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

Good morning, RVA: Mental health, Broad Street development, and Blackwell

Good morning, RVA! It's 62 °F, and, again, today’s weather looks absolutely incredible. Expect highs right around 80 °F, lots of sunshine, and no rain. It’s a beautiful Friday, so spend some of it outside!

Water cooler

The Virginia Pilot has done some extensive, national reporting on how people with mental illness die in jail. What they found is horrific—no other way to put it. Here’s just some of the stark statistics: 41% of those that died in jail were in isolation; 44% were by suicide; and in 11% of the cases, family members warned the jail that the inmate had a mental illness with associated needs. Keep in mind, these are jails, not prisons. Often folks in crisis who need space in a mental health facility end up instead arrested, which means they go to jail, which means time spent in a place designed only to temporarily store humans away from others—the last thing people in crisis need.

Well, this is interesting news: Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense says United Methodist Family Services has leased the part of their property that fronts Broad Street for a mixed-use project. This is the wide-open piece of land immediately west of 195, and it sits almost dead-center between the Staples Mill and Scott’s Addition Pulse stations. My very first thought after reading this article was if we could convince the developer, Spy Rock Real Estate Group, to somehow cover the cost for a new Pulse station located somewhere near Malvern? Not only would this spur some good ol’ transit-oriented development along that part of Broad Street, but it would also give students, faculty, and staff at Thomas Jefferson High School access to the Pulse (which they currently do not have). I dunno, y’all! Just thinking out loud here!

Kate Andrews and Lauren Francis have put together a good piece on the history and future of Blackwell for Richmond Magazine that you should read. You’ll get a look at the neighborhood before public housing, up through the failed Hope VI project to replace that public housing. I mean, read this shameful sentence about what the neighborhood lost in the 90s, and keep it in mind as we’re talking doughnut shops, tax credits, and redevelopment: “Ultimately, the 440 public housing units were replaced with only 75 in Blackwell...about 37 percent of Blackwell’s public housing residents used vouchers to move to other neighborhoods with more job and educational opportunities, and 85 households did not receive any assistance from the housing authority.” With the fairly recent history of moving hundreds of people out of the neighborhood, you can see why any talks about gentrification and redevelopment deserve—at the bare minimum—thoughtful conversations with those that do remain.

The Richmond City Health District does all kinds of rad things, including free vaccines and physicals for Richmond’s youth. Today from 8:00 AM–1:00 PM you can stop by and get “all vaccinations for daycare and school-entry.” Boom! The RCHD is located at 400 E. Cary Street.

Bikes are awesome and teaching youth to fix bikes is even awesomer. If it’s good enough for Lebron James, it’s good enough for everyone else!

Hey! This thread on reddit says we have Postmates in Richmond now? A look at their locations page confirms! Now get...whatever...delivered right to your door without ever setting foot outside (although, read above, today is an especially nice day to set foot outside).

Vanessa Remmers at the RTD says Chesterfield has decide on their new school Superintendent. Fun fact: I was a student in both Chesterfield County and Delaware’s Red Clay Consolidated School District.

Logistical note! I’m out of town Monday and Tuesday, so don’t expect to hear from me again until Wednesday. Stay posi!

This morning's longread

Unmasking Gaylord, Black Metal's Latest Anti-Fascist Enigma

There’s a lot going on in this article. Come for the always amusing metal band names, stay for the story about someone who wanted to do something about the rise of racism and bigotry in the world and used their existing talents and skills of being metal as heck to do so.

The viral success of Neckbeard Deathcamp and their debut, White Nationalism is for Basement Dwelling Losers, lit up the metal Internet and landed them a deal with Prosthetic Records, who are quickly becoming a sort of de facto home base for this sect of activist headbangers. The trio’s deliberately lo-fi war metal recordings about drowning Richard Spencer in piss and declaring war on incels became another flashpoint in the seemingly eternal argument over how politics fit into extreme metal, and as it turns out, served as the direct inspiration for yet another buzzy new Nazi-smashing metal project: Gaylord.

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Good morning, RVA: Violence, bike share, and power

Good morning, RVA: SOLs, VCU is back, and historical horse races