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VPM Daily Newscast: November 17, 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, November 17, 2021: 

  • A judge has ordered the Virginia State Police troopers who fatally shot Xzavier Hill to answer most of the questions his mother submitted to the court about the night he died. Hill was 18-years-old when Benjamin Bone and Seth Layton shot and killed him during a traffic stop in January. A grand jury ruled his death was justified, but Latoya Benton, Hill’s mother, plans to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. While she’s happy the judge approved most of her questions, Benton said some are being excluded, specifically on what happened after her son was shot. The troopers’ responses to Benton’s questions will be written. Once she has that information, Benton’s petition says she can decide whether to move forward with her lawsuit. 

  • Attorneys representing the nine Charlottesville residents who sued Unite the Right rally organizers have rested their case. As Whittney Evans reports, the white nationalists who planned the rally began laying out their argument yesterday.  

  • Three years overdue, the City of Charlottesville officially has a new comprehensive plan. The city council unanimously approved it this week, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow. The document serves as a vision or outline for what the community would like to see in the city.  The state requires the localities to update these plans every five years, and the city has been running on its 2013 plan in the interim.  The new plan is heavily focused on equity, aimed at ensuring all residents have access to housing, transportation, healthy food, and varied employment options. 

  • Two proposed magisterial maps in Chesterfield County are drawing criticism from the local NAACP and the county's democratic committee. The objections come ahead of a Board of Supervisors vote today. Both organizations say the maps are packing people of color into the Dale district, which is currently represented by the only Democrat on the board. Some residents are backing an alternative map drawn by Traci Franssen. She says her proposal, called “Citizens Fair Map,” seeks to balance all five districts based on population. The Board of Supervisors meeting starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It will be streamed on the county’s website and YouTube channel. 

  • Getting a rapid COVID-19 antigen test is now as easy as picking up a library book. The Virginia Department of Health has launched a pilot program with 18 libraries and library systems to distribute at-home test kits. The rapid COVID-19 antigen tests are free and will be available through the end of the year. Health officials say the hope is to increase access to testing in rural and under-resourced communities. Participating sites in our area include Chesterfield County Public Libraries and Williamsburg Regional Library. 

  • The Fall Line Trail will likely receive a financial boost.  The Central Virginia Transportation Authority is expected to earmark about $108 million for the trail at their meeting next month, according to Richmond BizSense.  The planned 43-mile trail will connect Petersburg to Ashland. The total cost for the trail is expected to be about $243 million. The transportation authority plans to ask the General Assembly to cover the gap in funding. If approved, supporters hope to have the trail fully opened within 10 years.