VaNews

Friday May 06, 2016

Compiled by Ray Reed


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Executive Branch

GOVERNOR TALKS WORKFORCE TRAINING AT ROUNDTABLE IN ROANOKE

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

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday he wants Virginia to be the first in the nation to — metaphorically — tear apart its high schools and rebuild them with a stronger focus on career readiness and hands-on learning. “We ought to do core courses earlier,” he said. “They ought to know their first week what jobs exist today and, guess what, in your junior and senior year you ought to be going out and maybe doing some work in an industry, getting credential certification while you’re still in high school.”

General Assembly

TAXPAYER COSTS APPROACH $4 MILLION IN VIRGINIA ELECTION LAWSUITS

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Taxpayers have spent $3.7 million and counting on private attorneys in three redistricting lawsuits, as well as a fourth case targeting the state's voter ID law. That includes nearly $180,000 billed so far by a state senator's law firm, which represents her colleagues from both sides of the aisle in their ongoing effort to keep secret emails about the 2011 drawing of election maps.


VIRGINIA PROVIDES MODEL FOR TESTING RAPE KITS

By RACHEL BEATRICE AND KYLE TAYLOR, VCU Capital News Service

More than 140,000 untested rape evidence kits across the country are collecting dust in crime—denying justice for rape survivors waiting for the results and allowing rapists to commit more sexual assaults. Virginia has joined a handful of states that have taken legislative action to end the backlog by adopting a law to ensure that the commonwealth’s untested kits will be processed quickly beginning July 1.


LEGISLATORS SAY PENINSULA FARED WELL IN THE SESSION

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Though Hampton Roads legislators still haven't learned to do the kind of full court press that brings big state bucks to Northern Virginia, they say they did pull off some major – if quiet – wins in the last General Assembly session. "It was a very good session — the Peninsula and Hampton Roads managed well," Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, told a breakfast meeting of Peninsula business leaders at Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy.

Federal Elections

IS SEN. TIM KAINE ON HILLARY CLINTON'S VEEP SHORT LIST?

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Is U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s short list of possible vice presidential running mates? The Clinton campaign said Thursday it won’t engage in any vice presidential speculation. Kaine also doesn’t want to talk about it, his office said. But among political scientists and some Democrats, there’s a general view that they would be surprised if Kaine was not being considered.


COMSTOCK: TRUMP HAS NOT EARNED HER VOTE

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has not yet earned U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock’s vote. “I can’t support [Democrat] Hillary Clinton, but I’m like any voter, a candidate has to earn my vote, and at this time Donald Trump has not done so,” Comstock, R-10th, said following a talk on Thursday that she gave to the Rotary Club of Winchester at the Travelodge, 160 Front Royal Pike. “We’re going to watch the process. I’ve expressed my concerns before.”


HOW DO AREA POLITICIANS FEEL ABOUT TRUMP?

By ROBERT SORRELL, Bristol Herald Courier

Several Republican lawmakers from the Mountain Empire said Thursday they support New York businessman Donald Trump as the party’s likely nominee for president after he won the Indiana primary Tuesday. ... Across the state line in Virginia, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said he also supports Trump. “Having four more years of policies like those of [President] Barack Obama is damaging to our country and our region,” Griffith said.


TAYLOR: INTERNAL POLL SHOWS TIGHT RACE IN 2ND DISTRICT GOP PRIMARY

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Republican primary between a congressman and a state legislator to replace U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell in the state’s 2nd Congressional District appears to be a close contest with many voters still unsure who they’ll support, according to a poll conducted Monday. The landline and cellphone survey of 300 likely GOP primary voters by Tel Opinion Research found that Rep. Randy Forbes was favored by 39 percent of those polled, Del. Scott Taylor by 35 percent and attorney Pat Cardwell by 4 percent.


WHITED MISSES REPORTING DEADLINE; PLANS TO SETTLE UP TODAY

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

Joseph Whited, a Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat, missed a reporting deadline with the Federal Election Commission this week.

State Government

VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS LANDS A KIRCHNER

By KELLY CROW, Wall Street Journal (Paywall)

Last fall, New York’s Museum of Modern Art returned an Ernst Ludwig Kirchner landscape to the heirs of its original Jewish owner. On Thursday, those heirs gave the German expressionist painter’s 1917-18 canvas “Sand Hills in Grünau” to another museum in Richmond, Va.


WHISTLEBLOWER ACCUSES MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE OF SHIELDING UNQUALIFIED DOCTOR IN NORFOLK

By TIM EBERLY AND JONATHAN EDWARDS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A high-level whistleblower in the state Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has accused officials of shielding a medical examiner in Norfolk he says is unqualified and called into question the doctor’s autopsy work and testimony in homicide investigations. Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Kevin Whaley, a 10-year veteran of the department, told The Virginian-Pilot that one of three assistant chief medical examiners in the department’s Tidewater district office, Babatunde Stokes, isn’t board-certified in anatomic or forensic pathology because he repeatedly failed the test for anatomic pathology. Medical examiners must pass that exam before moving on to the forensic pathology test.

Congress

COMSTOCK: HEROIN A BIPARTISAN CONCERN

By SALLY VOTH, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

The region’s heroin problem was a focus of the talk U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, gave to the Rotary Club of Winchester on Thursday at Travelodge, 160 Front Royal Pike. "We’re currently getting very close in Congress to passing legislation to provide more resources to battle what has really become a scourge throughout our community," Comstock said, noting she recently met with members of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition.

Economy/Business

HUNTINGTON INGALLS REPORTS A STRONG FIRST QUARTER, PROFITS UP 56 PERCENT FROM A YEAR AGO

By HUGH LESSIG, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

First-quarter profits at Huntington Ingalls Industries surged 56 percent from a year ago, the company reported Thursday, buoyed by steady production at its Gulf Coast shipyard even as workload challenges persist at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Higher Education

GEORGE MASON U. LANDS ANOTHER GIFT FROM A POLITICALLY CONNECTED DONOR

By NICK ANDERSON, Washington Post

George Mason University, a public institution in Northern Virginia immersed in a debate recently over private fundraising, announced Thursday that it has landed a $10 million donation to support its school of policy, government and international affairs. The gift is from Northern Virginia businessman Dwight C. Schar, who is a home-building executive, a frequent Republican political donor and a part owner of the Washington Redskins football team. The school will be renamed the Schar School of Policy and Government in his honor.


COLUMNIST WILL SPEAK AT VIRGINIA TECH AFTER SCHOOL ISSUES APOLOGY

By ROBBY KORTH, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Jason Riley, a conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal, will speak at Virginia Tech after the school issued him a public, written apology Thursday evening. Riley stirred controversy earlier this week in a column saying that he was disinvited from speaking at a lecture. He is known as an outspoken black conservative who wrote the 2014 book “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” and for his appearances on Fox News.


STATE EDUCATION SECRETARY HEARS ABOUT SUCCESS, CHALLENGES AT CVCC

By JESSIE POUNDS, News & Advance

Virginia Secretary of Education Ann Holton visited Central Virginia Community College on Thursday for a roundtable discussion on student access and success in higher education. An estimated 40 to 50 people attended the afternoon event, including some local K-12 education leaders and Del. Scott Garrett R-Lynchburg.

Virginia Other

VHSL VOTES TO MOVE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES AWAY FROM LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

By BEN CATES, News & Advance

The Virginia High School League’s Spring Jubilee, an annual state championship event, will be held at Liberty University this June for the final time, at least for the foreseeable future. The state football championships, which have a long-standing tradition of being played at LU’s Williams Stadium, also will leave the campus, effective immediately.


VHSL VOTES TO MOVE MOST STATE CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS FROM LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

By ROBERT ANDERSON, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Virginia High School League on Thursday moved 14 state tournament events away from Liberty University in Lynchburg including the 2016 Group 4A and Group 3A football championship games. ... The move comes in the wake of a boycott of the April 22-23 VHSL Debate Tournament at Liberty by students from at least five Northern Virginia high schools in protest of comments in December by LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. that they perceived as anti-Muslim.


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE COMING TO HU, W&M

By KATE YANCHULIS, Virginia Gazette

The road to the state championship will become shorter for many local football teams starting next school year. The Virginia High School League’s Executive Committee on Thursday approved moving the Group 6A and 5A title games to Hampton University and the Group 4A and 3A games to William and Mary for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.


HAMPTON'S CONFEDERATE SCHOOL NAMES SUBJECT OF TWO PUBLIC HEARINGS

By JANE HAMMOND, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Hampton School Board will hold two public hearings in the coming weeks regarding the potential renaming of two school campuses named after Confederate figures. The Peninsula chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led by Andrew Shannon, first asked the school division in March to rename Davis Middle School and the Campus at Lee.


FEDS LIMIT PIPELINE INPUT TO 30 DAYS

By TRACI MOYER, News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is requesting public comments regarding potential environmental effects and reasonable alternatives for an interstate natural gas pipeline to be submitted on or before June 2. The alternative route added about 250 landowners to the pipeline’s path, but unlike the 60 days of public input allowed during the first proposed route, FERC has cut the comment period to 30 days.

Local

ARLINGTON COUNTY RACE COULD BE REFERENDUM ON A CHANGED BOARD

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

The lone Arlington County Board race this spring is shaping up as a referendum on two years of political upheaval in the liberal Washington suburb, with incumbent Libby Garvey defending her efforts to steer the board in a more moderate direction and challenger Erik Gutshall slamming her for abandoning the county’s liberal traditions.


ALEXANDRIA RAISES PROPERTY TAXES TO FIX SCHOOLS, AGING BUILDINGS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Alexandria City Council unanimously passed a three-cent property tax hike Thursday to pay for expansion and repairs to schools and aging city buildings. The tax rate, now set at $1.073 for each $100 of assessed value, will cost the owner of an average home more $155 per year, in addition to $119 more because of increased property values.


‘ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES’ THE THEME OF LOUDOUN COUNTY ECONOMIC SUMMIT

By DALE PESKIN, Loudoun Times

Loudoun County is poised to capture “endless possibilities” from economic development in coming weeks and into the future, the county’s chief developer told business and political leaders at an economic summit this morning. The county will soon announce a $3 million deal with a Chinese company, economic development director Buddy Rizer told about 200 attendees of the Loudoun County Economic Summit at Belmont Country Club. Additionally, Rizer said that he was hosting executives from several major corporations on a tour of “possibilities” around Metro stops in Loudoun.


GRAZIANO'S AIDE ENTERS RACE TO FILL HER RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL SEAT

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

Councilwoman Kathy C. Graziano’s political aide of three and a half years, Tim Grimes, has entered the race to replace her when she retires at the end of the year. Grimes said he was motivated to run because, as a longtime political operative, he’s worked around politicians for years and felt like he was ready to lead a campaign of his own.


EDUCATION SECRETARY JOHN KING SAYS WORK IN NEWPORT NEWS IS 'ENCOURAGING'

By JANE HAMMOND, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

U.S. Secretary of Education John King enjoyed a busy morning visiting Hampton Roads on Thursday. King, named to the post after Arne Duncan resigned last year from the position, visited Heritage High School and An Achievable Dream Middle/High School in Newport News, as well as Norfolk State University's Child Development Lab. King hosted two roundtables along with Rep. Robert C. "Bobby'' Scott, D-Newport News.


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Editorials

ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR LGBT RIGHTS

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

There’s a scene in the buddy-cop comedy “21 Jump Street” in which the undercover cop played by Channing Tatum punches a student who turns out to be gay, and is roundly condemned for it. Trying to stick up for his partner, Jonah Hill argues: “In a weird way, it might have been homophobic not to punch you just because you were gay.” The line came to mind regarding the case of Samantha Cucco. A judge recently allowed her ex-husband to stop paying her spousal support. This is actually a compliment.


SELECTIVE OUTRAGE FROM THE STATE GOP

News Leader Editorial (Metered Pay Wall)

A week ago, Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D, restored voting rights to all of the state’s estimated 206,000 convicted felons. As a good friend of Hillary Clinton, the governor was no doubt at least partially, and perhaps totally, motivated by politics. He wants her to win Virginia in November. This makes Republicans angry enough to sue. Lawyers have been hired. Outrage abounds.


PORTSMOUTH'S CASUALLY SHREDS RECORDS, CREDIBILITY

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

It should be astonishing to learn that Portsmouth city officials have destroyed reams of official documents, ignoring rules for the preservation of public records. It should be, but it is not.

Columnists

RESS: LOCKE, YANCEY OFFER GLANCE AT WHAT MOTIVATES THEM

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Every once in a while, you can get a glimpse at the passion that brings people into politics. But a couple of questions at a breakfast gathering of Peninsula movers and shakers opened a bit of window today. The questions had to do with the treatment of teachers and police officers and the state of discipline and learning in public schools.

The Friday Read

FOR TRANSGENDER TEEN, NATIONAL DEBATE ON RESTROOMS IS JUST A START

By VICTORIA ST. MARTIN, Washington Post

There was the name change. The lost friendships. And the friends who kept using the wrong pronoun. Cayden McDonald, who came out in a Facebook post as transgender in April 2012, would gently remind them that he is a “he” now. But of all the awkward adjustments and ambiguity that surround the 18-year-old’s transition, one of the most delicate has been which restroom to use.