RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia has been quickly snuffed out. The Republican-controlled state Senate Courts of Justice Committee rejected Sen. Adam Ebbin’s decriminalization bill Wednesday on a party-line 9-5 vote. The measure would have eliminated jail time for possession of marijuana, instead making it punishable by a maximum $100 civil penalty. Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat, argued that criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce use of the drug and has made criminals out of nonviolent citizens. Ebbin’s measure was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, which drew attention to racial disparities in marijuana arrests. The bill drew opposition from the Virginia State Police, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _The University of Virginia has contracted with an international security firm to guide vulnerable students to safety in Charlottesville neighborhoods near campus. The university says the unarmed security guards will be called ambassadors. The ambassadors may help walk students home, call a safe ride or wait with them at a bus stop. The ambassadors may also call a rescue squad if medical attention is needed and they will have a communications link to the emergency dispatch center. G4S has provided similar services at other schools, including the University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University. The security guards will patrol the popular strip of restaurants and bars known as The Corner, and also be stationed near fraternity houses and off-campus apartments. The program gets under way on Monday.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia Senate committee is proposing to exempt gold, silver and platinum bullion from the state sales tax. The exemption would apply to transactions exceeding $1,000. The Finance Committee’s endorsement of Sen. Frank Wagner’s measure Wednesday now goes to the full Senate. Wagner, a Virginia Beach Republican, says bullion buyers are taking their business outside Virginia to states that don’t tax precious metals. The state Department of Taxation estimates that the measure could reduce state revenues by as much as $313,000 a year. Similar exemptions are offered by 31 states. While endorsing one new tax break, the committee proposed repealing an existing one: an income tax credit for political contributions. The repeal bill offered by Sen. Chap Petersen, a Fairfax Democrat, would raise an estimated $680,000 a year in revenue.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Sororities at the University of Virginia have been told to stay away from fraternity recruitment events scheduled Saturday. The sororities are part of the National Panhellenic Conference. Conference spokeswoman Michelle Bower tells The Washington Post(http://wapo.st/1zbHlSZ ) that the mandate came from the sororities’ national presidents. Bower says the conference supports the decision. U.Va. Inter-Fraternity Council President Ben Gorman tells the newspaper that some sororities were told to avoid any social gathering with fraternity members on Boys’ Bid Night. The university recently lifted a suspension of Greek social activities after fraternities and sororities agreed to stricter regulations. The suspension followed a November Rolling Stone article that detailed an alleged gang rape at a U.Va. fraternity. Much of the article has been discredited.
In the past two months, five pedestrians and one bicyclist have been struck and killed in eight hit-and-run traffic crashes across the Commonwealth. Police say because of the alarming rate of fatal crashes involving drivers leaving the scene, they want to remind motorists that state law prohibits a driver from leaving an accident scene that involves injury or death, or property damage. State law says anyone involved in an accident needs to immediately stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible. The driver should also report the accident to police and stay on the scene. Police say drivers should stay alert when on the road and pedestrians and bicyclists should wear reflective and bright clothing.
Pittsylvania County officials have planned a visit animal shelters in our area tomorrow. The Board of Supervisors and staff will be touring the Lynchburg Animal Shelter, which has not opened yet, on Old Graves Mill Road and the Amherst County Animal Shelter, to gather information and gain a better perspective on design elements to consider for a new facility in their county. Pittsylvania County Supervisors voted in September to pursue a long-term strategy to build a new animal shelter. Architecture consultants will present a report to supervisors in March, the board is expected to review the study before deciding on the matter.
The Centers for Disease Control released a warning today cases of the flu is spreading throughout the state. Flu cases continue to grow across the county and the flu season isn’t even close to being over yet. Health officials say the current flu vaccine isn’t working well against one common strain; so far this season, there have been 56 cases of child deaths; three have died here in Virginia. The CDC reports that flu in Virginia is now widespread – updated from about a month ago when it was just regional. Doctors say still get vaccinated, even though one strain isn’t working because there are still many other strains going around.
A local relator is looking for artistic tenants for a former factory in Bedford. Steve Drake is the real estate agent marketing the old Hampton Looms property; he says he sees the giant factory building as something different than what it housed in the past there are more than 100 working artists in Bedford County; .Drake says all he needs are creative ideas and people who could support things like galleries, museums, or perhaps a concert hall.
THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE AND THE VIRGINIA MISSING CHILDREN CLEARINGHOUSE HAS ISSUED AN ENDANGERED MISSING CHILD MEDIA ALERT ON BEHALF OF THE CHRISTIANSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT ON 1/28/15 AT 1145 HOURS. THE CHRISTIANSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT IS LOOKING FOR AYSIA MONIQUE LEWIS, 16 YEARS OF AGE, HEIGHT 5’3, WEIGHT 155 LBS, WITH BROWN EYES AND BROWN HAIR, WEARING: BLUE JEANS, BLACK FLEECE JACKET AND TAN MOCCASINS.
THE CHILD IS BELIEVED TO BE IN DANGER AND WAS LAST SEEN AT CHRISTIANSBURG HIGH SCHOOL. THE CHILD MAY BE IN THE COMPANY OF DONALD QUESENBERRY. THE SUBJECT IS DESCRIBED AS, 33 YEARS OF AGE, HEIGHT 5’7 FEET, WEIGHT 195 LBS, WITH BROWN EYES AND BROWN HAIR.
THE SUBJECT MAY BE DRIVING 2002 NISSAN ALTIMA 4D WITH ILLINOIS REGISTRATION V975074. POSSIBLY HEADING SOUTH TO FLORIDA
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: CHILD IS BELIEVED TO BE IN DANGER OF SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
PLEASE CONTACT THE CHRISTIANSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 540-382-3131 OR THE VIRGINIA STATE POLICE AT 1-800-822-4453. (1-800-VACHILD)
He was in Lynchburg signing copies of his new book yesterday … you hear him every morning on the “Huckabee Report” … former Arkansas governor and potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also spoke to WLNI’s Gene Marrano yesterday:
Click here to for more from Mike Huckabee on his new book and future plans: