Virginia gets 4-year extension for federal education waiver

Education-News1RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia will continue to get relief from federal education requirements and No Child Left Behind-era sanctions. The Virginia Department of Education says federal officials have approved the state’s request for a four-year extension of its Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waiver originally approved in 2012. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples extension allows Virginia schools to plan through the 2018-2019 school year with goals for narrowing achievement gaps and improving teaching and learning in under-performing schools. Without the waiver, most Virginia schools would be labeled as failing for not meeting the law’s goal of 100-percent proficiency for all students by 2014. Staples says the waiver has allowed state schools to focus federal funds and other resources on “smart interventions that are producing positive results for students.”

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Delegate accused of forgery not certified in Va. Senate race

Joseph Morrissey

Joseph Morrissey

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Officials have decided that a delegate charged with fabricating a document is not certified to run as a Democrat in the race for Virginia’s 16th District Senate seat. The 16th District Democratic committee unanimously voted Tuesday to accept a finding that only 222 of the 972 signatures on former Del. Joe Morrisey’s petition were acceptable. The vote follows a review by district registrars. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that barring a successful court challenge, that means only two names will appear on the June Democratic primary ballot. Morrissey won re-election to his Richmond-area House seat in a January special election. He had resigned the seat after he was convicted in December 2014 of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He still faces felony charges stemming from that case.

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Teva to supply US military with Va.-made vaccine

WLNI-SFOREST, Va. (AP) _ Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. will supply the U.S. military with a Virginia-made vaccine to combat the spread of infectious respiratory disease in basic training camps. The Army announced the $170 million contract Monday between Jerusalem-based Teva and the U.S. Defense Department. The adenovirus vaccine is manufactured at Teva’s plant in Forest. Under the five-year contract, the company anticipates the military’s nine basic training camps will need about 250,000 vaccine doses per year.

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Midtown Connector project update: changes for Kemper Street detour

City of LynchburgFrom the City of Lynchburg: On Wednesday April 1, the City’s contractor will shift southbound traffic on Kemper Street (U.S. 501) to the newly constructed travel lane. This change is necessary to construct street, sidewalk, and storm sewer improvements associated with the project. Additionally, right turns from 16th Street to Kemper Street will be prohibited for the duration of this project. All existing detours routes will remain in place, and motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area. Use of alternate routes is encouraged. The Midtown Connector Construction Project began during the summer of 2012 and is expected to be complete in 2015. The $18 million project includes road widening, a roundabout and upgrades to storm sewers, water lines, sanitary sewers and pedestrian facilities.

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Governor McAuliffe tries to woo Indiana businesses

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is courting Indiana businesses in the wake of that state’s governor signing legislation that’s been criticized as unfriendly to gay and lesbian workers. McAuliffe’s office issued an open letter to Indiana corporations Monday saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does “not discriminate against our friends and neighbors.” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week. The act prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. In his letter, McAuliffe touted his record of promoting equal rights and preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also sent a letter to about a dozen businesses leaders Monday asking them to consider moving.

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Attorney seeks to block Sweet Briar closure

Sweet Briar CollegeSWEET BRIAR, Va. (AP) _ The Amherst County attorney is asking a judge to block the closing of Sweet Briar College and remove its president and board of directors. Ellen Bowyer sought the injunction in Amherst Circuit Court on Monday. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Bowyer’s complaint says the closure “is not only precipitous and unwarranted, it is also unlawful.” It asks that a special fiduciary be appointed to take control of the college’s assets. An attorney for the college did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages from The Associated Press seeking a response. Sweet Briar has announced that the Class of 2015 would be the final graduating class at the 114-year-old college. President James F. Jones Jr. cited financial reasons for the closure. An alumnae group also is fighting the closure.

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