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Virginia GOP candidate in tight House race backs gun control

Gun control policy could play a significant role in the 73rd House District race, especially with the Republican contender breaking away from the party’s usual stance on gun control. Democrat Rodney Willett and his Republican opponent Mary Margaret Kastelberg are pushing for better gun control policies.

Capital News Service

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Gun control policy could play a significant role in the 73rd House District race, especially with the Republican contender breaking away from the party’s usual stance on gun control.

Republican Mary Margaret Kastelberg is calling for stricter gun control policies but says her positions are consistent with gun owner’s Second Amendment rights.

“I know [gun violence] is complex and that we cannot prevent every tragedy, but we must take action and try,” Kastelberg said in a press release.

Her opponent Democrat Rodney Willett also wants better gun control policy. Kastelberg and Willett are vying to fill the seat currently occupied by Democrat Debra Rodman, who’s running for the state Senate.

Kastelberg is calling for background checks at gun shows, but stops short of Willett’s call for universal background checks.

They both want limits on high-capacity magazines and support “red flag” laws that allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from anyone deemed a threat to themselves or another person.

Kastelberg summed up her policy as giving law enforcement the tools they need to prevent tragedies and “protect due process rights of gun owners.”

Willett believes the district’s voters are concerned with a failure of state and federal legislatures to create “better gun control laws.”

“People who identify as conservative Republicans, they are telling me to my face that they are absolutely concerned that their party, that all parties have not gotten things done in the gun safety area,” Willett said.

Rodman turned the 73rd District blue in 2017, in a tight race — 51.48% to 48.35% — against incumbent John O’Bannon. The district is a highly educated, suburban district where Republicans have been losing votes from women, according to political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth. This dynamic makes a topic like gun control — usually touted by Democratic candidates — pivotal in turning the district.

“What’s fascinating about [Kastelberg] is that she has taken positions that’s almost 180 degrees different than the position that most Republicans have taken previously in Virginia,” Holsworth said.

Though her policy might be different than fellow Republicans, Kastelberg has taken a lot of money from them. In July, the Republican-controlled General Assembly adjourned a special session on gun control without a single bill being considered, saying the session was only intended as “political theater.”

Kastelberg’s coffers rose to over $283,000 through mostly political sector contributions, including $112,500 from Republican State Leadership Committee and a combined $104,050 from other Republican political action committees. Top donors to Willett’s war chest include the political sector and single-issue groups, for a combined 32% of his total donations. Willett’s top donor is Michael D. Bills, a heavyweight investor in Virginia political races who floated over half a million dollars into Gov. Ralph Northam’s campaign, according to data from Virginia Public Access Project. Bills offered support to candidates who pledge not to take campaign money from Richmond-based Dominion Energy.

This year, 66 people died and 101 victims were injured in mass shootings in the U.S., according to a database that defines mass shootings as a single attack in a public place in which three or more victims were killed. According to ABC News, there have been a total of 19 mass shootings in the U.S so far this year. That includes a shooting in Virginia Beach where a gunman opened fire at a municipal building and killed a dozen people.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a lobby group focused on reducing gun violence, has injected $333,500 into Democratic coffers this election year, according to VPAP data. National Rifle Association contributions to Republican candidates and leadership total $218,500.

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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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Must-See RVA! — Cokesbury Building

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.

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April 2020
  • 415 East Grace Street
  • Built, 1921
  • Architects, Carneal & Johnston

Once there was this trendy little bookstore in the heart of the downtown shopping district.

[ADR] — Cokesbury Building in 1981

[ADR] — Cokesbury Building in 1981

This building was built for the Methodist Publishing House and designed by Garnett & Johnston. Its design clearly is related to the Mosby Store at the corner of Jefferson and Broad Streets, by Starrett & Van Vleck.

April 2020 — showing projecting cornice

April 2020 — showing projecting cornice

That design was, in turn, related to McKim, Mead & White’s Gorham Building in New York, a modernized version of an Italianate palazzo with an arcade at the base of the building and a heavy projecting cornice at the roof.

April 2020

April 2020

This design was felt to be a particularly successful blending of traditional and modern features, most appropriate for a modern shop.

April 2020

April 2020

The Cokesbury Building is designed carefully and well detailed. The first floor arcade was glazed fully, but is now closed partially.

April 2020

April 2020

The interior vaulted ceilings have been removed, but the building is otherwise well preserved. The reason for the popularity of this building type is seen easily. It is simple, dignified and impressive. [ADR]

(Richmond Times Dispatch) — Cokesbury Building in 1952

(Richmond Times-Dispatch) — Cokesbury Building in 1952

The Cokesbury Building, with the Cokesbury Bookstore on the first floor, was an outgrowth of the Methodist Episcopal Book Concern. Created in 1789, this organization was established to religious materials for the Methodist church. It would eventually expand to include books and religious supplies and rebranded as the Cokesbury Press in 1925. By 2012, there would be 57 Cokesbury Book Stores nationwide, one of which used to be on Grace Street.

April 2020

April 2020

But in that same year, Cokesbury announced the closure of their brick-and-mortar stores, and today they’re online only. The Grace Street location had long been abandoned by that point, having relocated to Tuckernuck Square shopping center in 1992. A loss, really. They were more than just religious books and often had unusual or hard to find titles, back in the days before Amazon.

Today, it’s the Cokesbury Building Apartments.

(Cokesbury Building is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


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  • [ADR] Architecture in Downtown Richmond. Robert Winthrop. 1982.

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Suspects Sought in Credit Card Fraud

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individuals in the attached photo, who are suspected of using a stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases last week.

On Monday, March 30, the victim was notified that their card had been used at the Farm Fresh located in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Surveillance footage shows two females buying food and cigarettes worth over $400 with the victim’s card. They were last seen leaving the store in a silver convertible with a black top. A photo of the vehicle is attached.

Detectives determined the card was also used at the McDonald’s located in the 1800 block of East Broad Street.

Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call First Precinct Detective J. Mitchell at (804) 646-0569 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Billy Jack’s Shack Closing for Good

Unfortunately, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be writing about a restaurant not being able to re-open.

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Billy Jack’s Shack the local spin-off of the Westend’s Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint at 5810 Grove Ave. will not survive the economic downturn of COVID-19. According to this Richmond BizSense.com article on the closure, Jack Brown’s is doing alright for now considering the situation.

Owners Jason Owenby, Mike Sabin, and Aaron Ludwig made the announcement on Billy Jack’s Shack Facebook.

It is with heavy hearts that we make the unfortunate announcement that Billy Jack’s RVA will be closing down permanently. While our time here was brief, the relationships and memories we’ve made are eternal. We appreciate everything that y’all have done for us, especially those of you in the Bone Club. These are difficult times for everyone involved and if you would like to support some of our staff who are now facing employment uncertainty, please feel free to donate at the link below. We can not properly express how much this decision pains us and how bad we are going to miss everyone. Please message with any further questions and stay tuned to our Instagram page for some trips down memory lane

https://www.billyjacksshack.com/tip-yo-server/

 

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