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

Good morning, RVA: Ripple, ballet, and the Mercury

Good morning, RVA! It's 66 °F, and it’s hot again. Expect highs near 90 °F, maybe a slight cooldown tomorrow, and then more warmer weather over the weekend. Will it ever rain again? No one knows!

Water cooler

For the last couple of years, the James River Association and Art on Wheels (the cubey, guerrilla bus-stop bench folks!) have worked with the Department of Public Utilities to paint stormwater drains in an effort to raise awareness of river pollution. You’ve probably seen these painted drains scattered around the city, and they do a nice job of making what’s basically a sewer drain into something interesting to look at—while also reminding you not to throw your garbage into the river. This year they’re working with Richmond Public Libraries to paint Ripple the Library Otter (you knew we had a library mascot and that it was an otter, right?) on seven drains at three libraries. You can see the design and exact locations in this PDF. The Public Art Commission will consider this plan at their meeting today, 4:30 PM, in the 5th Floor Conference Room of City Hall.

Ali Rockett at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says that Richmond Ballet’s Maggie Small and Fernando Sabino will both retire—Small this weekend and Sabino this coming spring. Back when I helped run an online news magazine, one of our favorite things in town to cover was the Richmond Ballet, especially Small and Sabino. Along with VCU basketball, the Ballet is one of the region’s best cultural exports—two things that punch above their weight and shake off those small-town vibes. Don’t get me wrong: Small-town vibes are great, and are part of the reason we all live here, but, dang, when you see a thing that’s Objectively Really Good, that’s something else. So, if you’re like, “I thought ballet was about sugar plum fairies and loud, unhappy children at the Carpenter Theatre,” I want to suggest that you check out some of the Studio Series performances. They are usually beautiful and amazing in a way that’s hard to describe, and you will not be disappointed. Tickets are available for Studio One (November 5th–10th), if you can swing the cost.

The Virginia Mercury’s Jeff Raines has an interesting story about Virginia’s coal country turning to rock climbing to bring in that tourism cash. Is that realistic? I have no idea, but folks out there are motivated to do something: The article quotes a recent Weldon Cooper study that says the region will lose 13% of their population by 2040. Yikes.

Speaking of the Virginia Mercury, they’ve snagged another reporter from the RTD. Graham Moomaw, who currently covers Virginia politics for the paper and keeps us all informed during the General Assembly sessions, will start at the Mercury on October 8th. Don’t worry, he says he’ll still cover the Virginia statehouse, which, whew. That a nonprofit news organization continues to grow and hire talented reporters is great news for all of us. Now, I’m excited to see who will end up taking Moomaw’s place at the RTD.

Marc Cheatham at the Cheats Movement reminds me that the Beyond Containment Dialogue Series kicks off this Friday from 2:00–5:00 PM at VUU’s Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center. I’ll let Marc give you the details: “Beyond Containment is a project out of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office that explores the root causes of criminal activity. In an attempt to further this discussion, they are pulling together policymakers, elected officials, community members, basically, anyone who wants to participate to be apart of the dialogue.” Check out the full report and an interview with the previous Commonwealth’s Attorney over on the aforelinked Cheats Movement page.

Reminder: That super legit panel on eviction is tonight at 5:00 PM. This is a great opportunity to hear incredibly smart people talk about an incredibly pressing problem for the region.

This morning's longread

What I Learned in a Year of Weeknight Cooking

This article, which made me aware of the Five Weeknight Dishes email, gives me hope.

I don’t believe in meal planning, and I think it’s kind of mean to suggest that people do it,” she said. “I think it takes a certain kind of super-organized person.” Ms. Perry is far from alone in loathing meal planning (too regimented, too unlikely to yield something you might actually want to eat that night). And I’ve become convinced, despite all the meal-planning literature on the internet and in cookbooks, that it’s too difficult to manage and not really how most people put dinner on the table: The plan falls apart by Thursday, if you even last that long. Disciplined, long-term, die-hard meal planners must exist out there, but I’m not sure I know any of them personally. I think it’s far saner to loosely pick a few recipes for the week ahead, shop accordingly and keep your pantry stocked as a backup. Inevitably you will not make at least one of those recipes, and that is no big deal; just be sure to find a way to use up or freeze anything perishable.

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Good morning, RVA: Rumors of War, a history of bricks, and a packed Saturday

Good morning, RVA: FIVE NoBro updates, electric school buses, and impeachment