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

Good morning, RVA: A thoughtful interview, leaf collection, and okra

Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and there’s a decent chance of rain today. Expect temperatures to stay pretty much where they are as the weather rolls through—and keeps rolling through until Sunday.

Water cooler

Today’s Monument Chat is as follows:

Michael Paul Williams takes Governor McAullife to task for setting up the false dichotomy of Better Schools vs. Monument Removal. This is an especially maddening position for the Governor to take since reduction in state funding is part of the reason we’re stuck in this schools pickle in the first place.

Local Kelley Libby gave an incredibly thoughtful interview on The Remix about Confederate Monuments, growing up in the rural South, and why it’s important to take the monuments down.

And, finally, two descendants of Confederate General Wickham, whose statue sits in Monroe Park, have written a letter to Mayor Stoney asking him to take that statue down. I enjoy the language they used that both diminishes their role in this process but also recognizes the importance of them speaking up. That’s a tough line to walk!

You can tell it’s almost fall because Mark Robinson at the RTD has the first article about leaf collection of the season! Remember: We’re all paying slightly higher solid waste fees so that we’ll theoretically get fortnightly curbside bulk and brush pickup. That service hasn’t yet started, which some people are miffed about. I say we give the Department of Public Works a pass on the delay and, instead, slow clap them for their much-improved bulk and brush work over the past year: “Last September, the department had 2,630 open bulk trash removal requests, about half of which were more than four weeks old. At the end of August, the department had 265 open requests, 96 percent of which were less than two weeks old.” Whoa, impressive! Pair that with the news that DPW just filled their 20,000th pothole since January 1st, and it looks like we might be taking small steps towards stablizing some basic services? Baby steps!

Thanks to WTVR for the heads up on this: Virginia Union University will host a gubernatorial forum this coming Thursday at 7:00 PM—doors at 5:30 PM, though!

Stephanie Ganz, writing for Richmond Magazine, will tell you a bunch of okra facts, should you tap on this link.

Remember, Monday is Labor Day, so I’m taking the day off. I’ll see you Tuesday!


College football returns!

  • Spiders kick off their season against Sam Houston State, tonight at 7:00 PM.
  • Hokies resume their rivalry with West Virginia on Sunday at 7:30 PM.
  • Wahoos start things off by hosting the Tribe at 3:30 PM on Saturday.
  • Squirrels begin a series with Bowie tonight at 7:05 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Kickers travel to Charlotte to take on the Independence on Saturday at 7:00 PM.
  • Nats lost to the Brewers, 3-6, but continue the series tonight at 8:10 PM.

This morning's longread

Welcome to Chef Jordan Kahn’s Anti-Locavore Fine-Dining Spaceship

Keep in mind this next paragraph is about a restaurant.

Every aspect of Vespertine is borderline absurd. As you approach the building, you're greeted by a grating, machine-like compilation of sounds emanating from a particularly labor-intensive art piece built into the ground. The sonic dissonance is engineered to make you uncomfortable, so much so that when you finally enter the building itself, you'll feel a sense of relief. (The idea is cribbed from a Frank Lloyd Wright concept that involves a long, claustrophobic hallway that opens up into an expansive room.) The dining room’s carpet is actually merino wool that doesn’t absorb liquid. The building, according to Kahn’s constructed mythology, “is a machine artifact from an extraterrestrial planet that was left here like a billion years ago by a species that were moon worshippers.” The labels on your fancy wine glasses will be etched off, because “those are all markers that remind people that they’re still on Earth.” Vespertine has a feminine energy, and the general manager has her own unique dress and a custom-made ceramic cuff for her arm, which Kahn gushes over. He tells me the building "has its own gravity."

Good morning, RVA: Violence, first day of school, and bagels

Good morning, RVA: Waffles, burritos, and athletic trainers