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Critters of the Week

A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.

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Where Spotted: Westover Hills
Common Name:  Common Starling or European Starling
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 7.5–9.1 in
Weight: 2.0–3.6 oz
Wingspan: 12–17 in

Quick Facts Courtesy of All About Birds

  • All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds set loose in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. The birds were intentionally released by a group who wanted America to have all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned. There are now over 200 million European Starlings and they range from Alaska to Mexico.
  • Because of their recent arrival in North America, all of our starlings are closely related. Genetically, individuals from Virginia are nearly indistinguishable from starlings sampled in California, 3,000 miles away. Such little genetic variation often spells trouble for rare species, but seems to offer no ill effects to starlings so far.
  • Starlings are strong fliers that can get up to speeds of 48 mph.
  • In studies of starlings’ sense of taste, scientists have discovered that they can taste salt, sugars, citric acid, and tannins (bitter compounds that occur in many fruits, including acorns and grapes). They can tell the difference between sucrose (table sugar) and other kinds of sugars – helpful since starlings lack the ability to digest sucrose.
  • Starlings are great vocal mimics: individuals can learn the calls of up to 20 different species. Birds whose songs starlings often copy include the Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Wood Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, American Robin, Northern Flicker, and many others.

 

Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Behold! The bold and beautiful…erm…handsome Benjamin! Have you been yearning for a pal who will cuddle up with you at night? Is your heart aching for some TLC that can only be cured by toe pads and whiskers? Well then we have the best little buddy for you! If you’re interested in finally taking home your new best friend, come ask to meet with Benjamin today!

Age: 8 years, 3 months
Gender: Neutered Male
Color: Black
Declawed: No
ID: 43463251

Adopt Benjamin at Richmond SPCA

Learn more about their adoption process.

To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.

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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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Community

NBC12 Reporting Two Police Officers and Suspect Shot on Semmes

At around 1:25 a.m., RPD officers were called to investigate a report of an armed person in the 800 block of Semmes Avenue. When they arrived, gunfire erupted.

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From NBC12:

Two Richmond Police officers and a suspect are injured after a shooting on the city’s south side early Tuesday morning.

At around 1:25 a.m., RPD officers were called to investigate a report of an armed person in the 800 block of Semmes Avenue.

When they arrived, gunfire erupted.

The officers and suspect were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Sources said one officer was hit in the torso and has serious injuries, the other having non-life-threatening injuries. Sources said both are stable.

Two additional suspects were detained for questioning.

The Department’s Force Investigation Team will investigate the shooting and prepare a report for review by the RPD Chief of Police and submission to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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Crime

Richmond Police, Mayor Stoney apologize after tear gas deployed before curfew on protesters

Protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday night and were met with a forceful response and the deployment of tear gas by Richmond Police – an action for which the department and Mayor Stoney later apologized.

RVAHub Staff

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday afternoon and evening to speak out after the death of George Floyd. The group organized near both the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart Monuments on Monument Avenue and remained mainly peaceful until police approached demonstrators at the Lee statue and deployed tear gas, as can be seen below from the below Twitter video from VPM.

Around the same time, reports began coming in that protesters at the Stuart monument were attempting to bring it down. A young demonstrator scaled the base of the statue and took what appeared to be a hack saw to the leg of the monument’s horse in an effort to bring it down. Police responded by calling on protesters to stand down, citing the weight of the monuments and their potential to crush bystanders.

Richmond Police and Mayor Levar Stoney later apologized for the deployment of tear gas on peaceful protesters – well below the 8:00 PM curfew – saying it was uncalled for and inviting protesters to City Hall at noon Tuesday to “apologize in person.” For its part, RPD said the officers involved had been “removed from the field” and would be subject to disciplinary action.

The protesters then continued marching down Franklin Street, then W. Broad Street, where things fizzled out around 10:30 PM near 14th Street.

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Downtown

PHOTOS: Protests continue for third day around Richmond, tear gas deployed as marchers ignore 8PM curfew

Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond.

RVAHub Staff

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Hundreds of protesters rallied at sites around town Sunday as the third day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd took place in Richmond. Protesters gathered at peaceful rallies on Brown’s Island and at the 17th Street Farmers Market downtown on Sunday morning.

Later in the day, another group formed at the Lee and Jackson monuments on Monument Avenue in the Fan. As dusk approached, the group made their way east on Franklin Street, turning onto W. Grace Street and then Broad Street near City Hall and Children’s Hospital at VCU.

An 8:00 PM curfew put in place by Mayor Levar Stoney did not deter most protesters, who continued marching and chanting until Richmond Police deployed tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd. Slowly, over the course of an hour, protesters dispersed.

Many businesses along W. Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the Arts District, already left cleaning up broken glass and graffiti Sunday morning from Saturday night’s protests, were left on edge, though there were far fewer reports of property damage Sunday.  Many of the businesses affected were small or minority-owned. By Sunday, many showed their support for the protests, spray painting “Black Lives Matter” or “Small/Minority-Owned” on their window coverings to both show solidarity and deter further damage.

Photographer Dave Parrish caught much of the Fan/Downtown protest Sunday afternoon and files these photos.

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