Axios Richmond

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Happy Friday eve aka Thursday.

โ˜€๏ธ Today's weather: Sunny with a high near 90.

๐ŸŽง Sounds like: "Suavemente" by Elvis Crespo.

Today's newsletter is 903 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: ๐ŸŽ‰ Richmondโ€™s jampacked weekend

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Welcome to your breakdown of the most packed Richmond weekend in a while โ€” perfect for breaking out of the winter blues.

Tonight

๐Ÿ The LiveLoud concert series on Brown's Island kicks off with the Wood Brothers and Lindsay Lou. 6pm. Tickets start at $39.99.

Friday

๐ŸŽธ The first Friday Cheers concert of the year at Brown's Island opens with Bella White and Colby T. Helms & the Virginia Creepers from 6-9:30pm. $10.

๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป There's a "Popup Salsa Party for the People" at 17th Street Market. 7pm.

Saturday

๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป The ยฟQuรฉ Pasa? Festival on Brown's Island is celebrating Latino culture with live Latin music, artisan markets and Latino restaurants. 12-8pm. Free.

๐Ÿฅณ The 26th annual Asian American Celebration is at the Greater Richmond Convention Center with live performances and food. 11am-7pm. Free.

๐Ÿ‡๐Ÿผ Colonial Downs in New Kent is hosting Virginia's largest Kentucky Derby event with music, whiskey and special horse guests. Noon. Free.

๐Ÿน There's a Tacos N Tequila Bar Crawl from 3-10pm that starts at Frozay RVA with food and drink specials, a taco eating contest and live DJs. $30.

Sunday aka Cinco de Mayo

๐ŸŒฎ RVA Taco Festival from 12-6pm at Hardywood West Creek will feature taqueria food trucks like El Guapo and two Mexican-style lagers. 12-6pm. Free.

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ The 3rd National Day of Salsa and Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Uptown Alley Richmond is free from 1-4pm. $25 from 5-7pm to see Latin band "Grupo Ritmo Son" and salsa dancing performances.

See the full list

2. Richmond struggles to staff mental health crisis program

A memorial to Marcus-David Peters, who the Marcus Alert is named after, in June 2020. Photo: Ryan M. Kelly/AFP/Getty Images

Richmond doesn't have enough people to fully staff the Marcus Alert System, a program meant to limit police involvement in mental health crises, reports WRIC.

Why it matters: "We have more calls than we can possibly handle," Paula Bartlett, the program's manager at the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, told WRIC.

State of play: In 2020, former Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill to establish the Marcus Alert statewide.

  • It was named after Marcus-David Peters, a teacher Richmond police killed during a mental health emergency in 2018.

The law's intent was to reduce interactions like that by having behavioral health professionals respond to mental health calls and only bringing in police for certain situations.

Yes, but: Richmond and Chesterfield are the only localities in the region to adopt the program so far. Most of Virginia hasn't.

  • The nationwide behavioral workforce shortage isn't helping, either.
  • The city can't fill a second response team because it hasn't hired a clinician or a designated officer to handle the mental health calls, per WRIC.
  • About 1,000 mental health calls are coming in each week.

Keep reading for what's next

3. ๐ŸŒŠ The Current: USPS apologizes for mail issues

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

๐Ÿ“ฌ The U.S. postmaster general told Virginia's congressional delegation that USPS "completely botched the implementation" of postal hub reforms, and "the rollout in Richmond was a disaster." (Times-Dispatch)

  • He apologized for the delays and added that on-time mail delivery has improved in Richmond.

๐Ÿ‘€ The University of Mary Washington president told the nine UMW students arrested and charged with trespassing during campus protests that he will meet with the Commonwealth's Attorney and ensure they don't face criminal charges. (Fredericksburg Free Press)

๐Ÿ’” Two dogs were found dumped in trash bags along the Buttermilk Trail in the last two days, according to Richmond Animal Care and Control. One died soon after she was found. (WTVR)

4. ๐Ÿ˜‹ More new restaurants to try

Bully Burger's bacon cheeseburger. Image: Courtesy of Mike Lindsey

Attention, Richmond foodies. More new restaurants are in the works or now open to try.

๐Ÿ— Marylous Soul Dining Experience, the latest spot from the owner of Aces Sports Lounge in Shockoe Bottom, opened last week in the former Postbellum space at 1323 W. Main St.

  • The opening menu includes fried chicken, ribs and lamb chops, with kids meals like mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread.
  • Owner LaChan Toran completely overhauled the massive space and brought feminine touches and pops of color to the dining room, adjacent wine space and rooftop bar.
  • Marylous is open daily beginning at 2pm (3pm on Thursdays and Fridays) through dinner.

๐Ÿ” Meanwhile, the Lindsey Food Group, is at it again, bringing back their former food hall Bully Burger restaurant as a pop-up at its East Grace Street The Foundation venue.

  • The menu includes 10 burger options ($9-$15), plus wings, hot dogs and fries.
  • Bully is open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm and will be popping up on Grace until it can find a permanent home, co-owner Mike Lindsey tells Axios.

Coming soon:

๐Ÿฅ– Fat Kid Sandwiches (like Bully Burger, a one-time Hatch Food Hall tenant) found its forever home in downtown lunch staple Sub Central at 1110 E. Main St.

  • The owner of Sub Central is retiring and closing up at the end of the month, and Fat Kids should open soon after, per BizSense.

Keep reading for what's taking over the former Maya spot

Sponsored event listings

๐Ÿ“… Upcoming events around the city

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Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. โ˜•๏ธ Stat du jour: We have a drinking problem

Data: National Coffee Association; Note: Polling was conducted in January; Chart: Axios Visuals

We Southerners really love our coffee.

Driving the brews: 66% of adults in the South drank coffee in the past day, up from 60% in 2020, according to a recent National Coffee Association survey.

  • For NCA's purposes, the South is all the East Coast states below the Mason-Dixon.

The big picture: Nationally, daily coffee drinking among U.S. adults is at 67%, a high of more than 20 years, NCA polling shows.

  • That makes coffee the nation's most consumed beverage, NCA notes, outranking water (tap and bottled) and soda as America's bevvy of choice.
  • In 2004 when NCA began tracking national data, less than half of adults had coffee in the past day nationwide.

Tell a coffee drinker

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that 66% of adults in the South drank coffee in the past day, up from 60% in 2020 (not up 6% from 2020).

๐Ÿ˜‚ Karri used to think her family had a too-much-coffee problem, then she grew up and watched her friends do the same and realized that over-caffeinating wasn't a genetic thing. It was a parents-of-young-kids things.

๐Ÿ“– Sabrina is reading about the anti-slavery history of Cinco de Mayo and reminding people to ditch the sombrero and fake mustache on Sunday (and always).

๐Ÿšจ Coming soon event alert: Join Axios' Niala Boodhoo and Sabrina Moreno Wednesday, May 8 at 10am ET in Richmond for an event looking at solutions to guide the future of energy in Virginia and beyond.

  • Guests include Virginia Department of Energy director Glenn Davis, Richmond office of sustainability director Laura Thomas and VCU associate professor Damian Pitt.
  • Register here to attend in person.

Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and Carlin Becker for copy editing today's edition.