Newscast for January 2, 2019

This is the second installment of the newscast that is currently without a name. Today’s installment is brought to you by Court Square Tavern, located at the street level of the old Monticello Hotel. Court Square Tavern is a great place to show up with all your friends. And now, onto the news.

A blog known at the Bull Elephant is reporting that Senator Dick Black, a Republican who represents Loudoun County, will not seek reelection to the General Assembly. Black is a lawyer who has served in the legislature since being elected to the House of Delegates in 1998. He was elected to the Senate in 2011. All forty seats in the Senate, as well as all 100 seats in the House, are up for election this year.


No big news to report yet in races closer to Charlottesville. There will be at least intra-party contest primary as University of Virginia professor Sally Hudson announced last year she will challenge Delegate David Toscano in the Democratic Primary for the 57th House District on June 11. Toscano announced last year that the upcoming session would be his last as minority leader. This will be the second election cycle in a row where Toscano, a former Charlottesville mayor, has faced opposition in his own party. He ran unopposed in the general election and received nearly 97 percent of the vote, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.


So far there are no announced candidates in any of the other legislative races. No one has emerged to challenge Delegate Rob Bell in the 58th District nor Delegate Steve Landes in the 25th District. Both are Republicans. In the 25th District, Landes was challenged in 2015 and 2017 by Democrat Angela Lynn. Landes outspent her in both races, but Lynn managed to garner 41 percent in last year’s race, up from nearly 34 percent in 2015. No word yet on whether Lynn will try again this year.


There is still time to comment on a proposed gas compressor station in Buckingham County that is required for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board will have another hearing on the controversial Union Hill project on January 8. Until then, the public is invited to send written comments on “questions and concerns on demographics of site suitability for the proposed air compressor station” according to the notice. However, comments related to permit conditions as well as public health matters are not part of this notice period.


Much of Virginia experienced record rainfall in 2018. The Lynchburg News and Advance reports that city received 65.7 inches last year, six inches higher than the previous high set in 1972. The Roanoke Times reports that city had 62 and a half inches of rain, also a new record. Multiple flooding events caused issues such as farmers not being able to harvest their crops, roads in rural communities being washed out and a general exhaustion with a soggy climate. What will 2019 bring? Stay tuned.


Are you a city resident interested in getting in shape? The Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department is offering the chance to try out, for free, the Carver Rec Center and the Smith Aquatic Center. Free Fitness Week runs through January 8. City parks and rec are also offering discounted fitness passes during that time.

And that’s it for the newscast-without-a-name for January 2, 2019. Before we go, one small correction. Yesterday we said there were 45 days in the upcoming General Assembly session. It’s actually a 30-day short session. We apologize for the error, but note that one key factor in journalism is the ability to admit when we make mistakes – and to correct them promptly. That’s what builds trust between you, me, and everyone else. 

Join us again tomorrow for another look at happenings in local government in and around greater Charlottesville. 


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