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

Good morning, RVA: Violence, a deal falls through, and different diplomas

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F. Expect a cooler day today—highs in the low 80s—and a chance of thunderstorms until dinner time.

Water cooler

Police are reporting that Leon M. Chandler II, 24, was shot and killed early Sunday morning. Richmond police arrived at the 3500 block of Meadowbridge Road and pronounced Chandler dead at the scene.

I missed this on Friday: The deal fell through for Commonwealth Catholic Charities to buy a church on the Southside for use as a homeless shelter. Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the details. A private developer who owns some property in the neighborhood bought the building immediately after the deal fell apart, which, even he admits, “the optics of it aren’t great.” After some NIMBY-lead opposition to the proposed homeless shelter, for a private developer to snatch up the property so quickly in an area that’s in the midst of an ongoing conversation about gentrification and displacement...yeaaaaah not super great optics. But, more important than whatever developer shenanigans, it’s nearly September, and with colder temperatures right around the corner, I don’t know if CCC can find, purchase, and ready a new facility to replace the crappy Public Safety Building in time. Mayor Stoney is on record saying that “It would be absolutely unacceptable to go for another season in the Public Safety Building...if we have to consider other city facilities to house the shelter, we’ll do so.” We need to hold him accountable to that.

So Superintendent Kamras tweeted this on Friday: “At Black History Museum interview, I was asked what I mean by ‘institutionalized racism’ in education. Answer: I just found out that our comprehensive high schools (95%+ kids of color) have default diploma setting of “standard” (not “advanced”). Guess what’s changing next year?” Given the context of institutionalized racism, this seemed like a Big Deal, but I had no idea about the difference between standard and advanced diplomas. I did some asking, and the difference is kind of a lot. For an advanced diploma, students must take more credits in math, science, history, and they must take three credits of a world language. I don’t know enough to talk about the specifics of what this change will mean, but I do know that students with an advanced diploma are way more likely to graduate from college within four years of graduating from high school (PDF).

I love when the VCU students move back to town! The streets and sidewalks seem so dead and lifeless without them. This past weekend was freshmen move-in, which means we can welcome over 4,600 new humans to Richmond, and, with classes starting on Thursday, expect the trickle of students to become a flood over the next couple of days.

Patron Aidan pointed me at this petition to change the Boulevard’s name to Arthur Ashe Boulevard. And, yeah, I’m into that! Related: Don Harrison at Richmond Magazine recently sat down with Raymond Arsenault, author of Arthur Ashe: A Life.

I find this bamboo water wheel at Pony Pasture soothing, delightful, and whimsical! I don’t know how river people feel about damming up a bit of a shallow part of the river, but I’m sure they’ll tell me.

A logistical note! While I am back in Richmond (finally), I’ve decided to stop including sports scores as regular part of Good Morning, RVA. It takes a surprising amount of time each morning, I often screw it up, and, as Marie Kondo would say, it doesn’t spark joy. In the bin it must go! I’ll still highlight big-deal sports things as they happen so the non-sportsers among us won’t be left out in the dark in the wide, wide sports-filled world.

This morning's longread

The inside story of a toxic culture at Maryland football

Here’s toxic masculinity at work with deadly consequences. Just one, of many, reasons why football must change in America.

"He's just a ball of testosterone all the time," one current player said. "He's really in your face. He'll call you [expletives], he'll challenge you in the weight room. He'll put more weight on the bar than you can do, ever done in your life, and expect you to do it multiple times. He'll single people out he doesn't like, which is a common practice here. Guys are run off. They'll have them do specific finishes at the end and do harder workouts or more workouts just to make their lives miserable here. He's kind of Durkin's tool to accomplish that. He's the guy people hate, and that way Durkin doesn't have to take the blow for it. Guys can't stand Coach Court."

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Good morning, RVA: More bike lanes, school spending, and a board of barbers

Good morning, RVA (lite): Scooters...?, Coliseum quibbles, and education funding