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Virginia delegate announces 2021 run for lieutenant governor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A state delegate in Virginia is now running for lieutenant governor. Virginia Del. Hala Ayala made the announcement on Twitter early Tuesday morning. If she wins, she would become the first woman to hold the position. Ayala says Virginia families want someone who understands their experiences and can bring people together. The Washington Post reports Virginia Del. Elizabeth R. Guzman also may join the race, and former Virginia Del. Timothy D. Hugo has said he may run on the Republican side. Ayala was elected to represent Prince William County in Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2017 after taking on four-term Republican incumbent Rich Anderson.


Report: Chesapeake Bay underwater grasses declined last year

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A new report says that underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay have declined by nearly 40 percent. The Chesapeake Bay Program released a report last week that said a factor in the decline could be attributed to more water flowing from rivers into the bay following record rainfalls. Underwater grasses are a key indicator of the bay’s health and help to protect wildlife such as crabs. The increase in fresh water can reduce clarity in the bay and block sunlight from reaching the underwater grasses. The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership of various organizations that are focused on restoring the bay’s health.


Activists seek to decriminalize ‘magic’ mushrooms in DC

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite pandemic conditions that made normal signature-gathering almost impossible, activists in Washington, D.C., say they have enough signatures for a November ballot initiative that would decriminalize natural psychedelics such as certain mushrooms. Activists presented more than 36,000 signatures to the Board of Elections. They claim the plant-based psychedelics can successfully treat depression, trauma and addiction. The initiative would direct the police to treat such natural psychedelics as a low law-enforcement priority. But even if it passes, supporters acknowledge it will probably be blocked by Congress, which retains the right to alter or even overturn D.C. laws.


Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s NFL team is shedding the “Redskins” name and logo after recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans. The change comes less than two weeks after team owner Dan Snyder launched an organizational review of the name. A new name for one of football’s oldest franchises must still be selected and it’s unclear how soon that will happen. Native American experts and advocates have long protested the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” The name dates to 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.


Descendant of J.E.B. Stuart wants statue at his birthplace

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A direct descendant of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart says he wants to bring his ancestor’s statue from Richmond to the cavalryman’s birthplace in Patrick County in southwest Virginia. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Dr. James E.B. Stuart V, a Richmond orthopedic surgeon, formally asked Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and the City Council on Monday to allow the transfer of the statue to the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust Inc. The trust is a 29-year-old nonprofit organization that operates Laurel Hill on a portion of the farm where the Confederate grew up in Ararat near the North Carolina border.


2 inmates make first escape from Bon Air center in 20 years

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two inmates have escaped from a Virginia juvenile prison in what authorities say is the first break from the facility in 20 years. News outlets report the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice said 20-year-old Jabar A. Taylor and 18-year-old Rashad E. Williams escaped from Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center on Monday. Authorities say the two apparently used a cord to choke a security staffer, and escaped  through a hole that had been cut in a security fence. Officials said the two then got into a vehicle that was apparently waiting for them and fled the area.


Veteran news anchor Jane Gardner dies of fifth cancer bout

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Jane Gardner, a longtime news anchor in the Norfolk television market, has died after a fifth bout with cancer. Gary Gardner said Monday that his wife died late Saturday night at Sentara Leigh Hospital. Gardner was a broadcast journalist for decades for WTKR and WVEC, and was inducted into the Virginia Commonwealth University Hall of Fame in 2018. Gardner left broadcast journalism in 1998, and in 1999 was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat skin cancer in 2009, ovarian cancer in 2015 and lung cancer in 2016. After doctors found the lung cancer was in remission, she learned in June of 2018 that the cancer returned.


Del. Jay Jones announces bid for Virginia Attorney General

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Democrat is announcing his bid to be the state’s next attorney general. Jay Jones, a state House delegate from Norfolk, made the announcement Monday in a campaign video saying it’s time for a “new generation of leadership.” If elected next year, the 31-year-old Jones would be the first African-American to be Virginia’s attorney general. In his announcement, Jones said his campaign is “generations in the making” and highlighted his family’s history of fighting for civil rights. Jones lined up several endorsements for his campaign launch, including U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and state Sen. Louise Luc.

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