Oral arguments today in McDonnell appeal; definition of “official acts” appears to be the central question

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

Federal prosecutors and attorneys for former Governor Bob McDonnell will present oral arguments today before a federal appeals court. McDonnell wants his corruption convictions overturned or, at the very least, a new trial. The central issue appears to be what are “official acts” that a governor — or any public official — performs. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Gas Buddy: we are probably at or near this year’s peak in gas prices

Gas-Prices1The summer driving season is just about to get underway with the upcoming Memorial Day weekend now less than two weeks away. And experts say we are likely to already be at or near this year’s peak in gasoline prices, still a dollar or so than last year at this time. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Nighttime Lynchburg Expressway closures coming at Kemper Street Bridge

City of LynchburgFrom the City of Lynchburg: Beginning Tuesday, May 12 and continuing through Friday, May 15 8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. daily, the north and south bound lanes of the Lynchburg Expressway (Route 29) will be closed in the vicinity of the Kemper Street Bridge. Both directions of traffic will be detoured to single lanes via the on and off ramps near the bridge. These road closures are necessary to accommodate the removal of the bridge beams that extend over the Lynchburg Expressway. Emergency vehicles must follow the posted detour routes. Motorists should expect delays while traveling through the area and are reminded to be alert of the traffic pattern changes and temporary construction signs.

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Sweet Briar’s plans to close: a unique situation or a sign of other private college troubles?

Sweet-Briar-College-215x300We are entering the heart of the college commencement season, and at one college in the region, this is probably the final time. Sweet Briar College has announced plans to close this  summer, which raises the question: are other smaller Virginia colleges at risk? WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Police: woman who apparently takes own life after traffic stop was suspect in Staunton shooting

State-Police-1From Virginia State Police: At approximately 10:20 a.m. Tuesday (May 5), a Virginia State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling south on I-81 near the 161 mile marker in Botetourt County. The violation was for speeding. The vehicle pulled over to the shoulder and as the trooper approached the vehicle, the driver displayed a firearm. For his safety, the trooper immediately took cover. Despite state police’s attempts to make contact, the driver, Willa C. Good, 56, of Staunton, Va., was consistently unresponsive. Law enforcement then approached the vehicle, found Good unresponsive, and removed her from the vehicle. She was immediately taken to the ambulance on scene, where medics declared Good deceased. Good’s remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy.  Preliminary examination indicates Good died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the Medical Examiner will make the final determination upon completion of the autopsy. A firearm was recovered from inside the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office.

From Staunton City Police: On May 5, 2015 at approximately 9:40 a.m. the Staunton Police Department responded to the 200 block of Stonewall Jackson Boulevard for the report of a shooting. The victim, Ralph E. Siron, 57, was treated at the scene and subsequently transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center. A short time later, the suspect Willa C. Good, 56, was located on Interstate 81 in Botetourt County, Virginia. Following a stand-off with law enforcement officials there, Ms. Good reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound

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Pro-choice, pro-life supporters react to Herring abortion clinic opinion

Abortion-RegulationsPro-life supporters are unhappy with an opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring on abortion clinic building regulations, but pro-choice supporters say it’s about time an earlier decision is  reviewed. At issue is whether existing Virginia abortion clinics should meet the same building standards as hospitals. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Virginia takes steps in hopes of limiting future hazardous cargo derailments

AP photo

AP photo

A state task force created after the fiery Lynchburg oil train derailment one year ago has released its initial report and recommendations. Among other things, the Virginia Railroad Safety and  Security Task Force recommends increased state inspections of tracks carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials — and requiring railroads and federal regulators to share all safety-related information. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here to read the full report

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VA Attorney General seeks meeting with Sweet Briar and group hoping to stop its closing

Sweet Briar CollegeAttorney General Mark Herring has sent letters to representatives of Sweet Briar College and the group hoping to keep it from closing. The letter asks for a meeting sometime in May in hopes of finding a resolution that does not involve costly litigation. The letter re-affirms Herring’s previous statements that his office has no standing to take a position one way or another.

Click here to read the full Attorney General’s letter

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Virginians on both sides of same-sex marriage debate at Supreme Court today

Supreme CourtVirginians on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate plan to be at the U.S. Supreme Court today as justices consider whether state bans on such marriages are unconstitutional. This specific case does not involve Virginia, but the justices are expected to rule by late June whether states have the right to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Osprey parents don’t give up, and SML camera shows nest at work

OspreyCamOnce again, a camera in the middle of Smith Mountain Lake lets you look in on a pair ospreys trying to raise a family. But as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, if recent experience is any guide, nature can be rough, and survival is anything but guaranteed.

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Here is a longer-form interview with Smith Mountain Lake State Park Manager Brian Heft:

Click here to watch the Smith Mountain Lake Ospreycam.

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