News to Know for March 16: RPS calendar update; Stimulus payments; Statewide tornado drill

News to Know for March 16: RPS calendar update; Stimulus payments; Statewide tornado drill
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a quick look at our top headlines before you head out the door.

Cloudy, With Spotty Rain

Cloudy and cold with areas of light rain possible through the day.

Drizzle or light rain. Best chance in the morning. Lows in the mid 30s, highs in the low 40s.

Tuesday Forecast: Cloudy, Cold, with some spotty light rain

Four Fires In Henrico

Crews in Henrico battled four fires within 12 hours.

The first fire occurred on March 15 on an outside deck at 3:30 p.m. in a townhouse community near Staples Mill Road and I-295.

Lonepine Road Fire
Lonepine Road Fire (Source: Henrico Fire)

A second fire occurred just before 7 p.m. in the 8600 block of Lonepine Road. The second fire occurred inside a room in a single-family home.

At 11:27 p.m., Henrico fire units responded to the 5600 block of Trafalger Park, London Towne Apartment Complex, for the report of a fire.

The fourth fire occurred just before 1:00 a.m. on March 16. Units responded to the 2800 block of Burnlake Court.

Richmond Warehouse Fire

Crews say no injuries were reported after a fire occurred at a warehouse in Richmond.

Smoke and flames could be seen coming from the warehouse.

It took crews 30 minutes to get the fire under control.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

RPS Calendar Update

Richmond school leaders decided Monday night not to move forward with Superintendent Jason Kamras’ recommendation for year-round school for the upcoming year.

The decision came about five hours into the virtual meeting and two-and-a-half hours after public comment on the topic.

(Source: Richmond Public Schools)

The upcoming school year will begin with a traditional calendar on Sept. 7, 2021.

Still Haven’t Received Your Stimulus Yet?

If you have not gotten your stimulus check yet, you are not alone. The differences between why some have already gotten the $1,400 payment and why some are still waiting, comes down to your bank and delivery method.

The new payments have an effective date of March 17, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It’s an automated payment, and the Internal Revenue Service has already sent the banks the information for them.

(Source: WBTV)

If you have direct deposit and received a check previously, you should see your check as soon as March 17.

However, if you opted for a mailed check, or qualify for the first time, the process may take longer.

SNAP Benefits Update

Advocates are heralding legislation loosening eligibility rules for food stamps as the most significant expansion of public benefits in Virginia since the state expanded Medicaid four years ago.

The bill, which passed the General Assembly last month with unanimous support, will open up the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to an estimated 25,000 additional families — bringing in more than $100 million in federal aid the state has effectively been rejecting.

(Source: DCFS)

To qualify for SNAP benefits under Virginia’s current rules, an applicant must earn 130 percent of the federal poverty threshold, which for a family of three is set at $28,236 per year.

Under the new rules, applicants making 200 percent of the threshold or lower would be eligible, which works out to just under $44,000 for a family of three or $25,760 for an individual.

P-EBT Program

More help is on the way for families who have struggled to pay for meals during virtual or hybrid learning.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer or P-EBT program has been extended through the end of the school year.

The expansion of benefits will include students attending public schools under a hybrid model.

Previously, benefits were only for students attending all virtual.

FEMA Federal Funding

FEMA awarded $37 million in federal funding to help vaccination efforts in Virginia.

The funds will go to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to establish mobile vaccination units in vulnerable population areas.

These mobile units will be able to administer up to 250 vaccinations per day.

In-Person Learning In Hopewell

Middle and high school students in Hopewell will be returning to the classroom.

Students who opted for in-person learning will return on March 16.

(Source: Fort Mill Schools)

Students will be attending school five days a week, but the day is shortened by a couple of hours.

Additional learning activities will be completed outside of the set school hours.

Statewide Tornado Drill

Tuesday is “Tornado Preparedness Day” in Virginia, meaning the statewide tornado drill is happening at 9:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service sends a test tornado warning in the form of a monthly required test.

Virginia's annual tornado drill is Tuesday morning March 16th
Virginia's annual tornado drill is Tuesday morning March 16th (Source: Virginia Department of Emergency Services)

Schools and businesses will need to use their NOAA Weather Radios to take part in the drill. It is suggested that those be turned on by 9:40 a.m.

Local radio, TV and cable stations will also broadcast the test message.

Final Thought

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on - Robert Frost

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