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Editorial: Misguided Rally Taking Place on Wednesday

“Federal and Commonwealth officials are recommending at least a 14 day period of declines in positive tests before baby steps are taken to re-open businesses. It’s the height of selfishness not to follow this basic benchmark. One person’s desire for a haircut shouldn’t cost someone else’s life.”

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On Wednesday a group plans to exercise their Freedom of Speech rights to protest the current Federal and Commonwealth guidelines in the fight against COVID-19. Protesters will be driving around the Capitol grounds, honking their horns in an effort to pressure Governor (a medical doctor) Northam to lift the mandatory business closures that are in place. The rally coincides with the Legislature’s one day Veto session.

This rally is being promoted by Senator (not a medical doctor) Amanda Chase who just happens to be running for Governor.

The rally has provided talking points for the protestors if contacted by the media. Simple logic, which is not likely to be found at the rally, shows how this event is misguided and, frankly, dangerous.

  1. “Government Coronavirus projections have proven markedly inaccurate, as evidenced by them being continually revised downward” – Projections are a fickle beast. They’re never going to be perfect. These projections were also impacted by the shut-down and social distancing efforts.
  2. “Even at the Coronavirus peak, in such hot spots as New York City, the predicted hospital bed and ventilator shortages did not materialize, and hospitals remained well below capacity.” – This is a good thing and shows that efforts taken can and will work. There are several analogies bouncing around the internet, my favorite is, “The parachute is slowing my descent, I can take it off now.” Let’s wait until we land before we cut the cord, shall we?
  3. “Due to the Governor’s orders, hospitals are not allowed to perform ‘non-essential’ procedures. Patients needing cancer surgery, joint replacement, and other vital hospital services are unable to receive them.” – This is true. However, if we get another spike from – I don’t know – gatherings of people protesting gatherings and business closures will stretch on even longer.
  4. “ALL jobs are essential. The costs of the Governor’s economic shutdown far outweigh the short-term Coronavirus benefits, in the Commonwealth.” – Yes, all jobs are essential. But having your customer base or employees continually getting sick or dying will not be beneficial for anyone’s bottom line.

As of this morning, 300 people have died in the state of Virginia as a result of COVID-19. People are dying at an unprecedented rate. As of this morning 41,114 deaths in the United States and 165,939 worldwide. The United States is leading the world in deaths by this disease.

The good news is that today was the third day in a row the number of people testing positive has declined, but even that comes with a caveat. The number of those tested reached 56,735. Without more extensive testing we have no way of knowing how many asymptomatic folks are in the community. This is not the time to relax our guard. This fight isn’t over and we certainly haven’t won. Federal and Commonwealth officials are recommending at least a 14 day period of declines in positive tests before baby steps are taken to re-open businesses. It’s the height of selfishness not to follow this basic benchmark. One person’s desire for a haircut shouldn’t cost someone else’s life.

There is no denying the economic and psychological cost is immense, but we can and will get through this if rational minds prevail.

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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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Become a Richmond tourism ambassador from the comfort of your own home

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism offerings.

RVAHub Staff

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Richmonders have a new way to learn about the region – from home.

Richmond Region Tourism is launching a virtual version of its popular I Am Tourism ambassador workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 9-11 a.m., with a second session on Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 9-11 a.m. New classes will be held monthly.

The free I Am Tourism workshops help participants gain a visitor’s perspective of the region and an understanding of tourism products and offerings.

The Oct. 28 session includes information about the economic impact of tourism and an overview of the attractions, events and activities in the Richmond region. A virtual tour led by Bill Martin, The Valentine executive director, will guide the class on a custom visit to some of his favorite places.

“The I Am Tourism program is an exciting opportunity for everyone in our community to become knowledgeable and influential representatives of the region,” said Jack Berry, Richmond Region Tourism CEO and president.

The primary reason people travel to the Richmond Region is to visit friends and family. National travel data points to this trend continuing as people continue with more car-based trips during the pandemic. The I Am Tourism classes provided an opportunity for residents to become knowledgeable ambassadors when guests visit.

“Richmond’s hospitality industry hasn’t escaped the devastating financial impact of the pandemic, but we’re seeing signs of growth and progress. The new virtual sessions are an opportunity for the entire community to help the tourism industry and the region’s economic rebound,” Berry said.

Participants must register for the Oct. 28 class by Oct. 27 at noon.

Since the I Am Tourism program launched in 2015, more than 2,600 Ambassadors have gone through the program. Richmond Region Tourism also creates custom classes for employee engagement activities for local businesses.

For more information on upcoming I Am Tourism ambassador trainings and to register, visit visitrichmondva.com.

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Police, prisons, and protests: recent poll sheds light on the opinions of student voters

Voters are more divided now than they were in the 2016 election, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center. Many young Virginians believe the passion could translate to the polls on Election Day.

Capital News Service

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By Hunter Britt

Voters are more divided now than they were in the 2016 election, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center. Many young Virginians believe the passion could translate to the polls on Election Day.

Rickia Sykes, a senior at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, said that her political views have grown stronger since protests erupted globally in late May. The death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis Police Department officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes, inspired months of protests.

Sykes said that her political views line up with her faith. She considers herself pro-life, believes in advocating for the working class, and supports law-enforcement.

“The protests have shown me we need to keep God first, but it has also shown me that good cops are important to help keep law and order,” Sykes said in a text message. “I do realize that there are bad cops, but in order to make a change, I believe we need to work together with the good cops.”

Sykes said that now she researches politicians more thoroughly before deciding which candidate gets her vote. She looks at voting records to see if they vote in a way that “will help us middle and lower-class families.”

Erik Haugen, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond who considers himself a Libertarian, said his political views haven’t changed much since the protests started.

“I just see the stronger push for equality, and I think it’s a good step in our nation so long as it proceeds peacefully,” Haugen said.

Equality is at the center of issues that student voters are concerned about this election. From racial injustice to prison reform to healthcare concerns, many students say they want to enact positive change.

Students have varying opinions on whether or not the importance of voting has become more significant in recent years. Sykes said that she has always found voting significant, but she believes the importance of it has grown for others. Haugen said that while his political views haven’t changed, he believes voting has become more important in general and especially for the younger generations as tension in the U.S. grows and protests become more prominent.

Sarah Dowless, a junior at William & Mary in Williamsburg, said that voting has always been important, but the protests have made voting more prominent, “like people encouraging folks to vote and making information about voting accessible, especially among young people.” Dowless said the recent protests have reinforced her progressive beliefs.

“If anything, the protests have only amplified my concern for racial injustice in America and my concern about police brutality,” she said. “It’s a fundamental issue about freedom and it calls into question the very principles on which this country was founded and continues to claim.”

The protests also influenced a host of legislation in the recent special legislative session of the General Assembly that ended last week. Virginia legislators passed numerous bills focused on police and criminal justice reform.

According to the United States Census Bureau, voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds jumped 15.7% between 2014 and 2018. This was the largest percentage point increase for any age group. Turnout is expected to be high this year as well, but there are no final numbers for age groups. Voter registration in Virginia set a record this year with almost 5.9 million voters  registering. During the last presidential election a little more than 5.5 million people registered to vote.

Sykes is also concerned about the economy and health care.  She wants a political leader who will increase the odds that people have a stable source of income to afford medical treatment.

“As a graduating senior, I want and need a good paying/stable job for when I graduate,” she said. “I need someone who will make sure we have a strong and reliable economy.”

Dowless wants U.S. prisons, which she describes as currently being “more punitive than rehabilitative,” to undergo major reform. Haugen would like police academy programs to be longer and implement de-escalation training.

“I first and foremost care about the safety of the American people,” Haugen said.

Early voting and no-excuse absentee voting are currently underway throughout the state. The deadline to request to vote absentee by mail is Oct. 23. Early voting ends the Saturday before Election Day, or Oct. 31.

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Suspect Sought in Credit Card Fraud

On Friday, October 2, an unknown female was seen on security footage using a stolen credit card to purchase several bottles of alcohol.

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From RPD:

Richmond Police detectives need the public’s help to identify the individual in the attached photos who is suspected of using a stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases.

On Friday, October 2, an unknown female was seen on security footage using a stolen credit card to purchase several bottles of alcohol at the Virginia ABC Store in the 2000 block of East Main Street.

Anyone with information about the identity of these suspects is asked to call Third Precinct Detective T. Wilson at (804) 646-0672 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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