With Another Monument Vandalized, Richmond Residents Ask if Graffiti Will Ever Be Cleaned

One of the last remaining city-owned Confederate statues in Richmond was vandalized recently, raising questions about how long the graffiti littered throughout downtown and other prominent areas will remain.

After a summer of civil unrest, graffiti on monuments, buildings, sidewalks and even some houses has become a normal sight for those who visit or live in the city of Richmond.

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Sparks Fly at Richmond Mayoral Debate Between Stoney and Gray

The top four candidates for Richmond’s mayor debated in a forum on Tuesday night that saw incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney again defending his record from attacks on all sides. Councilmember Kim Gray and candidate Justin Griffin took turns attacking Stoney for corruption and mismanagement while candidate Alexsis Rodgers suggested that many of Stoney’s best ideas for the future are cribbed from her own platform.

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Jill Biden Pays Homage to Levar Stoney While Richmond Crumbles

Jill Biden spent Thursday in Virginia, starting her day meeting with educators and military leaders in Hampton Roads, then heading to Richmond where she met Mayor Levar Stoney in front of the Voter Registrar’s Office, and then going to Henrico with Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D- Fairfax) for a round-table with working mothers.

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Parents Fume Over Kids Turning into Zoom Zombies

The Richmond Public Schools (RPS) leadership team presented initial schedule adjustments for all grade levels to its school board during a meeting Monday night. 

The board did not vote to adopt any of the proposed scheduling adjustments. 

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Mayoral Candidate Kim Gray: RVA is My Home, not a Stepping Stone

In a virtual town hall, candidate Kim Gray said her experience as a council member and commitment to connected, honest government make her the best choice to be Richmond’s next mayor. The Youtube livestream had been watched by around 175 people by Sunday evening.

“I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life as a public servant, as an elected official, and the past four years have been very challenging. I want to overcome the corruption and cronyism and lack of common sense approaches,” Gray said.

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Justin Griffin Wants To Be Mayor: Richmond’s Broke

Justin Griffin thinks Richmond needs a financial consultant. In 2018 and 2019, he drew attention by criticizing a plan to build a new coliseum in Richmond. Now, he’s trying to convert that momentum into votes for his mayoral campaign by highlighting financial inefficiencies in Richmond.

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It’s About the Incumbent: Five Richmond Mayor Candidates Debate in Zoom Forum

Candidates for the Richmond mayor’s race took turns establishing their policy priorities and attacking the incumbent in the Southside Mayoral Forum held on Tuesday via Zoom. The candidates answered questions focused on economic and political priorities and better road and parks infrastructure.

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Windows at Virginia GOP Headquarters Smashed Overnight

Multiple street facing windows were shattered overnight at the Republican Party of Virginia headquarters in downtown Richmond.

This is the second time in three months the office windows in the Richard D. Obenshain Center have been smashed by someone.

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Judge Kicks Kanye off Virginia Ballot

Saying 11 of Kanye West’s 13 electors were “obtained by improper, fraudulent, or misleading means,” Richmond City Circuit Court Judge Joi Jeter-Taylor ordered West’s name removed from Virginia ballots.

The Thursday decision came days after a group of leading Virginia Democrats and one of West’s electors sued the State Board of Elections.

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11 Arrested During Protest Outside Richmond City Justice Center

Richmond Police arrested 11 people during a protest outside the Richmond City Justice Center on Tuesday. 

The group was gathered outside of the Justice Center to protest conditions in the Richmond jail after COVID-19 outbreak among 100 inmates and staff was reported. 

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Governor Northam, Richmond Political and Business Elite Line-up Behind Mayor Levar Stoney

At a campaign kick-off event in Church Hill Tuesday, Governor Northam announced that he is endorsing Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney for re-election.

On Monday, Stoney announced via his Twitter that the Virginia legislative Black Caucus Chair Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico County) endorsed him for re-election.

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Fatal Overdoses and Emergency Calls Rise in Virginia, Highlighting Impact of COVID-19 on Substance Abuse

Fatal drug overdoses and non-alcohol overdose calls have increased in Virginia since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, highlighting a troubling trend and fallout from the deadly virus.

“[COVID-19] has undoubtedly increased the overdoses as well as overdose death as well as relapse for those who were in recovery from addictions,” John Shinholser, president and co-founder of the McShin Foundation, said in an interview with The Virgina Star. 

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Bill to End Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers Defeated in House Appropriations Committee

Delegates in the House Committee on Appropriations voted against a bill Monday that removed qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, making them liable to lawsuits. 

The Bill, HB 5013, sponsored by Del. Bourne (D-Richmond City), was defeated in Committee after failing to get enough votes to advance to the House floor.

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The Art and History of the Lee Monument

Standing 21 feet tall on top of a 40 foot base and weighing 12 tons, the statue of Robert E. Lee and his horse is literally larger than life as the General presides over Richmond.

French Beaux-Arts sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercié cast the bronze statue in nine pieces – seven for the horse, and two for the rider, according to the monument’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) registration form.

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The Senate Continues to Pass New Legislation During the Special Session as Timing of Crossover with House Unclear

As the Senate wraps up its second week of the 2020 special session and continues to pass new legislation, the timing of crossover with the House of Delegates, a requirement for a bill to become law, remains unknown.

Since the Senate began considering bills in Committee and advancing legislation during sessions almost a week before the House, the two bodies are currently not in sync with their lawmaking procedures.

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Henrico County Officials Shut Down State Senator’s Fundraiser for COVID-19 Relief and Black Lives Matter

Henrico County officials and the Henrico County Manager shut down a fundraiser to support COVID-19 relief and Black Lives Matter on Tuesday.

State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-16) was hosting and sponsoring the event alongside local Richmond promoters Avantae Jones and Keron Dixon with their company True Society Events, LLC.

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Confederate Monuments Coming Down Across State, Triggering Legal Battles

Monuments dominate Virginia’s headlines this week.

On Wednesday, Portsmouth City began removing its controversial Confederate monument. Last week, an anonymous plaintiff petitioned the Virginia Supreme Court to order confederate statues removed by the city of Richmond to go back up. The Richmond Circuit Court has scheduled a trial for October 19 to begin determining whether Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue can be removed.

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Wednesday Is the COVID-19 Emergency Standard Compliance Deadline for Virginia Businesses

Virginia employers face a deadline today to implement new COVID-19 safety standards.

On July 15, the Safety and Health Codes Board adopted the COVID-19 Emergency Standard. The new mandate includes precautions like requiring employers to classify each job for exposure risk, develop policies for employees who have been exposed to COVID-19, and enforce social distancing.

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Richmond Census Response Rate Lower than State and National Average as Count Deadline Looms

The city of Richmond’s 2020 census response rate is 59.3 percent, lower than the Virginia and national average, which could result in lost federal funding at state and local levels. 

The deadline for census counting is September 30th, moved up a month by President Trump, and Richmond is falling behind not just nationally, but also compared to the surrounding central-Virginia counties. 

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Commentary: Two Miles from North America’s Oldest Elected Body, a Richmond Neighborhood Cowers in Fear

It’s two miles or so down Monument Avenue from the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond to the Robert E. Lee Memorial.

The capitol houses the oldest legislative body in North America – the Virginia General Assembly, which dates to 1619 when the Virginia Company, the private firm that controlled the state, appointed a governor and Council of State to rule along with 22 elected burgesses.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Will Be Mandated in Virginia, State Health Commissioner Says

Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver said on Friday that he would mandate a COVID-19 vaccine if publicly available, according to 8News, but a bill under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly would provide a religious exemption.

Under Virginia state law, the commissioner of health has the authority to mandate immediate immunizations during a public health crisis like COVID-19 if a vaccine is available to the public.

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Two Arrested as Richmond and State Police Clash with Locals Outside Jackson Ward Bar

Richmond and Virginia State Police got into a confrontation with a group of people and arrested four individuals Thursday night for obstructing justice by not showing identification, according to Richmond resident Jimmie Lee Jarvis who witnessed the event firsthand.

Yet another incident between police and citizens has taken place in Richmond, this time outside of GWARbar, a local heavy-metal themed bar in the Jackson Ward neighborhood.

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Richmond Area Trump Supporters Feel Optimistic About Upcoming Election

Local Virginia Trump supporters have high hopes for the presidential election in November and believe that Trump will secure another four years in office. 

At a gathering set up by the Trump Virginia campaign, people from various towns and counties surrounding Richmond came to show their support for the campaign and form a collective focus on the highly important last stretch before the election. 

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Kim Gray Interview: Mayor Stoney Dodges Procurement Rules Awarding $1.8M to Donor Shell Company While Richmond Students Go Without Technology For School

Wednesday morning on The John Fredericks Show, host Fredericks talked to Richmond mayoral candidate Kim Gray about Mayor Levar Stoney’s recent $1.8 million bid to remove statutes and how that money could have been better allocated to students in need.

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No Immediate Ruling on Motion to Dismiss Lee Statue Lawsuit

A judge heard arguments Tuesday but did not immediately rule on whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s plans to remove an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

An injunction issued in the lawsuit currently prevents Northam’s administration from moving forward with plans announced after the death of George Floyd to take down the bronze equestrian statue of Lee. The figure erected in 1890 is now one of the country’s most prominent tributes to the Confederacy.

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The Virginia General Assembly Special Session Began Today, Here Is What Happened

The Senate and House of Delegates met separately in Richmond on Tuesday, officially kicking off the special session of the General Assembly.

Despite a bevy of bills and promises of swift action, the House and Senate primarily discussed operation and procedural resolutions for the Special Session going forward.

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Application That Alerts Virginia Users of Possible COVID-19 Exposure Downloaded More Than 300,000 Times

COVIDWISE, an app that alerts users of possible COVID-19 exposure, has been downloaded 356,777 times in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

The application was launched by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on August 5.

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Richmond City General Registrar Stresses Early Action from Voters as USPS Warns Mail-in Ballots may be Delayed

In an effort to combat possible ballot delays from USPS, the Richmond City General Registrar J. Kirk Showalter is asking voters to apply for and submit mail-in voting forms sooner rather than later.

“If you are getting your ballot through the mail and you apply early on, there should be adequate time for you to get your ballot and return it,” Showalter said in an interview with The Virginia Star.

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Heavy Weekend Rain Floods Chesterfield, Prince George Counties

Over ten inches of rain fell in the western part of the Richmond metro area last weekend, surprising residents and triggering evacuations near two local dams. Northern Prince George County also received rainfall from eight to ten inches.

One volunteer weather spotter reported 11.19 inches of rain at a spot in western Chesterfield from Friday night through Sunday morning. Meanwhile, about 15 miles away, the Richmond International Airport received less than four inches of rain.

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State Senator Joe Morrissey Commentary: Violent Protesters Have Gone Too Far

I condemn, in the strongest manner possible, the horrific violence that occurred in Richmond this past Saturday, July 25, 2020.  Setting fire to a $75,000 city utility vehicle, smashing scores of windows on the VCU campus and destroying the private property of innocent citizens on Monument Avenue and vicinity is despicable.  This type of behavior is not legitimate protest.  Rather, it is indefensible mayhem that should be prosecuted.

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As Richmond Burns, Mayor Stoney’s Top Priority Is to Let People Get Stoned

Even as rioting damages large sections of Richmond and the Virginia General Assembly convenes in a special session, Mayor Levar Stoney wants lawmakers to take action — not on fighting lawlessness, but to help people get stoned.

Stoney used his bully pulpit to call for the Assembly to legalize marijuana.

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‘Unacceptable and Misguided’: Richmond Protest Explodes Into Riot, Damaging Buildings and Hurting Support for Demonstrations

Protests in the City of Richmond took a turn for the worse late Tuesday night as vandalism and violence broke out, damaging multiple city buildings.

The James Center, Sun Trust building, John Marshall Courts Building, and other city buildings in Richmond had their windows smashed in by a group of roughly 50 people, the Washington Post reports

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Protesters Gathered Outside Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray’s Home

A large group of protestors amassed outside the home of Richmond councilwoman and mayoral candidate Kim Gray in the Jackson Ward neighborhood during a mid-July protest, Gray said during an interview with The Virginia Star.

Gray was first alerted to a possible threat via phone call from a someone at a protest in another part of Richmond who was told that Gray’s house had burnt down. The councilwoman, who was in her home when she answered the call, immediately notified Richmond police, she said.

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Judge Blocks Removal of More Confederate Statues in Richmond

A judge issued an injunction Thursday barring the city of Richmond from removing any more Confederate monuments, a process that began last week after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the statues cleared away amid weeks of protests over police brutality and racism.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo issued the decision after a hearing in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by an unnamed plaintiff, local media outlets reported. The lawsuit asked for an emergency injunction to halt the removal of the statues and alleged that Stoney violated state law by ordering their immediate removal.

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Richmond Removes Statue of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart

Work crews on Tuesday took down a monument to Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, the third major statue to be cleared away in less than a week as the Confederacy’s former capital rushes to remove symbols of oppression in response to protests against police brutality and racism.

As a crowd cheered, crews strapped the huge bronze equestrian statue in harnesses and used a crane to lift it from its granite base to be trucked away. Some in the crowd chanted “Black Lives Matter” after the statue was removed. One person sang, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.”

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Stonewall Jackson Removed from Richmond’s Monument Avenue

Work crews wielding a giant crane, harnesses and power tools wrested an imposing statue of Gen. Stonewall Jackson from its concrete pedestal along Richmond, Virginia’s famed Monument Avenue on Wednesday, just hours after the mayor ordered the removal of all Confederate statues from city land.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s decree came weeks after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the most prominent and imposing statue along the avenue: that of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which sits on state land. The removal of the Lee statue has been stalled pending the resolution of several lawsuits.

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Protesters Topple Statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham in Virginia Capital

A small group of demonstrators toppled a statue of a Confederate general in the the former capital of the Confederacy late Saturday, following a day of largely peaceful protests in the Virginia city.

The statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled from its pedestal in Monroe Park, a Richmond police spokeswoman said. She said she did not know if there were any arrests or damage done to the statue.

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Minnesota Republicans Ask County to Become State’s First ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary’

A Republican lawmaker has asked the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners to declare itself Minnesota’s first “Second Amendment sanctuary county.”

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Richmond’s Jefferson Davis Statue Might Be Next On The Chopping Block

Jefferson Davis statue, Richmond, Virginia

by Rob Shimshock   A commission recommended Monday that Richmond, Va., remove its statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The Davis statue is one of five Confederate monuments lining Monument Avenue in the city, reported The Guardian. The commission, appointed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, said that the Davis monument “is…

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