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State News
Posts from July 2013
by Associated Press posted Jul 9 2013 2:38PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The ACLU of Virginia says it will file a federal lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban.
     Tuesday's announcement comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the federal same-sex marriage ban and left intact a lower court ruling overturning California's gay marriage ban.
     Virginia voters in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex unions and refusing to recognize such marriages performed in other states.
     The ACLU says it will team with the gay-rights group Lambda Legal to argue that Virginia's ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law. The organization also is challenging gay marriage prohibitions in some other states.
Filed Under :
Topics : Social Issues
Location : CaliforniaVirginia
by Associated Press posted Jul 9 2013 2:37PM
 RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia recorded seven fatal highway crashes over the July 4th holiday, down from the 10 recorded during last year's Independence Day.
     The Virginia State Police said Tuesday that three of the seven fatalities involved motorcycle crashes. The statistical counting period was from Thursday through midnight Sunday.
     The holiday weekend also meant stepped up patrols. Called Operation CARE, the patrols resulted in more than 10,000 suspected speeders and cited 2,500 reckless drivers. State police also cited 93 drunken drivers and nearly 1,400 people for failing to buckle up themselves or their children.
Filed Under :
Location : Virginia
by Associated Press posted Jul 4 2013 1:36PM
  WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) - Following several postponements, NASA has launched two suborbital rockets from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
     A Black Brant V and a Terrier-Improved Orion were launched 15 seconds apart Thursday morning from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility.
     NASA says the launches are in support of the Daytime Dynamo experiment.
     The project is designed to study a global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere.
     The ionosphere stretches from about 30 to 600 miles above Earth. A disruption in the ionosphere can disrupt communication signals from satellites.
     The experiment is a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 
by Associated Press posted Jul 4 2013 12:09PM
  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is getting advice from a high-powered Washington lawyer amid questions about gifts he and his family have received during his term.
     McDonnell says that Emmet T. Flood is advising him. He says he believes it was proper for him to seek legal counsel.
     Flood served as deputy White House counsel to President George W. Bush. He also represented President Bill Clinton during impeachment proceedings.
     Federal authorities are looking into the relationship between Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie Williams and the governor and first lady Maureen McDonnell.
     Williams paid $15,000 for the catering at the 2011 wedding of McDonnell's daughter.
     The wedding gift and others were revealed by former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider, who's facing embezzlement charges.
by Associated Press posted Jul 4 2013 12:07PM
  NEW YORK (AP) - The Black Widow of competitive eating has narrowly defended her title.
     Sonya Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., devoured 36 and three-quarters hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win the women's competition at the annual Fourth of July Coney Island event.
     The 100-pound Thomas went toe-to-toe with Juliet Lee with a second to spare. Lee ate 36 dogs.
     The count was much lower than last year, when Thomas broke her own record by eating 45 hot dogs and buns.
     The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a city tradition for 97 years.
Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
Location : AlexandriaNew YorkVirginia
by Associated Press posted Jul 3 2013 2:09PM
 NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Swimming advisories are in effect at four Ocean View beaches in Norfolk because of high bacteria levels.
     The Norfolk Department of Public Health issued the advisories Tuesday for the entire Captain's Quarters park area, the beach area from 14th Bay Street to 25th Bay Street, the oceanfront site between Inlet Road and Beaumont Street, and the 11th View Street to 15th View Street beach site.
     The department tells media outlets that tests found enterococci bacteria levels that exceeded state water quality standards.
     Health officials will continue testing the beach waters. Posted signs will be removed when the bacteria levels return to levels that meet the state standards.
Filed Under :
Location : Virginia
by AP posted Jul 3 2013 11:28AM
     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Attorney General Mary Sue Terry isn't welcome at the Patrick County school board's meetings.
     The board has barred Terry from attending its meetings or coming onto school property unless she gets prior written approval from chairman Ronnie E. Terry, who's no relation to her, or the schools superintendent.
     The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Ronnie Terry notified the former attorney general about the restrictions in a letter sent last week.
     The letter states that Mary Sue Terry disrupted a closed meeting last Thursday.
     She tells the newspaper that she didn't do anything wrong. She says the letter is retribution.
     She sued the school division in 2012 in relation to the Freedom of Information Act. She says she also has represented retired teachers whose contracts were terminated.
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Patrick CountyVirginia
by AP posted Jul 3 2013 11:26AM
     VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Virginia Beach will provide $18 million for the renovation of the 86-year-old Cavalier Hotel.
     The funding includes an $8.2 million economic development grant to developer Bruce Thompson. The hotel's renovation is part of a $259 million development project that Thompson has proposed for the site.
     Thompson also will receive $5 million in real estate tax rebates over time.
     The city also plans to spend more than $2 million to acquire public easements on the lawn and entrance to the hotel to protect it from development.
     Media outlets report that City Council approved the funding Tuesday.
     Councilman Bob Dyer was the only council member who opposed the financial package. He cited a longstanding opposition to public-private partnerships.
     Mayor Will Sessoms says the Cavalier is a city icon.
by AP posted Jul 3 2013 11:25AM
     VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - The Navy says three formerly Virginia Beach-based ships have arrived in Bahrain, which will be their new home port.
     The patrol coastal ships USS Tempest, USS Squal and USS Thunderbolt arrived pierside in Bahrain on Wednesday. The speedy ships can operate in shallow water and perform interdiction surveillance. Each is armed with automatic grenade launchers and a variety of machine guns.  
     The Navy plans to have 10 patrol coastal ships in Bahrain by spring of 2014. That's when the USS Hurricane and USS Monsoon will also leave Virginia to permanently join the 5th Fleet.
     Each ship has a crew of four officers and 24 enlisted personnel. 
     The Navy says three patrol coastal ships will remain stationed in Virginia Beach.  
Filed Under :
by AP posted Jul 3 2013 11:23AM
     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A change in the English curriculum at Virginia Military Institute has led to the resignations of six faculty members.
     VMI spokesman Stewart MacInnis says the resignations of two other faculty members aren't related to the new curriculum.
     MacInnis tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that some of those who resigned had been at VMI for more than 20 years.
     The school announced the new English curriculum in spring 2012. MacInnis says it shifts the primary focus from literature to writing skills. But he says literature "is not thrown out."
     The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that English faculty members filed a complaint in October 2011 after they began receiving negative performance reviews.
     MacInnis says an investigation found that the complaints weren't substantiated.
Filed Under :
Topics : Education
Location : Virginia
People : Stewart MacInnis
by Associated Press posted Jul 2 2013 3:25PM
   FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The government is struggling to prove a key element in the theft charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier on trial for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.
     The judge in Manning's court-martial ruled Tuesday that a witness called by the government will not be allowed to testify as an expert about the monetary value of the leaked documents.
     Though aiding the enemy is the most serious of 21 charges against Manning, there also are five counts of theft - each saying he stole a thing of value worth more than $1,000.
     Manning says he leaked documents while serving in Iraq in 2010 to expose wronging and help Americans better understand the war.
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_CrimePolitics
Location : Maryland
People : Bradley Manning
by Associated Press posted Jul 2 2013 3:10PM
  RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The city of Martinsville's jobless rate remained the highest in Virginia in May.
     The Virginia Employment Commission says the city's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 14.8 percent. That's down from 15 percent in April and up from 14.5 percent a year ago. 
     The statewide rate for May was 5.6 percent.
     Nationally, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for May was 7.3 percent. Rates dropped from last year in 253 metropolitan areas, increased in 86 and were flat in 33.
     Arlington County had Virginia's lowest jobless rate with 3.7 percent in May, followed by 4.2 percent in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
     The Danville region had the highest unemployment rate among Virginia's metropolitan regions at 8 percent. The Washington metropolitan region that includes Arlington and Alexandria had the lowest rate of 4.4 percent.
by Associated Press posted Jul 2 2013 2:49PM
   RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Democratic lawmaker is urging Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to "come clean" about gifts from a political donor or resign.
     Sen. Chap Petersen says in a letter to the Republican governor that recent published reports suggest that Jonnie Williams plied the McDonnells with gifts and, in return, was allowed to use the governor's office to gain credibility for his dietary supplements company, Star Scientific. 
     McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin called Petersen's letter "blatantly political."
     The gifts first came to light during an investigation into alleged improprieties in the Executive Mansion's kitchen. Former mansion chef Todd Schenider, who is charged with embezzlement, reported that Williams paid $15,000 for catering at the wedding of McDonnell's daughter. News reports have listed other gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex, that were not reported on McDonnell's statement of economic interests.  
Filed Under :
Topics : Politics
Location : Virginia
by AP posted Jul 2 2013 11:44AM
     CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The arrest of a University of Virginia student by state alcohol agents who mistook her bottled water for beer has sparked a public outcry.
     Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control spokeswoman Maureen Haney tells The Daily Progress that the agency's headquarters in Richmond was besieged on Monday with phone calls and emails from the public questioning the incident. Comments also were posted on the agency's social media sites.
     Haney says the governor's office also received phone calls and emails.
     On April 11, 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly bought a carton of water, cookie dough and ice cream at a Charlottesville store. She drove off when she was confronted by plainclothes ABC agents and her SUV grazed two of them.
     Prosecutors later dropped charges against her.
     The ABC is reviewing the incident.
Filed Under :
Location : Virginia

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