RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A task force to combat sexual assaults on Virginia’s college campuses has been created by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe signed an executive order Thursday creating the Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence. The task force will include campus administrators, advocates, law enforcement, higher education attorneys, health professionals and others. The task force will be chaired by Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring’s office will also begin a training program with college and university staff who are involved in the prevention of and response to reports of sexual violence. A statewide summit will be held in Richmond in October to bring together campus leaders to discuss ways to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Jurors saw a forlorn email former Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote to his wife three years ago trying to save his marriage, telling her she was his “soulmate.” McDonnell testified extensively about his troubled marriage Thursday at his corruption trial in Richmond. He and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements. The McDonnells say their marriage was broken, they were barely speaking and they couldn’t have engaged in a criminal conspiracy. McDonnell choked up as he described Labor Day 2011, when his wife rejected his efforts to spend the weekend with her. He wrote he was at a loss to deal with his wife’s anger.
Virginia students continue to improve and exceed the national average on the ACT college admissions exam. Virginia students improved and beat the national average in math, reading and science. Virginia’s English score remained…but they too were above the national average. Officials say 26 Virginia students achieved a perfect score. The number of graduating Virginia public school seniors taking the ACT increased more than 4 percent. Officials say SATs remain the dominant college admissions test in the state.
The Amherst Town Council held its first meeting within its new town hall last week. The new building was purchased in 2013; the New Era Progress reports the first meeting in the building on August 13, became the forum for a public hearing for the sale of the former town hall. According to the article, town personnel are moving into the new building in stages with the expectation that most staff members, aside from the Amherst Police Department, will be moved in by the end of the month.
Gleaning for the World is collecting aid for refugees of Iraq and Syria, where people have been fleeing in great numbers in recent months from a terrorist group. More than a million people have already fled the areas where the militia group known as “ISIS” has been rounding up and murdering Christians and other people of Western faiths. Gleaning President, Ron Davidson, tells WDBJ-7 that much needs to be done to save the people who are fleeing for their safety. Items such toothpaste, soap, and diapers are being collected today and tomorrow at Sam’s Club in Lynchburg and Walmart on Old Forest Road in Lynchburg– Donations will also be taken at those same locations Wednesday through Friday of next week.
A grand jury has returned indictments against a retired Botetourt County Sheriff. Reed Kelly was arraigned Tuesday; he was arrested earlier this month following a State Police investigation. Kelly is charged with four felonies of obtaining money by false pretense. Media outlets report, the alleged crimes occurred in 2006, 2009 and twice in 2011 – during a time Kelly worked as a private investigator. No date has been set for a preliminary hearing.
Virginia’s rail safety task force met in Lynchburg yesterday. The panel heard from a federal administrator, who updated them on some changes being proposed by the United States Department of Transportation. The amended rules would impose more speed restrictions and establish new standards for train cars that carry oil. Lynchburg Fire Department chief Brad Ferguson tells WDBJ-7, that the meeting was productive. The task force will have at least one more meeting.
An Appomattox County judge has dismissed two charges filed against a man accused of shooting someone at a party. 33 year old, Carlton Edward Massenburg faces several charges; the judge on Wednesday dismissed malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony charges… though he certified the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted firearm. Authorities say fight broke out at a party on March 16 at the Carver Price Cultural Center. Massenburg is suspected of shooting 48-year-old James Brogan in the stomach…he has since recovered.
Liberty University is screening international students for the Ebola virus. Media outlets report that students received questionnaires this week regarding visits to any West African villages. Liberty also plans to monitor the students for 21 days. Other colleges in the Lynchburg area plan similar screenings, along with high schools that accept exchange students.