Lynchburg real estate property owners are reminded that the second installment for real estate taxes is due by Thursday, January 15, 2015. A 10% penalty will be assessed if the January 15 deadline is not met. If you have not received a real estate tax bill or have questions concerning your bill, please contact the Billings and Collections Division at 455-3850. For questions regarding real estate assessments, please call the Assessor’s Office at 455-3830.
FOREST, Va. (AP) _ Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest has received a grant to help the National Historic Landmark conduct the archaeological exploration and research. Officials say the more than $132,000 grant comes from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The grant will be used for work required for the design of a proposed new entryway and parkway to the historic house and grounds. Officials with the group that maintains Jefferson’s personal retreat in Bedford County say the work will ensure that the parkway will not negatively impact important historical resources.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some Virginia officials believe last month’s elections have given the commonwealth a better chance of being the next home of the FBI’s headquarters in an ongoing battle with Maryland’s Prince George’s County. Virginia officials tell The Washington Post that Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s loss of control off the powerful Appropriations Committee could level the playing field and help Virginia. Both states are angling for the largest new federal campus since the CIA built its Langley, Virginia headquarters in 1961. The General Services Administration is working to swap the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington for a new 2.1 million-square-foot campus. It would consolidate 11,000 FBI workers from across the region. Maryland lawmakers say the pitch for a Greenbelt location should win on its merits.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is pushing for new regulations on gun ownership. The governor introduced a package of gun control measures in Arlington Monday that he said were necessary to keep Virginians safe. Among the legislation he will pursue during the 2015 legislation session is a bill that would limit handgun purchases to one a month. Another bill would prohibit people subject to protective orders from possessing firearms. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate, was a major donor to McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign. The measures will likely face strong opposition in the GOP-controlled General Assembly. A spokesman for House Speaker William J. Howell said the governor’s announcement was “disappointing.”
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is planning to include $28 million in his budget for new voting machines across Virginia that would create a paper trail for individual votes. McAuliffe announced the plan during an appearance in Virginia Beach on Monday. The Virginian-Pilot reports (http://bit.ly/1GIexD4 ) that the proposal would pay for new machines in about 2,100 precincts and reimburse about 400 that have already moved to the newer systems. In addition to the newer technology, uniformity in the machines would avoid confusion and make it easier to find repairmen if needed during elections. Some voters and candidates reported difficulties casting accurate votes using touch-screen voting machines in the November election.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia legislator who made a recent plea in a teen sex case says he will wait to decide on his political future. Del. Joseph Dee Morrissey, D-Henrico, spoke after attending church services Sunday in Richmond. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Morrissey says he was “disappointed” that Gov. Terry McAuliffe and other legislative leaders urged him to resign. Morrissey entered an Alford plea Friday to a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. In an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence for a conviction but doesn’t admit guilt. Morrissey was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six suspended. His attorney, Anthony Troy, says Morrissey will ultimately serve three months.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Seven Virginia community colleges will receive $500,0 in incentives for students that complete certifications in demand by businesses and industry. Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office says the pilot program will help 500 Virginians earn certifications in areas such as welding, commercial driving and project management. Participating community colleges include Blue Ridge, Germanna, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Western, Danville, Patrick Henry and Southside Virginia. The initiative is part of McAuliffe’s plan to grow and diversify the state’s economy and supports his goal of seeing an additional 50,000 getting industry certifications before the end of his term. Officials say the certifications can lead to careers that boast median wages that are at or above Virginia’s per capita personal income of $48,377.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Almost a month after a scathing magazine article portrayed three friends as uncaring in the face of a woman’s sexual assault, Kathryn Hendley, Alex Stock, and Ryan Duffin say they’re still trying to set the record straight. The three told The Associated Press that a Rolling Stone magazine article about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity was wrong on a number of key points. Most important, the friends say they encouraged the victim, identified as “Jackie” in the article, to report the attack to police. That’s in contrast with the article, which claimed the three encouraged her to keep quiet. Other news media have interviewed the friends, but this is the first time Duffin has agreed to use his full name.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Nature lovers are fanning out across Virginia for the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. The count that debuted in 1900 gathers data about trends and the general health of the bird population. It started Sunday and runs through Jan. 5. Each year the count mobilizes more than 70,000 volunteers in 2,400 locations. More than three dozen counts are planned in Virginia.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A group of public health organizations say Virginia isn’t spending enough money on programs to prevent tobacco use. According to a report, states this year will collect $25.6 billion from the national tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes. But they’ll spend less than 2 percent of it on tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The report was released this week by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society and several other groups. The report says Virginia is spending $8.5 million on tobacco prevention funding in the current fiscal year. That’s only about 9 percent of the $91.6 million recommended to be spent by federal officials. The groups say states are shortchanging programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, as well as save lives and health care costs.