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Pelfrey Picked as New Flying Squirrels Manager

The Flying Squirrels open the 2022 season on Friday, April 8 at Bowie. Opening night presented by Chick-fil-A at The Diamond will be Tuesday, April 12 as the Flying Squirrels host the Altoona Curve.



Dennis Pelfrey has been named the new manager of the Richmond Flying Squirrels for the 2022 season, the San Francisco Giants announced on Thursday.

Pelfrey comes to Richmond after managing the Eugene Emeralds, the Giants’ High-A affiliate, to a league championship in 2021. He will be joined on his field staff this year by pitching coach Paul Oseguera, hitting coach Danny Santin, fundamentals coach Gary Davenport, athletic trainer Chris Walsh and strength & conditioning coach Matt Jordan.

With Pelfrey at the helm, the Emeralds went 69-50 during the inaugural regular season of the High-A West, the club’s first year as an affiliate of the Giants. The Emeralds defeated the Spokane Indians in the High-A West Championship Series, three-games-to-one, closing out the title with a 5-0 shutout in Game 4.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to come to Richmond and bring a championship to one of the best cities in the country,” Pelfrey said. “From what I’ve heard, Richmond has the best fans in baseball and a fantastic front office, which is going to make this a great summer with some of the best Giants prospects.”

Prior to joining the Giants organization, Pelfrey spent five seasons as the manager for the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League from 2015-2019. Under his direction, the Freedom reached the postseason three times and advanced to the Frontier League Championship Series twice.

He was hired to manage the then-High-A San Jose Giants in 2020 before the minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to beginning his managerial career, Pelfrey was a coach for the independent Gary SouthShore Railcats of the independent American Association from 2011-2014.

Primarily an infielder during his professional playing career from 1999-2004, Pelfrey spent six seasons in the Frontier League, Texas-Louisiana League and Central League.

Pelfrey, 44, is a native of Arlington, Texas, and played collegiately at Northwood University.

Oseguera joins the Flying Squirrels for his first season in Richmond and his second coaching in the Giants system. He spent the 2021 campaign as the pitching coach for the Low-A West-champion San Jose Giants. Under his direction, San Jose’s pitching staff led the league in ERA (3.59) and strikeouts (1,439).

As a player, Oseguera was selected in the 16th round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Giants out of UCLA. A native of La Jolla, Calif., he spent four seasons in the Giants system from 2006-2009, reaching as high as Double-A Connecticut. He spent part of 2010 with the Oakland Athletics organization. After three seasons with the independent Bridgeport Bluefish from 2010-2012, he played internationally in Mexico and Japan from 2013-2016.

Santin also heads to Richmond for his first year with the Flying Squirrels and his second with the Giants. Last year, he was the hitting coach for San Jose during their league title run.

Prior to joining the Giants, Santin served two years in the Milwaukee Brewers organization as Assistant Hitting Coordinator in 2020 and hitting coach for the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers in 2019. He spent five seasons with the Miami Marlins system as hitting coach in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League from 2014-2017 and in the same role with High-A Jupiter in 2018.

After being drafted in the 23rd round in 2003 as a catcher, Santin played four seasons with the Seattle Mariners organization, reaching Triple-A in 2007. Santin is a native of Miami, Fla.

Davenport returns to Richmond for his third season with the Flying Squirrels and his 19th year with the Giants organization. He also served as the Flying Squirrels’ fundamentals coach in 2018 and 2021. Davenport joined the Giants organization as a roving instructor in 2004 before spending 2005 as San Jose’s hitting coach. From 2006-2007, he was the hitting coach for the Connecticut Defenders, which was the Giants’ Double-A outfit in the Eastern League at the time. He returned to San Jose for five seasons from 2008-2012 before managing the short-season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes from 2013-2014 followed by three years as a roving instructor from 2015-2017. He spent the 2019 campaign as the fundamentals coach for San Jose.

Drafted by the Giants in the 27th round in 1981 out of Santa Clara University, Davenport played parts of three professional seasons in the San Francisco organization. He has also worked instructing baseball overseas in South Africa and Italy.

Walsh heads to Richmond for his first season with the Giants organization. He was an athletic trainer with the St. Louis Cardinals organization for the previous five seasons and also worked with the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. Prior to working in baseball, Walsh spent time as a trainer in professional hockey and as a medical coordinator Pan American Games.

Jordan, a former collegiate pitcher at Manhattan College, is entering his fourth season with the Giants and his first in Richmond. He was the strength & conditioning coach for the DSL Giants in 2019 and spent 2021 with the Eugene Emeralds. Prior to joining the Giants organization, Jordan developed athletes at the Florida Athletic Development Center in Naples, Fla.

The Flying Squirrels open the 2022 season on Friday, April 8 at Bowie. Opening night presented by Chick-fil-A at The Diamond will be Tuesday, April 12 as the Flying Squirrels host the Altoona Curve. The full 2022 schedule is available here. For more information, visit

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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.


Three Accidents, One Deadly Along Forest Hill Avenue and Semmes

Speed appeared to play a factor in most if not all of the accidents.



Last night at Kenmore Road and Forest Hill Avenue around 6:30 PM there was a fatal accident. ABC 8 has some details but it isn’t clear whether it was the driver or someone else that was killed.

Earlier in the evening an accident occurred at Forest Hill and Bliley.

Finally, while driving to Manchester we spotted an overturned car on Semmes and W. 14th. Unsure if it was unrelated but saw a man a block away being handcuffed.

Even to my non-traffic engineer brain this is pointing to a significant problem and without changes, either physically changing the layout of the roads or a ton more enforcement this problem will continue.

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PHOTOS: Spaced Out at the Science Museum of Virginia

Showcasing how astronauts live and work, “Space” opens Saturday, May 27, and runs through Labor Day.



Suit up and strap in! The Science Museum of Virginia is blasting guests into the cosmos this summer with the touring exhibition “Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience.”

Showcasing how astronauts live and work, “Space” opens Saturday, May 27, and runs through Labor Day. It features dozens of hands-on stations letting guests explore the extraordinary environment of space, including the dangers humans face during their missions and adaptations engineers have developed to help them survive. Unlike many space exhibitions that focus on the history of cosmic adventures, “Space” looks to the future, both in what scientific innovations will be needed and what considerations are involved when (not if!) we construct a colony on Mars.

“While many of us have probably imagined what it’s like to live in space, very few humans ever get the chance to go,” said Science Museum Astronomer Justin Bartel. “This exhibition offers the next-best experience to engage in that exciting journey in an immersive way.”

We were invited to the media preview of the Science Museum of Virginia’s latest touring exhibition “Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience.” Photos and a little commentary below. Tickets an more information at the Science Museum’s website reached by the first link above.

The vast majority of exhibits are interactive. For obvious reasons, some dramatic pieces of history are hands-off.

Yes, the space toilet is interactive but no you don’t get to test it out. The metal bars towards the front keep you from floating away while taking care of business.

There are videos throughout with astronauts giving details on the subject matter. The one about the bathroom was surprisingly detailed and informative. When viewing with children and immature adults (i.e. me) expect giggles.

Witness the impact of a meteoroid and how NASA deals with the potential danger.

I liked the space station dollhouse way more than a 50+ year old man should of. Luckily Hans, Sebastian, and Lucy all survived their adventures in my mind.

Space food!!! Space cookies!!! The video for this station was fascinating.


Speaking of food you can handle jars of peanut butter (no actual peanuts so no allergy worries) to feel the weight difference.

As you’d expect gravity is a big player in the exploration of space and the exhibits teach about it in a variety of creative ways. Most stations (not this one) allow for multiple folks to explore and learn so should be nice even if crowded.

Tangent Alert: The space station pictured above was created by NASA Ames Research Center, maybe Donald Davis but several artists were used and I couldn’t find any artist credit. In the 1970’s NASA started contemplating cities in space. One idea such as pictured above was the Stanford Torus. There is a fascinating article about the art and theories on a space city in this article by Bloomberg, NASA’s Groovy Concept Art for the Orbiting Cities of the Future.

This doughnut-shaped colony was much smaller, with an inside ring diameter of one mile compared to the cylindrical colony’s 4 miles, but was still expansive enough to promote the growth of a vibrant space society.

Just what kind of society it would be is an open question. NASA thought of all kinds of possible uses for orbiting cities, from penal institutions to refuges for political dissidents to friendly environments for the disabled, where paraplegics could zoom around on ADA-compliant hovercrafts. The space agency called these cities the “ultimate gated community,” explaining:

On Earth it is essential that diverse groups learn to live in close proximity. It’s hard to live with five or six billion homo sapiens, and some people can’t seem to do it gracefully. Space settlements offer an alternative to changing human nature or endless conflict – the ability to live in fairly homogeneous groups, as has been the norm throughout hundreds of thousands of years of human existence. Those who can’t get along can be separated by millions of miles of hard vacuum, which in some cases seems necessary. All entry into a space settlement must be through an airlock, so controlling immigration should be trivial.

Propulsion can be very pretty. Not able to catch much of the arcing electricity but trust me it’s cool.

I’m not saying I could kick butt in the robotic arm, only using the camera, Olympics but I’d definitely be in the running.

The centerpiece of the exhibit was the two sections of the International Space Station’s, Destiny Lab. In order to simulate conditions, you stand on a walkway and the sections move around you. It’s very disconcerting at first and especially if you look towards the end. No real way to capture this feeling it must be experienced.

The view from the International Space Station is pretty nice.

“Space” is available through a combination ticket that includes access to the Science Museum’s regular exhibitions, labs and demos. Admission is $22 for adults; $19 for youth (ages 6-12) and seniors (ages 60 and older); and $15 for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5). Discounts are available for teachers, military personnel and through the Museums for All program. Science Museum members receive unlimited free admission to the Science Museum and the touring exhibition. Guests may purchase tickets on the Science Museum’s website or in person at Guest Services when they arrive.

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Virginia’s medical cannabis program has ‘improved’ but more needed to meet expectations

The medical cannabis program is the only way to legally purchase cannabis in Virginia. But, current Virginia medical patients point to the program’s shortcomings, and cannabis advocates say top state officials and lawmakers are actively suppressing it.



By Chloe Watson

A former Virginia medical cannabis employee initially got into the business to help his wife with her multiple chronic ailments, including multiple sclerosis.

For the past five years, Bart Dluhy has grown plants and made extracts to see what might help ease his wife’s pain, he said. He began his cannabis career as a budtender in a Las Vegas medical facility, where he helped patients select products for particular ailments.

Dluhy completed online cannabis certificate programs through Syracuse University in 2022. He is certified in cannabis health care and medicine, and cultivation. Dluhy is also an official “ganjier” — think sommelier, but for cannabis.

His experience led him to work in a Virginia medical facility operated by Jushi, Dluhy said, where he made cannabis edibles, vape cartridges and various extracted products. Dluhy left after about three months on the job.

“Part of the reason why I left is I didn’t feel good about myself working for a company that was not taking care of the patients that were their consumers,” Dluhy said.

The medical cannabis market is the only way to legally purchase cannabis in Virginia. But, current Virginia patients point to the program’s shortcomings, and cannabis advocates say top state officials and lawmakers are actively suppressing it. The main issues reported range from registration fees, inconsistent supply, high prices, low potency, and overall access.

Virginia lawmakers decriminalized cannabis possession in 2021, with specific parameters. When the General Assembly adjourned this March, they did so without creating the anticipated recreational cannabis market that lawmakers have discussed for years.

“Virginia started as a medical state, and technically, we’re still in a medical state,” Dluhy said. “You can’t go and purchase it legally unless you get a prescription from a doctor.”

How it works: Buying cannabis

Virginia residents must first obtain a written certification from a registered practitioner, for a cost upward of $100, depending on the provider. The certification must be renewed annually. Medical cannabis patients are no longer required as of July 2022 to register with the Board of Pharmacy for a card to access medical dispensaries.

 But the card, which costs $50, can help verify a patient is approved to use cannabis for medical treatment, which can be a factor in employment. It also has to be renewed annually.

Approximate cost then would be $150 annually for a patient, in addition to any purchases. Cannabis is still considered illegal by the federal government, and patients could run into issues with insurance plans covering referrals and medical cannabis purchases.

There are 18 dispensaries located in Virginia. A government-issued ID must be presented at the dispensary with the certificate in order to make the first purchase.

Sales: Climbing, but losing Virginia patients to D.C.

The estimated number of patients with a medical card in Virginia is approximately 50,000. That’s based on BOP-provided information of the number of cards issued as of June last year before the card was not required, and the total number since 2018. Otherwise, the number of medical patients with just a certificate could not be provided, according to the BOP.

Virginia medical cannabis purchases are tracked through the state Prescription Monitoring Program.

The number of products dispensed last year increased 156% from 2021, when a medical card was required. The information is tracked by “dispensations.”

There were almost 562,000 “dispensations” in 2021, according to info provided by the BOP. That total was over 1.44 million, in 2022. The BOP did not provide a total cash sales figure from the medical program by time of publication.

Maryland’s medical program had almost 163,000 patients at the end of December. Its program officially launched in December 2017, after years of figuring out standards and regulations. Washington D.C. has just under 30,000 currently registered patients as of March, but the population is smaller and there is a thriving “gifting market” as a work around to district law.

The small size of the Virginia medical market limits what processors can produce and sell, Dluhy said.

“It’s expensive for what you get, and when I don’t have some of my own growing, I’ll actually drive to Washington D.C. because they have much better products, much better regulations on their products, and have a better variety,” Dluhy said.

Washington-area medical dispensaries can sell to Virginia customers who have a certification and valid state ID. They used to require a BOP card.

There were over 1,200 unique Virginia patients served in Washington in March, according to the city’s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration.

It is easier to find out exactly how many Virginia patients were served in D.C. in March than it is to get a detailed overview of the state’s own medical program. Both D.C. and Maryland post numbers on the managing authority’s website and compile public-facing reports.

The Cannabis Control Authority will begin tracking patient sales and totals when it takes over from the BOP next January, the Authority told Capital News Service. It will make that type of “data transparent and accessible” like the district and Maryland.

Control: Three out-of-state companies own the market

When Virginia lawmakers introduced medical cannabis in 2016, they allowed for one pharmaceutical cannabis processor per each one of the five Virginia Department of Health’s designated health service areas. Pharmaceutical processors are facilities with permits to grow cannabis plants, as well as produce and dispense medical products to patients.

“The biggest issue is that there are only four companies in the entire state and each company has its own specific region, and what that does is that limits competition,” Dluhy said.

The state’s four licensed pharmaceutical processing firms are actually now owned by three out-of-state companies valued at hundreds of millions and traded on the stock market, based on Capital News Service analysis in 2022.

JM Pedini is the developmental director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Virginia chapter. Policymakers and advocates alike increasingly consider the state’s limited licensure vertical models outdated, though the model is not unique, according to Pedini.

Patients in health district one, in the Northwest area, have to travel or rely on cannabis delivery. No medical processor has been assigned to the district because of a legal roadblock involving the company PharmaCann Virginia. The lawsuit was recently finalized, allowing the VBOP to re-open applications for patients in the area.

Patients are impacted by the lack of access in health district one, and some have medical conditions that make it laborious to travel, according to Dluhy.

“Either they get fatigued or their back is gonna ache from being in the car for so long,” Dluhy said. “Or maybe they just have troubles with vision or lightheadedness and they don’t want to be on the road on [Interstate] 66 on a big highway for two hours out of their day.”

Patient complaints: Product cost, quality and offerings

There are many registered medical patients who complain about low product quality and limited offerings. A Reddit channel dedicated to Virginia medical cannabis users features regular posts about customer issues. The subreddit has over 6,000 people subscribed to it.

There are also posts where patients state they prefer the current medical system over illegal sales.

“There are certain things that a medical facility would do to optimize the product as medicine as opposed to recreation, and a lot of those things that should be done aren’t being done,” Dluhy said, who is active on the subreddit.

Virginia also offers a limited number of product types compared to other states, according to Dluhy. Virginia products can contain THC, or CBD, or a combination. Many other cannabis compounds can be medicinally helpful, according to Dluhy.

Cannabis compounds such as CBG have proven to be anti-inflammatory in mice and helped to slow the growth of colorectal cancer, according to Harvard Health. THCV has shown promise in test trials to help stabilize insulin levels and facilitate weight loss.

“All of these compounds have excellent medical value and different ones are good for different ailments,” Dluhy said.

Other states offer products with different ratios of these compounds, something Dluhy said is important because everyone tolerates cannabis differently. Some medical programs can offer 20-to-1 ratios, or even 5-to-1 ratios of different THC and CBD combinations. This can make it easier for patients to find the exact product to help their ailments, Dluhy said.

Virginia dispensaries are owned by corporations that operate in other states, but the same company in California can legally offer more variety due to demand and stronger products. Virginia medical cannabis sales are currently capped at 10 milligrams of THC per dose.

Other frequent complaints include pricing and inconsistent product availability, which can be hard for a patient who finds a medicine that helps but can’t find it again.

Similar products offered at a Virginia dispensary can cost less at the same company’s dispensary in another state, according to a Capital News Service review of products matched by brand, potency and sales tier. A product that costs $60 in Virginia costs $35 for the same amount in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — from the same parent company.

Medical patients turn to the black market, and use apps like Telegram to buy cheaper products that may also be better quality, according to Dluhy. However, this can be especially risky for medical patients, as black market products are not screened for heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants that would be found through state-mandated testing, he said.

Dluhy blamed these widespread issues on government restrictions and lawmaker delay to create a legal recreational market.

“The longer they wait, the longer people are putting themselves at risk, wasting money, not getting the medicine that they legally should have access to,” Dluhy said. “I really put the fault of this on the government.”

“No one wants to sell crap, but they are restricted because of the legislation,” he added.

Legislation: Does Virginia stay or does it grow?

The Virginia medical program needs to evolve, and the governor’s administration needs to help facilitate that growth and expansion, according to Pedini.

There were some failed legislative efforts this session to expand the medical program.

Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, introduced Senate Bill 1090 to increase the number of allowed cannabis processor permits from one to two for each health service area.

Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, introduced House Bill 2369 to increase the annual number of cannabis dispensing facility permits from five to 12. It also removed the requirement that dispensaries must be owned by a pharmaceutical processor.

That would have allowed more competition in the market, which could help drive down product costs.

Medical cannabis-related legislation that passed this session included companion bills HB 1846 and SB 1337, which originally extended the shelf life of products to 12 months without stability testing. Stability testing measures a product’s longevity and integrity. 

Stability testing is for products that expire after six months and there is a 10% allowed deviation. The new bills expanded that deviation to 15%. The governor amended the legislation and kept the 15% deviation, but shortened the testing period back to anything after six months. 

The legislation also allows for registered cannabis products to have slightly more THC than the allowed amount per dose by increasing the allowable product deviation from 10% to 15%, without having to submit a new registration to the BOP.

Any slight variance in a product requires it to be listed under another name, which can be hard to explain to customers, according to Pedini. Virginia has one of the lowest variances allowed in the country, according to Pedini.

Companion bills SB 788 and HB 1598 transfer oversight of medical cannabis to the Cannabis Control Authority. The Authority was created in 2021 with the anticipation it would regulate aspects of recreational sales.

The medical program will still operate the same, but patients will be better suited under an agency where regulators have an expertise in this area of policy, according to Pedini.

Jeremy Preiss is the acting head of the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. It will oversee the medical program starting January 2024. The Authority plans to connect with “patients, practitioners, and providers” closer to the date to provide “full awareness” of transfer details, Preiss stated.

“Legislation was passed this session to address this and other patient-specific concerns,” Pedini stated in a follow-up email. “While improvements were made, many more are still needed in order for Virginia’s program to meet the expectations of patients and practitioners.”

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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