Hello neighbors – I hope you are staying well and enjoying summer. In lieu of an in-person WHNA meeting, below are brief updates from City Council, House of Delegates, School Board, and WHNA.
We typically don’t have a WHNA August meeting, but we will continue to keep you up-to-date by email and social media.
I hope to see you soon! Take care,
4th District Richmond City Council: Kristen Larson
- Please subscribe to my e-newsletter if you would like to receive more regular updates – send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list.
- This is an update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent-James River Park System: JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30th 1,076,873 people have visited the park system compared to 975,433 during the same time period in 2019. This is despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to COVID-19 this past spring and early summer. JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river. Currently, JRPS only has 5 full-time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System. JRPS relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities for JRPS clean-ups visit https://www.handsonrva.org/. If you are interested in volunteering on your own (you do the clean-up, JRPS provides the equipment) or have any questions, please contact Matthew Mason, Volunteer Coordinator, who can provide you with resources and guidance, at Matthew.Mason@richmondgov.com.
- In late June, I held my first virtual 4th district meeting. I am planning another one for mid-August, so stay tuned for those details. Thank you so much to the residents who participated in our virtual meeting. I thought we had a great dialogue and received a lot of helpful information from our presenters. Look further down in this email for resources from that meeting.
- We were happy to have Captain Harrison from the Richmond Police Department (RPD) join us for that meeting. A lot of new policies are being circulated regarding police and public safety reform. To see a full list of proposed city council legislation, visit our city council legislative website. I think we need to find a balance between ensuring RPD has the tools they need to protect the public and looking at how we respond to 911 calls. There may be an opportunity to move some responsibilities of RPD into other, more appropriate agencies. I look forward to having this dialogue, not only with you and my colleagues on City Council, but also with representatives of RPD.
- Reminder: We are still under the guidelines of COVID-19 and the related state of emergency. Please visit the city website for details on city departments and services that are operating under Phase 3. Continue to social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands. If you need hand sanitizer or masks, contact my office. We have a limited supply for 4th district residents.
House of Delegates: Betsy Carr
- New Laws: During the 2020 legislative session, 3,911 bills were introduced in the House and Senate. Of those bills, 1,289 were passed, approved by the Governor, and became law on July 1. For a thorough review of new laws, I encourage you to read “In Due Course” by the Division of Legislative Services (http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/idc/idc20.pdf).
- Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP): Governor Northam launched RMRP, which provides $50 million in federal CARES Act funding for households facing evictions or foreclosure due to COVID-19. For further information, please visit DHCD’s dedicated webpage: https://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/rmrp
- Energy Assistance: The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is accepting applications for cooling assistance through August 17. VDSS will also issue a supplemental payment, through funding by the CARES Act, to households who received fuel or crisis assistance during the most recent heating season. Individuals and families may submit an application online via CommonHelp, by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or through their local department of social services by Monday, August 17.
- Emergency SNAP Benefits: Emergency SNAP benefits are available to Virginia SNAP participants for the month of July. Benefits will be automatically loaded to recipients’ SNAP EBT cards on July 17. SNAP participants who are not currently receiving the max allotment as their monthly benefit are eligible for emergency SNAP benefits. https://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/snap.cgi
- Health Insurance Coverage for Recently Unemployed: HCA Virginia is working to assist those who find themselves without health insurance coverage for their families by establishing a hotline to assist those who have lost health insurance coverage to secure temporary coverage while they are unemployed. You can call the hotline at (833) 867-8771. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Stay in Touch: Please visit www.betsycarr.org for more detailed updates and to sign up for my newsletters. If you have any questions or concerns that I can help address, please email me at email@example.com or call 804-698-1169.
RPS School Board: Jonathan Young
- Richmond Public Schools will be virtual for the first semester to include virtual “live” via Google Classroom and virtual “playlists” akin to what we did this summer.
- A renewed discussion on the School Board regards interest in adoption of a year-round school calendar to make up for lost time.
- In the interim, an additional 8,000 Chromebooks will be purchased to supplement the 16,000 already distributed to achieve status as 1-1 school district.
- Stay up-to-date on RPS news at https://www.facebook.com/RichmondPublicSchools.
- Candidate Forums – Like 2016, we will again be hosting/partnering opportunities to ask questions of our local candidates.
- Mayor: We will be supporting the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association forum, potentially virtually. It’s tentatively scheduled for Sept 15th (7-9PM).
- City Council: Kristen Larson is running unopposed.
- School Board: We will offer an opportunity for both candidates to speak at our October 13th WHNA meeting (either in person or we’ll set up a virtual option).
- WHNA Yard Sale (in collaboration with FH, WHES, and Goodwill) – Cancelled
- WHNA Merchants – Keep supporting our local restaurants/businesses. They are amazing!
- The Westover has reopened with some big changes:
- Rage RVA is going where the old Ireland Cleaners was:
- Poor Georgie’s Bake Shoppe’s Key Lime pie was highlighted in Richmond Magazine. https://richmondmagazine.com/restaurants-in-richmond/recipes/pie-in-the-sky/
- The Westover has reopened with some big changes:
- South of the James Farmers’ Market – GrowRVA announced on Facebook that the market will continue in Bryan Park through the winter, but will return to Forest Hill Park in May 2021. Until then, they are planning a Summer Brunch Market in late August.
- Big Tent – Though the Forest Hill Big Tent was canceled in June, the Richmond Symphony and Maymont are proud to present a Big Tent community festival on Saturday, September 12, 3-7:30 pm, on the spacious and picturesque Carriage House Lawn at Maymont. The event, African American Voices, will highlight inspirational music of Black composers and poignant living history portrayals of African American staff at Maymont from 1893-1925. https://maymont.org/event/big-tent-festival-african-american-voices/
- WHNA Membership – Don’t forget to turn in membership dues. It’s easy to do online.