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VaNews

Friday May 24, 2019

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


‘THIS IS BLOWING UP’: INSIDE THE CHAOS THAT LED TO NORTHAM’S ADMISSION AND REVERSAL ON RACIST PHOTO

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The afternoon of Feb. 1, Gov. Ralph Northam was supposed to go to a soldier’s funeral. At around 3:30 p.m, before leaving by helicopter, the Democratic governor was called into the office of Clark Mercer, his chief of staff. A photo had surfaced. It showed a person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes standing next to each other at what looked like a party. And it was on the governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook page beside photos of Northam.


NORTHAM FOCUSES ON AGRICULTURE, NOT PROBE REPORT, ON RESEARCH CENTER TOUR

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

There’s a lot of opportunity in agriculture, researchers said during a visit by Gov. Ralph Northam, D, to the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Frederick County on Thursday.


NORTHAM SAYS VA. NATIONAL GUARD HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO ADOPT TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S TRANSGENDER BAN

By NED OLIVER, Virginia Mercury

The Virginia National Guard says it has adopted a Trump administration policy that went into effect last month banning transgender people from serving openly in the military. In a statement outlining the guard’s policy, Major General Timothy P. Williams, the adjutant general, also adopted the Department of Defense’s widely-discredited assertion that the policy doesn’t actually ban transgender people from serving.


DON'T RUSH TO JUDGMENT, FAIRFAX SAYS

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said Thursday that an inconclusive investigation into the racist yearbook photo that appeared on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page “provides ample reason for the importance of our elected and party leaders not rushing to judgment based on limited initial evidence.”


VIRGINIA FIRST LADY, OTHERS SPEAK AT CHILDHOOD SUMMIT IN ABINGDON

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

More than 500 educators and childhood service providers from across Virginia gathered in Abingdon on Thursday for the first Rural Summit for Childhood Success.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


WATER DOESN'T ALWAYS FLOW DOWNHILL, DEL. HODGES REMINDS CONGRESS

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

When you live by Urbanna Creek and the Rappahannock River and represent the Bay-oriented people of the Middle Peninsula you know something that’s not always obvious to members of Congress: water doesn’t only flow downhill. So, as the one state legislator invited with a panel of scientists to speak the the House Climate Crisis committee, Del. Keith Hodges, R-Urbanna, took moment to remind members of Congress that many of the natural spaces and wetlands protected by the nation’s water quality laws are in people’s back yards.

STATE ELECTIONS


VIRGINIA SENATE MINORITY LEADER FACES TWO PRIMARY CHALLENGERS

By MICHAEL LEE POPE, Connection Newspapers

The last time Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw had a primary opponent, Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the Bee Gees were at the top of the charts. Ever since then, Saslaw has avoided any primary opposition in a district that is one of the most solidly Democratic seats in the commonwealth. In that time, he’s earned a reputation as a tough-as-nails lawmaker who is liberal on social issues but business friendly. Campaign-finance records show he’s taken about $350,000 from utility monopoly Dominion since 1996, when the Virginia Public Access Project started compiling records. When asked about his campaign-finance disclosures, Saslaw turns the question around.


PORTSMOUTH LAWYER DON SCOTT WILL BE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR DELEGATE SEAT

By MARIE ALBIGES, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

A scheduled party caucus to pick a Democratic candidate for the 80th House District has been canceled after a local attorney became the only person to file for candidacy in the area representing Portsmouth. Don Scott, a former officer in the Navy, is running to replace Del. Matthew James, a Democrat who stepped down earlier this month


STATE GOP, 1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT COMMITTEE AT ODDS OVER LATTER'S RULING ON WYATT APPEAL

By JACK JACOBS, Tidewater Review

A Republican state party official disputed the validity of the 1st Congressional District Committee’s ruling on Hanover Supervisor Scott Wyatt’s appeal of the 97th District Legislative Committee’s decision to hold a party canvass. At issue is the matter of process.

STATE GOVERNMENT


VA HEALTH COMMISSIONER WHO RESIGNED OVER ABORTION REGULATIONS TAKES THE STAND

By WHITTNEY EVANS, WCVE

Virginia’s former commissioner of health testified Wednesday in federal court where four state abortion regulations are being challenged. Dr. Karen Remley resigned from the position in 2012 citing her unease with how some of those regulations were implemented, specifically licensing requirements. The Virginia Board of Health and the General Assembly moved in 2011 to start regulating abortion clinics like hospitals. This meant clinics had to undergo costly renovations and be subjected to tougher rules for record keeping and inspections.


PUBLIC CHILDREN'S PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL SEES SHARP INCREASE IN ADMISSIONS

By BRIDGET BALCH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Nearly every child sent to Virginia’s only psychiatric hospital for children last year was admitted involuntarily, driving the highest number of admissions in a decade. Admissions to the Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents in Staunton have increased by 35% since 2015


ABC ORDERS BEER SUMMIT IN BELL’S BREWERY DISTRIBUTION DISPUTE

By MIKE PLATANIA, Richmond BizSense

A Michigan brewery and a Virginia beer distributor are heading to the arbitration table in their dispute stemming from a local acquisition. This month, the Virginia ABC Authority ruled that Bell’s Brewery and Premium Distributors of Virginia must head to arbitration to settle their dispute that has taken Bell’s beer out of taplines and off shelves all over the state – a move that followed Premium’s purchase late last year of Richmond-based Loveland Distributing Co.

CONGRESS


REP. JENNIFER WEXTON SAYS ‘INEPT’ BEN CARSON SHOULD RESIGN AS HUD SECRETARY

By JUSTIN WM. MOYER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) on Thursday called for Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to resign, saying he is “inept” and lied to Congress about rule changes affecting transgender people.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


IDAHO-BASED COMPANY BUYING DANVILLE’S SKY VALLEY FOODS WITH $46 MILLION INVESTMENT AND 160 NEW JOBS

By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

About $46 million in investment and 160 new jobs are coming to Airside Industrial Park in Danville. Litehouse, Inc., a Sandpoint, Idaho-based company, said it will bring its first East Coast production facility to the industrial park off U.S. 58 that already has Nestle USA.

HIGHER EDUCATION


TUITION IS STAYING FLAT AT EVERY VIRGINIA COLLEGE NEXT YEAR

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Sancia Celestin got an email in late April she wasn’t expecting. The provost and chief financial officer at her college, George Mason University, had sent a notification to every student that the administration had recommended a tuition freeze for undergraduate students after state lawmakers approved a budget with money to hold the cost of college steady. Celestin knew it was a big deal.

VIRGINIA OTHER


LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA HARNESSES AI TO TACKLE GUBERNATORIAL EMAILS

By BEN PAVIOUR, WCVE

Lawmakers have pushed the Library of Virginia to speed up its process of cataloging emails from former governors. But the library says it’ll need more funding -- and help from artificial intelligence -- to tackle a backlog of over 25 million emails. Roger Christman sometimes feels like he’s living in 2008.

LOCAL


TIM CHAPMAN, FAIRFAX BOARD CHAIR HOPEFUL, HAS MULTIPLE SPEEDING TICKETS, DECADES-OLD ARRESTS

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

A Democratic candidate for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has been charged with speeding, reckless driving and other infractions eight times in the past decade, a search of public records shows, and served two years’ probation after pleading guilty in 1995 to attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol.


COMPUTER GAMING SITES IN CHESAPEAKE TO STAY OPEN, DESPITE CITY ATTEMPTS IN CODE AND COURT TO CLOSE THEM

By KATHERINE HAFNER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

It's been almost a year and a half since Chesapeake's leaders voted to nix computer gaming shops. But in court, the city's losing the battle. On Wednesday evening, General District Court Judge Robert MacDonald dismissed citations for zoning violations


AUDIT FINDS FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, MISMANAGEMENT AT CITY'S AFFORDABLE HOUSING NONPROFIT

By ALISSA SKELTON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The city auditor released a report Wednesday concluding that an affordable housing nonprofit has been mismanaged and lost an average of $1.5 million annually for the past three years.


CITY’S GROUNDBREAKING RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PROGRAM OFFERS SECOND CHANCES

By RYAN ALESSI, Harrisonburg Citizen

Pierre Mbala and two friends were headed to get pizza on an overcast, chilly Thursday in late March, 2018. On the way, they stopped at a convenience store for a soda or maybe some candy, and to taste the freedom that comes with being 17. Mbala’s friends made their purchases and walked outside. Trailing behind, Mbala stuffed a bag of AirHeads, one of Skittles and another of Starbursts into his right jacket pocket before walking out the front door. He knew the manager. And he assumed he wouldn’t get caught.


EDA SPECIAL GRAND JURY MEETS AS EMBEZZLEMENT CASE IS UNDERWAY

By JOSH GULLY, Northern Virginia Daily

Waiting in the lobby of the Warren County Circuit Courtroom on Wednesday morning was a group of people summoned by the special grand jury investigating the alleged embezzlement of millions of dollars in public funds. Among those present in the lobby were former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority executive director Jennifer McDonald; EDA and County Attorney Dan Whitten; Town Attorney Doug Napier; Town Finance Director B.J. Wilson; former EDA chairman and Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher; former Sheriff Daniel McEathron and his wife,


SUPERVISORS' VOTE BURIES PROPOSED CAT LITTER PLANT

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

Plans for a 100,000-square-foot cat litter manufacturing facility were scratched Wednesday night when the Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 to deny a Comprehensive Plan amendment that would have made the plant possible.


CHARLOTTE BOARD CHAIRMAN “LIVID, MIFFED, DISTRAUGHT AND TERRIBLY ANGRY” OVER DONATION TO CCH FIRE DEPARTMENT

By STAFF REPORT, Southside Messenger

Holocene Clean Energy recently made a donation to the Charlotte Court House Fire Department to pave their parking lot. Holocene also issued a press release which was printed in The Messenger and other newspapers. In that release they erroneously stated “the donation was in response to a high priority of the Board of Supervisors.” Because this donation was made to Charlotte Court House and not to Drakes Branch, which has urgent needs since the flooding in October resulted in the Drakes Fire House being unusable, some citizens and three board members were outspokenly angry.

EDITORIALS


NO SECOND CHANCES FOR NORTHAM

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

McGuire Woods, a Richmond law firm hired by Eastern Virginia Medical School to determine how a racist photo made its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 personal yearbook page, supposedly without his knowledge or consent, released the results of its three-month-long investigation on Wednesday. The legal team looking into the matter reported that they “were not able to conclusively determine the origin of the photograph” of two still-unidentified persons,


GRTC'S SLOGAN SHOULD BE "YOU GOTTA PAY TO RIDE"

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Back in the 1970s, the motto of the Maryland Lottery was “You gotta’ play to win.” In Richmond, the slogan for the popular rapid transit line should be, “You gotta pay to ride.” Apparently that’s become a problem on the Pulse, which launched almost a year ago and runs a 7.6-mile route


YES, IT'S PERSONAL; SEN. CHASE GETS TRANSPORT RULES WRONG

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Following Virginia politics recently is a bit like watching a car crash: You know you shouldn’t focus on someone else’s misfortunes, but still you just can’t help staring. This time: What’s up with state Sen. Amanda Chase? The Chesterfield Republican has stumbled into a second controversy regarding her mode of transportation around the state Capitol,

THE FRIDAY READ


WHY EATING PROCESSED FOODS MIGHT MAKE YOU FAT

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

People who followed a diet of ultra-processed foods ate about 500 more calories a day compared to when they ate a whole foods diet....The new study, the first clinical trial to directly compare how ultra-processed foods and unprocessed foods influence health, could have important implications. Ultra-processed foods make up more than half of the calories that Americans consume.