Dogwood Daily: News-to-Go
By Keya Vakil
April 24, 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.

But First…

Do you constantly ask your friends what their astrological sign is and dread when Mercury is in retrograde? Are you obsessed with the Fyre Festival and the college cheating scandal? If so, definitely check out Elle’s fun astrology-scam mash-up.

5 Things you need to know today….

  1. Mountain Valley Pipeline remains controversial — The roadblocks preventing the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline include 300-plus safety violations, protesters in trees, opposition from Democratic lawmakers, and a slew of lawsuits. Why is there so much opposition to the 303-mile natural gas pipeline? We dig into this question and all the controversies surrounding the pipeline in the second part of our five-part series on climate change in Virginia.
  2. Dominion’s financial influence might be waning with Virginia Democrats — Dominion Energy has long exerted its influence on the state’s politics by making donations to candidates of both parties, but that practice now seems to be waning with Democrats. Several Democratic candidates have signed a pledge not to accept donations from Dominion, including all four delegatesfrom Arlington County. At the same time, the largest donations in the first quarter came from a Charlottesville investment manager, Michael Bills, and the Clean Virginia Fund he founded to provide alternative funding to any legislators who pledge not to take Dominion money or own Dominion stock.  As for Dominion, the company did not make any first quarter donations, though it will likely get in the mix in the second quarter now that the General Assembly is out of session and legislators can accept contributions.
  3. I-81 Improvements could begin next year — Less than a month after Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly agreed on funding for improvements to I-81, the state’s Secretary of Transportation, Shannon Valentine, said she expected improvement projects to begin within a year. The improvements will occur along the 300-mile stretch between Bristol and Winchester over a three year period, but Valentine said that VDOT was already beginning to identify priorities for improvement.
  4. Richmond teacher wins National Teacher of the Year — Rodney Robinson, a teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center in Richmond, won the National Teacher of the Year award, beating out more than 3.6 million other teachers. Robinson is the first teacher from Richmond Public Schools to win the award and only the third from Virginia. As a result of his win, Robinson will spend the next year talking about education across the country, where he plans to push for more teachers of color for students of color and better resources for impoverished students.
  5. Richmond City Councilman Parker Agelasto to resign — Facing backlash and potential lawsuits over his move out of the district he represents, Richmond’s 5th District Councilman Parker Agelasto announced his resignation on Tuesday. Agelasto said it was a difficult decision for him, but that he couldn’t afford the legal costs he would face if he fought legal action brought by Sa’ad El-Amin and Chuck Richardson, two former Richmond council members who wanted to remove Agelasto from office due to his move. Agelasto’s resignation will trigger a special election to replace him and Agelasto has said he wants such an election coincide with this year’s general election on Nov. 5.
  • 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.

Related Stories
Share This