Phone Unlocking Legalized

Bob_Goodlatte_OfficialLawmakers unanimously passed legislation Friday to legalize cell-phone unlocking, which would make it easier for consumers to switch providers without buying a new phone. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte shared the good news with listeners on the Jack Murphy Tuesday. Saying it’s something that Americans have been asking; and that, everyone was able work together to ensure the swift passage. All that remains is for the president to sign the bill into law.

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Bedford Man Pleads Guilty to Charges

police lineThe Bedford man, whose child died after being suffocated, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of child abuse and methamphetamine manufacturing. 26 year old, Michael Anthony Smith, faces up to 50 years in prison. The child’s mother, 24 year old, Shana Marie Witt, still faces a trial on a first-degree murder charge. Smith’s attorney says Smith will cooperate in the case against his wife, but prosecutors have not offered a deal; his sentencing is set for Dec 16.

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Natural Gas Pipeline On Stand-Still

NelsonCountyThe surveying process for a natural gas pipeline is at a stand-still in Nelson County, where at least six land owners have filed an injunction lawsuit to prevent Dominion Resources from entering their property. The proposed route of the 450 mile pipeline, which would stretch from West Virginia to North Carolina, runs through parts of the county. Dominion spokesman Frank Mack says, the locality is “an important part of the route selection process.” Virginia Code, defines natural gas companies’ with rights to enter properties. Dominion has agreed not to survey any land locally until after an August 12th public meeting.

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Trial turns to trips for former Va. first family

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Former Virginia
Gov. Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The former assistant to the wealthy businessman at the center of the corruption case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife is testifying for the prosecution. Jerri Fulkerson told a jury Wednesday about her involvement in arranging trips for members of the McDonnell family and writing checks for two loans totaling $70,000. She said she did so at the direction of her boss, Jonnie Williams.  Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams, then the CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for promoting his products. Williams is expected to testify under immunity as the prosecution’s star witness. Defense attorneys said Tuesday that Maureen McDonnell had developed a “crush” on Williams.

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Caldwell Butler is remembered for putting oath of office above party in Nixon impeachment vote

Caldwell Butler (UVA Library photo)

Caldwell Butler (UVA Library photo)

Former 6th District Congressman Caldwell Butler is being remembered for his political courage during the Watergate era. Butler died two nights ago at age 89.  He is best known as a Republican who, in his first term, voted for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, and as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, Butler went to some unusual lengths before reaching his decision.

 

 

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Trial reveals governor’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An attorney for the wife of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says during the couple’s corruption trial that their marriage was broken and the former first lady developed a crush on a businessman who gave the McDonnells gifts and cash.   The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for helping promote his dietary supplements company.   Maureen McDonnell’s lawyer William A. Burck said Tuesday during opening statements that the former first lady was “duped” by Williams into thinking he cared for her.  Burck said Williams also fooled the Department of Justice and has received immunity from a $10 million stock fraud investigation in exchange for testifying against the McDonnells. The former governor’s lawyers’ opening statements are to follow.

Earlier in the day, a federal prosecutor said the government will prove Virginia’s former governor and his wife illegally lined their pockets with gifts from a businessman who sought their influence to promote his company.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber delivered the government’s opening statement Tuesday. Aber said Jonnie Williams will testify under immunity that he initially lied to investigators when he said he was a personal friend of the McDonnells and wanted nothing in return for his generosity.

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Former Congressman Caldwell Butler dies

Caldwell Butler (UVA Library photo)

Caldwell Butler (UVA Library photo)

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Caldwell Butler, a five-term Republican congressman from Virginia who voted for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, has died. Former Virginia attorney general Richard Cullen and officials with Oakey’s Funeral Service in Roanoke say Butler died Tuesday. The Roanoke resident was 89.  An attorney, Butler represented Virginia’s 6th congressional district in the U.S. House from 1972 to 1982.  Watergate unfolded during his first term. He helped the House Judiciary Committee draft the Nixon impeachment articles and later voted for them, admitting it took a toll on his political career. Nixon resigned in August 1974 before the full House debated his impeachment. Cullen served as Butler’s press secretary during the impeachment proceedings. Oakey’s is in charge of arrangements, which are incomplete. Butler’s wife, June, died last month.

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Not yet clear: whether, when same-sex marriage ceremonies might begin in VA

WLNI-SSame-sex marriage supporters are rejoicing, but advocates of Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban say “not so fast” after a federal appeals court ruled the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Same-sex ceremonies are not yet permitted in Virginia , and as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, whether or when they might begin is not yet clear.

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US court: Va. gay marriage ban unconstitutional

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.  A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.  The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.

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Volunteers Needed On Blue Ridge Parkway

blue ridge parkwayAn environmental organization is looking for volunteers to help clean and maintain a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 50 mile stretch includes access points to scenic areas in Amherst and Nelson counties. Due to a decline in funding over the past 15 years, the National Park Service allocates just one percent of its maintenance budget to keeping up the trails. The parkway has only three employees for every 100 miles… volunteers need no qualifications except time and commitment to training. CLICK HERE to learn more about volunteering.

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