Controversy at Martinsville: not on the track but at the hot dog stand

Martinsville-SpeedwayControversy swirls around this weekend’s NASCAR race in Martinsville, but this one has nothing to do with anything happening on the track. As WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, it’s all about hot dogs.

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1 charged dropped against suspect in U.Va. slaying

Jesse Matthew  (Photo: Charlottesville PD)

Jesse Matthew
(Photo: Charlottesville PD)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ One charge filed against the suspect in the slaying of a University of Virginia student has been dropped in Charlottesville because the same charge is being pursued in Albemarle County, where the woman’s body was found. Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. appeared by way of video feed into Charlottesville General District Court on Thursday as a charge of abduction with intent to defile was dropped. He is being held for trial, which is scheduled for June. The 33-year-old Charlottesville man has been charged in Albemarle County with first degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Hannah Graham. He also is charged with abduction with intent to defile. Graham disappeared Sept. 13 after a night out with friends. The remains of the northern Virginia woman were found Oct. 18.

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Body of Pulaski County boy missing since Sunday found

Noah ThomasDUBLIN, Va. (AP) _ Authorities say the body of a 5-year-old boy who had been missing since Sunday has been found in a septic tank near his home. Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis announced the discovery Thursday during a brief news conference. Noah Thomas was last seen by his mother on Sunday morning at the family’s home in Dublin. Several hundred law enforcement officers and volunteers had been searching for him since then. Police had received more than 100 tips from around the country. Davis said earlier Thursday that the tips included sightings of boys and reports of suspicious vehicles in the child’s neighborhood. Davis stressed after Noah’s discovery that no one is in custody and an investigation is continuing. He said the boy’s family is cooperating with investigators.

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LPD releases information on alleged attempted child abduction

Lynchburg PoliceOn Wednesday, the Lynchburg Police Department learned that an attempted abduction of a child had been reported through social media. The incident was posted March 24 by an uninvolved third party who claimed that there was an attempted child abduction at the Walmart in Lynchburg. Police contacted the father of the purported child victim and it was determined that the incident occurred on March 23 in the 3900 block of Wards Road. The father says the matter was a misunderstanding and that an attempted abduction of his child did not occur. Police say the father did not want to file a report and believes he may have jumped to the wrong conclusion about the individual’s intentions. Investigators say the case is considered closed and unfounded.

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SCC approves electric rate decrease for Dominion Virginia Power

Dominion ResourcesFrom the State Corporation Commission: The SCC has issued orders in five cases involving rate reviews and changes requested by Dominion Virginia Power. All of the rate adjustments will be placed into effect on April 1, 2015. The combined impact will decrease the average monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity by $6.47, from $115.95 to $109.48.  In Case Number PUE-2015-00022, the SCC established a lower fuel rate for Dominion Virginia Power on an interim basis. The new fuel rate is 2.406 cents per kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh), which represents a decrease of 0.612 ¢/kWh from the current fuel factor of 3.018 ¢/kWh. For the average residential customer, the fuel rate decrease means the monthly bill for 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity will decrease $6.12.

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Randolph College announces $2 million gift

randolph college logoFrom Randolph College: A $2 million gift for infrastructure improvement will enable Randolph College to make important upgrades to its historic campus, College officials announced today. The substantial gift was provided by a trustee who wishes to remain anonymous. “This generous support comes at a perfect time as Randolph College continues its work of upgrading its campus buildings, many of which are more than 100 years old,” said Bradley W. Bateman, president. “Maintaining the historic nature of buildings while also modernizing them to function effectively for today’s students is often challenging and expensive. This donor’s decision to financially support improvements to Randolph’s campus will have a positive effect on the day-to-day life of our students, faculty, and staff.”

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McAuliffe vetoes 6 redistricting bills

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed six redistricting bills he says may be unconstitutional and are overly partisan. The Democratic governor says he doesn’t support the legislation because he believes the General Assembly should only make substantive changes to legislative boundaries once a decade. All six bills were sponsored by GOP lawmakers. Republicans said the bills were minor technical adjustments to current boundaries. Redistricting has been a contentious issue in Virginia. A lawsuit filed in December by a law firm with ties to the Democratic Party argues that state Republicans illegally packed black voters into a dozen House districts when it drew new district lines in 2011.

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Case continued for Virginia student in bloody arrest

Martese JohnsonCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Nearly 100 supporters looked on as a University of  Virginia student arrested by state alcohol regulators in a bloody encounter made his first court appearance. On Thursday, Martese Johnson’s case was continued until state police complete an investigation into his arrest March 18 outside a Charlottesville bar. The 20-year-old Chicago man is charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice. Johnson’s arrest March 18 has drawn wide attention because images of him with a bloody face spread quickly on social media. He has accused Alcoholic Beverage Control officers of racism. Johnson is African-American. Supporters in Charlottesville General District Court were dressed in black in a show of unity. The case was continued until May 28.

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AAA: new study shows need for stronger laws to reduce distracted teen crashes

AAA-LogoA new national study says distracted driving is a much greater factor in teen crashes than previously believed. There are laws in Virginia aimed at reducing that number, but AAA Mid-Atlantic says they would be much more effective if enforcement was primary. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here for the full research report and video.

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Disgraced Va. lawmaker leaves House seat to run for Senate

Joseph Morrissey

Joseph Morrissey

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A disgraced lawmaker who was jailed for a sex scandal involving a teenager has vacated his seat in the House of Delegates to run for the state Senate. Joseph Morrissey formally announced his Senate bid Wednesday at a church in Richmond. Morrissey has moved out of his Henrico County House district and into a Richmond-area Senate district currently represented by Democratic Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance. By doing so, Morrissey automatically vacated his House seat. House leaders toyed with the idea of kicking Morrissey out of the House earlier this year but ultimately did not. Morrissey is currently facing charges of fabricating a document that he presented as evidence in December, when he was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in a sex scandal involving a 17-year-old girl.

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