Delegate backs off immediate impeachment; Women willing to testify against Fairfax; Voters split on Northam; SNL mocks Virginia and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW
Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

 

• Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, who initially said he would initiate impeachment proceedings against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax today, is backing off after getting “an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback” from colleagues. – Associated Press

• The two women accusing Fairfax have both said they’re willing to testify before Virginia lawmakers. – The Virginian-Pilot

• Fairfax is calling for an FBI investigation into the two allegations against him, though it’s unclear how or why the agency would become involved. – The Washington Post

• Voters are split as to whether Gov. Ralph Northam should resign. A Washington Post poll conducted Wednesday through Friday found 47 percent want him to step down and 47 percent think he should stay on. Black voters were more likely to back Northam, with 58 percent saying he should remain in office. – The Washington Post

• Northam’s first televised interview drew backlash when he referred to the first Africans to arrive in Virginia as “indentured servants.” CBS interviewer Gayle King interjected: “Also known as slavery.” The status of those men and women remains a point of historical debate, but Northam’s phrasing did not go over well, with one member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus expressing disgust in a tweet. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Eastern Virginia Medical School struggled with diversity, but former students say despite racist yearbook imagery, it was a progressive and welcoming environment. – The Virginian-Pilot

• Saturday Night Live mocked the apparent cluelessness of Virginia’s political leaders in sketch. – Huffington Post

• The Department of Environmental Quality still hasn’t scheduled a hearing to reconsider water quality permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline after a surprise vote in December by the state’s Water Control Board, prompting criticism from environmental groups. – The Roanoke Times

• Experimental drones have been flying in Montgomery County under special FAA rules for six months now. – The Roanoke Times

• The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is struggling to attract new routes, in part because 66 percent of potential passengers in its service area opt to use other airports, namely in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and the Washington, D.C., area. – The Roanoke Times

• The Hampton Roads Chamber continues its effort to rebrand the region, saying the current name is neither embraced by residents nor well recognized outside the area. “People always ask me, ‘Where is Hampton Roads?’” –Virginia Business

• Kings Dominion says it’s removing Volcano: The Blast Coaster, citing maintenance and reliability issues. The park has not said what, if anything, will replace it. — NBC12

• One of the oldest and most sought-after country ham producers in the state is locked in a legal battle with its insurance company following a Jan. 2016 fire. If the company loses, its owners say they may have to sell the brand. – Daily Press

Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered to your inbox daily in News to Know, our free newsletter.