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

Good morning, RVA: Pushing out the compact, Portland loo, and poop

Good morning, RVA! It's 54 °F, and highs today should stick around in the mid 70s. Looks like the rain has moved out of town for at least the next several days, and we're in for steadily increasing temperatures as far as the extended forecast can see.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a double homicide that occurred last night at approximately 9:53 PM on the 3600 block of Decatur Street. Police arrived on the scene and found two men shot to death. They have yet to release the names of the victims.

The RTD's Katy Burnell Evans covers some folks who press conferencing at City Hall yesterday trying to delay the adoption of the mayor's Education Compact (PDF) until a new superintendent is hired. Either coincidentally or in response to the aforelinked press conference, the mayor's office released this statement/update. A couple of thoughts! First, I super agree with the final quote in the RTD piece, "Here's the sad truth: A new superintendent is not going to save us...It's cliche to say, but we have to save ourselves." However, I thought the point of the compact was exactly that: To set up a frame work of communication and collaboration that wasn't based on specific personalities. If the School Board and Mayor's Administration have already agreed to the general concepts behind the Compact, let's get this thing drafted and in front of Council! Second, I don't really know where this bit about charters or privatization mentioned in the RTD piece came from—I am not an Education Compact expert, but that was not a takeaway I had after reading the document. Third, this sentence from the announcement of the press conference is troubling: "...considering a broad lack of understanding of the scope and implications of the Education Compact, we are calling for a delay in approving this initiative until a new superintendent has been selected." I know there have been a dozen public meetings, but if a sizable group of advocates (Richmond Teachers for Social Justice, Support Richmond Public Schools, New Virginia Majority, Advocates for Equity in Schools, Alliance for a Progressive Virginia, Northside Coalition For Children Inc., RVA Opt Out, and Students for RPS) are still confused about the compact, it's totally worth rethinking the outreach strategy. Better to get folks' questions answered now—maybe by the mayor himself?—than end up with yet another contentious battle in front of City Council. Especially over something we're all pretty much in favor of, right?

Homeward will be in front of City Council's Education and Human Services committee today giving a presentation on the Collective Impact to End Homelessness in Richmond (PDF). If you've ever wondered how the region works together on homelessness, that presentation has a lot of info you'll find interesting. I was surprised by just how many folks are involved in this work.

Oh snap, part of the Monroe Park renovation plans include a Portland Loo—aka a public bathroom! The Urban Design Committee will chat it up at their meeting today, and here's the staff recommendation. Public restrooms were idea #68 in Aaron Williams's 100 Days to a Better RVA.

Jackie Kruszewski's cover story for Style Weekly is about the status of and work to improve the James River, and it's definitely worth reading. It also has the word "poop" in the subhead, so thumbs up on that.

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today at 10:00 AM. You can watch on C-SPAN, if you want, and you can read his written statement here (PDF).

Also! Britain has elections today!


  • Squirrels split their double header yesterday and wrap up the series with Binghamton tonight at 6:35 PM.
  • Nats fell to the Dodgers, 1-2 and will makeup a game with Baltimore tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

The Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Competition

To reach the upper echelons of the skipping world was not easy. Mackinac was divided into two heats. First there was the “Open” division, in which every fudge-eating tourist on the island was welcome. Usually there were a few hundred people who entered. Only by winning the Open can you move up into the “Professional” division, which features heavy hitters such as Russ “Rockbottom” Byars, whose Guinness World Record held for years at 51 skips; Max “Top Gun” Steiner, who took the title from Byars with 65; and Kurt “Mountain Man” Steiner (no relation to Max) who currently holds the title with 88.

Good morning, RVA: The Compact continues, 6PIC, and quality craft beer

Good morning, RVA: Budget process, Municipal Waste, and Evergreen Cemetery