News to Know for Dec. 20: Car crashes into apartment; Moderna booster update; GRTC service changes; Cold start to week

GRTC buses will now run to Short Pump Town Center. (Source: NBC12)
GRTC buses will now run to Short Pump Town Center. (Source: NBC12)
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 6:56 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2021 at 8:55 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The start of winter is just a day away, and this morning’s temperatures are a great reminder.

Bundle Up!

It’s going to be a cold start this Monday, but it will slowly warm up to Christmas weekend.

More good news: low rain chances through your workweek.

Apartment Building Crash

Five people are out of their homes just before the holidays after a car crashed into a Richmond apartment building.

Crews responded to a building in the 1300 block of Coalter Street in Mosby Court Saturday...
Crews responded to a building in the 1300 block of Coalter Street in Mosby Court Saturday afternoon for the crash.(Richmond Fire Department)

By the time crews arrived, the vehicle and driver had already left the scene.

Richmond Fire says the building inspector condemned the first-floor apartments.

Four adults and a child are getting assistance from the Red Cross.

Deadly Weekend Crash

Also in Richmond, police are investigating a crash that left a man dead.

State police say the man drove off the left side of the highway, hit the jersey wall and then stopped in the left lane. As he was stepping out of the car, another vehicle crashed into it. That knocked him into the middle lane where he was hit by another car.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

GRTC Service Changes

GRTC is reducing hours for many of its routes due to driver shortages.

Select routes will now be starting ride times at 6 a.m. as opposed to 5 a.m. and those certain stops will also be ending service time at 11 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.

GRTC says it is continuing to grow its staff through the winter; they are looking to hire about 50 operators.

For the time being, if you do have to travel before or after those changed hours, the transit service is also rolling out its on-demand service starting today.

You can call GRTC at 804-358-4782 to be picked up from one bus stop Monday through Friday from 5-6 a.m. and from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The pilot program is expected to end by spring 2022.

Moderna Booster Effectiveness

Moderna says a booster vaccine raises the level of antibodies that can protect against the omicron variant, by 37-fold.

The company says the results are based on lab tests that do not capture the full range of the body’s immune response against the virus.

Although vaccines may not prevent infection from the variant, they are expected to prevent severe illness in the vast majority of people.

Pfizer has also said its booster shot increases antibody levels against omicron.

‘Build Back Better’ Latest

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion Build Back Back bill, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s plan.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of negotiations among Democrats, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

The bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of families with children by extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There is more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions. Other provisions limit prescription drug price increases, create hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and bolster aid for the elderly, housing and job training.

Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.

Republicans are holding strong to their opposition, while Democrats needed to secure a vote from every senator in their party to pass the measure.

Former Virginia Officers’ Trial Set

Two former Virginia police officers are now set to stand trial in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

A jury trial for former Rocky Mount officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker will begin in April.

Sergeant Thomas Robertson, right, and Officer Jacob Fracker, left, posted this photograph of...
Sergeant Thomas Robertson, right, and Officer Jacob Fracker, left, posted this photograph of themselves inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riots to social media.(U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR D.C.)

Both men pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction of an official proceeding and disorderly conduct in a restricted building.

The FBI says they posed for a photograph inside the capitol during the attack and later posted about the riot on social media.

Holiday Gas Prices

As many hit the roads for the holidays, drivers will deal with a little less pain at the pumps. Gas prices are expected to fall!

The national average on Christmas Day is expected to be $3.25 per gallon.

While the drop in prices is good news, prices remain relatively high, and it could be close to being the priciest Christmas on record.

Final Thought

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

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