Major flooding in Roanoke, a strained state unemployment system, messages of hope from a NoVa hotel, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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

• After more than three days of constant rain, the Roanoke River was expected to swell to more than 16 feet early this morning, a level classified as a major flood. A pair of Roanoke neighborhoods and a motel have been evacuated and multiple people rescued from cars trapped in floodwaters.—The Roanoke Times

• Virginia’s unemployment filing system, created in 1985, “has strained under the demand for assistance unleashed by the pandemic.” In February, before the pandemic began, the agency “had about half the number of workers it did during the Great Recession.”—The Associated Press 

• Richmond restaurants want more leadership from the city government. “We can’t plan. Do we need plexiglass dividers in our restaurants? What are our requirements?” one owner asked.—Richmond Times-Dispatch 

• Beach openings in Virginia Beach come with new rules.—The Virginian-Pilot

• The director for the health district serving Culpeper was described as “AWOL” by the town’s police chief. Cases in the county have more than doubled in the last two weeks, from 201 to 452, with more than 70 percent among the Hispanic population.—FOX5 DC 

• Republicans vying to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger say they favor ranked-choice voting in their primary.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Updated models from UVA project a statewide peak in July of between 101,000 and 145,000 weekly cases, depending on how much social distancing is occurring, although researchers “said the most dire predictions will almost certainly be avoided as people and governments change behavior to cope with new cases.”—VPM

•  Manassas and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce have joined Prince William County in asking the governor to open up local restaurants for outdoor dining.—Inside NoVa

• A Rockbridge County man filed a lawsuit claiming Roanoke police have improperly banned him and others from a local Walmart.—Roanoke Times

• Gov. Ralph Northam vetoed three bills intended to expand health insurance that had been sponsored by fellow Democrats and passed both chambers with broad bipartisan support. He says they could undermine the Affordable Care Act.—Washington Post

• The Charlottesville area’s health director said someone made an anonymous donation to boost its testing efforts.—Daily Progress

• The governor officially signed a bill to decriminalize marijuana in Virginia.—WSLS

• A hotel in Northern Virginia has been using empty rooms to display uplifting messages next a freeway. The building engineer explains how it’s done. “It’s kind of like a Lite-Brite, if you ever had those.”—Washington Post

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