On-air shooting survivor honored with resilience award

Vicki-GardnerSMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (AP) _ The woman who survived a shooting that killed two journalists while they were conducting an interview on live TV is being honored for her courage.

Local media report that Vicki Gardner recently received the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives “Resilience Award.” It’s a new award the group created to give executives who successfully lead their chambers while facing difficulties.

Gardner is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber. She was shot in the back while giving a live interview on WDBJ last August.

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed in the shooting. Authorities said the shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan, later died of a self-inflicted wound.

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Man hopes to thank family who helped injured wife

smith mountain lakeROANOKE, Va. (AP) – A man whose wife was injured when her personal watercraft exploded on Smith Mountain Lake is hoping to track down the good Samaritans who helped her so he can thank them.

Sixty-one-year-old Jeanne Mosher suffered broken bones, burns and other injuries when her personal watercraft blew up Tuesday morning. Virginia fisheries officials are investigating the cause of the explosion.

Her husband, Doug Mosher, tells The News & Advance that he heard the explosion and ran to a dock, where he found his wife face-up in the water. He flagged down a family passing on a boat, and some children jumped in the water with him to keep his wife stabilized while their father called 911.

Mosher says in the chaos of the moment, he didn’t get their names.

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US court rejects Libertarian Party ballot order challenge

Libertarian Party of Virginia

Libertarian Party of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has rejected an appeal by the Libertarian Party of Virginia challenging the state’s policy of listing major party candidates first on ballots.

 

Virginia law provides that the first candidates listed on ballots are those who belong to parties that received at least 10 percent of the vote for statewide office in either of the two previous general elections. That currently applies only to the Republican and Democratic Parties.

 

The Libertarian Party argues that policy puts minor parties at a disadvantage and violates the Constitution. But a three judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that it agreed with the lower court ruling dismissing the challenge. The appeals said the policy “imposes little burden” on the minor party candidates’ constitutional rights.

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Top Democrats line up behind Northam’s candidacy

Ralph-NorthamRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam now has the official backing of the Democratic Party’s top state officials for his 2017 gubernatorial bid.

Northam’s campaign said Saturday that Gov. Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Attorney General Mark Herring have all endorsed the lieutenant governor.

Herring announced last year he would run for re-election and not pursue the
Executive Mansion.

Northam, a doctor, is well positioned to have a smooth ride to be the
Democratic nominee for governor in 2017. The GOP nomination contest could be
more intense, with three candidates already vying for the spot.

Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman Corey Stewart has already been publicly critical of former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Wittman has said he’s also running.

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Virginia secretary of commerce leaving for new job

Maurice Jones

Maurice Jones

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – One of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s top aides is leaving for a new job. McAuliffe’s office announced Thursday that Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones had accepted a position as CEO of a New York-based nonprofit that aims to help distressed communities.Economic development has been a top priority for McAuliffe and Jones has accompanied the governor on multiple trade missions abroad.Before joining the McAuliffe administration, Jones worked as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also worked as publisher of the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Mark Warner.Jones plans to start at Local Initiatives Support Corporation in September.

 

 

 

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Environmental groups to protest McAuliffe’s energy policies

Virginia Executive Mansion

Virginia Executive Mansion

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Several environmental groups are calling on Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to do a better job protecting the environment and promote renewable energy sources. The groups released an open letter Wednesday and announced a protest at the Executive Mansion on July 23. McAuliffe, a Democrat, ran in 2013 with strong support from the environmental community. But several environmentalists have said the governor has grown too cozy with the state’s largest electric utility, Dominion Virginia Power, whose parent company wants to build a large natural gas pipeline that would traverse much of the state. The open letter calls on McAuliffe to reconsider his support for that pipeline, stop supporting offshore oil drilling and prevent Dominion from releasing treated coal ash water into the state’s rivers.

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ACLU: Most commonwealth’s attorney elections are uncontested

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia says that nearly three quarters of the commonwealth’s attorney elections held over a 10 year period were uncontested. The ACLU looked at every commonwealth’s attorney election held between 2005 and 2015. The group says that of the 381 total races during that period, 72 percent of them were uncontested. The ACLU says that means commonwealth’s attorneys’ broad powers often go unchecked. La Bravia Jenkins is the commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Fredericksburg and president of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. She rejected the ACLU’s suggestion that local prosecutors have “unparalleled powers.”Jenkins also said that commonwealth’s attorneys may go unopposed in elections because the community thinks he or she is doing a good job.

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Virginia’s revenues grow, lowering risk of shortfall

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s revenues grew by 6.4 percent in May, lowering the risk of a year-end shortfall that could delay scheduled raises for state employees.The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Virginia still lags behind projected revenue growth for the fiscal year that ends June 30.House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones said Monday that the state has to make up more than $220 million by the end of the month to reach projections.If revenues fall short by more than 1 percent, state law requires a revenue reforecast that would delay raises for employees in the budget. Virginia is currently 1.3 percentage points behind the projection.The delay would affect employees including college faculty, teachers and state-supported local employees such as sheriff’s deputies.

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Clinton campaign opens 1 of 5 state offices in Blacksburg

Clinton VMIRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Democrats and the presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are opening five offices around the state as part of the prep work ahead of the general election. The offices – two in northern Virginia, one in Blacksburg, one in Richmond and one in Virginia Beach – are opening Tuesday through Thursday. Local Democratic lawmakers and candidates will be on hand in at each office for the openings. Virginia is expected to be a key battleground state in the general election. The offices will be used to host phone banks and organizational meetings for the Clinton campaign and other Democratic candidates.

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New website helps Virginians represent themselves in court

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia residents who are in legal trouble and choose to represent themselves in court have a new resource available to them. The Virginia Supreme Court has launched a new website with information that may be helpful to people who want to represent themselves in matters such as traffic tickets, divorce, landlord and tenant issues. The website includes glossaries of legal terms used in court. It also has information on filing fees and tips on how to find a lawyer, among other things. The website is a project of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission, which is aimed at ensuring all Virginia residents have equal access to the justice system.

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