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Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 3:23 AM EDT
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VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRGINIA NURSING HOMES

Northam changes position, releases nursing home virus data

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is releasing the names of nursing homes that have had a coronavirus outbreak. The announcement reverses his earlier policy of withholding the information over privacy concerns. Northam announced Friday that he is directing the Virginia Department of Health to release the names on its website. He says the widespread nature of the pandemic makes it less likely that releasing this information would violate someone’s privacy or limit cooperation with a public health investigation. Republicans blasted Northam, saying he had the legal authority to release the names much earlier.

MOTORCYCLISTS-ARMED MAN

Man facing gun charges after pointing rifle at motorcyclists

PARTLOW, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man is scheduled to appear in court next week on misdemeanor weapons charges after pointing a rifle at a group of motorcyclists who stopped in his neighborhood. The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to the private subdivision of Whelan Ridge Estates last Sunday and were met by a group of men who had pulled off into the subdivision. The men said they did not see a “Private Road No Trespassing” sign when they stopped to rest. Authorities said area resident Dennis Lee Berry pointed a semiautomatic rifle at the motorcyclists and accused them of trespassing.

BC-VA-MUSLIM CEMETERY

Feds sue Virginia county over law blocking Islamic cemetery

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Federal authorities are suing a northern Virginia county over zoning regulations that prohibit an Islamic organization from developing a religious cemetery on land it had purchased for that purpose. The Justice Department said Friday that Stafford County violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act by enacting overly restrictive regulations blocking the proposed cemetery. The complaint alleges that an amendment to the county’s zoning ordinance in 2016 blocked the All Muslim Association of America from developing an Islamic cemetery on a 29-acre (12-hectare) parcel of land. The ordinance was adopted after neighbors raised concerns about well contamination.

TRUMP-JULY FOURTH

White House announces plans for July 4th celebration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is moving ahead with a second, lower-key “Salute to America” celebration on July Fourth, despite concerns from some lawmakers about the crowds the event could generate during the coronavirus pandemic. Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument. The White House said that this year the president and first lady Melania Trump will host this year's event from the White House’s South Lawn and the Ellipse.

ELECTION 2020-VIRGINIA PRIMARY

No big-name Republicans to challenge Warner for U.S. Senate

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — For the second time in two years, no big-name Republicans in Virginia are bothering to try and win a seat in the U.S. Senate. Once a hotly contested swing state where Senate elections were decided by small margins, Virginia has swung solidly blue in the Trump era as voters in the state’s growing suburbs reject the president’s agenda. This Tuesday, three relatively unknown Republicans will compete in a primary election to take on incumbent U.S. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is seeking his third term in the Senate.

AP-VA-HEMP FACILITY-NORTHAM ANNOUNCEMENT

Northam says new facility will process hemp and CBD oil

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has announced that a company will invest more than $3 million to establish the state’s first large-scale facility to process hemp and to extract CBD oil. The governor’s office said in a statement Thursday that the project will create 22 new jobs and that the company has committed to buying 90 percent of its hemp from growers in Virginia. Blue Ribbon Extraction's facility will be located in the Town of South Boston in Halifax County, which is outside of Danville and near the North Carolina border. The Democratic governor said the company will spend $70 million on payments to Virginia farmers over the next three years.

BOAT OPERATOR-DEATH

Boat operator dies after trying to save entangled sea turtle

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say a charter boat operator has died after jumping into the ocean to try and rescue a sea turtle. Virginia Beach police said in a statement that authorities responded to a possible drowning call about 2 miles offshore on Thursday. Investigators determined passengers were on a fishing charter boat when the operator jumped off to try and save a sea turtle that appeared to be tangled in a rope. Police said someone onboard called 911 after the man began to struggle. Marine Patrol pulled him out of the water and he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Virginia Beach Police and the U.S. Coastguard are investigating.

FATAL HELICOPTER CRASH

Authorities: Pilot killed in North Carolina helicopter crash

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a helicopter pilot from Virginia has died after his aircraft struck a power line and crashed in North Carolina. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the helicopter went down in a field north of Goldsboro just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday. News outlets report that North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the pilot as Eugene John Kritter III of Culpepper, Virginia. Investigators say he was the only person on board. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

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