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Walk-ups Welcome at All Public Richmond and Henrico Health Districts Covid-19 Events

No appointment is necessary to get your shot and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

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All public Richmond and Henrico Health Districts COVID-19 vaccination events are now available on a walk-up basis to any eligible person. Though scheduling a time to be vaccinated is not required anymore, residents still can do so if they choose by visiting vax.rchd.com or calling (804) 205-3501.

“Our COVID-19 vaccination events have more appointments available for a variety of reasons- significant progress in the vaccination effort, increased community supply, more vaccination opportunities at pharmacies and doctors’ offices, and some hesitancy,” said RHHD Nurse Manager Amy Popovich. “Because of this, we can be less reliant on our registration systems. We can accommodate more individuals at our events who do not have an appointment scheduled in advance.”

Planned RHHD vaccination events that will accept walk-ups in the next week will take place:

  • Thursday, May 13, 9 am to 11 am – Trinity Baptist Church (2811 Fendall Ave., Richmond 23222), Moderna;
  • Thursday, May 13, 2 pm to 3 pm – Fairfield Resource Center (2506 Phaup St., Richmond 23223), Moderna;
  • Friday, May 14, 11 am to 3 pm – Virginia Union University (1359 W Graham Rd., Richmond 23220), Pfizer;
  • Tuesday, May 18, noon to 5 pm – George Wythe High School (4314 Crutchfield St., Richmond, VA, 23225), Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson;
  • Wednesday, May 19, 8 am to 4 pm – Richmond International Raceway (600 E. Laburnum Ave., Henrico 23222), Pfizer;
  • Wednesday, May 19, 9 am to noon – Peter Paul Development Center (1708 N. 22nd St, Richmond 23223), Moderna;
  • Wednesday, May 19, 3 pm to 6 pm – George Wythe High School (4314 Crutchfield St., Richmond 23225), Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson;
  • Thursday, May 20, 8 am to 4 pm – Richmond International Raceway (600 E. Laburnum Ave., Henrico 23222), Pfizer;
  • Friday, May 21, 11 am to 3 pm – Virginia Union University (1359 W. Graham Rd., Richmond 23220), Pfizer.

Additional events may be added and will be posted at vax.rchd.com.

Henrico Emergency Management Chief Jackson Baynard told the Henrico Board of Supervisors Tuesday night that once the Centers for Disease Control authorizes the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old, the county intends to extend the hours of walk-up vaccinations at the raceway from 4 p.m. to to 6 p.m.

In addition to attending an RHHD COVID-19 vaccination event, a number of other walk-up opportunities are available at pharmacies, and people may schedule vaccinations at other sites, too. Visit vaccines.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

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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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GRTC Continues Zero Fare Operations for Another Year

Hop on the bus, Gus. You don’t need to discuss much cuz this ride is free.

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Press Release from GRTC made the announcement that no fares through June 30th of 2022.

GRTC will remain Zero Fare through June 30, 2022, as approved by the Board of Directors this morning. Using State and Federal COVID relief funding, GRTC has been fareless to ride Local Bus, Pulse (Bus Rapid Transit), Express Bus, and CARE/Paratransit vans since March 19, 2020 in response to public health measures and in the interest of economically distressed communities who rely on public transit services to reach jobs, food, healthcare, and other critical community resources.

GRTC’s annual operating and capital expenditures for FY2022 are expected to approach $100 million, including $5.8 million enabling Zero Fare operations from Federal relief funding.  In FY2019 before the pandemic, GRTC received $6.8 million in fare revenue directly from riders and paid $1.6 million in expenses associated with fare collection, resulting in a $5.2 million net fare box revenue.  For FY2022, non-staffing fare expenses were removed from the budget. Fare collection staff have been offered essential non-fare job functions within GRTC. The projected net revenue difference of $5.8 million will be replaced in the budget by federal COVID relief funds as the region continues to recover economically from the pandemic.

GRTC CEO Julie Timm explains, “Although bus ridership did decline in 2020 across the nation during the pandemic, GRTC local ridership drops were modest by comparison and are already approaching pre-COVID levels.  I attribute the ridership rebound to three areas: 1) the strength of the 2018 network redesign connecting essential workers to jobs; 2) the extensive COVID protective measures enacted early and throughout the pandemic to protect staff and riders; and 3) the ongoing commitment to Zero Fare operations to protect the health and financial stability of our riders. GRTC’s focus on connecting people to essential resources resulted in higher sustained ridership. Higher ridership translates into increased Federal and State formula funding and creates a positive feedback loop for GRTC to improve and grow the region’s mobility network.”

GRTC is a public service corporation providing mobility services in the Greater Richmond area. GRTC’s current operational budget (FY21) of $60.3 million primarily funds daily mobility operations and vehicle maintenance. GRTC has provided 7.1 million trips during this FY21 (July 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021).

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Sixteen Car Train Derailment Near North Bank Trail

An accident that could have been much worse.

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Last night the RFD posted this along with the pictures we’re sharing. Although the call was to Tredegar several folks on Reddit are saying it was closer to Texas Beach.

At approximately 6:50 p.m., crews responded to Tredegar Street for the report of a train derailment. 16 cars of a CSX freight train went off the track. No injuries were reported. Our crews fortunately found no hazards.

The train is a CSX freight train. According to CSX, the train was heading to Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Of the derailed cars, 12 were carrying paperboard, two contained rock and the three tank cars were empty. In total, the train had 121 loaded and 39 empty cars.

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McAuliffe crushes competitors in Democratic primary for governor

For anyone wondering how Terry McAuliffe was feeling before Virginia’s gubernatorial primary, his election-eve shimmying spree was a solid indicator.

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For anyone wondering how Terry McAuliffe was feeling before Virginia’s gubernatorial primary, his election-eve shimmying spree was a solid indicator.

The almost-victory dance became the real thing Tuesday as the former governor and prolific Democratic fundraiser cruised to a lopsided win in a split field, setting up a general-election matchup with deep-pocketed Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.

Tuesday’s victory cements McAuliffe’s return to the forefront of Virginia politics after serving as governor from 2014 to 2018. He had to leave office due to Virginia’s ban on governors serving consecutive terms, but there was nothing stopping him running again after a brief hiatus in which he explored the idea of a presidential run or a potential post in President Joe Biden’s cabinet.

Though McAuliffe has said fellow Democrats encouraged him to return and help keep the state blue, a claim backed by his lengthy list of endorsements from senior members of the General Assembly, some have faulted him for taking the rare step of reasserting himself atop a party that was racking up electoral successes and policy wins in his absence.

That didn’t seem to be a tough question for the primary voters who showed up Tuesday and overwhelmingly chose McAuliffe over four other contenders. Former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, both of whom had hoped to make history as the first Black woman elected governor of any state, were on pace to finish second and third, respectively. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, his political aspirations hobbled by sexual assault allegations he denies, was in fourth place as of about 8:30 p.m., while Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, was in fifth.

In-person turnout appeared sluggish at polling places Tuesday, though it wasn’t immediately clear if that could be attributed to a lack of enthusiasm for an uncompetitive contest at the top of the ticket or the broader shift to mail-in ballots due to the pandemic and looser rules on absentee voting.

Two-thirds of the 2021 Democratic ticket will be a rerun of the party’s 2013 slate after Attorney General Mark Herring defeated challenger Jay Jones, a state delegate from Norfolk.

Del. Hala Ayala, D-Prince William, backed by establishment Democrats like Gov. Ralph Northam and Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, came out on top in the crowded primary for lieutenant governor, adding diversity to a ticket with two other slots filled by White men who have held statewide office before.

In interviews Tuesday about their picks for governor, some Democratic voters indicated they didn’t look much further than McAuliffe, deciding early that someone who did the job before could do it again.

“He was forthcoming. He was honest,” said Doreen Taylor, a self-described “60-plus” voter who cast her ballot for McAuliffe in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. “He told people what needed to be done and he did it.”

Nick Walker, a 26-year-old craft brewer who saw his Virginia Beach brewpub shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had a more specific McAuliffe story. He said he met the former governor at a beer event during McAuliffe’s first term and complained that the state’s arcane beer distribution rules were preventing small brewers from transporting their products throughout the state. Instead of getting brushed off, Walker said, McAuliffe connected him with a state official who could help.

“At that moment, he was just a guy who didn’t understand what was going on, but knew that something was wrong,” Walker said. “And instead of being like, ‘Oh we’ll fix it’ and then saying nothing, he delegated it to someone who knew how to fix it. And then we literally fixed that problem within the craft beer industry within a year. That doesn’t happen. And that was huge for me.”

While voting for McAuliffe at Petersburg’s 112-year-old train station, Carol Johnson said that, as a Black woman, she had considered supporting McClellan or Caroll Foy, both of whom have strong Petersburg ties. But she ultimately decided McAuliffe gives Democrats their best shot at victory this fall.

“I don’t think we have time to waste. I think we need somebody in there who knows how to get things done from the start,” Johnson said.

Darrell Mason, however, was all about getting “some new blood in there.”

“I voted for Jennifer … somebody,” he said, sliding down his mask to show a sly grin. Later, he said he voted for Carroll Foy.

“I know Terry McAuliffe; had my picture made with him. I like him and I know, hands down, that he’s going to win. It’s a sure thing,” Mason said. “I just want her (Carroll Foy) to get some votes to help her with her career.”

Other voters said they were frustrated by the way McAuliffe blocked the rise of other contenders who could have offered a fresher perspective.

Patty Loyde, a 51-year-old bookkeeper who voted for McClellan at a church in Richmond’s Fan District, said McAuliffe was “sucking all the air out of the room because he’s got so much money.”

“If Virginia allowed two terms and he won a second term, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Loyde said. “But he’s had his turn. And I just feel like it’s time for a Black person and a woman to be our governor.”

Martha Hoagland, a 23-year-old supply chain management major at Virginia Commonwealth University, said she voted for Carroll Foy because she was looking for the most progressive candidate with the broadest appeal.

“I just don’t want Terry McAuliffe to win,” she said. “Because I think he’s just kind of a corporate person.”

“He seems like a cool-enough guy,” said Kofi Roberts, a 23-year-old recent VCU graduate now working as a copywriting intern. “But it’s just like, what have you done since you’ve been governor that’s impacted me that I could point to?”

A McAuliffe win, he said, would feel “kind of like the Joe Biden presidency.”

“I wanted Bernie to win. Biden won. It’s not great. But it’s not terrible,” Roberts said. “Like the world still might burn. But at least in the meantime …”

“It’s not being lit on fire,” Hoagland said.

Mercury columnist Bob Lewis contributed reporting.

This has been a breaking news post. Check back for updates. 

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Robert Zullo for questions: [email protected] Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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