School officials urge VHSL to cut ties with Liberty U

liberty-university_logoFAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ School board members in Virginia’s largest district are pushing the state’s high school sports league to end its relationship with Liberty University after remarks the college’s president made about Muslims. The Washington Post reports that nine Fairfax County school board members signed a letter last week asking the Virginia High School League to stop hosting events at the evangelical university. The Lynchburg school has been home to several statewide athletic competitions and the league’s debate championship. The move came after some northern Virginia students boycotted the debate championship last month in response to Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. saying at the university’s convocation in December that students should arm themselves to “end those Muslims.” Falwell later said he was referring to Islamic terrorists, not all Muslims.

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Virginia GOP lawmakers to sue over felons’ voting rights

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Republican lawmakers in Virginia say they plan to file a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s action allowing more than 200,000 convicted felons to vote in November. GOP leaders announced Monday that they have hired an attorney and will contest the governor’s executive order, which restored the rights of felons to vote, run for office and sit on a jury. Republicans have called the governor’s action a political ploy designed to help his friend and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton win votes in November. Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment said they cannot let McAuliffe’s “flagrant disregard” for the Virginia Constitution to go unchecked. The lawmakers didn’t say when they would file their lawsuit. McAuliffe has said people who have served their time should be given a second chance.

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University of Virginia announces plan to be greener

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – The University of Virginia has released a new plan to roll back energy use, emissions and waste. The Daily Progress reports that over the next five years, the university will try to eliminate the use of coal as an energy source, increase the use of renewable energy and install building retrofits that reduce the use of lighting and the need for climate control. The university’s Office for Sustainability Director Andrea Trimble says her office hopes to roll back energy use at the school to pre-2010 levels by 2020, despite the fact that the university’s undergraduate enrollment has grown by about 2,000 students since 2010. Trimble says the Committee on Sustainability, which has worked on the plan for the past year, will be analyzing the expected costs over the summer.

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Trump campaign chairman in Virginia to run for governor

STATE-NEWSHARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – The chairman of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia says he plans to run for governor in 2017. Corey Stewart, who is also chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he plans to launch an official campaign in October. Stewart, best known for taking an aggressive stance against illegal immigration, said his conservative credentials should help him secure the GOP nomination. Republicans are currently scheduled to pick their candidate for governor next year at a convention instead of a primary. Conventions generally favor conservative candidates. Other GOP gubernatorial hopefuls include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman. Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an outspoken conservative like Stewart, said Saturday he is not running.

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Cuccinelli says he won’t run for governor in 2017

wlni-fbHARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he won’t run for governor in 2017. Cuccinelli told The Associated Press on Saturday at a state GOP convention that he had decided not to run. The outspoken conservative who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2013 said another gubernatorial campaign would be too taxing on his family life. If he’d decided to run, Cuccinelli could have been a formidable challenge to other 2017 GOP gubernatorial hopefuls – former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman. Cuccinelli has been a key campaign surrogate of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to be the Democratic nominee.

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Jim Gilmore denied spot as GOP delegate to convention

STATE-NEWSHARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – Virginia Republicans have rejected former presidential candidate Jim Gilmore’s bid to be a state delegate to the national GOP convention. Republicans elected 13 at-large delegates Saturday at a state convention in Harrisonburg, a group that did not include the former Virginia governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Gilmore had hoped his pedigree would help him land a spot as a delegate. But the former Army intelligence officer has not declared which GOP presidential nominee he would support in a contested convention. Only delegates who had pledged support for either GOP front-runner Donald Trump or U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign were elected as delegates. Cruz supporters won 10 spots and Trump backers won 3.

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Slain Blacksburg teen’s dad, stepmom arrested on domestic abuse charges

wlni-defaultWYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP) – Authorities say the father and stepmother of a slain Virginia teenager have been arrested after a domestic violence incident. Wytheville Police Chief Ricky Arnold said Thursday that David Madison Lovell and Terri Surratt Lovell have been arrested and charged with unlawful wounding against each other. Arnold declined to provide further details about the incident. David Lovell’s daughter, Nicole Lovell, was found dead in January. Two former Virginia Tech students have been charged in connection with the girl’s slaying. Karen Akers, clerk of the Wythe Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, said they’re being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail. Akers said a $10,000 bond has been set for David Lovell. A bond hearing hasn’t yet been held for Terri Lovell. Their attorneys didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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State high court to consider case related to redistricting

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Supreme Court will consider whether current and former state senators need to provide records related to a redistricting lawsuit. Redistricting advocates have sought lawmakers’ communications with outside consultants related to the 2011 redistricting. The lawmakers have refused and a lower court judge has ruled the lawmakers are in contempt. The Daily Press reports the high court’s decision to take the case was announced Wednesday. The decision means the issue will skip the Virginia Court of Appeals. Virginia’s 2011 redistricting effort has come under fire from critics who say the lines were unfairly drawn to favor incumbents, and outside groups have challenged the current district boundaries in both state and federal court.

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Virginia state senator travels to Syria, praises Assad

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The official Syrian news agency says a conservative Virginia state senator is touring the war-torn country and meeting with officials from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Loudoun County Republican Sen. Dick Black arrived in Syria on Tuesday for a three-day visit. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have repeatedly said Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule the country, but Black has praised Assad, saying he has protected Christians in Syria and fought against terrorist groups. The Syrian Arab News Agency erroneously reported that Black is a U.S. senator. Black is a state representative who has no role in official U.S. foreign policy. The outspoken socially conservative senator sent a letter praising Assad in 2014 that was posted on the Syrian president’s Facebook page.

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Man charged in shooting of Pittsylvania County sheriff’s deputy

wlni-fbKEELING, Va. (AP) – Authorities say they’ve charged a man in the shooting of a sheriff’s deputy near Keeling, Virginia. News outlets report that the Pittsylvania County deputy was shot after responding to a domestic-related call Tuesday night. Sheriff Mike Taylor says 37-year-old Brian Cundiff shot at one responding deputy and went inside the home. The deputy suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the head. A news release states the deputy was treated at a hospital and released. Taylor says Cundiff barricaded himself in the home for hours and after SWAT teams entered the home, he surrendered early Wednesday. Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Haskins says Cundiff is charged with attempted capital murder, malicious wounding and two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.

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