State spending is growing faster than revenue; Franklin County school board weighing ban of Confederate flags in dress code and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

NEWS TO KNOW
Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “The expansion of Western State Hospital in Staunton will be delayed by nine months and inflate costs by about $1 million because an architect working with a state agency based drawings for the $22.3 million project on an outdated building code.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne warned state lawmakers that state spending is growing faster than revenues. – WVTF

• “Tackling Hampton Roads’ chronic traffic jams with an HOT lane — high occupancy toll — network will mean roughly $800 million worth of roadwork, the Virginia Department of Transportation estimates in new figures released this week.” – The Virginian-Pilot

• The only African American member of the Franklin County School Board asked her colleagues to ban Confederate flags under the dress code. While several school districts have taken similar steps, other members of the board — all white — worried prohibiting students from wearing the flag would infringe on free speech and invite a lawsuit. – The Roanoke Times

• Bedford County Public Schools settled a federal civil rights complaint that stemmed from a “Country vs. Country Club” school spirit day, in which several students were photographed displaying Confederate battle flags. – The News & Advance

• “A Hanover County judge tossed a marijuana case after the state lab told him it can’t tell the difference between real pot and CBD products Virginians can legally buy at gas stations.” – NBC12

• A raffle organized to raise cash for Del. Matt Fariss, R-Campbell, is drawing scrutiny. State code says candidates may not use raffles as a fundraising tool “under any circumstance.” – The Daily Progress

• State court officials pleaded with lawmakers for money to hire more deputy clerks in short-staffed offices around the state. “It’d be a shot in the arm for people who are frankly feeling forgotten.” – Daily Press

• An audit this week following a spike in cases of Legionnaires’ disease found Chesterfield County Public Schools wasn’t regularly performing maintenance or repairs on its cooling towers, where the bacteria was found. – Richmond Times-Dispatch 

• An oyster shell recycling program expanded to Central Virginia. All the mollusk detritus that’s collected is ground, reseeded with oyster larvae and dropped back into the bay and its rivers — a process that so far this year led to 20 million oysters being planted onto new reef projects. – The Daily Progress

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