Good Morning, RVA: Aw butts

Shaka Smart is leaving Richmond, but life will go on!

Photo by: pjpink

Good morning, RVA! It’s 61 °F, which, heck yeah! But it may rain this morning, which, awww man! But that’s OK; today’s highs are in the 80s(!), and the rest of the weekend, while a bit cooler, still looks like the makings of something special.

Water cooler

Six years to the day after being introduced as VCU’s new head coach, Shaka Smart has left the program and accepted a job at the University of Texas. Smart was such a cultural fit for Richmond in a trillion different ways. It’s hard not to feel like we’re losing something that made us who we are to a city that we’re constantly compared to and secretly aspire to be more like. But! Richmond is a college basketball town! Shaka Smart and Coach Mooney at UR have helped us discover that, and Smart’s departure–even if it is to such a stereotypically hip town like Austin–doesn’t change that. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I feel a lot of sports (and city-pride) emotions about this whole situation.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has shut down the Natural Bridge Zoo, which I only ever head about through terrible word-of-mouth stories.

Yesterday I learned, from his Twitter, that Secretary of State John Kerry announced a pretty great deal with Iran over their nuclear program. Luckily for me, as I spent most of yesterday feeling sports emotions and not figuring out the exact details of said deal, Vox has the whole thing in plain English and why each bit is important.

Also on Vox, the situation in Indiana got a little better after Governor Mike Pence clarified their new “religious freedom” law. Prepared to get super bummed, though, if you read the entirety of that article–29 states still allow businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian people, including Virginia.

There is so much going on this weekend! Celebrate / contemplate the fall of Richmond and the ensuing emancipation of enslaved Richmonders. Do these five things or maybe these five things with your family. Or perhaps hit up some festivals?


  • Caps beat the Canadiens 5-4 in shootouts. Alex Ovechkin became the Caps’ all-time leading scorer, and the team suddenly finds itself in second place in the division. They’ll face the Senators tomorrow and the Red Wings on Sunday.
  • Kickers have their home opener tomorrow against Louisville City at 5:00 PM. Tickets start at just $12.

What to expect

Look for these stories (and more (maybe)) on RVANews today:

  • 150 years ago, Lincoln visited (what remained of) Richmond.
  • Richard Hayes fills us in on what to expect from the Kickers’ home opener this Saturday.
  • My weekly beer column, which continues to be surprising in terms of word count.
  • Susan Howson talked to comics legend Scott McCloud, who comes to town on Monday.
  • Hayley DeRoche alerts me to something that makes me feel uncomfortable.

This morning’s longread

California grows all of our fruits and vegetables. What would we eat without the state?

California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots (and the list goes on and on). Some of this is due to climate and soil. No other state, or even a combination of states, can match California’s output per acre.

Garlic! Kiwis! Plums! As Anakin Skywalker once said, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

This morning’s Instagram

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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