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Crime

VCU receives $6 million grant to reduce youth violence, strengthen community

The grant from the CDC will support a myriad of violence reduction initiatives over the next five years.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded Virginia Commonwealth University a nearly $6 million research grant to promote healthy communities and reduce violence rates in Richmond, the university announced this week.

Saba Masho, M.D., Dr.PH.

Saba Masho, M.D., Dr.PH.

The grant resulted from a strong collaboration between community partners and the university. VCU will work closely with members of the Richmond community and local organizations to carry out objectives detailed in the five-year grant.

“We will be working with city residents and community partners to improve our capacity to overcome issues that affect the health of youth,” said co-principal investigator Saba Masho, M.D., DrPh, professor of family medicine at VCU School of Medicine in a news release.

Masho will partner on the grant with co-principal investigator Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., professor of psychology at VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

The project continues the work of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development at VCU, which is one of five national centers of excellence for youth violence prevention funded by the CDC. Clark-Hill’s mission is to empower youth, schools and families to promote the healthy, safe and otherwise positive development of youth from early adolescence through emerging adulthood. The current project builds upon more than 15 years of CDC funding.

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

In 2014, the rate of homicide among young people in Richmond was nearly four times the national average. Activities funded through the grant will seek to reduce incidences of violence in the city by evaluating the impact of evidence-based violence intervention approaches.

University researchers and community partners will work with residents of three neighborhoods in North, East and South Richmond to identify pre-existing programs in each community and build on the strengths of those programs.

“We are informed by community needs and strengths at every juncture,” Sullivan said. “We will rely on community members to help us understand how we can build on existing protective factors. At the end of the five years, we may have communities with differences in programs and prevention efforts based on each community’s current needs.”

The project will include continuous assessment of outcomes through community surveys and various forms of surveillance data. If proven effective, the intervention strategies developed during the five-year grant may advance the science and practice of youth violence prevention. Findings may also inform youth violence prevention strategies in communities beyond Richmond.

“There are so many factors that can cause youth to engage in violence and these behaviors affect the health of entire communities,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “It is imperative that we successfully identify and address the risk factors for violence and provide young people with viable options for the future. Our continued work with VCU is a tremendous opportunity that we welcome and that can have far-reaching benefits.”

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Crime

Moody MS 8th-grader wins spell-off to capture pandemic edition of HCPS division-wide Spelling Bee

Ananya Nanduru clinched the 2021 title in the second round by correctly spelling “graticule,” the network of latitude and longitude lines on which a map is drawn.

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Ananya Nanduru of George H. Moody Middle School won a spell-off on January 26th to repeat as Henrico County Public Schools’ Division-wide Spelling Bee champion. The eighth-grader bested Hollie Kim, an L. Douglas Wilder Middle School sixth-grader, to win the tiebreaker, held virtually. Nanduru clinched the 2021 title in the second round by correctly spelling “graticule,” the network of latitude and longitude lines on which a map is drawn.

The winner was presented with the HCPS spelling trophy at Moody Middle School Tuesday afternoon by school division representatives, including Marcie Shea, School Board vice-chair and Tuckahoe District representative, and Amy Cashwell, superintendent. Nanduru’s is the third Moody Middle School championship in as many years. That means the trophy, which resides at the winning school, will remain on display at Moody. The award was made possible by a donation from four-time Henrico spelling champion Tejas Muthusamy, a former Moody student now at Maggie Walker Governor’s School. The Henrico Education Foundation had the trophy made.

Ordinarily, spelling champions from HCPS’ 46 elementary schools and 12 middle schools gather onstage at a middle school auditorium to determine the annual champion. Because of the pandemic, this year’s 58 school champions each took an online spelling test provided by Scripps, the media company that coordinates the national bee. Each was required to complete the test within a 15-minute window. When those results were tabulated, Nanduru and Kim had identical scores, and advanced to the virtual video spell-off.

Nanduru moves on to represent Henrico County Public Schools on March 15th in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Regional Spelling Bee, which will also be held virtually. The regional winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is held in late May and televised by ESPN.

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Crime

RPD seeking public’s assistance in identifying man found dead near Bandy Field and U of R

At approximately 7:06 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, an unknown deceased male with no form of identification was found in the 6700 block of Three Chopt Road. No foul play is suspected.

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying a male who was found early Sunday morning.

At approximately 7:06 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, an unknown deceased male with no form of identification was found in the 6700 block of Three Chopt Road. No foul play is suspected.

The male is described as a white male in his late teens or early twenties with hazel eyes, dark hair, and a slim build. He was wearing a tan long sleeve shirt with a distinctive design on the front of the shirt, grey sweatpants, grey shoes with green on them and had a tan backpack. Photos of the clothing are attached.

Anyone with information to assist in this investigation is asked to call Major Crimes Detective N. Reese at (804) 510-4183 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

Photos of the deceased man’s clothing and apparel are below.

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Crime

Arrest made in Arthur Ashe Boulevard hotel homicide that occurred in 2020

Marquise McCormick was incarcerated in Chesterfield County on unrelated charges. Last week, he was charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in relation to the Richmond homicide.

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From Richmond Police:

Richmond Police detectives have made an arrest in last summer’s homicide on Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

Marquise McCormick was incarcerated in Chesterfield County on unrelated charges. Last week, he was charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in relation to the Richmond homicide.

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine Stroman lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Bailey at (804) 646-6743 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or www.7801000.com or the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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