Richmond Police are planning to announce new vehicles and a new paint scheme later today, but pictures leaked out on social media a few days ago. Here's what to expect on city streets:
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones toured 13 blocks of Grace and Broad streets on a trolley Wednesday morning to look at new plantings being installed by Capital One volunteers as part of a collaboration between the city, Venture Richmond and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Sitting next to Jones is Shane Tippett, the executive director of Lewis Ginter, talking about the plantings.
Before the ride, Jones said the project came at a good time. He recalled a meeting with his staffers a few months ago: "I said, 'What's up with Broad Street? It doesn't look good at all.'"
Here's the info from the city:
Venture Richmond has been working in partnership with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, City departments and local businesses to beautify the RVA Arts District by enhancing existing landscaped areas and adding planters to the concrete medians on Broad Street. The project includes a total of 13 blocks, 49 planters, 526 bags of mulch, more than 460 bags of soil, and more than 1,200 plants.
Hundreds of Capital One volunteers provided the labor for the installation and are expected to complete the work today. Ongoing maintenance and upkeep will be provided by The Kleane Kare Team and Snead Associates, who will hire individuals participating in recovery programs for purposes of reintroduction into the workforce.
The Richmond Free Press will stop printing the name of the Washington, D.C. National Football League team, stating in a Thursday editorial that the name is “insulting to Native Americans, racist and divisive.”
The editorial further states that, “Our use of the depraved nickname would only serve to cause people to become more acclimated to the outrageous. It would give a cause for the regeneration of the despicable N-word and other derogatory names given to other racial groups.”
The paper also states that the team carries the legacy of being the last NFL team to hire black players, and in the ‘60s would play “Dixie” before “The Star Spangled Banner” at home games.
The editorial calls for the City of Richmond and Bon Secours Richmond Health System to “reconsider the negative implications of their identification with Daniel Snyder,” the team’s owner. Both have sponsored the team’s training camp location in Richmond.
The paper’s publisher, Ray Boone, was not immediately available for comment.
One woman held up a picture of an empty fridge, saying she already had a friend who some months had to choose between eating and getting to work.
“I’m asking City Council to sit in my wheel chair for one day, one hour, or even one minute,” said another.
Richmond City Council voted 6-3 on Monday night to raise fares and make reductions to GRTC’s CARE paratransit service for disabled residents, but not before hearing from 20 riders who said the cuts would be devastating.
The pleas made an impact on the council members; the decision to go ahead with the cuts followed two hours of wrangling and hand wringing among the elected officials, who briefly considered delaying the vote for a second consecutive meeting.But ultimately fiscal concerns won the day. “We over extended ourselves,” said Councilwoman Kathy Graziano. Only Ellen Robertson, Reva Trammell and Cynthia Newbille voted against the measure.
As approved, the action raises fares, cuts some service hours, and creates two classes of rides: Basic CARE and Extended CARE.
The changes might sound minor, but the disabled residents who spoke made it clear the service was a lifeline. They said even a small increase in the fees would impact their budgets.
Meanwhile, GRTC administrators said the subsidized program was unsustainable without the changes. They said the actual cost of providing the rides is $30, and that ridership has been growing in recent years. With no changes, the system would be facing a budget shortfall of $800,000.
GRTC CEO Eldridge Coles said the city could have opted to throw money at the problem, but he advised against it. “We’d take it,” he says. “But the problem’s only going to grow.”
Virginia has finally landed a major television series, and it’s on the red-hot AMC network, home of “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.”
As we reported back in February, the pilot for the AMC series “Turn’ was shot in Richmond earlier this year. Now AMC has ordered a 10-episode season of the show to premiere on the channel in 2014, according to a news release today from the Virginia Film Office. “Turn,” which is its working title, is based on the nonfiction book, “Washington’s Spies: the Story of America’s First Spy Ring” by Alexander Rose, and the story is centered on a top-secret spy ring that helped the Virginia general and America win the Revolutionary War.
“It’s just a milestone event for us, bringing a series is truly a way to build more infrastructure,” says Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds. “A series is the golden goose of our industry. ... It helps with building an ongoing crew base, which then makes us more valuable to more feature work.”
The series is being written and executive produced by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and stars Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”); another co-producer is Barry Josephson (“Bones”).
The news release estimates the economic impact of “Turn” at $45 million per season, which Edmunds says is determined from AMC’s estimated spending here multiplied by 1.8 to account for trickle-down through the economy.
Edmunds says that the “three-legged stool” which encouraged AMC to film the series here involved a combination of the filmmakers enjoying their time in Richmond shooting the pilot, along with a solid local film community and previous infrastructure and sets dating back to HBO’s “John Adams,” and of course, those ever needed state film incentives.
“Turn” will be eligible for Virginia tax credits based on its actual expenditures in the state and other “added-value deliverables” which Edmunds says include the contractual agreement of airing a Virginia tourism commercial on AMC during the premiere episode – which he says is an incentive unique to Virginia.
This incentive was used before on the Blu ray version of “Lincoln,” which included a “love letter” short about Virginia, and the filmmakers behind “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy” also agreed to collaborate on tourism shorts. Edmunds says the Virginia tourism commercial filmed by the “Killing Lincoln” folks was aired in 170 countries.
Edmunds notes it can be extremely challenging to land a series like this, especially when other states such as Georgia offer better incentives for filmmakers. “The industry runs on incentives and they were seriously considering other states,” Edmunds says. “Georgia has 30 percent no-cap tax limit, a very simple program. They handed out $120 million in tax credits last year to the film industry. We only have $2.5 million available per year and $3 million in grants.”
The day after former Gov. Doug Wilder announced he was endorsing Terry McAuliffe, Ken Cuccinelli rolled out a high profile endorsement of his own.
The Associated Press reports today that the family from the reality TV series "19 Kids and Counting" will be campaigning for Cuccinelli in Virginia next week.
With their show going into its 12th season, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggars have 19 children, but are trying for a 20th. The Duggars are devout fundamentalist Christians that don't use birth control and instead "decided to allow God to determine the number of children" they would have.
All of their nine daughters and 10 sons have names starting with the letter J.
The AP says "the Duggars will make stops in Lynchburg, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg and Woodbridge in support of Cuccinelli, the father of seven."
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones hasn’t formally released his plan to build a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, but that isn’t stopping a long line of high-profile opponents from voicing their distaste for the idea.
One such group of heavy hitters announced today that it would hold a news conference in front of City Hall on Monday.
Among those speaking or presenting written statements are Christy S. Coleman, the president of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar; Waite Rawls, the president and chief executive of the Museum of the Confederacy; Philip J. Schwarz, an emeritus professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and a nationally recognized expert on the history of slavery in Virginia; Shawn O. Utsey, a VCU professor of psychology and former chairman of the African-American studies department; and Randall Robinson, a Richmond-native and best-selling author known for his anti-apartheid activism.
Other speakers include longtime opponent Ana Edwards, the chair of Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders of Freedom, Justice and Equality.
The group will present a statement opposing the stadium signed by 35 “Virginia university professors, holders of doctoral degrees, and museum officials,” who describe the Shockoe Bottom area as an “irreplaceable treasure.”
In their statement, the group outlines its objections:
In the decades leading up to the end of the Civil War, Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom was the site of the second largest slave-trading district in the United States. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people were bought and sold like chattel in this market area that extended west of what is today Interstate 95 and east to around 20th Street. The majority of African-Americans today could likely trace some ancestry to this small piece of land. It is totally inappropriate to build a commercial sports stadium on this sacred ground. Further, if properly promoted as a historic district, Shockoe Bottom could draw people from across the country and beyond, producing economic benefits to many more people than the small group of wealthy developers now behind the stadium proposal.
The Jones administration was widely expected to release its plan last month.
Though nothing has been made public, staff briefed City Council and members of the business and development community on the plan last month. Council members say they’ve been told they’ll be given two possible scenarios.
One calls for a stadium in Shockoe Bottom, which the administration has told council members will be financed entirely by revenues from a larger economic development deal on the Boulevard. That plan calls for the construction of a large, mixed-use center where The Diamond now is. The city owns nearly 70 acres of land on the Boulevard, and many people consider it prime for the kind of development that would draw residents and shoppers -- fattening city coffers.
The second plan calls for a new stadium on the Boulevard, which the administration says would end up costing taxpayers money. They were still trying to firm up numbers.
City Council members so far have withheld their support, saying they need more details about what the plan for the Boulevard would look like. Several have questioned whether it would be attractive enough to siphon off traffic -- and dollars -- that now zip past on the way to Short Pump, and whether it would be lucrative enough to pay for a stadium in Shockoe Bottom. Council members also have asked city staff to research how other cities with historical sites have parlayed them into tourist destinations.
If the Redskins training camp boosted Richmond’s financial fortunes, it isn’t showing up in early economic indicators released by the state.
Retail sales in Richmond during August, the month in which the bulk of the camp was held, declined 6.8 percent compared with the same month last year.
Despite the Redskins counting 165,000 visitors entering training camp gates during the run here, the August figures are worse than Virginia and Richmond’s neighboring localities fared: Retail sales for the state fell just 1.7 percent, while Henrico and Chesterfield counties fell 2.2 and 4.7 percent respectively.
The data includes, but doesn’t offer a breakdown of, all sales within a given locality, including at restaurants.
During the training camp, many restaurant owners complained that the camp had done little to increase sales, with only a nearby McDonald’s, bar and diner reporting a significant increase in customers. At the time, Mayor Dwight Jones’ spokeswoman, Tammy Hawley, called the accounts anecdotal and said the city would get a fuller picture of the camp’s impact on the city as economic data was released.
Interviewed last month when retail sales data was released for July, the last week of which marked the opening of the camp, Hawley said she was referring to “a handful of data -- not just this data in a vacuum.”
Hawley said the city anticipated having that analysis “compiled and analyzed by early October or November.”
The city built the Redskins training camp at no cost to the team. The project was financed by the city, with the total price tag coming to $11 million. Nearly half of that will be covered by a sponsorship deal with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, which bought naming rights to the camp as part of a complex deal that includes a $33,000-a-year lease from the city of the former Westhampton School, which the hospital chain had been eyeing for an expansion of its nearby St. Mary’s Hospital. In a prime spot for retail development, the school is assessed at $7.5 million.
Jermaine Doss always insisted that he did not hire an employee to kill another man, as he was convicted of doing 13 years ago.
The shooter later recanted and sent Doss an apology letter, saying police and prosecutors threatened him with the death penalty if he didn't testify against him.
Doss's family also questions the conduct of former Norfolk detective Robert Glenn Ford, who was convicted in 2011 in unrelated cases of extorting money from criminals and lying to the FBI about it.
With few options left for an appeal, Doss's family traveled from their home in Norfolk to Richmond on Monday to ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to look into the case and pardon Doss in the 1998 killing of James M. Webb. They have created an online petition.
"We have a voice. We're trying to be heard," said Doss' sister, Felicia Dixon-Bray.
Phil Wilayto, a Richmond activist who has been working with the family, says the group was directed from the governor’s mansion to his office in the Patrick Henry Building, where a staffer met them “inside the entrance but before the metal detector” and explained the procedure and gave the family a form to fill out.
A spokeswoman for McDonnell confirmed that a staffer met with the family.
Doss, 40, is serving a life sentence at Sussex II State Prison.
Doss owned a hair salon and had sold drugs. Webb, who had worked for his family's refrigeration business and was a cocaine addict, was shot in the back of the head in his home in Larchmont. The shooter, Nathaniel McGee, testified in court that he worked for Doss and that Doss hired him to kill Webb. Prosecutors agreed not to charge him with capital murder in exchange for his testimony.
But McGee said during a court hearing in 2006 that he alone decided to kill Webb because Webb had disrespected him and threatened his life. He refused to say, however, who drove him to Webb's house that night and then said he couldn't remember.
That 2006 hearing followed a new law that allowed a convicted person to present evidence of innocence long after trial. Circuit Judge Everett A. Martin Jr. issued a ruling saying he didn't believe McGee's new testimony.
So, we’ve all heard -- Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been thwarted in his efforts to preserve the state’s “crimes against nature” statute, which makes oral and anal sex between consenting adults a class-six felony.
(If you haven’t heard: This week the Supreme Court declined Cuccinelli’s request that it reconsider a lower courts decision to strike down the state law.)
With the sex acts safe for now, it might be time to get the attorney general up to speed on modern sexual practices. Alison Barber, owner of Taboo in Richmond, offers a few patriotic-themed suggestions. Here they are in reverse order of importance:
5. In Anal Sluts We Trust
4. Swallow the Leader
3. Assministrator's Assistant
2. Exploring UR Anus
1. Facial the Nation
Barber suggested a lot of other filthy titles for Cuccinelli. They were, believe it or not, too dirty to print.