Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here.
More than 1,000 Virginians have visited the ER or urgent-care clinics due to heat-related illness in the month of July and there have been four heat-related deaths in the past week alone, raising concerns about what Virginia’s heat-filled future will look like.
5 Things you need to know today
- Trump administration plans to end food stamp benefits for 3 million Americans – The Trump administration is moving to cut food stamp benefits for 3 million Americans under a new proposal from the United States Department of Agriculture. The plan would revise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program by limiting states’ abilities to automatically enroll residents who receive welfare benefits, cutting off access for all those earning more than 130% of the federal poverty guidelines. According to state data, more than 700,000 Virginians rely on SNAP benefits each month, but the new policy could take those benefits away from tens of thousands of Virginians. –Bloomberg
- Justice Department tries to limit Mueller’s testimony – Ahead of his testimony before Congress on Wednesday, the Justice Department has directed former special counsel Robert Mueller not to answer a wide variety of questions about his investigation of President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote a letter describing which categories of information should be off-limits. The letter also says that the DOJ expects the testimony will “not go beyond” what was in the public version of the Mueller Report, which was published in March. – The Washington Post
- Coal dependent counties in southwest Virginia face a “fiscal tsunami” – Dickenson and Buchanan counties are the fifth and sixth most mining-dependent localities in the nation, a dependency that could put those governments at risk of a “fiscal tsunami,” according to a new report from the Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and the Brookings Institution. The report found that “a sharp decline in coal production jeopardizes the fiscal health of local governments.” Coal production in Virginia fell by 50% while employment declined by 30% from 2007 to 2017. – The Virginia Mercury
- 200 workers to be laid off in Roanoke – FreightCar America, a rail car maker, announced it will close its manufacturing plant in Roanoke this fall, causing two hundred people to lose their jobs. FreightCar announced it could save $5 million per year by moving work to its Alabama plant, which it plans to do in the coming months. Layoffs are scheduled to begin September 20 and the plant will cease operations by mid-November. – The Roanoke Times
- Appomattox church congregation walks out in protest of controversial sign – The congregation at Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox staged a walkout on Sunday, protesting the controversial “America: Love it or leave it” sign that Pastor E.W. Lucas placed in front of the church last week. An image of the sign went viral, prompting national attention, which upset many church members and prompted the walkout. Despite the backlash, Lucas says he stands by his decision to place the sign in front of the church. – WSET
From the Gram