Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here.
If you live in Prince William County or Manassas and use PRTC OmniRide to get to work, chances are your morning commute was affected today by the bus drivers’ union work stoppage, which is an effort to negotiate a better contract.
“We enjoy what we do,” a union member told WTOP. “I’ve been here for 20 years working for this company, but they cannot seem to come to the level of appreciation for the service that we’re providing.”
5 Things you need to know today
- State election officials deny Del. Nick Freitas’ late attempt to get onto the ballot – Virginia election officials denied a request to put Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) on the November ballot, a decision that could force Freitas to run as a write-in candidate. Freitas, who was late in filing his campaign paperwork, withdrew from the election but was then renominated by a Republican committee in what was viewed by some as an attempt to circumvent state rules. Freitas slammed the Department of Elections and promised to appeal to the state Board of Elections. – The Washington Post
- Study highlights stark contrast between Petersburg and Colonial Heights public schools – Public schools in the neighboring districts of Petersburg and Colonial Heights have among the greatest disparities in student demographics and funding in the nation, according to a new report from advocacy group EdBuild. Ninety-eight percent of Petersburg City Public School students are non-white, 38% of them live in poverty, and the city averages $9,514 in revenue per student. In contrast, only 36% of Colonial Heights students are non-white, 17% live in poverty, and the city receives $12,546 in revenue per student. – WCVE News
- Battle over the Mountain Valley Pipeline drags on – Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline told federal regulators that a protective coating applied to the pipeline poses no known danger. Their statement comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked for information about the coating, following concerns that extended exposure to the elements could cause toxins from the coating to degrade and contaminate the area’s air, soil and water. At the same time, the Roanoke Gas Co. told the State Corporation Commission that the pipeline is “critical” to serve its customers and meet future demand. – The Roanoke Times
- Henry County Public School students feel less safe at school than parents and staff think they are – While nearly 90% of parents and almost 94% of school staff think students are safe at Henry County Public Schools, only 78% of students indicated that they feel safe at their schools, according to a recent survey. Dorothy Carter, president of the Henry County Education Association, said she doesn’t know why the rate of students who said they feel safe wasn’t higher, but acknowledged the issues of school violence across the country might have an impact on students’ views. – Martinsville Bulletin
- Federal government says Virginia overpaying too many SNAP payments – The U.S Department of Agriculture found that Virginia miscalculated its food assistance program payments to recipients in about 9.62% of cases during fiscal year 2018, which was the eighth-highest error rate among all 50 states. The USDA found that Virginia had a 7.89% of overpayment of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits and a 1.73% rate of underpayment. The state may be subject to a financial sanction as a result of its high error rate. – The Virginia Mercury
From the Gram