ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (AP) — Some 30,000 gallons of cow manure wastewater has spilled into the Pig River in Franklin County, prompting a public health alert. The state Department of Health is advising residents to avoid recreational use of a section of the river, including swimming, boating or fishing.

The wastewater spilled Thursday from a holding lagoon west of Rocky Mount. The spill entered a tributary of the Pigg River. Local and state public health officials are working to evaluate the spill and minimize any potential risk.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gas prices in Virginia are increasing as many residents prepare for spring break travel. Triple-A Mid-Atlantic says the average price for a gallon of gasoline in Roanoke increased by four-cents over the past week. Statewide, the increase was 7 cents.

On the bright side, Virginia’s average of $3.42 is below the national average of $3.57 and is the 10th lowest in the country. Gas prices this week are up eight-cents in Charlottesville, nine-cents in Norfolk and 11-cents in Richmond.

The Elks National Home (Facebook photo)

The Elks National Home
(Facebook photo)

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) _ After months of delay, an April 30 closing date has been set for the sale of the Elks National Home in Bedford.

Mike Williams, owner of English Meadows Senior Living Community in Christiansburg, is buying the nearly 200-acre property from the Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks for $4.5 million.

Williams had hoped to close the deal on Dec. 31. But because the Elks have owned the site for more than 100 years, a number of detailed procedures were required. For example, buildings had to be measured and a separate entity had to be created to manage on cemetery on the site.

Williams says the Elks home has more than 100 residents. Its capacity is 230.

Gabriella Miller (su.edu photo)

Gabriella Miller
(su.edu photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A 10-year-old girl who died of brain cancer is leaving a legacy for other sick children in a new law signed by President Barack Obama.

Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. It directs $126 million in federal money to be spent over the next decade to research pediatric cancer and other childhood disorders. Her parents and brother watched Obama sign the bill.

Gabriella pushed Congress to pass the law in an emotional video posted to YouTube before she died last October. The Leesburg, Va., girl told political leaders: “Stop talking and start doing.”

The legislation calls for eliminating taxpayer funding for political conventions and redirecting it to pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health.

Congress must fund the research in future spending bills.


fast4families.org photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Advocates for immigration reform are in the midst of a four-day hunger strike in Richmond.

It’s part of the national “Fast for Families Across America” campaign that has taken two busloads of advocates to 30 states over the last six weeks. The campaign set up a tent in a park near downtown Richmond on Thursday to serve as headquarters for its four-day stay before heading to Washington, D.C., next week.

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Former Governor Bob McDonnell

Former Governor
Bob McDonnell

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Five former Virginia attorneys general are asking a federal judge to consider their argument that public corruption charges against former Gov. Bob McDonnell should be dismissed.

The former Republican governor and his wife Maureen are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 from the CEO of a dietary supplements company in exchange for helping promote his products. They have pleaded not guilty. A jury trial is set for late July.

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Terry McAuliffe is proposing a two-year pilot of an expanded Medicaid program, a suggestion he hopes will persuade Republicans to end an impasse over the state’s budget.  McAuliffe announced Monday that the federal government said it would not penalize Virginia if it ran a two-year pilot program. McAuliffe said the approval allows the state to try expanding Medicaid eligibility to 400,000 residents with no risk.  House Republicans oppose Medicaid expansion. The federal government has promised to fund the bulk of the expansion.  The fight over Medicaid has led to a budget stalemate and a special session that is set to start later Monday.


General-AssemblyRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia state lawmakers are back in Richmond trying to pass a roughly $96 billion two-year budget.

The General Assembly is set to start a special session Monday.

Lawmakers adjourned from the regular legislative session two weeks ago without passing a state budget.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Democratically controlled Senate want a state budget that includes a Medicaid expansion plan that emphasizes the use of private insurers, but that proposal is staunchly opposed by leaders in the Republican-controlled House.

There’s been no sign that the two sides have come close to an agreement since the regular session ended.