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VPM Daily Newscast: October 8, 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, October 8, 2021: 

  • As Virginia prepares to choose its next Governor, activists are calling for better environmental justice protections. Patrick Larsen reports some of the changes they want are already state law. 

  • Residents in Richmond’s Northside neighborhood are taking their grievances over traffic calming measures to the next level. A number of traffic calming ‘bump outs’ were recently removed from Brookland Park Boulevard. In a letter sent to city officials Wednesday, the group wants an investigation into the use of Capital Improvement Funds. Morgan Greer is a lawyer and lives in the Northside. He and other organization members say two city officials did not adequately inform residents of the removal. They’re asking for paperwork between 3rd District Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert and the city public works director Bobby Vincent. Lambert and Vincent have said that the bump-outs were removed to address parking issues. 

  • Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists have made an exciting discovery at the site of the original First Baptist Church. Jonah Grinkewitz, from our partner station WHRV, has more. 

  • There are indictments out against two companies for their work on a new state office building. That follows an investigation by the State Attorney General. The Richmond Times Dispatch reports 10 felony counts each against two subcontractors. The grand jury found the companies misclassified workers as ‘independent contractors’ to avoid paying state income taxes. That also meant employees could not receive workers compensation coverage. The two companies facing charges are GTO Drywall LLC and Richmond Drywall Installers Constructors Inc. Both were hired to work on the new General Assembly building. 

  • One in five Virginia nursing homes is understaffed. That’s according to a report from the state Joint Commission on Healthcare. The understaffed facilities are likely to serve a higher concentration of Medicaid recipients and people of color. The Virginia Mercury reports that state lawmakers have tried to pass minimum staffing requirements more than a dozen times. The efforts have failed because of funding concerns. In addition, industry representatives say there aren’t enough qualified professionals to fill the positions. Some legislators say minimum staffing requirements may have more support now - because so many nursing homes were hit especially hard by COVID outbreaks.