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Richmond City Council appoints new Council Chief of Staff

Richmond City Council has announced the appointment of Lawrence Rashad Anderson to head the Richmond City Council Office of the Council Chief of Staff as its new Council Chief of Staff.

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Richmond City Council has announced the appointment of Lawrence Rashad Anderson to head the Richmond City Council Office of the Council Chief of Staff as its new Council Chief of Staff.

In this position, Anderson will assist Richmond City Council in its role of creating and amending local laws, providing government policy and oversight, and establishing the Richmond Government Budget.

Anderson previously served as an urban research fellow at the American University School of Public Affairs – Metropolitan Policy Center in Washington, DC, where he examined factors attributing to political unrest in urban environments. Previously, Anderson led a variety of local management initiatives in New Orleans, Louisiana; Baltimore, Maryland; and, Richmond, Virginia.

He earned his Master of Arts in Political Communication from American University, Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Virginia State University. Additionally, Anderson has held fellowships with the Journalism Initiative at Yale University and the University of Virginia – Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

The Richmond City Council Office of the Council Chief of Staff is one of six Council Offices and about 50 Board and Commission that reports to Council.

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State of the City Address postponed after Mayor Levar Stoney tests positive for COVID-19

As a result of his diagnosis, the mayor’s annual State of the City address scheduled for this Thursday, January 28th has been postponed and will now take place virtually on Thursday, February 11th.

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Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The mayor was informed of the result this morning after undergoing a PCR test following the onset of mild symptoms Monday.

“Since the coronavirus first started to spread in our region roughly a year ago, over 12,000 residents in our city have been infected with COVID-19. Today, I count myself as one of them,” the mayor said. “While I do not feel 100 percent, I am thankful that my symptoms are currently manageable and will continue to work from my home to ensure the continuity of city government.”

Per CDC guidelines, the mayor will isolate at home. Those persons considered contacts have been informed and are quarantining and taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and those around them protected and healthy.

“As my personal experience should tell you, while there is reason to be hopeful due to the distribution of the vaccine, this pandemic is still far from over and must be taken seriously,” the mayor said.

As a result of his diagnosis, the mayor’s annual State of the City address scheduled for this Thursday, January 28th has been postponed and will now take place virtually on Thursday, February 11th.

“I look forward to sharing with all of you my vision for moving the city boldly forward in the coming year, and beyond,” the mayor stated.

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Valentine and Community Foundation announce 2021 Richmond History Makers

The 16th Annual Richmond History Makers and Community Update on March 9 will celebrate these hometown heroes and provide an update on the region’s resiliency during a challenging year.

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Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam announced the six honorees in the 2021 class of Richmond History Makers yesterday morning during a Facebook Live event.

The 16th Annual Richmond History Makers and Community Update on March 9 will celebrate these hometown heroes and provide an update on the region’s resiliency during a challenging year. The event will take place virtually and will be free, with the Valentine and the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond joining forces to recognize and celebrate these trailblazers. Long-time Richmond History Makers partner Dominion Energy is returning as the title sponsor.

According to six categories, the 2021 Richmond History Makers are:

Creating Quality Educational Opportunities:

Chuck English
Virginia STEM Coordinator

Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions:

Floyd E. Miller II
President & CEO
Metropolitan Business League

Improving Regional Transportation:

Lloyd “Bud” Vye
Biking and pedestrian advocate

Championing Social Justice:

Chloe Edwards

Advocacy and Engagement Manager

Voices for Virginia’s Children

Promoting Community Health:

Health Brigade

Advancing our Quality of Life:

Hamilton Glass

Muralist and community advocate

“The life-changing work that we have seen take place across the Richmond Region this year is unlike any other,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “These individuals and organizations stepped up in the face of so many challenging circumstances, and they deserve an evening to be celebrated in front of their community!”

The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond is also returning as one of this event’s co-sponsors.

“Throughout 2020 and into 2021, we have certainly seen so many people rise to the occasion and address some of the most pressing needs of the Richmond Region,” said Community Foundation Chief Community Engagement Officer Scott Blackwell. “These honorees have really helped get Richmond through a difficult time, and their work is not always recognized or celebrated. We’re thrilled to highlight their contributions and share good news.”

Leadership Metro Richmond, a long-time partner in this program, helped to oversee the virtual Selection Committee, which narrowed down the six honorees from more than 135 nominations.

“With so many nominations, it’s clear the community was ready to recognize those going above and beyond to make a difference, especially during such difficult times,” said LMR President & CEO Myra Goodman Smith. “This year’s honorees deserve to be celebrated, and we look forward to lending our voice to the virtual crowd in March.”

You can register for a free ticket and learn more here.

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VDH acknowledges first case of new COVID-19 variant identified in Virginia

SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history. The variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

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The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) today announced that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history. The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

DCLS confirmed the case using next-generation sequencing that provides a genetic blueprint of the virus that causes COVID-19. DCLS has informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the case.

“Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “We know this variant strain spreads more quickly between people than other strains currently circulating in our communities, but we still have more to learn about whether it causes more severe illness. As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures.”

In the United States, nearly 200 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in 23 states as of January 22, 2021. While scientists are working to better understand its impact on vaccine efficacy, early data suggests currently authorized vaccines are effective against the new variant. VDH continues to work with communities across Virginia to slow the spread of all strains of COVID-19 through widespread adherence to preventive measures, supporting testing and vaccination efforts, and conducting investigations of cases and outbreaks.

As a virus spreads from one person to another, it makes copies of itself and sometimes makes small genetic changes called mutations. Because of these mutations, new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. According to the CDC, multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and around the world. The B.1.1.7 variant contains an unusually large number of mutations.

DCLS began sequencing positive COVID-19 samples in March 2020, becoming one of the first public health labs in the nation to use this technology to examine the genetic makeup of the virus and track how it is changing and being transmitted in the Commonwealth. To date, DCLS has sequenced more than 10 percent of positive samples tested by the state lab, and is working with other labs in Virginia to solicit additional positive samples to sequence so public health officials can get a representation of variants circulating throughout Virginia.

“Sequencing is one of many tools we have available at the state’s public health laboratory to enable medical and public health officials to quickly identify and respond to threats such as emerging COVID-19 variants,” said Dr. Denise Toney, Director of DCLS. “We share this information not only within the Commonwealth, but with our federal and international partners to gain a better understanding of emerging genetic changes to SARS-CoV-2.”

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