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GRTC says riders should expect delays as a number of drivers quarantine

GRTC cautions customers to expect significant service delays this week, for at least the next several days, until COVID-19 test results return for employees in quarantine from contact tracing efforts. On Sunday, there were several routes with missed service in the morning, and more service was expected to be missed Sunday afternoon and evening.

RVAHub Staff

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GRTC cautions customers to expect significant service delays this week, for at least the next several days, until COVID-19 test results return for employees in quarantine from contact tracing efforts. On Sunday, there were several routes with missed service in the morning, and more service was expected to be missed Sunday afternoon and evening.

Customers making essential trips on GRTC are advised to secure alternate transportation to reach their destinations. The Customer Service Call Center is open until 5PM to assist customers with bus tracking (804-358-4782). If a customer is stranded at a bus stop this afternoon waiting for a bus that is not in service, they should call Customer Service 804-358-4782 to ask about GRTC Emergency Ride Home options from their bus stop.

GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm explains, “We continue to proactively quarantine any possible COVID-contacts for the safety of our staff and customers, but this means employees are removed from their duties and causes service delays to our customers. I know how frustrating it is to wait for a bus that never comes, and I ask our customers for understanding during this difficult time of rising cases in the community. We have not had any outbreaks yet among GRTC staff and we believe that is a testament to our aggressive COVID-safety protocols. The health and safety of our staff is critical to preserving reliable transit service, and this is why I believe it is essential for our transportation frontline staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the first round, not the second round as tentatively planned.”

There are six GRTC employees currently on leave with COVID-19, five of whom are recovering at home. Contact tracing is underway for the most recent case, but the previous five cases were suspected to have been contracted off-duty from other family members or non-work community activities. As positive cases are identified, GRTC proactively notifies, quarantines, and tests for any possible contact. This process is in accordance with guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health. The full list of confirmed staff and contractor cases is available online.

GRTC continues to host periodic on-site, free COVID-19 testing events for staff, including the next event on December 10th. For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.

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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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