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Portsmouth residents rally against — or for — making Danny Meeks city manager

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

A week after a majority of Portsmouth City Council members signaled support for hiring former councilman and mayoral candidate Danny Meeks as city manager, a group of business, civic and religious leaders gathered Thursday to call him woefully unqualified and push the council to hire a more experienced person. A crowd of about 100 people listened to the speakers in a vacant lot near City Hall, with half cheering and clapping in agreement and half waiting for the speaker to stop so they could break into chants supporting Meeks.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Creighton, Little, and Robinson: Governor's schools reform an overdue course correction

By RASHEEDA N. CREIGHTON, MAKYA RENÉE LITTLE, AND RODNEY ROBINSON, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

This legislative session, we are hopeful that the Virginia General Assembly is planning to consider a governor’s schools bill — as we feel it is an important step toward transforming gifted education into a system that works for all. We are two alumnae of the commonwealth’s top governor’s schools, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) and Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies (MLWGS), and the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. ... we say the status quo is untenable.

Creighton, cofounder of The Jackson Ward Collective, was in the first class of Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. Little, president of TJ Alumni Action Group Inc., alumna of Thomas Jefferson High School. Robinson was the 2019 National Teacher of the year

VaNews January 23, 2021

Hazard payments for home health workers arrive later and lighter than expected

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

Yolanda Ross was happy to receive a check she had long awaited from Virginia's Medicaid program as hazard pay for working as a home health worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Ross, who makes less than $10 an hour while caring for her disabled adult son in their home in Henrico County, had expected a check for $1,500. After taxes, she received $971 - a 35% bite.

VaNews January 23, 2021

House passes Del. Rasoul's youth civic engagement bill; measure restricts police use of facial recognition technology

By AMY FRIEDENBERGER, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Matthew Savage was able to testify to a House committee because his Fairfax County high school has a policy to excuse students for participating in a civic activity. Savage, the chairman of the Virginia Young Democrats Teen Caucus, was speaking in support of a bill to ensure more students in Virginia have that same ability. The bill from Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, would require the Virginia Department of Education to establish guidelines so that middle and high school students who are absent from school to attend a civic or political event can receive an excused absence.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Vendor that worked for Carroll Foy campaign apologizes for data infraction

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

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carroll Foy’s campaign said a firm it hired to raise money inappropriately used data from a Democratic National Committee donor list. Carroll Foy’s campaign manager said the campaign had let the vendor go before learning of the infraction, which Carroll Foy takes “extremely seriously.” Campaigns are not allowed to use another campaign’s donor list without buying it or getting permission.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Officials plead for patience with vaccination program

By KATHERINE KNOTT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

One week after the Blue Ridge Health District said it would open up the COVID-19 vaccine to more people, officials are cautioning that vaccinating all those currently eligible will take months and require patience from the community. In a series of media briefings Friday, local and state public health officials sought to clear up confusion about the vaccination program thus far, outline plans moving forward and update the community about COVID case numbers.

VaNews January 23, 2021

House panel advances bill to remove segregationist Byrd's statue from Capitol Square

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

A House panel on Friday endorsed removing from Capitol Square a statue of former Sen. Harry Byrd Sr., architect of Massive Resistance to school desegregation. The House Rules Committee voted 13-5 along party lines to back a bill to remove the statue of the Democrat who was governor from 1926-30 and a U.S. senator from 1933 to 1965. The panel also voted 16-0 to endorse a state panel’s recommendation to erect a Virginia statue of teenage civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns at the U.S. Capitol, replacing the recently removed statue of Robert E. Lee. Both measures advance to the full House.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Virginia surpasses 6,000 total COVID deaths less than three weeks after hitting 5,000

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Three weeks after surpassing 5,000 total COVID-19 deaths, Virginia has reached its next grim milestone: More than 6,000 people dead because of the virus. And as cases continue to surge across the state, health care providers are warning patients that supplies of the vaccine won’t be able to keep up with demand for months. Since Jan. 1, the state has reported 970 deaths but due to the certification process, this number lags behind by nearly a month, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Doctors, state officials and advocates push to pass legislation declaring racism a public health crisis in Virginia

By SABRINA MORENO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Doctors, state officials and advocates in Virginia, which was home to the capital of the Confederacy and the birthplace of slavery in the U.S., endorsed legislation Friday that would declare racism a public health crisis. A quick 13-5 vote along party lines in the House Rules Committee sent HJ537, proposed by Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, to the largely Democratic House floor.

VaNews January 23, 2021

Virginia to allocate limited vaccine supply based on population

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

Virginia is distributing its limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines across the commonwealth based on how many people live in a particular area. Dr. Danny Avula, who is leading Virginia’s vaccine efforts, said Friday in a media conference call that local health departments will know how many of the state's 105,000 doses they will get from week to week, but that their doses will need to be shared with hospitals, pharmacies and providers.

VaNews January 23, 2021