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

Good morning, RVA: Long weekend, fare evasion, and a new app

Good morning, RVA! It's 74 °F, and today looks a lot like yesterday—same same. Expect highs near 90 °F and some sunshine for the next couple of days as we head into Memorial Day weekend and pool season.

Water cooler

Ah yes, the Friday before Memorial Day—one of the slowest news days of the year and when anything of note gets held until Tuesday. One small logistical note: Since Monday is a federal holiday, Good Morning, RVA is also on hold, and I will see you jokers on Tuesday! Have a great weekend, y’all.

Dang there have been a thousand and one articles about fare evasion on the Pulse. Here’s one more, a paywalled editorial from the RTD Editorial Board 💸 that’s mostly reasonable, but, like almost every other article on the subject, throws a bunch of distinct issues at the wall and declares “Aha! Fare evasion!” I’m bad at finances, so I can’t speak to how missing budget projections and revenue targets impacts the transit agency’s bottom line—and if this problem? issue? regular finance thing? is related to inaccurate projections, fare evasion, the black and gold flood of VCU-related humans into the system, or what. I’ve got a lot of thoughts, but here’s the most important one: Ridership on Richmond’s bus system is way up, defying trends across the entire country. There is literally no other city in all of America doing what Richmond is doing when it comes to public transportation. Despite the thousand and one articles you read, we’ve got a lot to celebrate. City Council, the Mayor, GRTC leadership—really everyone—needs to keep that in mind before they get real intense about something like fare evasion. Like this sign in the bathroom of Cobra Cabana says, “We have a real fragile ecosystem happening here and its balance must be maintained at all costs.”

Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury says the Virginia National Guard has adopted Trump’s bigoted policy banning transgender people from serving openly. State officials say they have no choice but to follow the federal policy, which is most certainly the case, but I’d still like to see some more hellraising from our elected leadership—especially leaders who’ve spent this entire winter and spring dealing with equity issues.

Karri Peifer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says that the Ellwood Thompson’s Cafe inside of the ICA will close. I guess folks didn’t think of the contemporary art museum as a sweet place to hang out, but it totally could be—especially with blazin’ hot summer temperatures just around the corner. I wonder what separates the ICA from the VMFA in folks’ minds? The latter always seems packed with cafe types.

I enjoy the heck out of areas of high-density fried chicken. J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense has the details of a new chicken zone out in Henrico.

Richmonder, podcast person, and all around nice guy Casey Liss has written and released an iOS app called Vignette that’ll scour the internet for pictures with which to update your phone’s contact photos. Get rid of all those gray circles and replace them with haunting photos of your friends and family! Casey’s app is getting all kind of national coverage, which is rad.

This morning's longread

The ‘Clotilda,’ the Last Known Slave Ship to Arrive in the U.S., Is Found

The last ship to bring enslaved Africans to America has been found in a river in Alabama. Incredible.

One hundred and fifty-nine years ago, slave traders stole Lorna Gail Woods’ great-great grandfather from what is now Benin in West Africa. Her ancestor, Charlie Lewis, was brutally ripped from his homeland, along with 109 other Africans, and brought to Alabama on the Clotilda, the last known slave ship to arrive in the United States. Today, researchers confirmed that the remains of that vessel, long rumored to exist but elusive for decades, have been found along the Mobile River, near 12 Mile Island and just north of the Mobile Bay delta.

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Good morning, RVA: Gun violence, scooters, and old-growth forests

Good morning, RVA: Yearbooks, audits, and silver platters