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News to Know for Jan. 19: Gov. Youngkin sued; Ukrop’s bakery fire; VEC Commissioner out

Ellen Marie Hess who served as the VEC Commissioner is now out of a job following sharp...
Ellen Marie Hess who served as the VEC Commissioner is now out of a job following sharp criticism of the VEC handling of unemployment claims since the pandemic began.(WDBJ7)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:36 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:53 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Today is National Popcorn Day, but for this morning grab your coffee instead and take a look at our top headlines!

Gov. Youngkin Sued

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin greets supporters at a reception Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in...
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin greets supporters at a reception Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Richmond, Va. Youngkin will be sworn in as Virginia's 74th Governor Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(Steve Helber | AP)

13 parents in Chesapeake are suing Gov. Glenn Youngkin over his executive order that effectively ends the mask mandate in public schools.

The parents argue that a 2021 state law requires schools to follow CDC guidance - which currently recommends students mask up.

The suit argues the governor does not have the power to suspend that law and they want the state supreme court to declare the executive order void.

Here’s a statement from a spokesperson for Gov. Youngkin:

“We will continue to protect parents’ fundamental right to make decisions with regard to their child’s upbringing, education, and care.”

The lawsuit can be read here.

RPS Pushes Back

The Richmond School Board is choosing to uphold its mask policy, defying the governor’s executive order.

In an 8-1 vote, students, staff, and visitors would still have to mask up in RPS buildings regardless of vaccination status.

During the public comment portion, some say they want the board to reconsider virtual options.

Ukrop’s Bakery Fire

Two Ukrop’s bakery workers were burned in the face following a flash fire on Tuesday.
Two Ukrop’s bakery workers were burned in the face following a flash fire on Tuesday.(NBC12)

Two Ukrop’s workers were rushed to the hospital after they were burned at the company’s bakery in Henrico.

The facility is located along Westermoreland Street just off West Broad.

The fire department says the workers were doing maintenance on an oven last night when they noticed a scent of gas.

When they opened the oven - a flash of fire burned out injuring both workers.

Both workers are expected to survive and OSHA has been called to investigate.

Some Tragic News...

A body matching the description of a missing woman has been found on a property in Heathsville.

28-year-old Ahrea’l Smith was seen a week ago taking out the trash at her job and locking up the store.

Tyrone Samuel is in custody and charged with abduction.

Yesterday, nearly 50 federal, state, and local authorities descended on an area of Northumberland County following up on leads and tips.

They later found a body matching Smith’s description on a property in Heathsville.

The sheriff’s office says more charges for Samuel are likely coming.

VEC Shakeup

Ellen Marie Hess
Ellen Marie Hess(Virginia Employment Commission)

Ellen Marie Hess, the VEC Commissioner has been fired.

That’s according to a spokesperson with the governor’s office.

It comes after sharp criticism over how the VEC has dealt with unprecedented unemployment claims during the pandemic - including a lawsuit that was recently dismissed.

Partly Sunny & Slightly Warm

According to our very own Sophia Armata, today is going to be the best weather day of the week - before we are hit with First Alert Weather Days for the rest of the week for two upcoming chances of snow.

Today is going to be partly sunny with highs in the 50s, lows in the mid-20s.

Final Thought

“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.” - Roxane Gay

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