VMFA commissions sculpture of African American man near Richmond’s Confederate monuments; Fairfax says he’s “very hopeful about the future;” wave clouds roll over Smith Mountain Lake and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts commissioned artist Kehinde Wiley’s first large-scale sculpture – a 30-foot-tall response to Confederate statues inspired by a visit to Richmond in 2016. “It shows a young African American man, sitting on a horse – it’s a very heroic image.” – WVTF

The chair of the Metro board, D.C. Councilman John Evans, said he’ll resign from the transit post following the release of a legal memo that details past ethical violations. Evans “solicited and accepted money” from people who were “actual or potential WMATA vendors, with business interests that intersected with WMATA interests, and could be served by certain actions or decisions of ­WMATA or its Board,” the memo said. – The Washington Post

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, accused by two women of sexual assault, says he’s “very hopeful about the future” and “thinking very seriously” about running for governor in 2021. “Many people a year ago would not have recognized me, now they really do,” Fairfax said. “People come up to me at gas stations, they say, ‘Hey, we recognize you. We love you. We know what they are saying about you is false.’ ” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

Sen. Mark Warner got a classified briefing on UFOs this week. “If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of,” his spokesperson, Rachel Cohen, said in a statement. – Politico

A national study found it would cost Virginia at least $31 billion to protect its coast from sea-level rise, putting the state in fourth place nationwide in terms of expected spending. – The Virginian-Pilot

Officials in Virginia Beach won’t say how long their investigation into the mass shooting at the municipal center will take, but said similar investigations have taken between six and 10 months. – The Virginian-Pilot

Of 64 nursing homes inspected in Hampton Roads, only two had no deficiencies in care reported. – Daily Press

• Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring, stepping down at the end of the month, leaves behind a long running effort to push city leaders to address the root causes of crime. “We wouldn’t be off to the rough summer we are off to if our programming was effective.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Gun control groups now far outspend gun rights organizations like the NRA, which contributed $130,000 to campaigns in Virginia over the last four years compared to $5 million donated by Everytown for Gun Safety. – WVTF

• A Richmond councilwoman who introduced an ordinance to rename a major thoroughfare after city-native Arthur Ashe wasn’t invited by Mayor Levar Stoney to speak at the dedication ceremonies this weekend, highlighting the mayor’s strained relationship with the council. The councilwoman, Kim Gray, is “known to be miffed.” – Richmond Free Press

• Rare wave clouds rolled over Smith Mountain Lake. “It was so amazing.” – The Washington Post

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