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VaNews
April 17, 2021
Top of the News

Millionaires Leave Their Mark on Virginia Governor's Race

By BEN PAVIOUR, WCVE-FM

Conservative businessmen Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin have vowed to bring board-room discipline to the governor’s mansion. The latest round of campaign finance reports show they’re also carrying over another asset from their private sector days: money. Nearly 80% of the $6.8 million Pete Snyder raised last quarter came from his own loans, in-kind contributions to his own campaign, or donations he’d previously made to his political action committee. Youngkin took in nearly $7.7 million, with over 73% of that total coming from loans to his campaign and in-kind contributions from Youngkin LLC, his investment firm.


Virginia House Democrats see record number of challenges in primary elections

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

A record number of Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates are facing primary election opponents in June — part of the state’s spreading blue wave that, political analysts say, could leave some of those districts vulnerable to Republicans in the fall. After a historic General Assembly session this year where Virginia abolished the death penalty and made possessing small amounts of marijuana legal for adults, 13 House Democrats — mostly in Northern Virginia — are in nomination battles for their seats.


As Va. passes 5 million total vaccines given, Northam says every resident who wants a dose could get one by end of May

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

As Virginia grapples with the temporary loss of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a critical juncture in the pandemic where cases and hospitalizations are rising once again, state leaders said Friday that every resident who wants a vaccine could still receive their first dose by the end of May. The reassurance comes in the days before Virginia makes every person 16 and up eligible for a vaccine, essentially widening who can make a vaccination appointment by millions of people.


Liberty sues Jerry Falwell Jr., seeking millions in damages

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Liberty University has filed a civil lawsuit against its former leader, Jerry Falwell Jr., seeking millions in damages after the two parted ways acrimoniously last year. The complaint, filed Thursday in Lynchburg Circuit Court, alleges Falwell crafted a “well-resourced exit strategy” from his role as president and chancellor in the form of a 2019 employment agreement while withholding from the school key details about a personal scandal that exploded into public view last year.


Fairfax seeks to dismiss 400 convictions in cases brought by one officer

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

Fairfax County prosecutors are moving to throw out more than 400 criminal convictions based on the testimony or work of a former patrol officer who is accused of stealing drugs from the police property room, planting drugs on innocent people and stopping motorists without legal basis, court filings show. In a hearing Friday, a Fairfax judge said he was inclined to vacate felony drug and gun convictions against a former D.C. firefighter and order him released from prison next week after serving nearly two years because of the actions of former officer Jonathan A. Freitag.


Roanoke gathering decries hate crimes, police violence

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

The shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota. The killing of a 13-year-old boy in Chicago. The pepper-spraying of an Army lieutenant in Virginia. There is still much work to be done. That was the message Friday evening of activists who gathered around the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Roanoke. “We witness almost every day an act of injustice against our brothers and sisters,” said Roanoke NAACP President Brenda Hale. “We are done dying. “Today, we ask to stop the profiling,” she said, her voice rising to a crescendo as people nodded and exclaimed, “That’s right!”


Two Women Researched Slavery in Their Family. They Didn’t See the Same Story.

By AMY DOCKSER MARCUS, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Kim Lee Finger and Michelle Brooks, like many Black Americans, grew up knowing they are descended from slaves. Over the years, each had heard fragments of family stories about their great-great-grandparents, who were children of a woman named Ann. Ann was once owned by a white farmer from a well-known family that helped found what became Fairfax, Va. Documents indicate she was also the mother of his children.

The Full Report
46 articles, 26 publications

FROM VPAP

VPAP Visual Fundraising Surge in Governor's Race

The Virginia Public Access Project

Candidates running for Governor already have raised a total of $30 million, a record for this point in the campaign. This interactive visual compares the total spending through March 31 of each election cycle back to 1997 and includes a filter showing the amount each candidate had raised in the first 15 months of the campaign.


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 meets with students over pervasive harassment of Asian Americans

By NATHANIEL CLINE, Loudoun Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) met with 15 Loudoun high school students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent Thursday in a closed-door meeting to discuss the harassment they’ve received amid a string of recent violence towards Asian Americans across the country. Northam was joined by members of his administration, lawmakers, school administration and board members at Freedom High School before touring the Dulles District school.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

FOIA bill allows access to criminal investigation records

By ANYA SCZERZENIE, VCU Capital News Service

A bill allowing the public access to limited criminal investigation records will go into effect in July, along with a handful of other bills related to government transparency. Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, a former television reporter, introduced House Bill 2004. The bill requires files related to non-ongoing criminal investigations be released under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act law.

STATE ELECTIONS

McAuliffe far outpaces other Democrats in fundraising; Youngkin and Snyder wield personal wealth

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is running for a second term, raised $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, more than all of his Democratic rivals combined — displaying the kind of influence that makes him the candidate to beat in the Democratic primary. In the GOP contest — where money has less impact because of the small number of convention delegates candidates have to target — former private equity CEO Glenn Youngkin and entrepreneur Pete Snyder pulled far ahead of their rivals, thanks in large part to money they lent themselves from their personal wealth, $5 million each.


McAuliffe holds fundraising lead in race for Virginia governor

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

Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe has maintained a hefty fundraising lead as he seeks to reclaim Virginia's Executive Mansion, the latest campaign finance reports show, while two Republican contenders have each plowed more than $5 million of their own money into their campaigns. McAuliffe, one of five candidates for governor in the June 8 Democratic primary, has raised about $12 million overall for his comeback bid, including $4.2 million from January through March, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics. He had $8.5 million on hand heading into April.


McAuliffe has fundraising lead in Virginia governor’s race

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

Democratic former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has a commanding lead in fundraising as he seeks another term in the governor’s mansion, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. McAuliffe reported raising $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in politics. He ended the period with $8.5 million cash on hand, more than the rest of his four primary opponents combined.


GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful Visits Valley With Cuccinelli

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

Pete Snyder, a candidate in the Republican contest for November’s gubernatorial race, met with voters at an event outside Bridgewater on Thursday. The event was held at the home of Del. Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater, and was attended by former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, a one-time GOP nominee for governor and a member of the Trump administration.


Virginia governor candidate Youngkin makes pitch to Frederick County Republicans

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

Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin stopped by West Oaks Farm Market on Friday morning to make a case for why Republican voters should select him to be the GOP nominee in the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election. On May 8, the Republican party will hold a convention to choose its candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Amid ongoing pollution complaints, Bristol landfill cited for recordkeeping violations

By SARAH WADE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a notice of violation to the Bristol Virginia landfill for failing to report — and, in one case, falsely reporting — some of its landfill gas emissions activities during 2020, according to records obtained by the Bristol Herald Courier. The landfill is already under heightened scrutiny, thanks to area residents’ ongoing complaints about foul odors, which city officials say the landfill could be at least partially responsible for. But both those officials and DEQ said the violations concern equipment that doesn’t produce strong odors.


Northam, Native American tribes celebrate Machicomoco State Park grand opening

By EM HOLTER, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

Folks will now have the opportunity to camp and boat along the Pamunkey River, enjoy hiking and biking trails and learn about the longstanding history and culture of Native American communities following Machicomoco State Park’s grand opening in Gloucester County. Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia Native American tribal chiefs, state representatives and conservationists alike met on Friday to celebrate the park’s grand opening event — making it the 40th state park in the state, to date.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS

Va. Landlords Can No Longer Turn Away Renters With Vouchers

By WHITTNEY EVANS, WCVE-FM

New housing discrimination protections ban Virginia landlords from turning down potential tenants because of their source of income. Attorney General Mark Herring issued guidance Friday to help tenants and landlords navigate the new rules. The law ensures that Virginians who are looking for a place to live – including those who use Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly Section 8), Social Security Disability payments or other assistance – will have more options to live where they choose.


Virginia's unemployment rate declined slightly in March, but still well above a year ago

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in March from February as employers in the state added a net gain of about 800 jobs. The jobless rate in March was 5.1%, down slightly from 5.2% in February and 5.3% in January, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday. The unemployment rate was still double the 2.6% rate in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to affect the job market.


Carnival coming back to Norfolk next year with largest ship yet — the Magic

By TARA BOZICK, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy announced plans on Thursday to bring the 4,000-passenger cruise ship Magic to Norfolk in May next year. “We can’t wait to get back to Norfolk with our cruise ship, and I hope it will be sooner than later,” Duffy told attendees of an online “State of the Cruise Industry” talk hosted by CIVIC Leadership Institute.


Solar farm planned for former coal mine in Buchanan County

Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

One of the largest solar farms in the Appalachian region is planned for a Buchanan County site on a reclaimed surface coal mine. The planned site will use about 700 acres and produce a minimum of 60 megawatts with the capability of expanding up to 75 megawatts, according to a joint statement from state Del. Will Morefield, R-N. Tazewell, and Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Richlands.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Report: Black and Latino people make up 34% of Va.’s college age population, but 10% of some of the state’s biggest universities

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

While Black and Latino residents make up 34% of the college-age population in the state of Virginia, far fewer are enrolled in Virginia's colleges, according to a report published this week by a Washington-based think tank. Only three public universities in the state enroll Black and Latino students at a rate equal to the state population: Norfolk State University, Virginia State University and Old Dominion University. Norfolk State and VSU are historically Black universities.


Liberty University sues Jerry Falwell Jr., alleges breach of contract

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

Liberty University is suing its former president, Jerry Falwell Jr., for at least $10 million, claiming a series of “indiscretions” during the past few years resulted in several breaches of his contract and duties during his time there. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Lynchburg Circuit Court, alleges Falwell's recent actions over an extramarital affair and his "personal impairment by alcohol" have damaged LU’s enrollment, employees and donor base.


Liberty University sues ex-president Jerry Falwell Jr., alleging breach of contract and cover-up of scandal

By NICK ANDERSON, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Liberty University filed a lawsuit this week against its former president Jerry Falwell Jr., alleging that he breached his contract and fiduciary duties to the school as he sought to cover up a personal scandal. The evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Va., is seeking more than $10 million in damages from the man who led it for 13 years. The suit filed Thursday in Lynchburg Circuit Court marked another twist in the saga of Falwell’s messy departure last year from Liberty.


Liberty University Sues Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 Million

By RUTH GRAHAM, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 1 to 2 articles a month)

Liberty University has sued Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 million, exacerbating the messy divorce between the Christian university and its former president whose family name has been synonymous with the university since its founding. The suit, filed on Thursday, alleges breach of contract and fiduciary duty. It claims that Mr. Falwell withheld scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses.


Christopher Newport University won’t increase tuition next year

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

Christopher Newport University won’t raise tuition or the costs of room and board next year, in part thanks to millions in coronavirus relief funds. The Board of Visitors voted unanimously Friday at the nearly-completed Torggler Fine Arts Center to keep all fees, tuition and housing costs steady. Those costs total about $26,700 for an in-state undergraduate student and $39,600 for an out-of-state student for two semesters.

CORONAVIRUS

Starting Sunday, all Virginians who want to be vaccinated can schedule appointments

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

As of Friday, nearly half of all adult Virginians had taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They are the people whom Dr. Danny Avula refers to as the low-hanging fruit — the folks who wanted to be vaccinated as soon as they could. Now the hard part comes for Avula, who oversees the state’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and other public health officials. They need to get enough younger, healthier Virginians to roll up their sleeves so that the virus will stop spreading.


Virginia reports first cases of COVID variant found in Brazil

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The Virginia Department of Health has identified the first two cases of a COVID-19 variant that initially emerged in Brazil and has since pushed its hospital systems to crisis levels. At least 30 states report at least one case tied to the strain, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data updated this week. Early studies show the mutation is twice as contagious as the original and could re-infect people who already had coronavirus.


Coronavirus variant out of Brazil confirmed in Virginia for first time

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

A variant strain of the coronavirus that originated in Brazil has been confirmed in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday that the strain, known as the P.1 variant, was identified in two samples from the state. One was from an adult in the eastern region, which includes Hampton Roads, who had no recent travel history. The other was an adult in the northwest region who had traveled within the United States.


Virginia High to host student vaccine clinic as quarantines surge among teens

By CALEB PERHNE, WCYB

The COVID-19 case surge among the unvaccinated in our region is now being reflected in schools. The number of students and staff quarantined is at a level not seen since the last surge, up from a low just three weeks ago. “We had no students or staff in isolation or quarantine, and now we're up to about 45,” Bristol, Virginia schools superintendent Keith Perrigan said.


Mass vaccination site opens next week in Tysons

By RICK MASSIMO, WTOP

A large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic is opening in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Tuesday. The vaccination center is at the former Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner Center, at 1961 Chain Bridge Road, in Tysons, the Fairfax County government said in a statement Friday.


COVID-19 outbreak at Woodbridge High stemmed from school athletics

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times

A COVID-19 outbreak Woodbridge Senior High School reported by the Virginia Department of Health on Friday involves positive cases stemming from school athletics, according to Principal Heather Abney. The Woodbridge High outbreak was the 11th involving a public or private K-12 school in the Prince William Health District.

VIRGINIA OTHER

Federal changes bring relief to Va. consumers but prompt delay in state health insurance exchange

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

Bruce Tinoco is one of the reasons that Virginia decided to create its own marketplace for health insurance instead of relying on the federal government. Tinoco, 63, knew he would pay the full price for his health insurance when he retired three years ago after a 40-plus year career in television broadcasting - and he was right. The South Richmond resident was paying $1,006 a month for a policy on the federal marketplace, and that was just for himself.


Leaders discuss how to improve race relations in Fredericksburg area

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

Encouraging engagement in the political process, creating strategic plans that prioritize equity, funding education and creating more opportunities for dialogue between different groups are all ways to improve race relations in the area, participants in a Thursday night panel suggested. Germanna Community College hosted the virtual discussion. Five local panelists participated:


Windsor Police Department seeks officer training help from Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police

By LAURA PERROT, WAVY-TV

As the fallout continues from a viral body camera video showing Windsor police officers pulling over Army Lt. Caron Nazario, the town’s police department is seeking help to train its officers on how to de-escalate similar situations. . . . Facing reporters for the first time Wednesday, Windsor Police Chief Rodney Riddle said there were some things Officer Joe Gutierrez, who was fired from the department Sunday, and Officer Daniel Crocker, who remains on the force, could have done better.


Windsor officials repost police body cam video showing prior traffic stop involving Army lieutenant

By JANE HARPER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Town of Windsor on Friday reposted a police body cam video showing a prior traffic stop involving an Army lieutenant who is suing two of its police officers for a stop that happened a month later. The move comes one day after town officials briefly posted the video on its website, then quickly took it down once they realized some identifying information about the motorist, Lt. Caron Nazario, needed to be redacted from it.


Felony counts dropped against activists charged with damaging Jackson statue

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

Two activists who were arrested in 2019 on charges of damaging Charlottesville’s statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson pleaded guilty Friday to trespassing and received 30-day suspended sentences. Jesse Tobias Beard, 45, and Nicolas McCarthy-Rivera, 32, both of Charlottesville, were arrested at the statue in December 2019 after a series of damages to the Jackson statue. Both have been involved in anti-racism efforts surrounding the aftermath of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in 2017.


Fox, coyote and turkey hunting proposed at Potomac River wildlife refuges

Inside NOVA

U.S. Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on new plans for fox, coyote, waterfowl and turkey hunting, along with expanded deer hunting and fishing opportunities, at the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Woodbridge and southern Fairfax. The complex includes the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck, Occoquan Bay, and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuges.

LOCAL

Loudoun Supervisors to Hear Options on Gov’t Labor Unions

By RENSS GREENE, Loudoun Now

Loudoun County supervisors are set to make a decision on recognizing unionized public employees on Tuesday, April 20. A state law going into effect on May 1 allows local governments to recognize public employee unions, and the county board plans to be ready for that law when it goes into effect.


Public support shifting to one project in Richmond casino sweepstakes

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

The competition for the city’s single casino license is heating up. With time running out for the three companies pursuing a casino resort in Richmond, project backers and residents across the city are continuing to pitch their support or opposition to the projects. As a city evaluation panel is expected to select a preferred project next month, followed by a City Council vote in June on whether to hold a referendum on the project in November, public favor is beginning to coalesce behind one of the projects and against the other two.


Donation to Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense came from email of No. 2 officer in Norfolk police’s internal affairs, report says

By JONATHAN EDWARDS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The second in command of the Norfolk Police Department’s internal affairs unit donated to the white man accused of shooting and killing protestors last year and whose case has become a rallying cry for right-wing activists. An anonymous donor in September gave $25 to the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, but the donation came from the official email address of Lt. William K. Kelly III, according to The Guardian newspaper.


Virginia Beach schools plans to bring older students back for 4 days a week

By PETER COUTU, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Older Virginia Beach students who have opted to return for face-to-face instruction will switch from two days of in-person instruction a week to four days on April 27. Pre-K through sixth-grade students have already been in classes four days a week, with Monday remaining an asynchronous day, in which they do schoolwork from home without formal classroom instruction.


Former Virginia Beach School Board candidate submitted petitions some say they never signed

By JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE, Princess Anne Independent News

Justin Burns, a former candidate for the Virginia Beach School Board, carried nominating petitions that included the names and purported signatures of people who told The Independent News they did not sign them. Burns faces two felony charges related to nominating petitions he filed with local election officials last year when he sought an at-large seat on the School Board.


Despite challenging 2020, Portsmouth saw some major business investments

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

While 2020 was a tumultuous and challenging year for Portsmouth, the city saw plans for significant business investment. In his first State of the City address, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover said businesses pledged $435 million in various projects expected to come with 1,900 jobs — the biggest contributor being the upcoming Rivers Casino. Reflecting on 2020, Glover also commended many of the city’s residents and employees for their resilience and adaptability during the pandemic.


The Caroline Cruiser aims to connect families to the school division

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

In a rural county like Caroline, keeping families connected with the school system in a virtual environment has been especially challenging. Thirty percent of the school population of about 4,100 students is without high-speed internet, and some students were already living significant distances from one of the county’s five schools. ...The Caroline Cruiser is the school division’s newest public outreach tool and Ross calls it “a labor of love.” It’s a retrofitted bus that was once a library bookmobile but had been sitting unused.


County planners reject Bealeton solar farm

By DON DEL ROSSO, Fauquier Now

A Pennsylvania-based company Thursday night lost Round One in its quest to build a five-megawatt solar farm near Bealeton. After about a 17-minute public hearing April 15, a divided Fauquier County Planning Commission determined that Dynamic Energy LLC’s proposal to construct the facility on 40 acres of active farmland doesn’t comply with the comprehensive plan.


Study shows city jail costs, options

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

With its prisoner population soaring, Bristol Virginia leaders received some staggering information Tuesday on the cost to replace its aging, overcrowded jail versus joining the Southwest Regional Jail Authority. The city is currently responsible for between 270 and 280 inmates with a 51-year-old jail certified for 67 prisoners and with a relative capacity of about 150, according to the study presented by Davenport and Co., the city’s long-time financial advisers. The three-month study projected the costs of a new jail versus closing the jail and joining the regional authority, with both forecast to add more than $2 million annually to the city’s operating budget.

 

EDITORIALS

Police abuse redux

Richmond Free Press Editorial

When will the police abuse and killing of Black people stop? What will it take for these continued tragedies to end? The latest reports from rural Windsor, Va., and Brooklyn Center, Minn., demonstrate that the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police wasn’t enough to change the malevolent actions of some law enforcement officers. Video of the disturbing traffic stop of Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario on U.S. 460 in Isle of Wight County show the wretched abuse that Black men are met with, regardless of whether they are in military uniform.


160 years ago today, Virginia made a grievous error

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

On April 17, 1861 — 160 years ago today — Virginia made a momentous decision, one that it’s still paying the price for. On this date, Virginia decided to secede from the Union. Technically, a specially elected assembly called the Virginia Convention voted in favor of a sending a secession referendum to voters, but that plebiscite a month later was a mere formality. Two days after the convention voted for secession, the Confederate flag was flying over the Virginia Capitol and a Confederate army was invited to take up residence in Richmond.


Same old districts are in play this year

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

Virginia's odd-year election schedule is an outlier among the states, with its gubernatorial and legislative races held right after the nation’s presidential election. The only other state voting for its chief executive this year is New Jersey. Fair or not, Virginia’s gubernatorial election will be seen as a poll on the popularity of the Biden administration’s first year, as well as an early predictor of the 2022 midterms.

COLUMNISTS

Schapiro: Some Black candidates narrowcasting for votes

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

What worked for Doug Wilder apparently doesn’t work for other Black Democrats who want to do what he did: Make history. When Wilder razed a long-standing racial barrier, winning for lieutenant governor in 1985 to become the first Black man elected statewide in Virginia, and four years later on his victory as the nation’s first elective Black governor, he would tell those curious about his feats that he was not a Black politician. Rather, he was a politician who happened to be Black.

OP-ED

Hileman: DEQ should reject MVP's water-crossing application

By JACOB HILLEMAN, published in Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

On March 28, 2021, an op-ed was published in the Roanoke Times (“Pipeline water crossings should not be controversial”) that sought to defend the permitting system for U.S. fossil fuel pipelines, and advocate for the quick reissuance of key water crossing permits to Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The op-ed entirely misses the mark. Not surprisingly, the organization that employs the author of the op-ed, the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, advocates for a number of policy positions with a decidedly pro-pipeline bent.

Hileman is an environmental hydrologist with a doctorate from the University of California, Davis. He was raised in the Catawba Valley of Virginia, and is presently a researcher with the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science at Uppsala University