Northam’s approval hovers at 59 percent; Making amends for graverobbing at VCU; Upgrades coming for I-81 and more headlines

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    Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

    ♦ Gov. Ralph Northam’s approval rating is hovering around 59 percent nearly a year into his first term, according to a poll by the Wason Center at CNU, which also found strong voter support for the Amazon deal, casinos and legal sports betting, an independent redistricting commission and the Equal Rights Amendment. (The Washington Post)

    ♦ A VCU panel says the remains of more than 50 corpses stolen by graverobbers and used to train medical students should be memorialized with markers on campus and interred in Richmond in a way that honors West African traditions. The group also recommended further genetic testing of the remains. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    ♦ When James Fields’ mom texted him to be careful at the Charlottesville rally, Fields replied, “We’re not the ones who need to be careful.” He then sent her a picture of Adolf Hitler. The evidence was shown to jurors by prosecutors, who have concluded their case. Fields’ lawyers are expected to present evidence through Thursday. (The Daily Progress)

    ♦ Richmond-area faith leaders told Attorney General Mike Herring during a round-table on hate crimes that they’ve had to increase spending on security and hire off-duty police officers. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    ♦ An investigation into outgoing Rep. Tom Garrett, R-5th District, found he violated House ethics rules, confirming reports that he asked his congressional staff to perform personal errands like shopping, caring for his dog and getting the oil in his car changed. (The Washington Post)

    ♦ The Commonwealth Transportation Board is set to vote today on a $2 billion package of upgrades to Interstate 81, which the General Assembly will be asked to fund using either new tolls or regional taxes. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    ♦ That giant Mega Millions jackpot in October gave The Virginia Lottery its highest month of sales since the agency was created 30 years ago, with Virginians spending $240.3 million. (Associated Press)

    ♦ Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, who says he is stepping down as minority leader next year but wants to remain in the House, is getting a primary challenger — UVA professor Sally Hudson. (The Daily Progress)

    ♦ Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, says he’ll put in legislation calling for a statewide referendum on funding to repair decrepit school buildings in cities and counties around Virginia. (The Roanoke Times)

    ♦ Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, explaining his support of the ERA, cited Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “I found that to be code language [for] ‘make America white again,’ [and] ‘make America all male [and] white again,” he said. (Prince William Times)

    ♦ A heavily armed Norfolk man was arrested in the lunch room of a high school in North Carolina. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    ♦ A panel in Arlington County is recommending that a high school removing the name of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee be renamed for Mildred and Richard Loving, the Virginia couple who successfully challenged a state law banning interracial marriage. (Associated Press)

    ♦ William & Mary has spent $20,000 updating its logo, which includes a “more aggressive griffin.” (The Virginia Gazette)

    ♦ Navy pilots stationed in Virginia Beach will conduct a “missing man” flyover at former president George H.W. Bush’s funeral. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    ♦ Social media posts about a hepatitis A outbreak in Winchester, Kentucky, were causing enough concern in Winchester, Virginia, that local health officials put out a formal notice that the area was safe. (The Winchester Star)

    ♦ “Swamp cancer” killed a second wild pony living on Chincoteague Island. Rain Dancer had not yet turned 1. “This baby just couldn’t kick it and developed some ligament and tendon issues related to this disease.” (The Daily Times)