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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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