Suspect Pleads Guilty in Drive-By

police lineAnother suspect has pleaded guilty for his part in a deadly drive-by shooting. 19 year old, Jakiel Benson, this morning pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and a felony firearm charge. Benson is among eight co-defendants connected with the killing of the 20 year old, murdered, prosecutors say as he sat in a car on Shaffer Street last June. The news & Advance reports, multiple felony firearm charges won’t be prosecuted; and a previous murder charge was also amended as part of a plea agreement today. An autopsy found the victim died of a single 9mm gunshot wound to the chest –April Renae Bateman, accused of firing the fatal shot, pleaded guilty to murder last month.

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Tobacco Control Efforts Failing

Virginia state logoTobacco control efforts are failing in Virginia. Virginia received F’s for tobacco prevention, smoke-free air, tobacco taxes and access to cessation services in an annual report released by the lung association on Wednesday. According to the report, Virginia spends only 12 percent of the funding level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for tobacco prevention and cessation. The American Lung Association in Virginia is asking lawmakers to restore funding for tobacco use prevention programs, eliminate smoking in all public places and workplaces, and increase funding for state tobacco cessation services.

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Campbell supervisors discuss priority initiatives

Campbell CountyThe Campbell County Board of Supervisors met yesterday to address future development of several proposed priority initiatives. This year, there are 87 priority one initiatives 14 of which are marked new. Department heads focused on the 32 new items in the plan at Tuesday’s session. Sources say supervisors didn’t get into discussions about which priorities to keep or remove, saving the discussion for a later date when they are better able to compare the items to determine the importance and have more of an idea about the money available.

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Hillcats Gain New Team Manager

Lynchburg HillcatsMark Budzinski, has been named the Lynchburg Hillcats manager for the 2015 season. Originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1995. Budzinski’s baseball career spanned 11 seasons, and according to the News & Advance, included a quick four-game appearance with the Cincinnati Reds in 2003.This upcoming season marks the first for the Hillcats as the Indians’ Class-A Advanced affiliate.

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Offices to be Opened on State-Observed Holidays

Campbell CountyCampbell County offices will be open for public business on four state-observed holidays. The measure comes as an effort to provide increased public service and citizen convenience, the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, in November, voted to keep officers open for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 19; Presidents’ Day in February; Columbus Day; and Veterans Day. For the complete dates of recognized and observed holidays, and for additional information about county agencies’ operating hours, visit: www.campbellcountyva.gov.

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Decrease in Criminal Offenses

Amherst CountyThe Amherst County Sheriff’s Office has announced a decrease in criminal offenses last year. While not as sharp a dip in results released a year ago—Sources say there were 1,862 offenses reported in 2014, a 7 percent decrease from 2013 and an even greater decrease when compared to 2012, when there were over 25-hundred offenses. Crime categories that showed decreases in the past twelve months, include simple assault offenses; and theft from motor vehicles. Authorities say prescription fraud, on the other hand, has become more prevalent over recent years.

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Sheriff’s Office Earns Third State Accreditation Award

Lynchburg PoliceThe Lynchburg Sheriff’s Office has earned its third State Accreditation Award. In December, the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission Executive Board voted unanimously in favor of the Lynchburg Sheriff’s Office of the more than 400 law enforcement agencies across the state only 91 had achieved the distinction by the end of the year. The Sheriff’s Office has also been awarded re-accreditation status meeting 190 professional standards that Virginia accredited agencies must comply with. Lynchburg initially received state accreditation in November of 2006; reaccredited in December of 2010 now a third.

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Dominion Resources Suing For Access For Pipeline Survey

dominionDominion Resources is suing more landowners in Nelson County to gain access to their properties for a pipeline survey. In December, the company sued 20 landowners in the county who won’t allow it to survey their properties for the proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline. According to the News & Advance, the company filed lawsuits against 39 more land owners last week. The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to deliver natural gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

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Natural Bridge Zoo Called “Roadside Atrocity”

Natural-Bridge-ZooA yearly list compiled by In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization, calls Natural Bridge Zoo, a roadside atrocity. A recently release report by IDA, named the Rockbridge County roadside zoo the “worst zoo for elephants”. The zoo has been open for more than 40 years; and is home to a number of threatened and endangered wildlife, including a single, African elephant named Asha; the now 30 year old female came to the zoo as a calf in 1985. Complaints were filed last year with the Department of Agriculture regarding the welfare of animals at the facility. Karl Mogensen, the owner denies wrong doing and calls the release a biased report.

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Weather Safety Presentation Coming in March

Campbell CountyA free storm spotting and weather safety presentation is being planned for Campbell County in March. The National Weather Service in cooperation with the Campbell County Department of Public Safety, will conduct a SkyWarn class for citizens. The two hour presentation is open to anyone interested in weather…OR seeking to become an official storm spotter. Topics of discussion will include: Fundamentals of Storm Structure ; Identifying Potential Severe Weather Features; and Basic Severe Weather Safety. The spotter training will be held in Rustburg on Thursday, March 12 at 5:30; to learn more visit: http://www.campbellcountyva.gov.

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