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Plow & Hearth Shutting Down Madison Operations

By CHUCK JACKSON, MadRapp Recorder

A major Madison County business announced to its employees on Monday the facility will be closing its doors by the end of the year. Plow and Hearth, founded in 1980 as a brick-and-mortar retail outlet by Peter and Peggy Rice and Michael Burns, the company saw extreme growth including its first catalog mailer the following year. It currently has 107 fulltime employees at its Wolftown-Hood Road catalog sales office and warehouse but often ballooned to an additional 250 sales associates during the fourth quarter of every year.

VaNews February 28, 2024

Civil Rights vigils keep marching on in Warrenton

By CHER MUZYK, Fauquier Times

For Kevin Berry, every weekly Black Lives Matter vigil in Warrenton is a small step forward in the long march toward equal rights spanning generations. Berry, 60, of Bealeton, who is Black, said he’s attended the vigils for almost three years because the fight for racial justice has not yet been won. “What’s bad is we’re fighting the same fight that we did 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 200 years ago,” he said. “It’s the same fight. We’re here to ask for equal rights. Nothing special.” In April, the group is expected to hold its 200th weekly vigil. And group members know there are critics who see them as an annoyance who wish they would just go away. It only strengthens their resolve.

VaNews February 28, 2024

New details emerge in 2021 death of VCU pledge

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

At 2 a.m., fraternity students at Virginia Commonwealth University began discussing on their phones which pledge was the drunkest. The conversation turned to Adam Oakes, who was left lying on the dining room floor. “Adam is dead on my floor” right now, one member of the Delta Chi fraternity wrote on a night in February 2021, seeming to suggest Oakes was in a deep sleep. Seven hours later, the students found Oakes, 19, dead.

VaNews February 28, 2024

UVa students vote on referendum calling on school to divest from Israel

By EMILY HEMPHILL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Students at the University of Virginia are voting now on a referendum demanding the school divest any and all monies in its $13.6 billion endowment invested in “companies engaging in or profiting from the State of Israel’s apartheid regime and acute violence against Palestinians.” Israel has been at war with Palestinian terror group Hamas since Oct. 7 of last year ...

VaNews February 28, 2024

Bill to protect elephants passes Senate

By ANDREA PADILLA, University of Richmond Capital News Service

While it is too late to help Asha the elephant, the Senate passed a bill on Feb. 26 that would make cruelty against elephants a civil penalty and would ban unethical training. Del. Kathy Tran, D- Greensville, said she was motivated to sponsor her bill, HB 1531, after a whistleblower from the Natural Bridge Zoo handed over a document that outlined the unethical treatment of their animals, especially their elephant Asha, which triggered an investigation by Virginia State Police that ended with the seizure of 89 living animals and 27 deceased animals, according to the Roanoke Times.

VaNews February 28, 2024

Latest effort to take politics out of Virginia elections department dies in state Senate

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Virginia Mercury

Virginia lawmakers took an extra week to think about whether there was a way to depoliticize the process of hiring the state’s top election official, who is currently appointed by the governor. But that didn’t change the outcome as a Democratic-led Senate committee voted 8-7 Tuesday to delay consideration of the proposal until 2025, a gentler way of blocking the bill.

VaNews February 28, 2024

Loudoun weighs huge capital fee hike for residential developers to offset impact

By DAN BRENDEL, Washington Business Journal (Subscription required for some articles)

Loudoun County lawmakers are considering broadly increasing a de facto fee the county imposes on residential developers, meant to offset increased public facilities costs, especially for schools, that new development drives. Some in the development community worry that increasing development costs could stifle new projects and exacerbate already high housing costs by passing the difference along to consumers.

VaNews February 28, 2024

York County residents express concerns over new school board leadership

By NOUR HABIB, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

A recent school board shake-up in York County has sent the division into disarray. Dozens of parents and teachers showed up at Monday’s board meeting — only the second regular meeting since three new members were elected and sworn in — to express frustration that politics and power struggles are taking attention away from school problems such as transportation woes and a potential exodus of teachers.

VaNews February 28, 2024

Richmond unveils master plan for Shockoe slavery commemorative site

By JONATHAN SPIERS, Richmond BizSense

Richmond’s decades-long effort to commemorate its history as the nation’s second-largest slave market reached a milestone Tuesday with the unveiling of a new master plan for the 10-acre project in Shockoe Bottom. City leaders and project stakeholders held an event at Main Street Station to present the plan for what’s now called The Shockoe Project, a relaunching of sorts of what was previously referred to as the Enslaved African Heritage Campus, and later, the Shockoe Bottom Heritage Campus.

VaNews February 28, 2024

Richmond unveils 10-acre Shockoe Project

By EM HOLTER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Richmond is dedicating 10 acres in the city’s historic Shockoe Bottom to preserve and develop a destination to acknowledge and teach about the city's sordid history with slavery. The announcement came Tuesday at Main Street Station when several key local and state officials, along with historians and community activists, met to unveil the Shockoe Project plans.

VaNews February 28, 2024