Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Monday, Feb. 15

By Brian Carlton

February 15, 2021

The power won’t be on for a while, Bluefield alumni support the men’s basketball team and Virginia Teen Democrats break the internet.

Daily Number

1722– That’s the year Williamsburg received a royal charter as a “city incorporate”. That charter is believed to be the oldest one in the United States. Williamsburg served as Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780 and yes, those dates are right. Williamsburg served as the capital for 22 years before actually getting a city charter.

More Than 90,000 People Still Lack Power

For thousands of people across the Commonwealth, the lights are still out today. The ice storm that hit most of Virginia left plenty of damage in its wake. In addition to multiple accidents, trees fell across roads and knocked down power lines to more than 290,000 homes.

On Sunday, Dominion put out a statement detailing how significant this storm was.

“This is the most damaging and widespread ice storm in Virginia since January of 2000,” Dominion officials wrote. ” More than 290,000 customers have lost power since 4 a.m. Saturday.”

As of early Monday morning, company officials said they’ve restored power to more than 200,000 homes. An estimated 5,700 workers are still out today, working to get the rest of the lights on.

Another round could be on the way. Weather forecasters predict a nearly 100% chance of ice, snow or a mix of the two for this Thursday. That goes for most parts of the Commonwealth west of Richmond.

Warner, Kaine Ask President Biden to Reverse FEMA Decision

On Jan. 6, Gov. Ralph Northam called out the National Guard and Virginia State Police, sending them to the U.S. Capitol. While doing so, he issued an emergency declaration, so that federal officials would reimburse the state for the cost of sending the troops and keeping them there through the inauguration.

FEMA rejected Northam’s declaration, refusing at the time to pay. If that doesn’t change, Virginia will be forced to cover the full bill for deployment. Now that the White House has a new occupant, Virginia’s senators are asking his administration to step in.

Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine wrote a letter to the Biden administration over the weekend, asking that they review the FEMA decision.

“In light of Virginia’s critical role in providing support during this period of increased civil unrest, we urge you to approve the Commonwealth’s appeal for an emergency declaration and direct federal assistance with a 100 percent reimbursement,” the senators wrote. “It is evident the Commonwealth’s response to these unprecedented events was instrumental in saving lives, protecting property, and ensuring public safety. These actions came at substantial cost to the Commonwealth and supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to complete this effort.”

Bluefield Alumni Support Their Basketball Team

Last Friday, we reported on the suspensions given to the Bluefield College men’s basketball team. Bluefield players took a knee during the national anthem at multiple games and the college administration responded.

Over the weekend, however, a different group got involved. Two hundred alumni from Bluefield wrote a letter of their own, with some very clear demands.

Virginia Teen Democrats Break The Internet

With all the serious news happening, we thought it might be a good idea to pause for a minute and talk about how the Virginia Teen Democrats broke the internet Sunday. As it was Valentine’s Day. the group decided to have some fun on Twitter. They came up with Valentine cards featuring more than 30 state lawmakers.

Here’s one, featuring Del. Mark Levine….

Here’s another example, with Del. Charniele Herring

What Exactly is The 4 P.M. Law?

The law takes effect today and lasts through April. But some people in Virginia don’t 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.

Question of the Day: Should Primary Day Be a Holiday?

Candidates Win Lawsuit to Allow Electronic Signatures

We’ll end today’s edition with two more positive stories. First, 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. But late last week, a judge agreed with the lawsuit’s premise and ordered a change.

Now, 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.

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

Finally, we’re going to finish today with one more positive story. Yes, it is possible to fit these many in. 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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