Herring explains his call for Northam to resign; effectively de-criminalizing marijuana in Norfolk; watch a peregrine falcon anytime, anywhere and other headlines

Virginia Mercury

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Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• In his first interview since admitting he wore blackface, Attorney General Mark Herring denied that he only made the admission because he was facing questions about the incident from the Associated Press. As for his calls for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign for doing the same thing, he said it came down to Northam’s inconsistent statements. – The Washington Post

• The commonwealth’s attorney in Norfolk says he’s going to ask the state Supreme Court to force local judges to heed his requests to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana cases, which would effectively de-criminalize the drug in Norfolk. The judges have resisted since he announced he would no longer prosecute the cases two months ago, saying he was overstepping his authority. – The Virginian-Pilot

• One of the largest regional jails in the state is in financial trouble, which they attribute in part to a shrinking inmate population. “Our rehabilitative measures are having an effect,” Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard said. “We’re seeing less repeat offenders and our overall numbers are going down.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A plan to relocate a bilingual school that serves low-income immigrant families in Arlington is drawing charges of “ethnic gerrymandering.” – The Washington Post

• Four men have been convicted in the group beating of a 20-year-old black man in a Charlottesville parking garage. But authorities have been unable to identify two remaining assailants, despite having clear images of their faces. “How are they not out and about, and nobody’s seen them?” – The Washington Post

• A jury recommended a 30 year sentence for a security guard who fatally shot a man in Chesapeake playing Pokemon Go. – The Virginian-Pilot

• The Alleghany Board of Supervisors asked one of its appointed school board members to resign after he accused district employees of stealing money and lying about finances. – The Roanoke Times

• Experts say legislation the General Assembly passed to crack down on robocalls is unlikely to have any impact on the scourge. – WCVE

• It’s easier than ever to farm oysters in public waters, leading to growing tensions between coastal residents and aquaculture. “I don’t want these cages piled up in front of our beaches,” said one county leader. – The Washington Post 

• Pharrell Williams released the lineup for his music festival next month in Virginia Beach. – The Virginian-Pilot

• Gov. Ralph Northam flew a drone at a public safety conference outside Charlottesville. – The Daily Progress

• Rental e-scooters are coming to Roanoke, and the city’s planning director is excited. “They may indeed revolutionize transportation as we know it.” – The Roanoke Times

• The state set up a livestream of a peregrine falcon on top of a downtown Richmond office tower. – Associated Press

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.