BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) _ State and federal leaders are visiting Virginia Tech to discuss research being done on unmanned aircraft systems. Officials say Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe are scheduled to visit the Blacksburg campus Wednesday. The visit will include a demonstration of a six-rotor, unmanned aircraft gathering information at a mock auto accident scene. Last year, Virginia Tech was selected by the FAA as a research site for unmanned aircraft systems. Led by Virginia Tech, the mid-Atlantic-based component of the national effort will also involve the University of Maryland and Rutgers University in New Jersey. The research will help guide the agency as it works to introduce commercial versions of the unmanned aircraft into busy U.S. airspace.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Department of Transportation is working to make roads safer for both wildlife and motorists. The agency’s research division is conducting a three-year study on animal travel patterns that is set to be completed in late 2015. Officials say the study targets a section of Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain in Albemarle, Augusta and Nelson counties due to the high number of related crashes in those areas. When the study began in 2012, deer-vehicle collisions were the third-most frequent type of accident in the region. Officials say the study is a step forward in understanding how, when and where animals are crossing roads and how to adapt accordingly.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A doctor has testified that the businessman who is a key figure in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption trial tried to impress him with an introduction to movie director Steven Spielberg. Dr. George Vetrovec says former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams was trying to interest him in conducting research on the company’s s anti-inflammatory Anatabloc at the time, in October 2011. Vetrovec says that at Williams’ request, former first lady Maureen McDonnell introduced him to Spielberg at a reception for the movie “Lincoln” at the Executive Mansion. Also Tuesday, one juror in the McDonnells’ trial was replaced. U.S. District Judge James Spencer gave no explanation. The McDonnells are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s supplements. They could face decades in prison.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ One of the jurors in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, has been replaced. U.S. District Judge James Spencer met twice in chambers with lawyers Tuesday morning before convening court and announcing that a juror had been dismissed and was replaced by an alternate. He gave no explanation. Between the two closed meetings, a somber Bob McDonnell sat at the defense table with his back to his wife and stared at the wall for several minutes. The McDonnells are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company’s nutritional supplements. They could face decades in prison if convicted.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The onetime chief of staff to former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he had no idea at the time that his boss had received thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman. Martin Kent testified Monday in the public corruption trial of McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. They are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the former CEO of a nutritional supplements company in exchange for promoting his products. In August 2011, a luncheon was held at the governor’s mansion for Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams to launch his signature product, Anatabloc. McDonnell spoke at the event. Kent said McDonnell was busy that week dealing with natural disasters and could have removed the event from his sch
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Divers have recovered the body of a Vinton made from Smith Mountain Lake. The Roanoke Times reports 73-year-old Ronald Lemons disappeared July 31 when the boat he was riding in collided with another boat on the lake. Sgt. Karl Martin of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says Lemons’ body was recovered on Saturday. Lemons was fishing with a friend in the evening near Smith Mountain Lake dam when the bass boat collided with a cabin cruiser. Lemons’ friend and the three occupants of the other boat were rescued by people on a nearby pontoon boat. Officials had be searching for Lemons ever since the collision. Authorities will try to reconstruct the event through information from witnesses and evidence collected by divers.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An associate of the wealthy businessman at the center of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption case says he initially had reservations about his colleague’s dealings with McDonnell and his wife. But Paul Perito testified Friday that he eventually concluded that Star Scientific Inc. and its chief product could benefit from what he called “the halo effect” that would accompany the governor’s association with former Star CEO Jonnie Williams. The McDonnells are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for promoting his products. Perito is a former Star executive. Williams testified under immunity that he lavished gifts on the McDonnells only to get their help and gain credibility for his company and its anti-inflammatory product, Anatabloc.
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Police says more than a dozen neglected animals have been seized from a Roanoke home. The Roanoke Times reports (http://bit.ly/1u5aI95) that most of the animals were basset hounds. A search warrant says investigators who answered a complaint could smell the odor of urine and feces coming from the house, according to a search warrant filed in Roanoke Circuit Court. The warrant says one dog had an open wound on its sides and all of the dogs’ nails were so long that they had curled under. The animals were taken to the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia job-seekers have a new tool to tap in their search for work. Called VAWorks, the new employment app puts thousands of jobs at your fingertips. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the free app’s launch on Thursday. Using a mobile device, users can search for jobs by occupation, location, or keyword. They can also share their job search activity and information through email or by social media. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice A. Jones says the app accesses job prospects from 16,000 sources, including military and government jobs. The VAWorks app is available through the Virginia Employment Commission.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Consumer spending in Virginia is higher than it was before the Great Recession but is lagging behind the nation in spending growth. New state-level figures released Thursday by the federal government for the first time show that Virginia’s per capita consumer spending in 2012 grew 2.9 percent over the previous year. That’s weaker than the 3.3 percent growth in per capita consumer spending by the entire nation in 2012, the most recent year figures are available. Consumer spending has soared since the Great Recession ended five years ago in U.S. states with oil and gas drilling booms, and has lagged in states hit especially hard by the housing bust. On average, each Virginian spent $38,133 on consumer goods and services in 2012. Per capita spending nationwide was $35,498.