VaNews

Friday April 21, 2017


Today's Sponsor:

The Nature Conservancy

April 22 is Earth Day. The Nature Conservancy is celebrating the planet by celebrating science.

Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE COMMUTES TELEGUZ’S SENTENCE

By PETE DELEA , Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe commuted Ivan Teleguz’s sentence from death to life in prison Thursday, saying his sentencing hearing was “terribly flawed and unfair.” Teleguz, 38, was convicted of murder-for-hire in 2006 in connection with the 2001 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Sipe. Virginia was set to execute the former Rockingham County resident on Tuesday.



VIRGINIA GOVERNOR COMMUTES SENTENCE OF DEATH ROW PRISONER

By RACHEL WEINER AND GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has commuted the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz, a 38-year-old man who was set to be executed Tuesday in the murder-for-hire of his former girlfriend. Teleguz has maintained his innocence in the 2001 slaying of 20-year-old Stephanie Yvonne Sipe in Harrisonburg.



VIRGINIA GOVERNOR CALLS OFF EXECUTION FOR DEATH-ROW INMATE

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER , Associated Press

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday called off a man's execution in a 2006 murder-for-hire case, citing concerns about false information provided to jurors that he believes influenced their decision to sentence him to death. Ivan Teleguz was scheduled to be executed Tuesday, but McAuliffe commuted his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.



MCAULIFFE COMMUTES IVAN TELEGUZ'S DEATH SENTENCE TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE

By FRANK GREEN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Ivan Teleguz’s death sentence for the murder-for-hire of his ex-girlfriend in 2001 was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday. Teleguz, 38, was scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the capital murder of Stephanie Yvonne Sipe, the mother of their 23-month-old son. Sipe was stabbed to death in her Harrisonburg apartment. According to trial testimony, he hired two men to kill her for $2,000 and drove them from Pennsylvania, where Teleguz had moved.



STATE PARKS GET GUBERNATORIAL BOOST – AND NEW SPLASH AREA

By STAFF REPORT, South Boston News & Record

“I saved the best for last,” said Terry McAuliffe as he completed the first-ever tour of all 37 Virginia State Parks by a Virginia governor on Monday. McAuliffe’s travels in his fourth year in office brought him to Halifax and Mecklenburg counties, home to Staunton River, Staunton River Battlefield and Occoneechee State Parks. Along with achieving a small measure of history, McAuliffe also took part in a celebration to mark a major addition to the area parks.

State Elections


COREY STEWART STRUGGLES IN GUBERNATORIAL CASH RACE

By ALEX KOMA, Sun Gazette

Corey Stewart’s long-shot campaign for the Republican nomination in the Virginia governor’s race has yet to find its financial footing as the June 13 primary nears. Stewart, the at-large chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, reported raising just over $306,000 from Jan. 1 through March 31, according to campaign finance data compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. In all, Stewart has about $409,000 in the bank, a small uptick from the $402,000 he reported having on hand on Dec. 31.



WAGNER TOUTS BUSINESS, STATE GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE

By TOM WILMOTH, Bedford Bulletin (Paywall for all articles)

State Senator Frank Wagner wants to be governor. He believes he is the only Republican candidate with true business experience and who has experience working in state government. He also touts his military experience. “It’s going well,” Wagner said of the campaign, during a brief stop in Bedford on Thursday.



GETTING TO "MEET THE CANDIDATES” AT TABB HIGH SCHOOL

By KATTERINA BABBITT, Yorktown Crier

On April 12th, Tabb High School hosted a "Meet the Candidates” event. Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, candidate for Governor of Virginia, and Justin Fairfax, candidate for Lt. Governor were the main speakers for the night. Before the main event took place at 6:30, there was a meet and greet from 5:30-6:30. This gave anyone in attendance the opportunity to talk to both Northam and Fairfax in a more informal manner. Christopher Newport University professor, Rachel Bitecofer, acted as moderator for the "interview” style event



MANASSAS MAYOR HAL PARRISH WITHDRAWING FROM DELEGATE'S RACE

By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times

City of Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish has decided he will not challenge fellow Republican Del. Jackson Miller for his 50th District House seat after all. Parrish filed to run for the Manassas-area state House of Delegate's post late last month, just days before the March 30 deadline. The seat has sentimental value to Parrish. His father, the late Harry Parrish, held it for 24 years before he died in 2006. But Parrish said Thursday it was always his intention to withdraw from the race if Miller lost his bid for Prince William County Circuit Court clerk.



HAL PARRISH WITHDRAWS FROM VIRGINIA HOUSE RACE

By ALEX KOMA, Inside NOVA

Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish has withdrawn his primary challenge for the seat representing the 50th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. That means Republican incumbent Del. Jackson Miller will avoid a June primary as he dives back into his re-election race after losing his bid to become Prince William County’s clerk of circuit court.



REPRESENTATIVE FACES DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION

By COLSTON NEWTON, Northumberland Echo

After getting a pass in 2015, Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, will face a Democrat in the coming November general election. The only question at this point is who it will be. Two Democrats are contending for the party’s nomination. Francis Edwards of Lancaster County and Vivian Messner of Westmoreland County have both filed to run for the Democratic nomination in the party’s June 13 primary election.



26TH HOUSE DEMOCRATIC HOPEFULS ADDRESS VOTERS

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Two Harrisonburg Democrats literally took it to Republican Del. Tony Wilt on Wednesday night. They went to his hometown of Broadway.

Federal Elections


STATE SEN. JENNIFER WEXTON ANNOUNCES RUN FOR REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK'S SEAT

By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

State Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton, D-Loudoun, on Thursday announced she is running for Congress next year, adding a high-profile challenger for Rep. Barbara J. Comstock, R-10th, in a Northern Virginia district that Democrats are targeting for a possible pickup. The 10th District stretches from Fairfax County west to Winchester. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the district by 10 percentage points in 2016. Comstock, who worked to distance herself from President Donald Trump, was re-elected last year with 53 percent of the vote.



IT’S OFFICIAL: STATE SEN. WEXTON LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO CHALLENGE REP. COMSTOCK

By STAFF REPORT, Loudoun Times

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton of Leesburg today became for the fourth and highest-profile Democrat to announce a campaign challenging incumbent Congresswoman Barbara Comstock in Virginia's 10th Congressional District. “I believe that public service is about working every day to make people’s lives better. I’ve spent the past two decades serving the people of Virginia -- as a prosecutor, a substitute judge, an attorney for at-risk children, and now as a legislator," Wexton said

State Government


STATE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR UTILITY RATE CHALLENGE

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

The Virginia Supreme Court is set to hold a hearing on whether a law temporarily banning state regulators from adjusting a portion of electric rates is constitutional. A group of large industrial electric customers is challenging the 2015 law, which critics have called a costly giveaway to electric monopolies Dominion Resources and Appalachian Power.

Congress


WAITING FOR GOODLATTE: SOME RESIDENTS FRUSTRATED BY CONGRESSMAN’S ABSENCE

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

If you’re a constituent of longtime Rep. Bob Goodlatte and you want to communicate with him, here are your options: You can attend one of the regularly scheduled “open-door meetings” in his district, where a Goodlatte staffer will listen to your concerns and pledge to relay them, but is not authorized to respond.

Economy/Business


AFTER A TWO YEAR FIGHT, CONTRACT WORKERS AT NATIONAL AND DULLES AIRPORTS WIN A PAY INCREASE

By LUZ LAZO AND LORI ARATANI, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Wheelchair attendants, baggage handlers and food workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports will get a boost in pay starting next year — the result of a two-year campaign for higher wages. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board voted Wednesday to require companies that do business at the airports to pay contract workers a base hourly wage of $11.55 starting in January.



LOCKHEED MARTIN LAYING OFF 64 WORKERS IN KING GEORGE

By LINDLEY ESTES, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin is laying off 64 employees at its King George County locations, according to a letter obtained by The Free Lance–Star. The letter, which was sent from Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary & Mission Systems to King George County officials, said Lockheed Martin’s local operation will remain, but the company lost contracts at its Commerce Drive and Surface Combat Systems Training Support locations.



AGRITOURISM SPENDING IS $2.2 BILLION IN VIRGINIA ECONOMY: STUDY

By NATE DELESLINE III , Inside Business

Agricultural tourism accounts for $2.2 billion in Virginia economic activity, a recent study found. Conducted by Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, the study also found that economic activity attributed to the state’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income, and adds $135 million in state and local taxes. The study is the first statewide report to measure the economic and financial impacts of Virginia’s agritourism sector, Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office said in a Thursday news release.

Transportation


TOLLS GOING DOWN EVEN MORE FOR 2,400 ENROLLED IN VDOT'S TOLL RELIEF PROGRAM

By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

About 2,400 low-income Midtown and Downtown tunnel users enrolled in a special toll relief program will now pay even less for tolls. Thanks to a one-time $500,000 donation from Elizabeth River Crossings parent companies Macquarie-Skanska, relief program enrollees will get $1 off each toll, rather than the previous 75-cent discount.

Higher Education


TUITION TO RISE 2.2% FOR IN-STATE UVA UNDERGRADS

By DEREK QUIZON, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors approved across-the-board tuition increases of 2.2 percent for in-state undergraduates and 3.5 percent for out-of-state undergraduates. An incoming first-year student from Virginia at the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences will pay $288 more than a student from the previous incoming class, or $13,348 per year.



TUITION HIKE LIKELY FOR UMW STUDENTS

By LINDLEY ESTES, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The University of Mary Washington is short $2.8 million for its 2017–18 budget, and it looks like higher tuition and fees will make up the difference. The university's Board of Visitors heard a budget presentation Thursday in preparation for voting on tuition and fee rates at its May meeting.

Virginia Other


INSURANCE CARRIER WON'T REPRESENT CITY IN LAWSUIT OVER LEE, JACKSON PARKS

By CHRIS SUAREZ, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

City Attorney Craig Brown and his staff will have to carry the burden of defending Charlottesville in a lawsuit over its efforts to remove Confederate monuments. The city’s insurance carrier, the Virginia Municipal League, has declined to provide coverage in the legal case that’s arisen over the Charlottesville City Council’s recent decision to move a statue of Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

Local


METRO, SCHOOL NEEDS LIKELY TO PUSH ARLINGTON TAX RATE UP 1.5 CENTS, BOARD SAYS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Facing rising costs from Metro and higher school enrollment, the Arlington County Board is poised to pass a 1.5 cent increase in the property tax rate, one-half cent less than what the county manager proposed and the board advertised earlier this year. The county budget, which the board will vote on Saturday, would grow 4.3 percent over the current year to about $1.2 billion.



ARLINGTON OFFICIAL CRITICIZED FOR REMARK ABOUT SLAIN U.VA. STUDENT YEARDLEY LOVE

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

An incumbent Arlington school board member running for reelection apologized Wednesday night for comments he made earlier in the day about domestic violence, after coming under fire for victim-blaming. James Lander, running for his third term on the board, expressed regret on social media for saying on a local radio station Wednesday morning that if Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student murdered in 2010 by her boyfriend, “wasn’t strong enough or educated enough to remove herself from a violent relationship then we have failed her as a society. Because if you are the smartest person with books, but you can’t apply the knowledge, then what good is it?”



PETERSBURG CITY HALL TO BE COLLATERAL IN DEAL FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES

By JOHN ADAM , Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

City officials are being forced to turn to some unlikely heroes to make sure the city’s fire and EMS services receive much needed new vehicles. Because of the city’s financial crisis, officials are making a deal with private citizens who can front the cost . The city is also willing to put up city hall as collateral for the deal.



COUNCILMAN MARK WHITAKER TURNS HIMSELF IN AT PORTSMOUTH JAIL ON FELONY ID FRAUD AND FORGERY CHARGES

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY AND ANA LEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Councilman Mark Whitaker was indicted Thursday on 20 felony charges of identity fraud, forgery and using forged checks. A special grand jury impaneled to hear evidence about Whitaker’s church, New Bethel Baptist Church, and its development company and its now-defunct credit union returned the indictments.



NORFOLK SCHOOL OFFICIALS PLEAD THEIR CASE TO CITY COUNCIL FOR ADDITIONAL $10 MILLION IN FUNDING

By MATT MCKINNEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Superintendent Melinda Boone and School Board Chairman Rodney Jordan went to the City Council on Wednesday to argue for a $10 million boost a week after the interim city manager presented a budget with no increased school funding. “We ask you to take this journey with us,” Boone said during a public budget hearing at Granby High School.



WOMAN INDICTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT FROM COUNTY TREASURER’S OFFICE

By SUSAN LIGHT, Chatham Star Tribune

A Pittsylvania County Grand Jury indicted a county woman Monday on five counts of embezzling money from the Pittsylvania County Treasurer’s Office. Leslie Meadows Motley, a former employee of the county treasurer’s office, is charged with embezzling more than $200 five different times between January 2014 and April 2014.



COUNTY AGREES TO SETTLE IN CIVIL LAWSUIT

By ANITA SHERMAN, Culpeper Times

It’s been a full year since the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors considered a request by the Islamic Center of Culpeper for a pump and haul permit on a parcel of land, about an acre, located on Route 229 at 14434 Rixeyville Road. It was at their April board meeting in 2016 that the board denied the request by a 4-3 vote.

Online News


METRO FUNDING PROPOSED FROM D.C., MARYLAND, VIRGINIA SALES TAX, OUTSOURCING OF UNION JOBS

By RYAN M. MCDERMOTT, Washington Times

The chairman of Metro’s board of directors is hailing General Manger Paul Wiedefeld’s call for dedicated funding for long-term repairs and lower labor costs for the troubled transit system, but the union representing most Metro workers said it is “bad for the region.”


Today's Sponsor:

The Nature Conservancy

April 22 is Earth Day. The Nature Conservancy is celebrating the planet by celebrating science.

Editorials


IT'S TIME TO LISTEN TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

When the Founding Fathers were debating and drafting what would become the U.S. Constitution over the summer of 1787, they envisioned the House of Representatives as the governmental institution that would be closest to the people. Why? So the average citizen would have a representative in the federal government who would directly advocate on their behalf as the nation’s business was conducted.



THE STAIN BURFOOT LEAVES BEHIND

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

It is difficult to drive through Norfolk’s Third Ward and not see Anthony Burfoot’s handiwork. In his 11 years on City Council, the now-disgraced official was a passionate advocate for his ward, which included poverty-stricken neighborhoods that had long suffered from neglect. The results were impressive. In Broad Creek, where two deteriorating public housing projects once stood, hundreds of homes are populated with families with a range of incomes. With a shopping center, restaurants and inviting park space, it is a safer, more attractive neighborhood.



BUFFOONERY

Richmond Free Press Editorial

We shudder thinking about the buffoonery of the Virginia unit leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The venerable civil rights organization was started by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. On Tuesday, the 49th anniversary of Dr. King’s death, the Rev. William Avon Keen of Danville, president of the Virginia SCLC, and Andrew Shannon of Newport News, the Virginia SCLC’s vice president, met with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington and presented him with a proclamation lauding his civil rights record.



MOSQUE SETTLEMENT WAS ONLY WAY OUT

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

With its 4–3 vote this week to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors has done the right thing for itself, for the taxpayers of Culpeper, for the Islamic Center of Culpeper and for constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion.



TRUMP'S BUDGET DIRECTOR DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE APPALACHIAN ECONOMY

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

President Trump’s budget director gave a remarkable interview last week on the CNBC network. It’s remarkable because of what Mick Mulvaney had to say about the decision to eliminate funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, the federal agency that helps pay for a lot of economic development infrastructure in the region. Appalachia supported Trump more strongly that almost any other part of the country.



IS TOM PERRIELLO THE KEN CUCCINELLI OF 2017?

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Many people have compared Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello to Bernie Sanders, and you can understand why: Like Sanders, Perriello has upset the establishment by running an insurgency campaign to the left of the presumed nominee. But another comparison seems equally apt, if not more so. Maybe Perriello is the Democrats’ Ken Cuccinelli.



MCAULIFFE MAKES THE RIGHT MOVE BY COMMUTING TELEGUZ'S SENTENCE

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a politically risky but ethically imperative decision this afternoon by commuting the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz to life without parole. As we noted in an editorial a few days ago, substantial doubts have been raised about the case. Two of the principal witnesses against him have recanted and the third made a deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty himself.

The Friday Read


NOTHING SAYS NATIONAL ARCHIVES LIKE A TRUMP SHOT GLASS

By MICHAEL E. MILLER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

At the Newseum gift shop, the top-selling items don’t pertain to freedom of speech or the press. Instead, what sells is anything associated with the man who has dubbed the media “the enemy of the people.” President Donald J. Trump. It’s a similar situation at the National Archives, where employees struggle to keep the shelves stocked with Trump shot glasses.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: MONEY GAP NARROWS, BUT HOUSE GOP HAS BIG HEAD START

The Virginia Public Access Project

Democrats running for the House of Delegates this November raised $1 million more than they spent during the first three months of 2017. Republicans added only $200,000 to their war chest, but collectively the GOP still has more than twice as much money in the bank. VPAP's latest data visualization provides an overall snapshot of the 2017 House contests.