Dogwood Daily: News-to-Go – April 19, 2019
By Keya Vakil
April 19, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all the Virginia news that’s been happening coming right up.


Much of the Commonwealth is being hit by severe weather today, so we hope everyone is taking the proper precautions and staying indoors. If you’re looking for something to pass the time, we highly recommend the new Hulu show Ramy.

5 Things you need to know today…

  1. Fight over the Mueller report continues – In a surprise to no one, reactions to yesterday’s release of the Mueller report split along partisan lines. Most Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) said yesterday’s release of the report ought to be the end of this saga, while congressional Democrats said it raised more questions and want an unredacted version of the report. Upon reading the report, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, added his voice to the chorus calling for Congress to see the full, unredacted report.
  2. Virginia Police Departments in turmoil — Yesterday, the Capitol Police fired a Sergeant for his white supremacist affiliations on social media. Elsewhere in the state, the Chesterfield County Police Department officially terminated Daniel Morley, a school resource officer who also had ties to a white supremacist organization. Not to be outdone, the Portsmouth Police Department is now being investigated by the FBI after former Police Chief Tanya Chapman resigned and alleged that the department was rife with systemic racism. As a result of those allegations, a white Portsmouth police officer who was charged with shooting a black suspect running from a burglary scene wants his case moved to another jurisdiction. Attorneys for Officer Jeremy Durocher do not believe he can get a fair trial in Portsmouth given the recent media attention on the department. Yes, all of this is happening simultaneously. You can’t make it up.
  3. Richmond public schools face high turnover in principals — Ten of the 44 public schools in Richmond will have a new principal next school year. Richmond Public Schools is pushing out 10 principals at the end of the year, marking the third straight year where at least 10 schools experienced turnover in the position. Administrators say the turnover is part of an initiative to place more social justice-minded leaders in schools while also increasing teacher retention, which can be affected by the quality of a principal. Superintendent Jason Kamras said the moves are part of his larger effort to improve education for students of color in a city where less than half of schools meet the state’s full accreditation standards.
  4. Virginia woman launches plan to reduce anti-Semitism — Marnie Fienberg, a resident of Northern Virginia, lost her mother-in-law Joyce Fienberg, 75, during last October’s mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. The anti-Semitic attack left 11 worshipers dead and prompted Fienberg to reflect on how she could reduce bias against Jews. Her answer was to create “2 for Seder,” a program that aims to get as many non-Jews as possible to attend a Passover Seder. The program invited Jewish households across North America to include at least two new non-Jewish guests at their Seder ritual, and so far, over 1,500 people have signed up to attend their first ever Seder. As for herself, Marnie says she can’t bring herself to host a Seder without her mother-in-law and will instead spend the holiday with relatives. Regardless, because of her work, her impact will be felt at Seders across North America.
  5. Congresswoman Elaine Luria introduces bill to help federal civilian employees — U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) introduced a bill in the House that would provide financial relief to certain federal employees who have to relocate because of their jobs. Her legislation echoes an identical bill that Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner introduced in the Senate. “Moving should not be a burden on federal employees working for America,” said Congresswoman Luria in a press release. Relocation expenses are usually reimbursed by the federal government, but Republicans’ 2017 tax law ended the government’s ability to cover the taxes on some reimbursements, which increased costs for some federal employees. Luria, Kaine, and Warner’s legislation would solve that issue.
  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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