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VPM Daily Newscast: August 26, 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 Thursday, August 26, 2021: 

  • With a shortage of school bus drivers in Chesterfield County and long lines of cars queuing up to drop off students, many parents are considering alternative ways to get their kids to school. Ian Stewart has more

  • The Virginia Department of Health is reinstating information on COVID-19 outbreaks in their online dashboards. VDH announced the move Wednesday, citing a rapid increase in transmission of COVID-19 across the state spurred by the Delta variant. The dashboards will now share information about outbreaks in communal settings, such as summer camps, schools, universities and assisted living facilities. The data will include all outbreaks reported to VDH since August 1st and will be updated weekly. 

  • Prison reform advocates want the public to rethink what we call people who are incarcerated. Earlier this month, a sheriff in Wisconsin said he would stop calling those in his custody “inmates.” Whittney Evans has more details about what those conversations look like in Virginia. 

  • The Richmond region has seen a 16 percent decrease in homelessness compared to January of this year. That’s according to preliminary data released by Homeward, a homeless services organization. The group says the drop was due, in part, to increased funding that helped partner agencies gain access to more resources. The survey found some of the top reasons for people to become unhoused included relationships breaking down and unemployment. Despite the drop, there was a 40 percent increase of homelessness compared to pre-pandemic numbers in July 2019. Because of the pandemic, advocates couldn’t collect this data last summer. 

  • Dominion Energy is one step closer to building a massive wind farm off Virginia’s coast. The Port of Virginia has agreed to lease part of its Portsmouth terminal to Dominion. The utility will use it as a staging area before a ship installs the turbines out at sea. There are currently two turbines spinning off Virginia Beach. Dominion plans to add another two hundred -- enough to power more than half a million homes. 

  • Regional transportation planners are asking for public input on more than 200 projects designed to enhance how residents get around in the coming decades. Called “Connect-RVA 2045,” the plan includes improvements such as dedicated bus lanes, regional connecting bike paths and intersection enhancements. Four in-person meetings with planning experts are scheduled, starting with two this week. To review the plan, go to connectrva2045.org. The Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization hopes to adopt the plan in early October. 

  • On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Richmond upheld Dylann Roof's conviction and death sentence. Earlier this year, Roof asked the court to overturn his sentence for the 2015 killings of nine parishioners at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof was 21 years old at the time. His attorneys argued the lower court ignored evidence that Roof is mentally ill, citing his delusions about white nationalism. A psychiatrist determined Roof was competent to stand trial.