Tuesday, December 10, 2019

El Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond ofrecerá vacunación gratuita contra la influenza durante el mes de diciembre


Durante el mes de diciembre, el Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond ofrecerá vacunación gratuita contra la influenza a personas mayores de 6 meses de edad, con el fin de aumentar la inmunidad en la población de la ciudad.

Esta oportunidad, la cual el Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond llama “su regalo a la comunidad”, es totalmente gratuita. No se requiere pago, seguro de salud, ni identificación emitida por el gobierno para recibir la vacuna.

Invitamos a las personas interesadas a que visiten la clínica durante cualquier día hábil de diciembre, (excepto los días 13, 24 y 25) desde las 8:30 de la mañana hasta las 4:00 de la tarde. No se requiere cita previa. La clínica está ubicada en el 400 de East Cary Street, adonde también se puede llegar usando las rutas 5, 14 y 87 de los buses GRTC.

El Distrito de Salud de la Ciudad de Richmond les recuerda que la vacuna es especialmente importante para los niños pequeños, las personas de la tercera edad, aquellos que padecen de problemas crónicos de salud y las mujeres embarazadas.

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Richmond City Health District to offer free flu shots throughout the month of December

Throughout the month of December, the Richmond City Health District will offer free flu shots to individuals 6 months of age or older in an attempt to increase the city’s immunity.

This opportunity, which Richmond City Health District calls its “gift to the community,” is entirely free of cost. No payment, insurance or government identification is required to receive the vaccine.

Those interested are welcome to visit the clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. any business day in December, excluding December 13, 24 and 25. No appointment is necessary. The clinic is located at 400 E. Cary Street, accessible by GRTC routes 5, 14, and 87.

The Richmond City Health district notes that vaccination is especially important for young children, older adults, those with chronic health conditions and expectant mothers.

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Monday, December 9, 2019

City Council unanimously passes Mayor Stoney’s ordinance prohibiting the use of handheld communications devices while driving


At the December 9 meeting of Richmond City Council, the body unanimously passed a ban on driving while using a handheld communications device, proposed by Mayor Stoney's administration.

Under the ordinance, using a handheld communications device, such as a cellphone, while driving in the City of Richmond is punishable by a $125 fine on the first offense and a $250 fine for each subsequent offense.

“A holistic Vision Zero plan requires engineering, education, and enforcement,” said Mayor Stoney. “Prohibiting the use of a cellphone while driving is necessary to change both ingrained attitudes and dangerous habits.”

The ordinance, which was introduced at the October 14 council meeting and was recently amended, is an attempt to curb traffic fatalities and promote pedestrian safety. Distracted drivers have killed or injured 218 people in the City of Richmond so far this year, according to the Richmond Police Department.

“As we continue to experience population and density growth, improving the travelling safety of Richmond through creative techniques, legislation and education becomes more and more important,” said Police Chief William Smith. “We are thankful for the Mayor’s leadership in supporting Vision Zero legislative proposals.”

“Keeping drivers’ hands on the wheel, and not handling their phones, means their attention is where it should be – on driving safely,” said Louise Lockett Gordon, Director of Bike Walk RVA. “We are excited to see the city pass a commonsense policy that will help save the lives of people using our streets, especially our most vulnerable people walking and biking.”

“We commend Mayor Stoney and the City for their commitment to safer roadways,” said Executive Director of Drive Smart VA Janet Brooking. “Manipulating a handheld phone while driving is by far the most egregious of all distracted driving behaviors as it involves all three kinds of distraction – manual, visual and cognitive. This ban is an important step towards saving lives and reducing injuries, and we look forward to working with the City to educate citizens on the importance of hands-free driving.”

The ordinance will go into effect six months after passage to allow for an education period, ensuring drivers are aware of the change in traffic law. The language allows for exceptions for public safety personnel and drivers experiencing emergencies.

With the passage of this ordinance, the City of Richmond joins the City of Hampton and Spotsylvania County as the only localities in Virginia to enact laws targeting driving while using a handheld communications device. A proposed statewide ban failed earlier this year in the General Assembly. The legality of the city ordinance is not contingent on the passage of a statewide ban.

“It’s just not acceptable to use a cellphone while driving when we know the dire consequences,” said Mayor Stoney. “With this ban, Richmond sends a clear message: whether you’re texting or not, put down the phone, or there will be consequences. I hope the General Assembly will send the same message this year.”

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Shockoe Alliance to Hold Small Area Plan Development Workshop December 4, 2019



The Shockoe Alliance will hold its next community meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 4, 2019 at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library, 101 E. Franklin Street. The community workshop is the next step toward the development of the Small Area Plan and implementation strategy for the Shockoe area.

This meeting will focus on consideration of plan recommendations resulting from prior public input, featuring interactive group discussions regarding top planning priorities and a real-time voting exercise to gauge support for each key planning theme. Community leaders, city staff and members of the Shockoe Alliance will serve as presenters and discussion facilitators. The results of this meeting will serve as the basis for preparation of the Draft Small Area Plan for public review in early 2020.  

The Shockoe Alliance is charged with guiding the design and implementation of concepts and recommendations for the future of Shockoe. Its ultimate goal is to create an innovative space of memorialization, learning and transformation, all while protecting the area’s cultural and historic heritage.

For more information on the Shockoe Alliance, please visit shockoealliance.org.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Department of Public Works Fills More Than 31,000 Potholes, Exceeds Annual Goal


The Public Works Roadway Maintenance Division has repaired more than 31,000 potholes so far this year. This marks the third year running that DPW has far exceeded the usual 18,000 annual repairs. In 2018, about 26,900 potholes were fixed, compared to just under 25,000 the year before.

In 2017, Mayor Levar M. Stoney asked city employees to elevate the level of service provided to city residents. The DPW Pothole Crew redefined some of its internal procedures and set a goal to fill 20,000 potholes. It surpassed that target by nearly 5,000 repairs, achieving a department milestone.

“When we invest in our infrastructure, we invest in our future,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m proud our Public Works team rose to our high expectations this year. Now, after a banner year filling thousands of potholes, we’re providing a long-term solution: a historic investment in paving.”

DPW attributes the increase in pothole repairs to its acquisition of two pothole trucks that are revolutionizing the way the city fills potholes. Each truck requires only one operator, instead of a crew. The truck’s mechanical arm expels air to remove water from a hole, then layers in the materials needed to make the repair. This 10 minute per pothole process accounted for 3,000 repairs this year.

In addition, Mayor Stoney’s most recent budget included a $15 million further investment in paving in FY2020, allowing DPW to address potholes as paving takes place. The paving plan prioritizes streets with the highest need, enabling crews to address potholes not yet in the system and focus on areas that may receive less attention than main thoroughfares.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Mayor Stoney announces the City of Richmond again earns the highest Municipal Equality Index score in Virginia


Today, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond again received the highest Municipal Equality Index score in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Out of the 11 municipalities that the Human Rights Campaign scored in Virginia, Richmond scored the highest, earning a 97.

“My mission is to build a city where everyone, no matter their skin color, country of origin, how they worship or who they love, is free to live out their God-given potential,” said Mayor Stoney. “Supporting the members of Richmond’s LGBTQ community is imperative to that task, and this score shows that inclusivity is one of our top priorities.”

Each year the Human Rights Campaign rates cities across the United States based on their initiatives to support LGBTQ communities. The findings are compiled on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) scorecard, where cities are given points for inclusive programs and policies, such as non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees, inclusive workplaces and LGBTQ liaisons in the city’s executive office, to name a few.

The city’s performance on the MEI scorecard has vastly improved in the past two years. In 2017, Richmond received a 42 out of 100. The city was able to increase its score by 52 points in a year, scoring a 94 in 2018. In that year, the city improved its score through working with City Council to establish a Human Rights Commission and pass non-discrimination laws, designating a policy advisor to serve as the Mayor’s LGBTQ liaison and offering transgender-inclusive health benefits for city employees.

Richmond’s success story is highlighted twice in the 2019 MEI report, demonstrating how the scorecard serves as a crucial policy guide and advocacy tool. Richmond’s 2019 MEI score is 97 because of Mayor Stoney’s efforts to advocate at the state level for non-discrimination laws and against the use of conversion therapy. Earlier this year, Mayor Stoney introduced, and Richmond City Council approved, a resolution supporting the prohibition of conversion therapy in the city and across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The mayor is hopeful that the new Democrat-controlled General Assembly will address both of these issues during its 2020 session.

“Richmond’s pro-equality leaders continue to send a strong message across Virginia about the importance of ensuring our gay and transgender neighbors can live, work and play free from discrimination,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “We celebrate Mayor Stoney and the Richmond City Council for their work to make the city a more inclusive and welcoming place.”

“Mayor Stoney has been committed to making Richmond safer and more welcoming for our community,” said Adam Trimmer, Virginia Ambassador for Born Perfect, a campaign to end conversion therapy. “I could not be prouder of Richmond.”

“The increase in Richmond’s MEI score is a testament to Mayor Stoney’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusivity,” said James Millner, President of Virginia Pride. “Once again, we have the highest score of any municipality in Virginia, which sends a powerful message to businesses, tourists and residents: LGBTQ people aren’t just welcome in Richmond, but we are embraced and recognized as a vital, positive force in this city. This is something of which every Richmonder can be proud.”

Local organizations have also played a key role in advocating for the policies that increased Richmond’s MEI scorecard value.

“As a native Richmonder who identifies as transgender, I am pleased to see the city's MEI score increase,” said Zakia McKensey, Executive Director of Nationz Foundation. “It is important to my community that the city be more diverse, inclusive and affirming of the LGBTQIA+ communities. Thank you, Mayor Stoney and the city, for your work to make Richmond more inclusive!”

“This standing reinforces Richmond’s identity as a welcoming destination for all,” said Jack Berry, President and CEO, Richmond Region Tourism. “Congratulations on making our city compassionate and safe for all.”

Many Fortune 500 companies rely on the Human Rights Campaign report as a guide for relocation and expansion, as inclusion of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, reflects a municipality’s shared values.

Mayor Stoney said that the high score does not mean the work will stop.

“For the second year in a row, we’re leading the way for all municipalities in Virginia,” the mayor said. I’m proud of this achievement and excited to see how else we can ensure Richmond’s city policies, services and code reflect the inclusive community we are.”

To learn more about the Municipal Equality Index and Richmond’s performance, read the 2019 Municipal Equality Index report here.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mayor Stoney announces creation of City of Richmond Eviction Task Force

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the creation of the City of Richmond Eviction Task Force, an advisory body charged with addressing the causes of evictions in Richmond and prescribing preventative solutions.

The task force will work alongside the city’s Eviction Diversion Program, a first-of-its-kind within the Commonwealth of Virginia mediation program providing rental assistance, pro bono legal support, financial counseling, and supportive service referrals to residents already in the court system for rent-due cases and facing housing insecurity.

The Eviction Diversion Program, launched in October 2019 in partnership with Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Firms in Service and the court system, is poised to thwart hundreds of potential evictions in its first year.

“The Eviction Diversion Program will make a real impact in the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members currently facing eviction proceedings in court,” said Mayor Stoney. “However, we recognize that we also have the responsibility to address the root causes of evictions and work to prevent the threat of eviction from occurring in the first place. I am counting on this group to explore steps the city can take to better understand, mitigate and prevent the conditions that make our most vulnerable residents, including our children, susceptible to housing insecurity.”

The task force will include housing and human services stakeholders, affordable housing and social justice advocates, youth and family homelessness specialists, public housing residents and property management professionals, including leadership of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA), which recently agreed to freeze eviction proceedings and partner with Mayor Stoney’s Eviction Diversion Program to mediate rent-due cases between RRHA and its tenants, educate RRHA residents through financial literacy workshops and prevent evictions from public housing units.

“Housing is a matter of equity and justice, and it touches every other aspect of a person’s life,” said Mayor Stoney. “Evictions in Richmond disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income, single-family households with children, creating a traumatic downward spiral for people already suffering from economic challenges and other hardships. That is why it is critical for us to innovate bold, collaborative and compassionate methods to better meet the needs of all Richmonders.”

The task force will meet regularly to provide the mayor with recommendations and guidance on how the city can holistically address the eviction crisis and ensure housing stability for all of Richmond’s residents, especially for its most historically vulnerable communities. 

City of Richmond Eviction Task Force Members:

Omari Al-Qadaffi – Housing organizer/Legal Aid Justice Center
Jovan Burton – Partnership for Housing Affordability
Janae Craddock/Marty Wegbreit – Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
Damon Duncan – Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority
Douglas Dunlap – City of Richmond Department of Housing and Community Development
Reggie Gordon – City of Richmond Office of Human Services
Tracey Hardney Scott – Housing Chair, NAACP
Kelly King Horne – Homeward
Kathryn Howell/Ben Theresa – VCU/RVA Eviction Lab
Christie Marra– Virginia Poverty Law Center
Heather Mullins Crislip/Monica Jefferson – Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia
LaFonda Page – RRHA Resident/Legal Aid Justice Center
William Poarch - ACTS
Erika Schmale – Richmond Public Schools’ McKinney Vento Homeless Education Specialist
Patrice Shelton – Hillside Court Tenant Council
Alice Tousignant – HD Advisors
Lisa Williamson – Real estate broker, Richmond Property Owners Association, National Association of Residential Property Managers

The first meeting of the Eviction Task Force will take place December 2, 2019, 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the large conference room on the 2nd floor of City Hall, 900 E. Broad Street. Future Eviction Task Force meeting dates, times and locations will be publicized by the City Clerk’s Office and the Mayor’s Office. 

For more information on the Eviction Task Force or the Eviction Diversion Program, contact Osita Iroegbu, the Mayor’s Senior Policy Advisor for Community Engagement, Inclusion and Equity, at Osita.Iroegbu@richmondgov.com.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Richmond City Council unanimously passes Mayor Stoney’s ordinance requiring reporting of lost and stolen firearms


During its November 12 meeting, Richmond City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring any person who loses a gun or has one stolen in the City of Richmond to report the loss or theft to the Richmond Police Department.

The ordinance, proposed by Mayor Stoney and introduced on October 14, intends to prevent the trafficking of lost and stolen guns, which are more likely to be used in criminal offenses. At the time of introduction, 354 firearms had been reported stolen in the City of Richmond.

The legislation aims to prevent gun crimes before they occur by requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police within 24 hours of realizing a loss or theft has occurred. The reporting requirement became effective upon passage.

“I’m thankful City Council took this important step to help prevent gun violence in Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “This reporting requirement isn’t a fix-all, but this additional level of accountability and responsibility will go far toward protecting our community and providing police with another tool to keep our communities safe.”

Mayor Stoney acknowledged the support and assistance of gun safety groups, including Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety and community advocates who have been directly impacted by gun violence.

“This commonsense gun legislation is an important step for the City of Richmond, but it should also serve as a call to action for state lawmakers,” Mayor Stoney said. “I urge members of the General Assembly, both the incumbents and the newly elected, to not just codify this simple change into state law but to embrace the opportunity before them – the opportunity to meaningfully address gun violence in our Commonwealth by approving Governor Northam’s proposed gun safety reforms. Every Virginian deserves to feel safe and secure.”


Richmond City Council also voted on a motion to amend Ordinance No. 2019-288, which proposes prohibiting distracted driving while using a handheld communications device.

The amendment aims to mitigate concerns that the original language required law enforcement to make real-time decisions based on potentially subjective understandings of what constitutes evidence of diverted attention.

The original ordinance reads, in part, “any person who drives a motor vehicle on any public street or highway in the city while using any handheld personal communications device [where such use diverts such person’s attention from the operation of the motor vehicle] is guilty of distracted driving.” The amendment removes the bracketed phrase, clarifying that any use of a handheld communications device while driving constitutes distracted driving. 

The change ensures that drivers within city limits will be held to a uniform standard under the law.

The proposed distracted driving ordinance, with the amended language, has been continued to the December 9 meeting of Richmond City Council.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Richmond Adult Drug Treatment Court commencement ceremony to be held on November 8

The Richmond City Circuit, located in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit will hold a commencement ceremony on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at the Richmond Police Academy, 1202 Graham Road, Richmond, Virginia. The Court will recognize 13 participants who have successfully completed the 18-month Richmond Adult Drug Treatment Court program. This event is open to the public.

Event speakers will include: Presiding Judges C.N Jenkins Jr. and W. Reilly Marchant and Dr. Peter Coleman of the Coleman Institute, who specializes in providing prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment for substance use and addiction.

The Richmond Adult Drug Treatment Court program provides treatment and supervision services to non-violent drug defendants instead of requiring them to serve an active jail sentence. In exchange for successful completion of the treatment program, the court may dismiss the original charge, terminate the defendant from probation, or reduce a felony to a misdemeanor charge. Drug courts are an important component of criminal justice reform, designed to address the underlying causes of criminal behavior by focusing on treatment rather than punishment.

The Richmond Adult Drug Court is a multi-phase program that includes random and frequent drug tests, incentives for positive behavior and graduated sanctions. Those sanctions include short term incarceration periods for failure to meet the program requirements.

The Drug Court team promotes recovery through a coordinated response to a client’s dependency upon alcohol and substances. Team members review each individual case and work together in a collaborative manner. The Richmond Adult Drug Court monitors non-violent offenders with substance use disorders who have pending cases in Richmond’s Circuit Court. Offenders volunteer for the program and participate only after approval from the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney. Each participant must meet all program requirements, which include maintaining gainful employment and abstinence from drugs, alcohol and crime, to successfully complete the program. The participants are also required to attend regular Drug Court hearings in Circuit Court, self-help recovery meetings and group and individual counseling sessions with licensed substance abuse clinicians. In addition, they must perform community service, all while maintaining other obligations at home and work. This integration of court, probation and treatment services leads to higher retention rates in treatment and lower crime and drug use rates following program completion. 

For more information, contact Gloria Jones or Tanisha Moseley with Richmond Adult Drug Court at 804-646-3756 or 804-646-3655, respectively.

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

City to hold series of community town halls to discuss Navy Hill project



Throughout November, the city will hold a series of town hall meetings on the Navy Hill redevelopment proposal. Each of the four meetings will consist of a presentation by the mayor and city officials as well as an opportunity for the public to ask questions. 

Additionally, the mayor will join Navy Hill Development Corporation and Spectra representatives for a brief presentation and meet and greet after the November 2 Navy Hill Advisory Commission meeting. 

Mayor Stoney to host meet and greet with NHDC and Spectra representatives:

Saturday, November 2
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Hickory Hill Community Center
3000 E. Belt Blvd.

Mayor Stoney and city officials to host Navy Hill town halls:

Thursday, November 14
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Carver Elementary School 
1110 W. Leigh St.

Sunday, November 17
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Peter Paul Development Center
1708 N. 22nd St.

Monday, November 18
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Hickory Hill Community Center
3000 E. Belt Blvd.

Tuesday, November 26
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Albert Hill Middle School
3400 Patterson Ave.

For more information on the Navy Hill development project, click here.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mayor appoints Mona Adkins-Easley to serve as Interim Director of Human Resources



Mayor Stoney today announced the appointment of Mona Adkins-Easley to serve as Interim Director of the City of Richmond’s Department of Human Resources.

Ms. Adkins-Easley is an experienced human resources executive who has spent more than 34 years in public service, including serving as the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at Virginia State University for 17 years and in the same title at Norfolk State University for four years, until her retirement in 2018.

Ms. Adkins-Easley also worked for nearly four years at the United States Department of Agriculture as the Director of Higher Education Initiatives, overseeing three national scholarship programs and working with minority and women farmers.  She also worked for five years in various HR roles at Southside Virginia Training Center and served as the second director of the Virginia Council on Human Rights, from 1990 to 1994.

“We’re grateful to have Mona Adkins-Easley come out of retirement to join our team,” said Mayor Stoney. “She has spent her career in public service and has extensive experience in human resources management. Mona has right skill set to oversee the City of Richmond workforce, implement needed reforms and make sure we are prepared every day to serve the residents of our great city.”

Ms. Adkins-Easley will serve in the Interim Human Resources Director role and oversee department reform while the city recruits a permanent director.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in human resources from Virginia Commonwealth University.


“It’s exciting to be a part of the positive change happening in the City of Richmond,” said Ms. Adkins-Easley. “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve, and I look forward to interacting with the employees and citizens and hope that my varied experiences will be an asset to the city.”
 
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