Virginia senator walks back threat to withhold Metro funding, Jill Biden visits VCU cancer center, swimming while handcuffed, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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

• State Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, backed off a threat to withhold millions in Virginia funding for Metro if WMATA didn’t agree to put Capital One’s name on a station. “Obviously I was not seriously going to cut [Metro funding] by millions,” Howell told the paper.—Washington Post

• During a visit to VCU’s Massey Cancer Center Wednesday, first lady Jill Biden spotlighted efforts to reduce health disparities. ”I think that the communities of color, they trust you, and now, I think it’s important that they learn to trust the federal government again,” she said.—Associated Press

• A retirement community in Henrico that was among the first in the county to report a COVID-19 case celebrated full vaccinations of its residents with mimosas and chocolates.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A look at the life of Barbara Johns, whose advocacy for better school conditions in Prince Edward County morphed into the pivotal Brown v. Board of Education case and whose statue will now appear in the U.S. Capitol instead of one of Robert E. Lee.—VPM

• A measure heading to the governor would force Virginia Beach, Virginia’s largest city, to change how it holds elections for its governing body and school board amid concerns about representation of Black residents.—Virginian-Pilot

• High school football in February? “It’s just a strange feeling,” one coach said.—News & Advance

• “A Houston-based casino developer and an Alabama Indian tribe are the latest developers to jump into the widening sweepstakes to develop a casino resort in Richmond.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The legislature voted to restrict the use of facial-recognition by Virginia police departments.—Virginian-Pilot

• Virginia’s governor’s race is getting crowded, more so than “any other in modern history, perhaps ever.”—Washington Post

• Researchers at VCU are exploring smell and taste loss among COVID-19 patients.—Virginian-Pilot

• Pending certification, a sailor at Dahlgren Naval base is laying claim to having broken a Guinness World Record for swimming 5.35 miles in a YMCA pool in King George while handcuffed.—Free Lance-Star

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Robert Zullo
Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]