October 12, 2020: Today is Indigenous Peoples' Day in Virginia

  
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The forecast today calls for a Monday, and the world has answered with October 12, 2020. This is the Charlottesville Community Engagement newscast and newsletter and I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in Virginia, and this is the final we’ll hear this Patreon-fueled shout-out

"Early voting is underway for all registered voters. Vote in-person or request a ballot by mail. Register to vote by October 13. Visit elections.virginia.gov/registration/voter-forms"

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Today is the first time ever that Virginia will commemorate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Governor Ralph Northam made the proclamation on Friday. 

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the resilience of our tribal communities and promotes reconciliation, healing, and continued friendship with Virginia’s Indian tribes,” Northam said in a video message. “In making this proclamation, we pay tribute to the culture, history, and many contributions of Virginia Indians and recommit to cultivating strong government-to-government partnerships that are grounded in mutual trust and respect.”

In all, there are eleven state-recognized tribes, seven of which are federally recognized. One of the latter is the Monacan Indian Nation which has spent much of the past year raising awareness of the historical significance of Rassawek near the confluence of the Rivanna River and James River. 

The James River Water Authority (JRWA) had been planning to place a water pump station at the site for a public water supply for Zion Crossroads, but pressure from an onslaught of public comments has them looking now at alternative locations. The JRWA has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, but there is no agenda. (meeting page)

To learn more about the Monacan Nation, read this March 2018 piece in C-Ville Weekly by Erin O’Hare.  

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As the week begins, Virginia’s statewide seven-day average for positive PCR tests is at 4.5 percent this morning, back where it was on October 1. Over the weekend, the Virginia Department of Health added another 2,921 cases but the more meaningful number to consider is that the seven-day average of new daily cases is 1,002. 

In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are another 28 cases reported this morning, with the seven-day average for new cases is at 29. The seven-day average for positive tests is now at 4 percent, down from 5.2 percent last Monday. 

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On Friday, the Virginia Mercury published a draft copy of the Northam administration’s plans for COVID vaccinations. The working document was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. The 59 page document lays out how a limited vaccine might be distributed beginning in November, but states that any vaccine would be approved or licensed through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through an Emergency Use Authorization. 

Such a plan is intended to control supply, and states that the VDH will partner with commercial entities such as grocery chains to “reach the initial population of focus.”  A “preparedness gap” on page 17 estimates it will cost $71 million to support local health districts in setting up mass vaccination clinics. 

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The city of Charlottesville will hold a second wave of economic relief grants for businesses . The application process for Small Business Relief Grant 2.0 opens next Monday and offers funding of up to $5,000 for businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees, and up to $10,000 for larger companies. Funding can be used for “operating expenses or adaptive resiliency efforts.” All businesses in the city are eligible to apply, but there are some caveats.

“Priority is given to those businesses that are considered retail, restaurant, hospitality, tourism, and service related,” reads the notice on the city’s website. “A limited amount of grants will be awarded to non-profit organizations, whose primary focus is connected to hospitality, tourism, or supporting economic development/business causes.”

A webinar will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for those who are interested in learning more. There is $825,000 allocated to this round.

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