Virginia high court rejects UVA lacrosse-case appeal

George Huguely V

George Huguely V

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. George W. Huguely V of Chevy Chase, Maryland, is serving a 23-year prison term in Virginia for the May 2010 beating death of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old from suburban Baltimore. According to court records, the justices refused without explanation to hear Huguely’s appeal Wednesday. The Virginia Court of Appeals previously declined to reconsider its decision upholding his conviction. In that appeal, Huguely’s lawyers raised issues involving jury selection and the absence of one of his attorneys when she fell ill during the trial.

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UVa’s choice to investigate rape response scuttled

UVA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The University of Virginia’s first choice as independent counsel to investigate how the school responds to rape allegations has been scuttled. Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday that the university agreed to withdraw its appointment of former federal judge and prosecutor Mark Filip. In college, Filip was a member of Phi Kappa Psi – the fraternity named in a Rolling Stone article in which a U.Va. student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012. Herring said another investigator will be chosen because “the independence and objectivity of the review must be unimpeachable.” University President Teresa Sullivan also has asked Charlottesville police to investigate the alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The fraternity has voluntarily surrendered its fraternal agreement with the university and suspended all chapter activities.

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School enrollment growth uneven in Virginia

Education-News1CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ A new report says public school enrollment has steadily increased in Virginia in recent years. But the growth is uneven. Between 2008 and 2013, the report says less than a third of Virginia’s school divisions saw enrollment increases.  Overall growth during the period was fueled by enrollment increases in Northern Virginia. This enrollment pattern is expected to continue over the next five years. The report says a substantial increase in annual births is the primary factor in Northern Virginia’s enrollment growth. Annual birth rates declined in most other localities during the five-year period. Northern Virginia also saw a larger in-migration of families with school-age children during the period. The report was released Thursday by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

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Governor McAuliffe creates panel to tackle childhood hunger

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is creating a new panel aimed at reducing childhood hunger while promoting proper nutrition and Virginia agriculture. McAuliffe signed an executive order Thursday establishing the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide. He named his wife, Dorothy McAuliffe, as the new council’s chairman. The governor said the council will work to make sure that Virginia pursues every federal dollar currently available that promotes nutrition and healthy living. The council will serve an advisory role and meet at least four times a year.

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Growers prepping trees for holiday season

WLNI-MRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia growers are preparing an abundance of fresh Christmas trees for the holiday season. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the state has more than 500 Christmas tree farms located throughout the state. And to encourage the purchase a tree from the state, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proclaimed December as “Virginia Christmas Tree Month.”Officials say that choosing a Virginia-grown tree means purchasing a renewable, recyclable product that supports local economies and the state’s largest industry _ agriculture.While most of the choose-and-cut farms open after Thanksgiving, officials have published a guide so people can begin their search sooner. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics released in May, the Virginia Christmas tree industry ranks seventh in the U.S. by total trees harvested.

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AAA: 1.3 million in Virginia to travel for Thanksgiving

AAA Mid-AtlanticRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia roads could be a little more crowded this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that 1.3 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The auto club says that’s an increase of 3.4 percent from last year. The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 30. Nationally, AAA projects 46.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007. AAA predicts most U.S. and Virginia travelers likely will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years. Officials say that when comparing current prices to those from last Thanksgiving, motorists in Virginia are saving about 57 cents per gallon.

 

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Health department: Sick UVA students had norovirus

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ State health officials say more than a dozen University of Virginia students that fell ill last weekend had norovirus. The Virginia Department of Health is still trying to seek the cause of the outbreak that hospitalized within a 24-hour period. More students also showed gastrointestinal symptoms. The Daily Progress reports that officials say the outbreak may have been caused by an infected food handler or through person-to-person contact. Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Beasley said seven of eight samples collected by the department have tested positive for the virus. Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and body aches. Faculty, staff and students are being asked to practice good hygiene and avoid handling food if they think they are sick.

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Magazine article prompts rape investigation at UVA

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The University of Virginia’s president says she has asked Charlottesville police to investigate allegations that a female student was raped by several men at a fraternity house. President Teresa A. Sullivan announced the investigation in a statement posted Wednesday evening on the university’s website. She says she issued it in response to a Rolling Stone article in which a student describes an assault by seven men in September 2012. Sullivan says the article includes details that weren’t disclosed to university officials previously. The article says U.Va. administrators and students keep sexual assaults at the school quiet. Sullivan says the university takes sexual misconduct seriously. Charlottesville police Lt. Steve Upman tells The Daily Progress that the investigation is in in the preliminary stages. He declined to comment further.

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Federal prosecutors in Virginia collect millions in last fiscal year

WLNI-MRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Federal prosecutors in Virginia collected more than $27.8 million in criminal and civil fines and penalties in the last fiscal year. The numbers were reported Wednesday by the U.S. attorney’s offices in the eastern and western districts of the state. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente (BEN’-tay) said the eastern district collected more than $23.6 million, including more than $15.4 million in criminal actions. In the western district, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said more than $4.2 million was collected. About three-fourths of that came in criminal cases.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder aid the Justice Department collected $24.7 billion nationally in the 2014 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

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Lawmakers express concerns over proposed EPA rules

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ State lawmakers are expressing concerns that proposed federal regulations to cut carbon emissions will hurt Virginia’s economic competiveness. The Senate and House held a joint committee meeting Wednesday to hear from state officials, energy companies and environmentalists on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Lawmakers said it was unfair the targets set by the EPA do not give greater weight to Virginia’s robust nuclear energy production, which do not produce carbon dioxide emissions. They said the current target rate of carbon emission by energy production set by the EPA for Virginia is unfair in light of the higher target rates for neighboring states. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe expressed similar concerns last week, though he said supports the EPA plan’s goals of lower emissions.

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