Trump rally in Newport News a ‘concerning public health risk,’ Biden leads Trump by 5 points in Va., bye bye to birds in Byrd Park, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Virginia health officials warn President Trump’s plans for a rally in Newport News tonight would violate the ban on large public gatherings set by Gov. Ralph Northam and pose “a concerning public health risk.” Trump has routinely flouted COVID-19 guidelines, arguing that if mass protests have been allowed, then his supporters should also be allowed to gather.—Associated Press

• Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 5 points among likely voters in Virginia, according to new polling by Christopher Newport University. The margin matches Hillary Clinton’s victory over Trump in 2016 but is narrower than early polls that gave Biden a double-digit advantage.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “A second member of Scott Taylor’s 2018 campaign staff pleaded guilty Thursday to her role in a petition scandal that might have cost the former congressman re-election that year.”—Virginian-Pilot

• Some voters in Fairfax say they received two absentee ballots to fill out rather than just one. Elections officials blamed a clerical error and said voters should complete one and destroy the other.—NBC4

• Parents and teachers in Roanoke County say a hybrid school reopening plan isn’t working. Many said they wanted to return to classrooms five days a week. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss my own kids. I worry about the kids in my classrooms sometimes more than my own.”—Roanoke Times

• Virginia Beach is readying classrooms for a return to in-person classes for the first time since spring. “Kindergartners, who will be required to wear masks, will be separated by plexiglass barriers attached to their tables. Their seats will also be spaced 3 feet apart and they won’t be allowed to share pens, pencils and other supplies.”—Virginian-Pilot

• Jill Biden made campaign stops in Richmond and Hampton Roads.—Daily Press, NBC12

• Two more prisoners at Deerfield Correctional Center died of COVID-19, bringing the death toll at the facility for geriatric and medically vulnerable men to 12.—WRIC

• Citizens campaigning against a casino in Norfolk say not even they know who is funding a PR firm boosting their efforts.—Virginian-Pilot

• “A spot on the James River thought to be the lost capital of the Monacan Indians — but where local counties plan to build a water-pumping station — is one of the most endangered historic sites in the country, according to a list released Thursday by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.”—Washington Post

• The city of Richmond is sending a flock of 100 geese at a city park to a sanctuary in North Carolina. Officials say they’re concerned a steady diet of white bread tossed by park goers is causing a wing deformity in the birds. “The geese are going to be allowed to live this healthier lifestyle.”—NBC12

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