Former Roanoke woman sentenced for SML mortgage fraud

GavelLYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) _ A former Roanoke woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for operating a Smith Mountain Lake mortgage fraud scheme. Susanne Helbig, who now lives in Georgia, also was ordered to repay $10.5 million to the banks she defrauded and pay nearly $180,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. The 50-year-old Helbig pleaded to one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy and one count of tax fraud in October. She was sentenced Friday in U.S. District  Court in Lynchburg. According to the indictment, Helbig and others submitted false and fraudulent mortgage loan applications and settlement statements in the name of straw purchasers. Helbig kept the loan proceeds for her own purposes.

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Waltons weekend expects to draw many fans to Lynchburg

The Waltons

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Waltons Fans are expected to descend upon Lynchburg through Sunday for the first-ever “Weekend with the Waltons”.  WLNI’s Janet Rose has more.

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Here is for our full Morning Line interview with event producer Dan McGinnis:

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Click here for the event’s web site.

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Va. governor OKs marijuana oils for treating epilepsy

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed into law a measure that allows the use of derivatives of the marijuana plant for treating severe epilepsy. The governor signed the bill Thursday at a Capitol ceremony featuring families with epileptic children who have suffered debilitating side effects from taking legal drugs. It’s the first effective medical marijuana legislation to win approval in Virginia, according to its House sponsor, Del. Dave Albo. The governor and other elected officials praised the families for being effective advocates for the new law. The law allows possession of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil with written certification by a doctor that it is needed for treatment of intractable epilepsy.

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Appalachian Power residential bills to dip in Virginia

Appalachian PowerROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Residential customers of Appalachian Power in Virginia are seeing their monthly bills decrease by about 4 percent this month. The utility says the lower bills are the result of the reduction or expiration of three rate adjustment clauses. For Virginia customers, that means a monthly bill of $114.92 for 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month. That’s down from $119. Rate adjustments are separate from the base rate, which accounts for about 60 percent of a customer’s bill.

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USGS confirms small earthquake near Richmond

WLNI-SRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed a small earthquake about 24 miles west of the capital of Virginia. The USGS reported on its website that the quake happened around 3:50 a.m. Thursday and had a magnitude of 2.5. It was centered near Goochland, outside of Richmond. Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew says there were no reports of damage or injuries in the county.

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Virginia to compensate victims of forced sterilizations

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia lawmakers have agreed to compensate victims who were involuntarily sterilized by state officials decades ago under a widely accepted program. The Virginia General Assembly budgeted $400,000 to compensate victims at the rate of $25,000 each. More than 7,000 Virginians were sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act. There are only 11 known surviving victims. Eugenics is the now-discredited movement that sought to improve the genetic composition of humankind by preventing those considered “defective” from reproducing.Virginia is the second state to approve compensation for victims. North Carolina approved $50,000 in compensation in 2013. The Virginia law became a model for similar legislation passed around the country and the world, including Nazi Germany.

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Va. lawmakers approve budget with state pay raises

WLNI-GENERAL-ASSEMBLYRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia lawmakers have approved a new state budget that includes a pay increases for state employees, boosts cash benefits for welfare recipients and gives Gov. Terry McAuliffe more money to spend on economic development. Lawmakers voted Thursday to approve a spending plan that does not raise taxes and also restores $30 million for local governments that had previously been cut. The GOP-controlled General Assembly did not include expanding Medicaid, a top priority for state Democrats. 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 legislative session. The budget includes a 1.5 percent pay increase in the state’s share of teacher pay, and a 2 percent increase in the salaries of state police, state employees and college faculty.

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Lawmakers approve new subpoena powers against child porn suspects

WLNI-GENERAL-ASSEMBLYThe General Assembly has passed a bill permitting new law enforcement measures as part of investigations into many sex crimes — notably child pornography. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones.

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Community meeting scheduled for upcoming waterline project

lynchburg logo - important announcementsOn Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m., the City of Lynchburg will conduct a public information meeting to discuss the upcoming waterline construction project along Federal Street between the Fifth Street roundabout and McIvor Street. The project is expected to start on March 9.  The meeting will be held at the Yoder Neighborhood Center, 109 Jackson Street.

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Va. assembly votes to ban regulations on wood heaters

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The General Assembly wants to make sure Virginia remains friendly to wood stoves. After a spirited debate Wednesday, the state Senate approved a House-passed measure that would prohibit the State Air Pollution Control Board from adopting any regulations limiting emissions from home wood heaters. The board would also be prohibited from enforcing any such regulations adopted by the federal government. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations on new home wood heaters. Supporters of the bill warned that the EPA would take away wood stoves from Virginians who can afford no other source of heat. Opponents pointed out that any regulations adopted by the agency would apply only to new stoves, not existing ones. The bill was approved 32-7 and now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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