In brief: Medicaid expanded, Building Bridges crashed and more

Things are getting good in Richmond as the session is in its final stretch. File photo. Things are getting good in Richmond as the session is in its final stretch. File photo.

Medicaid expansion clears House

For Terry McAuliffe’s entire term as governor, Medicaid expansion for 400,000 uninsured Virginians remained out of grasp. Last week, after Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore broke rank in favor of expansion, the House voted 68 to 32 in favor, with local delegates Rob Bell, Steve Landes and Matt Fariss in the no column. The measure still has to clear the Senate, which did not approve expansion in its budget.

“For too long, we’ve allowed the Virginia way to be shouted down by a charlatan whose record doesn’t match his rhetoric, and right now, I’m done with fake politicians.”—Delegate Glenn Davis slams wannabe GOP U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart February 23 to a standing ovation in the House.

UVA event disrupted

Pro-Palestinian, megaphone-carrying protesters disrupted a Brody Jewish Center and Hoos for Israel event February 22 and may have violated UVA policies, says Dean of Students Allen Groves. The demonstrators were invited to join the Building Bridges panel, but chose to shout at participants instead, the Cav Daily reports.

DP escapes ax—this time

The Daily Progress is not affected by BH Media’s latest layoffs that cut 148 employees and leave 101 vacant jobs, according to DP publisher Rob Jiranek. Last April, the Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary canned 181 employees, including three at the Progress and 33 at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Statue stripper arrested again

Christopher James Wayne, the 34-year-old Richmond man charged with removing tarps from the city’s Confederate statues, picked up his third trespassing charge February 23. Police say he was between the orange barricade and the Stonewall Jackson statue in Justice Park. Wayne is barred from both Justice and Emancipation parks.

Park déjà vu

City Council will look at renaming Emancipation and Justice parks—again—after Mary Carey objected to the name Emancipation and collected approximately 500 signatures on a petition.

Crisis management

CHS students get four lockdown drills during the school year.

They hope it won’t happen here, but if it does, they want to be prepared.

On the heels of a Valentine’s Day massacre—the fourth most deadly school shooting in American history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—local schools are discussing their own crisis plans.

Students in city schools participate in four lockdown drills each year. Through an agreement with the Charlottesville Police Department, three armed resource officers and several unarmed community service officers rove the school district, primarily at Charlottesville High School, Buford Middle School and Walker Upper Elementary, according to Kim Powell, an assistant superintendent.

Among other security features, city schools have buzz-in systems at their front doors and interior doors that route visitors through the school’s main office. A crisis plan for each school, which is not available to the public, is reviewed and updated annually.

This spring, city schools will install new locks on classroom doors to ensure they all lock from the inside, something that’s already been implemented at all county schools.

Phil Giaramita, a spokesperson for Albemarle County Public Schools, adds that all school entrances are numbered, so first responders know exactly where to enter in the event of an emergency. Classroom door windows in county schools have also been coated with a protective material that’s harder to break.

About 14 Monticello High students walked out of their lunch period for 15 minutes on February 21 to protest gun violence, according to Giaramita. Both county and city schools are discussing preparations for upcoming national walkout events and marches, including the National School Walkout on March 14.

Charlottesville High is among the city schools that are patrolled throughout the day by three armed resource officers and several
community service members.

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