Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Wednesday, March 3

By Brian Carlton

March 3, 2021

A bomb threat locks down Bridgewater College, a New Valley nonprofit needs some help and only one candidate showed up for last night’s debate.

Daily Number

53% – The estimated percentage of of Charlottesville and Albemarle County residents that were enslaved during the Civil War. March 3 in Charlottesville is known as Liberation and Freedom Day, marking the date in 1865 when Union troops arrived in the city and freed the slaves. The city council made it an official holiday in 2019.

Virginia Tech Goes Virtual For Graduation

Even though Gov. Ralph Northam has lifted some restrictions, officials at Virginia Tech are playing it safe this semester. The university announced plans Tuesday to hold a virtual graduation ceremony this year.

Now yes, limits on outdoor gatherings were limited. Events, such as festivals, now can include up to 1,000 people. School officials say they went over the changes and talked to state leaders. They were told the increased limits don’t apply to graduation ceremonies. As a result, they’re planning an online event, much like last year’s.

Even if restrictions are further lifted by May, school officials said the ceremony will remain virtual. However, they didn’t rule out allowing small graduation gatherings.

For anyone with questions, the university set up a website to answer them.

Fairfax Health District Closed Clinics to Improve Vaccination Efforts

Last month, we reported on the struggles with Sussex County’s health department. But while that closure wasn’t planned, a similar one in Fairfax County was. Specifically, Fairfax shut down most of its clinics, in an attempt to improve its vaccination efforts.

As Dogwood’s Amie Knowles reports, while the plan appears radical at first glance, it’s actually working.

Tuesday’s Trivia Answer: How Much Has Virginia Spent on Sports Betting?

On Tuesday, we gave you the hint 58, followed up by just three words: UFC, MLB and NCAA. Well, technically those were groups more than words, but you get the point. The answer is $58 million. That’s how much Virginia spent in just 10 days, between Jan. 21 and Jan. 31.

👉 State residents wagered $58.9 million

👍 They won just over $55.3 million

👉 Virginia has five groups with sports betting licenses

The state saw a benefit from the betting, as Virginia law puts a 15% tax on it. Out of that money, 97.5% goes into the General Fund and the remaining money goes into a Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.

Wait, We’re Going to Have How Much Vaccine?

Only Jay Jones Shows Up For Democratic Attorney General Debate

Tuesday night was supposed to be this year’s first Democratic debate. However, only one candidate showed up. Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring didn’t make it, so Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) took questions from CEC VA’s Jesse Frierson and Luisa Boyarski from Virginia Grassroots.

That turned into a town hall meeting of sorts, as Jones answered questions about everything from qualified immunity to marijuana legislation. Dogwood managing editor Brian Carlton covered the event.

New River Nonprofit That Builds Beds for Kids Needs Some Help

“No kid sleeps on the floor in our town.” That’s the motto of the national nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace. But it’s also Paul Mele’s personal mission for Virginia’s New River Valley. Mele’s group builds beds and gives them away for free.

However, as Dogwood’s Ashley Spinks Dugan reports, the operation finds itself in need of help. The nonprofit is out of materials at a time when a waitlist is building.

Roanoke County Kids Return to Class

More kids in the Commonwealth are heading back to class. For Roanoke County students, it’s a shift closer to a regular schedule. Currently, students in grades 5 to 12 have two days of in-person class and three remote.

As of March 11, that will start to change. The goal is to have all students on a four-day in-person schedule by March 22 in the district. The fifth day will remain as remote learning for now.

  • Fifth graders start the four-day plan on March 15
  • March 18 will be a remote day for kids in grades 6 to 12, as they transition
  • All students in grades 6 to 12 start their four-day in-person plan March 22
  • The remaining students, including Pre-K up to fourth grade, are already in-person five days a week

A Bomb Threat at Bridgewater Causes Lockdown

Students and faculty at Bridgewater College got a very unwelcome surprise Tuesday afternoon. The school sent out a warning, urging everyone to “shelter in place. Avoid parking lots and windows.” The reason is that a bomb threat had been called in.

Virginia State Police brought bomb-sniffing dogs and went through all parts of the campus. Students and professors remained in class as troopers cleared every parking lot and zone. In the end, they didn’t find anything dangerous.

“Virginia State Police completed a thorough sweep of all parking lots and relevant facilities,” Bridgewater staff said in a statement. “No explosive device or suspicious package was located. The Virginia State Police investigation into the origin of the threat remains ongoing.”

The school is located in Rockingham County.

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