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'It's not all in vain': Roanokers react to Chauvin verdict

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

Brenda Hale found herself holding her breath as she watched the judge take his seat and heard the words: “Members of the jury, I understand you have a verdict.” In quick succession, the fate of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was pronounced as the nation watched. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. “I was able to exhale,” said Hale, president of the Roanoke NAACP. “I was able to breathe again.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Newport News is renaming four schools. Here are the proposed changes.

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

Four schools will be renamed for a mix of geographic landmarks and prominent Black women under a proposal unveiled Tuesday at a Newport News School Board meeting: Epes Elementary would become Stoney Run Elementary, for the body of water behind it.

VaNews April 22, 2021

City Council re-enacts continuity of government ordinance, addresses police involvement in mental health crises

By VIRGINIA BIXBY, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Charlottesville City Council on Monday voted to re-enact the city’s ordinance to assure continuity of government during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance, which was initially enacted in March 2020, temporarily changes certain deadlines, modifies public meeting and hearing practices and procedures and authorizes other emergency actions necessary to assure safe and efficient government operations.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Franklin County supervisors snuff out proposed tobacco tax

By JASON DUNOVANT, Franklin News-Post

A proposed 15-cent tax on tobacco products was shot down by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The vote came as the county finalized its budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. County staff first proposed the tobacco tax last month as an option to provide additional revenue for the county. The General Assembly passed legislation last year that allowed localities to tax tobacco products at a rate of up to 40 cents per pack starting July 1.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Civil rights groups skip ceremonial signing of marijuana bill, as Black-led activist group left out

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Key civil rights groups involved in the effort to legalize marijuana in Virginia skipped a ceremonial signing of the legislation Wednesday, protesting the Northam administration’s decision to exclude a key advocate from the event. Marijuana Justice led by activist Chelsea Higgs Wise of Richmond was among groups that worked with the legislature on marijuana legalization, and eventually swayed political leaders to accelerate legalization of simple possession to this summer.

VaNews April 22, 2021

After two sessions and with elections looming, Filler-Corn says Democrats have delivered while GOP is ‘stuck’

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

When she was sworn in as the first woman to serve as speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Eileen Filler-Corn said she was struck by the diversity of the new Democratic majority looking back at her. A year later, she was standing in a mostly empty room, speaking to “squares on a computer” as the oldest continuous legislative body in the Western Hemisphere tried lawmaking via Zoom. It’s not yet clear when the House will return to normal. But after two years in power, Filler-Corn says she’s confident Virginia voters still want Democrats in charge.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Virginia explores plan to end advanced diplomas


The Virginia Department of Education is taking steps to end advanced diplomas in the name of equity. Leslie Sale, director of the Virginia Education Department's office of policy, on Tuesday announced an exploratory effort to review Virginia's diploma and graduation requirements in a live-streamed meeting with the department's Special Committee to Review the Standards of Accreditation.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Fairfax schools plan for 'normal'

By HANNAH NATANSON, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Come fall, instruction in Virginia’s largest school district will look as close to “pre-pandemic normal” as possible, the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools promised this week. The vast majority of students will head into classrooms five days a week for in-person lessons, Superintendent Scott Brabrand said at a board meeting Tuesday. Exceptions will be granted only to children who have a documented medical or social-emotional need for virtual schooling. And almost all teachers will be required to report to work in person.

VaNews April 22, 2021

Schilling JAUNT lawsuit heading for settlement

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

A freedom of information lawsuit filed against JAUNT is heading toward a settlement, according to court documents. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of local radio host Rob Schilling, who posted an article on his website in December claiming an anonymous internal source told him that the public transportation group was under investigation for “spending irregularities.” The article, which did not specify who is allegedly investigating JAUNT, claims the investigation was spurred by an agency audit.

VaNews April 22, 2021

What’s Stafford’s warehouse ceiling?

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

How many warehouses are enough in Stafford County? That’s the question members of the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors should be asking themselves before they turn more of the county—with its prime location between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, right off the nation’s busiest interstate highway—into an assemblage of what amounts to gigantic storage sheds. Businesses will always need warehouses to store products and materials, so the real question is not whether warehouses are necessary (they certainly are), but where they should be situated to offer the most cost-effective access to markets while not clogging up local roads with delivery trucks.

VaNews April 22, 2021