Sweet Briar College among ‘most endangered’ Va. places

Sweet Briar CollegeRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Sweet Briar College is among Virginia’s most endangered historic places, according to a preservation group. The designation was announced Monday by Preservation Virginia in the 11th edition of its annual list of the state’s most-endangered historic places. Sweet Briar College announced in March it would close in August because of crushing financial challenges. The 114-year-old women’s college held what could be its final commencement over the weekend on its historic, 3,250-acre campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The former plantation has 21 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus also includes a slave cemetery. Besides Sweet Briar, other endangered places include the Gibson Cottage at the Warm Springs Hotel and the town of Port Royal on the Rappahannock River.

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Trial delay denied for man charged in U.Va. student’s death

Jesse Matthew  (Photo: Charlottesville PD)

Jesse Matthew
(Photo: Charlottesville PD)

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A judge has rejected a request to delay the attempted murder trial of a Charlottesville man who is also charged with the murder of a University of Virginia student. Lawyers for Jesse Matthew said Friday that they needed more time to prepare for his case in Fairfax County, where he is charged with a 2005 attack and sexual assault on a woman. Matthew is also charged with capital murder in student Hannah Graham’s death last year. Prosecutors in Fairfax opposed the delay, noting the trial was already delayed once. Matthew’s public defender, Dawn Butorac (BOOT’-eh-rack), said that going forward with the June 8 trial date will “obliterate” Matthew’s right to a fair trial. In court papers, she said she needs time to investigate about 40 suspects in the police file.

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Madison Heights woman claims big Va. Lottery prize

Jacqueline DuvallFrom the Virginia Lottery: When Jacqueline Duvall scratched her Money Money Money ticket from the Virginia Lottery, she saw a money bag icon, so she knew she’d won something. The Madison Heights woman thought maybe she’d won her money back and not much more, so she finished eating her lunch before scratching the rest of the ticket. When she finally did scratch to reveal the amount she’d won, she saw something she’d never expected: the $4 million top prize.  “I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “It feels so surreal. It’s so unbelievable!”  She bought the winning ticket at Quik-E Foods #8, 4380 Waterlick Road in Forest. On May 15, she returned to the store to receive her check from the Virginia Lottery. She had a choice of taking the full $4 million over 30 years or a one-time cash option of $2,149,572 before taxes. She chose the cash option.  The store received a $10,000 bonus from the Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

(Continue reading for the rest of the news release.) Read the rest of this story »

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Lynchburg native named to lead Virginia tobacco commission

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe has appointed a new executive director to the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Evan Feinman, a Lynchburg native, was tapped for the post on Friday. Feinman previously served as deputy secretary of natural resources and as deputy policy director for the governor’s post-election transition team.The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is the new name for the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The name was changed during the recent legislative session. The commission was created 16 years ago to spend Virginia’s portion of the national tobacco settlement, but has come under scrutiny for how it’s spent the money. The legislation also requires a dollar-for-dollar match for all economic development grant awards, creates an online database of all commission awards and requires a biennial comprehensive strategic plan process.

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Sweet Briar president will stay away from Saturday commencement

Sweet Briar CollegeThe President of Sweet Briar College says he will not participate in tomorrow’s commencement ceremony. In a statement released today, James Jones says some faculty and alumnae have threatened to disrupt the ceremony if he presides. The college has announced plans to close this summer, citing declining enrollment and unsustainable debt. Many college supporters are fighting that in court.

(Continue reading for President Jones’ full statement.)

Read the rest of this story »

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Sweet Briar commencement speaker: alum who opposes its closing

Teresa Pike Tomlinson

Teresa Pike Tomlinson

Tomorrow’s commencement speaker at Sweet Briar College faces an enormous and highly unusual challenge. The college plans to close down this summer — but Teresa Pike Hamilton, class of ’87, supports the legal challenges aimed to preventing the closure. She says tomorrow’s commencement address will be respectful but candid, as WLNI’s Evan Jones reports.

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Here is an extended-length version of our telephone interview with her:

Play/Download News Clip

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Madison Heights woman wins $4 million lottery prize

VA-Lottery-LogoA Madison Heights woman will claim the top prize in the Virginia Lottery’s Money Money Money game. Her prize is a choice of $4 million over 30 years or a cash option of more than $2.1 million. The Virginia Lottery will present her with an oversized check today at the Quik-E Foods on Waterlick Road in Forest. That’s where she bought the winning ticket. The store will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket.

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Film about Loving case to shoot in Virginia

Virginia state logoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia has been chosen as the filming location for a movie about the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who were arrested in 1958 for violating a state law that prohibited interracial marriage. The couple challenged Virginia’s law, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The film will star Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton and be directed by Jeff Nichols. It was inspired by The Loving Story, a documentary that aired on HBO. The project will film in the central Virginia area and will be eligible for state incentive funding.  The annual economic impact of Virginia’s film industry is about $382 million.

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Report: Va. fatal teen overdoses could have been prevented

WLNI-SNEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) _ A preliminary state report says all of the fatal teenage overdoses in Virginia during a four-year period could have been prevented. The state Child Fatality Review Team examined overdose deaths of 13- through 17-year-olds from 2009 through 2013. The team’s coordinator, Emily G. Womble, tells The Daily Press that the team saw things in all 26 cases indicating action for intervention and prevention. The report says three-quarters of the deaths were attributed to prescription drug abuse. Womble says a full report examining all overdose deaths from birth to age 17 won’t be complete until the spring of 2016.

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Hillary Clinton to make stop at Va. Democratic event in June

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will make an appearance at a Democratic Party fundraising event in Virginia. The Democratic Party of Virginia says Clinton will appear in the state on June 26. No other details about the appearance were immediately available on Thursday. Clinton is considered the front runner for the Democratic party’s nomination. The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady is expected to be a significant draw for the fundraiser.

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