A Virginia restaurant’s injunction is denied, Northam announces resources for FASFA applicants, and Xzavier Hill’s mother fights trespassing charges.

Daily Number

26 – That’s the number of hours that Henry “Box” Brown, a Virginia slave, spent in a shipping crate when he mailed himself to freedom on this date in 1849.


Injunction Denied for Restaurant Violating COVID-19 Restrictions

A Fredericksburg restaurant the government says is violating COVID-19 restrictions is staying open after a request for a preliminary injunction from the Commonwealth was denied by a Virginia judge.

According to WUSA9, the judge said the state failed to show that the injunction was in the public interest.

Restrictions currently in place in Virginia, such as the mask mandate, are all strategies scientists have proven do reduce the spread of the virus.

The establishment in question, Gourmeltz Artisan Cheese Melts, does not observe the mask mandate, WUSA9 reports. They also continue to serve customers despite the revocation of their restaurant permit last month.

“The state, the government, the President… They will never scare me into backing down. I will never kneel down and kiss that ring” said Gourmeltz owner Matt Strickland.


Governor Announces Service to Assist Virginia FASFA Applicants

Yesterday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced a new program to help students and families seeking assistance in navigating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. Through FAFSA, students gain access to financial aid programs provided by the federal government.

Between today and June 30, 2021, students and families can go to virginiacan.org/fafsa to schedule a virtual meeting and connect with an advisor. These advisors will answer any answer questions, and will walk applicants through filling out the FAFSA application. 

“The FAFSA is the first step in helping Virginia students qualify for thousands of dollars in state and federal grants and scholarships,” said Governor Northam. “Completing the FAFSA can be difficult under normal circumstances, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote learning have added to the challenge of assisting our high school seniors with filling out their forms. This free one-on-one advising service will support our goal of ensuring every eligible student in our Commonwealth completes an application, and open the doors to affordable higher education and technical training for even more Virginians.” 

According to the governor, FASFA applications are down by 10% in comparison to last year. For students in low-income areas, FAFSA completions are down 33%. 

Applications for FAFSA this year must be in by midnight on June 30, 2021.


Xzavier Hill Demonstrators Protest Charges

Demonstrators calling for justice in the case of Xzavier Hill held another protest Monday outside the Goochland Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. This time, they were protesting the trial of Xzavier Hill’s mother, who, among other demonstrators, is facing misdemeanor charges for trespassing.

The charges against demonstrators including Hill’s mother, Latoya Benton, stem from a previous protest for justice in her son’s case.

Members of the Virginia State Police shot and killed 18-year-old Xzavier Hill on January 9. A movement surrounding his case has been demonstrating regularly at the Commonwealth Attorney’s office ever since.

On March 8, members of the Goochland County Sheriff’s Department served demonstrators with warrants for their arrests. These warrants are in response to a complaint from Thomas Porter, owner of Tom’s Auto Service. Porter’s complaint claims protesters were trespassing on his businesses’s property, which connects to the parking lot outside the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.

The case against Benton and other demonstrators was continued by the court to May 24th.

Our reporter and assistant editor Meg Schiffres kept up with the protest outside the courthouse in this thread.


Early Voting For May 4 Town Elections Begins

Absentee voting is starting for the town elections happening on May 4 across Virginia. According to the Virginia Department of Elections (VDOE), voters can now cast their votes for this election in-person. Before you head over though, the department says you should contact your local voting office for more information.

Not every town has an election this May, however. The chart below, provided by the VDOE, shows which localities are hosting elections and who is running for those offices.


Officer Shot By Friendly Fire In Cow Retrieval

We can’t make this stuff up people. In possibly the most Virginia-esq story of the week, a police officer in Harrisonburg is suffering from a gunshot wound from his partner following an attempt to coral a single cow.

On Saturday, the cow escaped a stockyard and became injured when local ranchers tried to capture it. According to WHSV, officially eventually catch the cow and it was about to be euthanized when the police say it charged officers and took off.

That’s when one of the police officers present opened fire, striking Master Police Officer Bradley Boyce in the legs. Boyce is receiving treatment at UVA Medical Center. Meanwhile, the cow got euthanized.


Virginia Ratified, But The Fight for Ratification Isn’t Over


Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: Five Hour Energy

Are you awake enough for trivia? If not, while I wouldn’t recommend the answer, I do acknowledge that it works.

That’s because Five Hour Energy is the common caffeine source with 2000% of your recommended daily vitamin B6, and 8,000% of your daily recommended B12!

As you may have guessed, both Vitamin B6 and B12 help the body produce energy.