New laws go into effect today; Rural seniors get fewer services than urban counterparts; Abingdon residents plan to fight against fast food restaurant approval and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Several new laws go into effect today, meaning that thousands can get their driver’s licenses back, only those over 21 can purchase tobacco products and schools can start before Labor Day, among other changes. — Associated PressThe Virginian-PilotRoanoke Times

• In the month since the shooting in Virginia Beach, the city is a changed place. “It makes you realize you’re vulnerable no matter where you are.” — The Virginian-Pilot

• Democrats are pushing for diversity in their campaign staff, including women, people of color or members of the LGBTQ community. — Washington Post

• Seniors in rural Virginia receive services less frequently than those living in urban areas, a report shows. — WVTF

• State election officials certified Hanover County Supervisor Scott Wyatt as the Republican nominee for the 97th House District. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A federal judge sanctioned Fairfax County Public Schools for losing or destroying documents relevant to a lawsuit accusing school officials of ignoring a student’s claim she was sexually assaulted. The school system said it plans to appeal the ruling. — Associated Press

• A report also found that racial disparities persist in test scores in Fairfax County schools, with black and Hispanic students lagging behind their white and Asian counterparts. It identified disparities in hiring, student discipline and access to advanced courses, as well. — Washington Post

• Culpeper County is considering plans for a solar project that its developer says will power 15,000 homes a year, but neighbors and owners of nearby historic homes aren’t sold on the idea.  — Culpeper Star-Exponent

• A triathlon participant’s body was recovered after he appeared to be in distress while swimming in the upper James River. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

• When students at an Alexandria school felt the health effects of mold in their classrooms, they took action, circulating a petition and meeting with their superintendent, city school leaders and Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria. — Washington Post

• A skirmish has ignited in Abingdon over a potential new restaurant, thanks to its ostentatious building design. The dispute has sparked musical parodies, rival social media groups and original t-shirts. — Bristol Herald Courier

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Katie O'Connor
Katie, a Manassas native, has covered health care, commercial real estate, law, agriculture and tourism for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond BizSense and the Northern Virginia Daily. Last year, she was named an Association of Health Care Journalists Regional Health Journalism Fellow, a program to aid journalists in making national health stories local and using data in their reporting. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she was executive editor of The Flat Hat, the college paper, and editor-in-chief of The Gallery, the college’s literary magazine.