Lynchburg City, Bedford County lead area’s population growth

wlni-defaultThe Lynchburg region’s population grew about 2.9% in the past five years according to estimates from a University of Virginia research center. That compares to a statewide growth of almost 5%. In our area, Lynchburg City led the way, growing 4.1%, and Bedford County was not far behind at 3.6%. Click here to read the full report, which breaks down the numbers by city and county.

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Bail hearing for Virginia Tech student set today

Natalie Keepers

Natalie Keepers

A bail hearing is scheduled for a Virginia Tech student charged as being an accessory in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old girl. The Montgomery County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clerk’s office says Natalie Keepers’ hearing is now set for 11 a.m. Thursday. It originally had been scheduled for Wednesday. The 19-year-old engineering student is charged with accessory before and after the fact, as well as with illegally disposing of Nicole Lovell’s body. Keepers’ classmate, 18-year-old David Eisenhauer, is charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder. Both defendants are being held without bond.

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Mark Peake declares candidacy for State Senate — if Tom Garrett wins Congressional contest

Mark Peake

Mark Peake

News release: Mark Peake today declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the State Senate from the 22nd District of Virginia. An attorney with Caskie & Frost and a former chairman of the Lynchburg Republican City Committee, Peake said his intention is to succeed Senator Tom Garrett of Buckingham in representing the district that includes a large portion of Lynchburg and the entirety of the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Goochland, Fluvanna, Prince Edward, and a portion of Louisa. Garrett is seeking the Republican nomination to succeed U.S. Representative Robert Hurt, Republican of Chatham, in the 5th Congressional District. Rep. Hurt will be retiring from Congress at the end of 2016.

(Continue reading for the rest of the news release.)

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Nicole Lovell overcame many major health obstacles before her murder

Nicole Lovell

Nicole Lovell

We learned more yesterday about Nicole Lovell’s 13-year life, and more about the many health obstacles she had already overcome. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones.

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Virginia Senate approves Tebow bill

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have approved legislation to allow home-schooled students to participate in public-school sports. A longtime goal of home-schoolers, the measure is commonly known as the “Tebow bill,” named for Tim Tebow, the former NFL quarterback who was home-schooled and allowed to play football for his local high school. The measure passed the state Senate Monday. A House version passed last week. A similar measure passed last year, but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The governor said the legislation creates a “double standard” for student athletes.

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Police ask for help identifying breaking and entering suspect in Forest

From The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office: The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance in identifying a subject in reference to a Breaking and Entering at Axle Electronics in Forest.  The business is located at 17928 Forest Rd. This incident took place the morning of January 15, 2016.

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Anyone who can identify this individual or has information about the incident is asked to contact Investigator Rick Baldwin or Sergeant Jon Wilks with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-4800, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Visit the Central Virginia Crime Stoppers website at www.cvcrimestoppers.org to enter a web tip, or text “CVCS” plus your message to 274637.

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Prosecutor: Nicole Lovell stabbed to death day she vanished

Nicole Lovell

Nicole Lovell

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Seventh-grader Nicole Madison Lovell was stabbed to death the same day she climbed out of her bedroom window, by a Virginia Tech student who got help from a fellow freshman both before and after the crime, authorities said Tuesday. David Eisenhauer, the engineering major accused of kidnapping and killing the 13-year-old girl, said “I believe the truth will set me free” after he was arrested on Saturday, police said. Nicole’s mother discovered her missing last Wednesday morning, setting off an intense hunt. Police quickly zeroed in on Eisenhauer, and then found Nicole’s body on Saturday, hidden off a North Carolina road, two hours south of campus.

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Lynchburg residents encouraged to review City Manager recruitment profile

City of LynchburgLynchburg residents have several opportunities to weigh in on the draft recruitment profile being created to assist in the search for a new city manager. Lynchburg City Council is developing the recruitment profile which describes the desirable characteristics of candidates in terms of experience, leadership style, and performance and will provide insight to some of the challenges and opportunities that the new city manager will experience. The current City Manager, Kimball Payne, announced late last year that he would be retiring as of June 30, 2016.  City Council is expected to finalize the profile at its February 9 meeting at 7:30 p.m. in City Council Chamber, 900 Church Street. Lynchburg residents may offer their input regarding the profile electronically or in person at the February 9 meeting. City Council will take public input into consideration as it finalizes the recruitment profile. Click here to see the draft recruitment profile and to submit comments.

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Radford prof: police may have suspects and victim’s body, but Lovell case will take a lot more work

Nicole Lovell

Nicole Lovell

Police may have suspects  in custody — and the victim’s body — in the Nicole Lovell case, but investigators still have plenty of work ahead to complete their work. Radford University Criminal Justice Professor Tod Burke says that includes gathering forensic evidence, examining social media and the medical examiner’s report. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones.

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High court rejects GOP request to delay new map

Virginia state logoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request from Virginia’s Congressional Republicans to put a new congressional map on hold and allow the 2016 elections to proceed under the old boundaries. The high court issued its denial Monday. Republicans are also asking the court to reverse a decision by a three-judge panel that said lawmakers in 2012 illegally packed too many black voters into the 3rd Congressional District. The court is set to hear arguments on March 21. The new map could help Democrats win the 4th Congressional District, represented by Republican Rep. Randy Forbes. Democrats praised the court’s actions Monday, saying the decision was “encouraging.”

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