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

Good morning, RVA: Unsolved murders, scooters, and GO CAPS!

Good morning, RVA! It's 64 °F, and today expect temperatures to top out near 90 °F. This weekend: Probably some rain.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a murder on the 900 block of Belt Boulevard. Officers arrived and found Kenneth L. Brown, 43, shot to death. According to the RPD website, this is the first murder in the City since May 17th and the 21st murder in 2018.

A couple of days ago, the Washington Post ran this analysis of murders and arrests in the 50 most populous cities in America. They frame it as a way of tracking where murders go “unsolved” but it’s really where in cities do people get killed and police make or fail to make an arrest. You should look at the Richmond-specific data, because it’s surprising. Richmond leads the nation with arrests in 74% of homicides during the study period. This far exceeds the average (49%) and even the next closest city (about 70%). In fact, Richmond is such a nationwide outlier that it makes me either incredibly impressed or slightly skeptical. This is something I’ve talked about in this space before, but I think it would be valuable for someone to track each murder in the City beyond arrest and through the court system. Are these murders really solved? Are suspects eventually convicted of crimes? Does anyone already have this sort of information? I’ve got lots of questions.

Michael Paul Williams has a severely ominous take on the SOL testing irregularities at Carver Elementary School 💸. He goes beyond implying and just comes right out and says—and this is my paraphrase—that the only reason Carver ever had high SOL test scores in the first place was due to a history of irregularities. Yikes.

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Northam signed the budget and officially expanded Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Possibly related, the keg in the Governor’s Mansion kicked, and the Gov turned to Twitter and the wisdom of the crowd to decide which beer he should tap next. Excellent choice, crowd.

Scott Castro at RVAHub has your weekly Friday Cheers preview. Tonight you have the honor of experiencing NO BS! Brass Band live and down by the river as part of a Friday Cheers and Festival of the River combo pack. Take advantage of the opportunity!

This weekend, Richmond is hosting AmeriVespa 2018, a meetup/rally of hundreds of scooter aficionados. This explains why you may have seen packs of scooters zooming all over town for the past couple of days.


This morning's longread

Why Everyone Loves Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been craving mac and cheese and fish sticks for a week now.

We awarded the win to a chef who made mac and cheese with an aged Vermont cheddar. The audience, however, chose another contestant. When he arrived at the winner’s circle, he made a stunning announcement: His main ingredient was Velveeta. Amazement! Shock! Betrayal! The audience clutched their ironic canned beer but didn’t quite know how to react. Was it a hoax? A working-class prank against elitism in food? Was this contest somehow rigged by Kraft? In the end it turned out to just be a financial decision by the chef: In great American tradition, he bought the cheapest protein possible.

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

Good morning, RVA: Housing instability, parking, and City Council

Good morning, RVA: More apartments, an idea about parking, and headline semantics