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Strange Matter Closing

The popular music venue is throwing in the towel and will host its final show on December 15th.

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This weekend Strange Matter the club that has featured hundreds of bands announced that they’re closing down in December.

Starting this past Sunday, the club will be opening on limited hours with a reduced menu. They plan to make an effort to book any band that wants to come back for a final performance. The final event is currently planned for 12/15 and will be their annual Punks for Presents.

From Strange Matter Facebook:

It is with a very heavy heart that after nearly a decade in operation, STRANGE MATTER will be closing the doors at 929 W. Grace Street in mid-December. All good things must come to an end, and the time is now for the owners to start new chapters in their lives and send the business out on a high note. Please respect the privacy of our hard-working staff while everybody processes this in their own way (unless, of course, you’d like to offer them work).

TO OUR CUSTOMERS AND FRIENDS: It has been a pleasure to continue the 929 tradition of showcasing local, regional, national, and international acts of every genre. It’s been a pleasure to feed, inebriate, and provide you, the Richmond creative community, with a place to feel at home, to let loose, or simply to be yourself. It has been a pleasure to forge relationships with many of you on personal levels. It’s humbling how many of you have wanted to have your wedding, reception, company party, anniversary dinners, and birthdays here, as well as the number of you who have met your life partners or your all-time favorite artists here. We wouldn’t trade the last 9 years of experiences for the world and are happy you were here for a part of it.

TO THE BANDS AND ARTISTS WHO PERFORMED HERE: Without you, this pipe dream wouldn’t have made a bit of sense. The creative energy you brought here, the amount of people you familiarized with the space, and the folks who continue to come because they wanted to support you helped keep this place going for what we believe is the third longest stint at 929 W. Grace (behind the legendary Back Door and Twisters incarnations). We can only hope that the building will again be a home for creatives and used for what we feel it should be, but only time will tell. For now, the Richmond music landscape couldn’t be stronger, with more new venues than ever and more killer locals than ever before–please continue to support this community!

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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

Night shift: Student safety ambassadors provide a resource for the VCU community after dark

The ambassadors, part of the university’s transition to a more equitable public safety model, provide assistance when people need help but don’t need to contact law enforcement.

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If you’re looking for Virginia Commonwealth University sophomore Ayanna Farmer-Lawrence in the evenings, you’ll most likely find her around the Compass wearing a bright-yellow vest.

Farmer-Lawrence is a newly hired student safety ambassador for the VCU Police Department — and her vest is both a uniform and visual identifier for VCU community members.

This past summer, the university announced a plan for police reform initiatives, including workforce realignment and the hiring of non-sworn, unarmed employees to serve as resources on campus when members of the VCU community need assistance, but do not feel compelled to contact law enforcement.

Carly Jackson wearing a safety vest.
Carly Jackson models a designated, uniform vest during her shift. (Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

John Venuti, VCU’s associate vice president of public safety and chief of police, said with safety and well-being as the focus, a student may be a better alternative option for needs such as asking for directions, answering questions about transportation, working at events and walking people to their cars at night.

“The safety ambassadors will be present in places with high volumes of students, such as outside the University Student Commons and the Compass,” Venuti said. “They will predominately work at night because in the spring 2020 perception of safety survey, students told us they feel less safe at night.”

The three safety ambassadors received 40 hours of training and are also tasked with reporting safety concerns they come across during their shifts. In their first two nights working, they reported to police about damaged property, a traffic light failure and a fire at a business on West Broad Street.

Farmer-Lawrence, a homeland security and criminal justice major in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, said the part-time position coincides with her goal of becoming a special agent for the FBI. She was drawn to become a safety ambassador to learn from police, build relationships, network and be ready for internships or employment opportunities upon graduation.

“I thought it was a good idea to be that person that [people] can go to if they have a problem, but don’t want to go to the police directly,” Farmer-Lawrence said. “It’s a good idea given what’s going on in society currently.”

Venuti said he looks forward to hearing feedback from community members about the new program and plans to expand the number of student safety ambassadors, and their designated locations, in spring 2021.

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Community

VCU Life Science Building on West Cary Street Suffers Fire

The fire was quickly brought under control and no injuries were reported.

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From VCU Alert:

On Nov. 18, 2020, the Richmond Fire Department was called to VCU’s Trani Life Sciences Building just before 10:45 a.m. for reports of a fire on the roof. The building was evacuated and no injuries have been reported. The fire appears to be limited to the roof of the building. The cause is being investigated.

  • The Cary Street Gym is open and not impacted by the fire. Cary Street is closed in the area to allow emergency vehicles to respond.
  • No other VCU buildings were impacted due to this incident.

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Community

VCU Ram Attendance Capped at 250

VCU Athletics will begin basketball season with a capacity of 250 spectators inside the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

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VCU Athletics issued this statement earlier today.

VCU Athletics will begin basketball season with a capacity of 250 spectators inside the Stuart C. Siegel Center. Tuesday’s capacity adjustment was made in accordance with new COVID-19 safety guidance from the Commonwealth of Virginia, announced last week.

Should the State issue new guidance in the future, VCU Athletics will adjust accordingly.

A limited number of tickets will be made available to VCU students and guests of student-athletes. Approximately 175 seats will be reserved for season ticket holders. VCU Athletics will determine access to season tickets based on giving level and rank within each giving level, consistent with the Seat Equity model. VCU Athletics has created protocols to make unused tickets available to Ram Athletic Fund members on a single-game basis.

Season ticket holders will receive notice by Wednesday, Nov. 18 if they qualify for the new limited capacity model. Ticket holders who do not meet the limited capacity qualifications will have a variety of options, including the ability to transfer their season ticket donation to a Ram Athletic Fund gift for 2021-22 or a refund.

“We regret that we cannot have our usual full capacity to start the men’s basketball season,” McLaughlin said. “Our loyal, dedicated fans make our home games the best environment in college basketball and we will miss everyone who cannot attend in person. We will continue to work with all parties in an effort to maximize capacity beyond the current guidelines as the season progresses.”

VCU Athletics will limit seating to the arena bowl in a socially-distanced manner, with a buffer zone around the court to prevent contact between fans and participants. Courtside seating and the Tommy J. West Club will be closed. Ticket holders in those areas will have the opportunity to sit in the bowl area.

We here at RVAHub are in communication with the Rams and are hoping to have a photographer at the game but that isn’t confirmed yet.

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