At the candidates’ debates; ‘Reckless’ pipeline construction; Free speech for Richmond teachers; Foamhenge and other headlines

    Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

    • U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, R-7th District, and Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger faced off in their first and likely only debate. Brat repeatedly tried to tie Spanberger to Nancy Pelosi. Spanberger, who said she wouldn’t support Pelosi for House speaker, stressed her federal law enforcement background. The candidates barely mentioned Trump. – The Washington Post
    • In a 9th Congressional District debate,  Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith touted his A+ rating from the NRA and support of coal mining. Democratic challenger Anthony Flaccavento said Southwest Virginia should be represented by a working person, not a career politician. – The Roanoke Times
    • Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents say the pace of construction has grown increasingly reckless, accusing the developer of rushing work in sensitive areas to beat a looming stop-work order. – The Roanoke Times
    • Expect Gov. Ralph Northam to put forward legislation to allow the state to collect sales tax from online shops, said State Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne at a House budget committee meeting. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • A Bristol City Council member resigned hours before a hearing called to remove him from office, saying he didn’t think the proceeding would be fair. His colleagues on the council have accused him of essentially trying to sell his seat. – Bristol Herald Courier
    • Martinsville City Council members agreed to conduct one more financial forecast before they decide whether to give up their charter and revert to town status. – The Martinsville Bulletin
    • After initially resisting, Charlottesville’s police department once again began providing stop-and-frisk data at a City Council meeting Monday night. – The Daily Progress
    • Richmond school officials formally passed a resolution supporting the free speech of their teachers, who have said they are often scared to speak out about the district’s myriad problems. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • Staunton-area school districts called police to respond to “children in crisis” 157 times, seeking 35 emergency custody orders in the past five years. – The News Leader
    • Roanoke City officials are continuing to push for a needle exchange program opposed by the city’s police chief, arguing it should be part of a “comprehensive harm reduction” approach to the opioid crisis. – The Roanoke Times
    • A Hopewell judge has scheduled a hearing for Monday on the removal of two electoral board members who backed putting certain candidates’ names on the ballot in all caps. – The Progress-Index
    • A commercial bakery that makes grocery-store sheet cakes and cookies expanded its Franklin County production facility, adding 75 new jobs. – The Roanoke Times
    • A life-size foam replica of Stonehenge (Foamhenge) removed from Natural Bridge when the attraction became a state park has been freshened up and reinstalled at a farm in Fairfax County. – WAMU
    Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered daily!