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VPM Daily Newscast February 9, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.

Listeners can subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, and Spotify.

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, February 9, 2021:

  • The 2021 legislative session officially adjourned on Monday, but work is far from over for the General Assembly. A special session, called by Gov. Ralph Northam, begins on Wednesday to finish up this year’s work. Going forward, the House and Senate will only consider bills from the other body, having finalized their own proposals. Some bills are likely to move quickly, as the House and Senate have already passed similar legislation. Others will take longer, as conferences of senators and delegates meet to iron out differences between their proposals. Northam indicated the special session will last two weeks, but no official end date has yet been announced.


  • The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are reporting a shortage of vaccine supply, saying they don’t yet have enough doses for everyone who is eligible. Phase 1b, which includes people over the age of 65, those with preexisting conditions and some essential workers, makes up roughly half of the state’s population. On Monday, the vaccine head for the districts said that group will likely not be fully vaccinated until March.


  • According to the CDC, vaccination rates have historically been lowest in Latino communities, but Richmond public health officials are hoping to counteract that. In addition to vaccine hesitancy, a widespread phenomena, many Latinos also face significant barriers to medical access, including language, immigration policies and cost. Officials say they aren’t asking about immigration status and are recruiting more Spanish-speaking workers to address those barriers. To counteract vaccine hesitancy, people like Karla Almendarez-Ramos, the manager of Richmond’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, are publicly getting the COVID-19 vaccine. She says the process was quick and easy and hopes her example will inspire others in the Latino community to get their vaccine as well.


  • Chesterfield County Public schools will hold a hearing on next school year’s budget Tuesday night. Officials say they hope to raise teacher salaries. Board members will also get an update from county health officials on when middle and high school students may return to classes. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., but online comments must be submitted by 2 p.m.


  • Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney submitted an agreement to City Council Monday night to redevelop the city’s dilapidated Public Safety Building. Capital City Developers, who was formerly behind the failed Navy Hill proposal, is offering the city about $3.5 million for the vacant building on the corner of 9th and Leigh Streets. The developers say they plan to create a mixed-use development, anchored by office space for VCU Health and facilities for two non-profits: the Doorways and Ronald McDonald House. In addition to cash, they are also offering community benefits, like minority business contracts and scholarships for RPS students. The agreement is subject to City Council approval.


  • The RVA Environmental Film Festival is kicking off this week. It will showcase films from here in Virginia and across the world, including one from a local father-son duo. The event will run from Feb. 12-26.


  • According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, 78% of Virginia’s intensive care beds are occupied, as of yesterday. Around 3,500 inpatient beds are available, while 2,300 Virginians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 or awaiting test results. Across the state, 34% of ventilators are in use.


VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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