Local News
in Richmond, VA

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RVA Magazine
RVA Magazine

Richmond, VA

(804) 349-5890


Richmond Free Press
Richmond Free Press

422 E Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23219   Directions

(804) 644-0496


Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond Times-Dispatch

300 E Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23219   Directions

(804) 649-6000


Style Weekly
Style Weekly

24 E 3rd St
Richmond, VA 23224   Directions

(804) 358-0825


Helping Hands
08/15/2019 5:15pm

When Kristina Melendez-Thompson posted to Facebook last Saturday afternoon, she was full of gratitude. She thanked a list of strangers, friends and first responders, and wrote that she was lucky and blessed to be alive.Melendez-Thompson survived a highway crash in her Puerto Rican food truck and walked away with only minor injuries. The vehicle itself, which rolled twice after a tire suddenly blew, was totaled, leaving its contents in disrepair. Shortly after the crash, a family friend created a GoFundMe campaign to help Melendez-Thompson rebuild the family business. As of Thursday evening, donations reached more than $6,000. Itas, a cheerful-looking truck covered in a rainbow of tropical-style flowers, could be found at events and festivals, plus breweries, business parks and farmers markets. The menu features meat and vegan empanadas, fried plantains and the vegetarian rice dish arroz con gandules.

AUDIO: Listen to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Collaboration with Eighth Blackbird
08/14/2019 9:20pm

Renowned singer and actor Will Oldham, aka Bonnie Prince Billy, University of Richmond ensemble-in-residence Eighth Blackbird and Bryce Dessner will release a collaborative album, When We Are Inhuman, on Aug. 30 via Secretly Canadian Records. For those who missed Oldham and the Grammy-winning Eighth Blackbird at VMFA in 2017, when they performed this lovely Oldham song, One with the Birds, you can hear it as the second single from the forthcoming album below. I think of Wills songs as the closest thing we have now to classic, traditional folk music, says Bryce Dessner in a press release. I imagine people will still be singing them in 300 years. The new version of One with the Birds arranged by Eighth Blackbird pianist Lisa Kaplan, is very different from the original, she notes in the press release. We used the birdcalls of all the different birds named in the song. And the extended piano intro was inspired by my friend Thomas Bartlett whom I had seen perform with The Gloaming just before making this arrangement.Style Weekly spoke to Oldham and Kaplan last time they performed together in Richmond. Kaplan, founding pianist of Eighth Blackbird, told Style that its been a pleasure performing with Oldham because he takes risks. Once recently we were rehearsing a new tune with him and I said, Is that the way you usually do it in this spot And he just said, there is no usual way. That about sums Will up.The original version:

OPINION: Risk Factor
08/13/2019 10:35am

Meet the developer tasked with pulling off the mayors Coliseum replacement. As more details of Mayor Levar Stoneys $1.5 billion Coliseum redevelopment plan are revealed, they seem to just create more questions instead of giving answers. One of the master developers responsible for overseeing the entire Navy Hill project is Concord Eastridge from Fairfax. The real estate development company is focused on academic facilities and hotels. For example, it developed the Hyatt Place hotel in Fredericksburg and the University of Mary Washington campus center. Based on the information on its website, it primarily conducts smaller projects with its largest completed project costing only $80 million. All of the listed completed projects combined cost less than $500 million. Richmonds proposed Navy Hill redevelopment plan is almost 19 times larger monetarily than any project Concord Eastridge has ever completed and more than three times larger than all of its previous projects combined. The company has never come close to building something as large and complex as this. Additionally, Concord Eastridge has had messy endings with two past projects that were bigger than what it normally does. According to Pittsburgh newspapers, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in 2006 Concord Eastridge was chosen to develop a $460 million project for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. In 2008, the trust decided to scrap the project and broke off its relationship with the development group. It originally attributed the cancellation to the mortgage crisis, but in court filings said it lost confidence in Concord Eastridge and in its willingness or ability to deliver an economically feasible development plan or to perform on terms acceptable to the Trust. Concord Eastridge countered that the trust backed out because its new head just didnt like the project. Concord Eastridge had spent $5 million on the project and it sued the trust demanding it be sold part of the development parcel and other damages totaling a value of $32 million. A six-year lawsuit ultimately ended in settlement. In 2013, Concord Eastridge worked with Michael Hallmark of Future Cities to design and build a new $450 million home for the U.S. national basketball teams on Arizona State Universitys campus in Tempe. Hallmark is the co-master developer with Concord Eastridge for Richmonds proposed Coliseum replacement.Much like the plans here in Richmond, the Tempe development was to have a hotel, office space, residential space, a conference center and an event space for basketball that was projected to bring hundreds of thousands of people annually. The Phoenix New Times and the Arizona Republic newspapers reported that a 99-year lease was signed and groundbreaking dates were set. Those groundbreaking dates came and went as Concord Eastridge and Hallmark struggled to plan and finance the project. After Concord Eastridge and Hallmark repeatedly missed deadlines and failed to make deposits they had pledged to make, Arizona State parted ways with them. The final straw seemed to be that instead of placing a $4 million deposit in a neutral escrow account, the funds were placed by a potential equity partner of Eastridge and Hallmark into an account completely controlled by the partner.Since sections of the Richmond city code and the citys request for proposal list past experiences with similar projects as an evaluation factor, it is more than appropriate to take a closer look at one of the projects main developers. The mayor and his advisors are trying to say this project has no risk. That just isnt true. It creates a tax financing district that encompasses most of downtown. That district will redirect the natural tax revenue growth from properties such as the new Dominion Energy tower, the potential second Dominion tower and several other downtown skyscrapers into a fund that will be combined with tax revenue from the project area to pay the cost of the new arena. Only after the project debt is paid and a rainy day fund for making debt payments is built up will any money be returned to the city. However, even then the city must use half of the money it gets to make extra payments on the debt. Bond holders will come first, second and third. Residents come last.Between $308 and $515 million of tax revenue over the next 30 years from the most valuable buildings in Richmond is being used as collateral to make sure the debt is paid. That means that if this project does not meet its wildly optimistic projections, then money that would otherwise go into the citys general fund for schools and roads will instead pay for the new coliseum, and one of the main developers running the whole thing has never completed a project anywhere close to this size. Sure sounds like a risk to me. Justin Griffin is a small business lawyer who lives and has his practice in Richmond. He earned his law degree from the University of Richmond and has an accounting degree with an economics minor from the University of Tennessee. He operates the websiteNoColiseum.com.Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.

Moving the Needle
08/13/2019 12:00am

Campaign for Southern Equality awards $5,000 grant to Nationz Foundation for efforts in HIV prevention and focus on transgender women of color In 2016, people thought Zakia McKensey was crazy to quit her job and start one of Richmonds first black and trans-led nonprofits. But in the past three years, the founder of Nationz Foundation has seen her mission to educate on HIV prevention and provide support to LGBTQ individuals make its mark.And so has the Campaign for Southern Equality, which provided a $5,000 grant to Nationz Aug. 7. McKensey says the grant will go toward Nationzs Aim to Inspire, a program designed to aid LGBTQ individuals experiencing housing instability.Every year, 10 of CSEs annual budget goes toward helping fund community and medical care organizations. When deliberating this years grant recipients, executive director and founder Jasmine Beach-Ferrara says Nationz was an immediate fit.Theyre really on the leading edge of creative and effective ways to help LGBTQ southerners access the health care they need, Beach-Ferrara says. The work around the mobile HIV testing unit and food pantry Thats the definition of meeting people where they are.She refers to the foundations program that provides HIV testing and food to lower-income communities in Richmond. To her, Nationz meets those intersectional needs that provide barriers to medical care.The Report of the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project states in the South home to almost 35 percent of LGBTQ Americans factors pertaining to living in rural communities and the lack of access to basic services contribute to negative health experiences.Beach-Ferrara says its a major component for why CSE pushes for training and familiarizing more providers on the fundamentals of inclusive healthcare in southern states. There are underlying circumstances that lead to facing structural barriers, she says, which include living with poverty or in a state without Medicaid expansion.This is a part of the country where discrimination continues to be enshrined in the laws, she explains, referencing HB142 in North Carolina, which bans local governments from implementing legal protections to LGBTQ individuals until 2020. That shows up in healthcare settings as well, whether it be that a practitioner will tell someone theyre not going to treat them because of religious beliefs or no, you cant get treated here.She remains hopeful because of organizations like Nationz, which she says is moving the needle in the south alongside other organizations and local doctors testing new ideas. Shes also seeing states launch their first ever LGBTQ community groups, pride festivals and support groups for LGBTQ students. Theres love in the community and CSE working closely with us and helping us build capacity and seeing us grow, she says, noting that the initial grant years ago was $250. Its like, yes. Progress.This grant allows the foundation to continue providing programs that encourage healthier lifestyle practices and raising awareness on violence against trans women of color. But what it means for McKensey personally, is simple. It means that ideas that I had werent crazy, she says.

Devastation Sounds
08/13/2019 12:00am

Heavy rock duo Big Business returns after a 14-year break from Richmond. Back in the 90s there was a band called Karp/a power trio of younguns who knew well how to rock. High school friends bullied in a town called Tumwater/ instead of becoming mass shooters, their heavy songs did the slaughter. Signed to K Records for sonic kicks/the band name stood for kill all redneck pricks.Dont worry, Im not going to continue rhyming that Northwest bands bio but a little musical background on my interview subject seems helpful.I got to see Karp play a few times in a Mexican food bar called Juanitas in Northern California. They were memorable shows led by the twin vocal barrage of guitarist Chris Slayer Smith and bassist Jared Warren, as well as room-rattling drummer Scott Jernigan. One of the bands popular live songs at the time contained the maniacal chorus: Ding Dong, Im fucking with your head/Im fucking with your head. Screamed: Ding Dong, the witch is dead.The group broke up in 1998 amid the guitarists drug problem and not long afterward, the drummer died in a tragic boating accident. But Warren, still a vital musical force onstage, has continued his hard-rock odyssey. Its taken the bassist from bands the Whip and Tight Bros From Way Back When to his current and longest-running project, the powerful duo Big Business with drummer Coady Willis from Murder City Devils. For several years, the pair also served as the explosive rhythm section for legendary heavies the Melvins, while keeping Big Business going. I took away a lot of things from that experience with the Melvins, says Warren from Los Angeles, where hes raising a family with two young ones. Maybe the most important thing was they reaffirmed for me that if possible, as much as you can, you should do things for yourself. The music industry is not what people think it is.Last April, Big Business released The Beast You Are, a full-length featuring its proglike metal riffing, stadium-sized hooks and vocals, with songs titles such as Abdominal Snowman, The Moor You Know and Complacency is Killing You and Those Around You. The music is heavy, but dont make the rookie mistake of calling it sludge. It can be ferociously fast and theres a pop underpinning.I kind of like to think of the heaviness as more of an overall devastation as opposed to a particular tone youre making, Warren says. Ive always thought of us as a heavy pop band, you know Like if Cheap Trick was a little darker laughs.Part of that influence comes from growing up in the 70s with rocker parents during the heyday of FM rock radio, he says.Cheap Trick, Credence, all that stuff was super influential, more so than a lot of metal stuff, he says, noting that he recently watched a PBS documentary that included the latter band. Credence is a heavy band. Man, they were unstoppable. I dont think people got what a force they were.Warren was late to the metal game, he says. It wasnt like I had the whole back catalog of Iron Maiden records. But I do have all the Cheap Trick records. Deep Purple was often played in my house growing up.The new album was recorded by Phil Becker at El Studio in San Francisco, an old 70s studio in an industrial area where the Melvins Ozma was made. It was the first time in a while the band could focus on its own material, Warren says. This was the first record we did real demos for on our own. Coady has gotten pretty handy with Pro Tools, so that was nice. We felt like we were more prepared going in, he says. I feel like we were more confident in the studio. Maybe more of a vision, I guess, of how we wanted it to sound.Big Business stands apart from other heavy groups by its willingness to experiment and stay challenged as musicians. Warren says it has been experimenting more with nondrum and bass instruments and would love to explore soundtrack work in the future. He does live in Los Angeles. I could see our music in a lot of movies, he says. Its a crowded game to get into. Everybody who used to be in a band and now has a family, thats the game. I know so many people who just make jingles for commercials. Nobody has asked them, they just make them in hopes of selling them.He notes that once back from this East Coast tour the band plans on probably recording another EP or something to keep our heads above water.If youre a fan of the Melvins or Karp, or any heavy band that isnt easy to pigeonhole, youll want to catch this pulverizing show. Also Big Business is scheduled to play the Desert Daze Festival in California this fall with Wu Tang Clan, Devo and Ween, though its more often on bills with heavier bands. The duo hasnt played Richmond since 2005, its last show held at Nanci Raygun, the former name for the Strange Matter space. Warren says he doesnt know quite why its been so long. I remember that show being really fun, too. Big Business performs at the Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House on Sunday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. Guests to be announced. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door.


23 Sesame St
Richmond, VA 23235   Directions

(804) 320-1301



301 Arboretum Pl
Richmond, VA 23236   Directions

(804) 330-8888


‘It’s a privilege, not a right’: Mom, son hit by truck concerned over reckless driver’s ‘light sentence’
08/19/2019 8:14pm

A Richmond mother and her son were hit by a truck in November and they say theyre still looking for justice.

Handcuffed prisoner escapes by kicking Richmond police car door open
08/19/2019 5:38pm

RPD said they are searching the Carver neighborhood for the escapee described as a light-skinned black male with short hair and a beard.

Commission underway to curb gun violence following Northam’s special session
08/19/2019 5:39pm

The bipartisan commission tasked with looking at ways to prevent gun violence in the Commonwealth is meeting this week to review legislation proposed during Gov. Ralph Northams special session.

Police: Hampton man found dead on rock in James River
08/18/2019 2:33pm

A death investigation is underway after a man was found dead on a rock in the middle of the James River.

VSP: Pilot fighting for life after Essex County plane crash identified
08/19/2019 7:00am

A pilot suffered serious injuries in an early-morning plane crash in Essex County.


1925 Westmoreland St
Richmond, VA 23230   Directions

(804) 358-3535



3301 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23230   Directions

(804) 254-3600


Richmond street art vandalized outside LGBTQ theater: “Someone purposely wanted to wreck it”
08/19/2019 9:36pm

Members of Richmonds LGBTQ community are calling for a driver to turn themselves in after the citys first street art was vandalized.

California raises standard required for use of deadly police force
08/19/2019 8:42pm

Californias Democratic governor on Monday approved one of the the strictest police deadly force measures in the country, which says officers in the state can only use lethal force if it would prevent a suspect from killing or harming the officer or another person.

Fast food companies are betting big on delivery. It might not pay off
08/19/2019 8:37pm

This is the golden age of food delivery.

Nike further expands protections for pregnant athletes after fierce backlash
08/19/2019 8:36pm

Nike is making further changes to its maternity policy for sponsored athletes after its previous rules sparked a backlash from high-profile stars.

Websites that peddle disinformation make millions of dollars in ads, new study finds
08/19/2019 8:35pm

As the United States gears up for another presidential election, aware of the role online disinformation played in 2016, the business of publishing false or extremist content online remains a lucrative one.


5710 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, VA 23225   Directions

(804) 230-1212


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