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Free Press staff, wire reports

Stories by Free Press staff, wire

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Gov. Northam announces plan to boost education spending

Just days after a major march in Richmond calling for more state dollars for public education, Gov. Ralph S. Northam announced Tuesday that his next proposed budget will include $268.7 million in additional school funding, including increased spending for new school construction, at-risk students and money to boost teachers’ pay.

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Holiday events underway in city

Richmond will turn on the holiday lights and welcome Santa to Downtown this weekend to officially launch the celebration of the season in the Capital City. First up will be the 34th Annual Grand Illumination on Friday, Nov. 30.

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Recovering: Relief efforts begin to help thousands affected by Hurricane Florence; officials report 37 storm-related deaths, including 2 in Virginia

Remnants of Hurricane Florence swept Richmond into the national spotlight Monday when the storm’s wide-reaching bands of high winds and heavy rains spawned tornadoes and flash flooding.

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Menaced by Florence

Changing forecast for hurricane keeps Virginians on alert

More than 1 million people along the Virginia and Carolina coast fled toward higher ground this week in a mass evacuation ordered just days before the expected arrival of Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 storm and the most powerful to menace the region in nearly three decades.

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Pressley to become first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress

Add the name Ayanna Pressley to the list of African-American underdogs who are achieving unprecedented political success. Ms. Pressley scored a stunning upset of 10-term U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, positioning herself to become the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.

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Friends, family say goodbye to Aretha Franklin in marathon funeral

The “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin was remembered and celebrated in a star-studded marathon funeral service last Friday that drew laughter, tears and, as with any large family gathering, controversy.

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Dr. George T. Walker, composer, music educator and Pulitzer Prize winner, dies at 96

George Theophilus Walker was long ranked among the top American composers of modern classical music.

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Rare Bible that went to moon up for sale

For the collector who has almost everything, there’s still a chance to own a Bible that literally was out of this world.

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Serena ranked 28th in world despite loss

Tennis star Serena Williams said the latest chapter in her sports career is “just beginning” after seeing her hopes of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title dashed last Saturday in the Wimbledon final.

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A battle supreme

Dems, civil rights groups and others gearing up for confirmation fight over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

To President Trump, he’s “a judge’s judge” and “a brilliant legal mind” who deserves swift confirmation.

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Joe Jackson was admired by some, detested by others

When Joe Jackson, the patriarch and architect behind the musical Jackson family dynasty died on June 27, some media organizations focused on the negative stories. However, at least one Richmonder who found his own success in show business, remembers the 89-year-old Mr. Jackson in a more positive light. “Joe Jackson was one of the greatest fathers of all time,” said Steve K. Branch, a former concert promoter and nightclub owner.

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Remembering MLK

People in Richmond and across the nation pause to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death

On the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 50 years ago, tens of thousands of people gathered at small and large events in Richmond and other cities on Wednesday to mourn his death, celebrate his life and rekindle his struggle for economic and social justice.

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‘Black Panther’ continues to smash box office records

The box office hit “Black Panther” is now the top grossing superhero film of all time in the United States. The wildly popular Disney and Marvel release achieved the milestone on Saturday after surpassing fellow Marvel title “The Avengers.”

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‘Black Panther’ pounces on box office

“Black Panther,” the Disney and Marvel Studios’ epic superhero film featuring a largely African-American cast and director, is blowing away audiences and box offices, raking in record amounts from its opening weekend while gaining praise from former First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights icon, chief of staff to Dr. King, dies in Chester

Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker Jr. did all he could to advance civil rights during his long life. He is credited with being the key strategist behind many of the civil rights protests that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led in seeking to end the racial injustice of Jim Crow in the 1960s.

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6 Virginia tribes set for federal recognition

Six Virginia Indian tribes have secured congressional recognition, ending a nearly two-decade fight for official acknowledgment of their place in U.S. history.

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Oprah for president?

That’s the buzz since the 63-year-old media mogul stole the show at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night with her speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

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One down

Trump’s first year in office marked by controversy and protests

Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump took office, his presidency started generating controversy. Photographs showing that the crowd at President Trump’s swearing-in was smaller than at Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration in 2009 caused the first ruckus in his administration — but not the last.

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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs to buy NFL team?

Could the “emperor of hip-hop” be preparing to inject some color into the whites-only ranks of NFL football team owners?

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Tavis Smiley’s shows suspended after sexual misconduct allegations

Tavis Smiley’s Richmond stage presentation, “Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience,” and his nightly PBS talk show have been suspended after an independent investigation launched by PBS uncovered “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct by Mr. Smiley.

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Charlottesville police chief retires in wake of damaging report

The first African-American police chief of Charlottesville abruptly retired Monday, about two weeks after a scathing independent review criticized his “slow-footed response” to violence at a white nationalist rally this summer.

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Serena ties the knot!

Glitter and glamour were served up at the fairy tale-inspired nuptials last week of tennis star Serena Williams and her new husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. disclosed publicly on Friday that he has been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy to slow the progress of the disease.

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Salacious FBI file on Dr. King shows extent to which agency tried to discredit him

A newly released secret FBI dossier on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alleges that the noted civil rights leader was “a slow thinker” who had ties to the Community Party, used the Southern Christian Leadership Council as “a tax dodge,” and engaged in a string of extramarital affairs and sex orgies that produced a love child.

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Obamas choose 2 African-American artists for official presidential portraits

Artist Kehinde Wiley, known for his large, edgy paintings of top music and hip-hop performers such as Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, Notorious B.I.G., Ice T and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, has been commissioned to paint the official presidential portrait of former President Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

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Indicted

Former Trump campaign chairman and deputy face conspiracy, money laundering charges

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his former deputy, Rick Gates of Richmond, were indicted in federal court on Monday in a sharp escalation of U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s five-month-old investigation into alleged Russian efforts to tilt the 2016 election in President Trump’s favor and into potential collusion by his aides.

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Tragedy in Vegas

Sunday’s bloody mass shooting outside casino is the worst massacre in recent U.S. history

The mystery and motive behind mass killer Stephen Paddock — gambler, accountant, auditor and real estate investor — continues to baffle federal authorities and law enforcement officials in Las Vegas who were working on Wednesday to discover what drove the 64-year-old to commit the worst mass murder in modern U.S. history.

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Trump scraps program protecting young undocumented immigrants

President Trump on Tuesday scrapped an Obama era program that protects from deportation immigrants brought illegally into the United States as children, delaying implementation until March and giving a gridlocked Congress six months to decide the fate of almost 800,000 young people.

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Former FBI director James Comey at Howard University

James Comey, the FBI director fired by President Trump in May, has a new job. He will lead and conduct a series of lectures at Howard University and be the keynote speaker at the university’s opening convocation Friday, Sept. 22.

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Independent review slated of Charlottesville events

More than 200 clergy, activists and citizens began a 10-day march this week from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville to Washington in a public show of resistance to the white supremacists who brought violence and death to the city earlier this month.

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Confederate statues go black in Charlottesville

Workers in Charlottesville draped giant black tarps over two statues of Confederate generals on Wednesday to symbolize the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally. The work began around 1 p.m. in Emancipation Park, where a towering monument of Robert E. Lee on horseback stands. Workers gathered around the monument with a large black covering. Some stood in cherry-pickers and others used ropes and poles to cover the statue as onlookers took photos and video.

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Tensions high over North Korea

Are we facing a nuclear war with North Korea? Amid all the issues people are facing in Richmond and elsewhere, President Trump pushed that question front and center this week.

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Personality: Julie Anderson

Spotlight on 2017 Star of Life Award winner

Growing up as the child of a paramedic and a firefighter, Julie Anderson says she never worried about her parents’ safety, even after her father was burned and hurt his back in two separate incidents

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Faith group opposes Trump on voting data request

A national network of progressive faith organizations is rallying support for officials in Virginia and 43 other states and the District of Columbia who have rebuffed a Trump administration effort to collect detailed personal information on voters as part of a probe of alleged voter fraud.

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KKK in Charlottesville outnumbered

Klan rally draws more than 1,000 counterprotesters

More than 1,000 people turned out to shout down a group of Ku Klux Klan members last Saturday at a Charlottesville park where a few dozen hate group members and supporters waving Confederate flags and signs with anti-Semitic messages held a rally.

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Morehouse College grad named new interim president

Harold Martin Jr., a 2002 Morehouse College graduate and secretary of its Board of Trustees, has been named interim president of the all-male institution that is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The board announced the selection of Mr. Martin on June 26. He replaces William J. “Bill” Taggart, who died in June from an aneurysm.

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U.S. Supreme Court decisions change church-state separation, allow partial Muslim ban

The First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom has barred the government from meddling with or taxing churches and other faith-based institutions. In exchange, religious institutions generally have not been entitled to receive taxpayer funding. No more.

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No fear of KKK

Charlottesville leaders, including clergy and NAACP, plan positive activities for Saturday in response to Klan protest

Charlottesville residents refuse to buckle under fear in the face of a Ku Klux Klan rally planned for Saturday in a public park.

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Teenage shooter involved in infamous D.C. Sniper Case to get new sentencing hearing

A federal judge tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia’s most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

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Basquiat work sells for record $110.5M

A little-seen painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that sold for $19,000 in 1984 soared to an astounding $110.5 million at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art last week.

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Cornell Brooks out as head of national NAACP

“We’ll continue to move forward, we’ll continue to organize and we’ll continue to seek to recruit young people to carry on the work, ” said James E. “J.J.” Minor III president of the Richmond Branch NAACP.

Trump’s budget plan raises hackles, skepticism with deep cuts to social programs

Angry Democrats and skeptical Republicans are fighting back against attempts by administrative officials to defend President Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget that slashes safety net programs for the poor, targeting food stamps, Medicaid and student loan forgiveness, while relying on rosy projections about the nation’s economic growth to balance the budget within 10 years.

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Russian roulette

Feds pull out big gun to oversee Trump investigation

Did President Trump fire FBI Director James Comey for refusing to shut down a criminal investigation against the president’s crony, retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who briefly served as national security adviser?

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Charlottesville City Council votes to sell Lee statue

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has taken one more step toward leaving the city of Charlottesville. Despite a pending court case, the Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 Monday to sell the city’s statue of the Confederate general which now stands in the center of the city.

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Obamacare lives; Trumpcare DOA

Obamacare lives! That was the jubilant cry last week as President Trump’s attempt to roll back health insurance for millions of Americans suffered a stunning defeat.

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Va. redistricting cases winding through state, federal courts

In a slap at Virginia’s Republican-led majority in the General Assembly, the U.S. Supreme Court has directed a lower federal court to reassess whether lawmakers unlawfully tried to dilute the clout of African-American voters when it drew a series of state legislative districts six years ago.

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Sessions seeks to revive federal anti-crime program that targeted African-Americans

New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to revive 1990s law-and-order strategies that pumped up the nation’s prison population to the highest level in the world to fight the recent surge in urban violence.

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Report forecasts millions would lose health insurance under Trumpcare

Fears that the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would wipe out health insurance for millions of mostly low-income people appear to be highly accurate.

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‘Trumpcare’ health plan would strip insurance from millions

Impressed by President Trump’s campaign promises to make health care more affordable, Mavis Reivis crossed her fingers and voted for him.

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