Wednesday, October 16, 2019

City of Richmond selected to participate in National League of Cities workforce support initiative

The City of Richmond has been selected to participate in the National League of Cities’ 18-month technical assistance initiative, Cities Addressing Basic Needs to Promote Postsecondary and Workforce Success.  

As part of the program, the National League of Cities, with generous support from the Kresge Foundation, will offer technical assistance to support the City of Richmond’s efforts to build strong and equitable pathways to postsecondary and workforce success. The initiative focuses on removing barriers to success after high school, such as a lack of food, housing, childcare or transportation, which too often get in the way of obtaining postsecondary degrees or certificates.

Richmond’s multi-sector city team, which includes leadership from ChamberRVA, Reynolds Community College, and the Office of Mayor Levar M. Stoney, will receive targeted support to implement policies, practices and programs to remove such barriers. That support will include ongoing technical assistance from the National League of Cities and other experts and a Cross-City Leadership Academy in the winter of 2020. The program will culminate with a national briefing in Washington, DC.

Richmond is one of seven cities participating in the program, joining the cities of Chula Vista, CA, Rochester, NY, Denver, CO, Oakland, CA, Philadelphia, PA, and San Diego, CA.

“Too many of our residents are prevented from reaching their God-given potential because of the inability to meet very basic needs,” said Mayor Stoney. “We look forward to working with these national experts on effective approaches to breaking down barriers to pave the way to success for our residents.”

Said Dr. Paula Pando, President of Reynolds Community College, “Reynolds is thrilled to partner with the City of Richmond to improve educational and future workforce opportunities for residents of the city. We look forward to supporting the needs of a diverse community and eliminating barriers to post-secondary success.”


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Mayor Levar Stoney proclaims October 14 Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Today Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond would recognize Monday October 14, 2019 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

In the presence of representatives from the Nottaway, Chickahominy, Patawomeck, Mattaponi, Upper Mattaponi, Cheroenhaka and Pamunkey Indian Tribes, the mayor expressed thanks for the groups’ partnership and appreciation for their contributions to the Richmond community.

While the federal government recognizes the second Monday in October each year as Columbus Day, the City of Richmond has never recognized Columbus Day as an employee holiday. The City of Richmond will again be open for business this Monday, but this year requests that employees and residents alike use Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an opportunity to reflect not only upon the culture and heritage of native peoples, but also to celebrate their influence, accomplishments and resilience in the face of extraordinary hardship.

“Native Americans were the first residents of Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “They were here before any non-natives arrived in this country, commonwealth, or city. So it’s only fitting, and about time, that we acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions they have made to shape our city.”


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mayor Stoney to introduce ordinances requiring reporting of lost or stolen firearms and prohibiting driving while distracted by a mobile device

At the October 14 meeting of the Richmond City Council meeting, Mayor Levar M. Stoney will propose two ordinances promoting public safety: an ordinance requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms and an ordinance prohibiting driving while distracted using a handheld communication device.

Any person who loses a gun or has one stolen in the City of Richmond will be required to report the loss or theft to the Richmond Police Department within 24 hours. Failing to do so will result in a civil penalty.

The goal of the ordinance is to help reduce the trafficking of lost and stolen guns, which are more likely to be used in criminal offenses. So far this year, 354 firearms have been reported stolen in the City of Richmond, 186 firearms from vehicles alone.

“Unreported gun loss and gun theft lead to gun crime,” said Mayor Stoney. “We all need to play a role in keeping our communities safe, and we can no longer wait for the General Assembly to act. This piece of legislation will be another tool in the toolbox of our police department that will help reduce crime and improve public safety.”

Currently, state law defines the theft of any firearm, regardless of value, as grand larceny. However, the Virginia General Assembly has repeatedly failed to pass a firearm loss or theft reporting requirement. This ordinance relies on the police powers provision granted to localities under the Code of Virginia. As written, the city’s ordinance would take effect immediately upon passage by the Richmond City Council.

“Stolen guns often end up in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, threatening the safety of our communities,” said Kristin DuMont, a Richmond resident and volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It’s imperative these thefts are reported to law enforcement to protect our city and combat the trafficking of illegal guns. We’re grateful to Mayor Stoney for recognizing this problem and taking action.”

Lori Haas, Senior Director for Advocacy with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said "Mayor Stoney's ordinance to require the reporting of lost and stolen guns within 24 hours is a step in the right direction of solving gun crimes and saving lives. I applaud them for this effort and encourage the ordinance's passage by the Richmond City Council."

Mayor Stoney also announced plans to introduce another public safety ordinance on Monday that would penalize motor vehicle operators who drive distracted while using a handheld communication device. While a driver cannot be pulled over simply for using a handheld device, Richmond Police officers would ticket offenders under the new ordinance if they witness evidence of distracted driving, such as speeding, swerving or running a stop sign.

Under the ordinance, driving while distracted by a handheld communication device will result in a fine of $125.00 for the first offense and $250.00 for any subsequent offenses.

“Driving while holding a phone is just not a smart thing to do,” said Mayor Stoney. “And under this ordinance, distracted driving with a cell phone is going to cost you. As a city, we must take the necessary steps to address the dangers of distracted driving, and we will not stand idly by as pedestrians, bicyclists, transit-users and fellow drivers are put in harm’s way.”  

In 2018, 73 distracted driving crashes were the result of using a cell phone while driving. Due to underreporting, the actual number of motor vehicle crashes related to handheld communication devices is likely much higher.

Passage of the ordinance would increase the safety of motorists and pedestrians and protect property along Richmond’s roadways. “It is time to shift our existing habits behind the wheel and grow our safety culture,” said Michael Sawyer, the city’s coordinator for Vision Zero.  “This ordinance will help us do just that.”

According to Ruth Morrison, Policy Director with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, one in twelve drivers in Virginia today are classified as “phone addicts,” and that number is expected to climb to one in five by 2022. This makes Virginia the most dangerous state in the United States when it comes to distracted driving.

“Instead of waiting for the next life lost, the next child or mother, teacher or neighbor, to be killed or injured by a distracted driver, our city is working proactively to make safety on our streets a priority,” Morrison said.

“Distracted driving is the new drunk driving, and it’s a public health crisis we can fix,” said Louise Lockett Gordon, Director of Bike Walk RVA. “Just as we have prohibited driving under the influence, prohibiting driving while distracted by a handheld device is a common-sense measure to protect the lives of our neighbors, including our most vulnerable people: those walking, biking, and accessing transit.”

“Every bus rider begins and ends their trip as a pedestrian. Penalizing distracted driving will help keep Richmonders safe as they move around the city by bus, bike, or on foot,” says RVA Rapid Transit Executive Director Ross Catrow. “The Mayor has taken a good first step towards keeping Richmonders safe, and we're looking forward to even stronger legislation from both the city and the state to further protect all people who use our streets.”

“No phone call or text is worth risking a human life,” says Janet Brooking, Executive Director of Drive Smart Virginia. “This ordinance is a big step in the right direction, helping drivers do the right thing and put the phone down.”

Currently, Virginia Law prohibits any person from operating a motor vehicle while using any handheld communication device to manually enter numbers or letters in attempt to communicate with another or read any email or text stored within the device. Under state law, it is still legal to use a handheld communication device to browse the internet, use social media, watch videos and use GPS mapping features and other functions while driving.

Should City Council pass this ordinance, Richmond will join Spotsylvania County and the City of Hampton as the only Virginia localities to enact laws targeting distracted driving due to a handheld device. The new law would go into effect six months after adoption in order to allow for an educational period.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

City Launches Tree Pruning Project to Enhance Safety on Roadways

Department of Public Works crews today will begin trimming and pruning trees along the city’s major thoroughfares and intersections to increase sight distance and visibility of regulatory signage. They will begin along Jefferson Davis Highway. 

Public Works Director Bobby Vincent said this safety measure aligns with the city’s Vision Zero initiative. “Evaluating and implementing our policies regarding sight distance at intersections is a major portion of our approach to supporting Vision Zero and Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s commitment to the initiative.” Vision Zero is a multidisciplinary strategy designed to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries by increasing safety measures.

Crews will spend the remainder of the year pruning back trees at intersections and major thoroughfares citywide. According to Director Vincent, the Transportation Engineering Division will employ an arborist to assist with proper pruning procedures and address service requests.
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Thursday, September 26, 2019

15th Annual Imagine Multicultural Festival this Saturday at Broad Rock Sports Complex / El 15o festival anual multicultural Imagine se realizará este sábado en el Complejo Deportivo Broad Rock

The City of Richmond invites the entire community to the 15th annual Multicultural Festival, Imagine 2019, to celebrate the cultural richness of our communities.

The free festival will be held at the Broad Rock Sports Complex on Old Warwick Road on Saturday, September 28 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Organized by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the festival is a fun event for the entire family, presenting an opportunity to enjoy music and food from the wide variety of cultural communities in Richmond and to take advantage of free health screenings provided by partners.

This year, the festival will include performances from Sayaw Diversity, Sacred Heart Folklorico, the Motown Kids, Salsa Guy Richmond’s Bomba y Plena, Lion Dance, Mexican Regional Music Band, groups from the Philippines and North and South Sudan, and more.

In addition, more than 55 area organizations will provide information about community services. Una Vida Sana and La Casa de la Salud will offer free health screenings and preventive care opportunities.

This year’s partners and sponsors include the EnRichmond Foundation, Suntrust Bank, LISC Virginia, the Richmond Flying Squirrels and many other community groups and organizations.

For more information on the Imagine Festival, please contact the City of Richmond Office of Multicultural Affairs at 804-646-0145.

En Español:
La Ciudad de Richmond invita a toda la comunidad al 15o festival anual multicultural “Imagine” 2019, para celebrar la riqueza cultural de nuestras comunidades, este evento es organizado por la Oficina de Asuntos Multiculturales de la Ciudad.

Este festival gratuito se realizará en el Complejo Deportivo Broad Rock, ubicado en el 4801 Old Warwick Road, el sábado 28 de septiembre desde las 12 m. hasta las 5 p.m. El festival es un evento divertido para toda la familia, en el cual podrán disfrutar de música y comida proveniente de una amplia variedad de comunidades culturales de Richmond. También podrán aprovechar los exámenes médicos gratuitos provistos por algunos de nuestros asociados.

Este año el festival incluirá música y danzas de grupos tales como Sayaw Diversity, Sacred Heart Folklórico, Motown Kids, Bomba y Plena del Salsa Guy de Richmond, Lion Dancing de VCU, grupos de música regional mejicana, de las Filipinas, de Sudán del Norte y de Sudán del Sur, entre otros.

Por otra parte, más de 55 organizaciones del área darán información acerca de servicios comunitarios. Una Vida Sana y La Casa de la Salud ofrecerán exámenes médicos gratuitos e información sobre cuidado preventivo.

Los asociados y patrocinadores de este año incluyen a la fundación EnRichmond, al banco Suntrust, a LISC Virginia, a las Ardillas Voladoras de Richmond y muchos otros grupos y organizaciones comunitarias.

Si desea obtener más información del festival Imagine, comuníquese con la Oficina de Asuntos Multiculturales (OMA) de la Ciudad de Richmond, llamando al 804-646-0145.