Good Morning, RVA: Support our schools, farewell to a grocery story, and finally food

Rainy bleh for most of today.

Photo by: pjpink

Good morning, RVA! It’s 60 °F, and throughout the entire day there’s a chance for a little rain. Today, the temperatures will stay right where they are but will eventually give way to warmer and sunnier times for the rest of the week.

Water cooler

Quite a scene at last night’s City Council meeting! After quickly dealing with the top half of the agenda (which included passing ORD. 2016-092 (PDF) that provides a means to fund schools a teensy bit), Council opened up for a public hearing on some budget-related papers. For the next few hours, 76 people got up and expressed their support for funding Richmond Public Schools. Council chambers were packed, the first overflow room was full, and the second overflow room was full. Long-time City Council host Dick Harmon said he’d never seen anything like it in his 28 years (in which he’s missed two total meetings). In line to speak for funding the schools were teachers, high school students, elementary school students, mayoral candidates, and a past member of city council. One guy got so emotional he had to be escorted out by the police.

Keep in mind that the deadline for councilfolk to submit budget amendments was 5:00 PM that day–like, hours before anyone started speaking–so any plans to fund Richmond Public Schools already needed to be in the works. But, that’s not to say three hours of vocal, public support for schools is worthless. Whatever amendments that exist for funding the schools (assuming they do in fact exist) now have the implicit support of the public, and the new set of mayor, council, and school board people we’re getting come fall will start their jobs knowing a lot about their constituents’ priorities. Stay tuned for the grand reveal of Council’s budget amendments–that’s when we’ll know just what’s possible to get done this year.

You can only pack so many high-end grocery stores into one town before they start to close, right? Trevor Dickerson has the news about Southern Seasons abruptly closing, which, I think, leaves that massive library from the future as the anchor tenant out there.

I’m linking to this article about BRT costs increases in the RTD so I can clarify two things that you may not get if you only read the title: 1) This is about construction costs not operation costs, and 2) Any construction cost overruns will be covered by the state. This is why the project agreement adopted by Council earlier this year was a pretty sweet deal.

Also in the RTD, Karri Peifer reports that coming soon to Scott’s Addition is not another alcohol business, but a restaurant that serves food. A place to soak up all that beer! Crazy, I know!

The CDC says, “No local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in US states, but there have been travel-associated cases. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.” They also have this map showing Zika cases by state (eight so far in Virginia).

Somehow I missed this, but yesterday the National Weather Service started issuing weather summaries in not-all-caps?!

Today is Equal Pay Day. It’s on a Tuesday because women must work through Tuesday to earn what men earn working just the previous week.


  • Squirrels lost 5-8 to Reading. The series continues tonight at 6:35 PM.
  • Nats started off their series against the Braves with a 6-4 win. They’ll try and make it two in a row tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning’s longread

These Neighbors Got Together to Buy Vacant Buildings. Now They’re Renting to Bakers and Brewers

This is a pretty clever idea for dealing with the vacant building problem–a problem several of Richmond’s mayoral candidates have mentioned.

In 2011, a group of dedicated neighbors came together to change that. In November of that year, five of them, including Watson, became the founding board of the Northeast Investment Cooperative, a first-of-its-kind in the U.S. cooperative engaged in buying and developing real estate. NEIC created a structure where any Minnesota resident could join the co-op for $1,000, and invest more through the purchase of different classes of nonvoting stock. The group began spreading the word to prospective members, and started looking for a building to buy.

One year later, NEIC had enough members to buy the two buildings on Central Avenue for cash. The co-op quickly sold one of the buildings to project partner Recovery Bike Shop, and after a gut renovation, which it funded with a 2 percent loan from the city and a loan from local Northeast Bank, it leased the other building to two young businesses that had struggled to find workable space elsewhere, Fair State Brewing Cooperative and Aki’s BreadHaus. Today, NEIC’s impact spreads beyond the intersection of Central and Lowry. It’s catalyzed the creation of new jobs, engaged its more than 200 members in reimagining their neighborhood, and given residents a way to put their capital to work in their local economy.

This morning’s Instagram

Determined #ukrops10k #rva #rvanews

A photo posted by Frank Reid (@marfdrat) on

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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