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VPM Daily Newscast: July 16, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.           

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, July 16, 2021: 

  • U.S. congressional races are more than a year away, but as Whittney Evans reports, Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger is already facing a challenge from the right. 

  • Despite many businesses being shuttered due to the pandemic, Virginia ended its fiscal year with a large surplus. The state took in almost $2 point 6 billion dollars more in tax revenue than it had forecasted in the state budget, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. Most of the surplus came from income taxes paid by self-employed professionals. In a statement, Governor Ralph Northam said, “We have effectively managed Virginia’s finances through the pandemic, and now we are seeing the results.” Once the surplus is certified, about half of it will be deposited in what’s known as the rainy-day fund. 

  • On Thursday, students, scientists, citizens and more across Virginia took part in the country’s largest-ever heat mapping project. The Science Museum - which did a similar study in 2017 - is working with schools to study how extreme heat affects different parts of the city in different ways. Sarah Page Steffens is a University of Richmond student helping to lead the study. Steffens identified 12 driving routes around the city where volunteers collected temperature data morning, afternoon and night. She hopes the data will be used in the public sphere - to determine where extreme heat mitigation tools, like tree cover, should be used. 

  • Black Pride RVA returns for its fourth year running with a series of events this weekend. On Saturday afternoon the Trinity Family Life Center will host local Black and LGBTQ-owned businesses, food trucks and performances from artists including Sam Reed and Teraj. Lacette Cross co-founded the group Us Giving Richmond Connections, which hosts the event. She says health equity is their ultimate goal. Health services available at Black Pride RVA include COVID-19 vaccinations and HIV testing. Festivities throughout the weekend include a black-tie awards program, a block party and a cookout at Bryan Park. More information is available at blackpriderva.com

  • Internal emails from the support force of the Virginia National Guard are up for sale on the dark web. The Guard’s investigating the breach and what it may mean for the branch going forward. From partner station WHRV, Ryan Murphy reports.