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Lidholm: Drag racing and speeding are a lethal combination

By ELAINE LIDHOLM, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

The National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) recently reported that traffic deaths in the U.S. rose 7% last year, never mind that people drove many fewer miles due to the pandemic. The NTSA blamed the increase on drivers taking more risks on less congested roads. These risks included speeding, failing to wear seat belts, or drinking and driving. I would add drag racing to that list and state that in Richmond, drivers have not given up these risky behaviors now that traffic has returned to normal.

Lidholm is a Richmond-area writer.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Clemens and Gates: Fare-free transit gives riders like us the freedom to move, and should be extended

By ANNA CLEMENS AND BENNIE GATES, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

As Richmonders and bus riders, we are grateful for fare-free transit this past year. It has relieved one pandemic burden and kept us connected to essential services. But at the moment, the fare-free pilot program, which has been a silver lining for many during this stressful time, is set to end on June 30. While there is potentially more funding coming from the state, it’s not set to arrive until 2022. Riders of the GRTC Transit System need help before then.

Clemens and Gates are volunteer leaders of Virginia Organizing.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Medical marijuana dispensaries come with rules to prevent misuse

By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee

A medical marijuana dispensary is possible in Danville, but don’t expect groups of recreational users to be hanging out trying to score weed there. Such facilities, and the use, dispensing and purchase of their products, come with rules and regulations imposed by the state.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Major staffing shortages beset Virginia’s child care providers

By KATE MASTERS, Virginia Mercury

After more than a year of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosalind Cutchins is braced for a busy June as she prepares to reopen two Head Start programs at her child care centers across the Hampton Roads region. But she’s been confronted by a staffing shortfall — 22 unfilled positions across eight different locations. It’s a challenge providers are facing across the commonwealth as businesses reopen and Virginia moves into the recovery phase of its post-pandemic economy.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Green Front Furniture exec buys Monument Avenue mansion for $2M

By JONATHAN SPIERS, Richmond BizSense

When Den Cralle begins furnishing the Mediterranean-style mansion he recently purchased on Monument Avenue, he’ll be coming at it with an entire furniture business at his disposal. The president and co-owner of Farmville-based Green Front Furniture won a bidding war this spring for 2315 Monument Ave., a nearly century-old house he’s planning to use not only as a residence but also as a virtual showroom of sorts, highlighting the company’s inventory of furniture, rugs and home décor items.

VaNews June 14, 2021

To expand emergency shelter options, Richmond weighs buying a hotel

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Facing a surge in homelessness, Richmond wants to buy a hotel to meet the growing need for emergency shelter in the region. The potential purchase, shared with a council panel last week, is among several options the city is weighing to stand up a year-round inclement weather shelter by this fall, said Sherrill Hampton, Richmond’s new director of housing and community development.

VaNews June 14, 2021

State's new cannabis website answers questions, sort of

By MONIQUE CALELLO, News Leader (Metered Paywall - 3 to 4 articles a month)

Marijuana legalization in Virginia begins July 1. To help Virginians understand what this means, the state launched a new cannabis website on Thursday with information, updates and answers to questions about the law, tweeted Governor Ralph Northam. On April 7, Virginia became the first state in the South to begin the process of legalizing adult-use cannabis, the site states. What exactly does begin the process mean?

VaNews June 14, 2021

Bobby Scott: Time to battle for child-care funds

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

As Congress gears up to battle over how much to spend on infrastructure, Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-Newport News, wants to be sure his Capitol Hill colleagues remember one part of the foundation that keeps an economy growing: Child care. “If we’re going to get all these jobs, people need the things that make it possible to work, and that’s child care,” he told staff at the Downtown Hampton Child Development Center.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Christiansburg police to equip officers with body cameras

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

The town has entered into an agreement with an Arizona-based company to equip its police officers with a number of devices that include both body and new car cameras. The five-year agreement with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Axon Enterprise Inc. comes at a cost of $891,781 and was approved by Christiansburg Town Council on a 6-0 vote this past week.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Summer school programs spike by hundreds

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

School is not out for summer in Martinsville, Henry and Patrick counties. In fact, after a year of virtual classes because of the pandemic, collectively the three school districts may have one of the most well-attended summer programs on record. “We are offering summer school for elementary, middle and high school Monday through Thursday in June and in July,” Henry County Schools Director of Communication Monica Hatchett said. “We have approximately 900 students registered.”

VaNews June 14, 2021