Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: School Board, liquor laws, and pop ups

Good morning, RVA! It's 48 °F, and today's highs will just tip toe into the 60s. Excellent, but cool, weather continues!

Water cooler

I need to get better at tracking what the Richmond City School Board is up to. Until then, I rely heavily on Garet Prior and Richmond Forward to do that work for me, and he's got a couple updates from last night's Board meeting. First, the ad-hoc facilities committee did not present options for action on emergency school facility issues as planned. This bums me out. Second, Paul Goldman was on hand to talk about Paul Goldman's Ballot Referendum. Prior exactly nails my misgivings about the political nature of this whole business while simultaneously recognizing that we need to do something to move the ball forward on school facilities. Third, today at 4:30 PM the Board's ad-hoc finance committee will meet for the first time in the 17th floor conference room of City Hall. Richmond Forward needs a volunteer to attend this meeting and take notes. If that sounds like something you could do, shoot Garet an email!

Speaking of School Board, last night they appointed Cheryl Burke to serve as the interim 7th District representative, Justin Mattingly reports. Burke's a former East End principal and begins her work as an official member of the Board this morning. Congratulations!

Often the RTD editorial board says gross stuff that makes me cringe. Here, however, their Libertarian take on Virginia's alcohol laws is something I can get behind. My dream is for the Virginia ABC to ditch the food-beverage ratio requirement at some point in my life. Unfamiliar? To get a mixed-beverage license (aka liquor), "45 percent of the total gross sales must be from food and nonalcoholic beverages. Conversely, alcohol sales should comprise no more than 55 percent of these sales." Additionally, prepackaged snacks don't count, and you've got to do $4,000 of food sales with no less than half of that from "meals with substantial entrees." GTFO! As you can imagine, this makes it illegal to run a bar without a kitchen (which, BTW, is why we've got a million and one breweries—they don't serve liquor so they don't need a kitchen). If we could get rid of this onerous regulation, we'd suddenly see a proliferation of neighborhood bars and far fewer of those high-end $15 burger restaurants. Y'all. When the RTD editorial board and I are on the same page, it's probably a good idea! P.S. I don't think I've ever read a more condescending regulation page in my life. Dang!

What even is a restaurant pop up? Stephanie Ganz, writing for Richmond Magazine, will tell you about all of the pop-up genres and sub genres. There's some fun symbiotic relationships forming between our breweries (that, remember, don't have to have a kitchen) and these roving chefs who want to try something new.

Someone spray painted "racist" on the Jefferson Davis Monument last night, which is both vandalism and factually accurate.

If running/walking for a good cause is your thing, you can't go wrong with Run to the River. This 8k benefits the Neighborhood Resource Center in Fulton, which is a truly A+ cause, and will have you running/walking through some of that neighborhood. If running seems like a wild thing to do with your free time, you can just donate directly.

This morning's longread

Soot-Covered Bird Corpses Cough Up Environmental Secrets

Talk about a canary in the coal mine, am I right!?

Their drabber colors remained a mystery until a few years ago, when two University of Chicago graduate students took an interest in the birds. In 2014, Carl Fuldner, a historian of photography, and Shane DuBay, an evolutionary biologist who studies alpine birds, secured a grant to photograph some specimens in the Field Museum’s collection. Using a scanning electron microscope, they confirmed that the wings were covered in black carbon. Black carbon is a tiny waste product of coal combustion. It’s of great note to scientists: Black carbon contributes to global warming, but it’s also a potent form of toxic air pollution. A particle of black carbon is so small that it can penetrate deep into the lungs’ alveoli.

Good morning, RVA: Obama!, the ICA, and balloons

Good morning, RVA: Register to vote, referendum questions, and coffee