Northam proposes refinancing for strapped colleges, Roanoke-area COVID cases rise with social distancing lapses, it’s fall, y’all, and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere

• Nearly 70,000 Virginians have already cast ballots under new early voting provisions, according to the Department of Elections.—WVTF

• President Donald Trump scheduled a rally at the Newport News airport Friday, but his aides say the target audience is less Virginia and more North Carolina, a quirk of cross-state media markets and airport logistics.—Politico

• “Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday killed legislation that called for eliminating mandatory jail time for assaulting a police officer, a bill that drew heated opposition from Republicans who said it would send the wrong message at a time when law enforcement has come under attack during nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.”—Associated Press

• House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, wrote a stern letter to House Republicans chastising the caucus for not disclosing a delegate tested positive a week after the chamber met in person for its first and only in-person floor session. GOP leaders are still not responding to press inquiries about the incident.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• State colleges deep in debt and struggling to stay open during the pandemic? Gov. Ralph Northam is offering a one-time, special loan refinancing plan to take advantage of low, low interest rates he says will save them $300 million in just two years.—Washington Post

• Norfolk’s plan to redevelop downtown public housing communities is drawing national attention, with Businessweek reporting the city “is using federal tax breaks to plow under its historically Black neighborhoods.”—Bloomberg Businessweek

• Health officials in the Roanoke area said most of their new COVID-19 cases “can be traced to weddings, funerals, baby showers, parties and co-workers dropping their guard.” They urged residents to continue to avoid close contact and large crowds.—Roanoke Times

• A student in Tazewell County tested positive for COVID-19 a day after the local school system confirmed that a teacher observer had contracted the virus, prompting the local health department to order those potentially exposed into quarantine.—Bluefield Daily Telegraph

• JMU students say they’re not optimistic about the school’s plans to resume in-person classes after an outbreak led administrators to order students back home. UVA announced new restrictions banning gatherings of more than five people.—Daily News-RecordCavalier Daily

• A neighborhood dispute in Fairfax that began over dog poop, loud music and garbage cans ended with a 52-year-old NASA executive and ex-police officer shooting and killing a 24-year-old.—Washington Post

• Complaints that some medical providers aren’t following the state’s mask mandate prompted the state health commissioner to send out a reminder that masks aren’t just for patients. “Not only should DHP licensees be following the mandates and best practices for safety, but they should be the role models for such practices.”—Virginian-Pilot

• It’s fall and it feels like it.—Roanoke Times

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