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VPM Daily Newscast May 19, 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, May 19, 2021:

  • Governor Ralph Northam has issued an executive order directing the Virginia Employment Commission to hire more staff and nearly double the number of disputed claims they process each week. As Whittney Evans reports, Virginians have complained for months they haven’t received their unemployment payments during the pandemic.


  • According to the city’s health department, the 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases in Richmond is down to 10 per week. During a press conference yesterday, Mayor Levar Stoney attributed the improving numbers to vaccination rates. He called on young people in particular to get their shots. A spokesperson for the health district said about half of Richmond adults have gotten their first dose, and more than a third are fully vaccinated.


  • Several Hampton Roads cities have higher rates of poverty, unemployment and housing insecurity than Virginia on average. That’s according to new data dashboards that highlight social inequities across the state. Sam Turken, from our partner station WHRV, has more. 


  • President Joe Biden has approved Virginia’s disaster declaration following severe winter storms in February that caused power outages across the state. This means FEMA assistance will be available to most areas of Central Virginia to support recovery efforts. Localities, state agencies and tribal governments can apply for funds through FEMA’s public assistance program until June 9th.


  • New businesses and apartment buildings in Richmond are required to have a minimum number of parking spaces on-site. But as Roberto Roldan reports, City Council is considering eliminating parking minimums.


  • The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is set to receive almost $70 million from the American Rescue Plan. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7) announced the award in a statement yesterday. A little over half of the money, about $36 million, will be used to expand mental health services across the state. The remainder will go to help prevent and treat substance abuse disorders.