Wilder: spend money on education, not removing statues

(AP photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The nation’s first elected black governor says improving education is more important than spending tax money on removing Confederate monuments. Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder said during an interview on C-SPAN Thursday that his election in 1989 showed how Virginia had changed. He said the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last month does not represent the city or the state. Wilder spoke of problems around the country, including in Richmond’s schools. He said he believes it’s more important to improve the quality of education now “than this talk about destroying and taking down.” Wilder said it will be up to others to decide whether the state-owned statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee should remain on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. Richmond’s mayor has appointed a commission to consider what to do with city-owned Confederate statues.

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Bush, Hillary Clinton to help raise money in Virginia race

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Former President George W. Bush and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are raising money for their preferred candidates in the closely-watched Virginia governor’s race. Clinton will be the featured guest at a fundraiser for Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in New York on Oct. 4, while Bush is slated to headline a fundraiser for Republican Ed Gillespie on Oct. 16 in Alexandria. Gillespie was a senior White House adviser during Bush’s presidency. Bush has given $50,000 to Gillespie’s campaign and political action committee. Northam is facing Gillespie in one of only two off-year gubernatorial contests in November. The swing state contest is viewed as a possible early referendum on President Donald Trump’s first year in office and a preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

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Virginia Tech unveils new academic logo in branding campaign

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Tech has unveiled a new academic logo and dropped its old “Invent the Future” tagline as part of a re-branding campaign. The school revealed the new logo Tuesday. The school has long had two logos, one for athletics and one for academics. Now, the two logos will look nearly identical. The old academic emblem — a maroon shield– will be phased out. The new academic “VT” logo uses the same shape and angles as the athletic logo, but also contains some subtle differences. The main difference is a flourish and open gap between the “V” and the “T.” The official name of the school will still be Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Virginia sending National Guard troops to US Virgin Islands

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s governor has authorized the National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help in hurricane recovery efforts. Hurricane Maria caused widespread devastation across the island this week. Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement Friday that the soldiers are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He says they will arrive next week and be deployed on the ground by the governor of the Virgin Islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands are reeling after back-to-back hurricanes. President Donald Trump said Friday that the islands were “flattened.”

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Lloyd Welch, Jr. pleads guilty to sex assaults of two more girls

Lloyd Welch, Jr.

MANASSAS, Va. (AP) _ A convicted sex offender who was sentenced last week to 48 years in in the 1975 killings of two young Maryland sisters has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two other girls in northern Virginia in 1996. Lloyd Lee Welch Jr. entered his guilty pleas Thursday in Prince William Circuit Court as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors to resolve the 1996 cases as well as the 1975 slayings of 10-year-old Katherine and 12-year-old Sheila Lyon. In court Thursday, both victims in the 1996 assaults told Welch the attacks traumatized them. One victim told him she became “destructive and self-hating,” but eventually turned her life around. She told Welch: “Checkmate, I win!” Welch apologized before he was sentenced to 12 years.

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McAuliffe hires private consultant to try to lure Amazon

(AP photo)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he’s hired a private consultant to help in trying to get Amazon to build its second headquarters in the state. The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that Richmond, northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will craft pitches to the company. The state will submit a proposal offering Amazon its pick. Speaking at an elementary school in Norfolk, McAuliffe said Virginia is a legitimate contender. He cited the state’s central location on the East Coast as one of several advantages. Seattle-based Amazon announced nearly two weeks ago its plans to build a second headquarters. The site would employ 50,000 people. Proposals are due by Oct. 19. McAuliffe said the second headquarters will be “a game-changer for whoever gets it.”

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Charlottesville erects fencing around Confederate statues in hopes of deterring removal of tarps covering them

(AP photo)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, are trying to stop people from ripping down tarps that cover statues of Confederate generals. The Daily Progress reported Tuesday that the city has placed plastic fencing around the monuments to Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The tarps have been ripped down six times. The coverings are a gesture of mourning for Heather Heyer. She was killed Aug. 12 when a car plowed into a group of people protesting the Unite the Right rally. NBC 29 reported Monday that rally organizer Jason Kessler led a group to remove tarps from both statues. Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman said it’s not a crime to remove the shrouds. But he said the fencing will allow authorities to file trespassing charges against anyone who goes beyond them.

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DMV faces $16 million shortfall, fees could rise

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles is facing an estimated operating shortfall of more than $16 million. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday that Virginians could see an increase in fees as a result.  DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb told the House Appropriations Committee that one solution is to raise prices on vehicle titles, registration and driver’s licenses. Another idea is to allow the DMV to keep more of the money it collects for the departments of transportation and health. Holcomb also told the commission that the DMV lacks sufficient funds to operate even though it collects billions of dollars for the state. The DMV is a high-profile customer-service agency with wide-ranging responsibilities. They include the impending implementation of the federal Real ID law for enhanced security of driver’s licenses and other identification.

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Anthem plans to reenter Virginia insurance market

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginians are no longer at risk of not being able to buy health insurance on their own and not through an employer next year. Health insurer Anthem announced Friday that it is reversing a decision to pull out of federal health law’s insurance marketplace and offer plans in 68 cities and counties. Anthem said it made the decision after another health insurer announced earlier this month it was pulling back out of some Virginia markets next year, leaving about 60,000 residents of several counties and cities in Virginia with the prospect of not having any plans to buy next year.

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FEMA estimate: one-fourth of Keys homes could be destroyed

(AP photo)

KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Search-and-rescue teams made their way into the Florida Keys’ farthest reaches Tuesday, while crews labored to repair the single washed-out highway connecting the islands and rush aid to Hurricane Irma’s victims. Federal officials estimated one-quarter of all homes in the Keys were destroyed. Two days after Irma roared into the island chain with 130 mph winds, residents were allowed to return to the parts of the Keys closest to Florida’s mainland. But the full extent of the death and destruction there remained a question mark because communications and access were cut off in places. “It’s going to be pretty hard for those coming home,” said Petrona Hernandez, whose concrete home on Plantation Key with 35-foot walls was unscathed, unlike others a few blocks away. “It’s going to be devastating to them.” Elsewhere in Florida, life inched closer to normal, with some flights again taking off, many curfews lifted and major theme parks reopening. Cruise ships that extended their voyages and rode out the storm at sea began returning to port with thousands of passengers.

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