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VPM Daily Newscast: September 29, 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, September 29, 2021: 

  • New state filings by Dominion Energy show the utility company paid a newspaper columnist more than $260,000 over the last four years. As VPM previously reported, the columnist -- Gordon Morse -- sometimes wrote unsigned editorials praising Dominion in Hampton Roads newspapers.  Ben Paviour has more.  

  • The Virginia Employment Commission is delaying the roll out of its new unemployment insurance system by a month. According to the commission’s  website, the current system will be down in late October for upgrades. The new version will be released in early November. That means customers will not be able to file or reopen claims -- or reach out for inquires over the phone during the changeover. Governor Ralph Northam originally asked the V-E-C to do these upgrades by October, after Virginians complained about not receiving their unemployment payments during the pandemic.  

  • The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce hosted the final gubernatorial debate last night between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Notably absent from the stage was Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding. She was escorted out of the audience after interrupting the debate - highlighting that she was not asked to participate despite qualifying for the ballot. Whittney Evans reports.

  • Three Richmond school board members announced yesterday that they’re in support of a resolution to allow school district employees to participate in collective bargaining. The board members include Kenya Gibson, Stephanie Rizzi and Dr. Shonda Harris-Muhammed. According to a joint statement from the board members, quote: “Only through an organized and empowered workforce can we mitigate the struggles currently before us and prepare for the decades to come.” The group plans to introduce the resolution at next Monday’s school board meeting. 

  • Virginia State University canceled classes yesterday in an effort to fight mental and physical fatigue from the pandemic. Instead of classes, the  Progress-Index reports the university’s health and wellness center held activities. Students were encouraged to go to the school’s counseling center if they needed further help. Employees could also take the day off. VSU’s president says the pandemic has piled more pressure on top of the typical stress of higher education. This added pressure, he said, quote: “makes intentional intervention to address wellness all the more necessary.” 

  • Culpeper town officials clarify that they are not planning to accept Richmond’s monument of A.P. Hill. According to the  Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mayor Levar Stoney’s office claimed there were pending plans to move the monument to the town. Culpeper officials say they’ve been in contact with a Richmond-area funeral home about relocating Hill’s remains to a local cemetery. Hill’s remains are currently buried under the statue. Negotiations on where to relocate the Hill monument are still going on. It’s the last Confederate memorial standing in Richmond.  

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