VPM Daily Newscast: September 15, 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 Wednesday, September 15, 2021:
A task force to establish a civilian review board on police misconduct in Richmond presented their recommendations to City Council Monday afternoon. Those recommendations included giving the board subpoena power and excluding law enforcement from serving as members. However, the families of police violence victims are objecting to the task force’s suggestion that the board not have retroactive disciplinary power. That means that Marcus-David Peters and the hundreds of protesters assaulted by Richmond police last summer won’t be able to seek justice through the board they played a critical role in creating. The Richmond public safety committee meets September 28th to continue discussing the recommendations.
It’s been a little over a year since Dominion and Duke Energy companies announced they were cancelling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Its legacy is particularly fraught in the small town of Union Hill, Virginia. VPM’s Ben Paviour collaborated with Floodlight News to investigate what happened.
Virginia’s redistricting commission is shifting its region by region approach to focus on statewide maps. This comes after an assessment of how much work still lies ahead. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the commission is directing mapmakers for both parties to submit separate proposed maps for all 100 House districts and all 40 Senate districts for consideration at next Monday’s meeting. Proposed maps for the state house and senate are due October 10th, while maps for U.S. House seats are due by October 25th. The legislature will then vote up or down whether to accept the maps, no amendments are permitted.
Richmond’s health district director Dr. Danny Avula told the school board Monday night that the state has received federal funds specifically for enhanced COVID testing in schools. Details about how the tests will be rolled out are still being discussed, Avula said. According to RPS, staff who’ve received a medical or religious vaccine exemption will be prioritized for weekly COVID tests. The district is weighing who will be prioritized next: for example, athletes, or elementary school students.
On Monday, Richmond school board member Kenya Gibson recommended removing police from city schools by June 30th, 2023. That’s when the district’s contract with the police department is up for renewal. Gibson’s motion failed 3 to 6. The board postponed a vote on a separate proposal from Superintendent Kamras until next Monday night. That proposal would maintain the district’s relationship with RPD, but create a committee to oversee work with police to end student arrests for nonviolent offenses.
N. Gregory Cuffey, chairman of the Hopewell School Board, passed away Sunday morning. The news of his death was announced by Superintendent Melody Hackney in a Facebook post. His cause of death was not released. Cuffey had been a member of the School Board since 2015. He also served on Hopewell’s city council for four years and was vice mayor from 2008 through 2010. He worked alongside former Mayor Brenda Pelham who told VPM News that Cuffey was - quote - “a great man, father, and community supporter… and without a doubt I'm glad he chose Hopewell as his adult home.”