Coal train derails in Great Dismal Swamp; Charlottesville police pledge non-participation in ICE raids; Cox knocks on doors in redrawn district and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• A train derailment sent thirty-six railroad carloads of finely-ground coal into the Great Dismal Swamp. “The coal itself is not a hazardous material, but when it does get in the water and there are heavy metals, it can leach out of the coal and into the water.” – The Virginian-Pilot

• Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration might have expected a rough reception to his gun control proposals in deep-red Southwest Virginia, but it was caught off guard during a forum in Hampton when a resident implored his administration to address inequality in communities of color. “No legislation right here, right now, is being proposed that’s going to address the trauma.” – The Washington Post

• A DEA bust in the parking lot of a Virginia Beach Walmart ended with a shot fired and multiple vehicle crashes. “It should be noted that enforcement operations of this nature are routinely conducted and shooting incidents are extremely rare,” said a special agent involved. – The Virginian-Pilot

• A former UVA student sued the school, alleging administrators violated his rights when they withheld his degree as they investigate a sexual assault claim against him. – The Daily Progress

• The DEQ fined a medical waste facility in Roanoke where inspectors observed employees without protective gearing walking through standing water and waste on the floor. – The Roanoke Times

• Charlottesville police issued a press release saying they are not aware of any ICE raids planned in the city and won’t participate should they occur. – The Daily Progress

• House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, has begun canvassing in his redrawn and significantly more Democrat-friendly district. “On paper he’s a dead man walking, but I’m not willing to call him that, because I think he has a place in that district that goes beyond what’s on paper,” said one political scientist. – Chesterfield Observer

• Chesterfield County is considering millions in tax breaks for a hotel developer who wants to build an upscale conference center. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A red panda cub was born at the Smithsonian’s Front Royal campus. The institute breeds the animals to create “an insurance population in case of their extinction.” – WTOP