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Take a video tour of VCU’s new practice facility

Still lots of work but you can get a good idea of how it’s shaping up.

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VCU’s spent $25 million on their new practice facility take a peek inside amongst the ongoing contruction with this video.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Crime

Police looking for man wearing Scream mask who robbed BP station on Arthur Ashe Boulevard

An unknown suspect wearing a “Scream” mask walked into the convenience store, displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk.

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From Richmond Police:

At approximately 7:57 p.m. yesterday, an officer responded to a business in the 3300 block of N Arthur Ashe Boulevard for the report of a robbery that had just occurred.

An unknown suspect wearing a “Scream” mask walked into the convenience store, displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. The suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register before fleeing the scene on foot toward Westwood Avenue.

The suspect was last seen wearing the mask, a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, black sneakers, and black gloves.

At this point, detectives are investigating the robbery as possibly related to previous incidents where the suspect wore a similar mask. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

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Downtown

Tethering bill adds new protections for animals kept outside

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

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By Ada Romano

Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home.

Senate Bill 272, introduced by Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, would increase the required length of the tether from 10 feet or three times the length of the animal to 15 feet or four times the length of the animal. Under the bill, pets can’t be tied during a heat advisory or if a severe weather warning has been issued, including hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warnings. The bill outlaws tethering in temperatures 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and when an owner is not home. Last session, a bill expanded the law from a 3-foot tether to 10 feet. That bill, introduced by Sen. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, originally carried the same language as Bell’s current bill, but it was amended by a Senate committee.

Robert Leinberger, animal control supervisor for Richmond Animal Care and Control, said that some parts of the bill may be difficult to enforce. Still, if the legislation gets passed, Leinberger said, it will make a difference because people will be forced to be more aware of the law. He said more people will call to report instances of animals being improperly tethered.

“For example, if it’s inclement weather when it’s really super cold or really super hot, then we do occasionally see more calls for service because of the animals left out,” Leinberger said.

Kate Riviello, a New York-based animal rights activist who also works in Virginia, supports that the bill outlaws outdoor tethering when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Virginia law currently requires that an animal must have access to water, but the water doesn’t make a difference if it freezes, she said.

Riviello also supports “Tommie’s Law,” legislation passed last year that made animal cruelty a felony in Virginia. The law is named after a pit bull that died after he was set on fire. Riviello said she is happy to see the changes Virginia is making to protect the rights of animals but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to continue in the right direction.

“With ‘Tommie’s law,’ I think it was really tremendous that they took that step,” Riviello said. The key also is to enforce animal rights’ laws, Riviello said, which isn’t always the case.

Leinberger said implementing animal rights’ legislation is important because it enables people to better care for their pets. Tethering is just one issue that needs to be addressed, he said.

The bill is awaiting action by the Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

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People

Henrico names new deputy county manager for community affairs

Smith-Callahan has served as assistant superintendent of policy, equity, and communication for the Virginia Department of Education since April 2019. She brings more than 20 years of experience in community engagement, public and media relations and event management in the public, nonprofit and business sectors.

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Henrico County has appointed Monica Smith-Callahan as its deputy county manager for community affairs, a newly restructured position focusing on community outreach.

Smith-Callahan has served as assistant superintendent of policy, equity, and communication for the Virginia Department of Education since April 2019. She brings more than 20 years of experience in community engagement, public and media relations and event management in the public, nonprofit and business sectors.

As deputy county manager for community affairs, Smith-Callahan will promote relationships with nongovernmental entities and will serve as a liaison to Henrico County Public Schools and other governmental entities. She also will provide expertise on federal, state and local regulations, legislation and policies affecting the county and will oversee or serve as a primary contact for various departments, agencies, and functions, including the Henrico County Public Library, Health Department, Capital Region Workforce Partnership, Electoral Board, Extension Office, and legislative affairs.

She will be Henrico’s fifth deputy county manager, joining others focused on administration and community services, community development, community operations, and public safety. Her appointment is effective Tuesday, Feb. 18.

She also has served as director of workforce programs for ChamberRVA, director of outreach and development for Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond, community engagement director for Richmond 2015 Inc., chief of staff for U-Turn Sports Performance Academy and communications assistant to the vice president and public relations manager for Comcast Cable.

Smith-Callahan holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from George Mason University and a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University.

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