Javascript is required to run this page
VaNews
October 28, 2021
Top of the News

In tight Virginia governor’s race, policy takes backseat to culture wars

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

Donald Hillard, a 49-year-old retired military veteran, says he identifies as a Republican and voted for George W. Bush twice. But he was never on board with the “madness” of former President Donald Trump. And it’s the lingering specter of Trumpism on the right that led him to vote for Virginia’s Democratic ticket this year. . . . Wes Williams, a 44-year-old truck driver who said he voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 but switched to Trump in 2020, said he voted for the Republican ticket this year out of opposition to a “crazy” Democratic agenda he sees as increasingly detached from common sense.


Youngkin pushes early voting in Roanoke County campaign stop

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

With polls showing the race for Virginia governor in a dead heat, Republicans are urging supporters to post big early voting numbers. “The entire nation has got their eyes on us,” said Glenn Youngkin, speaking near a Roanoke County polling place as part of a 10-day whistle-stop tour of the state. “Terry McAuliffe does not deserve to be rehired. I can tell you that right now,” he said. “You gotta go vote.”


McAuliffe outlines 'big, full plans' during UL visit

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

A crowd of about 200 students and community members gathered Wednesday afternoon outside the Drysdale Student Center at the University of Lynchburg and welcomed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe to campus. With smartphones held high, the crowd erupted in a chant — “Terry! Terry! Terry!” — and roared applause as the 64-year-old former governor emerged from his black SUV.


The anti-Trump resistance helped these Northern Va. Democrats get elected. Now they’re playing defense.

By TEO ARMUS, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

When she first ran for office four years ago, Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke) managed to amass an impressive arsenal for her campaign: nearly twice as much in donations as her Republican opponent. An army of fired-up liberals, eager to take control of the Virginia House of Delegates. And, she says, an ability to see eye-to-eye with some of the more conservative constituents in her district, which stretches from Leesburg’s town center to rural parts of Frederick County. Not so this year.


GOP deploys army of poll watchers in Va.

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

Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown doesn’t recall seeing many poll watchers during early voting last year — they usually turn up only on Election Day, primarily during presidential elections. But that’s changed. “This year,” she said, “we have had poll watchers here every day, all day long, watching the process of what’s going on.”


Suffolk student who died of COVID-19 did not walk sick classmates to nurse, spokeswoman says

By ELISHA SAUERS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

A 10-year-old girl who died of coronavirus complications was not accompanying classmates with COVID-19 symptoms to the nurse before she got sick, a school division representative said. Suffolk Public Schools officials looked into whether Hillpoint Elementary School fifth-grader Teresa Sperry had been walking with sick students, against the staff’s COVID-19 protocol. The internal investigation occurred after the child’s parents said in interviews and on social media that her teacher picked her for the classroom job a week before she died, an activity they say could have put her at risk.


A fish farm the size of 13 football fields

By MEGAN SCHNABEL, Cardinal News

Del. Will Morefield has heard the skepticism about a project that maybe seemed too good to be true. A salmon farm, on a rocky hillside, in Virginia’s landlocked coalfields? A $300 million investment? A building the size of 13 football fields? More than 200 jobs with above-average pay? And as a year, two years, five years passed with no visible signs of progress at the Tazewell County site, the questions got more pointed.

The Full Report
57 articles, 25 publications

FROM VPAP

VPAP Visual Targeted Races: HD73 (Willett v. Kastelberg)

The Virginia Public Access Project

This is a rematch of a 2019 race in a suburban Henrico County district in which Democrat Rodney Willett defeated Republican Mary Kastelberg by 4.5 percentage points. This is a closely watched test to see if the GOP can regain a foothold in suburban areas that turned blue during the Trump years. This visual provides maps, charts looking at the district's demographics, voting history and broadcast TV ads. Coming Friday: HD75 (Tyler v. Wachsmann)


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our Virginia COVID-19 dashboard features VDH vaccination data, including what percentage of the state's population has received at least one shot and the number of vaccinations per 100,000 residents in each city and county. Our dashboard also makes it easy to track the latest available data for tests performed, infections, deaths and hospital capacity. There's also a filter for each city and county, plus an exclusive per-capita ZIP Code map. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Northam touts Virginia’s vaccination rate

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

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday touted Virginia’s ranking 10th nationally for percentage of population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — a trend that stops short of the state’s Southwest corner. Among all U.S. states, Virginia ranks 10th in two categories with 62.6% of its total population fully vaccinated and for the total number of shots administered — 11.3 million.


‘Great news’: Virginia reaches Top 10 in US for COVID-19 vaccinations

By WILL VITKA, WTOP

Virginia is now No. 10 in the U.S. in percentage of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and for the total number of shots administered, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday. “We’ve reached the Top 10 because so many Virginians have worked so hard for so long,” Northam said in a statement. “It’s something we can all be proud of. Vaccines will soon be available for children, and thousands of adults are getting boosters. This is all great news.”

STATE ELECTIONS

Trump teases Virginia campaign stop to stump for Glenn Youngkin

By MICA SOELLNER, Washington Times

Former President Donald Trump teased a potential campaign appearance in Virginia, amid a tied governor’s race less than a week from Election Day. Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that he would be seeing Virginians “soon,” fueling speculation about a possible last-minute stump for Republican Glenn Youngkin. “Chanting ‘We love Trump!’ in Arlington, Va. Thank you, Arlington. See you soon!,” Mr. Trump said in a statement through his political action committee, Save America.


Trump hints at potential Arlington visit for Youngkin

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

Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday teased the idea of making an appearance in Arlington on behalf of Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, stirring all sides of Virginia politics during the final days of the race. “Chanting, ‘We love Trump!’ in Arlington, Va. Thank you, Arlington, see you soon!" Trump said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, a day after President Biden campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in the blue county.


Youngkin hammers McAuliffe's ties to Dominion Energy in TV ad

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin released a TV and digital ad Tuesday attacking Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe over his ties to Dominion Energy, which has earned hundreds of millions above a fair profit in part because of 2015 legislation McAuliffe signed while he was governor. Dominion Energy this year pumped $200,000 into a secretive political action committee that helped McAuliffe by attacking Youngkin from the right in digital ads in an attempt to depress Youngkin’s support in rural areas.


McAuliffe brings campaign to Danville's Bibleway Cathedral

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe campaigned in Danville on Wednesday, just after his opponent rallied supporters during an event the night before. McAuliffe pulled no punches, accusing Republican Glenn Youngkin of filling his campaign with racist dog whistles, including references to ensuring “election integrity” and running an ad featuring a woman who wanted a book by a Black author, Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” banned from her son’s English curriculum.


Youngkin campaigns in Danville to enthusiastic crowd

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

Pledging to cut taxes and reduce government overreach, Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin rallied supporters during a campaign event at the Community Market in Danville on Tuesday evening. “We have a moment here, a defining moment, where we all get to change the trajectory of this great commonwealth of Virginia, not just for Virginians, not just for those who live here, but for the entire United States,” Youngkin told about 200-300 supporters.


Glenn Youngkin closes out campaign with traditional conservative message

By SETH MCLAUGHLIN AND MICA SOELLNER, Washington Times

Republican Glenn Youngkin is going back to the future with his closing argument in the homestretch of his gubernatorial bid against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Looking to coax undecided voters off the sidelines, Mr. Youngkin is barnstorming Virginia with a traditional conservative Republican message anchored in kitchen-table issues. “We collectively know the future that we can build is so different than the one Terry McAuliffe wants the government to impose upon us,” Mr. Youngkin said at a recent rally.


G.O.P. Attack Involving Toni Morrison Novel Inflames Virginia Contest

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

In the final days of the tight race for Virginia governor, the candidates are turning to the unlikeliest of campaign props: a novel from 1987. A new online advertisement released this week by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, features a mother who pushed to have Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” banned from her son’s English curriculum eight years ago, citing the book’s graphic scenes. When that failed, she started an effort that eventually became a bill passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, but that was rejected by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat now running to win back his old job.


Both sides lawyer up in Virginia governor’s race to challenge next week’s election results

By KERRY PICKET, Washington Times

Virginia’s Democratic and Republican parties are bulking up their legal teams and are prepared to litigate the governor’s election Tuesday in a likely photo finish of the race. The state political parties and campaigns for Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe have enlisted heavyweight law firms to monitor the polls and election officials and to prepare for the types of courtroom showdowns that are increasingly a staple of U.S. elections.


Vaccinated and ready, poll workers are back for Virginia’s governor race

By KARINA ELWOOD, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

As chief election officer of a Fairfax County election precinct, Beth Tudan was a constant presence at the polls last year. She was there when some of her fellow poll workers chose to stay home out of fear for their health during the coronavirus pandemic, and she was there to welcome the new faces who stepped up to fill their places. And Tudan, 56, will be there again Tuesday, leading a team of 11 poll workers — some returning after taking last year off — as they guide voters through Virginia’s statewide election.


Kelly Convirs-Fowler defends her seat against GOP challenger Tanya Gould

By ALI SULLIVAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Democratic Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler is defending her 21st House District seat against Republican challenger Tanya Gould. The race is Convirs-Fowler’s third in the competitive district, which comprises parts of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. She won against an eight-year Republican incumbent in 2017 and defeated another Republican challenger in 2019.


Del. Dawn Adams faces GOP challenger Mark Earley Jr. in Richmond-area district

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, first won her seat in an anti-Trump wave election in 2017 before she was re-elected in 2019. She’s now touting her policy expertise and willingness to learn as she seeks re-election against Republican Mark Earley Jr., who said he expects a close race and whose focus on education and crime mirrors that of GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin.


In 79th House District, Nadarius Clark hopes to keep momentum after surprise primary win

By JOSH REYES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The 79th House District includes portions of Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Norfolk. Nadarius Clark is in his first campaign, but he defeated three-term incumbent Del. Steve Heretick in the June Democratic primary. Clark has campaigned as a progressive candidate and supports financial reparations to the descendants of enslaved people and leveraging revenue from the marijuana industry to invest in communities “decimated by the war on drugs.” . . . Lawrence Mason is the first Republican running for the seat since 2001. Mason came to Hampton Roads through the Navy and feels representation has been lacking in the district, causing issues to go unfixed.


New River Valley Republican House candidate calls out party loyalty in YouTube clip

By YANN RANAIVO, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Marie March recently questioned the loyalty of at least a few members of the Montgomery County Republican Party in her bid for the House of Delegates. March, who faces Democrat Derek Kitts in the 7th House District race, is seen addressing her concerns in a video that was uploaded to YouTube last week. Other local figures seen in the background of the clip include former Christiansburg Councilman Harry Collins and current Montgomery County School Board member Dana Partin.


Robert Bloxom takes on challenger Finale Johnson Norton

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

Republican Del. Robert Bloxom Jr. is facing Democratic challenger Finale Johnson Norton in the 100th House District, which includes parts of Norfolk, Accomack and Northampton counties. Bloxom, 58, was elected in 2014 and was recognized by the Virginia Education Association as the 2015 Legislative Rookie of the year. Most recently he’s served on the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee; Appropriations Committee and the House Privileges and Elections Committee.


In 76th House District, incumbent Democrat tries to hold off Republican and Independent challengers

By SIERRA JENKINS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

A portion of Suffolk and Chesapeake voters will elect the next representative for the 76th District. Democrat Clinton Jenkins is the incumbent. Jenkins said in a Facebook post earlier this month that his platform will focus on “healthcare, education, workers’ rights, voting rights, infrastructure, and other important issues” if he is reelected. . . . One of Jenkins’ opponents is Republican Michael Dillender, a retired Navy captain and financial planner. According to his campaign website, Dillender will prioritize issues including the economy, education, healthcare, transportation, public safety and COVID-19. Independent Craig Warren, a construction business owner, is the third contender. Warren said in an email to The Virginian-Pilot his platform is built around issues in education, the economy and the pandemic’s impact on businesses.


Candidates in 88th House District race debate during virtual forum

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

The three candidates for the open 88th District House of Delegates seat—Kecia Evans, Timothy Lewis and Phillip Scott—answered several questions in an online debate Tuesday night, covering topics ranging from abortion laws to COVID-19 mandates to traffic gridlock. Democratic candidate Evans, 44, opened the debate saying she is running on her Christian values and is someone who understands the issues and who brings people together.


A former inmate is now a GOP contender for 95th House District

By LISA VERNON SPARKS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

David Wilson, a Republican candidate for House of Delegates, admits to being in prison for carjacking and abduction. Growing up on the Peninsula, Wilson says he was a troubled teen. A lack of direction quickly saddled him with a sizable rap sheet, including charges that landed him in state penitentiary in 2002, online court records say. Nearly two decades later, Wilson works as a mentor in some of the troubled places he grew up, and started Us 4 Us, a youth violence prevention nonprofit.


Why Have Roanoke County Suburbs Remained Staunchly Republican?

By MASON ADAMS, Roanoke Rambler

Virginians are in the midst of determining whether Democrats or Republicans control the governor’s mansion and House of Delegates next year. The vote in the Roanoke Valley seems entirely predictable. For decades, Roanoke County has delivered for Republicans in gubernatorial and presidential elections, while Roanoke City solidly backed Democrats. They’ve consistently delivered those results since 2000, even as the rest of Virginia shifted dramatically to the political left.


One third of Albemarle ballots 'sitting unscanned in USPS facilities' according to lawsuit

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

About 33.9% of Albemarle County ballots have not yet been scanned by the United States Postal Service as of Monday, according to data from the Virginia Department of Elections, but it unclear what effect this could have on the Nov. 2 election. Yet the Democratic Party of Virginia is concerned and has filed a lawsuit against he USPS for failure to timely process and deliver election-related mail, which it says is “threatening to disenfranchise thousands of Virginia voters. Data from the state was brought to light as part of the lawsuit.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Virginia’s prison population fell by thousands during the pandemic. Will it stay down?

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

Virginia’s prison population dropped by more than 5,000 people during the pandemic, and officials tasked with projecting future trends are wondering if it’s going to stay that way. In a report released this month, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran’s office said said it’s too soon to know what impact legislation passed by the General Assembly since Democrats took control would have, but that a variety of bills could help keep numbers low.


Ground has broken on a new state park in Henry County

By BILL WYATT, Martinsville Bulletin (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

What started as an idea 16 years ago and 600 acres later has now become the beginning of a new state park in Henry County. “We’re looking forward to what we’re going to be able to do out here,” said Park Manager Adam Layman of the new Mayo River State Park. . . . “We’ve been way too long getting people out here, and we know the community is going to enjoy this.” The property begins at 823 Pratt Road in Spencer, just off of Moores Mill Road, a 25-minute drive from Martinsville and not far from the North Carolina line.

CONGRESS

Clock ticking for Congress to act on spending bills, especially for Va. Democrats

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

The clock is ticking on Congress to act on a pair of spending packages, and Virginia’s senators are happy for the impending deadlines, with Democrats looking for a boost from Washington going into state elections next week. Federal funding for transportation programs across the country is set to expire unless the House of Representatives approves a $1 trillion package of infrastructure improvements and sends it to President Joe Biden for his signature by Sunday.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS

Roanoke Gas joins national effort to reduce methane emissions

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

Roanoke Gas Co. has joined a national organization devoted to reducing the amount of methane that leaks from the natural gas system. The utility is the latest of more than 50 companies to voluntarily pair with Our Nation’s Energy Future Coalition, which seeks to reduce annual methane emissions by its members to 1% or less of the gas that is produced and delivered in the United States.


Riverside Health System enters health insurance business with launch of Medicare supplement plan

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

Riverside Health System is joining the list of hospital systems venturing into the health insurance business, with the launch of a health maintenance organization for Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Advantage type plan will supplement Medicare Part A and Part B by providing coverage for prescription medications and a $3,400 cap on copayments for health-care services received from the network.

TRANSPORTATION

I-81 improvements, bicycle paths discussed at Transportation Forum

By JOSH JANNEY, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Commonwealth Transportation Board member Mark Merrill says he’s optimistic the Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure bill could help finance road improvements in Virginia — including to Interstate 81. Merrill, of Winchester, made his comments at Tuesday night’s Frederick County Transportation Forum at Winchester Regional Airport.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Mason struggles to retain employees amid labor shortage on campus

By ALLISON ALBERTY, GMU Fourth Estate

As businesses nationwide struggle to find and retain employees, Mason’s on-campus dining services and restaurants are no exception to this labor shortage. Mason Dining Services continues to advertise that they are hiring for Ike’s and Southside as well as various restaurants on the Fairfax campus. Their social media boasts links for applications for both full-time and part-time positions. The labor shortage has sparked frustration not only from Mason dining staff but from students as well, particularly residential students with meal plans.

CORONAVIRUS

New local virus cases, hospitalizations dropping but severe cases, deaths continue

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

As has happened other times when COVID-19 has surged and declined, there’s good news in current trends, but still reason to be concerned, according to local health officials. First, the positive metrics. For the first time in 12 weeks, averages of new daily infections in the Rappahannock Area Health District, which includes Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford, have fallen under the 100-mark.

VIRGINIA OTHER

Jury seated for rally trial after delay

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

A 12-person jury has been seated in the Sines v. Kessler trial following days of contention and an allegation of an improper dismissal of a juror. Filed in the wake of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally by nine Charlottesville area residents, the federal lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs were the victims of racist violence during the weekend of Aug. 11-12, 2017.


Virginia gets two new federal judges; two new vacancies are expected

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

The Eastern District of Virginia has two new U.S. District Court judges, one a former federal prosecutor and the other a former federal public defender. Patricia Tolliver Giles, a prosecutor with the U.S. attorney's office and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff, a federal public defender in the Eastern District from 2002 to 2015, have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Giles on Tuesday, and Nachmanoff Wednesday.


New federal judges in D.C., Va. and Md. show Biden’s push to diversify bench

By RACHEL WEINER AND SPENCER S. HSU, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A veteran prosecutor and two longtime public defenders were both confirmed by the U.S. Senate to federal judgeships in the D.C. region this week. The three new judges, along with others who recently took the bench, showcase efforts by the Biden administration to change the makeup of the federal judiciary. “Biden pledged to nominate and confirm people who are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ideology and particularly experience,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. But, he said, “there is a pattern” of heightened GOP opposition to candidates with backgrounds as public defenders and civil rights advocates.


Chesapeake Bay water quality declined in recent years, group says, while pollution reduction deadline nears

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

About a third of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries recently met water quality standards that monitor restoration progress — a decline since they were last measured, officials said Wednesday. In its most recent three-year assessment, for 2017 to 2019, the Chesapeake Bay Program found the water quality score slid to 33%, down from 38% in 2016 to 2018. That showed a decline from a high of 42.2% during the 2015 to 2017 period.


When Virginia flipped to Republicans 70 years ago, the state’s most powerful Democrat was to thank

By RONALD G. SHAFER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

As polls show next month’s Virginia governor’s race heading to a photo finish, Republicans are harboring hopes of flipping the increasingly blue state to red. Virginia hasn’t picked a GOP governor since 2010 or presidential candidate since 2004. The state was in a similar position nearly 70 years ago when it cast its electoral votes for Dwight D. Eisenhower after not having chosen a Republican presidential candidate for the last five elections (or a GOP governor in the last 20 elections) — thanks to the unlikely help of Virginia’s “Mr. Democrat,” the powerful Sen. Harry Flood Byrd.

LOCAL

Calls for transparency over change in Arlington Co. inmates’ health care amid death investigations

By MEGAN CLOHERTY, WTOP

The community is asking for transparency on why Arlington County, Virginia, is ending its agreement with the company that provided health care to inmates at the detention center three years before it was set to expire. The change comes weeks after a nurse who worked at the detention center was charged with falsifying the records of an inmate who died. The man, who is Black, died during the Sheriff’s Office’s watch, and there are questions as to what happened.


Amid safety concerns, Fairfax County finds hundreds of aging high-rises

By DAVID TAUBE, FFXnow

Following the collapse of a 40-year-old high-rise in Surfside, Fla., officials in Fairfax County and across the country are looking to prevent a similar tragedy. “Anything we can do to prevent such a [tragedy] from happening again, we want to do,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said yesterday (Tuesday) during a Land Use Policy Committee meeting. County staff have identified 202 high-rises in the area that are at least 25 years or older, including 100 that are 25-30 years old, 41 that are 30-35 years old, and 46 that are 40 years old or more.


Loudoun County School Board approves legislative package, seeks changes to Title IX

By HORUS ALAS, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday called for changes to Title IX, suggesting the law should be changed to allow school officials more flexibility in responding to allegations of sexual assault and the ability to remove students accused of such crimes from the rest of the student body. Blue Ridge District representative Ian Serotkin put forth a motion to add to the board’s legislative package “changes to Title IX that strengthen and restore protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence and sex-based discrimination.”


Amid coverup claims, Loudoun Supt. Ziegler says he’s never received notice of juvenile arrests

By NEAL AUGENSTEIN, WTOP

In the midst of politically-charged allegations of coverup and malfeasance after two recent sexual assaults in Loudoun County, Virginia high schools, Superintendent Scott Ziegler says he has never, during his three years with LCPS, been notified by the county sheriff’s office that a juvenile has been charged with a crime. The declaration from Ziegler comes as the school board attempts to change federal Title IX protocols to provide local school division with more latitude to prevent students accused of certain crimes from being transferred to another school.


VEA steps into Prince William Education Association dispute

By JARED FORETEK, Inside NOVA

The Virginia Education Association took sweeping oversight of its Prince William chapter Monday night, entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Prince William Education Association’s executive board that strips the local chapter of much of its autonomy. As written, the memorandum gives the statewide teachers union wide-ranging authority over the Prince William chapter’s finances, bylaws and elections. Seven of the 12 PWEA board members agreed to the memorandum Monday night, but PWEA President Maggie Hansford insists the document is illegal unless the full PWEA membership and its building representatives agree.


Richmond police chief: CRB, as recommended, would hurt already low morale, staffing shortage

By ALI ROCKETT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said the already low morale and high attrition among his department’s officers — with 102 vacancies — would worsen if an independent oversight body were to be implemented as currently recommended to the City Council, according to a report from WTVR . Co-chairs of the council-appointed task force created to establish a civilian review board for the Richmond Police Department presented its recommendations to the council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday night.


Federal oversight agency rejects RRHA's annual plan for second time in three years

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The federal agency that oversees public housing rejected the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s annual plan submission for the second time in three years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cited fair housing concerns, complaints from RRHA residents with disabilities and its redevelopment plans, according to a Sept. 30 letter HUD sent RRHA, which the Richmond Times-Dispatch obtained this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.


Residents say cooperation between housing agency and police undermines housing security

By MEG SCHIFFRES, WCVE-FM

In addition to their heavy presence in Richmond’s public housing neighborhoods, the police have the ability to bar residents and visitors from any property operated by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. RRHA updated their nearly 30-year-old barment policies after the original version was found to be unconstitutional, partially because it gave police too much latitude in barring individuals. Advocates say the new policy is better, but note that it still gives wide-ranging powers to police and permits the barment of people who have not been convicted of any crime.


Norfolk to require trees on all developments, part of effort to expand canopy — and absorb water

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

The city of Norfolk wants more trees shading bus stops, lining streets, covering your backyard. Trees are useful not only in the fight against climate change but also to weather its consequences, such as extreme heat and increased rainfall, city officials say. They clean particulate matter, support pollinators and other wildlife, reduce energy bills and add beauty.


Virginia Beach students, author defend challenged books at school board meeting

By JULIANNA MORANO, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Challenged books dominated public comments at the Virginia Beach School Board meeting Tuesday evening — as several students defended the books, and so did the author of one of them. In all, 15 students spoke up in defense of the books recently challenged by two Virginia Beach School Board members. Victoria Manning and Laura Hughes brought forth concerns from parents about six titles on Virginia Beach library shelves, requesting their review and removal.


Warsaw councilman apologizes for blackening face to portray movie character

By BRENT SOLOMON, WWBT-TV

There is outrage over a white town councilman’s decision to blacken his skin to pose as a fictional musician from a popular movie. The image of Warsaw Councilman Faron Hamblin was shared on social media. The Richmond County man posted the photo over the weekend and quickly removed it after people began calling it offensive. Although he didn’t respond to NBC12′s emails trying to get his side of the story for two days, he posted on Facebook apologizing, “I made a post that hurt a lot of folks and that was not my intention.”


Lynchburg reports unprecedented surplus closing out fiscal year

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

Lynchburg city staff reported an unprecedented surplus closing out the fourth quarter of 2021, one attributed to COVID-19 uncertainties as well as significant vacancies across multiple city departments. According to a general fund quarterly report presented Tuesday to the finance committee, the city ended fiscal year 2021 with an unassigned fund balance of $49.7 million compared to a projected balance of $22.1 million.


Bedford County might study delivering fuel via rail to Montvale tanks

By SHANNON KELLY, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 18 articles a month)

A study considering the possibility of transporting fuel by rail to the Montvale fuel tanks site in Bedford County might begin following the Bedford County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous adoption of a resolution Monday requesting state legislators' aid in launching such a study. The future of the Montvale tanks site, the operation of which was an important part of the county's economy from 1964 to 2017, has been in question for some time.

 

EDITORIALS

Principals should report school crimes

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

Parents throughout Virginia are questioning an amendment to the Virginia Code passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam in March 2020 that no longer requires public school administrators to report criminal misdemeanors committed on school grounds to local law enforcement. Most parents didn’t hear about the change in the law last year amid the flurry of other legislation, but they are hearing about it now.


Virginia makes COVID progress

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

Parents with young children will welcome this week’s news that an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in kids aged 5-11. That’s another important sign of progress in the fight against the virus. It’s a firm reminder that the best defense against the coronavirus — and the way out of the pandemic — is through the vaccines which are widely available.

COLUMNISTS

Yancey: The history that both Herring and Miyares want to make

By DWAYNE YANCEY, Cardinal News

Attorney General Mark Herring wants Virginians to do something they haven’t done since 1945, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, the baseball Browns were still in St. Louis and the No. 1 hitmakers on the Billboard charts were the Andrews Sisters. He wants Virginians to elect an attorney general to a third term.


Schapiro: Youngkin's racial appeal is his campaign's white-face moment

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

In the final hours of Virginia’s toss-up for governor, Glenn Youngkin is running as a Ken Cuccinelli-like culture warrior, declaiming public schools as hotbeds of transgender depravity and where a student’s required reading puts S-E-X ahead of A-B-C. At least this is what we hear from Democrats, a bunch of whom are worried that Terry McAuliffe’s done for.


Fact Checker: Glenn Youngkin’s viral ‘child’ ad is missing important context

By GLENN KESSLER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

In the final week of the Virginia gubernatorial election, Youngkin has released an ad that quickly went viral, earning more than 1 million views 24 hours after being released. The ad features a “mother” detailing her concern about a “reading assignment” her “child” was given by his teacher. But this was no ordinary mom, no ordinary book and the child in question was a senior in high school. Let’s take a line-by-line tour through Laura Murphy’s voice-over and provide some missing context.

OP-ED

Graf: Is Mark Herring a fair-weather friend to African-Americans?

By ALAN GRAF, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

I write as a voter who generally votes Democrat but with clear eyes about what the Democrats will actually do. Once upon a time Republicans such as Sen. John McCain had integrity and courage. They would not hesitate to buck their party when democracy or the interests of our country conflicted with the party line. McCain never put up with cult leaders — Vietnamese or otherwise.

Graf is a Virginia civil rights and disability lawyer who is the recipient of the Leonard Weinglass In Defense of Civil Liberties Award and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Public Justice Award.


Johnson: Rural Virginia has ally in Youngkin

By ALLEN JOHNSON, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Take a walk through almost any rural community in Virginia and you will quickly discover they are struggling with empty stores and closed businesses. Farmers and small businesses are buckling under the weight of market uncertainties, COVID restrictions, increased costs, excessive regulations, higher taxes, labor shortages, mandates, gas prices and attacks on their way of life, families, beliefs and freedoms.

Johnson served as United States Ambassador and Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President from 2001 to 2005.


Hernandez, Nguyen and Rodgers: Biden plan essential to helping Virginia families

By PHIL HERNANDEZ, TRAM NGUYEN AND ALEXSIS RODGERS, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

It’s hard to overstate what’s at stake for Hampton Roads as Congress debates a major infrastructure bill and the president’s “Build Back Better” legislation. These bills, if passed, could shape the future of the region for years to come, accelerate a recovery from the pandemic, and help local families — and especially kids — thrive. Yet in recent days, a dubious argument has emerged in the debate over the Build Back Better legislation: Sen. Joe Manchin has proposed sending many of the bill’s family-focused provisions to the chopping block.

Hernandez is the senior vice president for policy and advocacy for The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. Nguyen is the co-executive director of New Virginia Majority. Rodgers is the Virginia state director of Care in Action.