VPM Daily Newscast: August 19, 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.
Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Thursday, August 19, 2021:
Governor Ralph Northam is urging students and parents to comply with his executive order requiring masks in schools. Some parents have chosen to opt their students out of the mandate by listing medical or religious exemptions. Northam says the order will keep students safe and is not permanent. State officials recorded six COVID outbreaks in K through 12 schools last week. The latest one is in Fauquier County, where 244 children are currently quarantined because of exposure to the coronavirus.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona toured Glen Allen High School in Henrico County Wednesday, encouraging teachers to continue providing support to students as they return for a new school year. While Cardona has said publicly that he supports vaccine mandates, Wednesday he told reporters that he thinks the decision is best left up to local leaders. Henrico County Public Schools is not requiring staff to get vaccinated, unlike neighboring Richmond Public Schools.
Virginia closed out the last fiscal year in June with the largest budget surplus in its history. The $2.6 billion dollar surplus was driven by revenue from payroll and online sales taxes. In a speech to lawmakers Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam said strong revenues have allowed the state to make new investments during the pandemic. State law requires much of the surplus to go toward reserve funds. Northam will submit his final budget proposal in December before he leaves office.
Two Richmond-based landlord companies are being sued by Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring filed a lawsuit this week against Jumpstart University and Vasilios Education Center for allegedly defrauding tenants, including some who were formerly homeless. The lawsuit alleges Carl Vaughan, the operator of both companies, enticed tenants with so-called “wrap-around services,” like credit counseling and employment assistance, and then failed to provide said services. The lawsuit also claims that tenants were aggressively evicted using inaccurate payment records.
The nonprofit Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine presented a report to lawmakers yesterday taking a close look at the coastal impacts of human-caused climate change in the state. According to the Virginia Mercury, a group of scientists, industry leaders, regional planners and other experts summarized a broad range of existing research for the report. They concluded that sea level rise and more common heavy rain events mean flooding will be more frequent, more intense and costlier - and the impact on coastal industries and military installations will ripple across Virginia’s entire economy. The authors say lawmakers need to improve the state’s ability to mitigate climate change’s unavoidable impacts - with funding, resilience planning, and research.