Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Saturday, Feb. 13

The afternoon sun illuminates the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Ave in Richmond, Va., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020.

By Brian Carlton

February 13, 2021

Daily Number

4 – That’s the number of U.S. presidents who attended William and Mary College. Any guesses? It’s George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler.

Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Lee Statue Appeals

On Friday, the Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear the Lee statue cases. That’s right, two of them. First, Helen Taylor, Evan Massey, Janey Heltzel, George Hostetler and John-Lawrence Smith filed an appeal of the Richmond Circuit Court ruling, asking the Supreme Court to overturn the judge’s decision.

Dogwood managing editor Brian Carlton goes through their appeal request in detail here. The second approved appeal is from William Gregory, a 69-year-old Virginia resident who claims to be descended from the people who originally deeded the statue to the state.

The situation involves a bronze statue of Robert E. Lee in Marcus-David Peters Circle. It stands 21 ft. tall and weighs 12 tons. Based on state records, this is the last and largest monument of its kind in Virginia.

No decision has been made as far as when justices will hear the case.

COVID-19 Strain Arrives in Eastern Virginia

First it was NoVA, then the District. Now the U.K. strain of the COVID-19 virus has arrived in Eastern Virginia. On Friday, the Virginia Health Department announced an adult resident of Eastern Virginia had been infected with the U.K. strain.

The concerning part for health officials was the fact this person has no history of travel outside of Virginia. That means the variant strain is starting to spread in the population.

The United Kingdom’s science advisory group released a report Jan. 22, warning that the strain could cause some serious problems. 

“There is evidence from analysis of Pillar 2 testing data linked to COVID-19 deaths that infection with B1.1.7 is associated with an increased case fatality rate,” the report says. “The relative increase appears to be apparent across age groups.” 

Also, VDH officials mentioned that a second person in Eastern Virginia tested positive this week for the South African variant.

Question of the Day: Should Teacher Bonuses Include Requirements?

Candidates Win Lawsuit to Allow Electronic Signatures

Candidates running for the House of Delegates this year will be able to collect petition signatures electronically. Six Democrats had filed a lawsuit arguing that it was dangerous in a pandemic to require physical signatures. They included Jennifer Adeli, Delegate Lee Carter, Patrick Fritz, Karishma Mehta, Jennifer Kitchen and Dr. Mark Downey.

In Virginia, candidates have to present a petition with the required number of signatures. They can’t get on the ballot without it. Prior to the pandemic, it was done by hand, collecting physical signatures in front of a certified witness each time.

Now, however, witnesses will not be needed. All a person will have to do is sign with their social security number as verification. As for those who don’t have internet, several candidates said they plan to hold drive-thru events to collect signatures in the weeks to come.

Each candidate for the House of Delegates must get 125 signatures.

Health Department Reports Another Outbreak in Prince William Schools

Since the pandemic started, Prince William County schools reported five outbreaks. This week, the Virginia Health Department confirmed number six and seven.

To qualify as an outbreak, you need two or more lab-confirmed cases within a 14-day period. These cases must involve people who don’t share a household. Outbreaks were reported at Charles J. Colgan Sr. High School and and Montclair Elementary School.

From Feb. 7 to Feb. 13, the district on its own dashboard reported 73 new cases. Overall in Feb., the district so far has reported 172. This comes after a January that saw 899 COVID-19 cases in the school district.

What Exactly is The 4 P.M. Law?

The law takes effect Monday and lasts through April. But some people in Virginia may not even know it exists.

Lighting up the indoor fireplace, for example? Or say, striking a match for a candle? That’s perfectly law abiding. Starting next week, not all fires in Virginia will have the same legal status. Beginning Monday and lasting through April 30, outdoor fires in Virginia are illegal before 4 p.m.

Folks also cannot set new fires or add fuel to existing flames after midnight. Dogwood’s Amie Knowles goes over the other details in the law.

How Did Day Three of The Impeachment Go?

During the impeachment hearings, we’ve been checking in with Sen. Mark Warner to get his thoughts on the day’s events, both good and bad.

Arlington Co. Uses 97% of It’s Vaccine Supply Each Week.

Finally, we’re going to finish today with a positive story. Yes, those are still possible. We’ve mentioned before how Virginia’s been struggling to administer vaccine doses.

 Out of the 1.38 million doses the Commonwealth received, officials only injected 1.1 million. That’s roughly 80%. Meanwhile, Arlington County is setting the standard at 97%.

How did they do it? With other areas struggling, how did Arlington Public Health succeed on all levels? Dogwood’s Amie Knowles fills us in.

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