UVA to increase tuition next year

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – University of Virginia students will be paying more for tuition next year.Local media report UVA’s Board of Visitors approved the increase  yesterday. In-state students will pay 2.2 percent more, and out-of-state students will pay 3.5 percent more.The university said in a statement that the increase is needed to deal with a state budget cut and required employee pay raises.TV station WVIR reports a group of students protested outside the building where the Board of Visitors was meeting.

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State Supreme Court to hear utility rate challenge

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Supreme Court is set to hold a hearing on whether a law temporarily banning state regulators from adjusting a portion of electric rates is constitutional.A group of large industrial electric customers is challenging the 2015 law, which critics have called a costly giveaway to electric companies Dominion Resources and Appalachian Power.The law is costing a typical Dominion residential customer an extra $68 a year on their bill, according to one group’s calculations.Supporters of the law say it has helped shield the state from potential rate spikes due to uncertainty around carbon regulations.Opponents of the law, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, are planning a news conference after this morning’s court hearing.

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Governor commutes death sentence, cites false information in penalty phase

Ivan Teleguz

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday called off a man’s execution in a 2006 murder-for-hire case, saying he had concerns about some of the evidence presented to jurors. Ivan Teleguz was scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, but McAuliffe commuted his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It’s the first execution that the Democratic governor has stopped since taking office. The governor denied Teleguz’s request to be declared innocent, and said he still believes Teleguz is guilty. But McAuliffe said he would spare Teleguz’s life because of unsupported information provided to jurors that he believes impacted the jury’s decision to sentence Teleguz to death. McAuliffe said the jury was told that Teleguz was involved in another murder in Pennsylvania and was part of the “Russian Mafia,” but the governor said there is no evidence to support those claims.

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Attorneys general from 16 states, DC fight travel ban appeal

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The top attorneys from 16 states and the District of Columbia say President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban would hurt their higher education and medical institutions and have a chilling effect on tourism.The attorneys general urged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a brief yesterday to uphold a ruling that blocked the travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries. The attorneys general say the executive order seeks “to fulfill the president’s promise to ban Muslims from entering the country.”The full 4th Circuit will hear arguments in the case May 8.The attorney generals who signed on to the brief are from Virginia, Maryland, California, Oregon, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, North Carolina, Illinois, Rhode Island, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Washington, Massachusetts, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

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Fiat Chrysler opens parts distribution center in Winchester

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has opened a new parts distribution center in Winchester.An event marking the opening of the more than 400,000-square-foot Mopar Parts Distribution Center was held  yesterday. Mopar is Fiat Chrysler’s parts and accessories brand.FCA US says the facility adds more than 70 jobs over two shifts. The company says the center is expected to ship 9.2 million pieces every year.Another Mopar distribution center is expected to open in Romulus, Michigan later this year. That facility is expected to employ more than 100 workers.

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University of Virginia getting new solar-panel system

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The University of Virginia is getting its first large solar project.Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced  yesterday that the school will put a 324-panel system at the school’s Clemons Library.The solar panels will produce enough energy to power about 15 homes.McAuliffe praised the school for pursuing a solar project. The governor has been an outspoken advocate for increased solar power in Virginia, which has lagged behind its neighboring states in solar power currently in use.

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Wealthy donors boost Perriello’s fundraising to head of pack

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Democrat Tom Perriello, an insurgent candidate for Virginia governor, outraised his opponents last quarter with big help from wealthy donors like hedge-fund billionaire George Soros and the global activist group Avaaz. Campaign finance reports filed Monday show Perriello raised $2.2 million since he got in the race in January, with about half coming from four donors. His opponent in the Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, reported raising $1.5 million. Northam could not raise money during the 45-day legislative session earlier this year. Ed Gillespie led the Republican gubernatorial field, raising $1.9 million. That includes $25,000 each from former President George W. Bush and former White House aide Karl Rove. Republican Corey Stewart raised $300,000 and state Sen. Frank Wagner raised $60,000.

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Feds investigating disciplinary discrimination complaint

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Federal officials are opening an investigation into accusations that public schools in Virginia’s capital city more frequently and more harshly punish black students and those with disabilities than their classmates.The Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights said in a letter this month that it’s opening an investigation into the complaint filed in August by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and Legal Aid Justice Center.The complaint alleges that black students in Richmond Public Schools and those with mental, emotional or physical disabilities are more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled.The civil rights office said the opening of the investigation “in no way implies” that it has determined the allegations have merit.A Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman said she couldn’t immediately comment yesterday.

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Charlottesville City Council votes to sell Gen. Lee statue

(AP photo)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The Charlottesville City Council has decided to sell the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in its downtown park.Media outlets report that the council voted 3-2 yesterday to sell the statue. If it doesn’t sell, the council will consider donating it.The council voted 3-2 earlier this year for its removal. Councilor Wes Bellamy called for the removal of the statue in March 2016, citing residents who feel it is culturally offensive and a symbol of white supremacy.A community panel last fall suggested that the statue be moved from Lee Park to McIntire Park. Two councilors, however, said Friday that they were disinclined to that option.

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UNLV hires VT Deputy Athletic Director to lead athletics

UNLV has hired Desiree Reed-Francois as its next athletic director, making her the first Hispanic female AD at the Football Bowl Subdivision.Reed-Francois’ hiring, announced  yesterday, will be effective June 1. She replaces Tina Kunzer-Murphy, who is stepping down at the end of the academic school year to work for the UNLV Foundation.The 45-year-old Reed-Francois has been the deputy athletic director at Virginia Tech since 2014 and was the interim athletic director at Cincinnati for five months earlier that year. She spent two years as senior associate athletic director at Cincinnati and has a nearly two-decade sports administration career with stops in Tennessee, Fresno State, Santa Clara, San Jose State, California and San Francisco.

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