RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Bob McDonnell is asking the General Assembly to keep Virginia’s 30-year ban on uranium mining in place while a new multi-agency working group conducts a comprehensive study on the issue.      The governor said Thursday the study group will look further into the specific issues surrounding mining, including on-site issues.      Many expected the ban to be debated in the 2012 session because of an intense lobbying effort by Virginia Uranium Inc., which is seeking to mine a 119-million pound deposit in Pittsylvania County.

Jamal Louis Clemons (Photo credit: AP)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Richmond police have identified the two people slain on Christmas Eve that led to a search for a 2 year old boy abducted from the scene who was later found safe in the backseat of an SUV.

Police on Sunday said Edward Lee Bowmer, Jr., 60, and Robin Sheryl Clapp, 56, were shot to death.

Bowmer was from the street where the bodies were found and Clapp was from Mechanicsville.

Neither was related to 2 year old Kaiden Burnside. Police say the shooting suspect stole the vehicle in which Kaiden was seated.

Authorities are looking for Jamal Louis Clemons, 27, who is suspected of the murders and abduction. Clemons faces abduction, robbery and other charges.

Police say the boy has been reunited with his mother.

Photo credit: rpv.org

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) _ Fairfax County Circuit Court Clerk John Frey is the latest Republican to announce he’s running for attorney general in 2013.

Frey said in a written statement Wednesday that his 20 years of experience supervising Virginia’s largest circuit court allows him to bring a “unique perspective” to the attorney general’s office. Frey also is the only northern Virginia resident and non-legislator in the race so far. Continue reading

Photo credit: VA DGIF Facebook page

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will begin charging a limited $4 fee at its wildlife management areas and public fishing lakes starting Jan. 1.

The access fee will apply to visitors who do not possess a valid hunting, freshwater fishing or trapping license or a current state boat registration.

Continue reading

GLASGOW, Va. (AP) _ One person is dead following a shooting involving a Virginia State Police trooper in Rockbridge County. State Police say in a news release that the person shot was in a vehicle that had been reported stolen. The person’s identity and gender haven’t been released. The trooper wasn’t injured.  State Police say the vehicle was parked at the Glasgow Lifesaving and First Aid Crew Station No. 2 at the time of the incident. The shooting occurred around 10 a.m. Tuesday as the trooper approached the vehicle.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia’s unemployment rate fell for the second straight month in November as the state added 5,100 jobs over the month. The Virginia Employment Commission says the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 6.2 percent. That’s down from 6.4 percent in October and 6.6 percent a year ago. The rate had been decreasing since peaking at 7.2 percent from December 2009 to February 2010, but had risen slightly from July through September this year. Virginia’s rate is still below the national average, which dropped to 8.6 percent in November. The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 43 states, reflecting a modest pickup in the nation’s job market. Nationally, employers added a net total of 120,000 jobs.

Gov. Bob McDonnell

Richmond, VA (AP) — Governor Bob McDonnell’s new budget ends hundreds of millions of dollars in inflation allowances for health care and non-classroom public school programs and dramatically scales back pre-kindergarten programs.  The two-year spending blueprint he presented  Monday morning to the General Assembly reroutes the cash to priorities he’s already set, particularly shoring up the severely underfunded public employee pension system. Continue reading

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing a $2.2 billion state infusion of cash into Virginia’s critically underfunded public employee pension system.  Finance Secretary Ric Brown says the proposal aims in part to reassure everyone in the system that pension promises made will become promises kept.

[audio:http://wfirnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/12-15-Brown-Bite1-WEB.mp3|titles=12-15 Brown Bite1-WEB]

The governor says the enormous state contribution to the Virginia Retirement System that’s now about $20 billion underfunded will be a centerpiece of the budget he delivers Monday to the General Assembly.

Continue reading

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A Salem contractor is facing up to 23 years in prison and $500,000 in fines after pleading guilty to participating in a scheme to steer contracts to his company.

The Justice Department says Gary Johns conspired to direct contracts for him for repair, maintenance and renovation work at health care and nursing home facilities owned by Medical Facilities of America. Johns pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the 2006 actions.

Officials say an employee with MFA who oversaw the bidding process steered contracts to Johns’ company in return for kickbacks by creating fictitious bids that were higher than the quotes from Salem Commercial Design.

Johns was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and making and subscribing to a false tax return.