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.
Virginians are gathering across the state this weekend to pay tribute to the first African slaves brought to Virginia in 1619, and to recognize their pain and struggle.
5 Things you need to know today
- Income limits for free and low-cost student meals go up – The maximum income a family can earn and still receive free or reduced-price meals as part of the National School Lunch Program has risen by about 1%. The program, first created in 1946, provides nutritious, low-cost or free lunches to low-income students each day. Eligibility is determined by household size and income; for example, a family of two earning less than $21,983 a year would now qualify for free lunch. – The Daily Progress
- Virginia Beach to open support center for victims of mass shooting -Virginia Beach plans to open the “VB Strong Center” in response to the May 31 mass shooting that left 13 people dead. The facility, which will offer ongoing mental health services to those affected by the attack, will be funded through a $3 million federal grant. “It is really to help the community recover,” said Erin Sutton, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management. – The Virginian-Pilot
- Amanda Chase holds fundraiser with Senator who opposed making spousal rape a crime – State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Midlothian) held a fundraiser last night with retiring state Sen. Dick Black (R-Leesburg), who once argued against criminalizing spousal rape. Black has also found himself embroiled in other controversies over the years; he once sent tiny plastic fetuses to lawmakers ahead of a vote on reproductive rights, has compared same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy, and has repeatedly expressed support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. – The Dogwood
- Environmental groups seek to stop work on Mountain Valley Pipeline— Mountain Valley voluntarily stopped work on stretches of its pipeline, but environmental groups say the company’s current work still threatens endangered species. A total of seven organizations filed a motion asking a federal appeals court to stay a 2017 approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Sierra Club said in its motion that current construction is a danger to the Roanoke logperch fish, and could imperil the Indiana and northern long-eared bats. – The Roanoke Times
- Southwestern Virginia’s Eco- and Agri-tourism is growing – As the coal industry declines, Southwestern Virginia has been expanding its economy by attracting visitors to its national forests and other natural attractions. The area already offers kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and camping, but is looking to expand its offerings. The New Economy Network of Southwest Virginia and Appalachian Voices will host a series of upcoming community discussions on how the region can continue to grow ecotourism. – Virginia Public Radio
From the Gram