THE BULLETIN — News to know

Quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 state of emergency coming to an end, famed ODU teacher faces sexual harassment charges, bear stuck in Volvo plant, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • After 15 months, Virginia's state of emergency declared in response to COVID-19 is coming to an end.—Richmond Times-Dispatch • Once-acclaimed Philip Roth biographer Blake Bailey worked at Old Dominion University. Now the school is facing accusations it ignored concerns he was sexually harassing and abusing women while teaching there.—Virginian-Pilot • Rapper Meek Mill joined Gov. Ralph Northam Thursday for the ceremonial signing of a probation reform bill.—NBC Washington • Instead of putting up new statues on Richmond's Monumement Avenue where Confederate leaders once stood, city officials are recommending removing the empty...

Unemployment insurance complaints continue; businesses push for tax bailout

Leaders of the Virginia Employment Commission told state lawmakers Thursday they expect to meet the terms of a legal settlement that requires them to resolve 92,000 outstanding jobless claims by Labor Day. But state delegates and senators sitting on the General Assembly’s unemployment oversight committee said their offices continue to face a deluge of complaints from residents struggling to reach the commission. “My phone is burning up,” said Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake. “I mean, this is my whole time --- we spend all day, every day.” Lawmakers also complained that a special line set up aimed at making it easier to reach...
Virginia Mercury

Details emerge in court hearing for Virginia Tech football player, FBI finds ‘workplace grievances’ motivated Virginia Beach shooter, historic house moves in Abingdon, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • New details emerged in the court hearing of a Virginia Tech football player facing murder charges following a sexual encounter in Blacksburg.—Roanoke Times • The FBI has concluded the Virginia Beach mass shooter who killed 12 people at a government building in 2019 was "motivated by perceived workplace grievances, which he fixated on for years."—Virginian-Pilot • Virginia's Democratic primaries this week were part of a trend of voters "repeatedly choosing more moderate candidates promising steady leadership over disrupters from the party’s left wing."—Washington Post • The attack ads have already begun...

Protecting utility profits is the point

Four things happened after I wrote last week about Power for Tomorrow’s strange advertising campaign attacking Clean Virginia. The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star ran an op-ed from Power for Tomorrow’s executive director, Gary C. Meltz, opposing deregulation in the electric sector; the Virginia Mercury ran a response to my article from Mr. Meltz; another mailer arrived from Power for Tomorrow, even more unhinged about Clean Virginia and what it calls “their Texas-style policies”; and the Roanoke Times ran an op-ed from Republican Sen. David Sutterlein in favor of electricity choice.  Mr. Meltz’ Freelance-Star op-ed argues that regulated monopolies produce lower cost power...

New study estimates 485 Virginians died prematurely in 2016 as a result of transportation emissions

A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina and Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health released this week calculated that 485 premature deaths in Virginia in 2016 were due to ozone and fine particulate matter emitted by cars, trucks and buses within the region.  Of those deaths, the study estimates that 334 were due to in-state emissions, while vehicle emissions from Virginia caused approximately 535 premature deaths in other states.  “On road vehicular emissions contribute to the formation of fine particulate matter and ozone which can lead to increased adverse health outcomes near the emission source and...

Hala Ayala on Dominion donation flip: ‘People change their minds all the time.’

Del. Hala Ayala, the newly minted Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, drew harsh criticism in the final days of the campaign for flipping on a promise to refuse campaign donations from state-regulated monopolies. Her campaign ducked questions about the decision last week after finance reports revealed she had accepted a $100,000 donation from Dominion Energy, but in an interview at a polling place in Prince William on Tuesday, she suggested the decision came down to being able to fund her campaign’s voter outreach. “It's about talking to voters, right? And making sure we communicate and get our message out because it...
Virginia Mercury

Charlottesville council votes to remove Confederate statutes, Richmond Lee statue case before Supreme Court of Va., Botetourt wind farm fate uncertain, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • After a long court battle, the Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously to remove a pair of Confederate statues from the city's parks.—Daily Progress • Justices on the Supreme Court of Virginia asked no questions during a hearing on the potential removal of the state-owned Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond's Monument Avenue.—Washington Post • A judge ordered the reinstatement of a Loudoun County teacher suspended for saying he opposed a policy requiring him to use transgender students' preferred names and pronouns.—Washington Post • A grassroots advocacy group in Richmond is distributing "micro...

Commission examining legacy of slavery, racism to seek more time

A commission tasked with evaluating the lasting legacy of slavery, segregation and racial discrimination on Black Virginians will seek more time from the General Assembly to do its work after a year lost to the pandemic.  While the panel was set to expire on July 1, 2022, Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, and Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, said during a meeting Tuesday that they would be requesting more time from the General Assembly.   “When was put in place, it was to be a two-year commission to study slavery ... Basically a year is gone,” Locke said. “So I will certainly be...
Virginia Mercury

Democratic primary day, Dublin Volvo plant workers go on strike, a Culpeper account of the Tulsa Race Massacre, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • It's primary day: Virginia voters will pick Democratic candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general as well as nominees in 17 contested Republican and Democratic House primaries.—Associated Press, NBC12,  Washington Post, Richmond Times-Dispatch • The United Auto Workers began a strike at Volvo's truck plant in Dublin.—Roanoke Times • Virginia Commonwealth University will join hundreds of other colleges in requiring COVID-19 vaccination for returning students.—Richmond Times-Dispatch • A legislative audit commission is recommending changes to legislation legalizing marijuana in Virginia on July 1.—WVTF • Singer Pharrell Williams plans to open several private schools...

Homicides in Virginia hit highest levels in two decades

Virginia’s murder rate climbed to its highest level since the late 1990s last year, according to crime statistics released by the Virginia State Police this week. Police reported 537 homicides in 2020, up from 455 in 2019, bringing the rate per 100,000 residents to just over six --- a number last seen in 1998 as the crime wave that peaked earlier in the decade began to taper off, according to FBI reports. Localities large and small have felt the uptick. Henry County, a jurisdiction of 55,000 along the North Carolina border, saw one of the biggest percentage increases. Police reported nine homicides...