Violent Crime is Trending Down, But Police Funding is Not

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The ongoing national debate over policing is raising new questions in Virginia about local government spending on public safety.

Michael Pope reports.

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Urban-Rural Divide: Examining Incarceration Rates at Rural Jails Across Virginia

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Credit: Vera Institute

Virginia’s rural communities are struggling with an aging population and stagnant job growth. And there’s another trend behind bars. Michael Pope reports.

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Richmond Begins Removing Confederate Monuments

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Contractors prepare to remove the statue of Stonewall Jackson Wednesday. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Contractors began removing Confederate monuments located on city-owned land in Richmond Wednesday afternoon. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

 

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The State’s Felony Larceny Threshold Goes Up This Week

StateSeal00This week, a number of new laws will go into effect, including an increase to Virginia’s felony larceny threshold. Michael Pope has this preview.

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Marijuana Decriminalization: How Will It Impact Racial Inequities in Arrests?

chartWednesday, Virginia will decriminalize marijuana possession. But, that does not mean that enforcement of the law won’t fall disproportionately on Black people. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Lawmakers Still Think Congress can move on Police Reform

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Virginia lawmakers in both parties say they’re frustrated policing reform efforts have stalled on Capitol Hill.

Matt Laslo reports that besides the finger pointing, lawmakers still think a deal can be reached.

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Va. News: Danville Airport Upgrades and a New Name for a Staunton Landmark

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The City of Danville is making plans to accommodate an increase in air travel if it gets a casino. And an iconic landmark in Staunton will soon have a new name.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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As Virginia Considers Workplace Health Requirements, Businesses Are Already Lashing Out

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Virginia is considering strict new workplace safety requirements for businesses that are now reopening. And, the proposed standard is controversial in the business community. Michael Pope reports.

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Police Reform with Representatives Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin

StateSeal00For the only two African American members of the Commonwealth’s delegation in Congress, the House passage of policing reform last evening was personal. Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.

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Localities Stepping Up to Provide Paid Leave for Employees

virginia_flag_map_0Lawmakers will be returning to Richmond in August to write a new budget and consider a host of criminal justice reforms. And, they’ll also be considering paid leave. Michael Pope reports.

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What Exactly is an “Unlawful Assembly?”

StateSeal00It’s been almost a month since protests began on Monument Avenue in Richmond. In the time since, police have declared these gatherings to be “unlawful assemblies” on multiple occasions, leaving many to wonder what that really means.

Cat Modlin-Jackson spoke with a Constitutional law specialist and has this report.

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A First Look at the U.S. Senate Race

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Now that the primary is over, the fall campaign season is underway. Michael Pope has this preview of the race for United States Senate.

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A Temporary Moratorium on Evictions Will Soon End

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The Supreme Court of Virginia (Credit: Morgan Riley / Creative Commons / Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court of Virginia is ending the eviction moratorium, a move that could spell trouble for people caught up in the economic crisis. Michael Pope reports.

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Defund the Police? One Suggestion is to Work Towards Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

virginia_flag_map_0Calls to defund the police are echoing across the country, but where should the money go? Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report about what it will take to dismantle the school to prison pipeline.

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Embracing Black Owned Businesses

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DeShanta Hairston at her bookstore in Martinsville. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

As people across the world took to the streets to declare that Black Lives Matter, the owner of a small bookstore in Martinsville shared a message that rocked the internet.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Richmond City Council Moves to Rename Lee Memorial Bridge

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A view of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge from underneath. The bridge spans across the James River. (Credit: Ben Schumin / Creative Commons / Wikimedia Commons)

After years of deliberation over Confederate icons, Richmond city council members voted last night to set the wheels in motion for the process of renaming the Robert E. Lee Memorial Bridge. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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After Another Night of Unrest in Richmond, Mayor Stoney Outlines Public Safety Revisions

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney outlined a plan to revise public safety Tuesday afternoon. His presentation came after weeks of demonstrations and repeated clashes between police and protestors. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Voting in a Pandemic: A Look at Safety Precautions for Tuesday’s Primary Elections

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Voters across Virginia will vote in primary elections Tuesday – casting ballots during a pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Apologies after Black Pastor’s arrest, Some School Districts seek to re-open on their own

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Credit: Virginia Public Access Project

A Virginia sheriff has apologized for the arrest of a black pastor who says he was defending himself when he pulled a handgun on four white men. And counties with low numbers of COVID-19 cases want to open their schools without following statewide guidelines. Fred Echols reports.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VA News link.

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A Look at the Potential Republican Challengers to Senator Mark Warner

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Credit: Republican Party of Virginia

Republicans across Virginia will head to the polls Tuesday to select a candidate to go up against Senator Mark Warner. Michael Pope has this preview.

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Virginia Releases Facility-Specific Data on COVID cases in Long-Term Care

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Virginia’s Department of Health has reversed course, announcing it will release more data on COVID-19 outbreaks at long term care facilities.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

Click here for the data

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Prince William County Set to End Agreement with Federal Immigration Officials

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Should local law enforcement officials carry out federal immigration enforcement? Fewer local governments in Virginia are willing to enter into agreements with the federal government. Michael Pope reports.

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Judge Extends Injunction For Richmond Robert E. Lee Statue Indefinitely

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Protesters gather around the Lee Monument (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Virginians waiting for the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond to come down will have to wait a while longer.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a judge extended an injunction Thursday barring the state from removing the statue.

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A Crush of COVID-19 Data

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Last week, Virginia’s Department of Health released a backlog of tens of thousands of COVID-19 test results. This week, it provided more race and ethnicity data.

Trying to communicate state data on the disease to the public every day is a formidable task.

To better understand recent data dumps, tweaks and changes the state is managing, Pamela D’Angelo talked with the woman behind the numbers.

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Another Democrat Joins 2021 Gubernatorial Race

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The race for Virginia’s governor is heating up, and now yet another Democrat is jumping into the race: Senator Jennifer McClellan of Richmond. Michael Pope has details.

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Consumer Behavior: What Have Virginians Been Buying During the Pandemic?

virginia_flag_map_0New numbers from the federal government show how the pandemic is influencing consumer choices in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Governor Ralph Northam Proposes Juneteenth as a State Holiday

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Musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams spoke at the news conference announcing plans for a Juneteenth state holiday.

Governor Ralph Northam wants to add a state holiday to commemorate the end of slavery. Nick Gilmore has details.

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Could a “Digital Tax” Be on the Way for Virginia?

virginia_flag_map_0Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond for a special session, and they’ll be looking for ways to fund criminal justice reform during an economic crisis. Michael Pope has this report about one possible new source of money.

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Va. News: Hikers & Bicyclists

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When the Appalachian Trail asked hikers to leave the trail because of Covid-19 not all of them were willing and able to comply. And technological advances are leading to questions about where some new models of bicycles should be allowed.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Many Parents Uneasy About Child Care During COVID-19

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According to the Virginia Department of Education more than 40% of preschools and daycares in Virginia are still open. And yet a tiny percentage of parents have opted to use them.

That’s the finding of a recent survey by Voices for Virginia’s Children.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports

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State Lawmakers to Consider Policing Reforms

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A coalition of 28 groups wants Virginia to reform policing — to emphasize community support rather than military tactics. (Credit: Ashton Erler)

When the General Assembly returns to Richmond in August to address a budget shortfall tied to the COVID pandemic, lawmakers will also be looking at reforms and possible cuts to policing. Sandy Hausman reports.

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State Officials Weighing Emergency Medicaid Services for Undocumented Immigrants

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Undocumented immigrants are being hit hard by the COVID-19 health crisis, and access to health care is a major stumbling block for many. But, Virginia could take action to increase availability of testing and treatment. Michael Pope reports.

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5th District Republican Nominating Fight to be Decided Saturday

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On Saturday, Republican leaders in the Fifth Congressional District are holding a convention to nominate a candidate.  And it could knock Representative Denver Riggleman out of his job.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has this story on how same-sex marriage and privacy issues are imperiling the first term Congressman.

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Virginia Schools Face Another Financial Crisis Thanks to COVID-19 and Economic Woes

povertyIn August, lawmakers will return to Richmond for a special session, and money for schools will be one of the key areas they’ll focus on. Michael Pope reports.

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A Republican Congressman Steps Out with Peaceful Protesters

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  Qasim Rashid (left) and Rep. Rob Wittman speak at the end of Monday’s march.
(Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

On Monday evening in the tiny rural town of Montross on the Northern Neck, Republican Congressman Rob Wittman marched with about 100 of his constituents in a peaceful protest of racism and honoring George Floyd.

Pamela D’Angelo was there.

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State Officials Outline Plan for Reopening Virginia’s Public Schools This Fall

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Governor Ralph Northam during a recent COVID-19 update.

State officials outlined a plan Tuesday to reopen Virginia’s public and private schools this fall amid the ongoing pandemic. Nick Gilmore has details.

Here is more information from Governor Northam on the school plan, and details about what each phase of his reopening plan will mean for the state’s schools.

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State Corrects Underreporting of Unemployment in Hispanic Community

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Virginia has been dramatically underreporting the number of Hispanic workers collecting unemployment benefits.

As Michael Pope reports, the corrected data shows the economic crisis has hit the Hispanic community particularly hard.

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Down Ballot Races May Drive Turnout for Primary Elections This Month

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Later this month, Republicans will go to the polls in a statewide primary to determine a U.S. Senate candidate. That election might end up being heavily influenced by what happens in two congressional districts. Michael Pope reports.

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Rent Still a Concern for Many Struggling Economically, But Some Relief Possibly on the Way

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The Virginia Supreme Court halted evictions Monday while state leaders work on a rent-relief program.

Meanwhile, new data from the Legal Aid Justice Center shows just how tenuous the situation is for many families struggling with the ongoing health and economic crisis.

Michael Pope reports.

You can find the court’s order here. And you can find more information on the report from the Legal Aid Justice Center here.

**Editor’s note: this story has been updated to include the eviction order from the Virginia Supreme Court.

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After Protests, Northam Orders Removal of Iconic Lee Statue

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Protesters surround the Lee monument in Richmond. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

The details and timeline still need to be ironed out, but Governor Ralph Northam made clear today the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond will come down.

Northam says he’s directed the Department of General Services to remove the state-owned statue as soon as possible.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Expungement Among Some Criminal Justice Reforms Left Behind by General Assembly

General Assembly 2020Democrats campaigned on the issue of criminal justice reform last year. But advocates say when they took power in the House and Senate, a lot of reform still got left behind. Michael Pope reports.

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No More Debate: Alexandria Confederate Monument Now Gone

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The statue honoring Alexandria’s Confederate war dead has been on this pedestal since the 1880s. Now it’s gone, and city leaders say the pedestal will be removed soon. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Confederate statues across the country have long been targets for protesters. But, one Confederate monument in Alexandria is no longer a problem… because it’s not there. Michael Pope reports.

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Protestors Demand More than an Apology, After Police Tear Gas Demonstrators

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Natalie Andre’ addresses Richmond police chief William Smith. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Hundreds gathered on the steps of Richmond City Hall Tuesday to hear the apology of Mayor Levar Stoney. That’s after the city’s police force fired tear gas into a peaceful rally Monday evening. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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State Lawmakers on Both Sides of the Aisle Call for Criminal Justice Reform

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The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests across the country has lawmakers in Virginia considering criminal justice reform. And, there’s already some bipartisan agreement emerging during this time of crisis. Michael Pope reports.

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Outpouring of Anger and Frustration Across Virginia

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  Protesters march through Richmond Friday night.
(Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Police swarmed Richmond Sunday night, forcefully enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew using tear gas and armored vehicles. They arrested dozens of protestors.

It was the latest in a long weekend of anger and frustration over the killing of black men and women by the police.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency, and Richmond’s curfew is in place through the middle of this week.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at how a weekend of demonstrations across the state unfolded.

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Va. News: Wind Farm Plan draws new Opponents, Northern VA schools leader looks at reopening plans

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If schools in Virginia reopen this August it’ll be up to local leaders to make sure students can be brought back safely. And a plan to build wind turbines on a ridge in Botetourt County is generating increased opposition.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Dozens of CVS Pharmacies in Virginia Offer Drive Through Testing

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Starting this weekend, 39 CVS pharmacies in Virginia are now offering self-swab coronavirus testing at their drive through windows.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne tried it out and has this story about the experience.

Click here for a list of testing locations

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The Heavy Toll of COVID-19 on Virginia’s Latinx Community

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Since the Virginia Department of Health began reporting the ethnic breakdown of coronavirus cases, data has shown a consistently disproportionate hit in Latinx communities.

As Cat Modlin-Jackson found, there’s more to the impact than what the numbers show.

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As Unemployment Rate Soars, Will Job Losses Be Temporary?

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Unemployment in Virginia hit a new record this week. Michael Pope reports.

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From Ebola to Anthrax, Veteran State Epidemiologist says Resources Key to COVID-19

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For 33 years, Diane Woolard headed the Virginia Department of Health team that watched for emerging diseases.

Now, after a year of retirement, she’s back lending a hand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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