Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 3:23 AM EDT
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Confederate statues stored at Richmond waste water plant

At least some of the Confederate monuments that have been recently removed from places of prominence in Richmond, Virginia, are being stored on the grounds of a waste water treatment plant. That's according to photos taken this week by The Associated Press and Richmond Times-Dispatch that show a collection of statues and other large objects under tarps at the facility just outside the city’s downtown. On July 1, Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city property in Richmond, a onetime capital of the Confederacy. The City Council is expected to weigh in on what happens to them next.


Rocket with classified payloads launches from Eastern Shore

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) — A rocket carrying classified payloads for the U.S. government has launched from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland, reports that Wednesday morning’s launch was the first-ever mission by the U.S. Space Force from Wallops. The rocket was carrying payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office. The federal agency is in charge of designing and building America’s intelligence satellites. The Minotaur IV rock is 78 feet tall and is built and operated by Northrop Grumman. It’s made from commercial parts as well as those of a decommissioned Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile.


Virginia congressman flooded with unemployment complaints

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia congressman is raising an alarm about the state’s delays in delivering unemployment benefits, saying he’s received two months of “continuous complaints” from his constituents. Democratic Rep. A. Donald McEachin's letter to Virginia Employment Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess describes hundreds of phone calls and online requests from constituents, who have been unable to receive benefits, stopped receiving benefits without warning or explanation, or were unable to reach VEC staff by phone or email. The Associated Press and other media outlets have documented similar complaints about the commission, which has been dealing with an unprecedented flood of applications for benefits.


Virginia board votes to change two Confederate school names

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (AP) — A public school board in Virginia has voted to change the name of two schools named for Confederate leaders. News outlets report the Hanover County Public Schools Board voted 4-3 to rename Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Mechanicsville. Board members have yet to decide on replacement names. The schools were named for Confederates during the civil rights movement more than 50 years ago. Most of the public comments were in favor of the change. The board’s vote comes two months after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the NAACP in Hanover alleging the names violate the constitutional rights of Black students.


Police: Virginia teen dead, child wounded after shooting

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Authorities in Virginia's capitol say a teenager has died and a 3-year-old child has been hospitalized for a gunshot wound after someone opened fire outside an apartment building. News outlets report Richmond police found the 15-year-old boy in an apartment where he went after being struck by gunfire outside the building. He was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday night. The 3-year-old girl was found with a gunshot wound in another apartment. Police say she was transported to a hospital and is expected to recover. Officials have not identified a suspect.


Woman charged with helping inmates escape Virginia facility

BON AIR, Va. (AP) — Authorities said a woman who worked at a Virginia juvenile correctional facility was accused of helping two inmates escape. Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center employee Destiny L. Harris was charged Tuesday with two counts of aiding with the escape of a juvenile. It’s unclear what role Harris may have had in the escape. It’s also unclear whether Harris had an attorney. Authorities said 20-year-old Jabar A. Taylor and 18-year-old Rashad E. Williams escaped from the Bon Air center Monday through a cut hole in the perimeter fence. Both men are still on the run and may have fled to another state.


Virginia teenager sentenced to six months in fatal crash

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia teenager will serve six months in jail for a fatal wreck in 2019 that killed a friend. The Roanoke Times reports 19-year-old Robert Author Smith pleaded no contest in Roanoke County Circuit Court on Tuesday to one count of reckless driving. An involuntary manslaughter charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement. Authorities said Smith was driving his father’s pickup truck on May 31, 2019 when he drove the car into a sharp turn at an intersection that caused the truck to flip. Aaron Chilson McNair, who was riding in the bed of the truck, suffered a traumatic head injury and died at a hospital.


Virginia boosts enforcement as cases rise near beaches

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he’s ramping up enforcement of a mask mandate and social distancing measures at restaurants and stores because he’s concerned about a rising number in cases, particularly among young people, in areas near the state’s beaches. Northam said Tuesday that the state is doing well overall but he wants to avoid a spike in cases that other southern states, like Texas and Florida, are currently experiencing. The governor, a Democrat, said some restaurant owners and patrons are clearly flouting the state’s guidelines requiring wearing masks in public and limiting how bars operate in the Hampton Roads area, which is contributing to the increase.