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VPM Daily Newscast: August 11, 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 Wednesday, August 11, 2021: 

  • State lawmakers are heading home after wrapping up a special session yesterday. As Ben Paviour reports, they appointed judges and passed an over $4 billion budget. 

  • Hopewell Public Schools is making plans to expand virtual learning – in response to over three dozen confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and staff. The Virginia Department of Health isn’t considering this an outbreak yet. Only a few cases have been linked to the school district. Community members and parents, like Rosaland Taylor, attended a town hall to voice a variety of concerns this week. The district is finalizing a contract with a private company to expand virtual options as a short-term solution. This option will be available in two weeks, according to a district spokesperson. 

  • Last week, Governor Ralph Northam asserted local school districts must adopt mask mandates. That came after the CDC released stricter guidance for schools reopening. Connor Scribner has more

  • Richmond is once again seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations, as the more contagious Delta variant continues to spread. During a press conference yesterday, Doctor Melissa Viray with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts explained that a large majority of these cases are among unvaccinated people. She added that the city’s level of COVID-19 transmission is at “high,” and she called on everyone to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. COVID-19 cases have been back on the rise in Central Virginia since July. 

  • Yesterday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney addressed a controversial plan by the city’s police department to install license plate reading cameras in some neighborhoods. Stoney expressed support for the initiative, citing a rise in crime across the city and nation. Critics of the cameras say the move is invasive, and that it disproportionately targets majority Black and brown neighborhoods, including Shockoe Bottom, Southwood and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties. 

  • Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine voted in favor of a $1 trillion infrastructure plan yesterday. Now the Commonwealth Institute and other groups are pressing the senators to support a larger, $3.5 trillion package paid for by tax increases. They’re pointing to a new survey they commissioned showing two thirds of Virginia voters support the package. Guy Molyneux is with Heart Research Associates, which conducted the poll of around 500 Virginians. Biden has proposed using the tax increases to make additional investments in health care, childcare and the environment. Republicans in Congress have rejected the spending as unnecessary.