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

Good morning, RVA: Bond fraud scheme, a scooter gif, and cozy bars

Good morning, RVA! It's 59 °F, and while that seems downright chilly, today’s temperatures will continue to creep back up into the 90s. We might, however, avoid rain and steaming-hot temperatures for the entire long weekend. Enjoy!

Water cooler

Whoa, here’s some big news: Michael Hild, founder of Live Well Financial and owner of a bunch of the Dogtown businesses in Manchester (among other things), was arrested yesterday and charged—with both criminal and civil charges—in a $140 million bond fraud scheme. Here’s the Department of Justice release and here’s a document from the SEC with a bunch of fascinating details (PDF). Like this one: From 2018 to the present, Hild himself received cash compensation totaling almost $11 million! A lot of folks, I’m sure, are feeling a heavy dose of schadenfreude right now as Hild was not the most popular guy in the neighborhood. What really interests me, though, is what happens to the businesses and properties he owns on the Southside?

Today is the 15-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Gaston flooding the heck out of Richmond. During the downpour, I drove through a flooded street on the Southside and broke my car’s engine. It’s what eventually led to us becoming a one-car family, so thanks, Gaston! JK, not thanks at all—Wikipedia says nine people were killed, at least 1,000 people were forced from their homes, and the flood damage totaled over $20 million. Meteorologist John Boyer at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a detailed look through some of Gaston’s record-breaking, damage-making numbers 💸.

Yesterday, I shared a link to this David Streever piece about Bolt Scooters and talked about how I’ve taken a screenshot of the in-app map for a couple months. Here’s a gif I made of those screenshots for the last several weeks, each taken around 8:00 AM.

For someone who is not a golf person, I’m unreasonably interested in TopGolf. I think I’ve convinced myself it’s a great use of land that’s surrounded by highways, train tracks, and a weird power grid thing. I also just think it looks sweet from the highway. John Reid Blackwell at the RTD says the urban driving range will open this fall, and here’s a bizarre reddit post that’s apparently about the hiring event the company hosted.

This list of cozy bars, also from /r/rva, is basically my list of favorite places to grab a beer.

At 2:00 PM today, members of GWAR will unveil a memorial marker for lead singer Dave Brockie/Oderus Urungus in Hollywood Cemetery. Brockie died in 2014, and today marks what would have been his 56th birthday. I hope with all of my heart that the memorial looks just like what’s pictured in this tweet. On Saturday, GWARbar will host a free party and performance by RAWG, a GWAR tribute band.

Also today—and way less interesting—remember that the chairs of City Council’s Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission will host their meeting at 11:00 AM in the 2nd floor conference room of City Hall. It’s technically open to the public, but, beware, I don’t think that that particular conference room is built to hold an massive audience!

This morning's longread

I Gooped Myself

This piece does a good job walking that fine line between charming and disturbing.

Instead of questioning long-standing assumptions about women’s bodies, as Goop often claims is its goal, the company’s products embrace one of America’s oldest health myths: that physical beauty is proof not only of a person’s health but of her essential righteousness. If the outside is perfect, the inside must be too. It’s a retrograde vision of womanhood for a company that so frequently deploys the word empowerment. It’s also a clever bit of vertical integration. Some companies sell weight-loss products; others, the clothes you get to wear after you conscientiously starve yourself. Few companies sell both.

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Good morning, RVA: Back to school, a few NoBro updates, and paw paw season

Good morning, RVA: The Blues Armory, dog whistles, and scooter disappointment