Across Virginia

A new poll suggests Virginians are quite optimistic on the direction the commonwealth is heading — but far less so when it comes to the country. The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University asked state residents if they like the direction Virginia is heading, and 64% — almost two-thirds — said they do. Only 35% per cent say they approve of the nation’s direction. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

12-06 Virginia Poll Wrap-WEB

Click here for full poll results

 

This is the time of year when black bears typically start going into hibernation — but only after packing in the calories to make it through the winter months. With natural food supplies a little scarce this fall, they’re looking a little longer for other calorie sources, and trash cans and bird feeders are often easy places to find them. Home owners in bear-prone areas are urged to take precautions for another couple of weeks or so. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

12-05 Bears Out There Wrap1-WEB

From the National Weather Service: WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM EST WEDNESDAY. Light accumulating snows expected tonight into Wednesday. An upper-level disturbance moving out of the central Plains interacting with a cold air mass will produce an increase in coverage of snow showers tonight. Potential exists for short-lived bursts of snow that may cause difficult travel conditions for the Wednesday morning commute. While snow showers generally cease by mid-morning Wednesday in most areas, a longer period of continued accumulating snow expected across the mountains in southeastern West Virginia.

 WHAT Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch expected, which will likely impact the Wednesday morning commute.

WHERE Monroe and eastern Greenbrier County in West Virginia as well as the New River and Roanoke Valleys, Alleghany Highlands, southern Shenandoah Valley and the central Virginia Piedmont in Virginia.

WHEN From midnight tonight to 9 AM EST Wednesday.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions likely will impact the morning commute.

You can once again buy gasoline in the valley for less than $2 a gallon. The Gas Buddy website shows several stations in the Cloverdale area now doing so Monday, the result of sharply lower crude oil prices. But as average gas prices keep going down, some stations are lowering them much more slowly than others.  WFIR’s Evan Jones reports has more:

12-03 Gas Prices Wrap-WEB

 

James Fields, Jr.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ A jury has been seated in the trial of an Ohio man accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year. Jury selection was completed Thursday morning in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio. He’s charged with first-degree murder and accused of driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.  Opening statements from prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers were expected to begin after a brief court recess. Fields’ lawyer has indicated Fields may claim he was acting in self-defense. Prosecutors say he intentionally plowed his car into the group. A jury of 12 regular jurors and four alternates will hear the case.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Republicans have asked a federal court to move Virginia’s 2019 primary schedule back three months to allow the U.S. Supreme Court to settle a redistricting lawsuit. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox Wednesday formally requested Wednesday the district court suspend efforts to redraw 11 House districts found to be racially gerrymandered. Republicans have appealed the ruling that the districts are unconstitutional to the Supreme Court in an attempt to stave off a new, more Democratic-friendly map. A Supreme Court ruling isn’t likely to come until May or June. Legislative primaries are scheduled for June 11, which Cox wants rescheduled to Sept. 10. A court-appointed expert is scheduled to file a redrawn map Dec. 7. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday he hopes the outstanding legal issues are quickly resolved.

Photo: Joe’s Trees

Christmas tree sellers expect to be quite busy over the next couple of weekends, and they say this year’s unusually heavy rainfall has been great for the trees. Growers say the trees should hold up quite well this holiday season — as long as you remember to cut the base a little and then water daily. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

11-28 Christmas Trees Wrap2-WEB

James Fields, Jr.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jury selection is continuing at a slow pace in the trial of an Ohio man accused of killing a woman during a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year.James Alex Fields Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and nine other charges for allegedly driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. A 32-year-old woman was killed and dozens of others were injured.Jury selection began Monday in a process Judge Richard Moore described as “slow going.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that as of late Tuesday morning, four jurors had been agreed upon by prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers. The jury will be made up of 12 regular jurors, plus four alternates. Moore said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect to seat a jury until Wednesday.

Virginia is undertaking a new initiative with the ultimate hope of not just reducing the number of traffic-related deaths in the state, but eliminating them altogether. State officials say the “Toward Zero Deaths” initiative will coordinate efforts involving several agencies to go after the many causes of traffic fatalities. The initiative includes enforcement, improving safety of streets and highways, and education. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

11-27 Toward Zero Deaths Wrap_WEB

Click here for Virginia’s Toward Zero Deaths initiative web site

 

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) — A Virginia police officer was killed after his vehicle crashed responding to a call. Winchester Police said Officer Hunter Edwards died after being involved in a single vehicle crash late Saturday. Police said Edwards was responding to a call of a fight when he crashed.

The 30-year-old is survived by a wife and stepson. Edwards served on the Winchester Police Department for four years and was a member of the department’s SWAT team. Funeral arrangements are still pending.