Alternate routes proposed for Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Va.

Dominion ResourcesRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Dominion Resources has identified four potential alternate routes in Virginia for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Resources spokesman Jim Norvelle tells media outlets that one alternate route would cross about 10 fewer bodies of water in Augusta and Nelson counties than the current proposed route. Another alternate would avoid areas in Nelson County hit hard by Hurricane Camille in 1969. A third alternate east of Lovingston in Nelson County would avoid the Norwood-Wingina Historic District. Another alternate would connect the southern route across the Blue Ridge to either the current proposed route or the proposed alternate east of Lovingston. The 550-mile natural gas pipeline would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Norville says Dominion hasn’t decided which route will be submitted to federal regulators for approval.

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry touts low taxes in Va. Visit

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is touting his record to Virginia Republicans as someone who favors low taxes and a more aggressive foreign policy. Perry told the Republican Party of Virginia on Tuesday evening that his policies in Texas have helped create jobs and tighten border security. The potential 2016 presidential candidate headlined a fundraiser for the party in Richmond. He is one of several potential GOP presidential candidates who are making a point to visit the swing state. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlined a Richmond fundraiser last week and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is set to attend a meet-and-greet with GOP donors hosted by former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Richmond on Thursday.

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Va. Senate rejects letting Legislature override regulations

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Senate has narrowly defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Legislature to suspend or nullify administrative regulations. The measure was proposed by Del. Chris Head, a Botetourt County Republican, as an antidote to executive overreach. It was passed 61-32 by the Republican-dominated House of Delegates earlier this month. Sen. John Edwards, a Roanoke Democrat, called the measure an unprecedented legislative power grab that would have dramatically altered the balance of power with the executive branch. One Republican, Sen. John Watkins of Powhatan County, joined the Senate’s minority Democrats in voting against the measure Tuesday. The vote was 20-19, one short of the 21 votes needed to begin the process of amending the state Constitution.

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No jail for Va. day care operator where 2 died in fire

WLNI-SLYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) _ The operator of an unlicensed day care center in Lynchburg where two children were killed in a fire has received a suspended jail sentence. Media reports say Doris Diggs Lee Thompson pleaded guilty Tuesday to operating the unlicensed day care center. The 55-year-old Lynchburg woman had seven children in her care when the fire started last September in her home. Suffering fatal injuries in the fire were 21-month-old Kayden Rain Curtis and 9-month-old Dakota Aubrey Penn-Williams. Another child was left in critical condition but survived. Thompson was sentenced in Lynchburg Circuit Court to 12 months in jail. The jail term was suspended under a plea agreement. The prosecutor called the deaths tragic and the negotiated plea in the best interests of all parties.

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Va. House defeats bill aimed at continuing lethal injection

WLNI-GENERAL-ASSEMBLYRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia House of Delegates has defeated legislation aimed at facilitating executions by lethal injection. The measure had been requested by the administration of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. It would have allowed the state to enter into contracts with compounding pharmacies to acquire the three-drug combination used in the process. Supporters of the bill said it’s necessary because the state is running out of the drugs and their European manufacturers are refusing to allow them to be used in executions. Most controversial was a provision allowing the state to keep secret the identities of those who manufacture and supply the drugs and the names of the components used in the compounding process. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this month, was rejected Tuesday by a bipartisan House majority, 56-42.

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Dominion, Apco customers both set electricity usage record

Appalachian PowerDominion ResourcesDominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power both say low temperatures over the past week led its customers to set a record for electricity usage. Appalachian Power Spokesperson Teresa Hamilton Hall says the utility set its unofficial all-time peak by supplying 8,697 megawatt hours of electricity Friday morning. Dominion officials say their usage also reached a peak at 8:00 Friday, a morning of countless record lows for the date and, in Lynchburg‘s case, the lowest temperature ever recorded.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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McAuliffe signs bill freezing electric utility rate reviews

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that allows Virginia’s two largest electric utilities to bypass regular base rate reviews for several years. The governor signed the bill Tuesday saying it would be a “net positive” for Virginia. McAuliffe also signed an executive order directing various state agencies to ensure the implementation of parts of the new law aimed at increasing solar energy production and providing aid to low-income electric users. The legislation was largely crafted by Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest electric utility. The company said the new law will benefit customers by freezing base rates in place and preventing large rate hikes associated with proposed federal environmental laws or natural disasters. Opponents said the new law will allow Dominion and Appalachian Power to lock in higher-than-necessary rates.

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UPDATE: Amherst Co. grand larceny suspect in custody

Cody Stewart

Cody Stewart

UPDATED 10:15 AM February 24: Cody Stewart was arrested this morning following a call from a concerned citizen.

From the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office: We are looking for Cody E Stewart on a felony warrant for Grand Larceny.  Mr. Stewart is a 23 year old male who stands 5’ 11” and weighs 150’. He has blue eyes and brown hair.  He was last known to live in the Izaak Walton Road area of Madison Heights.  Anyone that has any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information regarding this crime. All information is totally confidential.

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Va. Senate panel kills bill on prayer at government meetings

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia Senate committee has narrowly rejected a measure to authorize public prayers at government meetings. Del. Richard Bell, a Staunton Republican, said his bill was intended to clear up confusion among state and local government bodies about whether they can legally open their meetings with prayer. Passed by the House of Delegates 69-30 earlier this month, the measure would have allowed invocations to be given either by a chaplain chosen by the public body or by speakers selected from a list of established religious congregations in the community. The bill was supported by the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia but opposed by Baptist and Jewish groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee killed the measure on an 8-7 vote Monday.

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Lawmakers have tentative agreement on Va. state budget

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Leaders in the Virginia House and Senate say they’ve come to an agreement on a proposed state budget that will include small raises for state employees and teachers. Lawmakers announced Monday that the proposed budget will restore $30 million for local governments that had previously been cut. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe did not include across-the-board pay increases for state employees in the budget he proposed in December, but has said he supports them. Virginia’s budget situation has brightened in recent months due to higher-than-projected revenues and other factors, giving lawmakers more money to spend this session. The full General Assembly is expected to vote on the budget as early as Thursday.

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