2015 in review: Q2

The year kept on rolling right along, with Shaka Smart’s departure, the sesquicentennial’s triumphant(?) end, and a whole lot of revealing ugliness about some people’s ancestors being more important than some other people’s current feelings of security.

Photo by: Cortne Lanier


With April came a lot of talk about pollen and a lot of talk about the sesquicentennial anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Hurrah! The South lost! OR DID THEY? More on that later in Q3: The Confederate Statue Quarter.

Phil Williams ended his four-year commitment to us (we kept him in the basement–comfortably!–and insisted that he write with historically accurate parchment and quill), and closed out the Civil War series with a bunch of really great pieces. This one was my favorite, because liquor was flowing in the streets! What!

Then, things took a turn for the whole city, and we all went a little nuts with #shakawatch. In the end, all of our demonstrations and pleadings did nothing, and Shaka Smart deserted us for the horns of UT.

I, for one, recovered quickly and did one of my very favorite interviews of 2015, with Scott McCloud, who makes a living both explaining and admiring comics, kind of. I also went a little nuts over Stephanie Ganz’s wildly helpful breakdown of Richmond-area CSAs. I then used that breakdown to get my own CSA with Agriberry, and so many pies came out of my kitchen, y’all.

Sigh of hopeful relief: Will Wade was hired to replace Shaka “Shaka Who? Never Heard of Him” Smart. Also Selena Cuffee-Glenn came on as the City’s new CAO.

Drive Electric RVA also piqued office interest, as did this piece by Capital News Service about Virginia politicians’ legislative batting average. But nothing caused more heated debate than Cuddle RVA. Dude, maybe it is time for a follow-up with those guys. I volunteer to be cuddled because I don’t get nearly enough of that kind of thing from you jokers.

Big Bike Race™ talk started to heat up, and VCU did a thing that I now believe to be a not good idea–they closed school down for the week and decided to offer these other classes instead. This would go on to unnerve various people and, along with a lot of other similar moves, make them afraid of the race(s).

We all fell deeply in love with Cheryl Groce-Wright and the Greater Fulton Neighborhood Resource Center, and the ballet fans among us were sad about Phil Skaggs’s retirement, but happy about how amusingly those photos turned out.

Kelly Gerow revealed that she’d been writing from a hospital bed, where she would remain for more than two months. Her story is scary and sad, but it ends happily, in that her baby boy is now six months old and smiley AF.

Stephanie Ganz interviewed Chef Jacques La Merde and I LOLed continuously throughout. I still don’t really know if she knows him personally, she’s not saying. I hope she is him. Here’s my fave quote:


Are you guys celebrating Earth Day all year long as you promised??

Our most-read story in April

A true account of the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Sarah Fought. This would go on to be our most popular post of the entire year–any word yet on whether the OED has put “KonMari” as a verb into the dictionary?

Our best headline

Hot rod enthusiasts cruise the Boulevard in memory of Paul Walker by Trevor Dickerson.

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Photo by: DaKodachrome Photography


Excitement and panic became bedfellows, as people started hearing about 450,000 visitors set to descend on Richmond at the Big Bike Race™. We originally misunderstood this number ourselves, but later explained why it isn’t the number you think it is (the date on that post is wonky, because we kept republishing it later on!).

Kelly handed over the reins of Raising Richmond to Sam Davies and Hayley DeRoche.

Also, Yoko Ono allowed John Lennon’s art to come to Richmond, and we all learned what our local makers were doing when the i.e.* 2015 Best Startup category finalists were announced.

Stephanie Ganz’s DIY Mother’s Day Brunch guide is a) still applicable for just a weekend brunch for your mom, who BIRTHED you, man! And b) still a funny read.

I had completely forgotten about this and now I am sad at myself. It was probably because I was so excited about Blue Bee purchasing the old City stables in Scott’s Addition, but still, that’s no excuse.

We did our very first Wedding Week! Christine Haines was entertaining and informative as always as she explained to us about the wedding industry as viewed through her lens. Then Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events did the same as well as some other talented people! I have to say, I was surprised by the heart and soul of an industry that I have always been intimidated by and terrified of.

RVA got its very own brick-and-mortar King of Pops! My son discovered “Chocolate See-Saw” as a result, and would not shut up about it for the next three months.

The “Our House” column debuted, in which families that don’t fit the normal mold tell their story. The column would go on to peak with National Adoption Month in November–we’re now giving it a little rest! We particularly enjoyed Abby Wallers’ recounting of a life lived out and proud in Richmond.

In an exciting turn of events (or perhaps a logical sequence of events?), Paige Mudd took over the editorial throne at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. AND she had coffee with me because she is very gracious.

Hayley DeRoche explored her complicated feelings about dressing her child, which, if you don’t have kids, doesn’t sound like a real thing, but it is SUCH A REAL THING.

Aaaaaaaand, the freestanding children’s hospital dream was tossed out.

Our most-read story in May

Finding space for spectators: Where will all the UCI Road World Championship fans go? by Kelly Gerow.

Our best headline

Do you recognize this chin strap beard? by Richard Hayes, as usual.

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Photo by: pjpink

Above is the last photo of a Confederate monument we ever posted!


The GRTC became a real boy!

Researching this story on our water pipe infrastructure turned me into an annoying expert for days. It was also one of the most popular pieces of content on our site, because people loooove to talk about poop.

Sam Davies addressed the thing that the rest of us were too afraid to say, “We’re big huge hypocrites, kids, sorry! You’ll just have to deal with it.”

I had never thought about farmers markets as being a gateway for food producers to get their names out there. These folks seemed so new back in May, and now they are as familiar to me as a Mrs. Yoder’s doughnut!

In a sweet sports move, VMFA took over the Confederate Memorial Chapel.

We began to hope for high speed rail. Surely it can’t be as much of a disaster as one of these things, which didn’t even succeed in ruining our city!

GRTC Pulse wars really get going!


Then, the Charleston massacre happened, and we got real serious over here for awhile. We decided (I remember us all texting each other about it the next night while I was in the middle of doing bedtime stuff for a three-year-old and kept trailing off during Make Way for Ducklings so as to furiously thumb-type) to just come out with a list of all the roads, statues, schools, and other publicly owned places that are still named to honor Confederate guys.

At the time, I remember we felt really subversive and dangerous, but now it’s like, “Wait, why should we be afraid to point this out?” We followed it up with a piece that gave historical context to the naming/erecting of many of these things, to show that it wasn’t just “a thing done by dudes in 1865.” More often than not, it was “a thing done by dudes in the 1960s to show solidarity against integration laws.” Anyway, people got real mad, as expected, but wonderfully, a ton of people agreed. Other media outlets had similar approaches and feelings (some of them even got it posted before we did, our furious thumbs did not text quickly enough, dangit!), and we were, on the whole, pleased with a big chunk of humanity. The other chunk of humanity made us sad.

Meanwhile, all sorts of other Very Southern cities managed to bring their symbols of white supremacy down, showing that they no longer put it, literally, on a pedestal. Over here, “heritage-not-haters” Facebook with claims that this is “as scary as ISIS.” I urge all of you to do a little reading on ISIS and then tell us that putting a very beautiful J.E.B. Stuart monument in a museum to be learned from and preserved is in any way synonymous.

But then, gay marriage was legalized, so you never know with humans.

Our most-read story in June

The furious thumb-texted article itself!

Our best headline

Hey free hay by Richard Hayes, who, as you might imagine, provides many a well-timed one-liner around the office, particularly when the rest of us are all yelling at each other.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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