Northam orders VMI investigation, Eastern Shore migrant workers locked down for COVID-19, RIP Northern Neck Ginger Ale, and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Gov. Ralph Northam, a VMI graduate, called for an investigation into his alma mater after a Washington Post story documented racism and hostility directed toward Black cadets.—Washington Post

• Migrant workers in the Eastern Shore’s tomato fields have been ordered to stay in lockdown at the farms to avoid spreading COVID-19. It’s worked, but the laborers say it feels like a prison.—New York Times

• Officials say they’ve determined a natural gas leak caused the explosion in Harrisonburg over the weekend.—Daily News-Record

• After a day of arguments, a Richmond judge said he’ll issue a ruling within seven to 10 days on the fate of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• William & Mary is reinstating three women’s sports after being threatened with a Title IX lawsuit.—Daily Press

• A federal judge ruled a lawsuit can proceed against a Pulaski County drug investigator who indicted the wrong person due to a name mix-up. The investigator tried to have the case dismissed under qualified immunity, arguing it was a reasonable mistake.—Roanoke Times

• About one in five Richmond Public Schools students is chronically absent this year, a trend officials attributed to virtual learning and a rise in daytime crime.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Southwest Virginia man lost a FOIA lawsuit against the town of Pound that claimed officials were failing to give proper notice of public meetings. The town attorney argued that because Pound’s website doesn’t have a .gov domain, it’s not a government website.—TimesNews

• Conservationists and some Virginia Beach officials want the state to ban balloon releases to reduce litter in coastal areas. “They don’t realize that the balloons end up in our neck of the woods.”—Virginian-Pilot

• One of Danville’s oldest former tobacco warehouses was demolished last week, upsetting local preservationists who wanted to save it.—Register & Bee

• Political signs are being vandalized all over, but it seems to be particularly bad in Arlington.—ARLNow

• A La Niña pattern in the Pacific might mean a warmer and less snowier winter in Virginia.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

•  Northern Neck Ginger Ale, recently nominated to be Virginia’s official soft drink, is being discontinued by Coca-Cola, but petitions have popped up to save it. “Many people depend on this beverage after a long day or just to wash down a meal,” wrote one fan.—Virginian-Pilot

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