Feb. 20 sentencing set for former Va. first lady

Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell’s sentencing on nine public corruption convictions has been set for Feb. 20.  McDonnell had originally been scheduled for sentencing Jan. 6, but she asked for a postponement because one of her attorneys has a scheduling conflict that day. U.S. District Judge James Spencer approved her motion last week and set the new sentencing date Thursday. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted in September of performing “official acts” to promote former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams’ dietary supplement products in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts, trips and loans.  Bob McDonnell was convicted on 11 public corruption counts. His sentencing remains set for Jan. 6.

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Fairfax gets warrant for UVa abduction suspect

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ A judge in Fairfax County has issued a bench warrant to bring the man accused of abducting a missing University of Virginia student to Fairfax to face charges in a separate crime. Fairfax County prosecutors sought and received the bench warrant Thursday for Jesse Matthew. He’s charged with attempted capital murder and other charges in a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax City. Matthew is currently being held in the Charlottesville area on charges of kidnapping University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Officers searching for Graham found human remains on Saturday. The remains have not yet been identified. It’s not clear when Matthew will make an initial appearance in Fairfax. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh has indicated he will cooperate with prosecutors in the Graham case.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe still paying off campaign debt

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is continuing to pay off campaign debt from last year’s expensive gubernatorial contest. McAuliffe has transferred $250,000 from his political action committee to his gubernatorial campaign account since September. His campaign account also took in a $12,500 donation earlier this month from Tim Finchem, the Florida-based commissioner of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. The campaign reported having $375,000 in unpaid debt in June. Michael Halle, an adviser to the governor’s political action committee, says it’s normal for campaigns to pay off debts after an election. He noted that McAuliffe spent heavily during last year’s race to help bolster turnout for all state Democratic candidates. McAuliffe is one of the Democratic Party’s premiere fundraisers and is the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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AAA urges motorists to stay alert for deer

AAA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Motorists are being urged to stay focused and alert as deer mating season is creating deadly road hazards in Virginia. AAA Mid-Atlantic says thousands of deer-related crashes take place across the state each year, resulting in fatalities, injuries, and costly vehicle damage. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles more than half of all deer-related vehicle crashes happen between the months of October and December. Last year, the most Virginia deer-vehicle crashes occurred in Loudoun and Fauquier counties.The auto club is telling motorists to buckle up and reduce speed, be alert and observant, and be on the lookout for groups of deer. AAA also says to slow down and brake instead of swerving.

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Things to know about Virginia’s voter ID law

election-2014(AP) — Virginia voters in next month’s midterm elections will have to bring a photo ID to vote. Here are things voters need to know about the new requirement:

Several different types of photo ID are acceptable, including a driver’s license or other ID issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles; a U.S. passport; an employer-issued ID; a student ID from a college or university in the state; a photo ID card issued by the federal, state or local government; and a state-issued voter photo ID card.

People who don’t have one of those forms of ID can get a free voter photo ID card from their nearest Voter Registration Office. A list of those offices can be found by clicking HERE.

Voters who arrive at their polling place without proper identification can still cast a provisional ballot. Such voters will have until noon on the Friday after the election to deliver a copy of their photo ID to the voter registration office, which they can submit by fax, email, in-person, mail or commercial delivery service. People casting provisional ballots can also apply for a Virginia voter photo ID card by noon of that Friday.

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Virginia Department of Health sets up Ebola hotline

Undated file image from the  Centers for Disease Control  (CDC) shows Ebola virus

Undated file image from the
Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) shows Ebola virus

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Department of Health is helping answer questions from the public and provide the most up-to-date information regarding Ebola to Virginians. The agency says it has set up a hotline that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline can be reached at 877-275-8343. Officials say Virginia’s 211 Call Center will be handling these calls using frequently asked questions developed by the department. State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine says Virginians are understandably concerned about their risk of catching Ebola and the agency is responding through multiple channels. Updates and answers to frequently asked questions are also being shared daily via the agency’s website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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UPDATE: Va. crime panel backs stronger police ID policy

State-NewsUpdate: Wed., 10/22/14 4:55 a.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia State Crime Commission is recommending stronger measures to ensure the accuracy of police eyewitness identifications. The commission agreed Tuesday to back legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to adopt a model policy recommended by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services in 2011. The bill will be considered by the 2015 General Assembly. Only 6 percent of the agencies responding to a University of Virginia law professor’s study last year had adopted the model policy. A new study by the Crime Commission staff found that 46 percent of the agencies now have a policy nearly identical to the “best practices” model. Police lineups are under scrutiny because 13 of the 16 people wrongly convicted in Virginia and later exonerated by DNA evidence originally were misidentified by eyewitnesses.

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Voting advocates fear new voter ID laws will impact midterm elections

State-NewsWASHINGTON (AP) _ Voting rights groups are worried that Virginia’s new voter ID law will disenfranchise some Virginians in next month’s midterm elections. Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, says that rural, poor and elderly voters could face a harder burden to vote this year because they will have to show a photo ID. Her group is working to help people obtain IDs ahead of the election. Defenders of the state’s voter ID law say it provides ample opportunities for people who don’t have photo IDs to get them in time to vote. The law’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, argues the law is important because it buttresses voter confidence in the electoral system.

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State’s jobless rate unchanged in September

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Employment Commission says the state’s jobless rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent in September. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September also was the same rate as a year ago.Officials say Virginia’s jobless rate has increased slightly for the past five months. Jobs decreases were seen in industries including private education and health services, professional and business services, construction, total government and miscellaneous services. Increases were seen in finance, as well as trade and transportation. Employment in leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and mining were unchanged.

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Suspect in Charlottesville abduction charged in DC area rape

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Jesse Matthew, Jr.

Update: Tues., 10/21/14 4:41 a.m.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ Authorities have brought additional charges against the man accused of abducting an 18-year-old college student in Virginia: the abduction, rape and attempted capital murder of a 26-year-old woman in a Washington, D.C. suburb. A Circuit Court grand jury in Fairfax County handed up the indictment against Jesse L. Matthew Jr. on Monday. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh declined to discuss details of the case, but did say the victim is cooperating. The 32-year-old Matthew had already been charged with abduction with intent to defile University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham, who disappeared Sept. 13. Authorities searching for Graham found human remains last weekend that have been taken to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond for identification. A spokesman could not say Monday when the results would be ready.

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