King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

King George Board of Supervisors Votes to Relocate Confederate Monument

The King George County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday three to two to relocate the county’s confederate monument, with Historyland Memorial Park as a tentative destination for the monument.

“To me this is not doing away with the monument. This is a relocating of a monument,” Vice-Chair Jeff Stonehill said. “It’s on public property, it’s right in front of the courthouse. I think I would not be in favor of having religious symbols in front of the courthouse. I’m big believer in the separation of church & state and justice. If this is offensive to parts of society and to other people in our community, I think it needs to be relocated.”

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Catholic University Responds to Claims of ‘Blasphemous’ George Floyd Painting

Catholic University Responds to Claims of ‘Blasphemous’ George Floyd Painting

Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., has responded to several reports of a painting of George Floyd depicted as Jesus that hangs in its law school.

“The painting was put in place last February in a ceremony outside the law school’s Mary Mirror of Justice chapel. The press began covering it this week, leading to criticism on social media and a substantial number of emails and phone calls,” President John Garvey said in an open letter. “Some critics called the image blasphemous because they saw it as deifying or canonizing George Floyd. Some comments that we received were thoughtful and reasonable. Some were offensive and racist. Much of the criticism came from people unconnected to the University.”

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Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

Virginia Department of Corrections Vacancy Rate Has Grown to 27.4 Percent Since Start of Pandemic

The Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) had a vacancy rate of 27.4 percent, or 1,680 correctional officer vacancies by September 30, 2021, according to a November 15 report from the Public Safety Compensation Work Group. That’s an increase from the average number of vacancies between fiscal years 2018 and 2020, which ranged between 650 and 682 each year.

“There was a dramatic increase since the beginning of the pandemic,” House Appropriations Committee Analyst Michael Jay told the Joint Committee of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions and Public Safety and Senate Judiciary on Tuesday.

“Since then it has gone up about 60 each month and it is now at almost 1,700 vacancies. Some individual facilities have seen higher vacancies, with one correctional facility having turnover of 54 percent in the last calendar year,” Jay said.

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After Two-Month Review, Fairfax County Public Schools Returns ‘Lawn Boy’ and ‘Gender Queer’ to High School Libraries

After Two-Month Review, Fairfax County Public Schools Returns ‘Lawn Boy’ and ‘Gender Queer’ to High School Libraries

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has decided to return two controversial books to its high school library after completing a two-month review launched after a parent complained at a September school board meeting.

In a press release, Assistant Superintendent Noel Klimenko said, “I am satisfied that the books were selected according to FCPS regulations and are appropriate to include in libraries that serve high school students. Both books have value beyond their pages for students who may struggle to find relatable stories.”

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Alliance Defending Freedom Petitions Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Termination of a Teacher Who Refused to Use Preferred Prounons

Alliance Defending Freedom Petitions Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Termination of a Teacher Who Refused to Use Preferred Prounons

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School french teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns.

“Virginia’s Constitution protects every Virginian’s ‘free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,’ and provides that they ‘shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities,'” states the petition for appeal, filed November 12.

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Students Petitioning Catholic University to Remove Painting Depicting George Floyd as Jesus

Students Petitioning Catholic University to Remove Painting Depicting George Floyd as Jesus

Students at Catholic University of America (CUA) are now petitioning the administration to remove paintings depicting George Floyd as Jesus Christ from the school’s campus ministry office and from CUA’s law school.

“As students at the Catholic University of America, we believe that it is extremely grave that our university, the official university of the Catholic Church in North America, would cast another in the image of our Lord in this way, particularly for political purposes,” the Change.org petition says. “No political or social cause ever justifies depicting another in the place of Jesus Christ.”

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Seventh Congressional Race Update: McGuire Decides to Run, Reeves Calls for Reinstatement of Officer Who Donated to Rittenhouse’s Legal Fund

Seventh Congressional Race Update: McGuire Decides to Run, Reeves Calls for Reinstatement of Officer Who Donated to Rittenhouse’s Legal Fund

Delegate John McGuire (R-Henrico) has been gradually ramping up his campaign for the GOP nomination for Virginia’s seventh congressional district: touting his fundraising totals, asking supporters for money, and beginning to file necessary federal paperwork for the campaign. That’s not a surprise, and McGuire joins the list of candidates entering the race despite a lack of clarity about what the district will look like after redistricting. McGuire, Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), and Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) are the heavyweights at this point in the race.

“Over the past year, I’ve had countless Virginians tell me I need to run for Congress to help save our country from the radical left leaders in Washington. Well, after our major win on November 2nd, and a lot of prayer with my wife, we’ve decided it’s our time to get into this race to take back the House in 2022,” McGuire said in a statement to The Virginia Star.

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Student, Alumnus Speak Out Against Catholic University’s Paintings of George Floyd Depicted as Jesus

Student, Alumnus Speak Out Against Catholic University’s Paintings of George Floyd Depicted as Jesus

A student and an alumnus at Catholic University of America (CUA) told The Star News Network that they are unhappy with the school’s paintings that depict George Floyd as Jesus Christ. 

“George Floyd obviously didn’t deserve to die, but he’s not Jesus Christ,” Blayne Clegg, a junior at the school and President of the CUA College Republicans, told The Star. 

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Virginia School Board Association Withdraws from National Association that Asked Biden to Use Federal Agencies to Respond to Threats

The Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) voted to leave the National School Board Association (NSBA). The Thursday decision places the VSBA in the company of other state school board associations who are dissociating from the NSBA after the national association sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for federal law enforcement to respond to threats and attacks related to school board politics.

However, that’s not the only reason the VSBA wants to leave

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Gov. Northam Directs Virginia Agencies to Consult Tribal Nations Before Certain Permits

Gov. Northam Directs Virginia Agencies to Consult Tribal Nations Before Certain Permits

Before Virginia agencies offer permits that could affect environmental, historical and cultural resource protection, they must now consult the commonwealth’s Tribal Nations.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 82, which puts this policy in place. The order is meant to provide the tribes with formal input in these permit decisions to ensure their cultural and environmental concerns are considered before the approval of proposed development projects, according to the governor’s office.

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In Settlement, Dominion Energy Virginia Customers Get $330 Million Refund, While Utility Keeps $309 Million For Reinvestment

In Settlement, Dominion Energy Virginia Customers Get $330 Million Refund, While Utility Keeps $309 Million For Reinvestment

Virginia’s Dominion Energy customers will get $330 million in refunds due to a settlement. On Thursday, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved the settlement put forward in October, closing the agency’s triennial financial review of the utility. SCC staff found that the company may have overcharged customers as much as $1.1 billion, according to a September report. Dominion Energy can deduct some items from that before issuing refunds, including a $309 million Customer Credit Reinvestment Offset (CCRO) that allows reinvestment in offshore wind, solar, and grid transformation projects.

The settlement also includes a rate reduction that will reduce customers’ bills.

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Virginia Ranks First in U.S. in Fall 2021 Hospital Safety Rating

Virginia Ranks First in U.S. in Fall 2021 Hospital Safety Rating

Virginia ranked number one among states for hospital safety in a fall measure of patient safety that examines both hospital process and structure and patient outcomes.

“Virginia is blessed to have a vast network of hospitals to care for people in their hour of need. While these hospitals are each unique in their own way, they share a strong commitment to ensuring all patients receive safe, effective, high-quality care,” Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arner said in a Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) press release. Arner is Chair of the VHHA Board of Directors.

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Virginia Supreme Court Appoints Special Masters for Redistricting

Virginia Supreme Court Appoints Special Masters for Redistricting

The Virginia Supreme Court has selected Republican nominee Sean Trende and Democratic nominee Bernard Grofman to be the two Special Masters who will work together to draw legislative and congressional map proposals for the court. Due to deep partisan splits, the Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to submit any maps by constitutionally-required deadlines, leaving the task to the Court.

In the order issued Friday, the Court wrote, “Though each was nominated by legislative leaders of a particular political party, the nominees — upon being appointed by this Court as Special Masters — shall serve as officers of the Court in a quasi-judicial capacity. Consequently, the Special Masters shall be neutral and shall not act as advocates or representatives of any political party. By accepting their appointment, the Special Masters warrant that they have no ‘conflicts of interest,’ Code § 30-399(F), that preclude them from prudently exercising independent judgment, dispassionately following the Court’s instructions, or objectively applying the governing decision-making criteria.”

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Fight for Schools Files Recall Petition Against Loudoun School Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser

Fight for Schools Files Recall Petition Against Loudoun School Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser

Fight for Schools has filed a recall petition aimed at Loudoun County School Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser. The petition cites her involvement in two controversial Facebook groups, alleges Reaser’s knowledge of an assault at Stone Bridge High School, and says she has limited First Amendment rights of speakers during public comment.

Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior said in a press release, “As Vice-Chairwoman, Atoosa Reaser has been part of the leadership team that has overseen and personally contributed to a complete breakdown in trust between the community and the Loudoun County School Board. From violating open meetings law, to ignoring the school board’s code of conduct, to neglecting to keep our children safe, all in the name of politics, Reaser has failed to lead and collaborate with parents and teachers that want a quality, safe education that respects the diversity of thought and viewpoint of the parents and students in her district.”

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Mother of Raped Loudoun County Teen Blasts School District in First Interview Since Incident

Mother of Raped Loudoun County Teen Blasts School District in First Interview Since Incident

In an interview with Daily Mail, the mother of the teenage girl who was raped in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County blasted the school district.

“This is not about politics,” said Jessica Smith. “This is about sexual assault and how we need to make changes in our schools in order to protect victims, get them the help they need sooner, and believe them. And don’t allow a perpetrator back into another school.”

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Paul Goldman Files Motion for Injunction to Block Certification of Virginia House Races for Two-Year Terms

Democratic operative Paul Goldman is asking a federal court to issue a temporary injunction blocking the State Board of Elections from issuing Certificates of Election in the House of Delegates certifying that the winners have the right to a two-year term. Goldman’s motion is part of his ongoing lawsuit arguing that the recent elections were unconstitutional, since they were held on old district lines due to redistricting delays. Goldman filed his suit before the election. He said he didn’t receive support from Democrats, and that Attorney General Mark Herring slow-walked the process. Herring’s office is defending state elections officials in the suit.

“They have specifically avoided dealing with this. Herring could have issued an opinion during the election. They could have had the Supreme Court do a ruling. They didn’t do it. Why? Because the Democrats were trying to get a two-year term,” Goldman told The Virginia Star. “Now this same argument can be used by the Republicans.”

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Virginia State Sen. Stanley Defending Mattaponi Tribe Members Against Chief in Dispute over Tribal Leadership

Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) and former Attorney General Tony Troy are defending 13 members of the Mattaponi tribe; Chief Mark Custalow brought charges of trespassing against the members after an October 30 protest.

Tribe members left notices of grievances on the doors of all the tribal leaders. The members say leadership is not allowing women to vote in tribal matters, and that their protest was peaceful and done under the eye of the county sheriff.

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Gov.-Elect Youngkin Tells Republican Governors He’ll Fire Entire Virginia Parole Board on Day One; Calls for Ending ‘Rather Silly Debate’ Over Funding Police

The incoming governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia hailed public safety, funding the police and preserving qualified immunity for law enforcement officers as pillars of his election victory and his new administration a November 17 talk at the Republican Governor Association annual meetings in Phoenix.

“Let’s fund law enforcement, and oh, by the way, let’s protect qualified immunity, which protects law enforcement from frivolous lawsuits,” said Governor-elect Glenn A. Youngkin, who takes office January 15.

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Virginia State Rep. Amanda Chase Announces Campaign for Congress

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) has announced her candidacy for Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. On Wednesday, she made multiple radio talk show appearances and held a press conference in the Virginia capitol.

“We need a specific type of demographic to beat Abigail Spanberger. I am a suburban mom from Chesterfield, and that determines who wins in the seventh district,” Chase said on the John Fredericks Show. “I know the people of the seventh. I’ve worked for all the winning congressmen. It was my job to get them reelected. And so I know how to do it.”

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Virginia’s Spotsylvania School Board Reverses Vote on Removing Explicit Books

The Spotsylvania County School Board has rescinded a vote to begin removing explicit books from its libraries just a week after unanimously passing the motion. The 5-2 vote came after public outcry and an hours-long public comment period.

“I admit that we may have made a hasty vote to remove sexually explicit materials without the appropriate discussions about what was already in our policy,” member Lisa Phelps said in WFVA video of the meeting.

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Old Dominion University Reverses Course, Places ‘Pro-Pedophilia’ Professor on Leave After Backlash

After defending its employee over the weekend, Old Dominion University (ODU) said Tuesday night that has placed Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology Allyn Walker on leave.

“Old Dominion University has placed Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave, effective immediately, from their position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice,” the school said in a statement. “Reactions to Dr. Walker’s research and book have led to concerns for their safety and that of the campus. Furthermore, the controversy over Dr. Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment.”

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Virginia State Rep. Amanda Chase Announces Campaign for Congress

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) has announced her candidacy for Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. On Wednesday, she made multiple radio talk show appearances and held a press conference in the Virginia capitol.

“We need a specific type of demographic to beat Abigail Spanberger. I am a suburban mom from Chesterfield, and that determines who wins in the seventh district,” Chase said on the John Fredericks Show. “I know the people of the seventh. I’ve worked for all the winning congressmen. It was my job to get them reelected. And so I know how to do it.”

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Whistleblower Accuses FBI of Using Counterterrorism Tools Against Concerned Parents

On behalf of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04) Tuesday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland claiming that a whistleblower provided the committee with information that contradicts Garland’s own Oct. 21 testimony.

The National School Boards Association colluded with the White House before sending a September letter to President Joe Biden accusing parents who have protested Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other liberal agendas in public schools around the country of being “domestic terrorists,” terminology for which it later apologized. Subsequently, Garland sent out a memo ordering the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate those parents. 

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Loudoun School Board Settles Part of Lawsuit with Tanner Cross

The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board agreed to a settlement of the original claims teacher Tanner Cross made in his lawsuit against the board. The agreement includes a permanent injunction barring the board from retaliating against Cross for speaking against the school’s transgender policy. The school will also pay $20,000 for Cross’ legal fees, and remove any reference to Cross’ suspension from his personnel file. The rest of the lawsuit to block enforcement of the transgender policy is still going forward.

The initial lawsuit was triggered after the school placed Cross on leave following comments at a May 27 school board meeting. He opposed a proposal that would require staff to use students’ preferred pronouns. In a preliminary injunction, Cross was allowed to return to work. On November 15, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cross, announced the settlement of claims in that initial lawsuit.

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Race for GOP Virginia Seventh District Nomination: Sears Speaks at Campaign Kickoff for Tina Ramirez; Sen. Chase Files Statement of Candidacy

Virginia’s 2021 election cycle isn’t quite over, and redistricting on congressional districts isn’t complete, but GOP candidates are ramping up their campaigns for the nomination in Virginia’s seventh district. On Tuesday, lieutenant governor-elect Winsome Sears spoke at a campaign kickoff for Tina Ramirez, who also ran for the nomination for the seat in 2020.

“Winning feels good, doesn’t it,” Sears said. “We changed things. People have started looking and thinking, well how did they do that? That’s because of you. We did it because you got involved.”

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House Republicans Nominate Gilbert to be Speaker, Both Caucuses Elect Leadership

The Virginia House Republican Caucus unanimously nominated current Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) for Speaker of the House in a Sunday caucus meeting. They also elected Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) to be majority leader in the 2022 session, the result of a compromise between the two former rivals for House minority leader.

“I am proud to serve with and lead a strong and united Republican majority as we look toward the 2022 General Assembly session and beyond,” Gilbert said in a press release.

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Governor-Elect Youngkin Dodges on Whether He Will Support the Virginia National Guard if It Resists DOD Vaccine Mandate

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he’s opposed to mandates, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates. However, many current vaccine mandates are federally-ordered, including a mandate for all members of the Armed Forces on active duty, or in ready reserve, including the National Guard.

Some Republican governors are testing their power to defy the order. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appointed a new adjutant general of that state’s national guard after the previous adjutant general ignored Stitt’s request to fight the mandate. Last week, the new adjutant general said no Oklahoma Guardsmen who are not federally mobilized would have to take the vaccine.

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Old Dominion University Responds to Accusations of Employing Pro-Pedophilia Professor

Old Dominion University (ODU) released a statement Saturday clarifying its position on pedophilia, after one of its professors appeared to downplay child sex abuse in an interview with a non-profit that has been accused of promoting pedophilia. 

“Following recent social media activity and direct outreach to the institution, it is important to share that Old Dominion, as a caring and inclusive community, does not endorse or promote crimes against children or any form of criminal activity,” the school said in a statement. 

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Virginia Governor-Elect Youngkin’s Top Campaign Promises in Education, COVID-19, Economics, Law Enforcement, and Elections Policy

Glenn Youngkin will be Virginia’s next governor, part of a near-complete Republican takeover of Virginia’s government. In 2022, Republicans will be governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor. They will also likely hold a two-seat majority in the House of Delegates, although two close races may go to recounts. However, they will not hold the Senate, where Democrats have a 21-to-19 majority. Still, if one Democratic senator flips on a vote, that would create a tie that lieutenant governor-elect Winsome Sears would break. Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who House Republicans nominated for Speaker, has said that Republicans do have a mandate, but he is also aware of the need to work across the aisle with the Senate.

All that gives political novice Youngkin strong Republican support to launch efforts to fulfill his campaign promises, but also sets him up for serious challenges to get his policies across the finish line. Still, Virginia governors have extensive power to set policy and funding priorities, and Youngkin will also have executive authority, which will allow him to fulfill some key promises without legislative buy-in.

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Report Shows Virginia’s Road Condition Improving but Bridges Need Work

Virginia’s state-owned transportation infrastructure is improving, ranking the state 13th among the rest of the U.S. for pavement condition. Bridge condition lags somewhat, ranking 17th, but more than 25 percent of the Commonwealth’s bridges are close to being ranked structurally deficient, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) reported to legislators on Monday.

“You may recall that there was interest in taking a look at the state’s revenue streams, planning process, and infrastructure condition after a series of major legislative actions over the last five years or so,” JLARC Director Hal Greer said. “As you’ll hear, the state’s revenue picture has improved, and recent changes have made the state’s planning process more rigorous, and based on objective data. We have, though, identified some important, but relatively minor changes to be considered to better address some of the state’s transportation needs.”

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