Virginia death rate rise in 2020 due to more than COVID, a violent night in Virginia Beach, a new Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Death rates in Virginia went up last year, and not just because of COVID-19 infections. Researchers attribute the increase to loneliness, isolation and possibly less robust medical care. Among younger people, deaths rose because of drug overdoses, gun violence and auto collisions.—Roanoke Times

• Two people were killed and eight were injured by gunfire on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. Police say they believe one of those killed was a bystander hit by a stray bullet. The second was killed by a police officer. Officials initially described the person officers shot as armed, but later said they had no evidence to back that up and that the officer who shot the man had not turned on his body camera. “Unfortunately for us, we don’t have a whole lot of answers,” the police chief said.—Virginian-Pilot

• Seven GOP candidates for governor will appear on the ballot at the party’s May 8 convention.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Members of Virginia’s General Assembly announced the formation of an Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, promising to work to pass laws and highlight the interests of a community that has faced increasing incidents of hate and discrimination.”—Washington Post

• A decision by leaders in Blacksburg to maintain stricter COVID-19 restrictions than the rest of the state is drawing mixed reactions.—Roanoke Times

• A Franklin County wedding venue lost its lawsuit seeking to force Gov. Ralph Northam to expand the number of people allowed to attend ceremonies.—Virginia Business

• Roanoke County Public Schools says it changed its mind about the candidate it selected to serve as supervisor of performing arts after parents began criticizing writings on the man’s social media posts and website, which call for Christian teaching in schools and expressed disapproval of transgender people.—Roanoke Times

• Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to edge down, dropping to 5.2 percent last month.—Virginia Business

• “Judge Adrianne Bennett, as chairwoman of the Virginia Parole Board, unilaterally released more than 100 parolees from Virginia Department of Corrections supervision in violation of long-standing rules, according to records.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Nike will manufacture a Virginia-Beach themed shoe after the design went viral. It features waves, a trident and, on the insole, the words “Welcome to Virginia Beach” and one of the oceanfront’s infamous no-cursing signs.—Virginian-Pilot

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