Virginia News Reader

Friday, August 12, 2022

Photo: Atlantic Records – Atlantic Records, CC BY-SA 4.0

Portsmouth will honor hip-hop native Missy Elliott with a street named after the 4-time Grammy winner

Natalie Anderson for The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk)

Portsmouth will honor hip-hop native Missy Elliott with a boulevard named after her in the city’s new entertainment district.

City Council members on Tuesday approved a request to honor the four-time Grammy award winner by permanently renaming a 1-mile stretch along McLean Street the “Missy Elliott Boulevard.” The new name will span from Airline Boulevard to Greenwood Drive, located within the Victory Crossing area near Tidewater Community College and the future Portsmouth Rivers Casino. It’s an area council members say is primed for future development.

Read the full article at The Virginian-Pilot.

Photo: Ned Oliver for Virginia Mercury

Virginia’s teacher shortage is fueling big spending on recruitment and retention

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Photo: Peter Cihelka for The Free Lance-Star

Commentary: We need to tell the whole story of Old Mill and Port of Falmouth

Erik Nelson for The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg)

H.L. Mencken once wrote: “There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible and wrong.”

That statement came to me as I read the recent opinion piece about charging admission fees to the Historic Port of Falmouth and Old Mill Park. These fees will not alleviate the concerns voiced by those who voted to support them, but they will force people away from some of the most historically important areas in our community.  

Read the full article at The Free Lance-Star.

Farmers grapple with dry, hot conditions along with inflation

Diane McFarland for The Star-Tribune (Chatham)

Nearly an inch of rain fell Sunday near Keeling, providing much needed moisture to parched grass and other crops in that corner of Pittsylvania County. Across the county, however, rainfall amounts have been hit and miss this summer and it will still take a “hurricane-esque” event to make up for soil moisture lost during last year’s dry summer followed by similar conditions last winter, said Extension Agent Stephen Barts with Pittsylvania County.

Read the full article at The Star-Tribune.

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Photo: Through the work of Operation Enduring Warrior, a Midlothian based nonprofit helping wound military veterans and law enforcement officers stay active, Jonathan Lopez (right) was able to return to skydiving at the AXIS Flight School in Eloy, Arizona. (Joost Luijsterburg / Axis Flight School)

‘Can I jump today?’ Wounded veterans renew abilities in Chesterfield-based nonprofit’s skydiving program

Hunter Reardon, Contributing writer for Chesterfield Observer

When Jonathan Lopez retired from the Army with an amputated left arm and seven fractures in his left leg, he assumed he would never jump out of an airplane again.

“I was so focused on walking again,” says Lopez, who was hit by a drunk driver while stationed in Germany. “To be honest, the concept of missing an arm wasn’t even the hardest part. I had so many surgeries to fix my leg, I was just focused on walking.”   

Read the full article at Chesterfield Oberver.

Photo: East Rockingham High School senior Maryahnna Rothgeb secures a heifer into a clamp before brushing it. (Daniel Lin for Daily News-Record) 

Break? Hardly: School Ag Departments Don’t Take Summer Off 

Megan Williams for Daily News-Record (Rockingham)

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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Photo: Tristan Lorei for The Free Lance-Star

Veteran court program grad shows ‘a level of bravery that most people can’t face’

Cathy Dyson for The Free Lance-Star

As an Army Ranger injured three different times in Iraq—from gunfire, an explosive device and even a grenade blast to the face—Richard Rein tried to cope with memories from battle and the loss of his buddies.

But nothing would make the nightmares go away. He felt guilty for surviving and remorse for things he’d done, even though his actions on the Iraqi battlefield earned him three Purple Hearts as well as a Bronze Star with a combat “V” for valor.

Read the full article at Free Lance-Star

Photo: Kate Simon

Staunton’s new train ride offers scenic views, meals and more

Laura Peters for The News Leader (Staunton)

All aboard! Get ready to take a scenic train ride through the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains thanks to a new railway service starting in Staunton.

Read the full article at The News Leader

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Friday, July 29, 2022

Photo: Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel was removed from Loudoun County high schools.

Free-speech groups, book world fight back in Virginia obscenity case

Graham Moomaw for Virginia Mercury

Book publishers, booksellers, authors and free-speech groups are pushing back against a Virginia law that allowed obscenity claims to proceed in court against two books that have come under fire from conservatives who say they’re inappropriate for young readers.

Read the full article at Virginia Mercury.

Photo: Kendall Warner for New-Era Progress

Shooting for the moon, literally, Amherst High graduate Peter Garrison readies for the journey

Justin Faulconer for The News & Advance (Amherst)

Some teenagers dream of starring in Hollywood movies. Others fantasize about scoring touchdowns in front of a prime-time viewing audience.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Photo: Emily Ball for Bristol Herald Courier (Buchanan County)

Hero dog reunited with owner after being swept away in floodwaters

David McGee for Bristol Herald Courier (Buchanan County)

Patty Mullins’ prayers were answered.

Mullins, 67, survived last week’s Buchanan County flash flood by clinging to branches of a tree in her backyard. The same raging floodwaters that brought her to that tree also carried away Vayda, her 2-year old black Labrador, after Vayda awakened Mullins from slumber and alerted her to the imminent danger.

Late Thursday, the two were reunited.

Read the full article at Bristol Herald Courier.

Ready to Rise: Despite its rich history, Virginia State University is often overlooked. A young, energetic president is aiming to change that

Scott Bass for Richmond Magazine

Fifty-three seconds. That’s all it took for Virginia State University President Makola Abdullah to storm the internet and land on ESPN.

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Friday, July 22, 2022

Photo: Tony Greene for Rappahannock Times

Tappahannock Mourns Town’s Historic District 

G.C. Rose for Rappahannock Times (Tappahannock)

The 200 block of Prince Street in the Historic District of downtown Tappahannock was forever changed Friday, July 15, by a raging fire that destroyed or damaged up to a dozen structures including those that housed popular businesses.

Read the full article at Rappahannock Times.

UVa’s Innocence Project achieves third exoneration involving corrupt ex-detective

Sydney Shuler for The Daily Progress (Charlottesville)

After more than two decades of maintaining his innocence after a murder conviction, Norfolk native Gilbert Merritt III was officially exonerated last week as a result of years of effort by the Innocence Project at University of Virginia Law.

Merritt was released from prison in January on a conditional pardon and was formally exonerated on July 11.

Read the full article at The Daily Progress.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Photo: Ash Daniel for Chesterfield Observer

Garden on the corner: Chester Presbyterian Church raises produce to help community through Food Bank

Sarah King for Chesterfield Observer

Inside the Chesterfield Food Bank on a muggy Friday morning, Frank Hartsoe hands off about 50 pounds of cucumbers, cabbages and yellow squash, alongside a smattering of peppers and radishes, to volunteers from the back of his truck. 

Hartsoe harvested the produce the day before from a 30-by-75-foot plot adjacent to the Chester Presbyterian Church; later in the evening, a line of cars will snake through the Food Bank parking lot out onto Route 10 as the organization meets the need of a community with the help of missions such as the church’s inaugural garden.

Read the full article at Chesterfield Observer.

She’s 37. A mom of two. And America’s fastest female marathoner.

Caroline Pineda for The Washington Post

With the last pale-yellow traces of sunrise hanging over the track at St. Christopher’s School, Keira D’Amato prepares to run.

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Friday, July 15, 2022

Photo: Luke Christopher for Foothills Forum

Cider and dulcimers come to Estes Mill

Julia Shanahan for Rappahannock News

A historical gristmill in Sperryville will soon become a destination where residents and tourists can drink locally-brewed cider and learn about a little-known Appalachian instrument, the dulcimer. 

Read the full article at Rappahannock News.

Photo: Courtesy of the May 17, 1956
Staunton News Leader

Queen Elizabeth Miller’s ‘courage to do and to dare’ created home for Staunton children

Dale Brumfield for The News Leader (Staunton)

A construction accident in 1915 on a New York City Street that killed the mother of an eight-year-old girl propelled a Black Virginia woman into a 38-year crusade to provide care for Staunton and Augusta County’s most indigent children, regardless of race. 

Read the full article at The News Leader.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Photo: Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record

Bygone Era: No Longer Student Hubs, School Lockers Now Largely A Relic Of The Past

Megan Williams for Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg)

It used to be a rite of passage, being assigned a locker for the first time, whether it was first in middle school or in high school. Some lockers were half size, some full size. Was your locker close to your friends? Close to the bathroom? Which friends’ locker was the one everyone congregated around? 

Read the full article at Daily News-Record.

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