News to Know for Dec. 15: Increased police at Hopewell schools; Redistricting public hearings; Shipping deadlines start

Deadlines to send Christmas mail and packages and have them arrive on time are quickly...
Deadlines to send Christmas mail and packages and have them arrive on time are quickly approaching.(Source: CNN)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:48 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 7:02 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Christmas is only ten days away, which means one thing: shipping deadlines. But first, here’s more news you need to know.

Warm Weather Ahead

Today will be another partly sunny day with highs in the 50s. But a bigger warm-up is expected to hit tomorrow through Saturday.

Rain chances stay low for a while as well.

Increased Police Presence at Hopewell Schools

That’s what students and parents can expect today after a student was caught trying to bring a loaded gun into the high school yesterday.

It’s the third time in as many months this has happened in the district. Metal detectors were recently installed in an effort to bolster security, but the student thought he was bypassing those measures.

He now faces criminal charges, including underage possession of a weapon and having a gun on school grounds.

Officers will now be inside the school to monitor hallways and entrances. That will last through the end of the week. The superintendent says another safety measure will be mandatory ID badges come January. A school security forum will happen on Jan. 13 at Hopewell High at 5:30 p.m.

Chesterfield Murder-Suicide

Police are still investigating a murder-suicide that left two people dead and injured an 18-year-old.

Police say 51-year-old Christopher Evans shot his partner - Makiba Hall and her son - before turning the gun on himself.

Both Evans and Hall died at the scene. The 18-year-old is expected to be ok.

Search for Survivors Continues

Today, President Biden is headed to Kentucky to survey damage and offer federal support for the victims of devastating tornadoes that killed dozens and left thousands more in the region without heat, water or electricity.

The National Weather Service says at least 50 tornadoes were reported Friday and Saturday. Right now, more than 100 people are still unaccounted for.

How YOU Can Help

We’re on your side if you are looking to help those impacted by this tragedy. We are again teaming up with the Red Cross today to help raise money for the tornado victims and recovery efforts.

You can call 804-345-1212 today for a special call 12 starting at 4 p.m.

Redistricting Public Hearings

Today, you can weigh in on the proposed changes to the legislative maps for Virginia in the first of two virtual public hearings.

MyDistricting Virginia State map
MyDistricting Virginia State map(MyDistricting)

The special masters - one Democrat and one Republican - finished redrawing three maps - for the Virginia House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, and the state’s U.S. Congressional Districts. The goal is to reconfigure the districts based on new population statistics, in as much of a non-partisan way as possible. That’s easier said than done.

According to our partners at Virginia Mercury, the newly proposed maps tend to favor Democrats because they are concentrated around more crowded areas, like cities.

Public hearings will be held virtually Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. If you wish to speak, here’s what you need to do. The court will consider all the public feedback and make final approvals of the maps by Dec. 19.

Gov. Northam Proposes Cutting Grocery Tax

Right now, we pay a 2.5 percent tax on groceries. One percent goes to localities; that would stay in place under the proposal. But Governor Northam says he wants to cut the other 1.5 percent, which currently goes to the general fund.

The elimination was a 2017 campaign promise for him and something Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin campaigned on as well.

Northam is also proposing one-time economic growth rebates: $250 for individuals and $500 for married couples. He’ll present his budget to state lawmakers tomorrow.

Last Child Tax Credit of 2021

The last monthly child tax credit payment of 2021 is set to hit bank accounts today.

After the first checks started arriving in July, about one-third of recipient families used the money during the first few months to pay down outstanding debt, along with paying for school supplies and child care, according to preliminary reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine is among those pushing Congress to continue the payments by passing the Build Back Better bill.

Speaking of Congress...

It averted a catastrophic debt default early this morning after Democratic majorities in both chambers voted to send a $2.5 trillion increase in the nation’s borrowing authority to President Joe Biden over lockstep Republican opposition. You can read more about the legislation here.

DMV Expanding Walk-in Service

Starting today, you can go to the DMV without an appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Anyone choosing to make an appointment can still do so on Mondays and Fridays.

The DMV continues to encourage customers to do as much as they can online.

Christmas Gift-Givers, Listen Up!

The time to send presents and well wishes to loved ones is now.

Regular USPS retail ground shipping has a holiday cutoff date of Dec. 15 (that’s today).

For UPS, Dec. 21 is the deadline for the 3-day select service when shipping in the United States.

If you’re shipping anything through FedEx, the last day for most ground services is Dec. 15. For FedEx Express, you can buy yourself some more time, with deadlines starting Dec. 21 and ending Dec. 24.

Chesterfield Girl Celebrated with Parade

Santa usually doesn’t come down from the North Pole early, but he’s making an exception for one little girl in Chesterfield. He helped create a personalized Christmas parade for 4-year-old Ava who was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer in early September.

Santa’s sleigh was in the shop, but he got a lift from the Chesterfield Fire Department and emergency escorts who delivered everything on Ava’s wish list.

Ava’s mom says Christmas has been taken care of, but the 4-year-old still has a long journey ahead. If you would like to help support Ava, click here.

Final Thought

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.” -unknown

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