Man Pleads Guilty for Drug Overdose Death of Girlfriend

police lineAn Evington man has pleaded guilty for his part in the drug overdose death of his girlfriend. 27 year old, Steven Vance Richardson, was originally charged with felony murder and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance; in the death of 26 year old, Amanda Dawn Watkins, who died in November of last year of fentany toxicity. In a plea agreement last week, Richardson pleaded guilty to the amended charges of involuntary manslaughter and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance with accommodation; each charge carries with it a potential maximum sentence of 10 years…a sentencing date has not yet been set.

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Lynchburg’s Holiday / Christmas Parade Winners Announced

Some Obvious Winners in Parade Contest 2014…some not so Obvious

I think it is well noted that the December 7th Lynchburg Christmas & Holiday Parade was a big hit for 2014, but for the Parade Judges there were some obvious winners and some not so obvious winners.

Many might not know but one of the reasons Monument Terrace is lite up for the parade is not just for the MC’s but for the parade [entry] judges. “This year was very difficult because it was such an amazing, well-thought out group of entries, but someone has to be a winner,” said one judge. The winners are based on the following categories: Overall Interpretation of the Theme (A Season of Lights and Laughter), Overall Artistic Style, and Overall Performance.

Marching Band winners – (1st Place) EC GLASS High School (2nd Place) Heritage High School

Walkers: (both first time entry’s for this parade) – (1st Place) Monacan Indian Nation, Amherst VA: Wonderful tribal dancers in full authentic costumes, wonderful performance, stopped every few blocks to entertain spectators, and (2nd Place) New Horizons Equine, Phenix VA: Large group of well trained horses, lit and decorated for the event, dogs and walkers too, amazing first time entry for this parade.

Vehicles (no floats attached): (1st Place) Virginia Select Auto, Amherst VA Creatively filled interior of vehicles with lights, blow-ups and stunning decorations, and (2nd Place) Lynch’s Landing Trolley, a regular at the parade, but was beautifully decorated, carrying Beautiful Miss Lynchburg, Stephanie Szkalak.

Floats: 3 winners – (1st Place) Caterpillar Club House & Stormtroopers with Purpose – Star Wars Christmas Float with Real Star Wars Characters in Christmas Boxes. (2nd Place) Lynchburg Elite Dance, Gorgeous Oversized Dance Float on a semi-truck with lights, dancers, elves. (3rd Place) Jelly Stone National Park, Yogi Bear, Ranger & Friends: Pleasantly lit natural float, wonderful characters of the park – entertained the judge with the national dance craze “the Wobble”! “Truly adding ‘laughter’ part to the event hands down” said one judge.


Notable Mentions:

Retail Merchants Float “Be a Star in your Community, BUY LOCAL”, Elvis Tribute Artist, Taylor Rodriguez from Bedford. Funny note: Many in the crowd thought he was lip sinking, though he was NOT. Taylor has performed for many organizations, rescue squads, adult care centers, homes for the disabled, various charity events and in 2013, at the age of 15, he performed at Graceland.

Garry Viar and Salon V of Acorn Hill Spa / “Miss Virginia Float”. Lovely Float with lights and filled with beautiful people including Miss Virginia, Courtney Garrett. Since Garry Viar and Salon V cater to the small, more intimate weddings and are a one-stop wedding planning business, they tried to capture this beauty in their float.

There were so many entertaining and heartfelt floats this year. We hope to have a gallery of more pictures on the parade website later this week. Many are coming in on the Parade Facebook Page, so keep checking back. The event was successfully streamed LIVE during the parade; however, a recording was not secured. If the community has video and would like to share it, RMA would appreciate any submission. We would be most grateful and it would be wonderful Christmas gift for us.

Email RMA Parade Chairman, Laurie Gullusico at or call the RMA office at (434) 528-1732.

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Falling gas prices are welcome, but the trend can’t last forever

Gas-Prices1Average nationwide gas prices have fallen each day for more than two months, but experts say while the trend is welcome, it can’t last forever. That’s because at some price point, producers will have less incentive to drill for oil and operate wells, those needing more expensive methods to produce oil. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Virginia receives $17.5 million grant to expand preschool

Education-News1RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia has been awarded a $17.5 million federal grant to expand preschool programs. Virginia is among 13 states receiving funding from the Preschool Development Grants program to expand preschool. Five other states received grants for preschool development. U.S. Secretary of Education Anne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the grants Wednesday in a news release. Duncan says states receiving the grants will serve as models for expanding
preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

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Virginia releasing $21.5 million in storm water funding

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Twenty-five Virginia cities, towns and counties are sharing about $21.5 million in grant money to fund storm water pollution projects. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that the grants are headed to 64 projects aimed at improving water quality. They achieve that goal by reducing levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in storm water. McAuliffe says the grants will support projects to reduce pollution in state waterways. Much of that pollution ends up in the Chesapeake Bay, which is amid a massive restoration. The funding is administered by the Department of Environmental Quality. A total of $28 million is available to local governments as matching grants. The DEQ will award the remaining $6.5 million in 2015.

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Virginia ranks at top of health preparedness index

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia ranks at the top of a national assessment of states’ preparedness for health emergencies. The National Health Security Preparedness Index is an annual initiative of the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall scores for states range from 6.5 to 8.2. McAuliffe announced that Virginia scored an 8.2 on the 2014 index, which was up from the previous year’s 7.9. The index grades states on such measures as health care delivery, environmental and occupational health, incident and information management, and data collection and dissemination.

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More than 1,000 veterans hired through Virginia program

WLNI-MRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ More than 1,450 veterans were hired in the most recent quarter through a Virginia program advocating the hiring of former military members. Gov. Terry McAuliffe says since the Virginia Values Veterans program began in 2012, companies in the state have hired a total of 6,636 veterans. Officials say federal numbers show Virginia has the highest labor force participation by veterans with more than 550,000 veterans in the state’s labor force. The program aims to train employers on the value of hiring veterans. Since its inception, 230 companies have set goals to hire 8,150 vets.

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Melissa Foster named new Lynchburg Emergency Services Director

City of LynchburgFrom the City of Lynchburg: Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne announced today that he has appointed a new Director of Emergency Services, Melissa Foster. She has been employed with the department for 15 years in several positions and most recently served in an acting capacity when the former director, William Aldrich retired earlier this year.  Foster was first hired in 1998 as a Public Safety Communications Specialist and was promoted to Supervisor in 2006. In 2008, she was promoted to Deputy Director.

(Continue reading for the rest of the news release.)

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ROSE Project in Appomattox Keeps Getting Delayed

Town of AppomattoxThe roadside garden project in Appomattox, has been delayed several months. Nicknamed the ROSE program. The project started about a year ago as one of Appomattox Town council’s priorities initiatives to improve economic development and visitation. The gardens were scheduled to be planted in November but was held off for various reasons not entirely bad news, because the delay has allowed for more potential sponsors to get involved. The program’s board of directors will select the planter at a meeting next week. The planting will take place in March plenty of time for the plants to bloom for the upcoming sesquicentennial events.

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Police Warning of Break-Ins

LPD lynchburg policeLynchburg Police are warning citizens of car break-ins and urge residents to take precautions. According to the LPD, there have been 138 car break-ins reported so far in 2014- 38 percent have occurred in just last 3 months. But with the holiday season now upon us temptation increases. Experts urge shoppers to keep valuables or gifts out of sight packages should be put in the trunk. Never leave GPS units in your vehicle; don’t leave a car running and always lock your doors. Authorities say thieves are on the lookout for opportunity the items sought and most easily stolen include purses, keys and electronics. Since September, there have been 52 breakins and counting tis the season.

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