Northam suspends prison strip searches of minors; Farmers expect a “manageable” Christmas tree shortage and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Republican activists gathered at the Homestead in Bath County for their annual pre-session gathering, the Republican Advance. “We’re at rock bottom,” said Matt Colt Hall, a Southwest Virginia native and political commentator for the conservative blog Bearing Drift. “We can only go up from there.”—The Washington Post

• At a court hearing in Northern Virginia, lawyers for CBS News told a judge that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s real goal in filing a libel lawsuit against the network “is to give him a forum to attack his accusers.” The judge said he’ll decide whether to allow the case to proceed “shortly.”—Associated Press

• Since the mass shooting in a municipal building in May, 450 city employees in Virginia Beach have filed workers’ compensation claims, mostly citing psychological reasons.—The Virginian-Pilot

• After prison guards strip-searched an 8-year-old visiting her father, Gov. Ralph Northam suspended a portion of a Department of Corrections policy that allowed such searches of minors. “I am deeply disturbed by these reports,” he said.—The Virginian-Pilot

• U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s townhall in Spotsylvania turned heated as residents questioned her on gun control, Second Amendment sanctuary cities and impeachment.—Culpeper Star-Exponent

• Bus service in Fairfax County is expected to resume normal operations as drivers end a strike and negotiations with a private transit company resume.—The Washington Post

• “Debra Rodman spent a total of $3,124,000 on her unsuccessful bid to unseat state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, who spent some $2,672,000 on her campaign.”—Daily Press

• Caroline Kennedy visited Newport News to christen a second aircraft carrier named from her father. She was nine during her first visit.—The Virginian-Pilot

• “The doctors and nurses of the institution now known as the Central Virginia Training Center had a philanthropic goal: to care for those who had no place else to go. But as more patients were admitted in the 1920s to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and the Feebleminded, the institution found itself at the center of the now-discredited eugenics movement, defined as the science of improving the human race by controlling who can have children.”—The News & Advance

• “Rumors of War, a statue mirroring and challenging Confederate monuments, will be installed Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.”—WVTF

• A slowdown in Christmas tree planting during the 2008 recession is catching up with farmers this year, but they say the shortage should be manageable. “I tell them it’s not serious enough for panic,” said one grower who has been fielding anxious calls.—The Roanoke Times

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