VPM Daily Newscast: August 3, 2021
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.
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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Tuesday, August 3, 2021:
There were lots of fistbumps and handshakes in the halls of Virginia’s Capitol yesterday as lawmakers returned to Richmond. As Ben Paviour reports, it’s been 500 days since their last in-person meeting.
As legislators gathered in the capitol, Medicaid homecare workers were rallying outside. Joy Barnes and others urged lawmakers to use some of the federal stimulus money to increase their pay. Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing a $1,000 bonus for home care workers like Barnes. Democrats have also backed plans to speed up a previously-approved 12 percent pay increase.
Among the funding proposals being reviewed by lawmakers this week is over 30 million dollars set aside for new community crisis response programs. Named Marcus Alert after a Black Richmond man killed by police during a mental health crisis, the system seeks to get behavioral health experts on the scene during emergencies. The funding would cover implementation costs for some localities, and specialized training for emergency dispatchers. The system was approved by lawmakers following last year’s racial justice actions - but some advocates say the program as passed doesn’t do enough to get law enforcement out of mental health crises.
US Representative Abigail Spanberger is seeking $1 million in federal funds to help build a detox center in Henrico County. As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the House of Representatives approved the funding last week. If passed in the Senate, the money would help fund construction of a 24-hour detox and recovery center on Nine Mile Road. The $12-million-dollar facility could take up to 30 months to be completed and will initially offer 12-16 beds. The detox center is part of a plan to reduce overdose deaths and drug addiction related arrests in Henrico.
The Virginia Department of Health has extended last week’s recreational water advisory for the James River. VDH is asking people to avoid swimming, tubing, and whitewater kayaking in the James from Robious Landing to Belle Isle in Richmond. VDH says that it announced the advisory out of an abundance of caution due the release of about 300,000 gallons of raw sewage into Tuckahoe Creek. Clean-up efforts are underway. The river water was tested again yesterday, with new results expected back on Wednesday. VDH has observed no evidence of impacts to drinking water at this time. VPM News will continue to provide water advisory updates.
A nationwide ban on evictions expired over the weekend. Holly Yates is a housing attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia. She fears a surge of Virginians will lose their homes over the next few months. Virginia is doling out financial assistance to tenants who owe back rent and Governor Ralph Northam’s office says he’s considering measures to protect tenants from eviction. To learn more, visit dhcd.virginia.gov.