RICHMOND, Va. (AP) â Virginia’s 2015 legislative session is in the books. Lawmakers adjourned Friday after passing legislation at the last minute aimed at tightening the state’s ethics rules for public officials and curbing sexual assaults on Virginia’s college campuses. The ethics-reform proposal puts a $100 cap on gifts lawmakers can accept â including meals, entertainment and travel â from lobbyists and their clients, or others seeking to do business with the state. Lawmakers were spurred to reform the state’s ethics rules following the conviction last year of former Gov. Bob McDonnell on corruption charges. Other measures passed this session include legislation assuring that a mother can breastfeed her baby in public, Virginia’s first effective medical marijuana legislation, and a bill that adopts two new official state songs.
The Lynchburg City Assessor has completed the 2015 reassessment of real property and will begin mailing reassessment notices today to all property owners whose assessment as changed. Approximately 8,200 property owners will receive change notices. Only property owners with assessment changes will receive a notice. Citizens who disagree with their property assessment can appeal to the Lynchburg city Assessor’s Office. This can be done by requesting a review of assessment from the Assessor’s Office by telephone, in person, or by letter. The request must be received in the Assessor’s Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31.
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) â The former manager of a defunct Lynchburg credit union has admitted her role in an embezzlement scheme. Media outlets report 63-year-old Linda Sue Newcomb of Madison Heights pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg to embezzlement, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Under a plea agreement, Newcomb agreed to a sentence of 7 to 12 years and pay restitution. She will be sentenced May 26. Newcomb managed the Lynrocten Federal Credit Union, which closed in May 2013 after the scheme was discovered. Federal prosecutors say the amount of lost deposits totaled more than $13 million from 2000 to 2013. Co-defendant Teresa Humphries faces up to 30 years in prison when she’s sentenced March 24. Newcomb and Humphries were the credit union’s only two full-time employees.
LYNCHBURG, 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.
Waltons Fans are expected to descend upon Lynchburg through Sunday for the first-ever “Weekend with the Waltons”. WLNI’s Janet Rose has more.
Here is for our full Morning Line interview with event producer Dan McGinnis:
Click here for the event’s web site.
RICHMOND, 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.
ROANOKE, 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.
RICHMOND, 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.
RICHMOND, 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.