Judge denies injunction to overturn COVID-19 restrictions, Richmond prosecutor clears police in five protest-related complaints, local governments and solar, and more headlines

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

• A federal judge denied a preliminary injunction sought by a Loudoun County vineyard and wedding venue owner seeking to overturn Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 restrictions. The business was represented by state Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, at least the third lawmaker (but first Democrat) to represent a client challenging Northam’s emergency orders.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The Virginia Employment Commission spent $124,000 to hire outside lobbying and communications help as it faces a barrage of criticism for its handling of an unprecedented flood of unemployment claims. “Just as VEC has hired additional staff and used third-party vendors to assist with processing claims and fielding phone calls by claimants, we needed additional support in our communications efforts,” the agency said.—Associated Press

• “A grand jury indicted a white Fairfax County police officer Monday on three misdemeanor counts of assault and battery after he deployed a Taser and hit a black man without apparent provocation in June in an incident captured on video.”—The Washington Post

• Charlottesville City Council passed a resolution to prohibit the police department “from acquiring weapons from the military and taking military or ‘warrior’ training during its virtual meeting on Monday.”—The Daily Progress

• Richmond’s commonwealth’s attorney cleared city police officers of criminal wrongdoing in five complaints related to their response to recent civil unrest. Absent from the report she issued is a finding on an incident in which a large crowd was teargassed 20 minutes before curfew, indicating that incident is still under investigation.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Local governments are already flexing their authority under a new state law that allows counties to negotiate cash concessions in exchange for approving solar projects, which often draw strong opposition from neighbors. “It’s time for the county to realize some benefits,” said the acting administrator of Surry County, which will make $84,000 a year on its first deal under the rule.—Daily Press

• “Mountain Valley Pipeline has agreed to pay $8,000 of the $86,000 demanded by Virginia regulators for the latest environmental violations caused by building the hotly disputed natural gas pipeline.”—The Roanoke Times

• Two business partners in Hampton Roads are opening what will be the region’s first Black-owned brewery. They’re naming it 1865, a nod to the year the Civil War ended and nearby Fort Monroe’s role as a Union stronghold.—The Virginian-Pilot

• It hit 100 degrees in Roanoke for the first time in eight years as a heatwave blanketed Virginia in a warm, smothering embrace.—The Roanoke Times

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