National March for Life Was Mostly Virtual, but Pro-Life Supporters Attended Local Demonstrations Across U.S.

The national March for Life in Washington D.C. looked very different on Friday compared to past years. Normally, thousands of pro-life demonstrators would march through the Capitol in the yearly march, but this year the thousands turned to social media to watch as a few hundred hand-picked representatives of the pro-life movement marched in D.C. By Friday evening, a Facebook livestream of the event had over 200,000 views.

Read More

Wisconsin Teacher Placed on Non-Disciplinary Leave After Apparently Attending D.C. Rally

A high school teacher from Burlington, Wisconsin is on non-disciplinary administrative leave after a student raised concerns about an assignment given while the teacher was on vacation in Washington, D.C. this past week, according to a district press release. Social studies high school teacher Jeff Taff apparently assigned students to watch a video about alleged election fraud, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Read More

Most Popular Christmas Cookies

What’s the most popular Christmas cookie? The Virginia Star combed through several lists of cookies to get an idea of which were listed the most often. Many of the most popular cookies allow a lot of variation — bakers like to put their own creative spin on their cookies. Here’s our list:

Read More

Chase Caves on Convention for Virginia GOP Nomination

Six days after the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) decided to hold a nominating convention instead of a primary, gubernatorial candidate State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) finally declared that she would run in the convention, and not as an independent.

“My team and I have received thousands of communications across the Commonwealth this past week asking me to continue to run as the next Republican Governor of Virginia,” Chase said on Facebook on Friday.

Read More

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday in 2020

Retailers like Target and Walmart stretched out their traditional Black Friday sales throughout the whole month, but post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees will still be available, according to press releases from the companies. Cyber Monday will feature big deals online as usual, but don’t forget Giving Tuesday and Small Business Saturday.

Read More

Chesapeake Gynecologist Convicted for a Scheme of Unnecessary Surgeries, Insurance Fraud

A federal jury has convicted Javaid Perwaiz, a gynecologist accused of defrauding insurance companies by performing unnecessary procedures including hysterectomies and early induced labor, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. On Monday, the jury convicted the Chesapeake doctor on 52 counts related to the scheme.

Read More

COVID-19 Outbreak in Richmond Registrar’s Office Delays Election Results

Candidates in Richmond’s close elections will have to wait a little longer for certainty after three staffers in the Registrar’s office were diagnosed with COVID-19. Registrar Kirk Showalter said most ballots would be counted by Tuesday, but 975 provisional ballots remain to be evaluated and counted. At a Monday press conference, Showalter said she hoped results for those ballots would be available on Friday.

Read More

After Teacher ‘Sick-Out’ Fizzles, Students Return to In-Person Learning in Chesterfield County

An anticipated organized ‘sick-out’ by Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers did not develop Monday, as the last cohort of students returned to in-person classes. This week, grades 6-12 are entering a hybrid in-person program where students are in-person two days a week, according to documentation from the school board. Younger students have already returned. Parents were given the choice to opt-in to the hybrid program.

Read More

Richmond Prosecutor: Officer Justified in Marcus-David Peters Shooting

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette W. McEachin determined that the officer shooting of Marcus-David Peters was justified, according to a report of her investigation into the May 2018 incident. McEachin’s report, released last week, describes Peters, a Black man, having a likely mental crisis that resulted in him running nude on I-95. Peters then approached a responding officer who fired first a Taser and then a gun at Peters.

Read More

Richmond’s Second District Becomes Local Election Battleground

While the nation watched the national elections, voters in Richmond’s second district quietly disrupted local politics. Voters surprised mayoral election watchers by voting for Alexsis Rodgers instead of current district two councilmember Kim Gray. Voters have also locked the race for Gray’s city council replacement into a narrow two-way contest where leader Tavarris Spinks is ahead of Katherine Jordan by just 26 votes out of 14,086, according to unofficial results at the Virginia Public Access Project.

Read More

Canadian Company Caught Quietly Exploring for Gold in Buckingham County

Buckingham County officials discovered Canadian mining company Aston Bay Holdings sample drilling in parts of the region for gold deposits, in violation of zoning requirements, according to minutes from a planning commission meeting. After stopping the company in June from continuing its exploration, Buckingham officials have been holding meetings and public hearings to decide whether or not to allow Aston Bay Holdings to continue its core drilling. The issue is the latest conflict of environmentalists and mineral extraction businesses fighting for local support in Virginia.

Read More

Mayoral Results in Portsmouth, Roanoke and Suffolk

In addition to Richmond and Virginia Beach, the cities of Roanoke, Suffolk, and Portsmouth all held mayoral elections on Tuesday. In Suffolk, Councilmember Michael Duman has a solid lead in unofficial results; in Roanoke, incumbent Democrat Sherman Lea has declared victory; and in Portsmouth, Councilmember Shannon Glover has won, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).

Read More

Virginia Gets Four Casinos

Four cities have voted to bring casinos to Virginia for the first time, according to unofficial results reported on The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Although Norfolk City is only reporting 93.9 percent of its votes, over 42,611 of those votes are in favor of the initiative versus 22,822 against.

Read More

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Wins Re-election

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has won another term in office with 38.07 percent of voters, just ahead of the 35.72 percent of voters he won in 2016, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) and the City of Richmond. That upper-30s range is also the percent of support the mayor had in recent 2020 polls. In his first term, the mayor faced challenges including poor graduation rates in Richmond schools, controversy over his coliseum project, COVID-19 health and economic concerns, and questions of racial equity around policing and Confederate monuments. Those issues still face the mayor as he enters a second term.

Read More

Six Virginia Counties Vote to Keep Confederate Monuments

Residents of six rural Virginia counties voted to keep local Confederate monuments in place on Tuesday. The referenda are non-binding, but demonstrate voter preference to the local boards of supervisors. In four of the counties, over 70 percent of voters chose to keep the monuments, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Two counties were closer; Charles City County voted against removing its monument by 55.11 percent, while Halifax County voted against relocating its monument by 59.69 percent.

Read More

UPDATE: Unofficially, Stoney Pulls Ahead in Six of the Nine Richmond Districts

Richmond mayoral candidate Alexsis Rodgers proved surprisingly competitive in early results on Tuesday night, leading in both Councilmember Kim Gray’s home district two, and in the fifth district, which pundits expected to fall for Stoney. Stoney took the lead in district three, another critical district for Gray. Meanwhile, Gray has so far failed to take the lead in any of districts five through nine, giving Stoney a lead in five districts. That said, over 70,000 early and absentee votes still need to be counted; only 32,090 votes were available on the City of Richmond elections site as of this reporting. The 2016 mayor’s race saw over 100,000 voters, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Read More

Richmond City Council Races to Watch

Richmond’s eighth district is getting all the love. Just like in the mayor’s race, the eighth district city council race is one of the most high-profile of Richmond’s nine city council races in 2020, according to fourth district Councilmember Kristen Larson. Larson and eighth district Councilmember Michael Jones are running unopposed in their races for re-election, so The Virginia Star asked them which other district races they were watching.

Read More

Richmond City Council Candidate Mike Dickinson Mobilizes Big Trump Train Turnout

About 350 people joined a Sunday afternoon Trump Train procession that departed from the Henrico County courthouse and meandered through Richmond’s West End and parts of neighboring Henrico County. Participants drove cars and trucks displaying American flags and Trump regalia, honking and waving at spectators. “God Bless America” blasted from the radio of several cars.

Read More

Non-Profit VA Ready Focused on Rapid Training for In-Demand Jobs

Non-profit VA Ready announced this week a $30,000 award from Microsoft. The non-profit focuses on quickly training disadvantaged workers in Virginia with new job skills that are in demand.

Read More

Richmond Mayoral Underdog Griffin Attacks Gray in Mailer

Mayoral candidate Justin Griffin recently sent out mailers arguing for a link between opponent candidate Kim Gray and Richmond For All (RFA), Governor Ralph Northam, and Louis Salomonsky. Griffin only got three percent in the most recent poll, well behind his nearest competitor Alexsis Rodgers who got 15 percent, Kim Gray, who got 16 percent, and incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney, who got 36 percent.

Read More

Kamras ‘Not Optimistic’ About Reopening Richmond Schools

Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Jason Kamras told reporters that he doesn’t expect RPS to reopen even after winter break, unlike Henrico and Chesterfield Counties, according to reporting from WTVR. The two neighboring counties recently announced plans to begin allowing students back into classes as soon as November.

Read More

Microsoft Disrupts Trickbot Ransomware, Which Could Pose Threat to Elections

Microsoft officials announced last week that they disrupted 94 percent of a global ransomware network with a presence in eastern Virginia, according to a press release and court documents. The “Trickbot” ransomware is used to steal data from individuals and organizations, and could threaten U.S. elections.

Read More

With Less Than a Week Until Election Day, Virginia Politicians Have Continued to See Their Campaign Signs Stolen or Vandalized

Once again, campaign signs are the innocent victims of pre-election stress and anger. From Giles County to Chincoteague, signs for both Republican and Democratic candidates are being stolen or vandalized.

Read More

Follow The Money: Who Is Investing in the Richmond Mayor’s Race?

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has passed the $916,255 he raised in 2016 campaign, hitting $1.07 million in 2020 by raising $302,294 in the first three weeks of October, according to data from The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Alexsis Rodgers has now raised $415,760 in total, despite beginning her race in June. Kim Gray has raised $391,502.

Read More

Sidney Powell Reveals Pattern of Corruption at Richmond Rally

Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell spoke at a rally for Fourth Congressional District candidate Leon Benjamin on Tuesday night. Men in suits and women in formal dresses enjoyed appetizers as they listened to Powell. She’s also the attorney or former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and is author of Licensed to Lie, a legal thriller/exposé of corruption in the Department of Justice.

Read More

Democratic-Leaning Early Votes Underperforming as Massive Trump ‘Game-Day Vote’ Lurks

1.9 million Virginians have already voted, just under half the number of total voters from the 2016 election, according to data from The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP)and the Virginia Department of Elections (VDOE). VPAP also reports 387,191 mail ballot applications that still have to be returned.

Read More

Morrissey: Gray’s Going to Upset Stoney on First Ballot in Richmond Mayor Race

Despite raising twice as much money as either of his two closest challengers, Mayor Levar Stoney has struggled to get his polling above 40 percent. Two weeks ago, Councilmember Kim Gray recently saw her polling drop from 33 to 16 percent, with a high undecided voter rate. That poll placed her just ahead of the third-closest competitor, Alexsis Rodgers, who has failed to poll significantly better than 15 percent. As a result, Stoney may win despite polling at less than a majority.

Read More

Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Stump for Virginia Republican Candidates

It was cold and rainy, but approximately 150 people attended the Chesterfield GOTV Rally in a covered arena at Keystone Acres on Sunday afternoon. Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) headlined the event. Virginia candidates Nick Freitas, Daniel Gade, and Leon Benjamin appealed to supporters to not only vote, but to encourage friends and community members to vote.

Read More

New Wave of Prosecutors Pushing to Ignore Sections of Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill on Wednesday requiring judges to dismiss cases when both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree. The bill was born after Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood (D) announced that he would not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The bill is an example of a national push to allow prosecutors discretion to ignore whole sections of law, according to Heritage Foundation Legal Fellow and former prosecutor Zack Smith.

Read More

Henrico Parents Demand Kids Go Back to School

After polling parents and holding a public forum, the Henrico County School Board voted 4-1 Thursday for an optional plan to allow in-person learning. The phased approach will allow Pre-K through 2nd grade students to return to school four days a week starting November 30. Grades 3-5 would return on December 7, and older students will return in February.

Read More

Increase in Homeschooling, Working from Home Likely to Last

Increases in homeschooling and working from home triggered by COVID-19 closures may have permanent impacts, according to University of Virginia (UVA) researcher Hamilton Lombard.

“Based on trends over the past few decades, the number of homeschoolers and telecommuters were both expected to continue growing rapidly even before the pandemic. If Virginia’s homeschoolers were a school division, they would be one of Virginia’s largest school divisions, and easily its fastest growing,” Lombard told UVA Today.

Read More

Democratic Party of Virginia Invests Heavily in Virginia Beach Mayor’s Race

Virginia Beach mayoral candidate Jody Wagner out-raised incumbent Bob Dyer in September; Wagner received $321,799, while Dyer received $72,240, according to The Virginia Public Access Project. Furthermore, $167,349 of Wagner’s receipts were in-kind donations from the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA).

Read More

Hospital Network Blocked Clergy from Administering Rites Three Separate Times

On three occasions officials at MedStar Health System (MSHS) hospitals denied entrance to clergy to perform rites including infant baptism and end-of-life last rites, according to a Wednesday press release from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Complaints from a patient and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington led the OCR to push Washington D.C.-area MSHS hospital operator to allow clergy into its hospitals despite COVID-19 regulations.

Read More

Democrats Considering Bill Forcing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions for 2021 Session

Virginia delegates are evaluating a potential bill for the 2021 regular session that would increase funding for abortions under Medicaid and require individual businesses to include abortions in their insurance plans. A House subcommittee met on Tuesday to discuss House Bill (HB) 1445 and hear public comment on the bill. Planned Parenthood and NARAL representatives offered comment, as well as the Virginia Society for Human Life President Olivia Turner.

Read More

Lieutenant Governor’s Race Crowded with Hopefuls for Future Governor

Ten candidates have officially announced runs for the 2021 Virginia Lieutenant Governor (LG) primaries, and more are reported to be eyeing the seat. According to the Virginia Constitution, the LG’s primary role is the president of the Senate; however, he has no vote unless the Senate is tied.

Candidate and former Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Paul Goldman told The Virginia Star, “People are going to say, ‘If I get to be lieutenant governor, I’ll be the next governor in four years. That’s what they’re thinking. That’s what they’ve always thought.'”

Read More

Staff Report: Governor Northam Signs New Laws to Support COVID-19 Response, Reform Policing

Governor Ralph Northam’s office announced Thursday the signing of eight COVID-19 response bills and three criminal justice reform bills. He also proposed amendments to three other bills related to healthcare, COVID-19 relief and criminal justice reform. Northam’s announcement is below:

Read More

Virginia Tech Cancels Spring Break

Virginia Tech announced that the Spring 2021 semester will continue with a combination of in-person, hybrid, and online classes. According to the Monday announcement, the school’s traditional week-long spring break will be replaced with five individual days off spread over several weeks to discourage students from traveling.

Read More

Follow the Richmond Money: Mayor’s Race Wide Open

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney blew away challengers Alexsis Rodgers and Kim Gray with September campaign fundraising. Data from The Virginia Public Access Project shows Stoney’s campaign reported $224,602, Rodgers reported $98,283, and Gray reported $83,455.

Read More

Coalition of Churches Opposes Bristol Casino

Eight churches in Bristol, Virginia are fighting against a proposed $400 million Hard Rock casino; residents will vote on the referendum this November. The coalition cites studies claiming that casinos prey on gambling addicts and questions whether a casino would draw high numbers of tourists as claimed by supporters of the referendum. Proponents say the casino would bring Bristol $15-$20 million a year in taxes and over 2,000 jobs averaging salaries of $46,500.

Read More

Richmond Catholic Diocese Pays $6.3 Million to Sex Abuse Survivors

The Richmond Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is paying $6.3 million to 51 survivors of sexual abuse as minors. The announcement made last Thursday is the result of an Independent Reconciliation Program (IRP) called for by Bishop Barry C. Knestout after the diocese identified dozens of clergy linked to the diocese who face allegations of abuse.

Read More

Progressive Activist Running For RVA Mayor Wants Equity

Alexsis Rodgers is running for mayor to bring equity to Richmond’s impoverished and minority communities, but she said that doesn’t leave behind other parts of the city.

“We all thrive and we all succeed when more of us are able to have access to economic opportunity, when more of us are able to be healthy, and lead healthy lives,” Rodgers told The Virginia Star.

Read More

Progressive Activist Running For RVA Mayor Wants Equity

Alexsis Rodgers is running for mayor to bring equity to Richmond’s impoverished and minority communities, but she said that doesn’t leave behind other parts of the city.

“We all thrive and we all succeed when more of us are able to have access to economic opportunity, when more of us are able to be healthy, and lead healthy lives,” Rodgers told The Virginia Star.

Read More

Virtual Learning Workload Overwhelms Loudoun County Students

Citing overwhelming virtual education workloads, over 13,000 people have signed a change.org petition asking Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reduce the amount of work the students have to do. Unlike school districts in other parts of the states, LCPS is still using a fully virtual model, driving some parents to private schools.

Read More

Alleged MS-13 Members Charged in Random 2019 North Virginia Murders

The Prince William County Police Department (PWPCD) has charged 12 people for the 2019 murders of four men. The murders were linked to MS-13 drug trafficking operations bringing cocaine from New York to local vendors in northern Virginia. According to a press release, 11 of the 12 suspects are in custody.

Read More

Eight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Pledge to Not Enforce Pro-Life Laws

Eight Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledged that they will not enforce any laws criminalizing abortions. The pledge was signed by over 60 prosecutors and state attorneys general and expresses concern over attempts to pass laws limiting abortion. The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) organization published the pledge on October 14, as Congress holds confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Read More

Trump to Greenville: If Biden is Elected, China Will Own the U.S.

Sharp-eyed people in the crowd spotted it first — the landing lights of Air Force One approaching Pitt-Greenville Airport in North Carolina on Thursday. ’80’s pop hit “Gloria” pounded as the aircraft roared by on the runway. Then, with “Eye of the Tiger” building energy, President Donald Trump walked out of the plane and waved to the thrilled crowd.

Read More

Richmond Police Investigate Potential Burglary at Mayor Stoney’s Campaign Office

Officers responded to a break-in at Mayor Levar Stoney’s campaign office on Tuesday morning after they found a broken door, according to The Associated Press. A TV was missing and documents were displaced, but no campaign paperwork was taken.

Read More

Activist Faces Misdemeanor Charges After Protest at Acting ICE Director Pham’s Home

The Henrico County police have charged a protestor with misdemeanors related to the September 8 protest at acting ICE Director Tony Pham’s home. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nancy Nguyen, executive director of VietLead, was arrested and released on her own recognizance last week in Philadelphia.

Read More

Richmond City Council: No Ban on Police Non-Lethal Weapons

The Richmond City Council voted 7-2  Monday against a ban on police non-lethal weapons including rubber bullets, tear gas, and flashbangs. Council members Stephanie Lynch and Michael Jones proposed the ban in June after protests where Lynch and Jones had to run from teargas, according to reporting by ABC8 News.

Read More