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

Good morning, RVA: A temporary chief, river updates, and 40 local albums

Good morning, RVA! It's 46 °F, highs will top out around 50 °F, and today’s got clouds and possibly a little bit of rain in store. That’s pretty much the weather outlook for the rest of the week, too.

Water cooler

Hello again! It’s been forever, and I bet stuff happened over the last week or so, but I sure couldn’t tell you what. Let’s just dive right back in with this the first Good Morning, RVA of 2019!

It took less than six hours for Richmond to see its first pedestrian killed by a driver. Police were called to the 4800 block of Midlothian Turnpike, near George Wythe High School, around 5:45 AM on New Years Day and found a female victim dead in the road. There have been at least a half dozen injuries along that stretch of Midlothian over the last few years. What will the City do in 2019 to make our streets safer for people (and, necessarily, slower for cars)?

On December 27th, Mayor Stoney appointed the Acting Chief of Police William C. Smith to serve as the Interim Chief of Police. Since Alfred Durham took a bunch of vacation days at the end of the year, Smith was already serving as the acting chief, but will now run things until the Mayor decides on a permanent replacement. I haven’t yet heard details on the scale of the planned search for Alfred Durham’s forever replacement, but I’d assume it’d be national?

The James River is wonderful, and it’s easy to forget how a lot of wonderful rivers spent a large portion of the 20th Century as a go-to dumping ground for toxic chemicals. Mel Leonor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch reminds me that it’s still unsafe to eat a lot of fish out of the James 💸, and, if you do decide to consume, you should probably limit yourself to “two meals per month.” Actually, here’s a link to the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Fish Consumption Advisories map which tells me that there are are 23 active fish advisories and that we should definitely not eat carp, blue and flathead catfish (bigger than 32 inches), and gizzard shad out of the river. I have learned so much this morning.

Related, here’s a possibly unpopular opinion I still hold from last year: Private citizens should not own parts of our river. It’s ours. It belongs to all of us.

You had me at “much of the surface parking between the two lots will be converted into a large patio space to be used by all of the food and drink tenants in the development.” Food halls are cool! Recently, I’ve been to two examples in Pittsburgh and Boston and think the concept could find a lot of success in Richmond. I was thinking something in the Blues Armory? It sure is a heckuva lot more central than Scott’s Addition...

Duron Chavis, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, says that you can show your EBT card and get $1 admission for adults and free admission for children. This is part of the Museums for All program, and the Garden is the second local museum-type spot to offer reduced admission to EBT cardholders. The Science Museum of Virginia began offering reduced rates back in 2016 ($2 per adult and $1 per child). Love it, now let’s get everyone else on board, too!

Eileen Mellon at Richmond Magazine talked to some folks who’ve worked at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken for a long, long time. I love Lee’s, I love how it’s one of the most diverse places to eat a meal in Richmond, I love that you can take the Pulse to its front door, and I love that it’ll stubbornly sit adjacent to and in judgment of the new Whole Foods.

Marilyn Drew Necci at RVA Mag has The 40 Most Essential RVA Albums of 2018 should you need hours of local music to jumpstart your 2019.

Dangit, y’all! I forgot about the Richmond Cone Parade, even though it’s in its 11th year of weird existence. WHY DOES THIS THING EVEN HAPPEN?? I have no idea, but it is simply the best. Colleen Curran at the RTD has some details and Joe Mahoney has some pictures.

This morning's longread

What Is Glitter?

From Patron Alex, Susan, and a couple other folks comes this wonderfully written piece about glitter. I closed out 2018 reading this piece, and it’s probably one of the better things I read the entire year.

He also did not want me to visit his glitter factory. The jovial Mr. Shetty told me over the phone that people have no idea of the scientific knowledge required to produce glitter, that Glitterex’s glitter-making technology is some of the most advanced in the world, that people don’t believe how complicated it is, that he would not allow me to see glitter being made, that he would not allow me to hear glitter being made, that I could not even be in the same wing of the building as the room in which glitter was being made under any circumstance, that even Glitterex’s clients are not permitted to see their glitter being made, that he would not reveal the identities of Glitterex’s clients (which include some of the largest multinational corporations in the world; eventually, one did consent to be named: thank you, Revlon, Inc.), and that, fine, I was welcome to come down to Glitterex headquarters to learn more about what I could not learn about in person.

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Good morning, RVA: The year in violence, Brook Road bike stories, and ballpark business

Good morning, RVA: A schools funding plan, after-school programs, and slot machines