Feb. 20 sentencing set for former Va. first lady

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell’s sentencing on nine public corruption convictions has been set for Feb. 20.  McDonnell had originally been scheduled for sentencing Jan. 6, but she asked for a postponement because one of her attorneys has a scheduling conflict that day. U.S. District Judge James Spencer approved her motion last week and set the new sentencing date Thursday. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted in September of performing “official acts” to promote former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams’ dietary supplement products in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts, trips and loans.  Bob McDonnell was convicted on 11 public corruption counts. His sentencing remains set for Jan. 6

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Fairfax gets warrant for UVa abduction suspect

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ A judge in Fairfax County has issued a bench warrant to bring the man accused of abducting a missing University of Virginia student to Fairfax to face charges in a separate crime. Fairfax County prosecutors sought and received the bench warrant Thursday for Jesse Matthew. He’s charged with attempted capital murder and other charges in a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax City. Matthew is currently being held in the Charlottesville area on charges of kidnapping University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Officers searching for Graham found human remains on Saturday. The remains have not yet been identified. It’s not clear when Matthew will make an initial appearance in Fairfax. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh has indicated he will cooperate with prosecutors in the Graham case.

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AAA urges motorists to stay alert for deer

AAA Mid-AtlanticRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Motorists are being urged to stay focused and alert as deer mating season is creating deadly road hazards in Virginia. AAA Mid-Atlantic says thousands of deer-related crashes take place across the state each year, resulting in fatalities, injuries, and costly vehicle damage. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles more than half of all deer-related vehicle crashes happen between the months of October and December. Last year, the most Virginia deer-vehicle crashes occurred in Loudoun and Fauquier counties.The auto club is telling motorists to buckle up and reduce speed, be alert and observant, and be on the lookout for groups of deer. AAA also says to slow down and brake instead of swerving.

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State’s jobless rate unchanged in September

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Employment Commission says the state’s jobless rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent in September. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September also was the same rate as a year ago. Officials say Virginia’s jobless rate has increased slightly for the past five months. Jobs decreases wereseen in industries including private education and health services, professional and business services, construction, total government and miscellaneous services.Increases were seen in finance, as well as trade and transportation. Employment in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and mining were unchanged.

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Virginia Department of Health sets up Ebola hotline

Undated file image from the  Centers for Disease Control  (CDC) shows Ebola virus

Undated file image from the
Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) shows Ebola virus

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Department of Health is helping answer questions from the public and provide the most up-to-date information regarding Ebola to Virginians. The agency says it has set up a hotline that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline can be reached at 877-275-8343. Officials say Virginia’s 211 Call Center will be handling these calls using frequently asked questions developed by the department. State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine says Virginians are understandably concerned about their risk of catching Ebola and the agency is responding through multiple channels. Updates and answers to frequently asked questions are also being shared daily via the agency’s website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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Voting advocates fear new voter ID laws will impact midterm elections

STATE-NEWSWASHINGTON (AP) _ Voting rights groups are worried that Virginia’s new voter ID law will disenfranchise some Virginians in next month’s midterm elections. Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, says that rural, poor and elderly voters could face a harder burden to vote this year because they will have to show a photo ID. Her group is working to help people obtain IDs ahead of the election. Defenders of the state’s voter ID law say it provides ample opportunities for people who don’t have photo IDs to get them in time to vote. The law’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, argues the law is important because it buttresses voter confidence in the electoral system.

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Liberty provost to retire, law school dean resigns

Liberty University logoLYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) _ Two top officials at Liberty University are stepping down. Liberty says in a news release that Provost Ronald Godwin will retire at the end of October, while School of Law Dean Matthew Staver has resigned. Both men will continue to serve Liberty as consultants. Liberty announced the departures on Monday during the All-Faculty Meeting. Godwin has served as provost since late 2010. He has been at Liberty for more than 20 years, serving in a variety of roles. Staver has led the law school since it was established in 2004. Staver says his resignation will allow him to spend more time with his wife. She was injured in a car accident more than a year ago and has been receiving specialized medical care in Florida.

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UPDATE: Suspect in Charlottesville abduction charged in DC area rape

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Update: Tues., 10/21/14 4:41 a.m.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ Authorities have brought additional charges against the man accused of abducting an 18-year-old college student in Virginia: the abduction, rape and attempted capital murder of a 26-year-old woman in a Washington, D.C. suburb. A Circuit Court grand jury in Fairfax County handed up the indictment against Jesse L. Matthew Jr. on Monday. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh declined to discuss details of the case, but did say the victim is cooperating. The 32-year-old Matthew had already been charged with abduction with intent to defile University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham, who disappeared Sept. 13. Authorities searching for Graham found human remains last weekend that have been taken to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond for identification. A spokesman could not say Monday when the results would be ready.

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Va. joins higher ed distance learning agreement

Education-News1RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia higher education officials are making it easier for students to take online classes and for universities to offer them. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia announced the joining of a multi-state reciprocity agreement on Monday that deals with authorization and payment for distance learning courses. Colleges and universities that offer distance learning to students in other states were previously required to seek authorization from those states. Officials say that process is both costly and complex. The pact addresses those issues by automatically allowing schools to offer those classes to out-of-state students if the courses are approved by another state’s higher education organization. Officials say the hope is to have all 50 states and the District of Columbia ultimately participate in the agreement.

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Va. continues meetings on transportation plans

Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB)ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The Commonwealth Transportation Board is holding public meetings this week on the state’s six-year highway improvement plan. One meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northside High School. The other meeting will be held Wednesday in Bristol at the Holiday Inn Bristol Conference Center. Similar meetings have been held in Lynchburg, Chesapeake, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Weyers Cave, Fairfax and Culpeper. The board allocates funding for essential highway, bridge, rail and other transportation projects. In June, board members approved a final $13 billion transportation blueprint for Virginia over the next half-dozen years.

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