Black cadets allege ‘atmosphere of hostility’ at VMI, COVID-19 cases on the rise around state, Richmond Lee statue trial begins, and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Black cadets at VMI say they’ve had to endure an “atmosphere of hostility and cultural insensitivity” at the state-funded school, including a professor reminiscing about her dad’s KKK ties and students being punished for boycotting an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence.—Washington Post

• Three people were hospitalized Saturday after an explosion at a Harrisonburg strip mall that was felt miles away. Officials are investigating the cause, but a barber shop employee said he smelled gas before the blast.—Daily News-Record

• COVID-19 cases are rising in many parts of the state, with UVA researchers predicting a possible peak the week before Thanksgiving.—Virginian-Pilot

• Martinsville’s mayor said it’s “Halloween as usual” in her city, despite the CDC’s guidance that traditional trick-or-treating could spread the virus.—Martinsville Bulletin

• A trial begins today in the lawsuit over Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to remove the towering Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.—Associated Press

• Democratic congressional candidates outraised their Republican challengers in Virginia’s most competitive districts.—Washington Post

• Officials in Prince William County say they’ve had “a handful” of incidents of people trying to vote twice, but they’re not sure if it’s accidental or people trying to “test the system.”—Prince William Times

• The head of the Portsmouth Electoral Board was recorded asking a mayoral candidate to drop out to help another candidate win. Other members say it’s an ethical breach, but it doesn’t appear to violate any law.—Virginian-Pilot

• A dive team wants to retrieve the Titanic’s radio equipment. But the U.S. government wants a federal appeals court in Richmond to block the expedition, saying it could disturb human remains inside the ship.—Associated Press

• Businesses around Smith Mountain Lake are seeing a COVID-19 boom.—News & Advance

• A 21-year-old Danville woman is facing charges over a viral TikTok video that shows her feeding watermelon and chocolate to a black bear in Tennessee.—WVLT

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