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Barker Field, Chimborazo, and Northside Dog Parks will Close to the Public

Effective Saturday, March 28, 2020, PRCF will close Barker Field, Chimborazo, and the Northside Dog Parks to the public until further notice.

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Statement from Parks and Recreation:

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities (PRCF) continues to take the safety and health of our patrons as a top priority. Previously, PRCF cancelled all permitted use of the athletic fields, picnic shelters, park houses, all department sponsored programs and activities, and all community centers and offices to the general public.

Effective Saturday, March 28, 2020, PRCF will close Barker Field, Chimborazo, and the Northside Dog Parks to the public until further notice. Also, traffic gates located within Byrd Park on Strollers Lane, Westover Road, and Trafford Road will be closed on both Saturday and Sunday until further notice. This closure is aimed to reduce vehicle traffic within the park and allow patrons more space to move around.

All other PRCF parks and trails remain open. Be advised that our outdoor amenities are not sanitized, so use with caution and follow the CDC health and safety guidelines. We reiterate the importance of social distancing and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people and group activities.

We understand the importance of the park system to our residents and will re-evaluate the need for closures and cancellations as this unprecedented situation evolves.

Staff at PRCF’s Administrative Office will be available to assist residents via phone at 804-646-5733 or email at [email protected]

For more information about how the City of Richmond is responding to COVID-19, please visit www.richmondgov.com/covid19.

For more information about the department, follow PRCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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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Government

United Way offering free virtual tax preparation service ahead of July 15th federal tax filing deadline

Virginia households earning under $66,000 are eligible for United Way’s free virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

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With the federal tax-filing deadline extended to July 15, and Virginians receiving an extension for state returns, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is offering free virtual tax preparation services to households with incomes below $66,000.

Traditionally, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is held at 16 tax sites across the region, but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has shifted its focus to assisting taxpayers virtually until the tax sites can safely be reopened.

United Way partnered with Code for America to bring GetYourRefund to the region, allowing its local team of IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers to virtually assist taxpayers with completing and electronically filing both federal and state returns. To utilize the program, participants need just a smartphone with a camera or a computer with access to a scanner.

The program also encourages people to think about ways to save, implement financial best practices, and make plans for achieving financial independence. And for those with low to moderate-income, the service helps eligible taxpayers take advantage of potential tax savings through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

“For many around the region, the last few months have been difficult to navigate, but we’re pleased to be able to ease some of the anxiety and stress that those who haven’t filed yet might be feeling,” said James Taylor, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We knew a shift to virtual preparation was important because this service has made a tangible difference for local families over the past 10 years, particularly for those who have taken advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

In 2019, local United Way volunteers helped secure more than $3 million in tax refunds for 3,667 households in our area. Families who took advantage of the service received a total of $838,300 in EITC funds from the IRS. The average household income for customers was $22,900.

Find more information here.

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Downtown

Library of Virginia reopens to researchers by advance appointment beginning today

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm.

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The Library of Virginia has announced that its reading rooms will reopen to researchers by advance appointment beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

During the initial reopening phase, researchers will be able to use the collections by appointment Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm. To make an appointment, please call 804.692.3800.

COVID-19, which prompted the Library’s closing to the public in mid-March, continues to pose a serious public health risk. The Library’s reopening plan includes new health and safety protocols based on the latest guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to expect when returning to the Library:

  • Appointments required to use the reading rooms in order to ensure space availability on a researcher’s preferred date
  • Signage describing coronavirus symptoms – Please do not enter the building if you feel unwell or have a fever
  • Face coverings required in the building at all times
  • Physical distancing of six feet required in all public spaces
  • Face masks and hand sanitizer available for the public
  • Frequent cleaning of restrooms and surfaces in public areas throughout the day
  • Returned books quarantined for three days before being available for use again
  • The Exhibition Gallery, the Virginia Shop, our conference rooms, and the reading room at the State Records Center will remain closed

For additional information about what to expect on your visit, take a look at the COVID-19 Update: Guidelines for Researchers, page, which will be updated regularly.

For more on how to use the collections, click here.

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Government

Some of the New Laws that Go into Effect on July 1st

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Hundreds of new laws in Virginia go into effect Wednesday, July 1st. Here is a quick rundown of some that we thought you should know about.

Gun Control

  • Ban on the possession of firearms by a person subject to a restraining order.
  • Background check on all firearm sales and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month
  • Lost or stolen guns will need to be reported within 48 hours.
  • Tougher penalties for leaving a loaded, unsecured firearm in a reckless manner that endangers a child.
  •  Local governments will have more authority to ban guns in public spaces, such as public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events.
  • Extreme Risk Protective Order, allowing authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others.

Abortion

  • Rolls back provisions including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling.
  • Removes the requirement that abortions be provided by a physician. This allows nurse practitioners to perform them.
  • Removal of strict building code requirements on facilities where abortions are performed.

Health Care

  • Health insurers will be limited to charging a maximum of $50 per month for insulin.
  • Creation of a state health insurance exchange, rather than relying on the federal marketplace.for people to buy health insurance.
  • No person may be arrested, prosecuted, or denied any right or privilege for participating in the state’s medical cannabis program.

LGBTQ+ Rights

  • The ‘Virginia Values Act which makes sexual orientation/gender identity protected classes of discrimination.
  • Ban on conversion therapy (exemption for “faith communities”) for those under the age of 18.
  • It will be easier to change name and gender on a birth certificate.
  • VA Department of Education must create/implement policies for treatment of trans students.

Voting

  • Picture ID is no longer required to cast a vote. Voters will be able to show voter registration documents, bank statements, paychecks or any government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

Statue Removal

  • Local governments across Virginia will have the authority to remove or contextualize Confederate monuments on their town, city, or county property.

Minimum Wage Increase

  • May 1, 2021, increase to $9.50/hr –  This May start date reflects a delay passed during special session due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • July 1, 2022, increase to $11/hr
  • July 1, 2023, increase to $12/hr
  • July 1, 2025, increase to $13.50/hr
  • July 1, 2026,  increase to $15/hr

Education

  • Citizenship no longer required for in-state tuition but still must meet Virginia residency standards.
  • Removes the requirement that school principals report misdemeanors committed at school to police.

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