September 3, 2020: Albemarle's Confederate statue to come down on September 12
Today’s Patreon-fueled shout-out comes from a patron who wants to say:
“Vote. That's it. Just vote. Vote early. Take your friends to vote early. Vote in person. Vote early! Did I already mention that?” He did, and now he has two shout-outs left!
The Virginia Department of Health reports another 1,126 cases of COVID-19 this morning for a total of 123,668 to date. There are another eleven deaths for a total of 2,652 to date in Virginia. Nationwide there have been 184,083 deaths as of yesterday according to the Centers for Disease Control. In Virginia, the statewide rate for positive tests remains at 7.7 percent today.
The Thomas Jefferson Health District Reports another 47 cases today with 33 of those from Charlottesville, eight from Albemarle, two from Fluvanna, three from Louisa and one from Nelson. There are three more deaths for a total of 56 in the district. The positive test rate in the district is at 7.1 percent for a second straight day.
The University of Virginia COVID-19 tracker reports another seven cases today, all students.
The end is near for Confederate markers that are currently outside the Albemarle County Courthouse in downtown Charlottesville. They will be dismantled on September 12, but there will be no provisions for in-person public viewing. Doug Walker is the deputy county executive.
“On the 12th, that Saturday, we expect work will begin around sun-up and by the time the work is complete it will be late that day or early on Sunday, we expect the statues, the cannons, and the cannonball will be removed,” Walker said.
Walker said the restrictions due to COVID-19 mean the county will not have a public event but a Facebook Live event will televise the entire removal, including lectures, interviews and conversations about the statue and the future of Court Square.
“We think that the show will be compelling and we know it will also offer the best vantage to watch the removal happen in real time,” Walker said. “We appreciate the community’s support in attending with us together, but at a distance.”
Supervisors will review offers to purchase the materials at a special meeting on September 8. Localities in Virginia have only been to consider removal of Confederate statues since a new law went into effect on July 1.
Yesterday, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville held its annual Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring, an event that began in 1992 as a way to promote volunteerism and charity. This year’s event was a little different due to the pandemic, as explained by United Way Board Chair Juandiego Wade at the kickoff breakfast.
“This is a very special day of caring, different from one we’ve ever held before, but it will be an amazing day,” Wade said. “There is so much important work to accomplish.”
Wade said needs are much greater this year due to the economic slowdown.
“It has been a challenging year for everyone, especially for the communities of color who have been disproportionately impact by COVID-19,” Wade said. “We all have seen the terrible impact of this pandemic but our community has demonstrated that we can come together even in a socially distanced atmosphere to lend a hand to those who are most in need.”
This year, over 600 people volunteered and about 25 projects took place in on September 2 according to community outreach coordinator Anna Porter. She said in total there are about 80 Day of Caring projects taking place this week in person and virtually.
Charlottesville City Schools begin their academic year on Tuesday with virtual learning. That’s changed the dynamic for teachers who usually need to ensure there are enough school supplies to serve pupils in a given classroom. Now, that teacher needs to make sure there are enough for students spread across other spaces connected through virtual platforms. To help cover the cost, the Parent-Teacher Organizations from across the city are raising funds. Chris Meyer is the co-chair of Jackson-Via Elementary School.
“This is of course different than our normal school year and will require different sets of tools, learning materials for students, and thus increase costs and expenses that all too quickly come out of teachers’ own pockets,” Meyer said.
All of the city’s PTO groups have come together to raise funds for the Ready to Teach, Ready to Learn CCS Reopening Fund. The funding will be split among city schools based on the number of students who are on free and reduced lunch. Proceeds can be used to cover the cost of Internet, fees for Virtual Learning Centers, and physical materials that teachers might consider necessary.
“We’re already approved our first distribution so the teachers and administrators will have resources available to them this week to purchase materials so they can get those in the hands of students and families and support them,” Meyer said.
The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation is providing administrative support for the effort.
The owners of Edgecomb’s Imported Auto have announced they will close the business at the end of September. The company began operations in 1979 and according to a blog post, business has been down sharply since the pandemic began.
“With travel and commuting at a minimum due to the Covid-19 pandemic, revenue has simply not kept up with expenses,” reads the post. ”Combined with changes in the industry that favor much larger operations, it became clear that, like all good things, Edgecomb’s Imported Auto was destined to end.”
Today in meetings, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission meets at 7 p.m. and will have a public hearing on an annual report that has the acronym CAPER. That stands for the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report and it takes a look at how federal funding for affordable housing projects has been spent in the city of Charlottesville and surrounding counties.
The TJPDC will also approve a plan for Nelson County to use $350,000 of its CARES COVID-19 relief funding for a grant program to provide relief for small businesses. There is also the possibility that the Commissioners will publicly announce the purchase of property for new offices for the TJPDC.