Art by Steve Hedberg and Sarah Lockwood
Dominion Coal Ash
Most people probably know nothing about coal ash. But they know any time a major energy company assures the public it’s 100 percent OK to dump a foreign substance into a beloved waterway, they should be concerned, and maybe write a Facebook status about it.
Have You Heard This One?
Interrupting Tim Kaine.
Interrupting Tim K—
You guys love Russia.
OK. Interrupting Tim K—
I get to weigh in.
Wait, do you want to finish this j—
Isn’t this a discussion?
I thought it was a knock—
You are Donald Trump’s apprentice.
Bike Infrastructure Improvements
So much for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships turning Richmond into a cycling city. Nary a sharrow nor a single mile of bike lane has been marked since the world came and went last fall. As for the bike share system that was supposed to be done before the races, we’re still waiting.
While our mayoral race supplied fireworks locally, a son of Richmond also made plenty of noise on the national stage. And no, we’re not talking about Tim Kaine. America’s Dad lost his first election ever in November, while Stephen Bannon, the CEO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, helped pull off a yuuuuge political upset. With the election done, we can expect to see more of Bannon’s handiwork as Trump’s chief strategist in the White House, assuming he makes it to Inauguration Day. Though hailed by Trump’s team as a brilliant tactician, Bannon has also been blasted by critics who say the former chairman of Breitbart is responsible for promoting racist and anti-Semitic views through the right-wing news site.
Pave RVA on Ice, Put Up a Parking Lot
Admittedly, the seasonal ice-skating rink the city has used for seven years to help us forget that a prime piece of Broad Street real estate remained vacant was never more than a temporary fix, but now it’s being turned into a parking lot? Unless there are a few murals involved, we’d rather have our lonely patch of grass back.
The Maggie Walker Statue and the ‘Historical’ Tree
A disgruntled, if not dedicated, group of Richmonders was perturbed by the removal of a “historic” tree – younger than Mayor-elect Levar Stoney – to accommodate a statue honoring a certified city icon. Trees are important. We need trees. But did we need that tree more than a prominent Maggie Walker statue?
Art by Steve Hedberg
Down for the Count
The voters have spoken: Good riddance, Fightin’ Joe. The former commonwealth’s attorney and state delegate can add a failed mayoral bid to his illustrious résumé. Maybe this latest setback will convince him that he should swear off politics. Then again, who are we kidding? He’s probably already plotting his next move.
A visit to Willie Nelson’s tour bus during a September concert in Prince William County’s Bristow community caused minor embarrassment for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was photographed not just with the country music legend, but also his weed. McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy was quick to extinguish any buzz earned by our state’s top exec, telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch that McAuliffe “wouldn’t know marijuana or related paraphernalia if it walked up and shook his hand. He’s cool, but he’s not that cool.”
Renaming Byrd Middle School
Sure, Harry Flood Byrd was a racist who wanted to keep black children from going to school with white children, but that didn’t stop Henrico County Public Schools from naming a middle school after him back in the day. Fortunately, preteens attending the school pointed out how absurd the name was, circulated a petition and persuaded county leaders to get a move on changing it. Where would our elected officials be without children to set them straight? Quioccasin might be confusing to pronounce, but at least it’s a name we can say without embarrassment.
Cranky Mark Holmberg Columns
Need an opinion on Black Lives Matter protesters or the aesthetic of Richmond’s public art? WTVR-CBS 6 reporter and Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Mark Holmberg will gladly give you one, or you could just strike up a conversation with that old fart on your block who grumbles at all the kids.
Granny Mowing Grass on Monument Avenue
Shirley Perkins doesn’t need to wait around for City Hall to trim the grass in our parks and median. The enterprising 78-year-old is a one-woman grounds crew ready to take matters into her own hands, as she did on Monument Avenue this past spring. She’s officially our second favorite local granny, behind the one who killed a rabid raccoon with her bare hands at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden last year.
Battle of New Markets
By the time of the June announcement that Martin’s would be exiting the Richmond market, little remained of the goodwill it inherited as the successor to beloved local grocery chain Ukrop’s. Will Publix, which is buying a majority of the former Martin’s locations, be able to compete with established veterans like Kroger, not to mention popular newcomers Aldi and Wegmans? During an emotional 2009 news conference announcing the sale of his family’s namesake grocery chain, Bobby Ukrop said, ”Leaving the grocery retail business was a difficult decision.” Seven years later, it’s looking like perfect timing.
In a state where the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown decision against school segregation led to Massive Resistance — a series of laws designed to prevent integration — you’d think it wouldn’t be controversial to make the point that systemic obstacles have forced many African-Americans into a delayed start in pursuing the American Dream. But deliver that lesson to high schoolers through a crudely animated video (shown at Glen Allen High School in February) that also brings up downers like slavery and housing discrimination, and before long Henrico County school officials will feel the need to deliver an unnecessary apology for sparking discussion.