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VPM Daily Newscast: August 10, 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.           

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 Tuesday, August 10, 2021: 

  • Yesterday, the Virginia General Assembly approved the final budget for American Rescue Plan funds. That’s despite the fact Senate Republicans expressed concerns that their suggestions went mostly unheard. Sen. David Suetterlein (R- Roanoke) criticized the conference committee’s decision to not appropriate  all of the 4.3 billion dollars available. Finance committee chair Sen Janet Howell (D- Fairfax), argued that having a cash reserve is needed. Governor Ralph Northam has indicated his approval of the completed budget - the bill will now go to his desk for signing. 

  • Virginia lawmakers selected eight candidates yesterday  to sit on the Virginia Court of Appeals. Members of the Democratic majority tout the diverse makeup of the group, highlighting that the nominees include four women and four African-Americans. Today, both the House Courts Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to certify the nominees. Then, they will be voted on by both chambers. Lawmakers expanded the court from 11 to 17 judges earlier this year, after a new law guaranteed Virginians the right to an appeal. 

  • Yesterday, Richmond Public Schools kicked off a series of trainings for educators. As Megan Pauly reports, increasing student literacy is the district’s number one goal this year. 

  • VCU and VCU Health is shifting from the COVID-19 vaccine being a recommendation for faculty and staff to it being a requirement. Yesterday’s announcement aligns the university and health system with Governor Ralph Northam’s directive for state employees to get vaccinated. The pivot is due to the emergence of the Delta variant, which is more contagious and causes severe illness. Mask wearing has also been established as a requirement for indoor settings on campus and health facilities. 

  • Virginia Commonwealth University has been looking into potential changes to its fraternity and sorority culture. This comes after a student died after an alleged hazing incident. Yesterday, the university shared its findings. Alan Rodriguez Espinoza has more details. 

  • After a month break, the Chesterfield School Board will meet tonight to make plans for the upcoming school year, which begins in less than two weeks. On the agenda is the question: should masks be required for staff and students. Governor Ralph Northam says all school divisions should follow C-D-C guidelines, --- which recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. People who want to speak in person during the evening meeting must contact the clerk’s office by 2 today. The online comment form will also close at this time. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 and will be streamed on the district’s website at

  • The Richmond Police Department’s plans to install license plate reading cameras, where predominantly Black and brown residents live and socialize, is brewing concerns. Richmond police say the use of cameras will cut down on criminal activity. But according to the Richmond Time Dispatch, critics argue entire neighborhoods are being criminalized to find a few agitators and that the methods are invasive. While the police department says the locations of the license plate readers are still being finalized, neighborhoods under consideration include Shockoe Bottom, Southwood and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties. 

  • The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, or STAC, reports that freshwater mussels provide many ecological benefits, but their status is threatened. Patrick Larsen visited a local mussel hatchery and has this report