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Firefighter’s death prompts stronger highway safety legislation

Last October, Lt. Bradford Clark, a Hanover County firefighter, was killed when a tractor-trailer failed to “move over” as mandated by Virginia law. Now, the General Assembly plans to memorialize Clark through a specialty license plate and strengthen the state’s “move over” law.

Capital News Service



By Benjamin West

In October, Lt. Bradford Clark, a Hanover County firefighter, was killed when a tractor-trailer failed to “move over” as mandated by Virginia law. Now, the General Assembly plans to memorialize Clark through a specialty license plate and strengthen the state’s “move over” law.

As Tropical Storm Michael pummeled Virginia, Clark responded to an accident in the left lane and shoulder of Interstate 295. A tractor-trailer crashed into his fire truck, killing him.

“Public safety officers have repeatedly expressed their concerns to me of dying in the same manner my husband did,” Clark’s widow, Melanie Clark, told lawmakers as she testified in favor of legislation to strengthen the “move over” law.

“They fear they will not come home to their families because of the increased life-threatening dangers that exist while working on highways and byways.”

Enacted in 2002, the “move over” law requires motorists to change lanes for stationary vehicles with flashing emergency lights, including police, firefighters, tow trucks and Virginia Department of Transportation crews. A first offense is a traffic infraction with a fine of up to $250, and a second offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Del. Chris Peace, R-Mechanicsville, said accidents caused by drivers who fail to move over have increased recently. Speaking before the House Courts of Justice Committee, he cited a day in December, during a snowstorm, when four state troopers were rear-ended in a 24-hour period.

In honor of Clark’s memory, Peace is sponsoring HB 1911, which would strengthen the current law and make the first offense a Class 1 misdemeanor rather than a simple traffic infraction. The bill passed committee Monday and is on track to be approved by the full Senate before the end of the 2019 session.
Clark called her husband’s death entirely “avoidable” and “untimely.” She said her husband was aware of the danger and gave his life to warn the other three firefighters on the scene.

“With little time and a tractor-trailer barreling down on them, Brad warned his crew of the oncoming danger,” she said. “His actions saved their lives and cost him his own.”

To further honor Clark’s legacy and bring attention to his death, the Senate passed a bill Monday designating a new specialty license plate inscribed “MOVE OVER” and bearing a picture of Clark. That legislation, HB 2011, also was sponsored by Peace.

“Brad was a dedicated public servant and family man,” the Clark family wrote in a statement shortly after his death. “We delight in the joyous years we spent with Brad and the time we had to know the hero that he was, long before he laid down his life so that others may live.”

Most of the plate’s annual $25 fee will go to the Fredericks Family Fund Foundation, which has pledged to use the money to “honor and help take care of” Clark’s widow and four daughters, according to organizers.

By Jan. 31, 515 paid registrations were collected, surpassing the 450 needed for the initial legislative vote and to print the plates. For the foundation to financially benefit, at least 1,000 registrations are needed.

To order a Lt. Bradford Clark Memorial Plate, visit



The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

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Buildings Damaged Tuesday Night, Arrests Made

No other reports of damage or injuries at this time.




The John Marshall Courthouse, Wells Fargo building, Omni hotel, and a Starbucks were damaged last night.

Brent Solomon of NBC12 Tweeted photos of the damage.

The police released the following statement on arrests.

On Tuesday night a group of individuals broke windows and damaged and defaced property in several neighborhoods in the city of Richmond.

At approximately 11:50 p.m., officers detained several individuals. The Department consulted with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney on possible charges and charged four.

Julius Dela Cruz, Lakshmi Menon, Kyra Nguyen and Brian Quach were charged with rioting.

Several items, including a metal crowbar and a hammer were seized from the individuals.



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Arts & Entertainment

Institute for Contemporary Art and VPM launch community media center

Chioke I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies at VCU, will serve as the center’s inaugural director of community media.

RVAHub Staff



The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, are creating a media center inside the ICA for the production of audio content by VCU students, local community members and VPM professionals.

The VPM+ICA Community Media Center will create new opportunities for storytelling, train and educate the next generation of audio producers, and amplify voices often missing from traditional media.

Under the leadership of Chioke I’Anson, Ph.D., inaugural director of community media, the center will launch this fall with community and student podcasting workshops, training sessions and a special performance — all of which are expected to begin virtually due to COVID-19. The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is slated to open in spring 2021.

l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)
l’Anson will serve as director of community media at the new VPM+ICA Community Media Center. (Photo by Amaya Zaslow)

“Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed the rise of podcasting as a new genre of narrative and documentary arts,” said Dominic Willsdon, executive director of the ICA. “With that in mind, the ICA — as an institution responsive to new currents in public culture — sought to partner with VPM and launch an initiative that supports audio storytelling by, for and about our communities, especially those that have suffered historical inequity. We plan to grow this over time to include audio, video and community media-making more broadly. Beginning in 2021, our new community media center will provide the space, tools and support for this.”

Through this innovative partnership, the ICA and VPM also will launch a multiyear educational and media-making program comprising VCU academic seminars, youth media programs and public seminars, workshops and symposia.

“The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is a unique opportunity for public media to play a role in engaging a new generation of diverse content makers,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and president of VPM. “We are honored to partner with the ICA and Dr. I’Anson to provide a creative space for students and the community to learn how to harness the power of media to tell their stories.”

The ICA’s second-floor Murry DePillars Learning Lab will house the media center, complete with two recording booths and workspace for conceptualizing, editing and producing podcasts and other audio programs.

The project reflects the ICA’s continued engagement with VCU students and faculty to develop new ways of thinking about and utilizing its space, a precedent that’s been in place since the ICA’s conception and has actively shaped its building design and programming.

“Everyone in Richmond has a story that only they can tell, or a perspective only they can share,” said I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU and underwriting announcer at NPR. “The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is the lab where anyone with something to say or a desire to create can get the technical skills to share their vision. The media center will be an arts and storytelling focal point, serving the city of Richmond and helping deliver its stories to the rest of the world.”

I’Anson will teach a podcasting seminar each semester for students in the Department of African American Studies and will work with a managing team comprising VCU students to plan and create a series of community events and youth programs.



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Arts & Entertainment

2nd Street Festival: A Virtual Celebration!

The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community.




The 2nd Street Festival commemorates its 32nd anniversary October 3-4 with a virtual event celebrating downtown’s Jackson Ward community. Venture Richmond Events will present new musical performances, favorite artists from past festivals, cooking demonstrations, virtual tours, neighborhood testimonials, fun family activities, and so much more!


Date: October 3-4, 2020

Ways to watch: Visit this webpage or the 2nd Street Festival Facebook page to livestream the event on Oct. 3-4

Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 from 6:00-7:15pm, and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 5:00-6:15pm

Featured Festival Artists & more!

This year’s virtual festival is a great opportunity for families to plan gatherings and watch parties at home in a safe, fun and responsible way! Here are a few of our featured artists.

Legacy Band: Saturday, October 3

Don’t miss this 2nd Street Festival performance by one of Richmond’s favorite bands playing top hits with a mix of soul, R&B, funk, gogo and jazz. The band was originally formed by guitarist Jose Pomier and vocalist Kaila Valdez.

Desirée Roots: Sunday, October 4

Known for showcasing her triple-threat talents of singing, acting and dancing, Desiree performs some of her favorite jazz selections for the 2nd Street Festival. A beloved Richmond performer who grew up in a musical family, Desiree is comfortable singing everything from opera to R&B, but her true favorites are classical, gospel and jazz.

Remembrance of Debo Dabney: Sunday, October 4

Listen in as local musicians and friends Plunky Branch, Glennroy Bailey, Desiree Roots and others share their reflections of Herbert A. Dabney, III, a dynamic and animated pianist who passed away earlier this year. Affectionately known as “Debo,” he was a beloved friend of the festival and an all-around fan favorite. His repertoire ranged from jazz, gospel, R&B, swing, blues and children’s classics. Debo performed for 31 of the festival’s 32 years.

Culinary Demos

Viewers should prepare their kitchens for culinary demonstrations by popular Jackson Ward restaurants Croaker’s Spot and Soul Taco, live-streamed directly into homes to capture the same delicious food that we’ve all come to expect from the 2nd Street Festival.

Kid’s Activity Corner

Families will enjoy Candice Smith with NBC12 News reading a book especially for children, a balloon twisting demonstration by festival favorite Eddie Cook with Balloons By Extreme, and a special activity by the Children’s Museum of Richmond.

A Spotlight on Jackson Ward

Gary Flowers of the Historic Jackson Ward Society will highlight community sites in the neighborhood for all to enjoy, and viewers will hear testimonials from longtime residents and business owners of the Jackson Ward neighborhood during the live stream event.

The 2020 Poster

This year’s official 2nd Street Festival poster was commissioned to Richmond native, Unicia Buster. Ms. Buster was a fine arts major in photography at Cornell University and she will design a quilt for the festival and use her graphic design skills to transform it into the official festival poster.



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