U.Va. frat leader “sickened” by rape allegation

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The president of the University of Virginia’s Inter-Fraternity Council says he was sickened by a female student’s account of being gang-raped by seven men at a fraternity. Tommy Reid discussed the account, published recently in Rolling Stone magazine, during a news conference called by student leaders at the campus Monday. The school suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations on Saturday in response to the Rolling Stone article, which claimed the school had a hidden culture of sexual violence. The president of the Student Council, Jalen Ross, called the story a “wake-up call” for the university. The student leaders called for solutions but offered few specifics. Ashley Brown, president of One Less, a sexual assault education group on campus, says change won’t happen overnight.

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McAuliffe says he’s open to rolling back car tax relief

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia’s economy is in a “very perilous” situation with potential federal defense cuts looming. McAuliffe says he’s open to considering eliminating tax relief programs in order to balance the state budget. He and state lawmakers met with heads of several large companies Monday to discuss the state’s economic outlook.   House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones says the executives told lawmakers to be cautious in their budgeting for next year. The governor is set to introduce next month a spending plan to bridge a $322 million budget gap. He says he is open to rolling back a program that partially offsets Virginia’s car tax.

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UVA Board of Visitors scheduled to discuss sexual assaults

UVA LogoThe University of Virginia has suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations amid an investigation into a published report in which a student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012. President Teresa Sullivan said in a letter to the university community on Saturday that the Board of Visitors is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the allegations contained in a Rolling Stone article, along with the university’s policies and procedures concerning sexual assaults. She says groups of students, faculty, alumni and others will hold similar discussions.Sullivan has asked Charlottesville police to investigate the alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The fraternity has voluntarily surrendered its fraternal agreement with the university. Sullivan says the suspension of all fraternal groups is effective until Jan. 9.

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Virginia high court rejects UVA lacrosse-case appeal

George Huguely V

George Huguely V

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. George W. Huguely V of Chevy Chase, Maryland, is serving a 23-year prison term in Virginia for the May 2010 beating death of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old from suburban Baltimore. According to court records, the justices refused without explanation to hear Huguely’s appeal Wednesday. The Virginia Court of Appeals previously declined to reconsider its decision upholding his conviction. In that appeal, Huguely’s lawyers raised issues involving jury selection and the absence of one of his attorneys when she fell ill during the trial.

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UVa’s choice to investigate rape response scuttled

UVA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The University of Virginia’s first choice as independent counsel to investigate how the school responds to rape allegations has been scuttled. Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday that the university agreed to withdraw its appointment of former federal judge and prosecutor Mark Filip. In college, Filip was a member of Phi Kappa Psi – the fraternity named in a Rolling Stone article in which a U.Va. student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012. Herring said another investigator will be chosen because “the independence and objectivity of the review must be unimpeachable.” University President Teresa Sullivan also has asked Charlottesville police to investigate the alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The fraternity has voluntarily surrendered its fraternal agreement with the university and suspended all chapter activities.

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Governor McAuliffe creates panel to tackle childhood hunger

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is creating a new panel aimed at reducing childhood hunger while promoting proper nutrition and Virginia agriculture. McAuliffe signed an executive order Thursday establishing the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide. He named his wife, Dorothy McAuliffe, as the new council’s chairman. The governor said the council will work to make sure that Virginia pursues every federal dollar currently available that promotes nutrition and healthy living. The council will serve an advisory role and meet at least four times a year.

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School enrollment growth uneven in Virginia

Education-News1CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ A new report says public school enrollment has steadily increased in Virginia in recent years. But the growth is uneven. Between 2008 and 2013, the report says less than a third of Virginia’s school divisions saw enrollment increases.  Overall growth during the period was fueled by enrollment increases in Northern Virginia. This enrollment pattern is expected to continue over the next five years. The report says a substantial increase in annual births is the primary factor in Northern Virginia’s enrollment growth. Annual birth rates declined in most other localities during the five-year period. Northern Virginia also saw a larger in-migration of families with school-age children during the period. The report was released Thursday by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

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Magazine article prompts rape investigation at UVA

UVA-LogoCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The University of Virginia’s president says she has asked Charlottesville police to investigate allegations that a female student was raped by several men at a fraternity house. President Teresa A. Sullivan announced the investigation in a statement posted Wednesday evening on the university’s website. She says she issued it in response to a Rolling Stone article in which a student describes an assault by seven men in September 2012. Sullivan says the article includes details that weren’t disclosed to university officials previously. The article says U.Va. administrators and students keep sexual assaults at the school quiet. Sullivan says the university takes sexual misconduct seriously. Charlottesville police Lt. Steve Upman tells The Daily Progress that the investigation is in in the preliminary stages. He declined to comment further.

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AAA: 1.3 million in Virginia to travel for Thanksgiving

AAA-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia roads could be a little more crowded this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. AAA Mid-Atlantic projects that 1.3 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The auto club says that’s an increase of 3.4 percent from last year. The holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 30. Nationally, AAA projects 46.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007. AAA predicts most U.S. and Virginia travelers likely will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years. Officials say that when comparing current prices to those from last Thanksgiving, motorists in Virginia are saving about 57 cents per gallon.

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Roanoke employee charged with drug fraud

wfir-linkROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Federal authorities say an office worker at a Roanoke-area medical practice has been indicted on drug fraud charges. According to the indictment, 63-year-old Vicki Chilton Mullen called in unauthorized prescriptions for years, enabling four people to illegally obtain more than 130,000 pills that they consumed or gave to others. The charges say Mullen called in unauthorized prescriptions for herself, her son and his wife, her son’s best friend and two others. The only drugs  improperly obtained were the painkiller Lortab and the insomnia treatment Ambien.The Roanoke Times reports that the scam pumped out phony prescriptions using the names of its own participants and up to 40 unsuspecting people from 2007 to fall 2012. Mullen is due in U.S. District Court in Roanoke on Dec. 12.

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