Virginia Beach tourism industry opposes planned offshore drilling; petroleum industry says fears are unfounded

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

With the summer season just about to begin in Virginia Beach, the tourism industry there is lining up in opposition to planned offshore oil drilling. But the petroleum industry says the reasons given are unfounded. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Sweet Briar president will stay away from Saturday commencement

Sweet Briar CollegeThe President of Sweet Briar College says he will not participate in tomorrow’s commencement ceremony. In a statement released today, James Jones says some faculty and alumnae have threatened to disrupt the ceremony if he presides. The college has announced plans to close this summer, citing declining enrollment and unsustainable debt. Many college supporters are fighting that in court.

(Continue reading for President Jones’ full statement.)

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Sweet Briar commencement speaker: alum who opposes its closing

Teresa Pike Tomlinson

Teresa Pike Tomlinson

Tomorrow’s commencement speaker at Sweet Briar College faces an enormous and highly unusual challenge. The college plans to close down this summer — but Teresa Pike Hamilton, class of ’87, supports the legal challenges aimed to preventing the closure. She says tomorrow’s commencement address will be respectful but candid, as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports.

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Here is an extended-length version of our telephone interview with her:

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Massive Virginia Tech Transportation Institute driver study data to be available to researchers worldwide

VTTI StudyA comprehensive Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Study that looked in on and measured driver habits will now be available to researchers around the world. As WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, safer driving is the anticipated result.

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Click here for the full story from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

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McDonnell: faith in the justice system and the Lord as he awaits appeals court ruling

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

Former Governor Bob McDonnell says he has faith in the US judicial system — and in the Lord — as he awaits an appeals court ruling. McDonnell wants the court to either order a retrial or throw out his corruption convictions altogether. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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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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