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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 12 2014 7:41AM
Four men in Caroline County now face numerous charges and are accused with stealing copper wire and commercial HVAC units.
The Caroline County Sheriff's Office says Austin J. Wright, Nathan H. Clair and Derek J. St. Amand of Ruther Glen and Robert E. Glacken of Pennsylvania are charged with grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny and larceny with intent to sell. They say it's caused a tremendous financial burden on many local churches and businesses.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 10:06AM

The head of the children's program at Fredericksburg's Mary Washington Hospital is warning parents to teach kids good hygiene as a scary virus strain is found in 11 states.
The non-polio enterovirus D68 has no vaccine and has sent some kids to hospitals. Its symptoms are similar to the common cold and respiratory illnesses and include wheezing and a fever.
So far, three sets of 12 clusters each in Central and Southern Virginia have been sent forward to be examined. The CDC and Virginia Health Department have not confirmed the presence in the state. Kids and folks with a previous history of asthma or respiratory issues are most at risk.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 10:02AM
The next step to bring a minor league baseball stadium to Fredericksburg is in the hands of the partners that are planning the move.
This week the City Manager tried to let the head of Diamond Nation know lawmakers here have no agreement on getting them another $18 million it now needs. In one option, a city authority could buy the land and rent it back to the baseball partners to recover the cost of its investment.
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Topics : Sports
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 10:01AM
There's a chance to learn more about what it means to live or work in Stafford County. Registration is open for the Citizen's Academy, that will run once a week next month. They'll focus on day-to-day operations of local government and various county programs and departments. They're on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. and free, but the minimum age is 16.
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Location : Stafford County
People : Stafford Citizen
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 10:00AM
A little sad news about jobs if you want to get into higher education in the Fredericksburg area. The University of Mary Washington is continuing the hiring freeze it started last month, because of cuts to state funding. In addition to the freeze, its' president is asking his staff to think creatively to find more savings. Right now the school's got 23 positions open at the Fredericksburg university.
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Topics : EducationLabor
People : Job Freeze
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 9:57AM
On the eve of today's anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama's words seem to echo those of President George Bush years later. He says "We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are." He and Congress have authorized sending nearly 500 more U.S. troops to Iraq to help that country's security forces and is authorizing air strikes in Syria.
In honor of the 9/11 attacks, 13 years ago, lawmakers in Prince William County hold a ceremony there this morning at the Liberty Memorial and there was one at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington. Bikers and truckers are riding to the National Mall for an afternoon rally, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Flags are flying at half mast across the Fredericksburg region, Virginia, Maryland and some other states.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 11 2014 9:41AM
The Commonwealth Transportation Board is going on the road to field questions on the state's six year highway improvement plan.
In June, the board approved a final $13.1 billion transportation blueprint for Virginia over the next half-dozen years. It has scheduled nine meetings around the state through October, with the first scheduled September 23rd in Lynchburg. Fredericksburg and Culpeper are on the list of the rest. Besides listening to the public, the board will also explain the transportation improvements planned over the next six years.

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Location : Virginia
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 10 2014 9:34AM

A new American Red Cross app is making it easier than ever to donate blood. It lets you schedule donations, find a local donor center, track what you've given and invite friends to join. It can also synchronize an appointment with your schedule and give you discounts at some retailers. It's free and available for download in app stores.
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Topics : Human Interest
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 10 2014 9:30AM
A green light from Caroline lawmakers to publish the names of some residents that owe back taxes could be make nosy neighbors happy, but be pretty embarassing for the person responsible.
They talked for months about whether to make the more than four-thousand names public. The whole list will be on the county's website and the top 500 that owe the most will be in two area papers. The county's trying to get over $1.5 in delinquent personal property taxes.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 10 2014 9:28AM
The new international sister city partnership with Spotsylvania County and the town of Roccadaspide, Italy was confirmed last night. The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors took part in a live telecast ceremony and Chairman David Ross and the Town Mayor exchanged translated remarks using Skype.
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Topics : Business_Finance
Location : Roccadaspide
People : David Ross
by By LARRY O'DELL Associated Press posted Sep 4 2014 3:16PM
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A jury has convicted former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen of corruption, fraud and bribery, after the couple accepted more than $165,000 of gifts and loans from a businessman.

Both Bob and Maureen bowed heads and wept as a chorus of "guiltys" kept coming from court clerk.

McDonnell was widely considered a possible running mate for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. He was charged with doing favors for a wealthy vitamin executive in exchange for the gifts and loans.

Both were found guilty on most counts against them.

A federal jury in Richmond returned the verdicts Thursday after a five-week trial and deliberating for three days.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Regardless of the outcome of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption trial, a string of personal details that emerged during five weeks of testimony shattered an image he cultivated over more than two decades in public office as a happily married family man and fiscal conservative.

Jurors reached a verdict on Thursday, their third day of deliberations, and were expected to announce it in the afternoon. They faced an enormous volume of evidence and a portrait of a man whose personal life unfolded in stark contrast to his public persona: McDonnell espoused family values and spending restraint while his marriage crumbled, his children had to schedule appointments to see him, and he relied heavily on credit cards and loans.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged in a 14-count indictment with doing special favors for Jonnie Williams, the CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans. The defense sought to convince the jury that the couple could not have conspired because they were barely speaking

As a state lawmaker, McDonnell unsuccessfully championed legislation to allow couples to enter into a "covenant marriage" in which they would agree to seek marital counseling before getting a divorce. But he was unable to convince his wife to undergo marriage counseling after their relationship deteriorated to the point where they could not communicate, McDonnell testified, although she did eventually get individual treatment. He and his wife are living apart during the trial, McDonnell revealed.

McDonnell, once a national Republican up-and-comer, testified in detail about his broken marriage. His attorneys introduced an email he wrote to his wife in 2011 complaining about her "fiery anger" and pleading with her to work with him to save the marriage.

It was a much different picture than the public was accustomed to seeing - the couple often holding hands or exchanging pecks on the cheek. Prosecutors introduced photos documenting those apparently tender moments, but the McDonnells' eldest daughter testified it was all a facade concealing a chilly relationship.

"Certainly this case cast an extraordinarily different light on their marriage," said Robert D. Holsworth, a consultant and retired Virginia Commonwealth University political analyst who sat through most of the trial. "They were the most openly affectionate first couple I've seen in the last 30 years, and now the trial tells us it was all an act."

Evidence also showed that the McDonnells' credit card debt at one point exceeded $90,000 - a hefty amount for a man who earned $175,000 a year as governor. Maureen McDonnell, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, sold vitamins and skin care products from her home while raising five children but scaled that back after becoming first lady.

An expert defense witness testified that the McDonnells' finances were sound, but even U.S. District Judge James S. Spencer scoffed at the accountant's conclusion that unused credit card capacity amounted to "liquid resources" the couple could tap. The McDonnells also relied heavily on what prosecutors called "other people's money," including $120,000 in low-interest loans from Williams. The first $50,000 went to Maureen McDonnell, who used it to pay two credit card bills and buy Star Scientific stock. The rest went to MoBo Real Estate Partners, the money-losing Virginia Beach vacation rental properties owned by Bob McDonnell and his sister.

"He ran the state in a fiscally prudential manner while his own finances were run in a way that no one would recommend to their children," Holsworth said.

Prosecutors brought that contradiction to the jury's attention by showing an excerpt from a television interview in which McDonnell crowed about balancing the state budget, declaring that government has to handle its checkbook in the same responsible manner as families.

Many defense witnesses also testified that McDonnell is not materialistic. He carried his working papers in an old milk crate, and former communications chief Tucker Martin said staffers often teased their boss about holes in his shoes.

In closing arguments, a prosecutor said the evidence - including a Rolex watch, expensive golf outings and trips featuring $5,000 bottles of cognac and Ferrari rides, all on Willliams' tab - shows that even a man who walks around with holes in his shoes can enjoy the finer things in life.

AP-WF-09-04-14 1916GMT

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