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Jeremy Lazarus

Stories by Jeremy

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Historic city credit union seeks new growth

Amid the recovery from the Great Depression, 10 African-American Richmond educators organized a new credit union for teachers in the city that would provide the personal touch and financial services then largely unavailable to them at most banks in segregated Richmond.

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$3.4B:City Council approves 2018-2020 spending plan

Richmond high school students will be able to take unlimited free rides on GRTC buses beginning July 1. Organized activities for city youths also will be beefed up starting in July, with city recreation centers operating longer hours and after-school programs at elementary and middle schools being upgraded.

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School Board member proposes more money for maintenance

A Richmond School Board member hopes his colleagues will agree to a plan that could shift a few more dollars to address a long list of school maintenance needs.

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Bus stop creates problems before it starts

A new bus stop that will serve 60 to 70 buses a day near the Boulevard is creating an uproar even before it goes into operation in late June as part of GRTC’s overhaul of its transit network.

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City resident awaits word on trash fees

That has been City Hall’s response to Free Press reports about its failure to relieve qualifying Richmond residents of the $23.79 a month cost for trash collection and recycling service.

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City Council poised to scrap residency requirement for top officials

For nearly three decades, City Hall executives have been required to move into the city within a year of being hired.

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Room to grow

Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School seeks to expand with help from city

A private Episcopal school in the East End that currently offers a tuition-free education to l08 children mostly from low-income families living in public housing is working with the city to buy an acre of land for its first big expansion.

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Franklin Street travel lanes being revamped for bikes, ‘floating parking’

Congestion warning: Franklin Street in Downtown is about to shrink to one lane of traffic except during the morning rush hour from 6 to 9 a.m., when two travel lanes will be open.

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New teen career, college center planned by Boys & Girls Clubs

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond is moving forward to develop a new $5 million teen center in the East End with a focus on providing career and college guidance for 15- to 18-year-olds.

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No more money for school maintenance

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras is alarmed. He just found out that, as of March 31, RPS has only $881,143 left through June 30 to spend on school maintenance needs.

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Pulse to start service June 24

That’s the day GRTC will launch the biggest overhaul of bus service in generations, one the company hopes that regular riders will cheer and that will bring new people to use public transit.

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City developing policy, procedure for admissions tax

The director of the Richmond Finance Department will not seek legislation to reform the assessment and collection of admissions taxes.

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Warning: Smoking may cause eviction

New smoke-free policy takes effect Aug.1 for all RRHA properties, including 4,000 public housing units in city

Residents of public housing in Richmond are facing a ban on smoking in three months.

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City doesn’t publicize exemption from trash fees for elderly, disabled renters

City Hall is quietly blocking elderly and disabled renters from receiving free trash and recycling services, the Free Press has learned — a benefit the city has offered for nearly 14 years and which currently is worth $23.79 a month or $285.48 a year.

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Herring’s new policy seeks to eliminate cash bond system

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring is stepping up his efforts to eliminate the cash bond system that forces people to stay in jail while awaiting trial because they cannot afford to put up the money or property for bail or to pay the fee of a bail bonding company willing to do it.

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City eliminates $240,000 admissions tax debt of Richmond Jazz Festival

Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s administration has quietly eliminated the estimated $240,000 in admissions taxes that the popular Richmond Jazz Festival owed the city, three highly placed sources have told the Free Press.

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80¢ cigarette tax goes up in smoke at City Council

Richmond smokers will not have to pay an extra 80 cents for a pack of cigarette. After hearing from more than 50 speakers and nearly an hour of debate, Richmond City Council, with a 6-3 vote, killed a proposal to impose a city tax on cigarettes that Councilman Parker C. Agelasto, 5th District, had spearheaded.

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Pulse driving businesses down

Transit construction has hurt Downtown establishments

By Jeremy M. Lazarus Richmond City Councilwoman Kim B. Gray has been getting an earful from restaurants and businesses along Broad Street that have seen customer numbers fall and revenues shrink during the 20-month construction of Pulse, GRTC’s new bus rapid transit system

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Henrico hotel pays workers with free lodging

An aging hotel in Henrico County has found a way to virtually eliminate wages. Instead of money, employees get a room in exchange for working 40 hours a week checking in guests, doing maintenance work, cleaning rooms or filling other needed roles.

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Can Richmond afford 4 planned new schools?

One unanswered question hovers as the Richmond School Board and schools Superintendent Jason Kamras push the city to seek bids for new buildings to replace four aging schools: Can the city afford them?

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Health systems securing naming rights to GRTC’s Pulse

Richmond area taxpayers apparently will not have to spend as much to subsidize rides on GRTC’s new bus rapid transit service, also known as Pulse, thanks to two area health care giants, VCU Health System and Bon Secours Richmond Health System. 

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Mayor on hook for school modernization plan with charter change signing

Backed by a unanimous legislature, Gov. Ralph S. Northam has signed a new charter measure for Richmond that will require Mayor Levar M. Stoney to come up with a fully funded plan for modernizing every city school without a tax increase or explain why he cannot.

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Confederate flag replaced at Riverview Cemetery

A Confederate flag flying in Riverview Cemetery in Richmond’s West End has been replaced with a new banner — the Christian flag, a white banner with a red cross centered in a small, blue square in the flag’s top left corner.

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Medicaid expansion, state budget talks continue

Virginia’s budget impasse remained unresolved Wednesday as the Virginia House and Senate adjourned about 90 minutes into the special session called by Gov. Ralph S. Northam without taking any action.

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Evicted

Richmond ranks No.2 nationally in displacing people from their homes and apartments by eviction

Marcel Slag has been fighting evictions for 28 years as a lawyer with Central Virginia Legal Aid and its now independent Justice Center.

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104-year-old city real estate firm sold

Brothers Jeffrey Finn and John S. Finn Jr. are breathing new life into the oldest African-American-owned real estate company in continuous operation in Richmond.

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City natural gas price going down

Richmond residents who cook and heat with natural gas will get a price break on its cost next month because of a sharp jump in production.

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Joe Morrissey disbarred for violating State Bar rules

“Fighting Joe” has been hit with a knockout blow. For the second time in his career, Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey, a savvy attorney and former Richmond prosecutor who built a reputation as a courtroom battler, has lost his license to practice law.

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Why is it flying?

The Confederacy may have been defeated, but the flags of the rebels who fought to separate from the United States to keep black people in bondage still fly in city-owned cemeteries.

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Medicaid expansion to be key in state budget battle April 11

The high-stakes battle over Virginia’s next two-year budget resumes next Wednesday, April 11. On the line: Expansion of health care to 300,000 to 400,000 low-income Virginians, pay raises for state workers and teachers, and increased state support for education, mental health and workforce development.

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City Hall fends off ransomware attack

The Richmond City Hall information technology staff has fended off the same kind of ransomware attack that crippled city computers in Atlanta for more than a week.

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Annie Giles, community activist, dies at 81

As a minister’s daughter, Annie Marie Turner Giles felt driven to help others overcome problems and challenges in the Whitcomb Court public housing community in the city’s East End.

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VUU president seeks dismissal of fraud lawsuit

Virginia Union University President Hakim J. Lucas is fighting back against an explosive lawsuit from his former employer, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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U.S. Census Bureau: City population continues to grow

Richmond’s population has jumped above 227,000 people for the first time in at least 40 years, and current trends suggest the capital city’s population should easily exceed 230,000 residents when the mandatory 10-year census is taken in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Morrissey found to have violated a State Bar rule

Attorney Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey moved a step closer this week to being disbarred for the second time in his legal career after a three-judge panel upheld one count of serious misconduct against him.

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Residency requirement could be scrapped for all but key city employees

Two members of Richmond City Council are seeking to largely scrap a 25-year-old policy of requiring city executives, managers and council appointees and staff to live in the city — ensuring they would be closer to the people they serve and also would contribute to the city through tax payments on their homes, cars and purchases.

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City Council calls for Washington team to pay its way or end relationship

Will Washington’s pro football team continue to run a summer training camp in Richmond after 2020? That question is expected to be decided after Mayor Levar M. Stoney and team representatives hold talks, likely in May, on a potential extension of the current agreement.

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Heating repairs still needed on 104 public housing units

Heat has been restored to more than 300 public housing units, but work still needs to be completed in more than 100 other units.

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China’s new policy threatening recycling in U.S.

At least half the cans, bottles, plastics and paper collected for recycling used to end up in one place — China. Now China has decided to stop accepting most of the recycled materials that it once purchased. And that decision is having huge ripple effects on recycling programs in Richmond, as well as other communities in this country and overseas.

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City Democratic Committee election overturned

The Richmond City Democratic Committee has been temporarily shut down and its current officers, including its politically connected chairman, James E. “J.J.” Minor III, removed after an arm of the state Democratic Party nullified the recent election, the Free Press has learned.

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Wilder sues VCU president, dean of school named for him

He may be 86, but former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder is showing Virginia Commonwealth University he is not to be trifled with.

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Henry L. Marsh III to introduce his memoir

He had his sights set on making his living as a truck driver. Then Henry L. Marsh III went with a group of high school buddies to hear a school desegregation case in Richmond, and that experience changed his life.

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Joe Morrissey fights to save his law license on March 26

Once again, Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey is in a fight to save his law license. A three-judge panel is gearing up to decide his future to practice law.

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Former Highland Park church to become affordable housing

A derelict church building on North Side is headed for conversion into 76 apartments. The new apartments would replace the long vacant former Mizpah Presbyterian Church in the 1200 block of East Brookland Park Boulevard near the Six Points intersection in Highland Park.

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VCU center developing master plan for historic Evergreen Cemetery

Richmond’s biggest university is taking a role in restoring the historic, but neglected Evergreen Cemetery. The Enrichmond Foundation, the new owner of the 127-year-old African-American cemetery, has hired the center for Urban and Regional Analysis in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs to create a master plan for the burial ground, which includes the graves of such notables as banker and businesswoman Maggie L. Walker and newspaper editor and banker John Mitchell Jr.

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Proposed city budget includes $900,000 boost for GRTC

As construction is taking place on Richmond’s new bus rapid-transit system, City Hall is proposing to boost the GRTC subsidy to cover operating losses after July 1.

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City vehicle registration fee headed to Attorney General

Richmond’s $33 annual vehicle registration fee for cars and $38 fee for trucks are the maximum allowed by law, according to City Attorney Allen L. Jackson.

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City Council poised to revive Human Relations Commission

Richmond soon could have a new Human Relations Commission as a platform to hear and investigate residents’ complaints about bias, bigotry and discrimination in areas ranging from race and religion to gender orientation, disability and pregnancy.

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General Assembly approves city charter change for school modernization

By Jeremy M. Lazarus 40-0 in the state Senate.

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Winners and losers

Mayor Levar M. Stoney offers details of his $1.42B, 2-year budget plan

High school students would be able ride GRTC buses without charge on an unlimited basis for a year. After-school programs for city youths would be expanded by enabling six city recreation centers to stay open longer and through support for programs offered by the YMCA, the YWCA and several other youth-serving groups.

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