Good morning, RVA! It's 34 °F, and warm weather awaits us. You can expect temperatures in the upper 60s today and then in the mid 70s throughout the rest of the weekend! Party on, dudes!
Today in the RTD, Michael Paul William writes about one of my favorite programs in the city, the Ginter Urban Gardeners program run by Duron Chavis. Plants, turns out, are a great way to work through some of the super challenging problems facing our community—in fact, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's mission is just that: "to connect people through plants to improve communities." The 12-week course, which "teaches sustainable horticulture, urban greening and community building, to provide citizens with the skills necessary to increase community-supported urban green spaces," wrapped up this week, but Chavis will begin working with a new set of volunteers in the East End this fall. That could be you!
Edwin Slipek has written a wonderful piece about a Richmond love triangle—but from WWI! You'll recognize lots of names and places, and the anecdote about Harry Watkins Anderson's wrist watch is priceless. I'd love to know how this story got pitched or assigned—great work by everyone involved!
Gabriella Lacombe introduced me to Ames' Hot Southern Honey with this piece. Hot honey sounds amazing and I wish I had some for my toast this morning.
Here's today's transit-oriented development headline from J. Elias O'Neal in Richmond BizSense: "Willow Lawn lands Dick’s Sporting Goods, new restaurant."
There is a ton of stuff floating around on my calendar for this weekend. Here's a bulleted list of those things, if you're looking for ways to kill some time:
- Saturday and Sunday are Richmond Brunch Weekend. Go eat breakfast food late and drink booze early and have some of the proceeds go to the VCU Massey Cancer Center.
- If you'd rather spend your time prepping for the collapse of society than eating brunch, head to the Richmond Survival Expo at the racetrack. The expo is put on by "RK Prepper Shows" and the event category is "No Gun Sales." 😳
- The Maymont Farm celebrates their grand reopening on Sunday!
- East Enders, be aware that the Church Hill Irish Festival will fill some of your streets this weekend.
- The Kickers resume playing soccer!
I'm not sure how much more Matthew Yglesias at Vox can take of Donald Trump. Here he is on the healthcare plan which will probably head to a vote today: "the plan cooked up by the Trump administration and House Republican leadership to overhaul the American health care system is completely insane." Trump said the House must vote on the plan today or else. Or else what? No one knows, but here are eight amazing photos of him pretending to drive a truck.
- The VUU women's basketball team takes on Ashland at 7:00 PM tonight in the NCAA Div II national championship. Brad Bess at the RTD has more on Coach Gilbert and her players.
- Kickers face the Harrisburg City Islanders at 5:00 PM on Saturday in their home opener. The return of soccer!
This morning's longread
I went searching for one of the forums where pirated John Deere firmware is sold. After I found it, I couldn't do much of anything without joining. I was sent an email with instructions, which required me to buy a $25 dummy diagnostic part from a third-party website. Instead of the part, I was sent a code to join the forum. Once I was on it, I found dozens of threads from farmers desperate to fix and modify their own tractors. According to people on the forums and the farmers who use it, much of the software is cracked in Eastern European countries such as Poland and Ukraine and then sold back to farmers in the United States.