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VPM Daily Newscast: September 1, 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 Wednesday, September 1, 2021: 

  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has granted a posthumous pardon to seven Black men executed in 1951. The so-called Martinsville Seven were convicted of raping a white women in a case that drew national attention. Ben Paviour has more. 

  • Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner signed onto a letter, urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide more mental health resources to military members who served in Afghanistan.  The letter asks the VA to do more outreach to make sure veterans take advantage of counseling programs.  This comes as recent reports have found that the number of calls to veterans’ suicide prevention hotlines have increased since the Taliban took over Kabul. If you or someone you know needs help, the VA's Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255 and then press 1

  • Richmond Public School teachers are getting ready for another stressful year. To help them prepare, a local nonprofit is offering free mindfulness meditation sessions. VPM’s Megan Pauly reports. 

  • Virginia’s high court issued an order in the ongoing case of a Loudoun County teacher who was suspended for saying he disagreed with a proposed policy on gender pronouns. The state’s Supreme Court agreed with a lower court ruling that Leesburg Elementary School gym teacher Tanner Cross should be reinstated. At a school board meeting in May, Cross said he would not use transgender students’ preferred pronouns because it’s against his religion. Loudoun County Public Schools appealed to Virginia’s Supreme Court saying Cross’ comments made some students fear returning to school. The school board later approved a policy allowing students to use their preferred pronouns. The new policy was adopted in response to a recent state law. 

  • The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are opening four community hubs this week to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. They’re located in Richmond’s downtown and southside, as well as in eastern and western Henrico. Health officials say these hubs will operate weekly at the same locations and times. For more details, head to vax.rchd.com. 

  • GRTC will institute service updates on some of its express and local routes beginning September 12th. In announcing the updates, GRTC said that ridership has returned to pre-pandemic levels. So, riders should expect fuller buses, especially during peak commute times. The transportation system’s CEO Julie Timm said they are “aggressively recruiting and hiring new staff to help us improve the reliability of our schedules.” GRTC will remain free, and all riders are required to wear face masks, even if vaccinated. More details on individual route changes can be found at RideGRTC.com.