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VPM Daily Newscast: December 23, 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 Thursday, December 23, 2021: 

  • Historic preservationists with the state opened a time capsule discovered under the former site of the Robert E. Lee Monument yesterday. After hours of painstaking work, they found an 1875 almanac, two other books, a coin and an envelope - all damaged by water. This is likely not the same time capsule described in newspapers when the monument went up. State officials say the box was made from different material than expected and was filled with a fraction of the 60 items reported to be buried. 

  • A former senator and Virginia Governor and his wife were injured by a massive house fire Tuesday night. Chuck and Lynda Robb were treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, per a  statement from the family. According to the  Washington Post, it’s unclear how the fire started, but authorities are investigating if it was an electrical issue.  About 60 firefighters from surrounding counties responded to the house in McLean, Virginia. It took about an hour and a half to get the fire under control.   

  • The  state health department is reminding Virginians to take steps to protect their loved ones and the community this holiday season. According to the CDC, data of this region of the country shows the Omicron variant represents more than 75 percent of COVID-19 cases. To stay healthy and safe, the Virginia Department of Health recommends wearing a mask at indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The agency also suggests getting tested before going to gatherings, especially if the people you’re visiting are vulnerable or at high risk.  VDH is still offering community testing events. Take-home antigen tests are also available at public libraries, while supplies last.   

  • According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 180 million people made in-store and online purchases over Thanksgiving. As Ian Stewart reports, many local businesses are also seeing an upswing in customers. But pandemic related issues are stifling some sales. 

  • If you expect to be hungry on Christmas Day, there’s somewhere in the City of Richmond where you’ll be welcomed with a hot meal. Meg Schiffres has more details. 

  • There is one person who won’t have to worry about traveling this Christmas. The State Veterinarian has issued a permit allowing Santa Claus to bring his herd of eight tiny reindeer into Virginia this weekend. It also gives permission for the passage of one rare red-nosed reindeer. The permit from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources allows Mr. Claus to circumvent the current prohibition against the import of deer into the state.  In a statement, Santa said he loves to deliver presents in the Commonwealth, and that his reindeer enjoy Virginian carrots and apples.