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

Good morning, RVA: A news paywall, absent councilmembers, and new music

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and it’s gonna be hot today. Sunshine and highs in the mid 90s mean you need to drink water and stay hydrated—it’s important!

Water cooler

Logistical note: Beginning today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has turned on a partial paywall, meaning certain articles are only available to paying subscribers. I’ll try to mark those stories I link to behind the paywall with a 💸. I’m really interested to see which and how many stories end up subscriber-only and how that impacts both the paper’s coverage of local news and general human awareness of local news. You can subscribe to the RTD here.

The Mayor’s Education Compact met last night...kind of: Only two of nine City Council members showed up. The RTD’s Mark Robinson covered the meeting on Twitter and was NOT impressed, and it sounds like the Mayor was disappointed at the turnout, too: “‘It's going to take us reaching some sort of grand compromise, but first it takes everyone being here, as well,’ Stoney said before thanking Larson and Agelasto for showing up.” Augh. After all the tough talk during both the meals tax and cigarette tax debates, you’d think elected officials would make it their beeswax to attend these quarterly meeting where all the decision makers are in the room. Every time one of these meetings slips away, it’s a huge wasted opportunity for our leaders to start building trust and human relationships with one another. I continue to believe that this is incredibly important work to do as we move forward on schools. Tangentially related: Yesterday, I bemoaned the lack of a dedicated Education Compact website, but behold: https://sharepoint.richmondgov.com/EducationCompact.

Mike Platania has some more details on Bon Secours’s request to rezone the Westhampton School out in the West End. We covered this yesterday, and I include it today mostly so I can make a joke about how this is Richmond’s premier daily zoning and rezoning newsletter.

I will always read and link to any sports story about high school robotics teams. Here’s one over on WTVR about the Atlee team, Circuit 1599.

Scott Castro at RVAHub has a preview of tonight’s Friday Cheers featuring Tyler Childers and Saw Black. You can get your $5 tickets online or down on the island tonight at 6:00 PM.

The new Natalie Prass record drops today, which is musical news that has made my morning. You can listen to it in a variety of ways, but here’s a link to it on Apple Music. Natalie’s got a ton of local ties (remember this piece by Susan Howson way back in 2016?), and Matthew E. White, another local, produced the album. He’ll be doing a live listen of The Future and the Past on Twitter today at 12:30 PM. Or, if live music is your thing, catch Natalie Prass at The Broadberry on Saturday at 8:00 PM.

Will Virginia be the 38th and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? Vox says maybe! So does Virginia Delegate Danica Roem!


  • Squirrels squeaked by Bowie, 7-6, and head up to Reading tonight at 7:15 PM.
  • Kickers host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Saturday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Nats fell to the Braves, 2-4, their first loss in awhile. That series continues tonight at 7:35 PM.
  • Caps take on the Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday at 8:00 PM.

This morning's longread

Meet Alex, the Russian Casino Hacker Who Makes Millions Targeting Slot Machines

Nerds! But maybe not the most honorable of nerds...

Besides his Robin Hood justification, Alex defends his enterprise as cunning but by no means criminal. “We, in fact, do not meddle with the machines—there is no actual hacking taking place,” he says. “My agents are just gamers, like the rest of them. Only they are capable of making better predictions in their betting. Yes, that capability is gained through my technology, it’s true. But why should it be against the law? On the basic level, it’s like using a calculator for counting faster and more accurately, rather than relying on one’s natural capacity.” It is logic very much in sync with Russia’s culture of cutthroat capitalism.

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

Good morning, RVA: Dry weather, Public Art Master Plan, and photos from the March for Justice

Good morning, RVA: Medicaid expansion!, a rezoning survey, and baklava