Tag: criminal justice

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A pandemic and protests have ramped up interest in city budgeting. Here’s The Citizen’s guide to Hburg’s spending

Continue with the plan for building a second high school? Reduce funding for the police department? The combination of the pandemic’s economic ripple effects and calls for social change out of this summer’s protests have sparked questions and deep-seated opinions about how the city of Harrisonburg spends its money. Residents have been bringing up budget issues in city council meetings, at rallies for racial justice and on social media.

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Decriminalization of marijuana possession won’t necessarily affect those already caught up in the system

Simple possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is set to be decriminalized in Virginia on July 1. But that won’t prevent Harrisonburg resident Christopher Jones, a cook at O’Neill’s Grill, from being sent to jail later that month if it’s what the prosecutor seeks.

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Community justice planner hired; Council approves first small houses in new zoning class 

Starting March 9, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will have a criminal justice planner, an addition to the court system for which local justice advocates have long been campaigning.

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How will 2020 shape Hburg’s future? Let’s play Twenty Questions

And so it begins. Hopes for and speculation about the future abound, as does list-making for a fresh year. As we set off for the next 12 months, get ready for plenty of “20/20 vision” references. In that spirit, here are 20 questions (in no particular order) for 2020 that address issues that will likely shape Harrisonburg for the next decade and beyond.

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Denton building’s future sparks protest, uncertainty among council members

Concern about the fate of the Denton building in downtown Harrisonburg drew about 50 people to Court Square Thursday to protest the county administration’s interest in purchasing the historic building, which houses Larkin Arts, a bail bonds office and apartments.

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Criminal justice forum showcases experiences of the formerly incarcerated

Phillip Newborn hasn’t had an easy life. He grew up in a home that grew marijuana and made whiskey — both things his parents, and eventually he, abused. He fractured his spine in three places in a tractor-trailer accident and recently suffered a heart attack.

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City, county staff continue working to define and fill new justice planner role

Voting to fund a new justice planner position, as the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County did earlier this year, was just step one. Now, City Manager Eric Campbell, County Administrator Stephen King and their respective staffs are playing administrative catch as they make good on that promise by actually developing a job description and hiring someone to do it.

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While debate over local criminal justice continues, voters won’t have much say on top law enforcement jobs this fall

Last Tuesday’s primary election day was also deadline day: the last opportunity for candidates to file paperwork to run for local constitutional offices — such as sheriff and commonwealths’ attorney — that will appear on this November’s ballot. Aside from the incumbents, however, no one else did, meaning Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst and Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson, both Republicans, will be unopposed in their reelection campaigns once again and are all but assured of serving again until 2023.

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