The first primary debate goes live, a historical building gets recognized, Rev. Barber delivers a sermon and we meet Micah Head.

Daily Number

1917-On this date, Congress declared war on Germany, bringing the U.S. into World War I on the side of the Allies. 


Reminder: The Primary Debate Season Starts Tonight

The primary season’s been in full swing for months now, but tonight kicks off the nearly two-month home stretch. At 7 p.m., the first Democratic gubernatorial debate will take place. Now to be clear, that only includes the five Democratic primary candidates like former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, current State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, current Del. Lee Carter and former governor Terry McAuliffe.

You can watch tonight’s primary debate in a number of ways. It’ll stream live on vademocrats.org and be broadcast on a number of channels. They include WTVR CBS 6, WSET ABC 13, WTKR 3 and ABC 7 News DC.

What about the other candidates? Well, independent candidates Princess Blanding and Brad Forman don’t have a primary. They advance to the November ballot. Meanwhile, all of the remaining Republican candidates will take part in a May 8 unassembled convention.


Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake Go to Phase 2

Some good news for anyone living in Chesapeake, Norfolk or Virginia Beach. All three cities are now in vaccination Phase 2 as of this week, with appointments available. 

If you’re saying but wait, didn’t they just mention Virginia Beach last week? You’re right, we did. The city moved up to Phase 1C on Friday. But with only 6,000 people in the city qualifying for 1C, they were able to move on by Monday afternoon. 

Phase 2 covers pretty much everyone not included so far. That’s all residents in the three cities 16 and over. And the good news is that there are spots open. 

“We actually have appointment slots available for Phase 2 qualified individuals starting this week. People who pre-register today may receive invitations to schedule appointments within a few hours,” Robert Engle said in a statement. Engle is the emergency planner for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health.  

Now the question is how to sign up. First up, you can register by going to vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). If you have questions, assistance is available in English, Spanish or more than 100 other languages. Videoconferencing in American Sign Language is also available. To check if your county is already moving to Phase 2, click here


American Rescue Plan Dollars Going to Childcare

We keep fleshing out more parts of the American Rescue Plan. Gov. Ralph Northam announced over the Easter weekend that $203.6 million from Virginia’s portion will go to improve the Commonwealth’s early childhood care and education system. 

Now that’s a long sentence but what does it mean? Almost 90% of child care programs have reopened as of April 5, but the pandemic’s led to financial shortfalls and staffing challenges. Northam said this federal funding will go to pay for stabilization grants. The goal is to help keep current child care providers open and help some that are still closed re-open their doors. And in places where there’s few child care options, the grants will be used to open new facilities. 

Specifically, the money will be used for four things: 

  • It eliminates child care payments for families in April, May and June. 
  • Provides funding for child care grants to eligible providers 
  • Provides funding for grants to increase access to child care in rural communities
  • Child care teachers will now be eligible for up to $2,000 to reduce turnover. 


The Clock Runs Out on Yellow Finch Lane

Dogwood columnist Eve Ettinger took on the Mountain Valley Pipeline controversy last week, highlighting the aftermath of the final arrests. On Monday, we learned what the charges will be for those final two protesters. 

A Montgomery County judge denied bail for 24-year-old Massachusetts resident Alexander Lowe. As a result, the Worcester native will remain in jail until May 5. Police arrested Lowe after he sat in the trees on Yellow Finch Lane for several months, determined to stop construction of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. He was charged with obstruction of justice and interfering with the property rights of another. 

Claire Fiocco, another tree sitter, also remains in jail. The 23-year-old Vermont resident faces the same charges as Lowe. 


‘We Can’t Ignore Questions About His Death’


A Little Bit of History 

“The Settlement” went up at Mount Pleasant, a community set up for formerly enslaved people after the Civil War. And now, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Cemetery is officially in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The National Park Service made the announcement, officially adding the church at 15008 Lee Highway in Gainesville. The register is an honorary designation that highlights all of the nation’s significant historic places. This follows an earlier designation on Dec. 10, 2020, when the Virginia Board of Historic Resources added both the church and cemetery to their list. 


#ThisIsVirginia Series Continues For Dogwood


Monday’s Trivia Answer: A Dandelion Can Travel Faster Than Me

Monday was National Dandelion Day and so Meg asked more of just a standard question. How far can dandelions travel? The answer: quite a bit.

In fact, dandelions hold the record for the farthest travelling passive flying structure. Yes, that’s actually a record. Trust us, Guinness has records for everything. Dandelions can fly up to 100 kilometres. And if you’re saying “hey, what’s that in miles,” we can help there too.

It translates into 62.1 miles.


Clean Virginia Hands Out An Endorsement

While we’re not covering all endorsements, we will keep highlighting the ones from major organizations. Clean Virginia qualifies. The group focuses on fighting corruption in Virginia politics, hence the name. 

The group endorsed former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy in the governor’s race on Monday. Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore pointed to the Petersburg native’s anti-corruption and climate proposals as reasons for the endorsement. 

“We believe she is the best candidate in this critical race to determine the Commonwealth’s future and are ready to fight hard for her to be our next governor,” Gilmore said in a statement. 

In addition to the endorsement, the group also donated $500,000 to Carroll Foy’s campaign.