are pressuring Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to issue an executive order banning evictions at least until late August, as state and federal protections have expired and eviction cases are piling up in local courts. Northam, however, has said an executive order would cause more problems than it would solve, and he has asked courts, including the Virginia Supreme Court, to suspend evictions through early September.

Northam signs bill To Cap 'Out Of Control' Interest Rates On Payday Loans


For years, payday and car title lenders in Virginia could charge borrowers exponentially higher interest rates than lenders in other states. As a result, Virginia has among the highest vehicle repossession rates in the county. A new law in the Commonwealth aims to curb predatory lending practices by limiting the annual rate of interest to 36% plus a monthly service fee. By comparison, the current average annual rate is 251% for payday loans and 217% for title loans.


Former House Speaker Cox is eyeing a run for governor in 2021

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

Former House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox said Monday he is mulling a run for governor in 2021. Should he enter the race, Cox would be pitted against Sen. Amanda F. Chase, his district counterpart in the state Senate.

Former House Speaker Kirk Cox, of Colonial Heights, 'seriously' weighing run for governor

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Former House Speaker Kirk Cox — a Republican delegate from Colonial Heights who lost the speakership in a wave of Democratic victories across the state last year — is "seriously" weighing a run for governor. "After the policies put in place by Democrats this year, the vacuum of leadership during this health and economic crisis, and the violence and destruction in our streets, it's clear we need credible and steady leadership," Cox wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.


State police argue rally operations plan was properly redacted

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

The Virginia State Police in a filing this week defended redacting the bulk of its Unite the Right rally operations plan in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The filing in response to a judges findings to the contrary argues that the portions of the plan that were withheld were properly redacted. The response is the latest in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed nearly three years ago by reporters Natalie Jacobsen and Jackson Landers, who is no longer listed as a party.

Hospitals, physicians sue Virginia over budget cuts to Medicaid rates for ER visits

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

A coalition of Virginia hospitals and physicians is suing the state's Medicaid program over emergency budget cuts that they say will cost them $55 million in reduced payments for emergency room visits this year during a public health emergency when they can least afford it. The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the Medical Society of Virginia and the Virginia College of Emergency physicians filed the suit in federal court last week.

State To Help Cover Cost Of Removal For Pest-Stricken Trees

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

The Virginia Department of Forestry is rolling out a cost-sharing program to remove trees killed or being killed by the invasive emerald ash borer beetle, according to a Monday press release from the department. Up to half of the cost of removal for affected trees could be covered through the program for applying municipalities, nonprofits, indigenous tribes and local government agencies.


Dominion Energy says restoring power to all customers after storm could take a few days

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

It'll likely take a few days to get power back to every Dominion Energy customer after Tropical Storm Isaias sweeps through Tuesday. Dominion said it is bracing for a multiday restoration effort after the storm hits. The utility has been staging extra wire, transformers and poles at its yards around the state, including its facility in Hampton. It is sending crews from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads, expecting the region's more extensive tree coverage and a forecast of higher wins will mean more outages here, spokesman Jeremy Slayton said.

Masks required outdoors at Busch Gardens Williamsburg as part of COVID-19 safety measures

By GREGORY J. GILLIGAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

As Busch Gardens Williamsburg plans to reopen Thursday with a limited-capacity special event, the park president said masks will be required by employees and patrons — even while outdoors. When guests stroll through one of the park's villages like England or Ireland or ride certain attractions such as Griffon or Loch Ness Monster, face coverings will be mandatory, park President Kevin Lembke said Monday.

Busch Gardens outlines safety measures as it prepares to open for Coasters and Craft Brews

By ABIGAIL ADCOX, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 4 Articles per Month)

Busch Gardens on Monday touted increased safety measures ahead of the opening of Coasters and Craft Brews starting Wednesday at the amusement park. Coasters and Craft Brews will run Aug. 6-16, Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. with a members-only sneak peek Wednesday.

Defense contractor with billions in sales got millions in pandemic loans intended for small businesses

By AARON GREGG, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A military equipment supplier that has been accused of fraudulently misrepresenting its size in order to benefit from privileges associated with being a small business has received a Paycheck Protection Program small business loan worth at least $2 million, public records show. Atlantic Diving Supply, a Virginia Beach, Va.-based reseller of specialized military gear, is the latest organization whose receipt of taxpayer-backed loans through the Paycheck Protection Program has raised questions about a program launched in early April to help sustain employment at small companies through the economic crisis.


With wildlife corridor plan, Virginia officials hope to reduce highway collisions with animals

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

Wildlife sightings are commonplace for anyone who spends time on Virginia's highways. But many drivers are also all too familiar with the danger that can arise quickly when animals venture into the human-made spaces crisscrossing their habitats. Virginia drivers have a one in 74 chance of striking an animal, according to insurance statistics compiled by State Farm, a number that consistently puts Virginia among or near the top-10 most dangerous states for vehicle-animal collisions. But state officials are hoping to change that by requiring a more thoughtful approach to how transportation infrastructure might affect wildlife.


Confronting history: W&M Board of Visitors split on 'imperatives' to rename buildings at the college

By JULIA MARSIGLIANO, Williamsburg-Yorktown Daily (Metered paywall - 3 articles per month)

The College of William & Mary is coming to terms with its ties to slavery and racism. After the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died after a white officer pressed a knee on his neck, the university created a task force, the Principles of Naming and Renaming Working Group, to rename buildings, spaces or structures and to add other markers on campus with historical context to be more inclusive.

Virginia State University opts for online-only classes during first month of semester


Virginia State University will delay the return to in-person classes by four weeks, and in the meantime, faculty, staff and students will be tested for COVID-19. The university says the decision allows adequate time for testing protocols without altering the academic calendar. VSU will mail free COVID-19 tests to all faculty, staff and students, and each person must test negative before returning to campus.

2020 enrollment rate fluctuates, brushes against goals


As of July 27, JMU has received 4,772 deposits for the incoming freshman class, but the university is still uncertain of exactly how many students it will welcome in the fall. The estimated enrollment on July 13 was between 4,842 and 4,873 students after receiving 5,260 deposits, an estimate that fit within the university's enrollment goal of 4,800-4,950 first-year students to attend during the 2020-21 academic year despite expectations that enrollment would decrease, Dean of Admissions Michael Walsh said.


No new deaths reported as 1,324 coronavirus cases reported in Virginia Monday

By MOSS BRENNAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Health reported 1,324 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the state's tally to 93,106. At least 2,218 Virginians have died from the virus as of Monday morning, no change from Sunday.

Officials urge steps to slow coronavirus' spread in Lynchburg area

By SARAH HONOSKY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

The Central Virginia Health District recently surpassed 1,000 positive cases of COVID-19, and at a press conference Monday morning, Lynchburg Mayor MaryJane Dolan urged the public to help stem the flow of cases, reiterating the severity of the rising numbers. As of Monday morning, the health district had reported 1,122 positive cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Outbreak widens at Chatham correctional facility

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Green Rock Correctional Facility in Chatham has seen a more than three-fold increase in inmates and staff who have tested positive for the coronavirus since the weekend. As of Monday, 42 inmates and 14 staff have tested positive, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections website. Two days earlier, on Saturday, just five inmates and 11 staff had tested positive.

Contract tracers stay very busy in Henry County

By HOLLY KOZELSKY, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Andy Parker and Kris Landrum are on the forefront of warning people who have been in direct danger of being exposed to the coronavirus. Parker is in his fourth week of contact tracing for the Virginia Department of Health and Landrum is about to start.


Richmond judge dismisses one Confederate monument lawsuit, allows another to stand

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

A circuit court judge Monday dismissed one lawsuit seeking to preserve a towering state-owned statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee but let a second suit stand, blocking Gov. Ralph Northam — at least temporarily — from removing the Confederate tribute. Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant threw out a case brought by William C. Gregory, the great-grandson of a couple who in 1887 donated land for the statue on the city's famous Monument Avenue.

Judge dismisses Lee statue lawsuit, but issues injunction in separate case, barring removal

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Virginia still can't take down the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue, a Richmond judge ruled Monday. Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant dismissed a complaint filed by William C. Gregory, a descendant of the signatories of the 1890 deed that signed over to Virginia the land the statue stands on. That lawsuit had resulted in two injunctions preventing the state from taking down the best-known Confederate symbol in the former capital of the Confederacy.

Virginia gov faces new hurdle in bid to remove Lee statue

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

A judge dismissed a legal challenge Monday that had been blocking Virginia officials from removing a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the state's capital city, but he immediately imposed another injunction against dismantling the figure. The new 90-day injunction bars Gov. Ralph Northam's administration from "removing, altering, or dismantling, in any way" the larger-than-life statue of Lee on a prominent Richmond avenue while claims in a lawsuit filed by local property owners are litigated.

Rally seeks removal of Confederate memorial in Caroline

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

As David Upshaw was growing up in Caroline County, the Confederate statue on the courthouse lawn in Bowling Green held significant meaning. Upshaw's great-grandfather was known as "Whistling D" when he rode with Company B in the 9th Virginia Calvary during the Civil War. Confederate Gen. Fitzhugh Lee would call the soldier up beside him to whistle while they were riding on horseback.

Daughter of RFK seeks family heirloom from 'Hickory Hill,' but current owner won't give it up

By TOM JACKMAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

When the family of Robert F. Kennedy in 2009 decided to sell its famed "Hickory Hill" estate in McLean, Va., the late senator's widow, Ethel Kennedy, told each of her children to pick one item from the property to take with them. Daughter Kerry Kennedy picked a four-foot-high urn planter from the front yard as a family heirloom to be relocated to the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. When the Kennedys moved out in the spring of 2010, the new owner resisted giving up the urn, Kerry Kennedy said.


Fairfax County Sees Continued Boost in Census Response Rates


Fairfax County has one of the highest response rates to the U.S. Census in Virginia. As of Aug. 3, the national response rate is 62.8%, while Virginia is 67.5%, according to the U.S. Census. Fairfax County currently has a 76.6% response rate, surpassing its 2010 response rate of 75.3%. By the time the count ends this year, the county might jump above its 80% total in 2000.

Mosby Heritage Area Association drops name after 'extensive discussions'

By JOHN BATTISTON, Loudoun Times

The Middleburg-based nonprofit formerly known as the Mosby Heritage Area Association has adopted the new name of Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association (VPHA), according to a release from the Lovettsville Historical Society. The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area is an historical region comprising Loudoun, Clarke, Warren, Fauquier and Prince William counties. It includes a number of landmarks dating back to the 17th century.

Across Richmond, neighborhood learning 'pods' emerge, offering a potential schooling solution

By ALI SULLIVAN AND LANE KIZZIAH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

The growing list of Virginia school districts announcing an online-only fall semester has sent parents scrambling for childcare solutions. Some are banding together in small groups – or "pods" – to tackle the seemingly impossible job in front of them. The logic behind the pod is simple: with fewer points of interaction, there are fewer risks of exposure. And, if someone in the pod were to contract the virus, it would be contained to that small group.

Teachers, parents and students gather at Richmond school for 'Demand Safe Schools' motor march

By ALI SULLIVAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Dozens of public school teachers, parents and students converged at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Richmond on Monday morning for a "Demand Safe Schools" motor march in support of a virtual start to the school year. Clad in bright red shirts and pins emblazoned with #RedForEd — a slogan that has become a chorus of the nationwide movement for educational equity — demonstrators came out from across Virginia to attend the march, which was organized by Virginia Educators United for the National Day of Resistance.

Maggie L. Walker's grave site among those vandalized at historic cemeteries

By C. SUAREZ ROJAS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Stewards of historic Jewish and African American cemeteries in Richmond's East End who discovered graffiti Monday on gravesites, including that of Maggie L. Walker, suspect that hatred could have motivated the vandalism. While trespassing at the East End and Evergreen cemeteries is not uncommon, the neon green spray-painting of "777" around Walker's grave in Evergreen and in the Sir Moses Montefiore Cemetery appalled caretakers and descendants. At East End, which is adjacent to Evergreen, vandals spray-painted stones and a pathway.

Virginia Beach residents load up sand bags in preparation for the storm

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

With shovels and bags in hand, Virginia Beach residents were preparing Monday for Tropical Storm Isaias. City officials unloaded five mounds of loose sand — 100 tons in all leftover from the winter — next to the Virginia Beach Sportsplex at 2044 Landstown Centre Way. Officials said flooding from wind driven tides is likely, especially in the Back Bay area.

Isle of Wight changes mind on hybrid reopening plan

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

The Isle of Wight School Board voted Monday to rescind a partially in-person reopening plan that it approved last week. The board still kept a hybrid option for preschoolers through third-graders when schools open Sept. 8, making it one of only a few districts in eastern Virginia that will let students back in buildings. High school students will also be allowed to come back for career and technical education courses.

Fredericksburg Police make changes to use-of-force policies, embrace '8 Can't Wait' campaign


Fredericksburg, Virginia, police have made changes to their use of force policies to bring them in compliance with the national reform campaign "8 Can't Wait." On Saturday, at the first in a planned series of public outreach events, Police Chief Brian Layton said a demonstrator made him aware of the "8 Can't Wait" campaign, which was launched in June.

A one-time challenge puts Spotsylvania man on a mission to promote Fredericksburg's Black history

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

At the beginning of June, Christopher Ruble had never heard the name Urbane Bass. A little over a month later, Ruble is on a mission to see a public memorial erected to Dr. Bass, the son of former slaves who became the first Black person since Reconstruction to practice medicine in Fredericksburg, which he did from 1907 to 1917.

City Council blasted for excluding CRB from listening session

By NOLAN STOUT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Charlottesville City Council is getting heat from residents and members of the Police Civilian Review Board for not involving the oversight panel in a planned listening session on policing. Two members of the existing board and three from the initial panel grilled the council on its interactions with the CRB during the council's meeting on Monday.

Parents and Hburg's schools scramble to find childcare in preparation for fall's online learning

By RANDI B. HAGI, Harrisonburg Citizen

Raven Miller is an employee at one of the local Sheetz convenience stores. Her husband works full-time, too. In less than a month, their three children – ranging from elementary to high school age – will be attending virtual classes from home to start the academic year at Harrisonburg City Public Schools, like most students in the district.

After racist, sexist comment on Facebook, small-town Va. mayor under siege

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

The mayor of a small Virginia town was facing calls to step down Monday after a message on presidential politics that had racist and sexist overtones appeared on — and was deleted from — his social media account. The Facebook page of Luray, Va., Mayor Barry Presgraves posted a statement that said "Joe Biden just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick."

Luray mayor: 'Hell no I'm not resigning' after 'Aunt Jemima' comment on social media

By RANDY ARRINGTON, Page Valley News

He doesn't seem to understand what he did wrong and why there's been "such a fuss about it." "I saw it last week, and I thought it was funny," Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves said on Monday afternoon. " I thought it was humorous. I had no idea people would react the way they did. I think people have gone overboard on this…It's an election year." On Sunday evening around 6 p.m., the three-term mayor posted the following on his personal Facebook page: "Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick."

Roanoke finalizing plans for virtual academy to help families during school year

By RALPH BERRIER JR., Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Roanoke Valley will soon need hundreds of workers in child care, mentoring and education as families send their children back to school, the Roanoke City Council was told on Monday. Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell briefed city council members during Monday's regular meeting that plans for a virtual academy are quickly being finalized before Roanoke students start the school year on Aug. 31.

Candidate's court filing challenges city's openness

By BRIAN BREHM, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Winchester Republican mayoral candidate Danielle Bostick is taking the city to court over its recent violations of Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). "The city is taking advantage of a pandemic to silence its citizens," Bostick said on Monday after filing paperwork in Winchester General District Court.

With rise in COVID-19 cases, Pittsylvania Education Association recommends all remote start to school year

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

With staff returning to schools Tuesday and classes slated to begin on Aug. 20, the Pittsylvania Education Association is recommending that the division begin the academic year with fully remote learning. "It's not just about how individuals feel, but about the reality of an increase of cases," said association president Jessica Jones.

Voter fraud "no concern" with Virginia's mail-in option, registrar says

By ELIAS WEISS, Star Tribune

Five Western states have already switched to "all mail-in voting," but as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation, mail-in voting starts to look like the only option for citizens everywhere. Virginia is no exception. Danville City Registrar Peggy Petty told the Star-Tribune about one of her voters, "worried sick" as she's stuck in Florida and unable to make the trip back north.



Could Riggleman the governorship win as an independent?

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

U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman — that is soon-to-be-former U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman — says he may run for governor next year. That's not a surprise. Riggleman briefly sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2017, so it would make sense for him to do so again now that he's soon going to be out of office.

Virginia teachers deserve to be protected during pandemic

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

We commend Fredericksburg area school divisions for deciding to open virtually, with in-person instruction possible when the coronavirus pandemic eases. We urge other districts to do the same, because nobody is doing enough to protect people brave enough to risk their health in order to ensure that kids get an education. Public-school employees could be excused if they're not feeling the love right now. In many areas, teachers are expected to get back into the classroom and mold young minds, COVID-19 be damned.


Williams: How many nursing home residents must die before Congress acts?

By JOYCE WILLIAMS, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire through the nation's nursing homes. Already, more than 56,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities — including 1,200-plus in Virginia — have died from COVID-19. They account for more than 44% of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus, even though less than 1% of Americans live in nursing homes. This is a national disgrace.

Williams is the state president of AARP Virginia.

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