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Time lapse of the Blackbird landing in the Science Museum of Virginia

This video has been out for a couple weeks but flew under our radar, as Blackbirds are known to do.

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Richmond Time Lapse showcases a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Science Museum of Virginia’s next permanent exhibition, Speed. Enjoy a sneak peek at the construction and engineering behind the installation of the SR-71 Blackbird and Speed exhibit components!

As you can see the exhibit is still a work in progress but the museum promises more time lapse videos so check back on YouTube.

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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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Education

Current Proposed Plans for the Richmond Public School Year

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Richmond like every city in the nation is in the midst of weighing their options for the fast-approaching school year. School Superintendent Jason Kamras released a statement on Friday that took a look at how the school board sees the current situation and five plans for going forward. There is more information and plenty of charts and graphs on the RPS website.

Current Situation

  • Central Virginia continues to see declining “percent positivity” – that is, the percent of tests that come back positive – while still testing at a very high rate.
  • The infection rate for children is quite low, as is their risk of serious illness when infected.
  • The risk of child-to-child transmission, especially in young people 10-years-old and younger, appears to be quite low.
  • Similarly, the risk of child-to-adult transmission appears to be quite low.
  • The risk of adult-to-adult transmission is much more significant.

 Proposed Plans

Plan A

  • A fully virtual option PLUS
  • A hybrid option that includes 2 days of in-person instruction and 3 days of virtual instruction each week PLUS
  • 5 days of in-person instruction each week for students with greater academic needs (e.g., certain students with IEPs and certain English Learners)

Plan B

  • A fully virtual option PLUS
  • A fully in-person option

Plan C (Broken down by grade)

  • Only a fully virtual option for middle school and secondary students
  • Only a fully virtual option for high schoolers

Plan D

  • Fully virtual, except for students with the most academic needs

Plan E

  • Fully virtual for everyone

No staff member will be required to work in person no matter what a virtual option will be offered.

Residents are encouraged to send comments to [email protected] for a school board meeting on Tuesday or to email the superintendent directly at [email protected].

Also on Friday, both the Chesterfield and Richmond Education Associations released statements in favor of returning with 100% virtual instruction rather than putting students in the classroom “should be a non-controversial position on returning to school during a global pandemic.”

The REA statement points out that the reliance on schools to provide daycare, meals, healthcare for children so that workers can get back to work is an indictment on the economic disparity that grips our nation. Additionally, the lack of funding support for teachers and school infrastructure does not put them in a position to achieve success.

Full letter below.

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Government

Henrico launches rental assistance program for residents impacted by the COVID economy

Funding is available for qualifying, income-eligible households that have been impacted by job loss, furlough, reduction in hours of pay or other factors resulting from the economic downturn precipitated by the pandemic.

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Henrico residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic and are at risk of losing their rental house or apartment can apply for emergency support through the Henrico COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program.

Funding is available for qualifying, income-eligible households that have been impacted by job loss, furlough, reduction in hours of pay or other factors resulting from the economic downturn precipitated by the pandemic. The emergency program is designed to prevent homelessness; assistance is intended for Henrico renters facing the imminent loss of their residence.

Henrico County has received $360,000 from the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to fund the effort.

Since the pandemic surfaced in central Virginia in mid-March, more than 33,900 Henrico residents have filed initial unemployment claims through July 4, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission. More than 15,200 residents have filed continuing unemployment claims.

Applications in English and Spanish are available from Henrico’s Department of Social Services. Residents can download and print the application or request that one is mailed to them. Beginning Monday, July 13, residents can pick up an application at Social Services’ offices at 8600 Dixon Powers Drive and 3820 Nine Mile Road.

Emergency rental payments of up to $1,500 per month will be made on behalf of Henrico residents who qualify for the program. The payments, which can cover overdue rent, delinquency fees, and court filing fees, will be made for up to four months. Applicants will need to provide documentation regarding the economic impact of the pandemic on their finances and household income as well as additional verification.

The Henrico COVID-19 Rental Assistance program will continue while funding is available.

Additional information is available from Social Services and by calling (804) 501-5294.

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Crime

Mayor Stoney names members of “Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety”

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

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Today Mayor Levar Stoney announced the members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety and outlined his primary requests of the diverse group of professionals. The majority of task force members stood with the mayor for the announcement.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” said the mayor. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The members of the task force bring an array of perspectives from activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, emergency services, artistic, healthcare, and other fields. At the close of a 45-day period, the task force will bring the mayor a set of actionable steps forward to build a safer city for all.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” said Mayor Stoney. “I have asked this task force to report back with initial recommendations within 45 days of their first meeting.”

The mayor established three foundational requests of the task force: reviewing the police department’s use of force policies, exploring an approach to public safety that uses a human services lens, and prioritizing community healing and engagement.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” noted the mayor. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“Last month I expressed my support for the VBLC’s package for the summer session,” said Mayor Stoney. “This task force can determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus community advocacy to make statewide change a reality.”

Members of the Task Force

Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat,
 Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS

Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer

Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team

Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development

Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker

Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism

Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia

Councilman Mike Jones

Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District

Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team

Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney

Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church

Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VCU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child

Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD

Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond

Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member

Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson

Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center

Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership

Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers

Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns

Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The Mayor’s Office is specifically working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.

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