Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorses Perriello in Virginia

Tom Perriello

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has endorsed Tom Perriello in the Virginia governor’s race.Warren’s endorsement means Perriello now has two of the leading progressive voices in the Senate backing his campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed Perriello earlier this month.Perriello is running an insurgent campaign against the state party’s establishment pick, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, and has sought support from prominent national Democrats. The two will face off in a June primary. Virginia and New Jersey are the only states set to elect governors this year.Warren made her endorsement in an interview with the Huffington Post  yesterday.Both Perriello and Northam have been critics of President Donald Trump, but Perriello has made opposition to Trump a focal point of his campaign.

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Roanoke airport traffic increasing; airlines add flights

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – The number of passengers at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has increased for the seventh straight month, a trend that’s prompting airlines to begin increasing service.The Roanoke Times reports total outbound and inbound passengers reached 50,885 last month. That’s an increase of more than 2,200 travelers over March 2016.The upswing comes after the airport reported declining annual passenger counts between 2012 and 2015.Brad Boettcher is the airport executive in charge of service expansion efforts. He says the airport has 14 more flights this April than it did a year ago and “everything is going in the right direction.”Still, the airport’s executive director says it hasn’t returned to pre-recession traffic levels.Airport officials hope to lure a fifth airline offering nonstop service to a new destination.

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Obama to visit Richmond this fall as part of speaker series

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Former President Barack Obama will visit Virginia’s capital city this fall.Obama is scheduled to speak at the Richmond Forum on Nov. 18. Organizers say Obama will present remarks and participate in a question-and-answer session.The former president’s speech will open the 32nd season of the Richmond Forum, a speaker series held at the Altria Theatre.Other speakers next season include Glenn Close, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers and MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough.

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Governor McAuliffe honors volunteers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is praising nine individuals or organizations he says have made outstanding efforts to volunteer.The governor recently honored recipients of the Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards at the executive mansion.They include GrandInvolve of Fairfax County, which pairs older adults with elementary school students and Mt. Gilead Full Gospel International Ministries of Chesterfield County, which provides free meals to the hungry through a mobile food cart.Other winners include SunTrust bank and Pepicelli’s Pizza in Ashland.

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Conservative group challenges abortion regulation changes

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The conservative Family Foundation of Virginia is filing a legal challenge over the way the state did away with restrictive regulations for abortion centers. The group said Friday it filed an administrative appeal in Henrico County Circuit Court over the health and safety regulations, which were updated in October. Foundation President Victoria Cobb says the administration violated state law in a “desperate attempt to pay back the abortion industry.” The Board of Health voted to do away with hospital-style regulations for abortion clinics imposed by the General Assembly in 2011. The vote came after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down tough abortion restrictions in Texas. Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said the lawsuit was a “last-ditch attempt” to impose unnecessary restrictions on Virginia women.

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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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