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

Good morning, RVA: Violence, the General Assembly awaits, and Oprah

Good morning, RVA! It's 20 °F, and today's high of 43 °F sounds downright balmy. Temperatures will continue to heat up throughout the week, possibly ending with a Friday in the 60s!

At this moment (for some unfathomable reason): Chesterfield, Henrico, and Richmond public schools are all closed today. It's business as usual (sorry, college students) at UR, VCU, and VUU.

Water cooler

Police are reporting a homicide that occurred early Sunday morning on the 2400 block of Warwick Avenue. Officers arrived on the scene and found Garry Harrison Jr., 28, shot to death in a vehicle. A woman was also found shot in the same vehicle and was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries.

Last week, two people were killed by drivers in Henrico County. This past weekend two children sledding were hit by a driver near Short Pump. The number of fatal crashes in the City of Richmond last year (22) was more than double the number in 2014 (9). None of this is acceptable. The new Vision Zero RVA Counter site tracks all of this data and presents it in a very stark and sobering way: "5 days ago a person was killed in traffic in the Richmond Region."

But traffic fatalities do not have to be commonplace. In fact, the City proper is in the midst of creating a Vision Zero Action Plan—a plan that, if thoughtfully constructed and properly supported, will guide the City toward the goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. You can look through an early draft of that plan (PDF), and you can submit your thoughts and comments on it (email , the consultant working on the plan). If it were me submitting a comment (which I 100% will), I'd ask for: 1) a list of specific, dangerous locations that could serve as tests or pilots for a variety of Vision Zero strategies, and 2) an increase in specificity throughout the plan. A quick look at Washington D.C's or Alexandria's action plan reveals something a lot more...actionable...than what we've got at the moment.

If you're a resident of Chesterfield or Henrico, email your Board of Supervisor representative and tell them to begin their own Vision Zero work.

Tammie Smith at the Richmond-Times Dispatch has a profile of the folks involved in turning the big plot of land up at 25th and Nine Mile into the fabled East End grocery store, culinary school, and other retail spaces. The folks and plans mentioned in this article are just a few of the billion and one pieces to this development puzzle, not the least of which is the sort-of-ongoing nearby redevelopment of Creighton Court (which, you'll remember, just had folks temporarily relocated this past weekend due to faulty heaters).

Graham Moomaw and Michael Martz at the Richmond Times-Dispatch have put together a good Where Are We At Now with the General Assembly piece. The lightning-fast session starts on Wednesday, and, due to the uncertainty of which party controls the house, none of the pre-filed bills have been referred to committee. GASP. What would Jefferson think? As to how the General Assembly functions, we'll see what happens, but all the gadflies agree: With their majority teetering on a single vote, Republicans should probably think about how they can work with Democrats.

Henrico Board of Supervisors Representative Courtney Lynch sat down with Richmond Magazine and said some great sentences, including these: "Something Henrico needs is to continue forward on a path of regionalism and multiple jurisdictions working together. We have to address regional challenges. One of those is transit. The growing rate of poverty is another. A sign of progress locally is that Richmond is open to not being all about the car." Equating progress with less focus on cars is music to my transit, bike, and pedestrian ears.

FYI, City Council will meet tonight at 6:00 PM for their regularly scheduled meeting. You can find the agenda, which can be changed at any moment between now and 6:00 PM, here (PDF).

OK, you simply must take eight minutes of your life and watch Oprah's speech last night at the Golden Globes. A short quote to get you to tap on the link: "[Recy Taylor] lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up."


  • Rams laid one on La Salle, 80-74.
  • Spiders were stopped against Saint Louis, 62-69.
  • Hokies handled Pitt, 81-67.
  • Wahoos won against UNC, 61-49.
  • Dukes fell to North Dakota State in the National Championship Game, 13-17.

This morning's longread

You’re probably using the wrong dictionary

Well this is charming and even comes with instructions for switching your computer's built-in dictionary.

I could go on forever listing examples. I could say, “Look up example, magic, sport. Look up arduous, huge, chauvinistic, venal, pell-mell, raiment, sue, smarting, stereotype. Look up the word word, and look, and up. Look up every word you used today.” Indeed that’s what motivated this post: I’d been using Webster’s dictionary for about a year; I kept looking words up, first there, then in whatever modern dictionary was closest to hand, and seeing this awful difference, evidence of a crime that kept piling up in my mind, the guilt building: so many people were getting this wrong impression about words, every day, so many times a day. There’s an amazing thing that happens when you start using the right dictionary. Knowing that it’s there for you, you start looking up more words, including words you already know. And you develop an affection for even those, the plainest most everyday words, because you see them treated with the same respect awarded to the rare ones, the high-sounding ones.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: Bill picks, Council politics, and segregated schools

Good morning, RVA: Vision Zero, update on the 94th, and a weed explainer