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

Good morning, RVA: Private island, newsroom cuts, and cricket

Good morning, RVA! It's 75 °F, and we’ve got rain in the forecast today. Temperatures will hover around in the mid 80s, but there’s a pretty decent chance for rain all day long.

Water cooler

Last week, I wrote about ORD. 2018-236 (PDF), introduced by Councilmember Gray, which would allow certain homeowners to defer the payment of increases in their property tax. I posted some of my concerns and questions on Twitter, and what resulted was an excellent, thoughtful, and interesting conversation. It’s worth your time to explore the thread and read what all the folks, way smarter than me, have to say.

Colleen Curran in the Richmond Times-Dispatch says someone has bought Sharp’s Island—a small island in the middle of the river near Mayo Island. While the new owner sounds like an outdoors-focused dude, I’d prefer if all the river’s islands that sit within the James River Park System belonged to the City. The new, private owner puts it perfectly on why the public should own resources like this: “When I think of the James River, I want to go and explore...And to know that one of those places is mine where I can take my kids and bring my friends, you can’t put a price on that.”

The Virginia Mercury’s Ned Oliver looks at newsroom staffing cuts in Virginia over the last decade or so. Locally, the numbers are stark: Since 2010, the “Times-Dispatch went from 42 news and sports reporters to 26, cut its staff of photographers from nine to six and cut the number of editors from 20 to 13.” That’s bleak. Oliver also talks about Warren Buffet’s decision to shift management of his portfolio of papers to a particularly ruthless company out of Iowa. Also pretty bleak. VCU prof Jeff South bleakly ends the piece, saying, “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the cost cutting, even though at some point, can you even put out the paper with a staff of 10?” That’s a great question. What does happens if Central Virginia’s major paper goes away? It’s a fascinating and scary prospect, if you ask me.

Also in the Virginia Mercury, this cool story about the State Corporation Commission approving Dominion’s community solar pilot program. It sounds like later this year you can pay a little extra and guarantee that all of your home’s electricity comes from solar power.

I should have already know about the prevalence of cricket in Henrico County, since it’s been around since 1994, but I did not! Luckily, C. Suarez Rojas in the RTD has the word about a new cricket pitch the County plans on building out near Deep Run 💸. There’s even a youth cricket league through the Richmond Strikers!

Richmond BizSense covers last week’s Brook Road bike lane meeting, and you’re probably sick of hearing about it. However, I do not appreciate Councilmember Gray’s casual implication that adding bike lanes to a community is equivalent to the Urban Renewal interstate projects that decimated Richmond’s neighborhoods in the 50s and 60s.

This morning's longread

Every Mission is a Suicide Mission

I’m really into people who are really into things.

Galaga game boards are circuits the size of pizza boxes studded with computer chips and DIP switches. They offer several adjustable variables for gameplay, including rate of fire, difficulty rank (i.e., setting), and total number of fighters. Most functioning cabinets you’ll find feature one of two enhanced firing speeds confusingly referred to as “fast shot” and “rapid fire” — semiauto and auto, basically. Galaga’s original firing speed, however, only permits two missiles to be fired until both have either hit something or left the screen. Indiscipline is a costly vice. The best players separate themselves by their ability to routinely score more than a million points on the presets known as “tournament settings.” This means: original rate of fire, hardest difficulty rank, and the finite starting total of five space fighters. Heading into ScoreWars, Andrew Laidlaw held the world-record tournament score at over 4.5 million points. His record-breaking game would have stretched five lives across more than three hours of play and something like 14,000 destroyed Galagas, all while limited to firing two concurrent missiles.

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Good morning, RVA: Tornadoes, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and Southside Plaza

Good morning, RVA: Bus to Short Pump, equity, and a poster