Governor Northam today outlined how Phase 3 of his reopening executive orders will impact Virginia, but he says it is too soon to set a specific date for its implementation. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
Social gatherings will be permitted up 250 people. Retail stores and restaurants will be permitted to resume operations at 100% permitted capacity, but physical distancing guidelines will still have to be followed. Gyms and fitness centers will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Entertainment venues like museums, zoos and other outdoor venues will be able to open at 50% of capacity with a maximum of 1,000 people. Child care facilities will be permitted to open, but overnight summer camps will remain closed.
As for a start date, Northam said Thursday he was not yet prepared to set one:
Roanoke County voters who want to cast in-person absentee ballots for Tuesday’s primary have until Saturday to do so, but the county’s elections office is no longer where you may remember. For decades, it has been in the Tanglewood-area county administration building. Not any more; the elections office is now at 900 Chestnut Street in Vinton, a shorter drive for some county residents, longer for others. Either way, if you wish to vote in advance for Tuesday’s primary, you can do so there without leaving your vehicle. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:
FROM ROANOKE COUNTY:
Registered voters who do not want to vote in-person on June 23rd are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to vote absentee in person. Absentee in-person voting is available from 8 AM to 4 PM through Saturday, June 20 via curbside service at the Roanoke County Department of Elections’ new office, which is located at 900 Chestnut St. in Vinton. Voters will receive a Virginia Absentee Ballot Application to complete and will receive a ballot to vote from the safety of their car once approved. Voters interested in curbside service should call the office at 772-7500 prior to coming and upon arrival. Elections staff will bring the necessary materials out to you in your car. The County Department of Elections will offer curbside absentee in-person voting service Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM through June 19th and on Saturday, June 20th from 8 AM to 4 PM.
Again, the Roanoke County Registrar’s office is now located at 900 Chestnut St. in Vinton. It is no longer at the Roanoke County Administration Building. If you have any questions, please call Roanoke County’s Director of Elections, Anna Cloeter, at 772-7500 or Ken Srpan, Chairman of the Roanoke County Electoral Board, at 797-7358.
COVID-19 SITUATION REQUIRES ROANOKE COUNTY IN-PERSON POLLING CHANGES FOR JUNE 23RD PRIMARY
Due to COVID-19, Roanoke County is unable to open or adequately and safely staff all of our 33 regular polling locations for the upcoming June 23rd Republican Primary Election. As a result, the June 23rd Election will take place in five SUPER-PRECINCTS located in each of the County’s five magisterial districts. This change is TEMPORARY, has been approved by the Virginia Department of Elections, and is only anticipated to be in effect for the June 23rd Election. Registered voters who want to participate in the June 23rd Republican Primary Election must either vote absentee OR in person at their magisterial district’s TEMPORARY SUPER-PRECINCT, which are as follows:
Catawba Magisterial District: GLENVAR MIDDLE SCHOOL 4555 Malus Drive
Hollins Magisterial District: MOUNTAIN VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 5901 Plantation Circle
Windsor Hills Magisterial District: HIDDEN VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL 4902 Hidden Valley School Road
Vinton Magisterial District: WILIAM BYRD HIGH SCHOOL 2902 Washington Avenue
Cave Spring Magisterial District: HIDDEN VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL 5000 Titan Trail
All registered voters in Roanoke County will receive a postcard informing them of their regular precinct/magisterial district assignment and their TEMPORARY SUPER-PRECINCT assignment. The Roanoke County Electoral Board urges voters to bring these cards with them to their TEMPORARY SUPER-PRECINCT on Election Day to ensure that they go to the correct polling location and simplify the check-in process. All five SUPERPRECINCTS will be open from 6 AM to 7 PM on June 23rd.
TEMPORARY SUPER-PRECINCT POLLING PLACES FOR THE JUNE 23RD REPUBLICAN PRIMARY:
CATAWBA MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT voters who regularly vote at:
Grace Assembly of God
Masons Cove Elementary School
Glenvar Middle School
Northside High School
Glen Cove Elementary School
Fort Lewis Baptist Church
Mountain Pass Baptist Church
Fort Lewis Elementary School
. . . will vote in the GLENVAR MIDDLE SCHOOL GYMNASIUM @ 4555 Malus Drive on June 23rd. Voters will enter through Door 16 and should park at the High School.
HOLLINS MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT voters who regularly vote at:
Summerdean Church of the Brethren
Burlington Elementary School
Mountain View Elementary School
Bonsack Baptist Church
. . . will vote in the MOUNTAIN VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GYMNASIUM @ 5901 Plantation Circle on June 23rd. Voters will enter through Door 13 and can use any available parking spots.
WINDSOR HILLS MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT voters who regularly vote at:
Bent Mountain Fire Station
Back Creek Elementary School
Our Lady of Nazareth Church
Oak Grove Elementary School
Cave Spring Baptist Church
The Brambleton Center – Room 16/18 (Left Side)
. . . will vote in the HIDDEN VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL CAFETERIA @ 4902 Hidden Valley School Road on June 23rd. Voters will enter through Door 1 and can use the front parking lots. Voters with accessibility concerns should drive around to the back of the Middle School for additional parking and use Door 4 to enter the polling place.
VINTON MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT voters who regularly vote at:
William Byrd Middle School
Bonsack Elementary School
Vinton Baptist Church
Charles R. Hill Senior Center
William Byrd High School
Mount Pleasant Elementary School
. . . will vote in the WILIAM BYRD HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA @ 2902 Washington Avenue on June 23rd. Voters will enter through the Cafeteria and can use any available parking spaces.
CAVE SPRING MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT voters who regularly vote at:
Penn Forest Elementary School
Penn Forest Worship Center
Church of the Holy Spirit
Green Valley Elementary School
Clearbrook Elementary School
The Brambleton Center – Room
1/Gym (Right Side)
South County Library
. . . will vote in the HIDDEN VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL AUXILIARY GYM @ 5000 Titan Trail on June 23rd. Voters will enter through the Auxiliary Gym and can use any available parking spaces.
The 540 area code is close to running out of available numbers, so a second area code will soon be added within the same footprint, and that means the time is coming when all local calls will require you to dial the area code and the number, 10 digits in all. The State Corporation Commission says the new area code will be 826, but all current telephone numbers will retain the 540 prefix.
(NOTE: A previous version incorrectly stated the new area code would be 626. The news release below contains the corrected version.)
NEWS RELEASE: RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) announced today that the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) has assigned a new area code to western and northern portions of the Commonwealth. The new 826 area code will relieve the future exhaustion of phone numbers in Virginia’s 540 area code.
The 540 area code region currently encompasses a wide swath of the state, including Roanoke in the southwest, Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to the west, Winchester and parts of northern Virginia, and Fredericksburg to the east. The area code was created in 1995, splitting off from the 703 area code. Current estimates predict the available numbers in the 540 area code will be exhausted in 2022.
The relief plan approved by the SCC superimposes the new 826 area code over the same geographic footprint covered by the existing 540 area code region. While 10-digit dialing will now be required for local calls, the Commission determined the overlay solution to be “more durable and/or less disruptive than other alternatives.” Under the plan, no residents and businesses will lose
their current 540 phone numbers.
Following a series of public hearings held in the 540 region in early March, the Commission agreed with the findings of the SCC hearing examiner. The telecommunications industry also prefers the overlay solution, as this relief method is the least disruptive for customers. The SCC’s order directs telecommunications industry service providers to move forward with a proposed 13-month implementation schedule. This includes a six-month period during which calls within the 540 area code can be completed using either 7 or 10-digits. This period is used to ease the transition from 7-digit to 10-digit dialing so customers can be educated on the changes without having calls impacted prior to assignment of the 826 area code.
It is a summer like no other at Virginia colleges and universities – no students on campuses as officials prepare for big changes when the fall semester begins. At Virginia Tech, it will start with move in, staggered over a greater number of days than before, and it will encompass every aspect of life on campus – including dorms, food service and classes. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:
Governor Northam is proposing that Virginia officially adopt Juneteenth as a paid state holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Support expressed Tuesday ranged from the senior House of Delegates leader to music start Pharrell Williams. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States; it is observed each year on June 19th, and like many states, Virginia marks it with a proclamation. Governor Northam says it should become an official holiday, as WFIR’s Evan Jones reports:
Governor Northam is proposing that Virginia officially adopt Juneteenth as a paid state holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Virginia already recognizes Juneteenth through yearly proclamations, but not as an official holiday. It will celebrated this year on Friday.
Among those praising Northam at today’s announcement was Virginia native and music star Pharell Williams, who said Juneteenth deserves the same level of recognition in this country as July 4th. House Republican leaders say they support the proposal.
House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert issued the following statement: “I am proud to add my support to proposed legislation marking June 19th, Juneteenth, as an official state holiday. July 4th is the birthday of our nation, but Juneteenth is the day where it truly began to fulfill its promise of freedom for all. For the first time since enslaved Africans landed at Jamestown in 1619, the chains of bondage were finally cast off. The Republican Party was founded with the express goal of ending slavery, and it still celebrates the legacy of Abraham Lincoln to this day. As the greatest part of that legacy, Juneteenth is the day that the God-given gift of liberty for all Americans was finally proclaimed throughout the land, and it is deserving of its own special recognition and observance.”
Northam News Release: RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he intends to mark Juneteenth as a permanent paid state holiday, starting by giving state employees a day off this Friday, June 19. Virginia has long marked Juneteenth by issuing a proclamation, but the date has not previously been considered a state holiday.
9th District Republican Congressman Morgan Griffith says he generally agrees with calls to reduce the flow of military equipment to local police departments. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security have provided many state and local law enforcement agencies with billions of dollars’ worth of new and used military equipment. The original intent was to combat domestic terrorism, but there is no requirement that the equipment be primarily used that way. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:
The COVID-19 crisis has brought about many changes in our lives, and one of them may involve how you sometimes communicate with your dentist. As WFIR’s Evan Jones reports, “teledentistry” is likely here to stay.
It’s pretty much just like how it sounds. Use your mobile device to have a video conversation with your dentist. Brad Guyton is Chief Dental Officer at Delta Dental of Virginia, and he says your dentist can use such conversations to determine whether you should come in immediately for treatment or hold off – and for how long. Its use really picked up in recent months, and Guyton says Delta Dental is interested because it can help more of the people it insures to connect with dentists, especially in underserved areas.
Roanoke Police have joined fire investigators seeking the cause of an overnight house fire that displaced four residents. Police involvement usually means the possibility of arson is being looked into. Crews were called out just before midnight to Dale Avenue and 7th Street Southeast and arrived to find smoke showing. Officials say one person was treated on scene for minor injuries.
UPDATED NEWS RELEASE: The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Roanoke Fire-EMS and Roanoke Police Department are asking anyone with information about this incident to call either the City of Roanoke’s Fire Marshal’s Office at (540) 853-2795 or the Roanoke Police Department at (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text RPD at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.
PREVIOUS: Thursday, June 11th, at 11:59pm, Roanoke Fire-EMS was dispatched to cross street of Dale Ave and 7th St SE for a fire. Units arrived to find a residential structure with smoke showing. One patient was treated on scene with minor injuries. One dog was rescued from the fire and treated with oxygen. Four residents were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. The cause of the fire is under investigation.