RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ U.S. Census Bureau estimates for Virginia show healthy population increases last year in counties near the nation’s capital and in nearly all of the state’s largest cities. According to census estimates released Thursday, Fairfax County remains the state’s largest, gaining 3,100 residents to nearly 1.14 million in 2014. Loudoun County’s population jumped more than 12,000 to 363,000, and Prince William County had an increase of 5,900 residents to more than 446,000. Those areas near Washington, D.C., accounted for more than one-third of the state’s overall estimated gain. Virginia’s population rose nearly 56,000 last year to more than 8.3 million. Four of Virginia’s five largest cities gained residents. Virginia Beach is still the largest, growing by 1,672 residents to about 451,000. It’s followed by Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond and Newport News.
TOANO, Va. (AP) _ Lumber Liquidators CEO Robert Lynch has abruptly quit the company that is embroiled in an investigation over products imported from China. Shares tumbled more than 18 percent in premarket trading Thursday. The company earlier this month said that it had suspended the sale of all laminate flooring made in China after disclosing that the Justice Department is seeking criminal charges against it. The news show “60 Minutes” first reported that the Chinese-made laminate flooring contained high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde. Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc., based in Toano, Virginia, said that its founder, Thomas Sullivan, will take over as CEO while the company searches for a replacement.
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) _ A Charlottesville man charged with the murder of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham will be in court Friday for a hearing in a separate case. Jesse Matthew is scheduled for trial next month in a 2005 attack and sexual assault on a woman in Fairfax. His public defenders in Fairfax have filed a motion asking to suppress any evidence in which the victim claims she recognizes Matthew as her attacker. The lawyers say the victim offered only a vague description of the assailant in 2005. They argue that if she now says she can identify Matthew, it is likely that her memory was corrupted by media coverage of the case. Prosecutors say they have DNA evidence linking Matthew to the crime. A hearing is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A former Virginia lawmaker who was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old employee says he is the father of her baby. Joe Morrissey made the announcement Wednesday on the Jack Gravely show on WLEE radio in Richmond. Morrissey previously had said only that he was on hand for the baby’s birth in Atlanta nine weeks ago. In December, the 57-year-old lawyer was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after being accused of having sex with his receptionist, Myrna Pride, who is now 19. He attended House of Delegates sessions on work release while serving three months of a six-month jail sentence.
SALTVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Police say at least two people died when a small airplane crashed into a mountain in southwest Virginia. State Police Lt. Ed Murphy said Tuesday that there are conflicting reports on whether there were two or three people on the plane. Nobody survived. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Beechcraft BE-55 was flying about seven miles northeast of Tazewell County Airport in Richlands when air traffic controllers lost contact with it Monday. Murphy said it appears the pilot was trying to avoid an isolated storm when the plane crashed. It took rescuers 21/2 hours to reach the heavily wooded crash site on Flat Top Mountain by foot Tuesday. The FAA said the aircraft was headed from Spruce Creek Airport near Daytona Beach, Florida, to Ohio’s Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The governing board of the University of Virginia has approved a contract extension for President Teresa A. Sullivan. The university announced Tuesday that the Board of Visitors approved a contract that could extend Sullivan’s tenure until May 2019. Sullivan’s contract was to expire next year. She earns $674,000 annually. Sullivan is the first woman to lead U.Va. She has had an eventful time in Charlottesville since her appointment in 2010. Two years into her tenure, she successfully survived a bid to oust her from the presidency. More recently, a series of events have cast a negative light on the university founded by Thomas Jefferson. They include a discredited Rolling Stone magazine article that reported on a bogus fraternity gang rape and the violent arrest of a student.
THAXTON, Va. (AP) _ A state historical marker has been dedicated in remembrance of one of the worst train accidents in Virginia history. The marker was unveiled Tuesday in Bedford County to mark the July 2, 1889, wreck west of Thaxton. Eighteen people were killed in the wreck. The wreck occurred after a storm flooded nearby Wolf Creek and saturated an embankment. The embankment collapsed under the weight of the Norfolk & Western passenger train, which plunged into the washout. Fire ripped through the wreckage, and survivors were stranded for hours. Among the dead were three prominent residents of Cleveland, Tennessee, where a monument was erected in their memory. The marker will join more than 2,500 statewide. The markers are issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Dominion Resources Inc. says it has come up with alternative segments for a proposed natural gas pipeline in two Virginia counties where many local landowners have been fighting the project. The company announced Monday it had identified several alternate routes that may have less of an environmental and cultural impact than the initially proposed route in Augusta County and Nelson County. Dominion said details about the proposed alternative routes would be made public in a report filed with federal regulators later this month. Dominion and its partners are proposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline run from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina. It would deliver natural gas from West Virginia and other states to the Southeast.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Sweet Briar College is among Virginia’s most endangered historic places, according to a preservation group. The designation was announced Monday by Preservation Virginia in the 11th edition of its annual list of the state’s most-endangered historic places. Sweet Briar College announced in March it would close in August because of crushing financial challenges. The 114-year-old women’s college held what could be its final commencement over the weekend on its historic, 3,250-acre campus in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The former plantation has 21 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus also includes a slave cemetery. Besides Sweet Briar, other endangered places include the Gibson Cottage at the Warm Springs Hotel and the town of Port Royal on the Rappahannock River.
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A judge has rejected a request to delay the attempted murder trial of a Charlottesville man who is also charged with the murder of a University of Virginia student. Lawyers for Jesse Matthew said Friday that they needed more time to prepare for his case in Fairfax County, where he is charged with a 2005 attack and sexual assault on a woman. Matthew is also charged with capital murder in student Hannah Graham’s death last year. Prosecutors in Fairfax opposed the delay, noting the trial was already delayed once. Matthew’s public defender, Dawn Butorac (BOOT’-eh-rack), said that going forward with the June 8 trial date will “obliterate” Matthew’s right to a fair trial. In court papers, she said she needs time to investigate about 40 suspects in the police file.