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VPM Daily Newscast: June 16, 2021

Correction: The newscast incorrectly stated the VMFA will unveil designs this month for their new expansion; in fact, they will be announcing the architect, not unveiling the designs. We have corrected this article.

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. 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, June 16, 2021: 

  • Critical Race Theory has been used for decades to examine systemic racism. But recently, it’s become a talking point among Republicans, including Glenn Youngkin, who’s running for governor in Virginia. Politicians claim the theory is being taught in schools,  but as Alan Rodriguez Espinoza reports, that’s really not the case. 

  • Virginia Senator Mark Warner says last week’s passage of the “United States Innovation and Competition Act” is intended to address current supply chain issues. Warner told the Washington Post this legislation is necessary because he believes China is intent on stealing intellectual property and beating the U.S. in every area of technology.  

  • Riding on GRTC will continue to be free for another year. The transit authority waved all fees under the plan enacted during the pandemic. Yesterday, the GRTC Board of Directors approved the extension through June of 2022. The total cost of the plan is estimated at nearly $6 million, which is covered by funding from the federal relief funding.  

  • The  Virginia Department of Health has been awarded over $30 million by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal funds are part of a $2.5 billion investment across the country to address health inequities exposed by the pandemic in high-risk and underserved people. 

  • The architect for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ expansion will be unveiled at the end of the month. The three-phased project will include renovating some of the museum’s oldest buildings and creating a new, freestanding annex, according to  Richmond Biz Sense. Officials say the first phase of renovations will likely focus on expanding the Cheek Theater to allow for larger performances, such as ballets. Work on the VMFA's $190 million project is expected to start on July 1. 

  • A rocket successfully launched from Wallops Island off of Virginia’s Eastern Shore yesterday. It was carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. In a statement, Governor Ralph Northam called the launch a strong indication of Virginia’s ability to compete in the growing spaceflight market. Yesterday’s launch was the United States Space Force’s third mission at the Wallops Island facility.