Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For April 23

By Brian Carlton

April 23, 2021

Pittsylvania County voters will decide if a school plan moves forward, spring baseball starts back in Southside and there’s a pink moon on the rise.

Daily Number

1873 – “You see, it is wiser to be conventionally immoral than unconventionally moral. It isn’t the immorality they object to, but the originality.” That’s a quote from Richmond author Ellen Glasgow’s first book, The Descendant. Glasgow was born on April 22 in 1873. She wrote 20 books in her career, all portraying different parts of the changing South. 

It took a bit for The Descendant to get published. After Glasgow’s mother died in 1893, Glasgow destroyed part of the book. The next year, her brother-in-law died and she suspended work on it again. Finally, she finished the book in 1895 and it was published anonymously in 1897. 

Pittsylvania Supervisors Will Let The Voters Decide

Earlier this year, we told you about the Pittsylvania County School Board’s plan to renovate and build in their district. Without enough money in the current budget, they pushed for a 1% local sales tax in Pittsylvania County. This week, county supervisors agreed to let the people decide later this year. 

That means voters in November will determine if the tax goes into effect. If it passes, that would bring $3.3 million to the district. Between renovations, repairs and flat out replacement, district officials say they’ll need $20 million over the next decade to fix all of the schools. 

Specifically, voters in November will be asked one question. “Should Pittsylvania County be authorized to levy a general retail sales tax at a rate not to exceed one percent (1%), provided the revenue from the sales tax shall be used solely for capital projects for the construction or renovation of schools in Pittsylvania County and that the sales tax shall expire by September 30, 2051?”

So Let’s Talk Baseball 

Pittsylvania County will also start spring baseball within the next few weeks. Now, this is going to look different than in years past, but it’ll at least take place. Due to COVID-19, the county’s Parks and Rec department hasn’t operated a baseball league since 2019. 

It’ll run from the middle of May through July 17 for kids ages 4 to 15. As we mentioned, there are some changes. Players in the dugout will have to practice social distancing and wear masks. They also won’t be able to leave the dugout and celebrate if a teammate hits a home run or drives in an RBI. Beyond that: 

  • Pitchers can’t blow on their hands before pitching or put their hands in their mouth. 
  • Each time the equipment’s used, like batting helmets or bats, they have to be cleaned. 
  • Concession stands can only sell pre-packaged food. 
  • If you came with a group, you can sit together. Otherwise, you have to stay six feet apart from other fans. If you can’t do that, you’ll be asked to wear a mask. 

The biggest change, however, involves the playoffs. Simply put, there won’t be any this year. Parks and Rec officials just aren’t sure they could guarantee the fans would follow guidelines for a big end-of-year tournament. 

Question of the Day: Should DC Become a State?

Pink Moon on the Rise 

Ok, it’s not actually pink. However, regardless if you call it a “pink moon” or a “super moon”, Virginia residents will see the first one of 2021 next week. It’s called a “super moon” because Monday, April 26 marks the closest point the moon comes to Earth in its orbit. As a result, the moon appears bigger and brighter.

How big? Well, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, a regular supermoon is 7 percent bigger and 15 percent brighter. Since the ‘Pink Moon’ comes closer to Earth than that, it’s normally 10 percent bigger and 20 percent brighter.

But if it’s not pink, where’s the name come from? Well, you can thank early settlers for that. This full moon typically happens at the same time as a flower blooms in the Appalachian Mountains. The creeping phlox or moss phlox, which can be found all over Virginia, produces light pink flowers. The settlers called it “moss pink” and labeled the annual supermoon a ‘Pink Moon’.

NASA folks say the best time to go out and see Monday’s moon is at 11:32 p.m.

Norfolk Looks to Solve Internet Problems

Let’s head over to the coast for a minute, to talk about the internet. On Thursday, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander held his annual State of the City address. Normally, we wouldn’t cover that, but there was one part of the speech that caught our attention. 

Alexander announced plans for a new partnership with MetroNet. The Indiana-based company will provide another high-speed internet option for the city, but it’s how they’re doing it that’s of interest. The company is setting up a 100% fiber-optic infrastructure. Construction would start later this year. If that works, it could be a model for areas like Southside and Southwest Virginia, as an option to solve their internet issues. Earlier this year, we highlighted another way one local school district solved their connection issues.

Wednesday’s Trivia Answer: That’s a Long Wedding Procession

So on Wednesday, we asked you to take a guess on what the longest bridal veil in history was. And hey, we got some good guesses. In fact, one was pretty close, so we’ll give a shoutout here in just a minute. But first, let’s talk numbers.

The longest veil in history stands at 22,843 ft. and 2.11 inches. To put it in perspective, that’s enough for 63.5 football fields if you lay it out in a straight line. Maria Paraskeva, a bride from Cyprus, wanted to break the world record and she did in 2019. According to the Guinness site, it took three months to create multiple pieces of the veil. Then professional tailors in the bride’s town of Larnaca stitched the whole thing together by hand.

Northam Officially Signs Marijuana Legislation 

Now it’s official. On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam signed SB 1406 and HB 2312 on Wednesday, setting the timeline to legalize some marijuana. Personal possession and cultivation will be legal in Virginia as of July 1. That part is now set in stone. 

As of July, people can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Households can also grow up to four marijuana plants, under the amendments approved earlier this month by the General Assembly.   

The Virginia House voted 52-44-2 to approve the governor’s amendments. It was a tie in the Senate with a vote of 20-20, but Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax broke it by voting in favor. The amendments accelerated the timeline for legalization of personal possession, which would have occurred in 2024 under the original legislation.

That 2024 date still applies to commercial sale, which legislators have argued will need more time to be implemented while the state develops regulatory structures.

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