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Posts from May 2013
by Associated Press posted May 31 2013 3:10PM
  WASHINGTON (AP) - NORAD says a Coast Guard helicopter has intercepted a small plane out of communication in a restricted zone around Washington.
 
     The North American Aerospace Defense Command says the Cessna was intercepted around 9:30 a.m. Friday and landed at Potomac Airfield in Friendly, Md., without further incident. 
 
     Officials say the pilot was directed to contact the Federal Aviation Administration for further direction. 
 
Filed Under :
Location : FriendlyMarylandWashington
by AP posted May 31 2013 10:40AM


     BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Tech chapter of a national fraternity that had recently moved into a $5.1?million on-campus facility has been disbanded for misconduct.
 
     A spokesman for the Blacksburg school says the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter at Virginia Tech had an "ongoing history of alcohol and hazing violations."
 
     University spokesman Mark Owczarski told The Roanoke Times  that the problems weren't being addressed by members of the chapter. He declined to detail the violations.
 
     The fraternity's Executive Director Brian Warren confirmed that the organization has closed the Virginia Tech chapter but did not give specific reasons.
 
     But a letter from a group alumni insisted that it wasn't the end of the chapter and that they would not let a "small group of irresponsible brothers to ruin" its legacy.
 
Filed Under :
Location : Virginia
by AP posted May 31 2013 10:38AM
     WEST POINT, Va. (AP) - A fire that engulfed stacks of recycled paper at a King William County paper is under investigation.
 
     West Point firefighters put the blaze at the RockTenn Co. facility out in about two hours on Thursday. Officials received a call around 3 p.m. that a couple of 12-foot stacks of paper were on fire.
 
     West Point Volunteer Fire Department Chief Andrew Smith says because the fire involved paper, the process to make sure it is completely extinguished is time consuming.
 
     The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that there were no injuries and no structural damage.
 
Filed Under :
People : Andrew Smith
by AP posted May 31 2013 10:36AM
     ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A northern Virginia businessman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for illegally funneling nearly $200,000 to Hillary Clinton's political campaigns in 2006 and 2008.
 
     Fifty-one-year-old William Danielczyk (DANN'-yuhl-chek) of Oakton pleaded guilty in February to violating campaign-finance laws by reimbursing employees of his company, Galen Capital, for contributions they made to Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns. There are no allegations Clinton or her campaign acted improperly.
 
     At a sentencing hearing Friday, prosecutors sought the five-year maximum. Danielczyk's lawyers argued that similar violations have received probation. 
 
     A co-defendant, 78-year-old Eugene Biagi, who is a former Galen executive, was sentenced to probation on Friday.
 
     The scheme was first exposed more than five years ago by The Wall Street Journal.
 
by Associated Press posted May 30 2013 5:45PM
 
     PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Virginia State University student leader who was convicted of hazing has succeeded in having the charge set aside.
 
     Student body president Brandon Randleman claimed he only entered the plea because he was threatened that he wouldn't graduate if he refused.
 
     Media outlets reported Thursday that prosecutors agreed May 23 to drop the charge against Randleman, who graduated earlier this month. 
 
     In April, Randleman and three other Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity members entered pleas in which they didn't admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict them. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the charges in May if they stayed out of trouble.
 
     Weeks later, Randleman hired an attorney and asked that his conviction be tossed, claiming that he was pressured into pleading. 
 
     The prosecutor denied threatening Randleman.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Virginia
by AP posted May 30 2013 11:01AM
     OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is adding The Roanoke, Va., Times to its growing group of small and medium-sized newspapers.
 
     Berkshire announced Thursday it was acquiring The Times from Landmark Media Enterprises. It will be Berkshire's 30th daily newspaper.
 
     Financial terms were not disclosed. Berkshire says The Roanoke Times has daily circulation of 76,000 and Sunday circulation of 90,000. 
 
     Buffett told shareholders earlier this month that Berkshire should earn decent returns of about 10 percent on the newspapers because it is buying them at such cheap prices. 
 
     But he says newspaper earnings will keep declining, and the newspapers won't make much difference to Berkshire overall profits because they are relatively small compared to the conglomerate.
 
 
     
 
by AP posted May 30 2013 10:15AM
     NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Virginia medical examiner's office says two FBI agents killed in a fall while training off the Virginia Beach coast died from blunt force trauma.
 
     The Virginian-Pilot reports that the medical examiner's office released its findings Wednesday.
 
     The FBI has said Special Agents Christopher W. Lorek of Richmond and Stephen P. Shaw of Stafford, fell to their deaths on May 17 when a helicopter ran into trouble during a "maritime counterterrorism exercise."
 
     Both were members of the bureau's elite hostage rescue team. The team is trained in military tactics and outfitted with combat-style gear and weapons.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : VirginiaVirginia Beach
by AP posted May 29 2013 11:25AM

VIDEO - Officials say the fire at a derailed chemical-carrying CSX train outside Baltimore is under control. The train collided with a trash truck Tuesday in Rosedale, Maryland. The truck driver was the only person injured.

Filed Under :
Location : BaltimoreMarylandRosedale
by AP posted May 29 2013 7:28AM


VIDEO - In AP exclusive video, an explosion at a cargo train derailment in a Baltimore suburb that shook homes at least half a mile away is caught on camera.

Filed Under :
Location : BaltimoreMaryland
by Associated Press posted May 28 2013 11:20PM
   PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An Amtrak spokeswoman says its Northeast Corridor service is not being affected by a freight train accident and explosion near Baltimore.
 
     A CSX train crashed into a trash truck Tuesday afternoon in White Marsh, Md. The subsequent derailment led to an explosion that collapsed nearby buildings.
 
     White Marsh is about 10 miles from Baltimore. 
 
Filed Under :
by Associated Press posted May 28 2013 11:18PM
  WASHINGTON (AP) - A Virginia congressman wants an Army officer to be the person in charge of Arlington National Cemetery.
 
     Republican Rob Wittman announced Tuesday that he has introduced legislation that would require placement of a commissioned officer in charge of Army National Cemeteries, which has Arlington National Cemetery as its centerpiece.
 
     While the Army operates the cemetery, it has had civilians in charge there. Outgoing director Kathryn Condon has been credited with fixing mismanagement that led to scandals at the cemetery including reports of misplaced remains.
 
     Wittman, who has conducted oversight hearings on cemetery operations, says it makes sense in the future that the person in charge of Arlington should be subject to military discipline.
 
     
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : ArlingtonVirginiaWashington
People : Kathryn Condon
by AP posted May 28 2013 11:48AM
     LOUISA, Va. (AP) - Eight people are recovering from injuries suffered when the golf cart they were riding in overturned in Louisa County.
 
     Virginia State Police charged the driver, 72-year-old John R. Mleziva of Manassas, with reckless driving.
 
     State police tell media outlets that Mleziva lost control of the golf cart while driving on Lake Forest Drive on Monday.
 
     Mleziva, his son, 45-year-old Daniel M. Mleziva of Fairfax, his daughter-in-law, 39-year-old Mary B. Mleziva, and the couple's four children suffered minor injuries.
 
     His wife, 69-year-old Mary E. Mleziva, suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Louisa CountyVirginia
by AP posted May 28 2013 11:47AM
     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A committee appointed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli suggests designating a state agency to help the governor restore felons' voting rights.
 
     Cuccinelli's seven-member Rights Restoration Advisory Committee issued its report Tuesday.
 
     The Republican candidate for governor formed the panel in March to determine whether the procedure for restoring felons' rights can be revised without amending the Virginia Constitution. Legislative proposals to automatically restore nonviolent felons' rights have failed repeatedly, most recently in the 2013 legislature. Those efforts have focused on amending the constitution, which says felons cannot vote unless their civil rights have been restored by the governor "or other appropriate authority." 
 
     The committee says the legislature could designate an executive branch agency to do all the legwork and lead an outreach effort. The governor would retain the final say.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Virginia
by AP posted May 28 2013 11:45AM
     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Commonwealth University is considering dropping its general health and physical education program.
 
     School of Education dean Christine S. Walther-Thomas says the program now has one full-time faculty member. Two professors retired and another resigned.
 
     Walther-Thomas tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the school is trying to determine whether to put resources into the program amid state budget cuts. A decision is expected in July.
 
     VCU spokeswoman Anne Buckley says 54 students were enrolled in the program as of the spring semester, including 16 in its teacher-education phase. Three students graduated this month.
 
     If the program is dropped, Buckley says students already admitted in it will graduate. She says the School of Education will ensure that they receive the coursework, faculty support and field supervision needed to complete the program.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
by AP posted May 27 2013 11:42AM


VIDEO -      ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - President Barack Obama has laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for many American war heroes.
 
     Obama rode by motorcade from the White House to the hallowed burial grounds in suburban Virginia on a sun-splashed, but cool spring holiday. Cannon fire was heard in the distance.
 
     An Honor Guard stood at attention along the road that carried the president to tomb site. The headstones at the national cemetery were adorned with mini-American flags.
 
     Appearing before a hushed crowd at the venerable cemetery, Obama strode with uniformed military officers to the site of the Tomb and set the wreath in place after the playing of the National Anthem.
 
     The president was to give a speech following the wreath-laying.   

Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : ArlingtonVirginia
People : Barack Obama
by AP posted May 27 2013 7:55AM

VIDEO - Against the backdrop of Arlington National Cemetary, Rolling Thunder roared across Memorial Bridge in an annual commemoration of those lost and missing in the nation's wars.

by Associated Press posted May 23 2013 7:14PM
  ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - A Virginia landmark and tourism attraction once owned by Thomas Jefferson is up for sale.
 
     The privately owned Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County is being put on the market, along with Natural Bridge Caverns and a 150-room hotel.
 
     Roanoke-based Woltz & Associates is marketing the tourist attraction.
 
     Woltz & Associates owner and president Jim Woltz tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/Z2ioIT ) that the 1,600-acre property will be divided and listed by tracts. Potential buyers could purchase only the 215-foot-high limestone arch, or every tract.
 
     The property's primary owner is Washington, D.C., businessman Angelo Puglisi. Woltz says Puglisi wants the bridge to remain open to the public.
 
     Woltz would like to see the bridge become a national or state park. He plans to contact federal and state officials about purchasing it.
 
by Associated Press posted May 23 2013 6:50PM
  BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - A parking garage has partially collapsed outside a shopping mall in suburban Maryland, and officials say one construction worker who was trapped has died.
 
     Montgomery County rescuers worked to stabilize the structure to free a second worker for more than four hours on Thursday. Officials say it appears a 50,000-pound section of the parking deck collapsed outside a Macy's store.
 
     Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Anne Nesselt says one man died. The second worker, who was freed about 6 p.m., has serious injuries.
 
     Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says rescuers confirmed there were no other people inside the structure. 
 
     The parking deck was under construction during the collapse and was not open to the public.
 
     Video from the scene showed a large concrete slab appears to have fallen out of place.
 
Filed Under :
by Associated Press posted May 22 2013 6:28PM
  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's U.S. senators have introduced a bill to allow offshore energy leases off the coast of Virginia.
 
     Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2013 on Wednesday.
 
     Warner has introduced similar legislation the past two years. Sales of leases off the Virginia coast were scheduled to begin in 2011 but were delayed until 2017 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. 
 
     The Sierra Club of Virginia opposes the legislation. In a statement, the club offshore drilling would risk more than 100,000 jobs in industries that depend on a healthy ocean and Chesapeake Bay and clean beaches.
 
 
by Deirdre Blake posted May 22 2013 6:18PM
Twitter is your spot to get accurate information on the proposed Student Right to Know Before You Go Act on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner co-hosts the Twitter town hall at 4:30 p.m. The plan would streamline existing college reporting requirements so students, families and lawmakers can better assess schools and programs based on a wide range of key data including; graduation rates, transfer rates, frequency graduates go on to pursue higher levels of education, student debt and post-graduation employment outcomes, before applying. 
You can follow the town hall using the hashtag #TalkHigherEd.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
by Associated Press posted May 21 2013 6:25PM
  FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - Lawyers in the court-martial of an Army private who gave U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks say they've reached a deal on evidence involving Osama bin Laden. 
 
     They announced the agreement at a pretrial hearing Tuesday for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
 
     It involves evidence that the slain al-Qaida leader saw some of the classified information that Manning has admitted he caused to be published on the WikiLeaks website.
 
     If the judge approves the deal and allows the evidence at Manning's trial starting June 3, a member of the Navy SEAL team that killed bin Laden may not have to testify.
 
     Prosecutors contend Manning aided the enemy by sending the documents to WikiLeaks.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Maryland
by Associated Press posted May 20 2013 5:46PM
  NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Virginia medical examiner's office says it will likely be weeks before the cause of death is determined for two FBI agents who died during a training exercise off the coast of Virginia Beach. 
 
     Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw were members of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team, which is federal law enforcement's only full-time counterterrorism unit. 
 
     The FBI has declined to specify what kind of training they were participating in before their deaths on Friday. Among other things, the team is trained how to fast-rope out of helicopters, SCUBA dive and conduct close-quarter battle. 
 
     Glenn McBride, a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office in Norfolk, said Monday the office is waiting for toxicology results to come back before making a determination on the cause of death.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
by Associated Press posted May 20 2013 5:45PM
  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal jury has convicted the leader of a Richmond-area MS-13 gang for ordering two teenagers to shot a man as part of a gang initiation and to attack another man.
 
     The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/10JvUSo ) that 30-year-old Jose Armando Bran was convicted Monday on murder, maiming and conspiracy charges. He faces two life terms plus 90 years when he's sentenced Aug. 15.
 
     Bran's trial began May 13 on charges he ordered the July 24, 2011 slaying of Osbin Noel Hernandez-Gonzales and the Jan. 14, 2012 maiming of Florentino Ayala.
 
     Hernandez-Gonzales was fatally shot in the Pony Pasture area along the James River in Richmond.
 
     Ayala was stabbed 15 times but survived.
 
     The two teens were convicted in state court of carrying out the attacks.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : RichmondVirginia
by Associated Press posted May 17 2013 3:28PM
  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell is launching an ambitious campaign to match more than 1,000 children in foster care with 1,000 adoptive parents.
 
     The "Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000" will get its official start Friday at the Executive Mansion in Richmond.
 
     In advance of the event, Equality Virginia and the Family Equality Council are calling on McDonnell to open adoption to all qualified parents. A Virginia law allows private adoption agencies to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
 
     Equality Virginia says the state has more than 4,000 children in the foster care system.
 
     The McDonnell campaign launch comes during Foster Care Month in Virginia.
 
     McDonnell urges anyone considering becoming a foster parent or adopting to visit: www.VirginiaAdopts.Virginia.Gov
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Social Issues
Location : RichmondVirginia
by Associated Press posted May 17 2013 3:27PM
  ACCOMAC, Va. (AP) - Two people suspected in setting a string of fires on Virginia's Eastern Shore have been found competent to stand trial.
 
     The conclusion followed a court-ordered psychological evaluation of Charles R. Smith II and Tonya Bundick.
 
     Police have said the couple is responsible for most of the 77 arsons on the Eastern Shore since last fall. They were arrested April 2.
 
     The Daily Times reports (http://delmarvane.ws/11Kty95) that the psychological evaluations of Smith and Bundick found that both defendants suffer from depression.
 
     The evaluations reveal that Bundick was subjected to verbal and emotional abuse at home as a child and physically abused by her father.
 
     The evaluation of Smith notes that he was abandoned by his biological father.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : AccomacVirginia
by AP posted May 16 2013 11:08AM
     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Lottery says someone bought a $1 million Powerball ticket in Christiansburg.
 
     The ticket is one of more 64,000 sold in Virginia that won a prize in Wednesday night's drawing. The prize-winning tickets range from $4 to $1 million. They include two $10,000 tickets that were sold in Alexandria and Manassas.
 
     No one won the jackpot, which is now an estimated $475 million for Saturday night's drawing. Lottery officials said Thursday that more than 4.7 million Powerball tickets are expected to be sold in Virginia on Saturday.
 
     The $1 million winner hasn't yet claimed the prize.
 
     In February, a Fredericksburg couple claimed a $217 million Powerball jackpot.
 
 
     
 
Filed Under :
Location : AlexandriaManassasVirginia
by Associated Press posted May 15 2013 5:46PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia farmers produce enough eggs to make more than 1 billion deviled eggs annually.
 
     The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Wednesday that the state's farmers produce 696 million eggs a year. That's also enough to make 232 million three-egg omelets or 87 million pound cakes.
 
     Each laying bird produces 280 to 320 eggs a year.
 
     The department says cash receipts from eggs totaled $89 million in 2012. That makes eggs the 10th highest agricultural commodity in Virginia.
 
 
Filed Under :
Location : Virginia
by AP posted May 15 2013 10:14AM


VIDEO - Video captured from the helmet of a worker shows the scaffolding being topped off at the Washington Monument on Monday. The scaffolding is needed to repair the 555-foot marble obelisk damaged in a 2011 earthquake. Video silent from source.

Filed Under :
by WJLA-Washington posted May 15 2013 9:54AM

VIDEO - A Metro train caught fire at the Silver Spring station during rush hourTuesday evening.


by AP posted May 15 2013 9:30AM


VIDEO - A drone the size of a fighter jet took off from the deck of an American aircraft carrier for the first time Tuesday in a test flight that could open the way for the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft from just about any place in the world.

Filed Under :
by Associated Press posted May 13 2013 4:41PM
 BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia Tech is being recognized for its efforts to encourage students, staff and visitors to ride bicycles.
 
     The League of American Bicyclists has designated Virginia Tech as a bicycle friendly university. Virginia Tech received the league's bronze award, the third-highest designation.
 
     The school is one of 58 colleges and universities in the nation to receive the designation.
 
     Virginia Tech announced the designation Monday in a news release. The school says it has invested in nine miles of shared paths, three miles of bike lanes and several covered bicycle racks. Additional bicycle racks are planned, along with more bicycle repair services.
 
     Also, the school and the Town of Blacksburg are building a connector to link the existing Huckleberry Trail with the Foxridge Trails.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : BlacksburgVirginia
by Associated Press posted May 13 2013 4:39PM
 WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington National Cathedral and George Washington's Mount Vernon estate have both won $100,000 grants among 24 sites around the nation's capital competing for historic preservation funds.
 
     The earthquake-damaged National Cathedral won the most votes from the public over the past three weeks, earning nearly 1.4 million points in the Partners in Preservation program. 
 
     The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express announced the winners Monday, awarding $1 million in preservation funds to sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
 
     The cathedral will use the funds to repair its nave vaulting, which has been draped with netting to catch falling debris since the earthquake. Mount Vernon won $100,000 to paint, plaster and restore Washington's dining room. 
 
     Eleven other sites also won grants ranging from $50,000 to $90,000.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
by Associated Press posted May 10 2013 6:12PM
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Commonwealth University students will pay more for tuition and mandatory fees starting in the fall.
 
     Returning students will continue to pay under a block pricing structure under the plan approved Friday by the Board of Visitors. New students will pay on a per-credit hour basis, with credits at 15 hours or more reduced to half price.
 
     The increases are 4.19 percent for in-state undergraduate students and 3.98 percent for out-of-state undergraduates. The typical bill for returning students will be $10,299 for Virginians and $24,863 for out-of-state students.
 
     For new students taking 30 credit hours per year, the cost will be $12,002 for Virginians and $24,473 for out-of-state residents. 
 
     Costs will be higher for students living in student housing with a meal plan.
 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Richmond
by AP posted May 10 2013 10:26AM

<VIDEO> Britain's Prince Harry is spending most of his week in the U.S. honoring those wounded and killed in war. On Friday, the prince visited Arlington National Cemetery and will then head to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

by Associated Press posted May 8 2013 6:26PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling says he will not attend the state party convention where Republicans will pick their candidates for this fall's elections. 
 
     The Washington Post reported Wednesday (http://wapo.st/10qghMk) that Bolling would skip the convention in protest to the process that marked the end of his dream to become governor. Bolling dropped out of the governor's race after Republicans decided to pick their nominee in a convention rather than a primary, certain that such a process would favor his opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
 
     In a statement issued Wednesday, Bolling spokeswoman Ibbie Hedrick says he didn't support changing the nomination method and that it disenfranchises many in the party.
 
     Conventions is expected to be named the party's candidate at the convention, which will be held in Richmond next weekend. 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Virginia
by Associated Press posted May 8 2013 6:25PM
 WASHINGTON (AP) - Taxicabs in the District of Columbia will be required to accept credit and debit cards by the end of August.
 
     The D.C. Taxicab Commission approved the requirement on Wednesday. It's part of a broad package of reforms to the taxi industry that city government leaders have been pushing.
 
     The implementation of the credit-card requirement has been beset by a series of delays. But the commission says the rules requiring installation of the credit-card readers will take effect on May 31. Drivers will then have three months to comply.
 
     Fares will increase slightly to offset the cost to drivers of installing the new equipment.
 
by Associated Press posted May 7 2013 6:19PM
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican Ken Cuccinelli is proposing to slash taxes by $1.4 billion, including cutting corporate tax rates by one-third if he's elected governor.
 
     He said in his first policy news conference at a Richmond yogurt store on Tuesday that he'd offset the individual and business income tax cuts by eliminating a broad range of exemptions and other incentives.
 
     Cuccinelli also said he wouldn't repeal the first transportation funding reform law in 27 years passed this year, even though he consistently opposed it and almost derailed it with a legal opinion in February.
 
     The Republican attorney general's event comes amid a statewide "official launch" of Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe's campaign, done six months after he declared his candidacy.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : RichmondVirginia
by Associated Press posted May 7 2013 6:18PM
 WASHINGTON (AP) - Tourism officials say Washington saw an increase of about 1 million visitors last year, counting a record 18.9 million tourists visiting the nation's capital.
 
     Statistics released Tuesday by the tourism bureau Destination D.C. show a 5.5 percent increase in total visitors. A study found domestic visitation grew by 4.2 percent from 2011 to reach 16.8 million U.S. visitors. 
 
     There was also an increase in international visitors. Officials estimate Washington had 2.1 million international tourists in 2012.
 
     Destination D.C. CEO Elliott Ferguson says tourism officials are encouraged by the growth. He says it translates into a stronger local economy and job market.
 
     Figures show visitor spending increased to an estimated $6.2 billion in 2012. Destination D.C. says more than half of the city's sales tax revenue is generated by visitor spending. 
 
by Associated Press posted May 7 2013 4:07PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's highway department plans to hire a Northern Virginia-based firm to run the state's five transportation operations centers.
 
     The state Department of Transportation chose Serco Inc. for the $355-milllion, six-year contract. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether to award the contract at its June meeting.
 
     Gov. Bob McDonnell says the company will integrate the state's five transportation operation centers located in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Salem and Staunton.
 
     Officials say the centers monitor traffic cameras and road sensors, run electronic signs, manage accident response and reversible lanes, and act as emergency operation centers during major events.
 
     The Reston-based company also will manage the agency's highway service patrols.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
People : Bob McDonnell
by AP posted May 7 2013 12:06PM
     SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - Two Suffolk second graders have been suspended for making shooting noises while pointing pencils at each another.
 
     Media outlets report the boys were suspended for two days for a violation of the Suffolk school system's zero-tolerance policy on weapons. They were playing with one another in class Friday at Driver Elementary.
 
     One of the boys' fathers says he believes school officials overreacted.
 
     But Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw says a pencil is considered a weapon when it's pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made.
 
     Bradshaw says some children would consider the incident threatening.
 
     She says the policy has been in place for at least two decades. It also bans drawing a picture of a gun and pointing a finger in a threatening manner.
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Virginia
by AP posted May 7 2013 10:48AM

<VIDEO> Authorities say searchers have found the body of an 83-year-old woman who went missing after arriving at a Washington airport from Barbados.

Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : Washington
by Associated Press posted May 6 2013 6:29PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A public television show on architectural landmarks will feature the Virginia State Capitol.
 
     House Speaker Bill Howell said Monday the Capitol is included in the PBS special "10 Buildings That Changed America." The one-hour show airs Sunday night. 
 
     Among other buildings on the list are Boston's Trinity Church and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
 
     The buildings were chosen by a panel of architects and historians.
 
     
 
Filed Under :
Location : BostonLos AngelesVirginia
People : Bill Howell
by Associated Press posted May 6 2013 6:28PM
  ACCOMAC, Va. (AP) - A judge has denied bond for a woman suspected of setting a string of arsons on the Eastern Shore.
 
     Tonya Bundick had appealed a judge's decision to deny her bond after her arrest last month. She appealed, but media outlets report she was denied again on Monday in Accomack County Circuit Court.
 
     Police suspect the 40-year-old Bundick and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Charles R. Smith III, are responsible for most of the 77 arsons on the Eastern Shore since last fall. Both are charged with setting one fire, but more charges are expected.
 
     Court documents show Smith told authorities that he set 52 unoccupied buildings on fire and that Bundick torched another 15. 
 
     Bundick and Smith are both being held without bond in the Accomack County Jail. 
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : AccomacVirginia
by AP posted May 6 2013 10:33AM

<VIDEO> The search is on around Washington, DC for an 82-year-old grandmother who wandered away from Reagan National Airport. Family members say Victoria Kong is has early signs of dementia or alzheimer's.

Filed Under :
Location : Washington, Dc
People : Victoria Kong
by AP posted May 6 2013 10:32AM

<VIDEO> The US Navy honored four sailors who were killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1967. The four were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday

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by Associated Press posted May 1 2013 6:53PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new advisory group will offer guidance to the governor and Department of Education secretary on Virginia's teaching policies.
 
     An executive order issued Wednesday by Gov. Bob McDonnell establishes the Governor's Teacher Cabinet.
 
     McDonald says the cabinet's members will be teachers from across Virginia. They will make both long-term and short-term recommendations on ways to enhance teacher leadership, quality and professionalism.
 
     The cabinet's responsibilities include identifying additional resources, learning tools and professional development opportunities that could be made available to local school divisions.
 
     McDonnell encouraged full-time teachers to apply to serve on the cabinet.
 
 
     
 
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Virginia
People : Bob McDonnell
by AP posted May 1 2013 10:56AM
     WASHINGTON (AP) - District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray wants people living in the country illegally to be able to get driver's licenses in the nation's capital.
 
     The mayor's office says Gray and other city leaders will introduce a bill on Thursday. It would allow district residents to get a license or a city identification card regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
 
     As with all legislation in the district, it would only become law after a period of review by Congress.
 
     Four states allow people who don't have legal permission to live in the United States to obtain driver's licenses: Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico and Washington state. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to sign a bill Wednesday that would make his state the fifth. Colorado is also considering it.
 
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