Va. schools recognized for ‘green’ efforts

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. Department of Education has recognized five Virginia schools for promoting energy efficiency and environmental awareness. The schools were among dozens nationwide recognized by the Green Ribbon Schools Program on Wednesday. The Virginia schools are Coles Elementary School in Manassas; Crozet Elementary School in Crozet; Bassett High School in Bassett; the Steward School in Richmond; and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The university also received the Postsecondary Sustainability Award.

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U.Va. offers early retirement package to about 800 employees

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The University of Virginia is offering an early retirement package to about 800 employees. The voluntary package announced Tuesday includes nine months’ salary and a $9,000 health care subsidy. It’s being offered to eligible staff members 55 years old or older who have at least 20 years of uninterrupted employment with the state. Eligible employees work either in U.Va.’s academic division or at the College at Wise, in positions ranging from administration to technology support. Faculty and classified staff aren’t eligible for the retirement package. University chief human resources officer Susan A. Carkeek tells The Daily Progress  that the early retirement package is “a one-time offer.”  Carkeek says the goal is to help reduce costs in the long term by restructuring or eliminating some positions after employees leave.

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Roth to leave Tech for position at UCLA

Bill Roth

Bill Roth

From the Virginia Tech Department of Athletics: Longtime and popular radio play-by-play broadcaster, Bill Roth, is leaving his position to accept a similar position at UCLA. The Tech athletics department will honor the legendary announcer known as the “Voice of the Hokies” for his contributions to Virginia Tech at this Saturday’s Maroon-Orange Spring Game. Roth, who works for IMG College, Virginia Tech’s multimedia rights holder, will make his final call for Virginia Tech this Saturday. At the end of the first quarter, the department will recognize Roth by announcing the establishment of the Bill Roth Student-Athlete Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded annually in perpetuity to a deserving Virginia Tech student-athlete with an interest in communications or broadcast journalism.

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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.

Play/Download News Clip

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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Police investigating vandalism at car dealership

Lynchburg PoliceThe Lynchburg Police Department says five vehicles at Pinkerton Chevrolet on Graves Mill Road have been intentionally damaged. The vehicles appear to have been “keyed” sometime between April 13 and April 16. The total amount of damage is approximately $8,800. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Detective T.C. Barley at (434) 455-6162 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900.

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Va. court affirms dad’s rights in turkey baster conception

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Court of Appeals has affirmed the parental rights of a man whose son was conceived by using a turkey baster. A three-judge panel unanimously upheld Roanoke Circuit Judge Charles N. Dorsey’s decision granting joint custody and visitation rights to Robert Preston Boardwine. According to the court, Joyce Rosemary Bruce wanted to have a child she could raise on her own. Boardwine supplied the sperm in a plastic container. Bruce transferred it to a turkey baster, which she used to inseminate herself. Bruce argued that Boardwine had no parental rights under the state’s assisted conception law. But the appeals court said Tuesday that the law applies only to pregnancies resulting from the use of medical technology, and the use of a common kitchen implement at home doesn’t qualify.

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Bond denied for Ashley White

WLNI-SPULASKI, Va. (AP) _ A judge has denied bond for a Pulaski County woman whose 5-year-old son was found dead in a septic tank. Pulaski County Circuit Court Bradley Finch said he believes Ashley Jennifer White is a flight risk. Finch’s decision came Tuesday on a bond appeal by White. A Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge had denied White bond last week. White and her husband, Paul Thomas, each face two counts of felony child abuse and neglect. One charge involves the couple’s son, Noah, whose body was found March 26 in the septic tank on the family’s property. Prosecutors say they’re awaiting the results of autopsy to determine the cause of death. The other charge is linked to the couple’s infant daughter.

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Major donation propels Academy Theatre restoration campaign over $6.1 million mark

Academy of MusicFrom the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts: The Academy has received a gift of more than $1 million from an anonymous donor toward the organization’s $16.6 million capital campaign to restore the historic theatre, which will bring to life a nearly 800-seat performing and visual arts complex for this region. With this gift, more than $6.1 million-over one-third of the campaign goal-has been raised. This gift is among the largest gifts ever made to the Academy, and the largest single commitment received toward the current campaign effort, which began in October of 2012. “We are thrilled,” said George Dawson, the Academy’s chairman of the Capital Campaign. “This gift demonstrates the donor’s commitment to the Academy, our mission in the community and to the new leadership direction represented by Geoffrey Kershner, our new Executive Director.” Kershner’s appointment was announced in early March. He will officially begin his position May 18.

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Former first lady asks that public corruption convictions be overturned

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell says her public corruption convictions are based on an overly broad definition of bribery and she did not receive a fair trial due to a number of mistakes made by the presiding federal district court judge. Her attorneys argued Monday in a 101-page court filing that McDonnell’s conviction on several public corruption counts should be overturned.  McDonnell and her husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, were convicted in a joint trial in September of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s nutritional supplements. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison and his wife to one year and one day, but they remain free while they pursue separate appeals.

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Downtown Lynchburg street closure

lynchburg logo - important announcementsBeginning today, and continuing through Friday, Ninth Street (between Main and Church Streets) will be closed to all traffic for the utility survey being conducted throughout the Central Business District in downtown Lynchburg. Motorists who park in Parking Lot B (on Church Street) and Parking Lot J (on Ninth Street) will have access to those parking areas. There is the possibility that no street parking will be allowed on the lower end of Ninth Street during this time.

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