COVID-19 test kit shortages, a coal ash settlement, Richmond’s $1M-plus bill for failed Navy Hill project, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

Coronavirus news: 

• A Chesterfield County man has tested positive for the virus, the first known case in the county. — Chesterfield Observer 

• Dr. Michael McDermott, president and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare and chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s COVID-19 committee, called the national shortage of virus testing kits a “national disgrace.”—The Free Lance-Star 

• “A growing number of grocery chains are reducing their hours while other retailers — notably Apple — are temporarily closing stores as part of efforts to fight the global viral pandemic.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The virus changed some behavior at Danville-area church services Sunday. “Members greeted each other with elbow bumps instead of handshakes. Associate pastor Angela Zimmerman also avoided shaking hands, saying that people can bow and curtsy to each other. ‘If I bow, you have to curtsy,'” she told a reporter.—Danville Register & Bee

• The battle against the 1918 flu pandemic in Roanoke offers some lessons for the present.—The Roanoke Times

• “Mary Washington Healthcare system confirms first virus case.”—The Free Lance-Star 

• Virginia nursing homes are restricting visitors in an effort to deny entry to the virus, which has proven deadly for the elderly and infirm.—Richmond Times-Dispatch 

Other headlines:

• “The new Democratic majorities in the state’s General Assembly enabled Northern Virginia to wrest more money and power from the rest of the commonwealth after years of being shortchanged and hobbled by downstate interests.”—The Washington Post

• Dominion agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle long-running allegations that it illegally discharged coal ash-contaminated water from its holding ponds at Possum Point Power Plant near Dumfries and allowed leakage from its containment ponds in Chesterfield.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Richmond spent more than $1 million on outside attorneys and consultants, and the city’s own lawyers logged hundreds of hours on a failed proposal to redevelop a big chunk of downtown around a new coliseum.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A hearing for the Albemarle County man charged with removing a plaque marking where enslaved people were bought and sold in Charlottesville has been delayed.—The Daily Progress

• A Utah man who mistakenly killed a Virginia elementary school teacher was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison.—The Virginian-Pilot

• Environmentalists racked up big wins in this year’s legislative session.—The Associated Press

• Chesterfield County will take nearly 200 inmates from Riverside Regional Jail because of susbtandard medical care.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Data from the upcoming census “is likely to be wildly distorted and ultimately unusable when it’s released,” per Virginia researchers.—The Virginian-Pilot

• A Richmond police officer’s rendition of gospel song has been viewed more than 1 million times.—CNN

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Robert Zullo
Robert has been winning and losing awards as a reporter and editor for 13 years at weekly and daily newspapers, beginning at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., where he was a staff writer and managing editor. He spent five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]