Cindy Huang

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Reality TV star: ‘I’m not the drama queen’

Reality TV is a breeding ground for drama and squabbles. But one star, Lisa Nicole Cloud of Bravo’s “Married to Medicine,” is focused on being positive. “I wanted to see a different portrayal of African-American women on TV,” said Ms. Cloud, an entrepreneur and cast member on the Atlanta-based reality show about the lives of women doctors and women married to doctors. Ms. Cloud talked with the Free Press during her recent trip to Richmond, where she was a keynote speaker at a business conference.

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Urban garden’s reach grows deeper into city’s ‘food deserts’

An urban garden that started out selling fresh produce and fruit at discount to two Richmond convenience stores will grow to serve 13 stores by this summer. But Tricycle Gardens wants to be more than a fresh food provider for Richmond’s food desert pockets. The nonprofit farm wants to be a magnet for grocery stores and farms in those pockets by highlighting the demand for fresh foods. “We want to show there’s a vibrant food community,” said Tricycle Gardens project manager Claire Sadeghzadeh.

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Bedden pushes back

Mayor Jones’ call to close schools met with resistance

Superintendent Dana T. Bedden is politely rebuffing Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ call for closing more schools and squeezing students into the remaining buildings. Instead, Dr. Bedden and his staff are telling the School Board that the only way to close existing buildings is for the city to invest tens of millions of dollars more in new buildings that could accommodate larger numbers of students.

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Power in the word

Performing spoken word helps 15-year-old Leslie Reyes deal with the gruesome death she witnessed at age 9 of a 16-year-old friend. With a steady voice, Leslie tells a packed audience of more than 100 people that she watched her best friend die from gunshot wounds in El Salvador. She tells the room of mostly strangers about the “blood-covered gauze and stitched up holes on his shoulder and leg.”

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Pastor gets the boot

Parson departs amid Richmond Christian Center’s move to survive

More than a year after filing for bankruptcy, the Richmond Christian Center is gaining a fresh shot at survival after seizing financial power from founding pastor Stephen A. Parson Sr. The pastor, who launched RCC in his living room more than 31 years ago, is no longer a member of the church’s ruling Board of Trustees and has been stripped of control of the church’s bank account.

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Richmond Unitarian church starts pledge to end racism

The Birmingham Pledge to end racism is painted on the wall of the city’s police headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. “I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity ...” the pledge on the wall reads. A painting of four white and black boys with their arms around each other accompanies the pledge, which first circulated around Birmingham about two decades ago.

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Residents spar over views on local policing

Richmond residents clashed Tuesday at a community forum on whether they believe the city has a policing problem. Several older residents viewed the Richmond Police Department as a benevolent force. They questioned whether a local discussion about police misconduct and brutality is necessary, even as young people have taken to the streets to protest discriminatory police practices across the country. “This is 2015,” said longtime Richmond resident Carrie Cox at the community gathering dubbed the “Peeps and Police Community Conversations,” held at the Richmond Police Training Academy. “We have the best department in the world.”

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#BlackLivesMatter: It’s not your parents’ revolution

Black lives matter to Evandra Catherine. And that means more than fixing a broken criminal justice system. “Black Lives Matter doesn’t only focus on police brutality. Black lives also matter in systematic things like housing, education, looking for jobs, wages,” said Ms. Catherine, referring to the Black Lives Matter movement, a grassroots network of organizations and community leaders working to improve the lives of black people on all fronts.

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