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VPM Daily Newscast March 17, 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 Wednesday, March 17, 2021:

  • A year ago today, Gov. Ralph Northam issued an order that limited gatherings to ten people. VPM News reporter Ben Paviour spoke with Virginia’s top health official, Dr. Norm Oliver, about what he’s learned in the year since the commonwealth locked down.


  • The Virginia Department of Health announced yesterday that some regions are moving into the next phase of vaccinations this week. Phase 1c includes a broader range of essential workers, such as those working in energy, food service and media. Local health departments are required to make efforts to reach people in the first two priority groups before moving into the new stage. Officials stressed the importance of signing up on the state’s pre-registration portal in order to get an appointment. Chesterfield County projects that they will be able to move into 1c in a few weeks.


  • A community vaccination center serving Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Petersburg and neighboring areas is opening at Virginia State University today. At a press conference yesterday at V-S-U, officials said they expect to administer 3,000 shots daily, but hope to ramp up to 6,000 in the coming weeks. It’s part of the Virginia Department of Health’s efforts to set up larger vaccination sites around the state.The shots are by appointment only. Anyone can pre-register at or call 877-VAX-IN-V-A.


  • Many Virginians with past felony convictions learned yesterday that Governor Ralph Northam has made them eligible to vote. As Whittney Evans reports, he’s fast-tracked legislative efforts to restore the civil rights of tens of thousands of people


  • A coalition of Black students is demanding the University of Richmond rename two buildings, tied to slavery and racism. Among their list of demands, the students are also advocating for academic accommodations and access to additional mental health services. VPM News spoke with several Black students who expressed frustration with the university administration.


  • Today, the City of Richmond will launch an updated version of it’s non-emergency services app, RVA 311. Some of the new features include a system for residents to track requests in their neighborhood, an interactive map, and mobile alerts. 


  • Richmond schools will not use a year-round calendar for the upcoming school year. After hours of debate and originally delaying the vote, the board decided Monday night to reject the superintendent’s proposal
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.