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News to Know for Dec. 22: 1887 time capsule opening; COVID cases climb; Free GRTC rides

The discovery of a copper box was made just after 7 a.m. by crew members working to disassemble...
The discovery of a copper box was made just after 7 a.m. by crew members working to disassemble the pedestal.(NBC12)
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 6:29 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Today, a mystery more than 130 years in the making will be solved in Richmond.

Time Capsule Opening

The 1887 time capsule that was discovered at the site of the former Robert E. Lee monument will be opened Wednesday.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the time capsule will be opened by a historic preservation team at noon on Dec. 22 at the Department of Historic Resources lab.

The time capsule was found last Friday as crews were dismantling the pedestal.

Historians believe that 37 Richmond residents, organizations and businesses placed about 60 objects in the capsule. Many of the objects are believed to be related to the Confederacy.

Light Morning Showers

But those should clear up quickly. The rest of the day should be sunny with highs in the low-50s. We’ll see a small warm-up in time for a festive weekend.

But quit dreaming of a white Christmas if you’re staying in the Richmond area. Your consolation prize: highs in the low to mid-60s!

COVID-19 Cases Climb

State health experts are urging Virginians to get vaccinated and boosted ahead of holiday gatherings with the daily case count averaging what we saw at the peak of the Delta variant.

Nearly 4,500 new COVID cases were reported in the past 24 hours - that’s the third-highest one-day total in the past six months. The positivity rate also continues to climb, now up to 9.6 percent.

With the Omicron variant at the top of many people’s minds, Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s vaccine coordinator, came to NBC12 to answer all your questions about rising cases, vaccines and boosters. Rewatch on our YouTube channel:

The health department is also encouraging you to continue practicing mitigation strategies: wearing a mask, social distancing and getting a COVID-19 test. You can find several resources on where to get a vaccine or test here.

Frat Suspended Over Racist Video

The University of Richmond suspended a fraternity after a video surfaced of its members singing a racist song. The Kappa Sigma fraternity has also been suspended by its national headquarters.

In the video, current and former fraternity members could be heard laughing and singing “the south will rise again” and “I want to be a slave owner.”

The university’s president quickly condemned the video. At this time, it is not clear how long the fraternity’s suspension will last or what actions, if any, will be taken against those who participated.

Teens Arrested for Vandalism

A 14- and 15-year-old are facing charges after police say they’re responsible for a string of vandalism cases in Chesterfield - with damages totaling around $100,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.(Chesterfield County Police Department)

The pair was caught after breaking into Thomas Dale High School last week.

Officers say earlier this month, the teens set two cars on fire at Allen Tire just off West Hundred Road. They are also accused of damaging parts of Sibley’s Bar-B-Que and Chester Muffler & Brake Center.

Ransomware Attack Latest

The Virginia general assembly’s IT agency is still working to fix problems caused by a ransomware attack on Dec. 10.

The attack hit the system legislators use to draft and modify bills, as lawmakers prepped for next year’s legislative session.

The agency’s goal is to have the session operational “to the greatest extent possible.”

GRTC Free Rides

If you use GRTC to get around the city, good news! The free rides that started during the pandemic are being extended through 2025.

It’s thanks to an $8 million grant from the state for a study on zero-fare impacts for riders and communities.

According to GRTC, most riders have annual incomes of less than $25,000, with a quarter of riders making under $10,000 a year. Riders would typically spend about $20 a week on fares.

Regular routes, including pulse buses and GRTC CARE rides, are free, but not CARE on-demand rides,

Final Thought

“History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again.” - Kurt Vonnegut

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