By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
On a day the number of COVID-19 patients in Roanoke-area hospitals rose to the highest level yet, the Associated Press released a poll showing that more people today than in April disbelieve what the government and the media tell them about the virus. "I have never experienced this level of mistrust or misinformation," Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, said Tuesday.
On a summer evening, Tammie Lyle is in the parking lot of a Motel 6 across from Richmond International Airport. She's a few yards away from the room where her son is winding down after a day of virtual elementary school. The family has lived here for weeks. They have two beds, one bathroom, no kitchen. And the rent isn't cheap.
After recovering a total of 68,000 jobs in August, Virginia saw its labor force fall by 71,954, or 1.7%, in September, according to employment statistics released Tuesday by the Virginia Employment Commission. Between September 2019 and September 2020, the VEC estimates that Virginia has lost 207,100 jobs a 5.1% decrease.
By GARY A. HARKI, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
The state board that oversees police will soon be tasked with creating standards of conduct that all Virginia officers must abide by thanks to legislation passed in Virginia's special session and is expected to be signed by Gov. Ralph Northam. The new law will also give the board more power to strip officers of their certification if they have committed a crime or violated those standards.
By IAN SHAPIRA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
The Virginia Military Institute fought back Tuesday against allegations that its Black cadets face bigotry and hostility, telling Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in a letter that "systemic racism does not exist here and a fair and independent review will find that to be true." The letter, signed by John Boland, president of VMI's Board of Visitors, came after Northam and other state leaders authorized an independent investigation of the culture of the 181-year-old school in Lexington. Northam is a 1981 graduate of VMI.
More than 88,000 people in Prince William County have cast early ballots in this year's general election, bringing the county's voter turnout up to 30% with two weeks left until election day, according to county election officials. The number of early voters, both from people voting in-person at early voting locations and those who have returned absentee ballots, has already surpassed the number of early and absentee votes cast in 2016.
By MICHAEL BRICE-SADDLER, ERIN COX AND ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
The onslaught of mail-in voting in 2020 — and the cumbersome procedures to count those ballots — could delay full election results by days or weeks in some parts of the region. Elections staff in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. are racing to process as many mail-in ballots and early votes as possible before the polls close on Nov. 3. Although unofficial results will be published after polls close on election night in each jurisdiction, officials say those totals will be updated with thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots that are counted in the days that follow.
What is considered a big pile of campaign cash is situational. A candidate who raises the most in a small town election might not even show up on the radar in places like Richmond or Arlington County. That's why we made two Top 10 lists to rank candidates for local office who raised the most money last month. One list is led by Virginia Beach mayoral hopeful Jody Wagner, who brought in more than $320,000. Atop the second list is Theresa Coates-Ellis, who raised $12,900 in her bid to become mayor of Manassas.
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 KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, nearly 850,000 Virginians were already considered food insecure, meaning they can't reliably access food. In the wider Hampton Roads area alone, there are more than 180,000 people who fall into that category, a third of them children. The COVID-19 crisis has thrown the issue into even sharper relief, state officials said this week. An additional nearly half a million people in the state are experiencing food insecurity due to the pandemic.
By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
Del. Sam Rasoul of Roanoke has filed campaign paperwork indicating he will run for lieutenant governor in 2021. The Democrat hasn't made any formal announcement yet, which is expected to come after the November election. Rasoul, 39, a Palestinian American, was elected to the House in 2014, becoming the first Muslim member of the legislature.
By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
Del. Sam Rasoul filed paperwork this week that allows him to start raising money to run next year for lieutenant governor, making him the 10th candidate to enter the race. Rasoul (D-Roanoke) said in an interview Tuesday that he will wait until after next month's presidential and congressional contests before formally announcing his bid.
Mike Allers Jr., a teacher and political commentator, announced Tuesday he plans to seek the Republican nomination for the Manassas-based 50th District House of Delegates seat. The seat is currently held by Democrat Lee Carter, who was elected in 2017 and re-elected last year.
By MEAGAN FLYNN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) clashed with Republican Del. Nick Freitas on everything from income inequality to coronavirus relief, as Spanberger pitched herself as a moderate focused on issues affecting rural Americans while Freitas stressed the need for limited government and cutting red tape.
By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
In a televised faceoff Tuesday night with Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, focused on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to define the choice for voters in a tightly contested 7th Congressional District race that could help decide control of the House of Representatives.
By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Republican challenger Scott Taylor tore into each other Tuesday night in one of two debates they will engage in this week, accusing each other of lying and using scare tactics to try to win one of the most competitive congressional races in the nation. The two Navy veterans — competing in Virginia's 2nd District, which is home to eight major military installations — said their opponents were misrepresenting their record or positions on a variety of issues: the Green New Deal, protection of preexisting conditions in health care, Black Lives Matter and China.
By DAN NOVAK, Eastern Shore News (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
Virginia's second congressional district race between incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria (D) and former Rep. Scott Taylor (R) is turning out to be one of the most competitive in the country, and one of the most expensive in the state. The race is a tossup, according to the Cook Political Report, and the national parties and deep-pocketed super PACS have taken notice: Luria has raised more than $5.7 million in the race and Taylor more than $2 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Virginia voters who show up on Election Day without a mask or visibly sick will be asked to put a mask on or cast their ballot outside the polling place, but they won't be denied access if they refuse, according to state election officials. At a virtual media briefing Tuesday on the state's plans for a coronavirus-disrupted presidential election, Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said the state can't prohibit anyone from voting if they insist on casting a ballot indoors without wearing a mask.
Democrats in Fauquier harbor no illusion that their party's candidates for president, U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives will carry this county in the Nov. 3 election. But, they claim to see progress for their cause in reliably "red" Fauquier, where Republican presidential candidates have averaged 60 percent of the vote in the last five elections.
By JOSH JANNEY, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
More than 22,000 people have already voted in the city of Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties, according to area elections officials. That's a local record for ballots cast before Election Day. Votes have been cast early in-person or by absentee ballot.
By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
About 22% of the city's registered voters have already cast ballots through early or absentee voting, with two weeks remaining until Election Day. Through Tuesday, 2,511 of the city's 11,723 voters participated in the commonwealth's first opportunity to come to a polling place and vote in both the presidential election and the public referendum for a proposed casino, Penny Limburg, the city's general registrar said Tuesday. Early voting continues through Oct. 31, and Election Day is Nov. 3.
By STAFF REPORT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)
Albemarle County is adding more drop boxes for voters to deposit their mail-in ballots. Starting the week of Oct. 26, a drop box will be available at Albemarle High School from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
The Virginia Lottery is off to a fast start in the race for sales and profits in an unprecedented era of expansion for legal gaming opportunities in a state that traditionally had discouraged them. Lottery sales increased by $181.5 million, or almost 36%, in the first three months of the fiscal year that began on July 1, compared with the first three years of fiscal 2020, powered by the quick launch of internet sales of lottery tickets, which the General Assembly approved this year.
The Virginia Supreme Court has approved the Loudoun County Circuit Court's plan to resume jury trials, but not until at least the end of next month. On Oct. 15, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons notified Loudoun County Circuit Court Chief Judge Douglas L. Fleming, Jr. that the county's plan was approved and effective immediately—although Loudoun's plan stipulates that the first jury trial won't begin until at least 45 days after the Supreme Court's approval, Monday, Nov. 30.
By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
The unemployment rate in Virginia inched up one-tenth of a percentage point in September to 6.2% as the pandemic continues to affect the labor market, according to data released Wednesday by the Virginia Employment Commission. While the rate was 2.7% a year ago, Virginia still remains below this year's U.S. unemployment rate, which fell to 7.9% last month.
By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
Virginia's unemployment rate inched up slightly from August to September as the pace of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic seemed to slow. The state's jobless rate rose from 6.1% in August to 6.2% in September, even though the number of people counted as unemployed declined and employers reported adding jobs.
By DAVE RESS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
A new way of thinking about fishing quotas will bring a 10% cut in the coastwide cap for menhaden, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission decided Tuesday. The commission's menhaden board voted to cut the quota for 2021 and 2022 to 194,400 metric tons from the current 216,000, a 10% reduction.
Hospitals in Maryland and Virginia have resolved religious discrimination complaints with federal officials over the hospitals' decisions to block clergy access to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday. In response to the complaints, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Maryland, and Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia, revised their visitation policies to allow patients to receive religious services as long as clergy members follow infection prevention practices.
By CLAIRE MITZEL AND AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
Virginia Military Institute's leadership on Tuesday pledged full cooperation in the independent investigation ordered by state officials but denied that systemic racism exists at the nation's oldest state-supported military college. "I welcome an objective, independent review of VMI's culture and the Institute's handling of allegations of racism and/or discrimination," Board of Visitors President John "Bill" Boland wrote in a two-page reply to Gov. Ralph Northam.
By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 10 articles a month)
While Virginia Military Institute's ties to the former Confederacy are undeniable, its future must be seeded more with an eye toward relegating those ties to the background, a Petersburg native and VMI grad running for governor said over the weekend. Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy referenced a report by The Washington Post of what it called "relentless racism" against Black cadets and alumni in her comments.
By MARTY O'BRIEN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
A day after William & Mary reversed its decision made in September to cut three women's athletic teams, university president Katherine Rowe acknowledged flaws in the decision-making process that also resulted in the elimination of four men's sports still on the athletic department chopping block. "In this case we should have fully addressed (gender) equity matters first, based on our core commitments and our legal obligations, and then worked to address the significant (budget) shortfalls in years ahead," Rowe said Tuesday during her monthly Community Conversation at W&M. "That's the sequence we're following now."
A growing number of Virginia colleges are announcing that spring break will be canceled or modified in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, announced plans Monday. The biggest change is that the university will not have a week-long spring break. It will instead have five one-day breaks spaced throughout the semester.
By STAFF REPORT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
The Virginia Department of Health reported Tuesday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 167,754 — an increase of 926 from the 166,828 reported Monday. The 167,754 cases consist of 157,213 confirmed cases and 10,541 probable cases. There are 3,485 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 3,236 confirmed and 249 probable. That's an increase of 28 from the 3,457 reported Monday.
Though a University of Virginia model now projects a potential new peak in Virginia COVID-19 cases in November, a top state health official says it's too soon to tell whether an uptick in cases over the past few weeks is indicative of a bigger trend. "It's premature to say now things are increasing," said Dr. Lilian Peake, Virginia's state epidemiologist. "We really have had quite a bit of increase over the summer. And that's been generally going down. Now we are seeing a little bit of increase but it's small and we need to see what happens with that."
More than two months after the first students arrived on campus for in-person learning, not a single student or staff member at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, has tested positive for COVID-19. It hasn't been easy, said retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. David Wesley, president of the academy which offers university-preparatory education in an Air Force Junior ROTC program.
By MIKE GANGLOFF, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
Physically interfering with Mountain Valley Pipeline workers will cost a protester $1,000, a Montgomery County judge ruled Tuesday. Also, Emma Howell, known as "Ash" among pipeline opponents at the tree stands near Yellow Finch Lane, also must stay off Mountain Valley Pipeline's construction sites for a year, the judge said.
By ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
Fairfax County on Tuesday decided to donate a stone obelisk marking the spot where the first Confederate soldier was killed during the Civil War to a local historical society, the latest such action taken under a new Virginia law giving localities authority over the fate of war monuments and memorials in their communities.
A residential street in Richmond named after the Confederate State of America could soon get a new name. Richmond City Council's Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee voted Tuesday to move forward with renaming Confederate Avenue to Laburnum Park Boulevard. The name comes from the small neighborhood where the street sits in Richmond's northside. The three-member committee forwarded the name change to the full city council with a recommendation to approve.
High school students in Arlington Public Schools say they are getting too many assignments and not enough time to do them during virtual learning. More than 3,000 students and parents have signed a Change.org petition asking Arlington Public Schools to adhere to its high school homework "expectations," as stated online.
By STAFF REPORT, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
Federal prosecutors say a Leesburg man was arrested Tuesday on charges of fraudulently obtaining more than $2.5 million in loans through the federal CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and then spending the money on luxury items. Didier Kindambu, 48, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained two loans issued under the PPP, a program instituted by Congress in an effort to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to pay salary or wages to their employees, according to court documents.
By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
In the latest marker of the region's affordable housing crisis, thousands entered a lottery last week for a chance at a coveted federal housing subsidy, according to preliminary figures from the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. RRHA began accepting applications Oct. 12 for one of 5,000 slots on its Housing Choice Voucher Program waitlist for the first time in 5½ years. On that first day, tenants seeking help swamped RRHA's call center and 7,800 people applied.
By WILFORD KALE, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 4 Articles per Month)
Put succinctly by Scott Stevens, James City County administrator, the past summer tourism season in the Greater Williamsburg area was "bad to ugly" as major attractions, including Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens, were closed part, if not all, of the June through August term. Andrew Trivette, Williamsburg city manager, echoed those sentiments: For the businesses involved in the hospitality industry, the summer was "agonizingly devastating and continues to be."
By RYAN MURPHY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
The city will reopen three more libraries and three indoor pools starting on Nov. 2, but access and services will still be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three smaller library branches will join Norfolk's three main branches and reopen for "Grab-n-Go" checkout two days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
By MATT JONES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)
Newport News announced Tuesday that it will offer online tutoring through Tutor.com as a new employee benefit. According to a news release, it's the first city in the country to offer the company's service as an employee benefit.
By ANA LEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
De'Andre Barnes was helping bathe a child with cerebral palsy more than 13 years ago when he scalded the boy with hot bath water, according to court records obtained by The Virginian-Pilot. His employer, Holiday House of Portsmouth, agreed to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit over the child's injuries. And Barnes, then 21, was charged with felony child neglect and a related misdemeanor and went to trial.
By TAFT COGHILL JR., Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Fredericksburg officials are offering four opportunities in the next three weeks for people to address City Council about racial equity concerns. The four virtual sessions will have limited availability for speakers. Anyone interested in addressing the City Council can register on the city's website, fredericksburgva.gov, but signing up doesn't guarantee the opportunity to speak in the 75 minutes allotted for each session.
By MIKE ALLEN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
The Franklin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan to give year-end bonuses to all teachers and staff in the county school system. Under the proposal outlined Tuesday afternoon by schools Superintendent Mark Church during the board's regular meeting, the system's 1,238 full-time employees will each receive a $1,000 bonus, and the 65 part-time employees will each receive $500.
By BILL WYATT, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)
The city of Martinsville completed plans last week with Wärtsilä Corporation, a Finnish company, to construct a commercial battery storage facility that is estimated to result in significant savings for the city's utility department. "This is about improving the system and making overall costs for residents of Martinsville cheaper," said Andy Tang, vice president of energy storage optimization. "It is helping Martinsville lower its demand charge."
Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
For thousands of people in the Hampton Roads area, worry about where the next decent meal is coming from has become an unfortunate — and unhealthy — fact of life. This year's State of the Region report from Old Dominion University economists shines a spotlight for the first time on the growing problem of "food insecurity" — a term for having to skip meals or skimp on food because of lack of money and lack of access to good quality, nutritious food. What it finds is troubling. Advertisement
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
On its own, the 220,000 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus are enough for us to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash our hands and respect the severity of the pandemic. Through two recent studies, we now are aware of another COVID-19 measure that matters — one that reinforces the need for responsible actions in the days and months ahead.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Access to this article limited to subscribers)
The warm summer months have given us a slight advantage in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. Being able to dine outdoors, visit at a distance outdoors and enjoy time in parks and wilderness all have let us use open spaces and fresh air to thwart transmission of the virus. But now colder weather is on the horizon and we're headed back indoors where our risk goes up.
Washington Post Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)
In 1993, after what was then the latest in a history of racist episodes at the Virginia Military Institute, retired Maj. Gen. John W. Knapp, then-superintendent at the nation's oldest state-supported military college, denounced what he called "reprehensible deeds" and vowed to "root out this cancer." More than a quarter-century later, it has become clear that VMI's cancer of bigotry has metastasized. Virginia taxpayers and lawmakers, who heavily subsidize the college, can no longer look the other way.
By MICHAEL PAUL WILLIAMS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)
Clarence Lee of Chesterfield County has been casting ballots since the end of World War II, an era of poll taxes, literacy tests and other roadblocks to keep Black people from voting. Lee, 90, never misses an election, "general nor primary," said his daughter, historian Lauranett Lee. So she was alarmed when her check of the state's online website showed that her father was not registered to vote.
By KYLE R. AHLGREN, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)
The College of William & Mary must reverse its decision to unnecessarily eliminate seven varsity sports. The cut teams — men's indoor and outdoor track and field, men's and women's gymnastics, women's volleyball, and men's and women's swimming — are among the least costly and most successful programs at W&M, both athletically and academically. The swimming program is a crown jewel of the college, winning eight Colonial Athletic Association championships in the past six years at a cost to the athletic department of approximately 1% of its budget. Thirteen W&M swimmers have qualified for U.S. Olympic Trials.
Ahlgren is a 1997 graduate of William & Mary and served as the co-captain of the men's swimming team.
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