VaNews

Wednesday May 04, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


Executive Branch

AG'S OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS HEROIN/OPIOID EPIDEMIC WITH DOCUMENTARY

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

After seven attempts recovering from a heroin addiction, Caitlyn Collins lived in a car and hadn’t seen her young son in months.... After an arrest and her eighth go at recovery, including treatment in Lynchburg and moving into a recovery home, Collins is three years sober. ... She told her story Tuesday as part of Attorney General Mark Herring’s campaign to bring awareness to the heroin and opioid epidemic besieging communities throughout the state and nation and hope for recovery.

General Assembly

WITH QUICK WIN, KENNY ALEXANDER WILL BE NORFOLK'S FIRST NEW MAYOR IN 22 YEARS

By ERIC HARTLEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Kenny Alexander, a state senator and Norfolk native, will become the city’s next mayor after a commanding victory Tuesday night. Alexander, 49, will be the first African American to hold the position, a feat that many of his supporters described Tuesday night as historic.


CHESAPEAKE'S SPRUILL, NORFOLK'S LINDSEY TO VIE FOR KENNY ALEXANDER'S STATE SENATE SEAT

By PATRICK WILSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

State Dels. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, and Joe Lindsey, D-Norfolk, will vie for the 5th District state Senate seat following Sen. Kenny Alexander's victory in Tuesday's Norfolk mayoral election. In part, the race will be about Chesapeake vs. Norfolk and which city the new senator will call home.


FLA. BUSINESSMAN PAID $10K FOR VA. SENATOR’S TRIP TO MEET SYRIAN PRESIDENT ASSAD

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

The Virginia state senator who met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week made his unlikely journey at the expense of a Florida businessman, who estimated the cost was $10,000. State ethics officials signed off on the gift to Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) ahead of his trip to the war-torn country, finding that it complied with state ethics laws.

Federal Elections

COREY STEWART RELEASES STATEMENT ON CRUZ DEPARTURE

By MICHELLE BAKER, Gainesville Times

Following the announcement by Senator Ted Cruz to suspend his campaign for president of the United States on May 3, Corey Stewart, chairman for Donald Trump's Campaign in Virginia, released the following statement. "Senator Cruz ran an exceptional presidential campaign and will continue to be a leader for the conservative cause in America," Stewart said.


BENNETT SEES TRUMP’S SUCCESS AS BENEFIT IN FIGHT FOR 10TH DISTRICT

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Tenth Congressional District Democratic candidate LuAnn Bennett visited the Clarke County Democratic Committee on Tuesday night. The real estate developer will face first-term incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican, in a Nov. 8 election.


DEMOCRAT ANNOUNCES IN 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Calling for a renewed democracy, Tom Howarth, a Democrat from Front Royal, confirmed Tuesday he’s seeking the party’s nomination to run for the 6th District U.S. House of Representatives seat. ... Howarth — who spent his career in government, politics and nonprofit work before retiring in 2014 — is filing to run for the seat currently held by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County.


DEMOCRAT ENTERS RACE FOR 6TH DISTRICT

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

A Democrat has entered the race for the 6th Congressional District, held for the last two decades by a Republican. Tom Howarth, the Warren County Democratic Committee chairman, announced via news release Sunday he seeks the party’s nomination to take on Rep. Bob Goodlatte, of Roanoke County.

State Government

VIRGINIA SCHOOL BOARD APPEALS IN TRANSGENDER BATHROOM CASE

By MORIAH BALINGIT, Washington Post

A Virginia school board being sued by a transgender teen over its restrictive bathroom policy is asking a federal appeals court to rehear its case after the court ruled the teen’s discrimination suit could move forward last month. The Gloucester County School Board on Tuesday filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit for a rehearing with a full panel of judges, known as an “en banc” hearing.

Congress

BARBARA MIKULSKI AT WALLOPS: 'MAY THE FORCE BE WITH US'

By JEREMY COX, Eastern Shore News

After years of steering government support toward NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Barbara Mikulski had only one thing left to do: drop the mic. Literally. Taking a cue from President Barack Obama, who ceremoniously let go of his microphone three nights earlier at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, the soon-to-retire senator from Maryland ended her remarks to the facility's staff Tuesday with a similar flourish.

Virginia Other

MVP SUES BENT MOUNTAIN PROPERTY OWNER OVER SURVEYING DISPUTE

By DUNCAN ADAMS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Scott Austin, the attorney representing Bent Mountain resident Fred Vest, described Mountain Valley Pipeline’s lawsuit against his client as “a pretty blatant intimidation tactic.” The lawsuit, filed Friday in Roanoke County Circuit Court by Mountain Valley, asks the court to prohibit Vest, 70, from interfering with efforts by survey crews to establish a route for the natural gas transmission pipeline across his property.


NEW PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPENED ON CHANGES TO ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

People in three western Virginia counties and other parts of the state will have their say to federal regulators about the proposed new path of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through their properties and communities. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a notice on Tuesday that it will open a new “scoping period” to collect comments from the public and agencies, including state historic preservation offices, on changes to the $5 billion natural gas pipeline proposed to extend 600 miles through three states by a company led by Richmond-based Dominion.


OPPONENTS SAY PIPELINE A THREAT TO LOCAL HISTORY

By EMILY BROWN, Nelson County Times

As part of what they called a “surprise attack” on utility companies Tuesday, pipeline opposition groups and leaders of the Nelson County community held a press conference at the Natural History Center in Nellysford to voice disapproval of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.


CHARLOTTESVILLE ESTABLISHES PANEL TO STUDY MEMORIALS’ FUTURE

By CHRIS SUAREZ, Daily Progress

The fate of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s likeness in Charlottesville will be decided this year. On Monday, the Charlottesville City Council unanimously approved the creation of a blue ribbon commission that will, among several other objectives, recommend whether the city should remove its Confederate memorials, including the statue of Lee in Lee Park.


VIRGINIA’S MOST ENDANGERED PLACES INCLUDE BLACK CEMETERIES, A LEGISLATIVE OFFICE COMPLEX, AND A FORMER SLAVE DWELLING

By JOE HEIM, Washington Post

The cemetery was historic but suffered from neglect. Tombstones had fallen over. Vandals had destroyed markers. Weeds ran wild. Edwina St. Rose was saddened by what she saw happening to the Daughters of Zion Cemetery in Charlottesville. She has relatives buried there, and it hurt to see their final resting place falling apart. So for the past few years, the Charlottesville native and a few of her friends have spent their free time trying to restore the African American cemetery, which was founded in 1873.

Local

ALEXANDRIA COUNCIL READY TO RAISE TAXES TO PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIRS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN , Washington Post

The Alexandria City Council has agreed to raise local property tax rates by 3 cents, largely to pay for expansion and repairs for schools and aging city buildings. The council’s move Monday night, which comes in a year without a local election, will raise the average homeowner’s taxes by about $156 per year.


FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOLS TO MOVE TO PRE-LABOR DAY START IN 2017

By MORIAH BALINGIT, Washington Post

Virginia’s largest school district will start its school year before Labor Day in 2017, becoming the latest school system to receive a waiver from a state law that was passed two decades ago to safeguard the state’s tourism industry. The board of the Fairfax County school system voted 9 to 1 last week to move the start date to Aug. 28 in 2017, the first time in recent history that classes will start before Labor Day.


FAIRFAX MAYOR REELECTED AFTER TOUGH YEAR WITH CANCER SCARE AND LOSS OF HOME

By FENIT NIRAPPIL , Washington Post

Fairfax City Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne has won reelection for a third term, a welcome change of pace for the 50-year-old after a tough year of financial and health troubles.


RICHMOND COUNCIL FINDS $3.6 MILLION FOR SCHOOLS, RESUMES DEBATE TUESDAY

By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

After eight hours of debate and discussion Monday about how to find additional funding for the city’s school district, Richmond City Council members once again delayed any major decisions on their amendments to Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ proposed budget. The council members will revisit the issue at a 4 p.m. meeting today, at which point they will hear a report from city administrators about how much uncollected tax revenue a beefed-up city collections department could generate.


RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL REACHES BUDGET COMPROMISE; UNCLEAR IF SCHOOL CLOSURES WILL BE AVOIDED

By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Richmond City Council closed out its long-running budget negotiations Tuesday, agreeing to give the city’s school system an additional $9.5 million in operating and capital funds over the $280 million Mayor Dwight C. Jones proposed in his initial funding plan. But it wasn’t immediately clear whether the additional cash will head off the closure of five schools, including Armstrong High School — a step school administrators said would be necessary if their funding requests weren’t met.


WINN CONCEDES TO MCCLELLAN IN NORFOLK SUPERWARD 6 RACE

By JOANNE KIMBERLIN , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

It was the biggest upset of Tuesday’s election: A powerful incumbent’s 16-year run toppled by an up-and-comer. “I’m honored and humbled,” said Andria McClellan after she won Barclay Winn’s Superward 6 spot on the City Council.


VIRGINIA BEACH LIGHT RAIL PETITION DRIVE FALLS 500 SIGNATURES SHORT FOR NOW, BUT ORGANIZERS DISPUTE NUMBERS

By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Despite turning in more than 32,000 signatures, the petition drive to put an up or down vote on the light rail on the ballot is just a bit short – by 534 signatures. No Light Rail in Virginia Beach collected 26,236 valid signatures, according to a certification letter sent Monday to Circuit Court Clerk Tina Sinnen. Petition drives need to collect 25 percent of the number of voters who voted in the prior general election, but what constitutes the “prior” election is under contention.


VIRGINIA BEACH HAS HARSH WORDS FOR SPSA OVER PROPOSED REGIONAL TRASH DEAL

By ALISSA SKELTON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia Beach is not getting what it wants in a proposed regional trash deal, and the city manager said the city’s recommendations during negotiations are being ignored. City Manager Dave Hansen briefed the City Council on Tuesday to summarize the ongoing negotiations with the Southeastern Public Service Authority and the council’s impending decision on whether to agree to the terms of SPSA’s arrangement on a new trash plan within the next two weeks.


CHESAPEAKE VOTERS PICK THREE INCUMBENTS TO STAY ON CITY COUNCIL

By KATHERINE HAFNER , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The City Council will remain the same for another two years, now that voters have decided to let three incumbents keep their seats. Debbie Ritter, Rick West and Robert Ike won re-election Tuesday, beating back challenges from David Washington, Dwight Parker and Gene Waters, according to unofficial results with all precincts reporting.


DONNIE TUCK UNSEATS INCUMBENT HAMPTON MAYOR GEORGE WALLACE

By RYAN MURPHY, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Donnie Tuck will be the next mayor of Hampton after a decisive victory in Tuesday’s election over sitting Mayor George Wallace.


HARRIS UNSEATS COLEMAN FOR NORTH DISTRICT SEAT ON NEWPORT NEWS COUNCIL

By THERESA CLIFT, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Marcellus “B2” Harris defeated Vice Mayor Rob Coleman in the North District Tuesday – the only challenger to unseat an incumbent in this Newport News election.


HAMPTON COUNCIL INCUMBENTS KEEP THEIR SEATS

By RYAN MURPHY, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Three Hampton City Council incumbents will retain their seats for the next four years after solid performances in Tuesday's council election. Former Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Curtis, former Hampton budget director Chris Snead and automotive manager Billy Hobbs all handily won reelection to the council on Tuesday.


WILLIAMSBURG ELECTION RESULTS: FREILING, RAMSEY, ZHANG WIN

By STAFF REPORT, Virginia Gazette

Paul Freiling, Barbara Ramsey and Benny Zhang swept to victory in the Williamsburg City Council election according to complete unofficial results from the State Board of Elections. Freiling, who most recently served as vice mayor, led all vote getters with 1,252 votes, followed by William and Mary student Zhang with 1,148 votes.


MARY KATHERINE GREENLAW WINS A SECOND TERM AS FREDERICKSBURG MAYOR

By CATHY JETT, Free Lance-Star

Well wishers gathered around Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw Tuesday as she stood on the piano stool at her Fredericksburg home to announce her victory over Richard Dynes and her election to a second term as mayor. She received almost twice as many votes—1,489 to his 825—in her bid for reelection.


ROANOKE VOTERS CHOOSE LEA FOR MAYOR, PRICE, DYKSTRA, GARLAND FOR CITY COUNCIL

By MATT CHITTUM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Roanokers elected the city’s second-ever black mayor in Democrat Sherman Lea on Tuesday, and made incumbent Democrat Anita Price the city’s first ever black woman vice-mayor. Independents Michelle Dykstra and John Garland also won council seats, meaning that despite their victories, Democrats after July 1 will not hold a majority on council for the first time in 40 years or more.


INCUMBENTS, NEWCOMERS WIN RADFORD RACES

By MIKE GANGLOFF, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Radford incumbents held their seats in Tuesday’s city council and school board elections, but a newcomer joined each body, too.


STAUNTON SCHOOL BOARD, COUNCIL INCUMBENTS WIN

By LAURA PETERS, News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)

Staunton residents hit the polls Tuesday to vote for City Council and school board members. All incumbents will remain in their seats, results showed.


CITY ELECTS TWO NEWCOMERS, TWO INCUMBENTS TO COUNCIL

By SHERESE GORE, News & Advance

The election results announced inside Grassroots Local Market on Main Street were accompanied by cheers Tuesday night. Among candidates who emerged victorious during Tuesday municipal elections was MaryJane Dolan, who was elected to serve as Ward I representative on Lynchburg City Council. ... Two incumbents, meanwhile, will continue to hold their seats — Jeff Helgeson, who has served as Ward III representative on City Council since 2004 and Turner Perrow, who has represented Ward IV since 2008.


WHITTLE, INCUMBENTS CRUISE TO VICTORY; VOGLER LEADS WAY FOR DANVILLE COUNCIL

By DENICE THIBODEAU, Danville Register & Bee

All four Danville City Council incumbents — Lee Vogler, Sherman Saunders, Larry Campbell and Fred Shanks — were re-elected Tuesday and will be joined by election night’s second-highest vote-getter, Madison Whittle.


WRITE-IN SURGE DELAYS ANNOUNCED WINNERS IN COUNCIL RACE

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier

The final outcome of Tuesday’s Bristol Virginia City Council election should be revealed by mid-day today after election officials count more than 1,400 write-in votes. About 1,500 city voters went to the polls Tuesday and cast a remarkable 1,421 write-in votes for the two City Council seats up for grabs.


Editorials

A LOST OPPORTUNITY TO FIX VIRGINIA'S FOIA

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

After nearly three years of study, dozens of regular and committee meetings, and thousands of hours in effort, the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council appears poised to recommend legislation largely unchanged from the dreadful law it was tasked to fix.


RESTORING THE RIGHT TO VOTE

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Following Gov. Terry McAuliffe's dramatic recent step to restore voting rights to hundreds of thousands of convicted felons in Virginia, everyone knew a court challenge was coming. There's a lot at stake, after all.


SAME-SEX ALIMONY

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

Much has been written on this page over the years about the legal definition of marriage. From that standpoint, although we as an institution believe the "forever" definition of marriage — i.e., the union of one man and one woman — should still prevail, the matter is now legally settled: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is not only between a man and a woman, thus putting to bed the question of same-sex marriage in the eyes of the law. A recent ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court addressed the question of whether the same rule of law should apply in divorce proceedings.


HOW A $2-MILLION GIVEAWAY CAME ABOUT

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Thanks to some good shoe-leather reporting by Jeff Sturgeon of The Roanoke Times, Virginians now have a clearer idea how the state came to pay $2 million to Norfolk Southern for shifting jobs from one end of the commonwealth to the other. It’s not a pretty tale.


METRO: ORPHANED AND SICK

Washington Post Editorial

With each announcement and every new revelation, federal transportation officials expose the depths to which Metro’s safety standards have fallen. There are a dozen or so major subway systems across the nation, but only for Metro has the Federal Transit Administration assumed full safety oversight and undertaken a “track integrity safety blitz,” which, having been underway since March, continues to yield unsettling maintenance problems ignored or overlooked by Metro itself.


WHAT ROANOKERS SAID TUESDAY

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Voters across the country are mad this year. They’re mad on the Republican side. They’re mad on the Democratic side. They’re apparently not mad in Roanoke, though. For the fourth election cycle in a row, Roanoke voters picked candidates who represent, if not the status quo, at least a “stay the course” philosophy.

Columnists

SCHAPIRO: CONVENTION'S NO PARTY FOR VIRGINIA GOP

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

If Vance Wilkins says things are bad for Virginia Republicans, then they really must be. “We’re pitiful,” Wilkins said Saturday at the state GOP convention. “Our grass-roots organization is just pitiful compared to the Democrats’.” That’s something coming from the first-ever Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Op-Ed

FRASER: PRIVATE PROPERTY AT RISK IN VIRGINIA

By RONALD FRASER, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

James Madison declared way back in 1792 that in America, “government is instituted to protect property of every sort…[and]…to secure to every man whatever is his own.” That was then. Today, according to a new Institute for Justice (IJ) report titled, Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture, 2nd Edition, “Civil forfeiture threatens the constitutional rights of all Americans. ...” The report goes on to say, “Virginia has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the nation.”

Ronald Fraser writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization.