VPM Daily Newscast March 2, 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.
Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, March 2, 2021:
Richmond City Council voted last night to sell the defunct Public Safety Building. Capital City Partners, LLC, the developers behind the failed Navy Hill Plan, will purchase the building from the city for about $3.5 million, promising to invest $325 million to tear down and redevelop the building.
Labor advocates in Virginia have created a new website meant to help workers facing wage theft and other violations in the workplace. The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy created the website, which they say is necessary due to recent changes in labor law that protect employees who file complaints to the Department of Labor. The site offers legal resources and information to workers in English and Spanish.
Richmond Police and Virginia Commonwealth University are investigating the death of Adam Oakes, a 19-year-old freshman college student. Several social media accounts point to hazing as the cause of Oakes' death over the weekend. An RPD spokesperson says the medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death. In a statement, VCU said the local chapter of the fraternity Delta Chi is facing consequences and has been suspended. Students are petitioning for the group to be expelled permanently.
State health officials announced the new single-dose COVID-19 vaccine will start being offered this week. On Saturday, the Food Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the new vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson. Virginia is expected to receive 69,000 doses this week. State officials say these doses will be prioritized for mass vaccination clinics. Some will be sent to pharmacies working with federal partners.
The Virginia General Assembly session officially ended on Monday. One of the last big items on lawmakers’ agenda was updating the $135 billion state budget. After predicting the pandemic would hurt tax revenues, state lawmakers learned last month that they actually had a $730 million surplus. The revised two-year budget agreed to over the weekend would fund a 5% pay raise for teachers and state employees and an 8% pay raise for state police. Schools that saw enrollment drop during the pandemic will get an extra $433 million.
- Five Virginia colleges will have to research the use of enslaved people’s labor in building their schools, under a bill approved by the General Assembly. The colleges, including Longwood and Virginia Commonwealth University, will then create a scholarship for descendants or partner with their local Black community on an economic development program.