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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

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

D.C. region tries to boost coronavirus vaccine uptake among law enforcement

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

As the Washington region’s coronavirus vaccination efforts continue, public health officials are homing in on segments of the population slow to get the shot — such as law enforcement officers. While no comprehensive surveying has been done in the region, Virginia officials say less than half of State Police troopers are vaccinated and about 50 percent of corrections officers in the state have been vaccinated.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Data show younger residents shy away from vaccines in Dan River Region

By CHARLES WILBORN, Danville Register & Bee

There’s one trend that’s clear when examining COVID-19 vaccination data in Danville and Pittsylvania County: younger residents are shying away from getting the shots. As of Friday, 75% of people 70-79 in the city and county have had at least one dose. On the flip side, only a quarter of those in the 20-29 age group have received at least one shot of the vaccine to protect from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

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

Downtown plan would raze Coliseum, create government center

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

After pegging the Richmond Coliseum as the anchor for the redevelopment of the city’s downtown core, city officials are now tentatively planning for its demolition. City planning officials last Monday introduced a draft plan for the downtown corridor that calls for the demolition of the shuttered Coliseum and the creation of new public gathering spaces, apartment complexes, hotels and a new City Hall tower.

VaNews June 14, 2021

Hearing for second petition challenging school renaming set for July

By CHARLES PAULLIN, Northern Virginia Daily

Arguments will be heard next month on the second petition challenging the renaming of two Shenandoah County schools. Judge Kevin Black set the hearing for 9 a.m. July 9 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court. The second petition seeks to reverse the School Board’s decision earlier this year to reallocate about $304,000 of this year’s budget to rename Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School because they are named after Confederate generals.

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