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I-95 back open after box truck overturned in Prince George

NBC12 News Richmond - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 12:37:00 EST

Virginia State Police say I-95 is back open after a Ryder box truck overturned on I-95 in Prince George County on Saturday.

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Virginia lawmakers tighten ethics rules after McDonnell corruption conviction

ABC 7 WJLA Politics - The Associated Press - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 12:57:09 EST

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's 2015 legislative session is in the books.

Lawmakers adjourned Friday night after passing legislation at the last minute aimed at tightening the state's ethics rules for public officials and curbing sexual assaults on Virginia's college campuses.

The ethics-reform proposal puts a $100 cap on gifts lawmakers can accept - including meals, entertainment and travel - from lobbyists and their clients, or others seeking to do business with the state. Lawmakers were spurred to reform the state's ethics rules following the conviction last year of former Gov. Bob McDonnell on corruption charges.

Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, said the legislation struck the right balance between restoring the public trust and not deterring honest people from seeking elected office. Gilbert said lawmakers must come to terms with the fact that public office now comes with more scrutiny.

"We are living in a brave new world," Gilbert said.

Lawmakers spent much of Friday finalizing the ethics bill, with negotiations lasting into the evening.

The ethics overhaul would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016 - six months later than the standard July 1 date for new legislation and after the November election in which all 140 seats in the Assembly will be on the ballot.

"We wanted to be certain that all legislators and, frankly, candidates that may be running in the elections this fall have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with this," said Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, a Republican from James City County and the Senate patron of the legislation.

Lawmakers also passed legislation Friday aimed at making sure allegations of sexual assault on university campuses are reported to local police and prosecutors. It requires that the information be reported to a campus review committee and, if it is found necessary to protect the health or safety of the victim or the public, passed on to the police immediately.

Some lawmakers wanted to go further and mandate that all assault allegations be reported directly to the police. But they stopped short of that because of constraints in federal law and concerns that a blanket mandate might discourage victims from coming forward.

"As we worked on this legislation, our two goals were to ensure that Virginia colleges protect victims of assault and that we prevent future victims. This bill does both," said Del. Rob Bell, an Albemarle County Republican and the chief House patron of the measure.

The General Assembly also passed a related measure requiring that a notation be placed on the transcript of any student who is suspended, dismissed or withdraws from school because of violating the school's code of conduct.

The measures came partly in response to the abduction and murder of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham last year.

This year's two-month legislative session was probably most notable for what it lacked: a single high-profile, hot-button issue such as Medicaid expansion, transportation funding or any of the other contentious topics that have dominated lawmakers' debates in past years.

Instead, Republican leaders in the GOP-Controlled General Assembly tried to focus on what they called "kitchen table" issues, such as trying to reduce fees for college students or increasing pay for state workers and teachers.

Second-year Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he was pleased that many of his top priorities on education and economic development were approved this session.

"We put Virginia in a great place to move forward," McAuliffe said.

But the governor's attempt to put new gun-control laws into place, including a one-handgun-a-month purchase limit, failed.

With support from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the General Assembly passed several measures aimed at reining in the power of police to carry out surveillance on citizens. The bills would prohibit police from keeping data collected by automatic license plate readers for more than seven days and require a warrant for the use of drones and devices called stingrays, which are used to track cellphone data.

And to replace "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," which was retired in 1997 because of its nostalgic references to slavery, the Assembly adopted two new official state songs: "Our Great Virginia," a version of the folk song "Oh Shenandoah" updated with new lyrics, as the traditional state song, and "Sweet Virginia Breeze" as the popular state song.

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Energy giant Dominion exerts strong influence on Va. lawmakers

ABC 7 WJLA Business - The Associated Press - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 12:47:11 EST

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's 2015 legislative session was a good one for energy giant Dominion Resources Inc., the state's most politically influential company.

Legislation it wanted passed, passed. Bills it didn't like did not.

Employing a small army of lobbyists with deep ties to lawmakers in both parties, Dominion dominated debate in number of different areas this session- from property rights to climate change - and guided through significant changes to the state's electric regulation policy whose long-term impacts aren't clear.

"Admittedly I'd say they did have a good year, but time will tell," said Republican Del. Terry Kilgore, who heads the powerful House Commerce and Labor Committee and - like many lawmakers - counts Dominion as one of his biggest campaign donors.

"I think the consumer got a good deal, too," he added.

Critics of Dominion-backed legislation said the company's interests were put first this session over those of its customers.

"Nobody does it better," said Alexandria Democrat Sen. Adam Ebbin of Dominion's lobbying efforts. "Unfortunately consumers don't have full-time, highly paid lobbyists."

The centerpiece of Dominion's legislative package was a bill sponsored by Virginia Beach Republican Sen. Frank Wagner that locks current base rates into place for at least seven years by exempting the company from regular rate reviews by the State Corporation Commission. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the bill into law on Tuesday after it sailed through both the House and Senate. Base rates make up the majority of a customer's bill.

Dominion said the new law provides stability for both the company and its customers and insulates ratepayers against potentially higher rates due to proposed federal carbon emission rules or natural disasters.

Lawmakers in both parties are concerned that pending rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan will be unduly burdensome for Virginia, and Dominion argued that the rate stability offered through Wagner's bill will help prevent the costly premature closings of several coal-fired power plants.

But opponents said the legislation was the latest in Dominion's multi-year effort at using the General Assembly to weaken the SCC's ratemaking oversight and lessen the chance of lower rates and customer refunds.

Dominion had to give customers refunds after the 2011 rate review and the SCC found in its most recent review that the company's base rates are currently designed to provide excess profits of about $767,000 a day, a figure Dominion disputes.

Dominion gained support from some major manufacturers, environmentalists, and the governor by agreeing to several add-ons to the bill. Those measures include the company eating $85 million in fuel costs, agreeing to a provision aimed at increasing the use of solar power and program to provide assistance for low-income customers. Some of the add-ons were in separate pieces of legislation that Dominion already supported before they were added to Wagner's bill.

The company said it supported good public policy that enjoyed broad support from various trade groups and nonprofits.

"The bills were about more than Dominion," company spokesman David Botkins said in an email. "They were about protecting customers, promoting renewable energy and giving the commonwealth the opportunity to best respond to some difficult challenges with the EPA's Clean Power Plan."

Most negotiations on Wagner's bill were conducted in private meetings with a select group of stakeholders - including a sit-down between McAuliffe and Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell II. Staff for Attorney General Mark Herring, who opposes the new law and is tasked with representing the state's electric consumers, were excluded from those private meetings.

Herring's staff aired its concerns during three public committee hearings on the bill.

Most of Dominion's other successes at the General Assembly this session came through helping to defeat legislation the company opposed, including a cap and trade proposal by Virginia Beach Republican Del. Ron Villanueva aimed at mitigating the damage of rising sea levels on Virginia's coast.

The company also got the General Assembly to preserve a coal-related tax credit electric utilities can use, which the legislature's own watchdog agency has said doesn't appear to be helping the state's coal industry as intended. Dominion said the credit was needed to help the state's small coal producers.

And groups of well-organized citizens concerned about what effect Dominion's plans might have on property values had little luck trying to put limits on the company. Dominion helped defeat a bill backed by property owners from Prince William County who wanted to ensure the utility did not put up high voltage power lines in certain parts around the town of Haymarket.

Dominion said the legislation wasn't necessary and could drive up ratepayers' bills. Lawmakers reacted forcefully at a committee hearing when some speakers criticized the company.

"Dominion power has been great to Virginia," said Del. Lionell Spruill, a Democrat from Chesapeake.

Legislation aimed at limiting Dominion's ability to go on property owners' land to survey for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline natural gas pipeline across the Blue Ridge Mountains also died a quick death.

Botkins said the company "generally had no active part" in killing legislation the company did not like.

"They appeared to have collapsed under their own weight as bad policy," he said.

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Dominion has strong 2015 legislative session

Fox 5 WTTG Virginia News - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:15:00 EST

Virginia's 2015 legislative session was a good one for energy giant Dominion Resources Inc., the state's most politically influential company.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Overturned box truck on I-95 North in Prince George

NBC12 News Richmond - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:06:00 EST

Virginia State Police are on the scene of an overturned Ryder box truck on I-95 in Prince George County.

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Ratcliffe: Hoos hope to continue hoops dominance over Hokies

The Daily Progress - Sports - jratcliffe@dailyprogress.com(Jerry Ratcliffe) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:45:00 -0500

Virginia has won eight of the last nine meetings and six in a row heading into Saturday afternoon’s “Commonwealth Clash” between the old rivals at UVa’s sold-out John Paul Jones Arena.

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Billy Hill Nelson

Martinsville Daily - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:56:41 +0000

Mr. Billy Hill Nelson, age 80, of Bassett, Virginia died Thursday, February 26, 2015 at Blue Ridge Rehab and Nursing Center. He was born July 5, 1934 in Patrick County to Walter Gains Nelson and Florence Hill Nelson, who preceded him in death. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his sisters, Mary Emma Tucker, […:]

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Shirley Ann Glenn

Martinsville Daily - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:49:48 +0000

Shirley Ann Glenn, age 60, of Martinsville, Virginia died Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County. She was born March 27, 1954 to James Elbert Koger and Ruth Ann Smith Koger. In addition to her father she was preceded in death by her brother: Elbert Delano Koger. She is survived by her mother, […:]

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Catawba residents fight Mountain Valley Pipeline alternate route

WDBJ 7 Roanoke News - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:58:27 GMT

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is slated to run through Montgomery County on its way from West Virginia to Pittsylvania County. Alternate routes have been announced and one runs right through the Catawba Valley, upsetting residents along the path.

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Jack Emerson Ward

Martinsville Daily - - Sat, 28 Feb 2015 04:22:57 +0000

Jack Emerson Ward went to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, February 26, 2015. He was born in Roanoke, Virginia on November 14, 1934 to the late Ralph Emerson and Eleanor Kennedy. He graduated from Beaver High School in 1952, attended McLains Business School and completed ABA Advanced Banking Training at the University […]

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Key legislation passed in 2015 session

Fox 5 WTTG Virginia News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:39:00 EST

The Virginia General Assembly finished the 2015 legislative session Friday. Here are some highlights of what lawmakers approved:

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WAHS Host 3rd Annual ArtFest in the West Fundraiser

Charlottesville NBC29 Local News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:01:00 EST

Arts in Western Education, a nonprofit group, is raising money for the arts in public schools in central Virginia.The group again hosted ArtFest in the West at Western Albemarle High School.

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Criminal sentencing fairness topic of UVa law symposium

The Daily Progress - news - dkass@dailyprogress.com(dkass) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:09:00 -0500

Legal experts tore apart both the state and federal sentencing structures at a symposium Friday at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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House, Senate back rules on reporting campus sexual assaults

The Daily Progress - news - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:05:00 -0500

RICHMOND — The House of Delegates and Virginia Senate on Friday unanimously passed legislation designed to improve reporting of sexual assaults at Virginia’s colleges and universities.

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Kirby K's 10 as UVa baseball team handles Hartford

The Daily Progress - Sports - cvilledailyprogress@gmail.com(Daily Progress Staff Reports) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:50:00 -0500

Nathan Kirby tossed six shutout innings and the Virginia baseball team downed Hartford, 5-1, Friday afternoon at The Ripken Experience’s Ebbets Field.

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2015 Virginia legislative near close with ethics rules

Fox 5 WTTG Virginia News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:39:00 EST

Virginia':s 2015 legislative session is almost in the books.

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Friday High School Basketball Playoffs Scores & Highlights - 2/27/15

Charlottesville NBC29 Sports - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:25:00 EST

VHSL and VISAA high school basketball playoff scores and highlights from across Central Virginia on Friday, February 27th.

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Reasons for optimism vary for No. 2 U.Va. and struggling Virginia Tech

Daily Press Virginia Tech Sports News - Norm Wood - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:23:00 GMT

When asked Wednesday night at the conclusion of a hurried session with reporters after No. 2 Virginia's 70-34 victory at Wake Forest for his thoughts about Saturday's meeting against Virginia Tech, U.Va.'s Malcolm Brogdon was about as succinct as possible:

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Friday's local interest college basketball roundup: Virginia Wesleyan women slip past Guilford in OT, reach ODAC semis

Daily Press UVA Sports News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:55:00 GMT

VCU's Weber undergoes successful surgery after knee injury ended his college careerVCU's Weber undergoes successful surgery after knee injury ended his college career

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VA Institute of Autism Offering Sibling Support Program

Charlottesville NBC29 Local News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:23:00 EST

Registration is open for a sibling support program at the Virginia Institute of Autism.

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Virginia's forced sterilization victims will received $25,000 compensation

NBC12 News Richmond - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:43:00 EST

Money has been set aside in the budget for them. Right now, we only know of 11 living victims out of the 7,000 Virginians who were forced into this program.

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Cannon Gives Presentation on ‘Fair Redistricting’

Falls Church News-Press Online - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:45:06 +0000

BRIAN CANNON, executive director of One Virginia 2021, an organization dedicated to “fair redistricting” of Congressional and state legislative boundaries in Virginia, spoke at a forum hosted by the Falls Church chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) at the Falls Church Community Center last Sunday. He used the […:]

The post Cannon Gives Presentation on ‘:Fair Redistricting’: appeared first on Falls Church News-Press Online.



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#5 UVa Men's Lacrosse Ready for Showdown at #2 Syracuse

Charlottesville NBC29 Sports - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:20:00 EST

The Virginia men's lacrosse team will open up ACC play at one of its biggest rivals this weekend, as the 5th-ranked Cavaliers travel north to take on #2 Syracuse.

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Investigators ask for help after more than 100 tires are dumped in Roanoke County

WDBJ 7 Roanoke News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:06:52 GMT

Investigators in Roanoke County are trying to figure out who dumped more than a 100 tires on the side of the road. Tire dumping is not only illegal in Virginia, but is also a serious health risk to the community.

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UVA Hosts 1st Annual Meeting of the Minds

Charlottesville NBC29 News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:42:00 EST

Women gathered at the University of Virginia on Friday for the 1st Annual Meeting of the Minds.

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Cox Va. Names Falk Interim Market Vice President

Falls Church News-Press Online - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:30:25 +0000

Cox Communications announced yesterday that McLean native Kathleen Falk, who was previously serving as Cox Communications Virginia vice president of Public and Government Affairs, is expanding her role to also serve as the company’s interim market vice president for it’s Northern Virginia operations. The company’s Northern Virginia operations includes Fairfax […]

The post Cox Va. Names Falk Interim Market Vice President appeared first on Falls Church News-Press Online.



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UVA Research Sheds Light on Contributors to Type 2 Diabetes

Charlottesville NBC29 News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:59:00 EST

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shed light on how chronic stress and obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes.

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Virginia lawmakers approve budget with state pay raises

Loudon Times News - -

Virginia lawmakers approved a budget Thursday that includes pay increases for state employees, boosts benefits for welfare recipients and includes $1.5 million to buy new yurts for state parks.

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Kickers notebook: Weather erases U.Va.-Kickers exhibition

Richmond Times Dispatch - Sports - vdorr@timesdispatch.com(VicDorrJr) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:56:00 -0500

Thursday’s snowstorm has claimed another victim: Today’s soccer match between the Richmond Kickers and reigning NCAA Division I champion Virginia. The match has been canceled and will not be reschedul

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VDOT plans improvements on 2 Old News Road intersections

Daily Press Business News - Christine Sampson, csampson@vagazette.com - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:34:00 GMT

JAMES CITY – Planned improvements to two Old News Rd. intersections, one at Monticello Ave. and one at Ironbound Rd., are slated to start March 9, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced Friday.

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General Assembly Passes 1st Standalone Sex Trafficking Statute in VA

Charlottesville NBC29 Local News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:43:00 EST

The General Assembly has passed a bill which creates the first ever standalone sex trafficking statute in Virginia. The bill will now go to the governor for review.

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Ashland, Chesterfield Walmart Neighborhood Markets opens Wednesday

NBC12 News Richmond - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:36:00 EST

Two new Walmart Neighborhood Markets will open on Wednesday morning in Central Virginia, bringing new 24/7 options to Ashland and North Chesterfield.

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Va. home sales post year-over year increase as prices also rise

INSIDENOVA.COM - Manassas - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:00 -0500

Homes sales across Virginia in January took a dive from strong December results, but remained ahead of the sales pace of a year before.

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State police identify victim of Thursday accident

TriCities.com - news - dmcgee@bristolnews.com(David McGee) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:47:00 -0500

The Virginia State Police have identified the victim of Thursday night's fatal traffic accident in Washington County.

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New UVA Research Sheds Light on Contributors to Type 2 Diabetes

Charlottesville NBC29 Local News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:41:00 EST

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shed light on how chronic stress and obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes.

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Drug Task Force Busts Three Suspects

Southside Messenger - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:31:54 +0000

On January 23, members of the Tri-County Drug and Gang Task Force (comprised of investigators and Special Agents of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia State Police) executed a search warrant in the Wylliesburg area of Charlotte County. The investigation was assisted by Deputies from the Charlotte County […:]

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Charlotte Co’s. Adams Voted Appomattox Administrator

Southside Messenger - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:17:44 +0000

By Katrina Koerting Reprinted from The News &: Advance, Lynchburg Virginia A Charlotte County administrator will serve as the new county administrator in Appomattox after a unanimous vote at a specially called Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. Susan Marston Adams, 52, of Red House, was selected for the position Monday and once the negotiations were […:]

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VSP Service and Conservation Corps team helping in Wise County

TriCities.com - news - arobinson@bristolnews.com(Allie Robinson) - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:21:00 -0500

 This is the first time a Virginia State Parks VSCC crew is providing assistance to a local community.

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TRAFFIC: Clean off vehicles, be mindful of road conditions, state police say

Daily Press News Politics - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:04:00 GMT

The Virginia State Police are reminding motorists to prepare vehicles before hitting the roads and be mindful of travel conditions. 

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Man charged with setting fire in Wal-Mart store in Virginia

Fox 5 WTTG Virginia News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:38:00 EST

Fairfax County fire investigators have charged a man with setting a fire at a Wal-Mart store in Chantilly.

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VDOT closes county road

SWVa Today - news - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:14:00 -0500

The Virginia Department of Transportation closed a Floyd County road Friday morning. VDOT announced that Route 790, in the northeastern part of the county is closed from Griffith Creek and Lick Ridge

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New book chronicles 2011 Mineral earthquake

The Central Virginian News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:59 +0000

The infamous, magnitude 5.8 Mineral earthquake that rattled residents in 2011 has helped researchers discover a previously unknown fault zone and very well may have been the most felt earthquake in U.S. history says a new book recently released on the incident. The 23-chapter book entitled “The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and its Significance for

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Louisa track team sending group to state tourney

The Central Virginian News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:00 +0000

The snow may have thrown off their practice schedules, but you wouldn’t have known that watching members of Louisa County High School’s indoor track team on Friday. Louisa’s girls team took third place in the 4A North Regional Tournament on Feb. 20, and will send eight members of its squad to the Virginia High School

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Hokies face their highest hurdle Saturday at No. 2 U.Va.

Daily Press UVA Sports News - David Teel - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:43:00 GMT

Little about Virginia Tech’s season suggests the Hokies can upset Virginia on Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena. They are 0-10 on the road – Texas Tech is the only other power conference team yet to prevail on an opponent’s floor – and the last three have been by at...

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Epileptic patients no longer face prosecution for possessing cannabis oil in Virginia

Martinsville Daily - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:22:41 +0000

Using medical marijuana oil for people who suffer from severe epilepsy is now legal in Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed the legislation on Thursday. The legislation doesn’:t legalize the use of medical marijuana, or establish a distribution system, but it means that individuals with epilepsy won’:t face prosecution for possessing cannabis oil. Virginia law allows […:]

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Vienna resident does not fall for utility scam

INSIDENOVA.COM - Manassas - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:00:00 -0500

A resident living in the 1100 block of Walker Circle told Vienna police on Feb. 9 at 1:43 p.m. that she had received a telephone call from someone who claimed to be with Dominion Virginia Power.

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Republican committee challenges Virginia law in court

The Daily Progress - news - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 07:00:00 -0500

WAYNESBORO-The discussion over how the Republican nominee is selected for Virginia’s 24th District is headed to federal court. The 24th Senatorial District Republican Committee and its chairman, Wayne

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After night of refreezing, VDOT urges caution on roads

Roanoke Times Dispatch - News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:43:00 -0500

Virginia Department of Transportation crews continued removing snow and ice from secondary roads across the Richmond area Friday, while black ice is possible on pavements across the region after melti

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GOP isn't sold on a woman in the White House

WDBJ 7 National News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:31:37 GMT

Republicans know women will be crucial to winning the presidency -- they're just not clamoring for a woman to be in the White House.

Conservative women gathered at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference bristled -- sometimes vehemently -- at the notion that nominating a woman is the party's best shot at defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"They don't have emotional stability," said Barbara Adams, 64, of New Orleans. "Look at Hurricane Katrina. We had a female governor and she f'd it up big time. So no."

Marlena, an executive assistant from Miami who declined to share her last name, said she wants the "best candidate -- male or female."

"I'm not going to vote for a woman just because she's a woman," she said. "I'm for equal opportunity, all around."

The conference, which attracts the GOP's biggest stars, is dominated by conservative activists and isn't necessarily indicative of the party's broader views. But the insistence that gender is a non-factor is striking given the importance that the issue is already playing in the early stages of the 2016 contest.

In a Silicon Valley speech this week, Clinton highlighted a vision focused on women and even applauded actress Patricia Arquette's push for gender equality at the Oscars.

In 2012, women were critical to President Barack Obama's victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. According to CNN exit polls, 55 percent of women voted for Obama, compared to 44 percent for Romney.

In recent years, a series of controversial comments from tea party-backed male candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock led to a concerted effort from Republican leadership to communicate better with women. In 2013, House Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that some of his male colleagues simply "aren't as sensitive as they ought to be" when it comes to women's issues.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking female Republican in the House who's scheduled to speak at CPAC on Saturday, said the party has made progress in part by elevating more women to positions of leadership.

"Tone matters," she said. "I'm a mom. I have three kids and I really do think that it's a perspective that is valuable and needed in politics."

Many female CPAC attendees argued that Democrats have disingenuously cast Republicans as anti-women.

"I find it very interesting that women consider themselves victims and fall into that trap that the Democrats pulled in the last four to five years that there is a war on women," said Kay Bacharach, an artist from Fairfax, Virginia.

It's not just the women who feel this way.

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a passionately pro-life tea party favorite, called the Democratic Party's "war on women" strategy "crap" on the sidelines of CPAC. Asked whether there would be value to having a woman on the party's ticket in 2016, Gohmert said gender is not a relevant factor.

"One of these days we're going to get Democrats to stop thinking about the color of skin and the gender," he said.

The crowded field of possible Republican presidential candidates currently includes just one woman: Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who unsuccessfully ran against California Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010.

Fiorina has traveled to early states like Iowa and New Hampshire in recent months, and just this week, her allies announced the formation of a super PAC to back her potential White House campaign.

Asked at CPAC on Thursday how important it is for the GOP to have a female candidate running for president, Fiorina responded that the party needs to represent the country's diversity.

"Women are now 53 percent of voters," she said. "As I like to tell some of my Democratic friends who continue to talk about the war on women, we are not a special interest group -- we are the majority of the nation."

Fiorina also confidently declared that she could be just the person to give Clinton a run for her money.

"If Hillary Clinton had to face me on a debate stage, at the very least, she would have a hitch in her swing," she said.



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Virginia adds to list of non-native invasive plants

Fox 5 WTTG Virginia News - - Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:50:00 EST

English ivy and golden bamboo are among the 90 new non-native invasive plants compiled by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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