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Phone in Hand and Driving Will Get Expensive Next Month

If you’re caught with a phone in your hand while driving you could pay up to $125 for your first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses.

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Richmond Police have sent out a friendly reminder of a new law that will be enforced next month.

Due to a Richmond City ordinance, beginning on Tuesday, June 9, it will be illegal to hold and use a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle in the City of Richmond.

This primary offense allows police officers to take action whenever they observe a driver operating a motor vehicle while using a handheld personal communications device, without having to also observe evidence of distraction.

While the Commonwealth of Virginia has passed a similar law which takes effect in 2021, in Richmond, beginning June 9, 2020, drivers using their handheld personal communications device while driving on a public street or highway in the City of Richmond could be found guilty of distracted driving and be fined.

“This ordinance will hopefully reduce the occurrences of distracted driving in Richmond,” said Special Operations Division Captain Don Davenport. “The goal is to increase the safety of all who use the roadways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers and other drivers. We want all motorists to begin each trip by buckling up and putting their phones down.”

The ordinance does not apply to drivers lawfully stopped or parked, emergency vehicle drivers, such as police officers and firefighters, drivers using a handheld communications device to report on emergency, or drivers using a radio-based communications device during an emergency or disaster relief operation.

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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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Business

Two acre winery, restaurant set to open today in Scott’s Addition

Today, urban winery Brambly Park will make its debut in Scott’s Addition, the neighborhood known for its breweries and warehouses. The establishment flanks the railroad tracks in the historic neighborhood and will feature an event space, restaurant, a large park-like area, and a 3,000 sq ft covered and heated patio.

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Today, urban winery Brambly Park will make its debut in Scott’s Addition, the neighborhood known for its breweries and warehouses. The establishment flanks the railroad tracks in the historic neighborhood and will feature an event space, restaurant, a large park-like area, and a 3,000 sq ft covered and heated patio.

The venture is led by the same duo behind the Hofheimer Building and The HofGarden rooftop. Restaurateur Bobby Kruger and his business partner, real estate developer, Carter Snipes conceived the idea after seeing the property and realizing the potential to create a one of a kind park in a former industrial area.

“We saw the property with its pine trees and grass hill and immediately knew this could be something different for Scott’s Addition,” said Snipes.

Their team includes Winemaker Ben Nichols, who previously worked for Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn and Executive Chef Wyatt Swaney, who previously worked at Aloi in Scott’s Addition. Kruger, a seasoned Richmond restaurant veteran, really wanted to bring a winery concept with a broader more laid back appeal to Scott’s Addition.

“We knew from the start we wanted to be wine-focused,” explained Kruger, “but the key was to have an avant-garde winemaker in order for the concept to really shine. When we met Ben it quickly became apparent that we had found someone that excelled at sourcing high-quality unfinished products and turning it into exceptional wine.”

The Wine

The first batch of Brambly Park’s own vintage won’t come out until harvest season so Kruger traveled to Oregon, California, and several vineyards in Virginia to find winemakers who could help craft the first labels and blends.

Virginia favorite Michael Shaps of Wineworks Virginia quickly signed up to produce a dry Rose’ for the venture. Wooden Valley Vineyard, an 85-year old family estate in

California, produced the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Walnut City Wineworks, in Oregon, joined on to produce Riesling and Pinot Noir.

“We’ll work with these partner vineyards and others to bring in grapes and juice for wine that will be produced at Brambly Park under our Scott’s Addition Reserve label,” said Kruger. “After harvest season, we’ll grow beyond the initial six labels with the Virginia grapes our winemaker has sourced for our small batch series. We are excited to showcase these growers and vintners and their amazing products.

The Food

The menu will feature foods that traditionally pair well with wine, with a focus on Italian cuisine. Housemade pasta, charcuterie, cheese, and a variety of baked items are emphasized on both the restaurant menu and the park menu, with the restaurant menu having a larger selection of entrees and the park menu having a larger selection of small plates.

“We have this great interior space and also a large property that lends itself to outdoor dining so we wanted to lean into the versatility of this location and the different ways people would want to enjoy their time at Brambly Park.”

The Park

The property is located in the far northwest corner of Scott’s Addition on almost two acres nestled against the railroad at 1708 Belleville Street. It features a small grass hill and a charming wooded picnic area and is surrounded by wild-growing bramble bushes from which the name was inspired. A large steel pavilion was added to the existing building and designed to resemble a railroad station platform. The inside is decorated with rustic furniture, reclaimed wood, and vintage railroad signage. There over 100 tables spread out across the spacious property, as well as a large parking lot.

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Crime

Victim identified in Arthur Ashe Boulevard homicide

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

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The Richmond Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred last night on the city’s north side.

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:55 a.m.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Bailey at (804) 646-6743 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or www.7801000.com or the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Downtown

Majority of Virginia to enter Phase Two of reopening; Richmond to remain in Phase One for now

Richmond and Northern Virginia will remain in Phase One while surrounding localities can now ease restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining, and other uses.

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Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Sixty-Five and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Governor also amended Executive Order Sixty-One directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase One.

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase Two on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Executive Order Sixty-Five modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Sixty-One and Sixty-Two and establishes guidelines for Phase Two. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase One on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase One to allow for additional monitoring of health data. Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase Two with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.

Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase Two.

Phase Two guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase One guidelines sectors are available here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Five and Order of Public Health Emergency Six is available here.

The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-One can be found here.

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