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

Good morning, RVA: Big Bus News, cheaters gotta go, and a new homeless shelter

Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and you can expect more of the same: Highs in the mid 80s and a chance of rain throughout the day.

Water cooler

Did you see yesterday’s Big Bus News? VCU and GRTC signed a one-year agreement giving all VCU students, faculty, and staff unlimited free rides effective immediately! This includes VCU Health System, too. That’s over 50,000 people (31,036 students and 22,888 employees) that now have the option to get to and from work or school for free without using a car. Additionally, as part of the $1.2 million deal, GRTC will increase the frequency of the Pulse up to every 10-minutes on weekdays from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM, effectively making peak hours most of the dang day. The Pulse is the way most bus riders move east-west in our city. The increase in frequency makes the system better for everyone—VCU fam or otherwise. My next question is: Which other major employers will offer free transit access to its employees?

If you’re looking for even more bus coverage, Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has a very fair piece on all the transit-related things going on in Richmond over the past couple of months. The focus on what’s next is a good one. Which, speaking of the future, yesterday, GRTC released their 2018–2022 Transit Development Plan which includes one million facts about the current and future state of our transit agency. If nothing else, check out the recommendations section in the executive summary (p. xv) to get a feel for just how badly we’ve underinvested in transit as a region: We’d need to basically double GRTC’s budget and invest $47.91 million to pay for all of the short- and medium-term recommendations (out to 2028).

WTVR’s Melissa Hipolit has an interview about Richmond’s lack of affordable housing with the Better Housing Coalition’s Greta Harris. Here’s a stark number: We need 15,000 units affordable for families making about $36,500. That’s a lot of units and not a lot of money available for rent or a mortgage.

Superintendent Kamras held a brief press conference yesterday before a Carver-related community meeting, and WTVR has the video. I guess some folks were concerned that the teachers and administrators involved in systemic SOL cheating wouldn’t get fired? That seemed an unlikely outcome to me, which Kamras confirmed, saying “I want to assure the public that the individuals involved will be held accountable. Pending Board approval, no one who was involved with the scandal will be employed by Richmond Public Schools when the school year begins. Moreover, pending State approval, I can confirm that none of these individuals will hold a teaching or administrative license in the Commonwealth.”

Last night, Commonwealth Catholic Charities held a community meeting about their plan to possibly open a new homeless shelter—in a spot that can provide services as well—at 1101 Bainbridge Street. Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has some coverage including a pretty gross quote from a meeting attendee that you’ll find in the headline. For a different, more compassionate perspective, take a minute, scroll down, and read through Amy Wentz’s livetweets from the meeting. Due to the types of services CCC wants to provide, they’ll have to seek a special use permit from City Council regardless of the location—so expect more on this later. But, hopefully not too later because colder temperatures are just around the corner...


  • Squirrels got trounced by New Hampshire, 3-14, and will try to save face tonight at 7:05 PM.
  • Kickers lost on the road to the Riverhounds, 0-3.
  • Nats beat the Mets with a pedestrian score of 5-3. They move on to the Reds tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

The Weird, Dangerous, Isolated Life of the Saturation Diver

The human body is weirdly resilient.

Experiments in the 1930s showed that, after a certain time at pressure, divers’ bodies become fully saturated with inert gas, and they can remain at that pressure indefinitely, provided they get one long decompression at the end. In 1964, naval aquanauts occupied the first Sea Lab—a metal-encased living quarters lowered to a depth of 192 feet. The aquanauts could move effortlessly between their pressurized underwater home and the surrounding water, and they demonstrated the enormous commercial potential of saturation diving. It soon became apparent that it would be easier and cheaper to monitor and support the divers if the pressurized living quarters weren’t themselves at the bottom of the sea. At this moment, all around the world, there are commercial divers living at pressure inside saturation systems (mostly on ships, occasionally on rigs or barges), and commuting to and from their jobsites in pressurized diving bells. They can each put in solid six-hour working days on the bottom.

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Good morning, RVA: Homeless shelter follow up, bad behavior has consequences, and an art walk

Good morning, RVA: Bike share bummer, Stone bistro update, and Libbie Mill upgrades