All the ways voters spelled Del. Nick Freitas’ name; UVA considers tuition hike; Virginia’s shrimp industry is growing and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Outgoing House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, told his colleagues he won’t seek a leadership position within his caucus. “I have fought the fight, I have run the race. But now it is time for a new caucus leader who can guide us through our time as a minority party and begin to build again toward the majority.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Voters in Washington County decided they’d rather not move their courthouse into a vacant Kmart, rejecting a proposal to abandon a historic downtown building.—Bristol Herald Courier

• “The Democratic takeover of county governments in Northern Virginia’s large outer suburbs will pour new money into housing, transit and schools, bring new efforts to fight climate change and offer a friendlier face to immigrants.”—The Washington Post

• Election workers in Culpeper County are learning all the different ways a voter might spell Republican Del. Nick Freitas’ last name. Among the variations his apparently successful write-in campaign yielded: Frietas, Fruttis, Freits and Feitas. Elections officials say, “If they get close, we’ll count it.”—Culpeper Star-Exponent

• Democrats’ wins in the House and Senate are likely going to give senior members of the party from Northern Virginia outsized influence in budget decisions. “Northern Virginia is now going to be controlling the money committees, no doubt about it,” Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne said on Wednesday. “It’s a new day.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, is the only House Democrat so far to publicly express interest in serving as the party’s majority leader.—The Roanoke Times

• “As a bus strike in Northern Virginia stretches into its third week, union members rallied outside Metro headquarters Wednesday. They called on the agency to stop privatizing services and to intervene in contract negotiations between the union and WMATA contractor Transdev.”—WAMU

• UVA is considering hiking tuition between 3 and 4 percent, making clear the fleeting nature of the victory lawmakers claimed earlier this year when they reached a deal to halt such increases for a year.—The Daily Progress

• Virginia Beach found 27 of 33 schools water sources contained high levels of lead, but say everything’s fixed now and it’s no big deal. “You’d have to consume an awful lot of water for a long time for it to be a problem.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• The state’s fledgling shrimp fishery has grown to four fishermen in Virginia Beach and two on the Eastern Shore.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Virginia’s ham industry goes back to the 1600s and, despite some struggles, is still thriving today. “I think the most amazing thing about the tradition of Virginia ham is the customers that come with it,” said one dealer.—NPR

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