‘Cotton situation’ was overblown, some say; Bill sets standards for mental care in jails; Rural counties struggle to retain deputies and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The whole Pam Northam cotton thing might have been overblown, several participants in the disputed mansion tour say. The mother of the child who first raised concerns in a letter to the first lady said she stood by her daughter’s “perception of what occurred in the moment.” – The Washington Post

•  Business leaders say the scandals surrounding Virginia’s top three elected officials are unlikely to have any lasting impact on the state’s economic opportunities. “People have short memories.” – The Washington Post

• Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature would set the first standards for how people with mental illness are treated in jail. – The Virginian-Pilot

•  Officials in Lynchburg are increasingly eyeing contaminated brownfield sites for redevelopment. “A lot of the times you’ll find out it is not as bad as what everyone thought it was.” – The News & Advance

• Kindergarteners at an Arlington elementary school were visited by an advocate for transgender rights on a national day of reading. “No one’s ever too young to learn to be nice.” – The Washington Post

• Del. Lamont Bagby, leader of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, emerged as a key voice during the legislative session. “We all didn’t agree on everything,” Bagby said of his 21-member caucus. “But we realized we were stronger together. And there was no way that any of us were going to make it out of this crisis without locking arms and being together.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• About a dozen people picketed outside City Hall in Roanoke to protest remarks made by the police chief that they said placed the blame on rape victims for their attacks. – The Roanoke Times

• An activist in Richmond filed a federal complaint contending that a reorganization of the city’s bus system last year resulted in reduced access for low income and black residents. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Albemarle County Public Schools adopted its first anti-racism policy, which mandates staff training and requires regular reporting on disparities in discipline. The district has also banned hate symbols – The Daily Progress

• Rural counties are still struggling with high turnover in law enforcement jobs, a problem local sheriffs say they won’t be able to address without substantially boosting pay. – The News & Advance

• Officials in the Danville area are working to recruit more black EMTs. – Danville Register & Bee

• A black civil rights activist says he tricked the leader of a neo-Nazi group into letting him take over the organization. His first move: ask a Virginia judge to find the group culpable of conspiring to commit violence in Charlottesville. – The Washington Post

• The Virginia Zoo acquired two sloths, Honey and Mervin. They live next to the titi monkeys. – The Virginian-Pilot

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