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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 23 2014 7:19AM
The body of another fallen Marine will get an escort of motorcycles and Stafford Police later today.
Sergeant Charles Strong died during combat in Afghanistan this month and he and his wife Taylor have family in the Fredericksburg area. They also have a daughter on the way this December. The procession should reach Route 3 and Cool Spring Road by about 3 p.m. It then goes down Butler Road, up Route 1 and then to a funeral home on Courthouse Road. Supporters and well-wishers are welcome to gather along the route.
He will be laid to rest Thursday at Quantico National Cemetery.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 10:27AM
This year's flu season is expected to be as rough and spread as quickly as it did last fall, so get your shots now.
Dr. Lisa Gohskop tells us they are really important for kids who catch it easily and you can get one through their pediatrician. If they are scared of shots, you should also ask about the flu mist.
It's made from the same strains as last year and is considered our best line of defense. They don't expect a shortage this year, that has happened in the past. More than 40 million doses are already in the market and a total of 151 to 159 million are due, probably by next month.
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People : Lisa Gohskop
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 10:24AM
Whether you like to take walks or bike rides, you're probably happy that the first two sections of Fredericksburg's new Virginia Central Railway Trail opened on Saturday morning.
The more than three-million-dollar paved course starts at Cobblestone Square, runs along and under Lafayette Boulevard to cross the Blue and Gray Parkway and go through Alum Spring Park to U.S. 1. The next part will cross Route 1, in Spotsylvania, and reach the Village of Idlewild sometime early next year.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 10:23AM
We'll see if the third time really is a charm when some local lawmakers go back to bat over the future of a minor league baseball stadium in Fredericksburg.
The City Council will have an open discussion tomorrow on the status of negotiations. It still isn't clear whether a deal will get a nod from enough of them and whether the city will find a way to come up with another $14 million the partners now say they need. They plan a vote at their October 14th meeting.
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Topics : Sports
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 10:21AM
Your iPhone or iPad will be a little more safe, thanks to new security features, but make sure you keep up with your passwords.
Apple has tightened its tech security even more, but now even workers at the company can't crack your code. The good protects your info if it's lost, but might mean you never get access to your stuff again, if you just forget.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 9:42AM
We'll get a break from the headache of the detour to and from Central Park from Fredericksburg. The new bridge over the Rappahannock Canal should open before Thanksgiving. The new pedestrian bridge is already done, to link both the Rappahannock Heritage Trail and the trail that parallels the canal. The Fall Hill Avenue detour started February 12th. Lots of Central Park retailers say they're excited it will be easier for shoppers to get there again, hopefully for Black Friday.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 9:38AM
Yesterday's warm temps might temporarily have made us forget that fall's on the way, but it's official tomorrow. Another reminder will comes when the Virginia State Fair opens at the Meadow Event Park in Caroline this Friday.
It's got a whole list of new rides and food. There will be two nights of rodeo and demolition derby this year and a new firefighter training show and the Great Lakes Lumberjack Show. Last year more than 200,000 thousand people came out during the ten day run.
You can spend more time enjoying the fair and save some money with advanced tickets. They're $12 a pop for adults and $8 for kids ages 5 to 12 and seniors. They are available at local BB&T Bank branches, the Caroline Visitor's Center and on-line at until tomorrow.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 22 2014 9:36AM
Police in Charlottesville have an arrest warrant for the last man seen with missing UVA student Hannah Graham.
They say Jessee Matthew came to their station with his parents to talk to them over the weekend. When he sped away after, they issued the warrant for reckless driving, but he isn't in custody.
Graham's parents are asking anyone with info to call the police. She disappeared after dinner with friends and going to two off campus parties late on the 12th into the 13th.

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Location : Charlottesville
People : Hannah Graham
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:48AM
A medical emergency can happen in your life or a disaster can strike our community without warning.
In honor of National Preparedness month, the Red Cross is holding more local blood drives. There's one today at the Fredericksburg donor center from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. and again Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There are even more regionally through the 30th. Go to and put in your zip code to get the list.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:47AM
You might see and smell lots of smoke in and around the Spotsylvania National Military Park either today, tomorrow or Friday, but don't panic. The National Park Service hopes to do a "prescribed burn" of grasses and plants on 15 acres there, depending on weather. Certified firefighters will be on hand and it won't last longer than eight hours one day.
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Topics : Human Interest
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:40AM
Even more local schools are falling short of getting accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.
The city of Fredericksburg is the only where every school met the mark. Spotswood Elementary in Spotsy will even have to hire a school improvement coach. Only one school fell short in Stafford, but it was all of them in Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County.
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Topics : Education
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:35AM
If you're liking the weather, you might want to get in on the new "Fall in Virginia" contest, being run by the state's tourism corporation.
You can entering through Signing up gets you a free state travel guide and a chance to win a prize package of short trips. The deadline's November 14th and a winner will be picked on the 15th.
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Location : Virginia
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:32AM
The proposal to put up to 650 new houses on a site near the Stafford Regional Airport won't happen after all.
After little discussion, county lawmakers shot down the Oakenwold development last night. Lots of area residents were concerned and the Virginia Department of Aviation says part of the project would have been too close to the path of planes taking off and landing.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:32AM
Police have adjusted their search for a missing young female student from UVA. She's at least the fourth to disappear in that area in the past five years.
Charlottesville police got a new report of a possible sighting the night Hannah Elizabeth Graham disappeared. They are joined by the FBI on looking in Charlottesville and further east now. Her parents say she would not disappear without contacting them and that she's highly responsible and organized.
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Location : Charlottesville
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:19AM

It's not too late to make a donation to support scholarships for kids in Spotsylvania schools and come root on some local runners this weekend.
The Baron "Deuce" P. Braswell the Second 5K Run/Walk Against Teen Violence kicks off at 8:00 a.m. Saturday at Courtland High School. Proceeds go to the Braswell Memorial Scholarship Fund for seniors with a dedication to sports and academics.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 17 2014 9:17AM
Getting an E-ZPass transponder is a whole lot easier for Virginia drivers. Mike McGurk with Flour Transurban says you can get one at a local AAA Mid-Atlantic office or Wegmans and Giant stores. You go to any of them, pay $35 and get a transponder. Fifteen dollars will be loaded for tolls and once it's registered, the remaining $20 becomes available.
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Location : Virginia
People : Mike McGurk
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:43AM
What do the late Fredericksburg developer Carl D. Silver, local historian Paula Felder community volunteer Barbara Geslock and long-time radio personality Brian Strobel, have in common? All four soon will be added to the city's Wall of Honor. Local lawmakers accepted their nominations from the city's Memorial Advisory Commission last week. When this years nominees are added, it brings the number of honorees to 56.
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:29AM
If your kids just went off to college, they can't just leave fire safety to the people that manage their dorm.
Fires in them are more common between 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and on weekends. They need to be safe when they use hotplates and other things to cook and know their buildings evacuation plan. They also should not stay put if they hear an alarm, assuming it's just a drill.
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by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:23AM
You're seeing changes to how and where you park at the Staffordboro Park and Ride Lot for the first of many days today.
The folks at VDOT say sluggers are in a new section, but signs are posted. Before this phase of work to make the lot bigger, there were 882 spots and there are 912 today. The final expansion should be done by late next month and mean more than 18-hundred spaces.
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Topics : Human Interest
People : Lot Starting
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:15AM
The birthplace of Secretariat in Caroline County will welcome a wild horse training competition next spring.
The Triple Crown great was raised at the Meadow Event Park, where we now go to the Virginia State Fair. The Extreme Mustang Makeover will be a part of the new Virginia Horse Festival from March 27th through the 29th.
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Location : Caroline County
People : Virginia Horse
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:13AM
If you live around the Navy base in Dahlgren, the group that studies the impacts of what it does on your life is being requested again.
The Joint Land Use Study looks at future plans for development and growth by the base. About 45 people attended the first meeting in March. This one is at 6:00 p.m. October 9 at the University of Mary Washington campus at Dahlghren.
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Topics : Human Interest
by Raphael Okure posted Sep 15 2014 8:11AM
Look forward to a smoother ride after part of Route 1, near Fort Belvoir, is widened, but work to do it means more headaches this week. Rotating lanes will be closed on Route 1 between Pohick Road and Belvoir Road from 9:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. tonight through Thursday Then from 11:00 p.m. Friday until Saturday morning all lanes will close intermittently for up to 15 minutes at a time.
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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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