Planned SeaQuest Aquarium protested

The News & Advance reports that animal-rights activists protested the planned opening of a new aquarium yesterday over allegations the company behind the interactive aquatic exhibits has abused and exploited animals.

SeaQuest Lynchburg is a planned 22,000-square-foot, $5 million aquarium slated to open inside River Ridge mall this summer. The aquarium is expected to feature several hands-on exhibit and hundreds of species, including sharks, stingrays and exotic birds.

The aquarium has generated significant interest since it was announced in March, according to mall officials, but protesters warn the company has a history of misconduct. The group carried signs denouncing SeaQuest, a for-profit company based in Idaho, and  pointed to allegations of neglect at other SeaQuest locations across the country as proof the company poses a threat to animals.

SeaQuest sent a statement outlining the features of their new aquarium and noting that they often house rescue animals. The statement did not specifically address protesters’ concerns about allegations of animal abuse. The River Ride Mall manager told the News & Advance she was confident the animals would be well cared for.

Accident yesterday claims life of Lynchburg resident

(from Virginia State Police) Virginia State Police Trooper T.M. Wertz is investigating a three-vehicle fatal crash in Bedford County. The crash occurred May 4, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. on Route 460 near Harvest Lane. A 2007 Hyundai Elantra was traveling east in the westbound lane of Route 460 when it first struck a westbound 2012 Nissan Maxima and then struck head-on a westbound 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe. The driver of the Hyundai, Owen W. Smith, 86, of Lynchburg, Va., died en route to the hospital. Smith was wearing a seat belt.


The driver of the Nissan, Autumn R. Ledbetter, 38, of Prince George, Va., was treated for minor injuries and released from Lynchburg General Hospital. Her passenger was not injured in the crash. Both were wearing seat belts.The driver of the Chevrolet, Lester B. Wilkenson, 61, of Lynchburg, Va., was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. His wife and passenger, Eugenia Wilkenson, 61, was flown to UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville for treatment of life-threatening injuries. Both were wearing their seat belts. The crash remains under investigation

Dominion, APCO to spend money on energy efficiency

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia regulators have approved the first round of what’s set to be about $1 billion in new spending on energy efficiency programs designed to reduce the need to produce and distribute electricity. The State Corporation Commission on Thursday approved 11 new programs costing $226 million requested by Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility. The commission also approved energy efficiency spending by Appalachian Power, the state’s second largest electric utility.

Regulators ordered both companies to show evidence in the future whether the programs were reducing energy consumption. The increase in energy efficiency spending was mandated by lawmakers in 2018.

Hokies hire new basketball coach

Mike Young Va Tech photo

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech President Dr. Tim Sands and Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced on Sunday that Mike Young has accepted the men’s basketball head coaching position at Virginia Tech. The Radford, Virginia native joins the Hokies after a record-setting 17-year tenure at Wofford. The Terriers posted a 30-5 overall record in 2018-19, including a perfect 18-0 mark in Southern Conference play and registered a convincing 84-68 win over Seton Hall in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

“We are fortunate to have been able to recruit Mike Young to Virginia Tech, not only because of his proven leadership and coaching ability, but because Coach Young is home in Southwest Virginia and leads his life in the true Hokie tradition of integrity and commitment to service,” Dr. Sands said.

Brookneal Boys Home closing

(from News & Advance) After serving children in need for nearly 60 years, Patrick Henry Family Services is closing its Brookneal campus this summer. The 700-acre campus was the location of the nonprofit’s residential boys home since it began helping youth in 1961, with services like a farm program, swimming pool, gym and tennis courts.

Now, CEO Robert Day said the organization is shifting its focus from group homes to placing children in short-term care with local families. In October 2018, Patrick Henry Family Service’s 28-member board of trustees voted to close the Brookneal campus, which costs around $150,000 to maintain annually. Day said the decision came after five years of strategic planning and evaluating the shifting landscape of children’s homes. Additionally, the federal government enacted new legislation in 2018 that stresses prevention and early intervention in child welfare.

Pres. Trump: we’re “full”

(from Fox News) President Trump on Friday visited the southern border, saying that “our country is full” and warning potential migrants thinking about crossing into the U.S. that this country “can’t take you anymore.” “Whether it’s asylum, whether it’s anything you want, it’s illegal immigration, can’t take you anymore. Our country is full, our area is full, the sector is full, can’t take you anymore. I’m sorry, can’t happen, so turn around — that’s the way it is,” he said at a roundtable in Calexico, Calif., with law enforcement and immigration officials.

Trump also toured a two-mile border stretch of 30-foot fencing in the area, which has recently been rebuilt. Trump has used that barrier to declare that his central campaign promise of a wall on the southern border is being fulfilled despite significant opposition in Congress.“It looks great, it’s better and much more effective than previous wall, and we can actually do it faster and it’s less expensive, if you can believe it,” he told reporters in front of the barrier.

The White House says the barrier is marked with a plaque bearing Trump’s name and those of top Homeland Security officials. During the roundtable, officials also handed the commander in chief a plaque that contained a piece of the rebuilt barrier. Trump declared a national emergency on the border in February after Congress agreed to only a fraction of the $5.6 billion he had requested for the wall. That declaration, which was opposed by Democrats and some Republicans, gives the administration access to more than $3 billion in funding that can be used on the wall.

Major narcotics distribution network dismantled

(from Amherst County Sheriff’s office/News & Advance) A major narcotics distribution network has been dismantled with the cooperation of multiple Central Virginia law enforcement agencies, leading to indictments against 14 people Thursday in Amherst County, the county’s sheriff’s office announced Friday.

Amherst County Sheriff E.W. Viar said Operation Falcon Heights interrupted illegal narcotic activities inside the county through aggressive criminal enforcement that caught the drugs before they came to Amherst County. The criminal network involved trafficking up to 2,000 grams of methamphetamine in the Lynchburg region since December 2018, according to the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office. The volume of meth seized and intelligence collected provides evidence which allows for enhanced sentencing options as the cases head to criminal prosecution, Viar said.

Liberty men punch ticket to the NCAA tourney

(from For the fourth time in school history, Liberty is going to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed Flames defeated the No. 1 seed Lipscomb 74-68 to claim the ASUN Championship. (The Flames are heard in Lynchburg on our sister station The Vibe 100.1)

Liberty is the first league team to win the ASUN Final in its debut tournament since the 1997-98 season. The Flames (28-6, 14-2 ASUN) now have tied their school record with 28 wins on the season. Liberty’s Lovell Cabbil Jr., Caleb Homesley and Scottie James were named to the ASUN All-Tournament team, while James was also named the ASUN Tournament Most Valuable Player.



Campbell County supervisor bowing out

(From News & Advance) Campbell County Supervisor Bob Good , who represents the Sunburst District, will not seek reelection in November according to a news release issued Saturday.“I am truly grateful for the trust and responsibility afforded me by the voters of the Sunburst District nearly four years ago, as a first-time seeker of elected office,” Good said in the release. Good said he is proud of what the county has accomplished in the last four years and to have had a role in not raising taxes and reducing non-essential spending; setting aside funds for current and future school facility needs; and encouraging economic development.

Northam revamps BOE

(AP)Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has named three new commissioners to service on the State Board of Elections, sweeping out the previous members. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Northam said Friday that he’s appointing Bob Brink, Jamilah LeCruise and John O’Bannon. Brink was an aide in former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration and former Democratic member of the House of Delegates from Arlington County. LeCruise is a lawyer from Norfolk, and O’Bannon is a former Republican delegate from Henrico.

The board oversees statewide elections, tabulates results and implements election policies set by the General Assembly and governor. Its members also supervise an elections commissioner chosen by the governor. Legislators must approve the appointments. The board’s membership would expand from three to five under a measure that legislators sent to Northam last month.