Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For April 14

By Brian Carlton

April 14, 2021

UVA makes a decision on tuition, Chesapeake strikes down an election proposal and we talk about the longest word in the English language.

Daily Number 

10 – That stands for 10 p.m. Just after 10 p.m. on April 14, 1865, actor John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre and shot President Abraham Lincoln. The president died the next morning. 

11:40 – We’re adding a second number, because today’s the anniversary of another incident. At 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. We’ve all heard some form of this story. More than 1,500 people died as the boat sank to the bottom of the sea. 

UVA Agrees to Freeze Tuition 

Students attending the University of Virginia got some good and bad news Tuesday. The school’s Board of Visitors agreed not to raise undergraduate tuition for the coming year. That’s of course the good news. The group voted not to increase tuition after a request by UVA President Jim Ryan. Ryan had met with student groups and collected feedback from families, who all asked him to keep tuition at the same base rate. 

But then comes the bad news. While tuition stays the same, the mandatory, non-educational and general fee will see a $114 hike. Board of Visitors members said $75 of that would go to cover increased post-pandemic needs for counseling and psychological services, as well as general medicine. What does the remaining $39 in the increase go for? Recreation facilities and support for the school’s athletics department. 

UVA’s sister school also saw a hike on Tuesday. The Board of Visitors adopted a 3% increase in tuition costs, as well as the education and general fees at UVA-Wise. 

Chesapeake City Council Strikes Down Election Proposal 

Chesapeake Mayor Rick West went to Tuesday’s city council meeting with a proposal. The General Assembly passed SB 1157 earlier this year, which switches local elections from May to November on even numbered years. The argument was that more people vote in November and especially that’s true in even numbered years, when they’re voting for president or Congress. 

If you look at the data for Chesapeake, 42% of voters came to the polls in 2019, compared to 73% in 2020. Comparing 2015 number to 2016, you get an even bigger contrast. In 2015, 29% of voters cast a ballot. In 2016, during the presidential election, 72% voted. 

West wanted to make an adjustment before the Assembly’s bill takes effect July 1, by changing the elections to odd numbered years. He argued in March that people focus more on state issues in odd years, when they’re electing state lawmakers, hence the proposal. Plenty of groups were clear why they opposed it, however. The Chesapeake chapter of the Virginia NAACP labeled it as an attempt at voter suppression. The local League of Women Voters also objected, as did a group of more than 500 citizens who put together a petition

“We need to make voting easier and more accessible for all citizens,” Chesapeake resident Lana Cary wrote in the petition. “To have our local voting scheduled for “odd” years is, in fact, odd. Let’s maintain voting momentum by conducting elections in “even” years to coincide with other important elections.” 

The issue went before the city council Tuesday night and we saw the result. After three hours of public comment, the council rejected West’s idea by a 5-4 vote. 

So When Are The Other Debates? 

Now that we’ve been through the first Democratic debate, when are the rest? There will be three more gubernatorial debates leading up to the Democratic primary in June.

The debates will be:

  • May 6, hosted by WCYB
  • May 20, hosted by WRC-TV
  • June 1, hosted by WVEC

There are five candidates in the Democratic field. They include former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, current State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, current Del. Lee Carter and former governor Terry McAuliffe.

In case you’re wondering why there’s no mention of the Republicans, it’s because they’ve decided not to hold debates in the lead up to their May 8 unassembled convention. 

‘This Is Not About One Traffic Stop’

Don’t Share Your Vaccine Card

We mentioned something similar a couple weeks ago, but law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Better Business Bureau are asking for a gentle reminder. Don’t post your vaccination card to social media. State officials say you could be causing a few problems if you do.

The card contains your full name and birthday, as well as information about where you were vaccinated. As with most things, scammers can pull down that data, edit and sell it. Already, reports have come in of people trying to sell fake vaccination cards on eBay and Tik Tok.

BBB officials also point out that someone could steal your identity by combining the information on that card with material already on your social profile.

 Instead of sharing pics of the entire card, the BBB suggests just showing your vaccination sticker. Or, if you’re determined to share the card, block out your personal information.

Tuesday’s Trivia Answer: What Is The Longest Word?

What is the longest word in the English language? That was the trivia question we presented you with on Tuesday. The answer? Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. And no, I didn’t type that wrong. It’s 45 letters and refers to a specific type of disease, a lung disorder.

Yes, you can find it in the Oxford English Dictionary, so this is real. However, it was created by the president of the National Puzzlers’ league, so it’s one of the newer words in the dictionary.

Grant Helps School District Set Up Vegetable Farm

A $300,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education will help Waynesboro Public Schools set up a fully operational vegetable farm. Working in partnership with the Allegheny Mountain Institute, the district hopes to harvest 5,000 lbs of produce each year. 

Students don’t just get fresh food to eat, but they also learn different skills by working on the farm. 

The goal is to incorporate some of the work into the district’s curriculum.

So Let’s Talk A Bit About Bray

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