In brief: Vapers’ vapors, Bird scooters scoot, (a different) Bellamy joins race, and more

Young consumers of e-cigarettes and vapes now must wait until they're 21 years old before they can buy them. (Photo: Getty Images) Young consumers of e-cigarettes and vapes now must wait until they’re 21 years old before they can buy them. (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s the (new) law

July 1 not only heralds the start of another hot summer, but it’s also when new laws go into effect. Things you were doing legally on June 30 (ahem, 20-year-old vapers) are now against the law. And sometimes vice versa (hello, happy hour).

Nicotine users: Virginia bumps the legal age to purchase and consume tobacco and vape products from 18 to 21 years old—unless you’re 18 and in the military.

Happy hour: Watering holes can now advertise drink specials and prices as long as they don’t promote over-drinking.

Distracted driving: Drivers face a $250 fine for using a cellphone in a work zone.

Tougher move over: Motorists who fail to move to the left lane for emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road can be charged with reckless driving on top of the existing $250 fine.

Inspection sticker: The annual mandatory vehicle inspection will now cost $20, up from $16.

Suspended licenses: The DMV will begin reinstating driver’s licenses that were suspended for unpaid court fines and fees.

Teen labor: The General Assembly repealed the Kings Dominion law that prevented schools from opening before Labor Day so that amusement parks would not lose their youth workforce.

Meals tax: Eating out in Charlottesville will cost a few cents more because the meals tax has gone from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Rear-facing car seats: Babies must face the rear of a vehicle until 2 years old for safety concerns. Parents can be stopped and ticketed for a primary offense if wee ones are spotted facing forward.

Surrogacy expanded: Gay couples and single people can now use donated embryos or surrogates.


Quote of the week

“…I’m kind of done with him, and I’m moving on with my life. I have things to do.”—Susan Bro after James Fields, her daughter’s killer, is sentenced to 29 life sentences June 28


In brief

CRB finished

After almost a year of work and as its term ended, the Police Civilian Review Board, which is charged with creating bylaws for future boards to assure transparency and accountability from the Charlottesville Police Department, finalized its recommendations July 1. The six-member volunteer board calls for a permanent review board and two full-time staff members. The bylaws and a draft ordinance will go before City Council in August.

TJ party’s over

City Council voted 4-1 to ax Thomas Jefferson’s birthday—April 13—as a paid holiday for city employees, with Councilor Kathy Galvin casting the sole vote to keep it. Instead, employees will get March 3 off to celebrate Liberation and Freedom Day, when Union troops emancipated enslaved people here. And they get a bonus floating holiday, to match up with Albemarle County in official holidays.

Teen sentenced

The 17-year-old whose 4chan threat of ethnic cleansing at Charlottesville High closed city schools for two days was sentenced to two 12-month suspended sentences, WINA reports. Joao Pedro “JP” Ribeiro, now 18, publicly apologized in a letter written while he was held at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center, and will return to his native Brazil with his parents in August.

Indie run

Charlottesville native Bellamy Brown, 40, tossed his hat into the ring for City Council, and will run as an independent in November. The former Marine and financial adviser will face independent Paul Long in November, as well as Dems Michael Payne, Lloyd Snook, and Sena Magill.

Bye bye Bird(ie)

Bird has suspended its scooter service for the summer. One stranded user posted a Twitter response from Bird Support that said the scooters were withdrawn at the request of the city. However, the city says Bird cleared out for the summer because its numbers weren’t high enough.

I-64 inferno

A tractor trailer carrying household goods burst into flames June 29, closing westbound I-64 near Crozet for hours, and stranding drivers on the interstate on Afton Mountain. According to the Albemarle fire marshal, the conflagration was sparked by a mechanical issue on the trailer’s tires or brakes.

Montpelier protection

The home of fourth-president James Madison got 1,024 acres put under conservation easement, joining the 915 acres already under permanent historic and conservation easement in Orange. The Mars family, ranked the third wealthiest in the country, according to Business Insider, provided the cash to record the easements, which will be held by Piedmont Environmental Council.


By the numbers

Slower and grayer

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service released its growth projection numbers for 2020, ahead of the U.S. Census. Its assessment: Growth in Virginia is slowing and there will be a lot more old people.

  • Virginia is expected to add more than 650,000 residents by 2020, topping out at 8.65 million.
  • Urban areas continue to grow while rural populations are shrinking.
  • One in seven Virginians will be over age 65 by 2020.
  • Charlottesville will have over 50,000 people by 2020.
  • The state’s growth rate is down from 13 percent in this century’s first decade to 8 percent now.
  • The vast majority of Virginians live in urban areas, while the number living in rural areas in 2020 is projected to be 12 percent.