RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s public corruption trial is winding down in federal court in Richmond. McDonnell testified in his own defense for more than four days. He wrapped up his time on the witness stand Tuesday by acknowledging using bad judgment but firmly denying criminal wrongdoing. McDonnell 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 former governor’s lawyer told the judge that he has just one more witness to call Wednesday. Then Maureen McDonnell will present her case. Her attorney said that should take about three hours, leaving only closing arguments and instructions from the judge before the case goes to the jury.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ More Virginians are expected to travel this Labor Day weekend, reaching a new post-recession high for the state. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that the number of people taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home is anticipated to increase slightly this year. That’s more than 964,300 Virginians traveling during the Thursday through Monday holiday weekend. The majority of Virginians are expected to travel by car and gas prices have brought a welcome relief to motorists. Prices in Virginia are down about 4 percent per gallon compared with the same time last year. Motorists are being reminded to buckle up and drive sober and distraction-free while traveling for the upcoming holiday.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell ended more than four days on the witness stand by emphatically denying all charges in his public corruption case. McDonnell acknowledged using poor judgment but responded with a firm “no” Tuesday when his lawyer asked if he risked his political future and his family by doing what he’s accused of in a 14-count indictment. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,0 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s dietary supplements. Prosecutors vigorously cross-examined McDonnell about those issues.
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The Catholic Diocese of Richmond is discouraging parishes and schools that participate in the ice bucket challenge from sending money to the ALS Association. WDBJ-TV reports that the diocese has sent a letter to 29 Catholic schools advising them to send donations to another organization that combats ALS. The diocese planned to send the letter Tuesday to 146 parishes. In the letter, the diocese says the ALS Association uses embryonic stem cells to conduct research on ALS. The Catholic Church relates the use of embryonic stem cells in research to abortion and says it violates the sanctity of human life. The Richmond diocese says it supports adult stem cell research. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death. It’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is ordering his agency heads to cut their budgets 5 percent this fiscal year and 7 percent next year to cope with an $880 million budget shortfall. McAuliffe’s chief of staff, Paul Reagan, sent to a memo to agency chiefs on Friday ordering them to come up with suggestions on what to cut. Reagan said suggested budget plans could include increasing fees for outside parties. The agency heads were directed to submit their proposed budget plans to the governor’s office by Sept. 19.
A second person from last month’s Smith Mountain Lake crash has died; he was the driver of a boat involved in the accident July 31. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 64 year old, James McCulloch, of Franklin County, died Sunday. He was driving the bass boat that struck a Chris Craft boat. 73 year old Ronald Lemons of Vinton also died in the accident. His body was found in Smith Mountain Lake on Aug. 9. Three people in the Chris Craft boat were rescued from the water. They were not hurt.
The Lynchburg Humane Society is nearing the end of its Summer of a Thousand Lives Campaign in second place! Over the weekend they reached 628 adoptions getting them just shy of first place. The Humane Society says they are only 22 adoptions behind first place; BUT there’s only a few days left! Organizers say all adoptions are just two dollars this week with some free adoptions possible this weekend! More information can be found online at www.lynchburghumane.org. The Humane Society is also second in a community online voting challenge. If they win that they get 25 thousand dollars.
A few changes greeted the more than 8,000 Lynchburg City students that kicked off a brand new school year on Monday. It’s a beginning of a new school year with improvements for many returning to class…crews didn’t take much time off during the summer, in order to provide students with more space and updates. Among the projects are new modular classroom additions at Bedford Hills Elementary Schools. Sources say, even more excitement is on the way for incoming high school freshmen. 9th-grade students at both E. C. Glass and Heritage high schools will receive an LCS-issued Chromebook by mid-September. Chromebooks will be turned in at the end of the school year and reissued the following school year.
Concord-based Gleaning for the World has added another collection site this week, as it seeks donations for refugees flees the Islamic State terrorist army. Donations will be accepted Wednesday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm at the Sams Club on Wards Road and an additional site at the Dollar Tree on Candlers Mountain Road.
The state hopes to debut the third daily passenger train through Lynchburg by 2017. The plan to offer the service came together this year amid talks over how to ease congestion on U.S. 29 through Charlottesville after a bypass was declared a dead-end. There are also plans to extend service to Roanoke, creating the first passenger rail service Roanoke has had in 34 years. The Town of Bedford has been lobbying to get a stop on the extended route, but been turned down so far.