Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got all the Virginia news you need to know coming right up.
Today marks the twelve year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, during which a gunman killed 32 people and then himself. As the state reflects on the lives lost, many, including Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, are also taking the time to call for stronger gun laws.
5 Things you need to know today…
- Local Catholics mourn Notre-Dame fire — 856 years after construction on the Notre-Dame Cathedral began, a horrifying fire engulfed the historic landmark on Tuesday, causing significant damage to the cathedral. Across the Commonwealth, Catholics mourned a tragic opening to Holy Week and offered their prayers and support. The fire seems to have started by accident, and while the church is damaged, most of the structure remains intact. French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the monument and indeed, 300 million euros ($339 million) has already been pledged for the reconstruction.
- State’s biggest polluter to stop burning waste in open pits — Virginia’s biggest polluter is one step closer to reducing its carbon footprint. For 78 years, Radford Army Ammunition Plant has played a key role in national defense, producing gunpowder for ammunition and propellant for rockets and artillery. Unfortunately, it is also Virginia’s largest polluter, but that could change with plant on the cusp of getting funding for a state-of-the-art-incinerator for waste, instead of burning it in open pits. The incinerator would eliminate 95% of the waste that is burned now, a huge boon for the climate.
- Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg coming to Virginia in June — On the same day that Beto O’Rourke visits the Commonwealth, the Democratic Party of Virginia announced that O’Rourke’s fellow candidate for the Presidency, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, will speak at a fundraiser for the party in June. The 37-year-old mayor officially announced his bid for the White House on Sunday, after a surge in the polls and weeks of positive media coverage. With General Assembly elections this fall, the state party expects several other 2020 candidates to also make pit stops in the state.
- Dominion Energy asks state for more profit in exchange for electric system upgrades — After not paying a dime in federal income tax, Dominion is now asking the Virginia State Corporation Commission to raise its rate of return on common equity from 9.2% to 10.75%. (Basically, they want more money.) The company is requesting this boost as part of its initiative to upgrade the electric transmission and distribution grid. Dominion insists the increase is necessary to attract investment to support $11 billion in projects planned over the next three years. One upside is that the increase would not affect Dominion customers; it remains to be seen if the state accommodates the company’s request.
- Roanoke aims to set up needle exchange to treat addiction — In Virginia, needle exchanges already operate in Richmond, Wise County, and Smyth County, and Roanoke may soon join that list. On Monday, the Roanoke City Council heard an update from the Roanoke Valley Collective Response, a group of people and organizations dedicated to identifying gaps in the area’s drug prevention and treatment services. The Collective Response announced that they had agreed to a needle exchange plan with the city’s Police Chief, and would submit an application to the Virginia Department of Health by April 30.