Axios Richmond

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Happy April 25 to all who celebrate the perfect date.

☀️ Today's weather: Not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket. High near 62.

🎧 Sounds like: "She's a Lady" by Tom Jones.

Today's newsletter is 892 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: How Virginia's drug crisis affects kids

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Family members in Virginia are increasingly becoming caretakers of children removed from their parents' care due to drug use, according to an investigation from WHRO.

Why it matters: It's one way to avoid forcing more kids into an already overwhelmed foster care system as the addiction crisis gets worse and fractures more families.

The big picture: Many of these relatives are doing it without the financial support the state gives foster parents, even though they're eligible for it.

  • Advocates say social workers are sometimes managing such massive workloads that they fail to tell those relatives about available benefits.
  • A 2018 government watchdog report found "inadequate financial resources" have stopped some family members from taking children in.
  • It also noted legislative efforts to help, like the Kinship Guardian Assistance Program, have such restrictive requirements that it could prove ineffective long-term.

Meanwhile, parental drug use has become the second leading cause for entering Virginia's foster care system.

  • Between 2010 and 2019, the number of children going into foster care because of parental drug use increased by 60%, per state data.
  • More than a third, or 35%, of children are in foster care because of parental drug use as of April 1, according to Virginia's DSS.
  • About 16% of roughly 4,400 kids in foster care are placed with a relative.

State of play: Virginia's foster care system has ranked among the worst in the U.S. for decades for youth aging out without a permanent home and kinship care.

Go deeper for the bill Gov. Youngkin recently signed that might help

2. 🚘 Get your car insured

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Virginians will no longer be able to legally drive without car insurance starting July 1.

State of play: Virginia allowed people to drive while uninsured if they paid an annual $500 fee — which the Department of Motor Vehicles told Axios nearly 6,100 residents do.

  • Now, drivers will need to show proof of insurance upon registering a car — or renewing registration — due to a law passed last year.

If you don't within 30 days of the DMV asking for it, the agency can:

  • Charge you $600 for a noncompliance fee.
  • Suspend your license, registration and license plates until you pay it and show proof of insurance.
  • Require a $145 reinstatement fee to get your license back.

What's next: Virginia's minimum liability insurance coverage requirements will go up next January.

Keep reading to know how much

3. 🌊 The Current: Tax breaks for CoStar

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💸 Richmond approved a grant giving CoStar Group several million dollars in real estate tax breaks over 10 years once its 26-story office tower is complete. (Times-Dispatch)

  • A dollar amount wasn't shared, but the city will refund 75% of the building's real estate tax and all of its business property tax for the first three years and smaller amounts thereafter.
  • In exchange, CoStar must meet hiring minimums and other conditions.

💰 Richmond's public housing authority is presenting a plan next month to help tenants pay off overdue rent through city eviction prevention funds. (Times-Dispatch)

🦅 Quincy, one of two rescued bald eagles at Maymont, died Sunday of heart disease. (News release)

4. 🥳 Weekend picks: Festivals, Shakespeare's birthday and more

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Lock and load. It's the weekend, and this one is shaping up to be a mild and pretty one weather-wise.

Thursday

🌸 Get some green inspiration for your garden at Historic Garden Week, which runs through Saturday but offers its last Richmond tour today through five Windsor Farms gardens. $50 advance tickets ($60 at the gate).

Friday

🍽️ Have you hit up Richmond Restaurant Week yet? Now's the time See where you can nab a reservation and enjoy.

Saturday

🌿 Herbs Galore, Maymont's plant sale, has everything you need to get your garden ready, plus food trucks and other vendors, 8am-3pm. Adult tickets are $10.

🍻 Ardent Craft Ales' annual Swine and Brine is back at the Scott's Addition brewery with six local restaurants serving up seafood, oyster or pork dishes and plenty of wine and beer for sale, noon-8pm. Admission is free.

🎭 Agecroft Hall is celebrating Shakespeare's 460th birthday with a party featuring songs, dancing and Tudor-era crafts, noon-5pm. Free.

Keep reading for more to do

5. 🧋 Soft opening: Brecotea, our Asian-inspired bakery and teahouse

One person should not eat this pastry. But they did. And they do not regret it. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

👋 Karri here, still thinking about a berry and cream-filled croissant I recently devoured after treating myself at Brecotea, a newish-to-town Taiwanese bakery.

State of play: Brecotea opened its first location in the West End in 2019 and now has a bakery in Cary, North Carolina and three Richmond locations, including its most recent addition, 11544 Busy St.

  • The Midlothian outpost opened near Chesterfield mall in January and boasts the same sleek, modern design of its two Broad Street locations.
Help yourself to the bakery case — it opens on both sides. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios
Help yourself to the bakery case — it opens on both sides. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Zoom in: The baked goods are self-serve at Brecotea, a dangerous proposition if you're trying to be good.

  • Among the freshly made selection on my visit: blueberry and cream rolls, chocolate danish, ube bread, pork floss sponge cake (cotton candy-esque dried pork) and the stuff from my dreams, a cream-filled croissant topped with fresh berries.
  • Pastries range from $2.79 to $5.99 and all are made with Japanese flour — a flour with a higher gluten and protein count, similar to American cake flour — that makes a lighter, fluffier pastry.

If you go: Brecotea hours vary slightly by location, but all are open daily beginning at 10-11am and until 9pm or later.

Keep reading for the tea selection

😢 Karri is extremely sad to hear about Quincy the eagle's death. Her niece has been lowkey obsessed with the Maymont eagles for years, and the staff there regularly indulged her curiosity by sharing dozens of facts about these amazing birds.

😭 Sabrina is begging for someone to please buy TikTok within the next year so the U.S. doesn't ban one of her main sources of joy and happiness.

This newsletter was edited by Fadel Allassan and copy edited by Carlin Becker.