The Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee both met Sunday afternoon to release their budget proposals. According to the News & Advance, it includes local funds $130,000 a year to save Amherst County’s community college outlet and $100,000 to support sesquicentennial festivities at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. It also sets up a $400,000 compensation fund for victims of the state’s past practice, of forcibly sterilizing those deemed mentally unfit. The newly unveiled proposals are still subject to debate and negotiations in the Senate.
A hearing was held yesterday regarding surveying for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but the fate of a lawsuit filed by five Nelson County residents against Dominion Transmission is still undecided. The lawsuit, filed in September, asks the court to declare the Virginia Code that allows natural gas companies to survey private property as long as previous notification as an unconstitutional statute– Dominion responded in November by asking the U.S. District Court to dismiss the suit which was the focus of legal arguments on Thursday. The judge heard from both sides but did not make a ruling saying he would be releasing a written opinion on his decision instead.
The Campbell County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to approve the plans for the new Timbrook Library work and authorized construction to begin in the spring. The project is expected to cost approximately $1.5 million. The Deputy County Administrator tells the Altavista Journal that since the Supervisors awarded the design build contract county staff have been working with the contractor to further refine the scope of the work and finalize that cost figure. Funding for the project will come from various sources; construction begins in the next few weeks, the new library should be finished by the time the lease for the current library runs out in December.
Three people were hospitalized following a three-vehicle accident this morning in Lynchburg. Traffic was blocked just after 8am for about an hour on the Expressway and the ramps leading on to Route 501 South from Fort Avenue and Timberlake Road. The crash involved a Chevrolet TrailBlazer, a sedan and a taxi cab. Authorities tell the News & Advance, that the cab was stopped or almost stopped, when a car got hit, the guardrail and spun out. The driver of the TrailBlazer has been charged with reckless driving. Her name has not been released. The cab driver and passenger and another driver were injured. No word on their conditions.
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office will be offering free child safety and booster seat checks next week as part of a Valentines promotion. The sheriff’s office is partnering with the Virginia Department of Health to offer “The Best Hug in the World: Buckle Up!” The program’s purpose is to educate parents and guardians on Virginia seat belt law and to ensure child safety seats are installed properly. No pre-registration is required for the program; however, residents may call ahead to schedule a specific time for a booster seat check or installation training session. The safety checks will be conducted at the sheriff’s office in Rustburg from 8:30 until 4:30 next Monday through Friday.
Appomattox County’s economic standing was given a clean bill of health. Findings from a recent audit of fiscal year 2014, were presented to the Appomattox County Board of Supervisors on Monday the previous year saw some budget weaknesses. But the Times Virginian reports the County’s general fund finished with $7.2 million last year, which was a $360,000 decrease from the previous year. One negative impact facing the county next year, according to the article, will be the requirement to report retirement contributions, therefore increasing the expense percentage burden. All in all, officials say Appomattox is pretty close to where it needs to be.
Amherst County saw a slight uptick in marijuana arrests last year. According to statistics obtained by the Sheriff’s Office, there were 83 marijuana violations in 2014— compared to the 78 in reported in 2013. Arrests, offficials say primarily occurred in the Madison Heights area. Roughly 60 percent of offenders during both years were men under the age of 30, but did include some charges against minors. According to the New Era Progress, there were few instances of marijuana manufacturing in the county over the course of two years. In Virginia, a charge of possession of pot could results in 30 days jail and/or a fine of $500.
The state Senate is considering stiffer penalties for trespassing on train trestles and bridges. According to the News & Advance, since 1969, there have been at least 13 fatalities locally, on the trestle over the James River between Lynchburg and Amherst County. The two most recent incidents, occurring in November 2011 and November 2014. Senate Bill 1416 would change is from a Class 4, to a Class 2 misdemeanor meaning caught trespassing on a train trestle, bridge, tunnel or railway yard would be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and jail. The original bill was tabled to sort out a number of issues. It’s set to return to the courts committee today.
Lynchburg City School officials, on Tuesday, reviewed an early draft of the 2015-2016 academic calendar. If the measures are passed as laid out then classes would start one week earlier in August and end one week later in June. Administrators say, it would shorten summer, and reduce the summer learning loss, while still giving students time off for summer activities, students and staff would have more breaks in the year. LCS has planned public input sessions throughout the month of February; open to parents, guardians, and staff before a final version is submitted to the Board for a vote next month.
A Liberty University student is facing charges after police say he was hit by a car Tuesday afternoon. Police say the student, Michael Bryant wasn’t paying attention when he stepped into the road. The accident occurred on Odd Fellows Road, the same place another student was hit in October. Bryant had no broken bones and was released from the hospital; he now faces unlawful pedestrian in roadway charges. LU tells media outlets, the city was requiring a signal at the location not allow just a crosswalk. Because of the danger existing on this road, the school is rushing the construction of its new dorm to move students onto campus.