Tribe faces casino challenge; ‘Puppy pistol’ in halls of General Assembly; Virginia loggers hit a record and more headlines

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    Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

    • Gov. Ralph Northam’s first year in office saw a string of big victories: Medicaid expansion, Metro funding, Amazon, high state revenues and low unemployment. “A lot of it is timing,” he says, crediting the power shift in the House of Delegates for his biggest bi-partisan political wins. (The Washington Post)

    • The Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s plan to put a casino in Norfolk is facing a challenge from the Nansemond tribe, which says the planned location was part of their ancestral land, not the Pamunkey’s. “They have never had a presence in this area,” the Nansemond said. The Pamunkey’s heritage claim is critical to their goal of eventually winning a federal permit to put a casino there. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    • Gun-control advocates are handing out stuffed animals to lawmakers to remind them of “puppy pistol,” a prop Sacha Baron Cohen tricked Virginia’s top gun lobbyist, Philip Van Cleave, into wielding in what he thought was a gun training video for preschoolers. Van Cleave says the spoof hasn’t hurt his standing. “If you can’t destroy the message, destroy the messenger,” he said. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    • Virginia doesn’t have a representative sitting on Congress’ powerful House Appropriations Committee for the first time since 1915. (The Washington Post)

    • The chairman of the House of Delegates committee that sunk the Equal Rights Amendment last year says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll bring it up for a hearing this year. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    • Lawmakers pushing for funding to improve Interstate 81 remain split on whether to back a tolling proposal endorsed by the governor or an increase to the gas tax. (The Roanoke Times)

    • After initially raising concerns, the Lynchburg Museum will proceed with a plan to display a historic Confederate flag. The museum says the exhibit will “offer visitors an inclusive, multi-perspective treatment of this very evocative object.” (The News & Advance)

    • The General Assembly’s only Democratic Socialist member is making a long-shot push to repeal the state’s right-to-work laws (WCVE)

    • UVA declined an alumnus’  push to play “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” often known as the “black national anthem,” at sporting events. (The Daily Progress)

    • Virginia loggers cut down a record number of trees last year. (Associated Press)

    • A family with a furloughed federal worker won $100,000 and an SUV in a lottery drawing. (Associated Press)

    • For less lucky families, Fairfax County Public Schools has a proposition for furloughed government workers: Come be a substitute teacher. (The Washington Post)

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    Ned Oliver
    Ned, a Lexington native, has a decade’s worth of experience in journalism, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He also has the awards to show for it, including taking a pair of first-place honors at the Virginia Press Association awards earlier this year for investigative reporting and feature writing. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass.