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

Good morning, RVA: Turn in your paperwork on time, follow up, and a swearing-in ceremony.

Good morning, RVA! It's 67 °F, and the weather sameness continues. Expect highs in the 90s, humidity, and lots of sunshine until evening. After today, though, the 10-day forecast looks like a lot of opportunities for rain.

Water cooler

Big news in the Washington Post for Republicans: State officials have decided that Del. Nicholas Freitas will NOT appear on the ballot in November. I’m sure dudeman will appeal the decision and head to the Courts as soon as possible, but, assuming those efforts fail, he’ll have to run a write-in campaign. That’s not an impossible thing to win, but it’s sure way more challenging than, like, just filing your paperwork on time. Voters in the 30th District will still find Democrat Ann Ridgeway on the ballot in a couple of months.

Yesterday, I told y’all about how my son and I got yelled at for riding our bicycles in the street by a dude in a pick up truck. I also said this sort of thing is extremely common and you just need to ask literally anyone who rides a bike and they’ll have similar stories. Look! Here’s a screenshot of the Bike Walk RVA facebook page as proof. Remember, the Mayor and the Department of Public Works could fix this particular dangerous intersection—Broad & Lombardy—by removing a few parking spaces. They don’t/won’t, and, because of that, people will get hurt.

A couple of days ago I posted about increased school construction costs for RPS 💸 and wondered out loud if 1) That was a normal thing, and 2) If the amount set aside for cost overruns would cover the new expenses. A kind engineer who works on cost estimates for large construction projects all the time wrote in with some useful context on these questions: “Any good cost estimate for a project that is going to span multiple years should already have cost escalation built in (usually around 3-4% per year), so if they're seeing increases over and above the projected total, that means they didn't account for everything or that the design is changing in the field. The construction contingency in the estimate is intended to cover any unforeseen conditions encountered at the site and would already be in the total $ amount, so again, if they're reporting increases above the projected costs, that likely means that either something has changed in the field or they missed something in the estimate.” Additionally, they added, “Thanks to Trumps trade wars and tariffs, there have been significant increases in the cost of steel and other building materials, far outpacing the typical escalation rate. So that is also a possible explanation for these increases.” One other thing I failed to mention in my original post was the comparison between Richmond’s current school construction costs and a few new schools out in Chesterfield County, which you can find on page 10 of the Education Compact presentation PDF. County schools saw average construction cost estimates of $314.01 per square foot, while, at the moment, Richmond’s new schools are estimated to cost $306.58 per square foot—although I think that number is before the recent increase. Anyway, I love reader context!

Somehow I missed that the swearing in ceremony for Richmond’s new police chief took place yesterday at Virginia Union. Ali Rockett at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has the recap.

I had no idea that hemp and marijuana were indistinguishable without “quantitative testing.” Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury has the details on how state forensic labs will distribute new field tests to police departments who, I guess, will manually test the thousands of acres of hemp in the state to make sure there’s no shenanigans going on?

This morning's longread

“So Constant Are His Appeals”

Summer parenting solidarity with Nathaniel Hawthorne!

Nathaniel was a more present father than many, but he still found life alone with a 5-year-old trying. On July 28, Nathaniel wrote: “I hardly know how we got through the fore-noon. It is impossible to write, read, think, or even sleep (in the daytime), so constant are his appeals in one way or another.” On Aug. 3: “Either I have less patience today than ordinary, or the little man makes larger demands upon it; but it really does seem as if he had baited me with more questions, references, and observations, than mortal father ought to be expected to endure. He does put me almost beside my propriety, never quitting me, and continually thrusting in his word between the clauses of every sentence of all my reading, and smashing every attempt at reflection into a thousand fragments.”

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Good morning, RVA: A downtown arena update, an important cheese event, and a vacation

Good morning, RVA: New school rezoning options, dangerous road rage, and pay for parking