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

Good morning, RVA: RPS rezoning, golf course dreams, and monastery cheese

Good morning, RVA! It's 65 °F, and today expect more of the same: temperatures near 80 °F, clouds, and a small chance for rain. Precipitation probably does show up tomorrow afternoon and will continue for at least a couple of days.

Water cooler

Throughout this year’s budget season, you probably heard again and again that Richmond Public Schools need to rezone and that they’d definitely be deep into that process before the end of the year. Turns out, things are already well on their way and will, fingers crossed, be finished by the end of the year. Here’s the timeline for the rezoning study process, which will wrap up in November (PDF)—we’ve even got a public information session headed our way in June! To get you hyped for that June meeting(s), read through this dry-sounding but fascinating Richmond Public Schools Demographics, Capacity, and Utilization report (PDF). Cropper, the folks who put the report together, have done a bunch of data collection and analysis and have come up with how the City’s school-aged population will change over the next several years, how that will impact school enrollment, and how that impacts our school facility needs. The first big take away for me: A lot more elementary schools are at or near capacity than I thought. In fact, across all elementary schools today, we’re at 94% capacity. Second big takeaway: Richmond’s affordable housing crisis manifests itself everywhere: “Even if the district continues to have some level of annual new home construction, the rate, magnitude and price of existing home sales will become the increasingly dominant factor affecting the amount of population and enrollment change.” Stay tuned for more information about the public meetings, and prepare yourself for a very tense set of conversations/bloodbaths this fall when the School Board attempts to approve a redistricting plan.

Sorry golf gals and guys, I am still not a fan of Henrico’s decision to keep the Belmont Golf Course a golf course. C. Suarez Rojas at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a few updates on the course’s bleak, but golf-oriented, future. Golf just seems like one of the worst possible land uses for urban-adjacent areas, and, if it were me, I’d convert 80% of it to dense housing / mixed-use and the rest to public green space. Shockingly progressive to take a failing amenity and make it into space useable by humans, I know. Seriously though, even conservatives should get behind thinking about alternate uses for this space: “Despite a nearly 20-year trend of running at a deficit, the golf budget is virtually unchanged...In the past decade, the amount of rounds played there has dropped by 40 percent.” Actually, if you are a golf gal or guy, I’d love to know if you’ve played at the Belmont course and why or why not.

“Thursday is cheese making day at the monastery...” This CNS story by Erin Edgerton in RVA Mag is worth your time! Come for the delightful description of how the sisters of Our Lady of the Angel monastery outside of Crozet make Gouda, stay for the wonderful pictures of the process.

Richmond BizSense put on the Future Of: The Boulevard event this past Wednesday, which featured a panel of some Big Richmond Names: Mayor Stoney, Councilmember Gray, VCU Athletics Director Ed McLaughlin, Spy Rock’s Andrew Basham, and Parney. Jonathan Spiers recaps the event and, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom, you’ll find a video of the panel by WTVR. The conversation, of course, centered around replacing The Diamond. When we talk about replacing downtown arenas and being able to “walk and chew gum at the same time” as a City, I’m not sure that we mean for the gum to be replacing another downtown arena. Seems like a lot!

This, from the Virginia Mercury’s Mechelle Hankerson seems about right: “For the first time in years, Virginia lawmakers have agreed to increase the minimum number of counselors required in schools. But they also decided not to fully fund those positions in the state budget.” Sure.

Are you a Richmond Public Schools parent or guardian? If so, fill out this quick family engagement survey—it’ll take you less than ten minutes. There are some interesting questions on there, and I imagine different members of the same household will have different answers depending on their level of interaction with the school. If your interaction level is “my partner deals with it,” go read that NYT lazy dads article again.

This morning's patron longread

Trans-inclusive Design

Submitted and written by Patron Erin! In A List Apart! Incredible!

We are web professionals; we can do better than an offline workaround. The choices we make impact the online and offline experiences of real people who are trans, non-binary, or gender-variant—choices that can affirm or exclude, uplift or annoy, help or harm. The rest of this article assumes you agree with the concept that trans people are human beings who deserve dignity, respect, and care. If you are seeking a primer on trans-related vocabulary and concepts, please read up and come back later. I’m going to cover issues touching on content, images, forms, databases, IA, privacy, and AI—just enough to get you thinking about the decisions you make every day and some specific ideas to get you started.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: School impact statements, Capitol Police taxis, and travel plans

Good morning, RVA: Fix the streets, BMX family, and Lakeside improvements