Archive for August, 2014
Organizers of the Lockn’ Music Festival are gearing up for this year’s event, despite complaints from ABC agents who videotaped illegal drug buys and one young woman sunbathing topless. The four-day fest, September 4- 7, will feature some big names, including Willie Nelson playing – for the first time – in Nelson County.
Natural Bridge, the geologic wonder that captivated early America, is heading toward a revival as a Virginia state park. That will likely bring more hiking and biking to the famous 215-foot tall formation. But as Hawes Spencer reports, some of the more unique sideshows, like the wax museum, are being pushed aside.
Officials at the Barnes Air National Guard Base have released his identify and the following information:
Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr. served with the 104th Fighter Wing as the full-time Wing Inspector General, responsible for the implementation of the Air Force Inspection System and as an F-15 instructor pilot with more than 2,300 flight hours. A 1996 Air Force Academy Graduate, Lt. Col. Fontenot was additionally a Weapons School Graduate with more than 17 years of F-15 flying experience. He served as a squadron commander at multiple locations.
Following Active Duty assignments in Washington D.C., Japan, Idaho, Florida, Alaska and numerous deployments to the Middle East, Lt. Col. Fontenot joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard in February 2014. He was a decorated combat veteran, earning the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal among others.
Kelsea Pieters reports.
Day 24 of the corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, began with the prosecution’s rebuttal witness, FBI Special Agent Kathryn Weber.
Since the former first lady was not a public official under the law, prosecutors must prove that the former first couple engaged in a conspiracy to win convictions on some charges.
After days of testimony by McDonnell and other witnesses that the couple did not communicate well, that was a huge challenge.
Weber compared 22 relevant months of schedules and said the couple spent about 90 percent of those nights together. But she conceded that “together” meant an overnight stay under the same roof. The defense pointed out numerous dates when McDonnell flew in from out-of-state and arrived home late at night.
Executive Mansion logs showed that Jonnie Williams visited Maureen twice when he was gone. Judge James Spencer then dismissed the jurors so that he could finalize jury instructions. Legal analyst Todd Stone said those include standards of evidence.
“The government has to prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. And all the jurors have to unanimously agree in order for there to be a finding of guilt.”
With his children embracing him for support, McDonnell briefly left the courthouse. In response to reporters, he said he wished he had done many things differently in his 60 years of life.
“I’m a human being, and like every one of you, we all do things we wish we did a little differently. It’s just the way life is.”
He admitted his fallibility—then was asked if he forgave Jonnie Williams. The former governor replied, “Sure.”
Hear the report from Anne Marie Morgan:
It wasn’t long ago that Virginia was a political powerhouse to be reckoned with. But now, Eric Cantor, its most powerful voice in Congress, has been silenced, a Virginia delegate will soon answer to charges of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor, and its nationally recognized former governor, Bob McDonnell, is on trial. Now many are asking: Is this soap opera-like trial tarnishing the state’s reputation … or causing Virginians to lose faith in their leadership? Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more.
The search continues for this missing pilot, whose F-15-C Eagle crashed in the Washington National Forest near Deerfield Valley, in Augusta County, yesterday morning.
More than 100 Military, federal, local and state personnel are active in the search and rescue operation.
Their efforts are concentrated around the southeast side of Mount Crawford, Virginia…there are nine aircraft involved in the search and ten search-and-rescue teams are on the ground canvassing logging roads, fire trails and forest roads.
The National Marriage Project is out with new and surprising findings. In a study of more than 400 couples, UVA social scientists concluded the size of your wedding matters. Sandy Hausman has that story.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell’s defense team rested their case on Day 23 of his federal corruption trial …and then lawyers for Maureen McDonnell took a turn calling witnesses for the former first lady. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, their testimonies seemed to bolster defense assertions that ex-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams pushed his gifts onto people who never asked for them…and that the former first couple’s marriage was troubled for years before they ever reached the Executive Mansion.
Week five and day 21 of the Bob and Maureen McDonnell corruption trial has neither the prosecutors nor the judge handling the former governor with care. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, Monday’s testimony had onlookers grabbing a virtual bag of popcorn and a soft drink waiting for prosecutors to really hone in on the corruption charges.
Local officials in Appomattox County are contesting with one another to see who can take the most impressive pay cut…and Virginia Tech’s new president found a surprising way to connect with incoming freshmen. Fred Echols talks with David Poole.
This fall, plenty of professors will be sending their students to the library, but one faculty member plans to send his kids into the cemeteries of Richmond to learn more about the city’s past. He’s sharing the information with the public through a website and podcasts. Sandy Hausman has that story.
On day 20 of the former first couple’s federal corruption trial and day 3 of testimony from former Governor Bob McDonnell, jurors were able to follow the money. The last two days were focused on McDonnell’s troubled marriage and how it conflicted with his job as governor. The former governor testified about the loans and relationship he had with ex-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Tommie McNeil reports.
Testimony by former governor Bob McDonnell during his federal corruption trial consisted of his description of the breakdown of his marriage and pleading to his wife and co-defendant, Maureen, about her overspending. The morning was pretty solemn—and at one point, there was some much-needed comic relief when he was asked about his own purchases. Tommie McNeil reports.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell has now taken the stand in his corruption trial.
Prosecutors in the case turned the tables on another of the defense witnesses … and momentarily backed the McDonnells’ attorneys up against a wall. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, subsequent testimony from a cabinet member and other associates MAY have created some balance between the opposing cases in the middle of this third week of the trial.
Day 16 of the federal corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife opened with Judge James Spencer thanking the jurors for being there—and saying that he had prayed for each of them last night. That was a subtle reference to the loss of three jurors since the proceedings began. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the defense continued with its witnesses and meticulously focused on McDonnell’s sister and real estate business partner—who, like his wife, is also named “Maureen.”
Day 15 of the federal corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, began with the replacement of a juror who had to go out-of-state for a family emergency. That leaves just one alternate juror in the event that any others are excused. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, this week the defense is calling the witnesses—in hopes of casting doubt on the prosecution’s case.
One Virginia locality has taken a step toward ending its prohibition of fortune telling while another will offer a second chance to dogs that kill chickens. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at Virginia Public Access Project’s V-A news link on V-PAP-dot- org. Fred Echols reports.
“Not surprised—but still disappointing.” That statement from one of Virginia’s budget-writing committee leaders is the consensus of the others who heard a dismal financial report from Governor McAuliffe. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, they nevertheless applaud the Governor for his leadership… and have already begun figuring out ways to address the projected shortfall.
The prosecution is close to wrapping up its arguments in the federal trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. This time it focused primarily on how the former governor allegedly lied on mortgage refinance applications to cover up the loans given to him and the former first lady by ex-Star Scientific CEO, Jonnie Williams. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports from the federal courthouse in Richmond.
Residents in counties around Richmond are up in arms about a plan to fertilize fields using industrial sludge and a Virginia sheriff is questioning the state’s moratorium on drones. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Governor McAuliffe has signed two executive orders to create a new framework within his administration to potentially help more children succeed. The goal is to develop, implement, and prioritize a policy agenda related to health, poverty, safety, education, nutrition, and housing. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the plan is to coordinate and strengthen public services on all levels —with a special focus on at-risk children in high-poverty communities.
The Virginia Department of Forestry celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and fans of the forests will mark the 70th birthday of the best known fire fighter – Smokey Bear. Sandy Hausman reports on a special art show organized to honor both.
Day five of the corruption trial of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, kicked off with the former first lady’s attorney cross-examining the prosecution’s key witness, ex-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the strategy seemed to include attributing most business dealings associated with the first family to Maureen and away from her husband.