Plus, two new restaurants announced
 
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Today’s Forecast

81º | 8% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 5:52 a.m. | Sunset 8:34 p.m.

 
🚌 Let’s LINK up
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GRTC representatives, county leaders, transit advocates, and riders gathered on Thursday, June 27 for a ribbon-cutting.|Photo by RICtoday
GRTC has cut the ribbon on the fifth of five zones included in its on-demand transit pilot, LINK. The Sandston/Elko zone officially opens today.

Work on the project began in 2021, when the company began a study to investigate bringing a microtransit service to the region. Now, fare-free services are available in five different neighborhoods: Azalea, Ashland, Sandston/Elko, Clover Dale, and Powhatan.

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LINK buses are wheelchair accessible.

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Photo by RICtoday

LINK works more like a taxi service than a traditional bus route. Users simply open the GRTC On the Go app or call the LINK number, input their pick-up and drop-off locations, and wait for a bus to arrive within 20 minutes.

The service is active on weekdays from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m. LINK can take riders anywhere in the zone, including to a bus stop to connect with a normal route.

At the ribbon-cutting, GRTC spokesperson Henry Bendon spoke to the growth of the program since the first zone launched in November 2023 in Azalea. Bendon said the company has seen a 30% increase in new riders month over month — in May, the service provided over 4,900 rides.

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Rev. Tyrone Nelson speaks at the ribbon-cutting event for the Sandston/Elko zone.

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Photo by RICtoday

Tyrone Nelson, who serves as chair of both the Henrico Board of Supervisors as well as the GRTC Board of Directors, shared his excitement for that day’s zone launch.

“As the supervisor of Henrico’s Varina District, it definitely means a lot to see our residents finally have access to free public transportation like never before in this region,” Nelson said.

LINK zones are designed to provide reliable public transit in neighborhoods that are less supported by fixed-route service. The pilot program has five zones, but the program could be expanded in the future.
 
 
Events
 
Monday, July 1
  • Monday Movie Night: “Men in Black” | Monday, July 1 | 8 p.m. | Pizza Bones, 2314 Jefferson Ave., Richmond | Free entry | Bring your crew to a screening of the Will Smith film at the Union Hill pizza place.
Tuesday, July 2
  • Farmacy RVA Farmers Market | Tuesday, July 2 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, 5801 Bremo Rd., Richmond | Free entry | This week, shop local veggies and learn about the health benefits of Virginia’s bee pollen and honey from Farmer Greg.
  • Carrie Brockwell on Shockoe Sessions Live! | Tuesday, July 2 | 7:30 p.m. | In Your Ear Studios, 1813 E. Broad St., Richmond | $0-$15 | Get tickets to see the country artist live in studio or watch the livestream on YouTube.
Wednesday, July 3
  • Dominion Energy Jazz Café: Afro Zen All Stars | Wednesday, July 3 | 6 p.m. | Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond | Free | Head to the atrium to experience the intersection of African musical traditions, American jazz, and jam.
  • Kickers vs. Forward Madison FC | Wednesday, July 3 | 8 p.m. | City Stadium, 3201 Maplewood Ave., Richmond | $17-$40 | Cheer on the Kickers and get in on the Red, White, and Roo festivities at City Stadium.
Friday, July 5
  • Flying Squirrels vs. Bowie Baysox | Friday, July 5 | 6:35 p.m. | The Diamond, 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond | $10-$25 | The FUNN doesn’t stop after the Fourth — get to the Diamond early for happy hour and stay after for fireworks.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Coming Soon
  • Local chef Antonio Owen is opening his first standalone restaurant in September. Sweet P’s will have a seasonal menu with a variety of upscale American dishes. It will be located in the former Club House Lounge spot on Broad Street downtown. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Eat
  • A new restaurant is coming to Stony Point Village. The Granite Grill & Bar is from the group behind Tazza Kitchen and Conejo. It plans to open around February or March with a menu of burgers, seafood dishes, and steaks. (Richmond BizSense)
Festival
  • Mark your calendar for the first ever Plunky’s Day in RVA Festival on Friday, July 19 at Kanawha Plaza. The party starts at 5 p.m. to honor the legendary jazz artist’s 77th birthday. $40 tickets are on sale now.
Community
  • Chesterfield County is picking a mascot. His name will be Cole — in honor of the county’s coal-mining history — but his species is still up in the air. The choices are a raccoon, chipmunk, retriever, and bear. See all four designs and vote for your favorite through Wednesday, July 10.
Pets
  • The city has struck a deal with Forest Hill Presbyterian Church to make Phideaux Field a public dog park. City Council approved a long-term lease last week. The city will add the Phideaux to its insurance policy; the church will continue to cover maintenance and amenities. (Axios Richmond)
Awards
  • Richmond Region Tourism Foundation is looking for nominations for its first BLK RVA Community Awards. The program will honor businesses, initiatives, and individuals helping support Black tourism in the River City. Submit a nomination through Sunday, July 7.
Theater
  • Stop us if you’ve heard this before — a local theater company wants your toaster. Okay, maybe this is a first. Cadence Theatre needs toasters for its upcoming production of “True West.” If you have an old toaster just waiting for its close-up, send a pic.
 
 
Holiday
 
🎆 Your map to Fourth of July festivities
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Use the tags to sort events based on whether they’ll have fireworks, food trucks, and more.|Map by RICtoday via Proxi
Got plans this Independence Day? Even if you weren’t one of the lucky few to score tickets to the sold-out Fourth of July Flying Squirrels game, there are plenty of celebratory events happening Thursday.

Check out our map and use the tags to find the best celebration for you.

VA250 Independence Day | 5-9 p.m. | Virginia State Capitol
Geoff Bennett of PBS News Hour will MC the historic celebration complete with a bell-ringing ceremony, speakers, Quantico Marine Band, New Fellowship Gospel Choir, and a fireworks show.

Richmond Fourth of July Celebration | 5:30-10 p.m. | Dogwood Dell
The Richmond Concert Jazz Band will perform at 5:30, followed by the Richmond Concert Band at 7:30 and a fireworks display at 9:15. Pro tip: Overflow parking is available at City Stadium with a free shuttle bus.

Click the button below for five more Independence Day events.
 
The Buy
 
A five-star rated swimsuit from Nordstrom — we like this lace-up back one-piece for an adjustable fit or this v-wire one-piece for a dipped neckline with support.
 
Answered
 
What year was Gelati Celesti established?
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Find Gelati Celesti at seven local shops or at events around town. |Photo via @libbiemillrva
Around 40% of respondents were right — the local business has been making ice cream since 1984.

Want to beat the heat with a sweet treat? Check out our ultimate ice cream guide at the button below.
 
 
The Wrap
 
Robin Schwartzkopf in a red button down shirt Today’s edition by:
Robin
From the editor
Not to show my cards in the Chesterfield County mascot race, but imagine if Cole the Chipmunk got to hang out with Nutzy and Nutasha. I’m pro rodent representation.
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