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RVA Magazine
RVA Magazine
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(804) 349-5890

Richmond, VA

Website

Richmond Free Press
Richmond Free Press
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(804) 644-0496

422 E Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23219   Directions

Website

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond Times-Dispatch
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(804) 649-6000

300 E Franklin St
Richmond, VA 23219   Directions

Website

Style Weekly
Style Weekly
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(804) 358-0825

24 E 3rd St
Richmond, VA 23224   Directions

Website

Wild Rides
05/06/2021 3:00am

Richmond native and New York multi-instrumentalist Michael Hearst releases his fourth book and album, Unconventional Vehicles. If youve been around awhile, you might remember the eclectic Richmond musical outfit, One Ring Zero, which once put out a playful album of ice cream truck jingles, appropriately titled Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. Led by Michael Hearst, a Richmond native, multi-instrumentalist and composer, and Joshua Camp, they became National Public Radio darlings after moving to New York and serving as the house band for McSweeneys nonprofit publishing house in Brooklyn for several years, as well as performing at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of Art and Central Park SummerStage. Hearst moved to New York in the summer of 2001. Although hes having a remarkable and diverse artistic run, he says one of his first introductions to the city was his wife calling him out of breath, frantically saying she had just seen an airplane crash into the World Trade Center. Now two decades later, the city has been one of the hardest hit of the pandemic. I feel like the last year has been a very slow 9-11, Hearst says. But my family was very lucky. In April, when things got insane, we stayed in Connecticut for four months in my aunt and uncles beautiful house in the woods. Having a 7-year-old, he was grateful to get away from the hellish scenes and constant sounds of sirens plus he got a lot of writing done. Another of One Ring Zeros better-known albums is As Smart as We Are, which features Hearsts author friends such as Dave Eggers, The Handmaids Tale author Margaret Atwood, Denis Johnson, Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Lethem writing lyrics by request that Hearst and his partner set to music. Hearst has also toured as the opener for his friend, the heralded songwriter Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, performed the music of Terry Riley alongside Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass, and written a tribute to the music of Pee Wees Playhouse for the Kronos Quartet. Indeed, he has an impressively talented group of artist friends in New York, mostly writers and musicians. So it seemed natural that Hearst would begin writing books, too especially after so many parents bought his ice cream truck album for their toddlers. That made him want to write a real kids record and book, he says. I enjoy switching up and not getting bored with any one thing I just say yes to everything, Hearst says, noting that he was inspired to write books after becoming friends with so many of Brooklyns great writers through the McSweeneys connection. I had an inside connection to get my writing published, but being friends with so many writers was hugely inspiring.He convinced Chronicle Books, a San Francisco publisher, to include an instrumental album to accompany his first book, Unconventional Creatures, an illustrated compendium of strange creatures that kids loved. It would be the start of his Uncommon Compendiums series, which he calls almanacs of oddities. I also grew up really loving Peter and the Wolf and Saint-Sans Carnival of the Animals and I collect weird instruments, so I thought I should do an album inspired by weird animals using my weirdest instruments. It all snowballed from there.On May 18, he releases his fourth and likely final - book and album in that series, Unconventional Vehicles: Forty-Five of the Strangest Cars, Trains, Planes, Submersibles, Dirigibles, and Rockets Ever, illustrated by Hans Jenssen, a Dutch-Norwegian illustrator from the United Kingdom, who Hearst discovered from his impressive technical Star Wars drawings.The new book, a Junior Library Guild selection, features such amazing vehicles as underwater battery-powered scooters, solar-powered racecars, pizza delivery drones and a hot-air balloon shaped like the St. Gallen Cathedral. One of his favorites, Hearst says, is the Turtle, pictured on the cover, an underwater barrel that was the first submersible used during the Revolutionary War. A brave guy got inside, launched it into the East River and pedaled underwater while trying to crank explosives into the hull of British warships, he says. It was conceived well enough that George Washington approved it, Hearst says, laughing. The books accompanying album has 47 miniature songs Im obsessed with brief things, Hearst says varying between 17 seconds and 2.5 minutes, one for each entry. It includes guest vocalists and musicians such as Tanya Donnelly, Neil Gaiman, Bill Janovitz and Syd Straw, who sings to music from Richmonds own Stephen McCarthy of the Long Ryders and Jayhawks fame.McCarthy first met Hearst 25 years ago at a recording session in Richmond and was asked, during the peak of the pandemic, to play on the song that Straw would be singing, OneWheel Electric Rideable, about a one-wheel scooter that appears to be both retro and futuristic. I have been friends with Syd for a long time and love her voice and whimsical avant style, McCarthy tells Style by email, noting that hes playing a 1965 Guild 12-string through an analog delay and using a glockenspiel on the tune. And I really appreciate Michaels sense of wonder and also that he writes music that sounds as if it couldve been created out of a 19th-century toy museum in Prague. The combination of Hearsts music with Hans Jenssens Jules Verne-meets-Steampunk imagery makes for a charming and educational book, he adds. Hes right. Its the kind of fun, informative kids book you often see in museum bookstores. When not making books or albums, Hearst also does film scores. A few years ago, he gave the commencement address at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a degree in music composition in the mid-1990s and studied under the legendary Dika Newlin. She was my mentor, I loved her dearly, but she was such a strange bird. I feel like Im a second-generation Schoenberg because of her, which is cool. As a personality, she was a big influence, not so much her music, which was terrible. The thing that I got from her more than anything was thinking outside the box. She was a punk rocker at 75, she was incredibly supportive whereas other teachers were not. Over the years, Hearst has never stopped coming back to visit his hometown of Richmond and how could he not His sister, Alex Graf, is a co-owner of ZZQ Texas Craft Barbecue in Scotts Addition and also makes the best potato salad in town. Cmon that tractor beam is real. Depending on how things go, Hearst says he may be doing a few events over the summer, including in Richmond, which will always be home. Hell just have to figure out an interesting way to get here. There will be an afternoon release concert in Prospect Park in New York on May 15 from 3 to 4 p.m. with a livestream, and a free online program at New York Transit Museum on May 22 from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Visit michaelhearst.com for details.

Week of May 5
05/05/2021 3:00am

ARIES March 21-April 19 Created by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, the Mona Lisa is one of the worlds most famous paintings. Its hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris. In that same museum is a less renowned version of the Mona Lisa. It depicts the same woman, but shes unclothed. Made by da Vincis student, it was probably inspired by a now-lost nude Mona Lisa painted by the master himself. Renaissance artists commonly created heavenly and vulgar versions of the same subject. I suggest that in the coming weeks you opt for the vulgar Mona Lisa, not the heavenly one, as your metaphor of power. Favor whats earthy, raw, and unadorned over whats spectacular, idealized, and polished.TAURUS April 20-May 20Taurus poet Vera Pavlova writes, Why is the word yes so brief It should be the longest, the hardest, so that you could not decide in an instant to say it, so that upon reflection you could stop in the middle of saying it. I suppose it makes sense for her to express such an attitude, given the fact that she never had a happy experience until she was 20 years old, and that furthermore, this happiness was unbearable. She confessed these sad truths in an interview. But I hope you wont adopt her hard-edged skepticism toward YES anytime soon, Taurus. In my view, its time for you to become a connoisseur of YES, a brave explorer of the bright mysteries of YES, an exuberant perpetrator of YES.GEMINI May 21-June 20In indigenous cultures from West Africa to Finland to China, folklore describes foxes as crafty tricksters with magical powers. Sometimes theyre thought of as perpetrators of pranks, but more often they are considered helpful messengers or intelligent allies. I propose that you regard the fox as your spirit creature for the foreseeable future. I think you will benefit from the influence of your inner foxthe wild part of you that is ingenious, cunning, and resourceful.CANCER June 21-July 22 The universe conspires in your favor, writes author Neale Donald Welsch. It consistently places before you the right and perfect people, circumstances, and situations with which to answer lifes only question: Who are you In my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, I say much the same thing, although I mention two further questions that life regularly asks, which are: 1. What can you do next to liberate yourself from some of your suffering 2. What can you do next to reduce the suffering of others, even by a little As you enter a phase when youll get ample cosmic help in diminishing suffering and defining who you are, I hope you meditate on these questions every day.LEO July 23-Aug. 22The poet Anne Sexton wrote a letter to a Benedictine monk whose real identity she kept secret from the rest of us. She told him, There are a few great souls in my life. They are not many. They are few. You are one. In this spirit, Leo, and in accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to take an inventory of the great souls in your life: the people you admire and respect and learn from and feel grateful for people with high integrity and noble intentions people who are generous with their precious gifts. When youve compiled your list, I encourage you to do as Sexton did: Express your appreciation perhaps even send no-strings-attached gifts. Doing these things will have a profoundly healing effect on you.VIRGO Aug. 23-Sept. 22Its a temptation for any intelligent person to try to murder the primitive, emotive, appetitive self, writes author Donna Tartt. But that is a mistake. Because it is dangerous to ignore the existence of the irrational. Im sending this message out to you, Virgo, because in the coming weeks it will be crucial for you to honor the parts of your life that cant be managed through rational thought alone. I suggest you have sacred fun as you exult in the mysterious, welcome the numinous, explore the wildness within you, unrepress big feelings youve buried, and marvel adoringly about your deepest yearnings.LIBRA Sept. 23-Oct. 22Science writer Sharman Apt Russell provides counsel that I think you should consider adopting in the coming days. The psychospiritual healing you require probably wont be available through the normal means, so some version of her proposal may be useful: We may need to be cured by flowers. We may need to strip naked and let the petals fall on our shoulders, down our bellies, against our thighs. We may need to lie naked in fields of wildflowers. We may need to walk naked through beauty. We may need to walk naked through color. We may need to walk naked through scent.SCORPIO Oct. 23-Nov. 21As Scorpio author Margaret Atwood reminds us, Water is not a solid wall it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. According to my reading of the astrological omens, being like water will be an excellent strategy for you to embrace during the coming weeks. Water is patient, Atwood continues. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember you are half water. If you cant go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.SAGITTARIUS Nov. 22-Dec. 21In a letter to a friend in 1856, Sagittarian poet Emily Dickinson confessed she was feeling discombobulated because of a recent move to a new home. She hoped she would soon regain her bearings. I am out with lanterns, looking for myself, she quipped, adding that she couldnt help laughing at her disorientation. She signed the letter From your mad Emilie, intentionally misspelling her own name. Id love it if you approached your current doubt and uncertainty with a similar light-heartedness and poise. PS: Soon after writing this letter, Dickinson began her career as a poet in earnest, reading extensively and finishing an average of one poem every day for many years.CAPRICORN Dec. 22-Jan. 19Now is a favorable time to celebrate both lifes changeableness and your own. The way we are all constantly called on to adjust to unceasing transformations can sometimes be a wearying chore, but I suspect it could be at least interesting and possibly even exhilarating for you in the coming weeks. For inspiration, study this message from the Welcome to Night Vale podcast: You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you arent that person anymore.AQUARIUS Jan. 20-Feb. 18Aquarian author Toni Morrison described two varieties of loneliness. The first is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up holding, holding on, this motion smooths and contains the rocker. The second is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own. Neither kind is better or worse, of course, and both are sometimes necessary as a strategy for self-renewalas a means for deepening and fine-tuning ones relationship with oneself. I recommend either or both for you in the coming weeks.PISCES Feb. 19-March 20Englands Prince Charles requires his valet to iron his shoelaces and put toothpaste on his toothbrush and wash all of his clothes by hand. I could conceivably interpret the current astrological omens to mean that you should pursue similar behavior in the coming weeks. I could, but I wont. Instead, I will suggest that you solicit help about truly important matters, not meaningless trivia like shoelace ironing. For example, I urge you to ask for the support you need as you build bridges, seek harmony, and make interesting connections.

Hearing the Call
05/04/2021 12:00am

Menuhin Competition guest artist Regina Carter discusses the Olympics for young violinists, held this year in Richmond. Premier jazz violinist Regina Carter is a perfect and unconventional guest artist at the classical Menuhin Competition. Founded by the late Yehudi Menuhin, a virtuoso whose career spanned the 20th century, the event attracts the cream of young classical players from all over the world. The Richmond-based, if mostly virtual event, pandemic-delayed from May 2020, is only the second time the biannual event has occurred in this country. It climaxes in a series of ticketed showcases and free online performances from May 14-23.Its like watching the Olympics, Carter says. They are young, but they play at such a high level. A lot of musicians dont have a normal childhood. They spend so much of their lives practicing and listening. Not just for this, but to have a career. It is a calling, not a choice.Carter understands the challenges and sacrifices. She was a prodigy who started playing piano at 2 and the violin at 4. Over time, she realized her gifts were more aligned to the high-wire improvisational freedom of jazz rather than the nerve-wracking perfectionism of the conservatory. Still, she respects the artistic validity of both paths. Carters meeting with Menuhin, as a young student in a master class, was life changing.My teacher said that I would ruin my career by playing jazz, Carter recalls. Menuhin said, Leave her alone. He picked up a violin and played a jazz riff on it. From then on, he was my man. That was huge for me.Menuhins gentle, accepting approach now informs Carters teaching of young musicians as a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music. And its one that applies equally to the man to whom the concert is dedicated, Richmond artist and educator Joe Kennedy Jr. Playing jazz did not ruin Carters career. Shes traveled worldwide, been a leader or player on more than 100 recordings, been nominated for Grammys, and won a McArthur genius award. Her genre-spanning work includes playing as a soloist with a symphony, notably one of the few musicians permitted to play a famous violin known as the Cannon, made in 1743 and once belonging to 19th-century virtuoso Nicolo Paganini. That instrument is such a world treasure that armed bodyguards always flank it. The divide between following a score and in-the-moment invention is a relatively modern development. The funny thing is that back in the baroque days, musicians improvised, Carter says. The archetypical classical composers Bach, Mozart, Beethoven also were renowned for extemporaneous playing. Composed works included cadenzas as blank spaces for virtuosic expression. But over time, even those fluid sections froze into notation. But music transcends conventions. Its all a gift, where we all connect, Carter says. Its where people find their voids and their commonalities. There are so many genres, so much culture. Music is a vehicle for life-altering moments.So how does the competition work The 2021 Menuhin challenge includes improvising a Mozart cadenza and playing a late 20th-century Astor Piazzolla Nuevo Tango composition and a self-chosen chamber piece. In preliminary rounds, a field of more than 300 aspirants narrowed to 44 first-round competitors from 18 countries, and for the Richmond event, to 10 junior competitors 15 and younger as well as nine senior semifinalists who are 22 and younger. There are ticketed opening celebrations with the Richmond Symphony on May 14 and 15. Junior semifinals stream on May 15 and seniors on May 16. Both finals are Friday, May 21. There are other performances through the week, including performances by fiddlers Mark and Maggie OConnor, the diversity-championing Sphinx ensemble, a master class, and the set from Regina Carters band.My husband and drummer and ex-Virginia Commonwealth University jazz studies major Alvester Garnett is also an audiophile, Carter says. He set up a studio in our living room and recorded it with Chris Lightcap bass and Martin Sewell guitar. We were looking forward to coming to Richmond and hope to get the opportunity soon. But it has been a weird year.But, Carter suggests, also a necessary one.It was horrible, with everything shut down. But it also forced us to sit down and look at ourselves. I thought I wanted to always be on the road. If I had a week off, I was nuts. I didnt know how to be still, she explains. Music is a tool for healing. It is like being dropped in a forest, and it doesnt matter which path you choose. Its the right path, no matter what detours you take or where you stop along the way. We are all on a journey, and there is a whole, beautiful world of using music.

Elephants on a Wire
05/04/2021 12:00am

A crowded field of Republican gubernatorial candidates embraces ranked voting in a battle for the soul of their party. The birthplace of the newly reconstituted Republican Party of Virginia could well be at Prince George Family BBQ, a quaint yellow and red icon of Southern roadside cuisine in the tiny town of Disputanta.Were supposed to be the party of electoral integrity, says Glenn Youngkin, a tall, former college basketball player. The former boss of a world-class private equity company, the Carlyle Group in Washington, is charging up his audience, 20 or so mostly white, middle-aged and older people.Youngkin wants to be the first Republican governor in the state since 2013. Its an uphill battle as the state GOP has been in serious disarray for years. Virginia voters went for Obama, Clinton and Biden in the last presidential elections. Democrats control the levers of power in the state.The Republican Party, once the symbol of reliability and fiscal responsibility, has melted into a messy civil war. Proponents of older forms of conservatism clash with the new Trumpian strain of populism and nationalism displayed by Amanda Chase, the flamboyant, gun-toting state senator from Chesterfield County who also wants to be governor.But if Republicans want to charge in and rescue the state, they are getting off to a strange start.On May 8, the state GOP must choose a gubernatorial nominee along with other statewide office candidates. Instead of the usual, one-delegate, one-vote primary, it is holding a newfangled and highly complex unassembled convention that is deploying a new form of ranked balloting to make choices.Besides Youngkin and Chase, other GOP gubernatorial candidates include former Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, businessman Pete Snyder, retired Army Col. Sergio de la Pena, former Roanoke Sheriff Octavia L. Johnson and security consultant Peter Doran. Democrats will have a traditional primary June 8.At the GOP convention, thousands of delegates will convene at polling spots around the state. They will drop off their ballots that have the names of 17 candidates, including those for lieutenant governor and attorney general. They will do so by ranking their choices.This odd method means that theoretically, candidates might get a check mark without any thought to whom is number two, three or four. Bob Holsworth, a political analyst in Richmond, says that depending how the votes are going to be tallied, some candidates could end up with one-tenth of a vote or even one-twenty-fifth.Or some ballots may not rank everybody, adds Holsworth, who says the system is confusing. Steve Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, agrees, saying, its very complicated. This is not a way to unify the party.Candidates themselves are wary and dissatisfied with the new system. Candidates Chase, Cox and Youngkin wrote state GOP Chairman Rich Anderson with their concerns. At Prince George Family BBQ, Youngkin said that the issues had been resolved but he did not explain how.Cox has been running videos on television asking delegates to be savvy on how they handle voting for him.In the video, Cox said:Look, I understand that I may not be everyones first choice. If I am not your first choice, Id really like putting me down as your second. According to the new calculus, that somehow improves his chances.It hasnt been the only rough pull for the state GOP leadership. Recently, officials stumbled badly by deciding that delegates could not vote on a day other than Saturday, May 8, because of ones religious view. That angered groups like Jews, Muslims and some Protestant sects. The rule was quickly changed and voting on Friday, May 7, will be allowed.The strange new election method seems especially odd since former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters claimed falsely that Joe Bidens electoral victory was fixed.Coronavirus-related relaxations such as broadening voter mail-ins supposedly led to widespread voter fraud.The fervor has been so agitated that some states, including Georgia, have passed laws that make it harder for people to vote.Virginias Democratically controlled General Assembly has passed a law that broadens voting rights. But as it goes one way, the state GOP goes another not with a crackdown on voting rights, but with a new convention plan that few truly understand.So why did it go down this route Some claim that Republicans have always been fearful of traditional primaries because in Virginia one doesnt have to belong to a particular party to vote in a primary. That could mean that Democrats could have an unfair advantage in some areas.The other reason is to block Amanda Chase. The state senator from Chesterfield County has been pushing over-the-top antics, such as wearing a revolver in the legislature. Her populist panache has benefitted her in polls.A recent poll by Christopher Newport University places Chase at the top with 17 percent with Kirk Cox following with 10 percent. Most polled were undecided.Chases shenanigans have been broadcast nationally and that has some Republicans, who havent held the three statewide offices since 2013, feeling skittish about the states image.Add to that Virginia is getting bluer. It voted for Obama, Clinton and Biden a remarkable change for a state that was once the most conservative in the South.Although he draws strong support from some Virginians, Trump was largely ignored by many Republicans. A Chase victory would keep Trumpism alive. Chase would be deeply problematic for them, Farnsworth says. In a recent example, Chase announced she was sick when a Minneapolis jury convicted police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by choking him while handcuffed. The slaying touched off national protests, including many in Richmond.Cox is a safer, known entity who flashes back to days when Republicans were seen as reliable, responsible conservatives with a bent towards helping Big Business. They typically followed a steady career track work at the party, service as a local or state legislator, or a stint as a commonwealths attorney.A shining example of the old-style Republicanism was Eric Cantor, a well-mannered and well-heeled scion of a respected Richmond family who was ousted by Dave Brat with tea party help.Candidates Johnson, de la Pena and Duran dont appear to have much name recognition. But what about Youngkin and SnyderThey are quite similar in that they worked their way to considerable wealth and have spent much of their lives in Northern Virginia although Youngkin grew up in Richmonds Bon Air neighborhood and Virginia Beach.Snyder made millions in social media and by being an angel investor. According to WRIC-TV, he has raised more than $6.8 million and he and his wife, Burson, have contributed $5.1 million. Youngkin, whose net worth is listed as more than $300 million, has raised $7.6 million and has tapped $5.5 million of his own money.The two men have unleashed a series of tough television ads accusing the other of not being conservative enough. That leads analyst Holsworth to note that the complex unassembled convention could be a big help for them. They are going to hire mathematicians to tell people how to vote, he says. They are appealing to the lowest part of the party. This is a battle for the Trump base.

OPINION: Loaded Dice
05/04/2021 12:00am

Lets not gamble with Richmonds future by lining the pockets of casino investors. Atlantic Citys Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino became a pile of dust and rubble in February when a demolition crew dynamited what promoters had called a premier gaming destination. When the dust settled from the 39-story building, the waterfront scar capped a pandemic year in which tens of thousands of casino workers had lost their jobs there. Meanwhile, casino operators were already planning their next East Coast target where the house would always win.The very same month, Richmond officials were preparing to unload on the public their own plans to turn the city into a resort casino destination. Our historic River City home an epicenter of folk, film and cultural festivals, a rich and varied restaurant community, and the beautiful James River Park System would invite roulette wheels, blackjack tables and dizzying slot machines to lure in another type of tourist, they suggested.U.S. city and state governments in recent years have been increasingly captivated by the idea that casino gambling will rescue faltering economies and garner millions in tax revenues that can then be used to shore up schools and public finances. At least thats the spin dealt to legislators and officials by gambling lobbyists and promoters. Our own officials have seemingly been taken in by these high-roller sales pitches. In recent virtual meetings in which a team from Richmonds Department of Economic Development outlined the casino proposals for the public, they encouraged residents not to look at articles that focus on the negative impacts of casinos on communities such as The Atlantics How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts. Instead, they pointed the public to the arguably biased study, funded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Richmonds planners have chosen to overlook a plethora of academic studies that reveal the real cost of working with casinos for city or state revenues. Casinos are not a benign business model. They are designed to separate people from their money and all too often prey on the vulnerable. While casino owners and promoters suggest this is a harmless form of entertainment, their profit only comes from peoples losses. In 2016, Americans lost $117 billion in state-sanctioned gambling.Economist Earl Grinols, the author of Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits, presented evidence to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1994 that pathological and problem gamblers, about 4 of the adult population, may account for as much as 52 of an average casinos revenues. Grinols likened this to alcohol, for which 6.7 of the population consumes 50 of all alcohol consumed.And theres the associated crime, which Scott Fisher, the New Orleans-based casino consultant hired by the city, claimed was no issue during the March 23 virtual meeting. Ive not heard a single police chief from anywhere in the country tell me that its been bad for them, Fisher said. He even suggested that a casino might lessen crime.Yet Grinols, who conducted a 20-year study on the effect of casinos and crime, found that the presence of casinos increased serious crimes including rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. The study, by Grinols and David Mustard, was published in February 2006 in the Review of Economics and Statistics from Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology using a swath of data from every county in the U.S. Our Economic Development Authority touts Richmond as one of the great cities of America in which to live, highlighting accolades weve received on our history, outdoor lifestyle, nightlife, food, and cost-of-living advantages. creative workspaces, coffee houses, restaurants and micro-breweries enliven neighborhoods flourishing with music festivals, arts exhibitions and sporting events. The heart of our community is at stake.This isnt the first time Richmonders have faced down this threat. In the 1990s, more than a dozen casino companies pushed for riverboat gambling here and spent millions on direct and indirect lobbying throughout the state, along with newspaper and television ads. But thousands of citizens, armed with the facts, mobilized at the grassroots level against the casinos, PBSs Frontline reported. When the smoke cleared, the gambling bill was crushed in the committee.Richmond is at a special moment in its history with a chance to remake itself into something better than it has been. Our elected officials should focus on changes that will create a more socially responsible community and not line the pockets of casino investors and bring more hardship onto those who can least afford it. We dont need more crime, and we dont need more people struggling to pay their bills. Lets find jobs through attracting productive, economically empowering businesses and companies that will lift our community and allow people to better themselves. This is our house. Lets not leave Richmonds future to be determined by a roll of loaded dice. Robin Martinis a former local newspaper food and features writer. She returned to Richmond in 2007 after working internationally for more than a decade, writing for a nonprofit organization.Find her on Twitter: highlandsgirl.Opinions on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those ofStyle Weekly.

WCVE-TV
WCVE-TV
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(804) 320-1301

23 Sesame St
Richmond, VA 23235   Directions

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WRIC-TV
WRIC-TV
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(804) 330-8888

301 Arboretum Pl
Richmond, VA 23236   Directions

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Mad dash for Mother's Day restaurant reservations as an industry rebounds
05/06/2021 8:54pm

Local restaurants prepare for increased reservations before Mothers Day, as many anticipate safe returns to normal operations.

Beloved Richmond soccer coach dies, saves 5 lives through organ donation
05/06/2021 7:11pm

Community members are remembering a beloved soccer coach and mentor who unexpectedly passed away late last month.

Who's running for Virginia attorney general? Meet the 6 candidates vying for the office
05/06/2021 5:24pm

Four Republicans and two Democrats are running for Virginia attorney general, a much smaller field than in this years other statewide elections but still a diverse group of candidates highlighting the nuances within the two parties.

Soul of RVA: A peek inside the new 'Dirty South' exhibit coming to the VMFA
05/06/2021 5:19pm

Slated to open in late May, The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, travels through time and history to explore how the African American South has shaped America today.

Herring and Jones clash over police reform, blackface apology in attorney general debate ahead of primary
05/06/2021 7:22pm

The two Democrats in the Virginia attorney generals race met on the debate stage for the first time Wednesday, each taking swings at the others record while sparring over criminal justice and police reform ahead of the primary.

WRLH-TV
WRLH-TV
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(804) 358-3535

1925 Westmoreland St
Richmond, VA 23230   Directions

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WTVR-TV
WTVR-TV
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(804) 254-3600

3301 W Broad St
Richmond, VA 23230   Directions

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WWBT
WWBT
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(804) 230-1212

5710 Midlothian Turnpike
Richmond, VA 23225   Directions

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