Top Stories of the Week (So Far) 2/1/17

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Written by Brandon Jarvis

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A new push in Petersburg encourages residents and business owners to ‘adopt’ their neighborhood fire hydrant to try and help the city with repairs and upkeep.

“We’re asking people in the city to adopt a fire hydrant nearest to their home or their business, hoping that they will make phone calls to city hall or to either public utilities to make them aware that they want to know what’s going on with the hydrants in the city,” Gene Beemer with the Petersburg Professional Firefighters Association said.

To adopt, it doesn’t cost a thing, Beemer explained.

The drive, started by the Petersburg Professional Firefighters Association, wants every hydrant to have someone who is consistently calling and checking on when the last time it was inspected and the results of that inspection.

“We’ve had an ongoing problem for the last six to eight months with three confirmed fires where they have had hydrants that did not work,” Beemer said.

The mayor says 85 percent of the hydrants in the city have been checked, but there is still a lot of work to do.


“We still have work to do because council we’re not happy unless 100% of our fire hydrants have been checked,” Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said.

The fire union says they still know of more than 35 hydrants that are not working properly.



A 17 year old Huguenot High School football player shot seven times in South Richmond early Wednesday and according to his family his expected to survive.

The 17-year-old senior underwent surgery after being shot in his neck, stomach leg and arm around 1 a.m. at the Greystone Place Apartments. Investigators say two men forced their way into the residence on Afton Avenue, near Bellemeade Road and Jefferson Davis Highway, but relatives say he was not the gunman’s intended target.

The teen was in critical condition with life-threatening injuries at the hospital, but relatives say he is now recovering.

The victim reported the suspects wore dark clothing, masks, and gloves.

Police spent the overnight hours scouring the area and knocking on doors to search for answers. They say there is no motive for the shooting at this time.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Richmond police at 804-646-5112.


The school’s president, Michael Rao, says they will continue to protect their students.

“Many of you have understandably expressed concern and anxiety about the impact of the U.S. Presidential Executive Order that for the next 90 days bans visa and green card holders of seven countries from entering the United States. Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. The executive order also halts the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.

There is much confusion and uncertainty over the implications of the executive order. As reported in the press today, courts have already issued emergency stays of some aspects of the executive order. We are very closely monitoring developments and have sought direct guidance from the state Attorney General’s Office on the range of issues and deep concerns affecting our students, faculty, staff and community that may stem from the order. Virginia Attorney General Herring has issued a public statement indicating that he is working with the governor to explore “any options we may have to oppose this un-American, discriminatory, and misguided action.”

We have joined with hundreds of other higher education leaders to call for continued protections and access for our students affected by the DACA program, and the university is working broadly to examine how we can support our community members affected by this new executive order.

In the interim, as a practical matter we join universities from around the country in recommending that students, faculty and staff from the restricted countries avoid non-essential travel outside the United States until the full implications of the situation are clarified unless they consult with an immigration attorney. VCU’s Global Education Office Immigration Services also is available for information at (804) 828-8471.

The international members of our community enrich our academic, research and clinical missions while serving to actualize VCU’s core value of diversity. Our commitment to our international students, faculty, staff and patients is unwavering. We will continue to do everything within the law to support and advocate for the international members of our community.”



The Richmond Police Department is conducting a death investigation into a fatal shooting that occurred last night on the city’s south side.

At approximately 10:47 p.m., Sunday, January 29, RPD officers responded to a report of a gunshot victim who had arrived at Chippenham Hospital. The victim, Mikequan Blakey, 21, of the 3200 block of Ransom Hills Road, Chesterfield was pronounced dead at 10:55 p.m.

A report minutes earlier of random gunfire in the 1000 block of Forestview School Drive helped officers identify the crime scene where the shooting took place.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Major Crimes Detective Mark Godwin at (804) 646-5533 or contact Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or at

Submit tips to GUN250 about persons illegally possessing guns by texting Crime Stoppers at 274637, then using keyword “GUN250” followed by your tip. Rewards up to $250. Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.



By David Jablonski

The Dayton Flyers have a growing rivalry with Virginia Commonwealth, but it will never match what VCU has with its crosstown Atlantic 10 rivals, Richmond.

The Rams and Spiders meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Siegel Center. For VCU, it’s the third straight home game against a team in first place.

La Salle shared first place when VCU won 90-52 on Jan. 22. Dayton was all alone in first place when VCU won 73-68 on Friday. Richmond (13-8) begins the week atop the standings at 7-2. Dayton (15-5) and VCU (16-5) are a half game back at 6-2. Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and La Salle are all 5-3.

PREVIEW: Dayton at Fordham

After a 5-0 start in league play, Richmond lost 75-59 to Dayton and 82-77 George Mason. It got back on track last week by beating Rhode Island 73-62 and Duquesne 101-90.

“I think we’re confident,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said Monday on the weekly A-10 coaches teleconference. “I feel we’ve played well.”

VCU swept the two-game series last season. Two years ago, Richmond swept the series but lost to VCU in the A-10 tournament.

“I think the game itself has always been bigger than the standings and whatever’s surrounding it,” Mooney said. “The intensity and emotions of the game have always stood alone. When we play there or play VCU here, the game, the excitement and the buzz around the city, all those things are felt in a really big way.”

Rebounding will be a key stat category when the teams meet. VCU beat Dayton by dominating the boards and outscoring UD 26-8 in second-chance points. The Rams lead the A-10 in rebounding margin (plus 7.4 in conference games). Richmond ranks 13th (minus 5.0).

“It’s what we have to do if we want to be successful,” VCU coach Will Wade said. “We’ve got to pound the glass. We’ve got to offensive rebound the ball to help our shooting percentage. That’s the type of team we have this year. If we don’t rebound the ball well, we’re not going to play well.”

VCU and Richmond meet for a second time Feb. 17 at Richmond.

RPI update: Dayton is still the top-ranked A-10 team in the RPI at No. 31. VCU is one spot back. Here’s where the rest of the league ranks: No. 47 Rhode Island; No. 91 La Salle; No. 101 St. Bonaventure; No. 105 St. Joseph’s; No. 109 Richmond; No. 110 Davidson; No. 126 George Mason; No. 128 George Washington; No. 159 Massachusetts; No. 210 Fordham; No. 226 Duquesne; No. 245 Saint Louis.

March Madness: In his most recent bracket update, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has three A-10 teams in the big dance: No. 9 seed Dayton vs. No. 8 Michigan State in Tulsa; No. 10 VCU vs. 7 Xavier in Greenville, S.C.; and No. 14 Richmond vs. No. 3 Butler in Milwaukee.




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