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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.

Note: This will be the last edition of Dogwood Daily for 2019. We will be off for the holidays and will return on Thursday, January 2. Happy holidays and we’ll see you in 2020!

But first…

Woo-hoo! Virginia Camille Schrier, a VCU pharmacy student, won the Miss America pageant last night.

Five things you need to know today …

  1. Virginia Beach victims’ families file wrongful death claims– Families of four city employees who died in the May 31st Virginia Beach mass shooting have filed wrongful death claims against the city. The claims are not lawsuits, instead they give families the right to sue the city by May 31, 2021. The claims stated listed a variety of reasons why the city was partly responsible for the deaths, like allowing a hostile work environment and not providing adequate security. -The Washington Post
  2. Northam announces $3.7 deal expanding rail service Gov. Ralph Northam and CSX Corp. announced a $3.7 billion agreement that will allow for expanded rail services in the state. The deal will grant Virginia control over hundreds of miles of railroad track and the underlying rights of way in three corridors. As part of the deal, Virginia also reached an agreement with Amtrak to allow for expanded service between Richmond and Washington, doubling capacity and allowing trains to depart every hour. -Richmond Times-Dispatch
  3. Zoo owner charged with animal cruelty– Last month, Wilson’s Wild Animal Park owner Keith Wilson and an employee were charged with 46 counts of animal cruelty. Earlier this summer, veterinarians and law enforcement officers seized 119 animals from the facility, after they were found housed in inhumane conditions. Among the issues they found were a pony with a swollen face, maggots in a tiger’s meat, and a “monkey dungeon.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture animal welfare inspector had visited the zoo only days before and identified no violations. -The Washington Post
  4. Women pressured into strip searches– Four women visiting the Buckingham Correctional Institution said they had to submit to strip searches after dogs supposedly identified drugs on them. None of the women had any drugs, but said they were threatened with losing all visitation rights if they didn’t consent. A Department of Corrections representative said that the strip searches shouldn’t have happened and noted the department was reviewing its visitation policies. -The Virginian-Pilot 
  5. Company’s overfishing may lead to state ban– The U.S. Department of Commerce released a letter on Thursday agreeing with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s assessment that Atlantic menhaden are a vital part of the Chesapeake Bay’s food chain. Earlier in the year, Omega Protein, a fishing company, surpassed the state’s harvest limits by 30%. The department said Virginia lawmakers must bring the state’s fisheries into compliance or they will shut down Atlantic menhaden fishing in the state. The company claims the catch limits are unfair and overly restrictive. -WTOP