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VPM Daily Newscast March 26, 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 NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, March 26, 2021:

  • Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to ask lawmakers to speed up the timeline for legalizing marijuana in Virginia. Last month, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow adults to possess an ounce or less of marijuana beginning in 2024, but according to sources with knowledge of ongoing negotiations, Northam is now pushing to bump that up to July 1 of this year.


  • An evaluation panel appointed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has whittled down the list of casino proposals from six to three. The remaining proposals face an uphill battle, however, as local residents are mounting opposition to at least two of them.


  • The city of Richmond is taking applications for its new Educator Task Force. The group will be made up of teachers, counselors and other support staff, with the goal of informing the mayor’s education policies. In January, Mayor Levar Stoney terminated a similar group, the Teacher Advisory Council. It made policy recommendations regarding teacher retention and recruitment. At the time, Stoney told members of that council his education priorities had changed. The mayor’s office says this new task force will focus on college and career preparation for students and guidance for planning a year-round academic calendar.


  • Virginia State University is renaming four buildings previously named after Virginians who held racist beliefs and supported discriminatory policies. The university says those individuals don’t represent the school’s legacy.


  • Virginia Commonwealth University announced yesterday that it will offer several in-person and virtual options for graduation ceremonies this spring. A university-wide commencement ceremony will be held virtually on May 15. There will be a virtual pre-party for students and a virtual student speaker. In-person events will be held at the department, school and college levels. The details of those ceremonies are still being finalized. VCU says these events will follow the state’s latest guidance on large gatherings, which allow for either up to 500 people indoors and 5,000 outdoors or 30% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.


  • Yesterday there were over 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Virginia Department of Health. Over 610,000 people in the commonwealth have been diagnosed with the virus over the past year. And 10,147 Virginians have died because of it. The state updates its COVID-19 dashboard every morning.


  • Despite the pandemic driving down the number of cars on the road, a new report from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles shows pedestrian fatalities rose dramatically in 2020. In the Richmond region, pedestrian fatalities rose by nearly 40% from the previous year.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.