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.)

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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:

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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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Pardoned man says he doesn’t resent victim who ID’ed him

Michael-McAlister-253x300RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia man pardoned after spending 29 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit says he hasn’t yet fully contemplated how he will use his freedom. Michael McAlister told reporters Thursday that he will attend a concert this weekend, and he really missed fishing while he was locked up for an attempted rape that was committed by another man. He hopes to seek compensation for his ordeal from the state but hasn’t had time to really think about it. He says he harbors no resentment toward the woman whose misidentification put him in prison. He says she’s as much a victim of the mistake as he is. McAlister was released Wednesday evening after receiving a full pardon from Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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Massive Virginia Tech Transportation Institute driver study data to be available to researchers worldwide

VTTI StudyA comprehensive Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Study that looked in on and measured driver habits will now be available to researchers around the world. As WLNI’s Evan Jones reports, safer driving is the anticipated result.

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Click here for the full story from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

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Virginia’s April revenues up more than 10 percent from 2014

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia’s state revenues in April increased by more than 10 percent from a year ago. Figures released Wednesday by McAuliffe’s office show payroll withholding tax collections increased by 3.5 percent in April. Sales and use tax collections rose by 5.9 percent. Collections of individual nonwithholding and corporate income taxes also increased. Total revenue collections are up 7.5 percent so far this fiscal year. A budget approved in the 2015 legislative session projected 4.7 percent growth. McAuliffe says in a news release that collections were strong across nearly all major revenue sources in April.

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Portion of Park Avenue temporarily closed

lynchburg logo - important announcementsToday and tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Park Avenue (between Euclid and Memorial Avenues) will be closed to all traffic in order to accommodate a new water line connection. Traffic will be routed via Euclid Avenue to Wadsworth Street and then to Memorial Avenue. City officials say barricades will be in place, and motorists should obey all signage.

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