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RVAHub Guide to the 15th Richmond Folk Festival

Starting on Friday, Brown’s Island, and the area around Tredegar will be filled to the brim with music and much, much more.

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The biggest and we believe the best festival in the area kicks off on Friday. This is the 15th Richmond Folk Festival and runs for 3 days full of not just music, you’ll find food, crafts, and fun for the kids. You could attend every hour of the festival and you’ll still miss something awesome. Here are some of the tools you’ll need to get the most out this weekend.

Festival Hours:

  • Friday, October 11: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 12: Noon – 9:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 13: Noon – 6:00 PM

Check out the Performers:  Styles range from jazz to gospel to Irish and rockabilly and salsa and more. Obviously you’ll be checking out the names you know but make sure you stop and visit those performances that you’ve got no idea about. It’s amazing what you’ll discover.

Our DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is CASYM Steel Orchestra

CASYM is a thunderous orchestra consisting entirely of steel pans—percussion instruments fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums and played with rubber-tipped mallets. The virtuosity of its members and the versatility of its repertoire demonstrates this instrument’s incredible range. Annual participants in the New York Caribbean Carnival, CASYM is not just a musical group but also an organization that uses music to inspire youth of Caribbean heritage to imagine a brighter future.

 

Our SECOND DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is: Bombino

In Niger, a teenage Bombino befriended guitarist Haja Bebe, who provided the budding musician early gigs playing political rallies as well as a stage name derived from the Italian word for “little child,” a fitting nickname for the band’s youngest and smallest member. When Bombino’s first album became a hit on local radio in Niger, his music career took off. He still found time for a surprising excursion: serving as actress Angelina Jolie’s guide for a weeklong visit to the Niger desert. By 2011, however, Bombino was recording and touring internationally to far-reaching acclaim. In 2019, his album Deran was nominated for a Grammy® for Best World Music Album, making Bombino the first artist from Niger to be nominated for a Grammy®.

Despite achieving global stardom, Bombino remains devoted to singing about Tuareg life. Following after the trailblazing Tuareg guitarists who brought this music out from the front lines and refugee camps, he continues to combine traditional Berber sounds with a rock and roll swagger. Bombino harnesses this prodigious talent to share a message of peace and, as he eloquently explains, “to encourage pride in our people for all the beauty our culture possesses.”

 

Performance Schedule: Take a peek so you can plan ahead! When in doubt head to the Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion trust on this one, this spot is always hopping.

Getting There:

  • FREE parking and shuttle buses from City Stadium
  • Using Lyft to get dropped off at Canal and 7th? Get 20% off two rides to and from the Fest, Oct. 11-13. Enter RFF2019 in the Promos tab on the app to claim.
  • Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd streets
  • Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
  • Paid downtown parking is also available
  • Brand new this year RVA Tuk Tuk will be on site, providing free rides all 3 days of the event. If you haven’t seen RVA Tuk Tuk yet they’re cute three-wheeled vehicles that can seat up to four.

Maps and Directions

Admission: FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 7 stages, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folk Life Area & Stage, and the CarMax Family Area at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.

Since we’re talking about drink don’t miss out on the special brews at the WestRock Craft Beer Tent. The full schedule of beers can be found here.

Do NOT bring: Dogs (except for service animals) no matter how well behaved or friendly he is is not allowed.  This rule causes some consternation amongst some but the no dog rule is pretty much standard for all big music festivals. In fact, all the rules are pretty standard big music festival rules. Leave all your Coolers/large backpacks, Alcohol, Glass Bottles, Drugs or Weapons, Laser Pointers, Bikes, Skateboards, Inline Skates or Flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs) at home. These rules seem obvious but they’re broken every year.

Donations: This is probably the most important. Don’t forget to make a drop in the bucket! A $10 per day donation helps keep the Folk Festival FREE and is amazing small amount to pay for such a great festival. New this year, you can also Text to Donate: Text: FOLK To: 24365

Go to the Richmond Folk Festival website for even more festival info.

 

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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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City Council unanimously approves sale of the Public Safety Building

The city is selling the three-acre property to Capital City Partners, LLC for $3,520,456 who will then redevelop the site into a $325 million mixed-use project anchored by VCU Health System, The Doorways, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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Richmond City Council approved three Ordinances introduced by the Stoney Administration for the sale and redevelopment of the site of the of the existing Public Safety Building. The city is selling the three-acre property to Capital City Partners, LLC for $3,520,456 who will then redevelop the site into a $325 million mixed-use project anchored by VCU Health System, The Doorways, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The negotiated sales price takes into account the developer’s responsibility to demolish the existing building and build public infrastructure that includes reconstructing Clay Street between 9th and 10th Streets.

“The sale and redevelopment of the Public Safety Building site is a critical first step to improving downtown,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.  “My Administration was glad to work with City Council and Capital City Partners, LLC to create this great win for Richmond.

The project will aid minority businesses, create child care slots for Richmond families, fund scholarships for graduates of Richmond Public Schools, and generate nearly $56 million in new revenue for the city’s General Fund over the first 25 years. We can, and we will, continue to grow Richmond by redeveloping underutilized city-owned property.”

“For many years the city has needed to find a better use for the Public Safety Building site.  I am glad that City Council has approved this important project that moves the city forward in redeveloping our Downtown, benefits our community, and strengthens healthcare in the city and region,” said Councilmember Ellen Robertson.

“We want to thank Mayor Stoney and Richmond City Council for supporting the sale of this property and allowing this important development to go forward.  Too often real estate transactions are thought of only in terms of investment and economics, but not in the lives they improve.  This project will help improve the lives of thousands of families in crises and will further Richmond’s reputation as an important healthcare capital,” said Capital City Partners’ Susan Eastridge and Michael Hallmark.

“VCU and VCU Health are strongly committed to the redevelopment of this area.  The Public Safety Building Project, along with the current construction of our new children’s inpatient hospital and Adult Outpatient Pavilion, will play a critical role in supporting a thriving urban center,” said Michael Rao, president of VCU and VCU Health System.

“We are pleased that the City has chosen to move forward with the sale of the Public Safety Building to Capital City Partners, LLC.  This announcement marks the beginning of a long-awaited initiative to breathe fresh life into this section of the city, while providing a much needed new home for The Doorways to lodge the thousands of families who depend on our services to access their medical care.  This announcement is truly a win-win for the Doorways and the entire Richmond community,” said Stacy Brinkley, President and CEO of The Doorways.

“As specialty pediatric care grows in the Richmond region, so does the need to support the whole family.  A new, fully-accessible Ronald McDonald House provides more capacity to help families whose sick and injured children are receiving care at all pediatric hospitals throughout the Richmond region as well as families whose children are the most vulnerable and medically complex being cared for at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.  This project is a game changer for pediatric healthcare,” said Kerry Blumberg, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond.

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Jefferson Davis Highway in the process of being renamed following House vote

The bill, introduced by Del. Joshua Cole, D-Fredericksburg, passed the House earlier this month with a 70-28 vote. The Senate passed the measure earlier this week with a 30-9 vote.

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By Cameron Jones

The Virginia General Assembly has approved a bill renaming sections of U.S. Route 1 almost 100 years after it was named in honor of the first and only president of the Confederacy.

The bill, introduced by Del. Joshua Cole, D-Fredericksburg, passed the House earlier this month with a 70-28 vote. The Senate passed the measure earlier this week with a 30-9 vote.

Counties and cities have until Jan. 1, 2022 to change their portion of Jefferson Davis Highway to whatever name they choose, or the state will change it to Emancipation Memorial Highway.

“Change the name on your own, or the General Assembly will change it for you,” Cole said to House committee members.

Sections of the highway that run through Stafford, Caroline, Spotsylvania and Chesterfield counties will need new signage and markers, according to the bill’s impact statement. Commemorative naming signs will be replaced, along with overhead guide signs at interchanges and street-name signs. The changes are estimated to cost almost $600,000 for all localities. The changes in Chesterfield will cost an estimated $373,000 because there are 17 Jefferson Davis Highway overhead signs on Routes 288 and 150.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy conceived the plan for Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway in 1913, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Davis was a Mississippi senator who became the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Virginia General Assembly designated U.S. Route 1 as Jefferson Davis Highway in 1922.

“Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy, a constant reminder of a white nationalist experiment, and a racist Democrat,” Cole said. “Instead we can acknowledge the powerful act of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Cole said the change acknowledges the positive history of the Civil War and reminds people of the emancipation and freedom that came from it.

The bill received little pushback in House and Senate committees. A Richmond City representative said their initial concern was the interpretation if districts would have the opportunity to choose a replacement name. Signs are already going up renaming the route to Richmond Highway in Richmond.

Sen. Scott A. Surovell, D-Mount Vernon, voiced his support for the bill. He responded to concern that the change dishonors a veteran. He said he believes the bill “strikes a reasonable balance” by giving counties time to rename their portion of the highway, or they will give it a default name which “doesn’t carry the political baggage.”

A poll by Hampton University and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found Virginians are still divided on changing the names of schools, streets and military bases named after Confederate leaders (44% supported the idea and 43% opposed it).

Eric Sundberg, Cole’s chief of staff, said there were two camps of people that opposed the bill. He said some were openly racist and called Cole’s office to make offensive remarks. Then there were people who said they did not want to “double dip” on renaming the portion in their respective district and wanted it all to be named Richmond Highway.

Stephen Farnsworth, professor and director at the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, said efforts to rename the highway have never received much support in Richmond until this year.

“Virginia has rapidly moved from a commonwealth that treasured its Confederate legacy, to one that is trying to move beyond it,” Farnsworth said.

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Delegate celebrates Senate passage of limited paid leave bill

The Virginia Senate passed an amended version of a bill by Del. Elizabeth Guzmán, D-Woodbridge, mandating paid sick leave. The substitute bill, which now only extends to some in-home health care workers, heads back to the House where the initial bill passed on a 54-46 vote. Guzmán said she will encourage delegates to approve the substitute and send the amended bill to Gov. Ralph Northam.

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By Zachary Klosko

After four years and multiple bills, Del. Elizabeth Guzmán, D-Woodbridge, is on the cusp of being able to secure paid leave for some Virginia workers.

“It feels really good,” Guzmán said. “I think about the amount of people who are going to get this benefit and how they will have peace of mind to stay home and take care of family members if they are unwell.”

The Virginia Senate passed an amended version of the delegate’s legislation that mandates paid sick leave for some in-home health care workers. The substitute bill heads back to the House, where the initial bill passed on a 54-46 vote. Guzmán said she will encourage delegates to approve the substitute and send the amended bill to Gov. Ralph Northam.

Guzmán took to Twitter after the Senate’s 21-18 vote to express her excitement.

“Thank you!!” Guzmán wrote on Twitter. “We did it!!”

House Bill 2137 originally offered the benefit to many essential workers, including first responders, retail workers, cleaning workers, teachers, jail and prison employees and transportation workers.

 The bill advanced from the House with an amendment for small businesses; it did not apply to retail businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The Senate later amended the bill to only offer the benefit to in-home health care workers who serve patients with Medicaid coverage.

The substitute still requires employers to set aside one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees must work at least an average of 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month to qualify. Once covered, workers will be allowed paid leave if they are sick or if they need to care for a sick family member. Unused sick leave can be carried over to the year after it was earned.

The amended bill will protect 25,000 workers, according to a press release by Guzmán.

Guzmán says her work is not done.

“I will continue to fight as lieutenant governor, I will continue to fight as a delegate,” Guzmán said. “Whichever role I’m in, I will continue to fight.”

Guzmán is running for lieutenant governor. Among others in the race, she is facing Del. Hala Ayala, another Democrat from Prince William County. If successful, Ayala or Guzmán would become the first Latina to serve in the role.

If signed into law, those covered will begin to accrue paid leave hours on July 1.

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