Dec. 17-18 set for recount in Va. AG's race
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The recount in Virginia's historically close race for attorney general has been scheduled.
Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals set the dates of Dec. 17 and 18 at a hearing Wednesday, allowing Fairfax County to begin its recount on the 16th with the rest of the state's localities joining in the next two days. The additional time was given to Fairfax County because of its population and array of voting machines.
Once localities complete the recount, a three-judge recount court will convene to settle any challenged ballots.
Democrat Mark Herring has a 165-vote edge over Republican Mark Obenshain in the closest statewide race in modern Virginia political history.
Obenshain requested the recount, which will be done at taxpayer expense.
Both men are hoping to succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Va. panel reprimands doctor for narcotic dosage
Information in the following story is from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com)
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - A Virginia Board of Medicine panel has reprimanded a doctor who ordered more than twice the recommended dosage of a narcotic for a teenager.
The three-member board also ordered Dr. Joyce Luteyn to complete 16 hours of training in pain management and record keeping.
The Roanoke Times reports that the board's action came Wednesday following a hearing in Richmond.
Luteyn ordered 4 milligrams of Dilaudid for 17-year-old Jessica Erin Hart of Monvale on April 4 at a MedExpress in Roanoke County. Hart went to the urgent care center for treatment of a severe sore throat.
The teenager died several hours after receiving the dosage. An autopsy found that her death was caused by complications from mononucleosis.
Luteyn has 30 days to appeal the reprimand to the full board.
Report: Arts, culture add $500B to nation's GDP
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government's first official measure of the impact of arts and culture on the economy has found the creative industries account for more than $500 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services.
On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts will release the first estimates of the creative sector's contributions to U.S. gross domestic product. GDP measures the nation's production of goods and services. The latest numbers are from 2011.
Researchers found the leading contributors were Hollywood movies, the advertising industry and cable TV production, followed by broadcasting, publishing and performing arts. The total output for arts and cultural commodities was $916 billion.
Researchers also analyzed the creative sector's employment, exports and the impact of the recession.
Richmond zoo adds 2nd webcam for cheetah and cubs
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Fans of a cheetah and her cubs at the Metro Richmond Zoo can now watch and hear the animals as they eat.
The zoo has installed a second webcam by the cheetahs' feeding area. The other webcam is mounted at the rear of the cheetahs' wooden shelter.
Zoo owner and director Jim Andelin tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the new camera provides audio, unlike the original camera.
The cheetahs' feeding trays are placed in the feeding area each day between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The Richmond Cheetah Cam went live Nov. 8. It's a partnership of the zoo and the newspaper.
The cubs were born at the zoo in western Chesterfield County on Oct. 6.
VDOT chief calls for speedup of E-ZPass marketing
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton says the state needs to speed up an E-ZPass marketing campaign before tolls begin on two Hampton Roads tunnels.
Tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels will be collected electronically using E-ZPass. The tolls begin Feb. 1.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Connaughton criticized the marketing campaign's pace on Wednesday during a Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting in Richmond.
Virginia Department of Transportation consultant John Martin told the board that the agency planned to begin the marketing campaign in January. The goal is to distribute 75,000 E-ZPass transponders by February.
At Connaughton's urging, Martin said VDOT will look for ways to begin some advertising sooner.
Assisted living expansion planned in Front Royal
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Commonwealth Assisted Living plans a $1.5 million expansion of its assisted living community in Front Royal.
The expansion of The Southerlands includes a second elevator, renovation of a ground-floor dining area and an open stairway in the entrance lobby.
Commonwealth Assisted Living says the expansion will create up to 10 jobs.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2014.
The Daily Progress reports that the company announced the project Wednesday.
Charlottesville-based Commonwealth Assisted Living and its affiliates operate 18 senior living communities in Virginia.
US ag secretary touts farm efforts in bay cleanup
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says conservation practices by farmers have reduced runoff into the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
A report released Thursday shows farmers have made significant progress reducing sediments, pesticides and other pollutants that flow into the bay. More than 15 million tons of sediment have been reduced annually. That's enough to fill 150,000 cars on a train that would stretch from Washington, D.C., to Albuquerque, N.M.
Vilsack said the study shows farmers and ranchers are reducing nitrogen pollution by 48.6 million pounds each year and reducing phosphorus by 7.1 million pounds.
He credits voluntary, incentive-based conservation measures.
After years of neglect, the bay is amid a multi-year, multi-state restoration led by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware are among the clean-up partners.
2014 hearing set in capital murder case
WOODSTOCK, Va. (AP) - A January court date has been scheduled for a Woodstock woman who is charged with capital murder in the abuse death of her fiancé's young son.
The Jan. 8 hearing in the case of 26-year-old Nicole Dawn Miller is to hear defense motions.
Miller's court-appointed attorneys filed motions Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court in Woodstock. The Daily News Record reports that two seek funding for expert witnesses.
Miller was arrested June 3 and charged with child abuse and child endangerment after the boy was critically injured at her home in Woodstock. The child died two days later and Miller was indicted for capital murder.
Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley has said she will seek the death penalty if Miller is found guilty of the murder charge.
NEW LICENSE PLATE
Virginia redesigns standard license plates
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Department of Motor Vehicles has redesigned the state's standard license plate to incorporate the "Virginia is for lovers' slogan.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled the new design Wednesday.
The new plates display the tourism slogan near the bottom of the plate in black letters with a red heart in place of the "v'' in "lovers." Underneath, in smaller print, is "Virginia.org."
The new plate otherwise appears the same as the basic blue and white plates that have been the standard for decades.
According to the DMV, this is the first new design for the standard-issue plate since the state distributed special ones marking the 400th anniversary of Jamestown in 2007.
The DMV will begin issuing the new plates on March 1.
BLUE RIDGE TUNNEL
Va. rail tunnel focus of restoration effort
STAUNTON, Va. (AP) - A foundation is preparing to take the wraps off a restoration plan for a 155-year-old former railroad tunnel linking Nelson and Augusta counties.
Proponents want to resurrect the 5,000-foot Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel as a walking trail. Initial estimates put the cost at $4 million.
The tunnel is more than 700 feet beneath Rockfish Gap.
Rail cars stopped using the tunnel in 1944 when a new tunnel was opened that could accommodate more freight.
Augusta and Waynesboro are part of the planning for what organizers hope will be an attraction for tourists and connect nearby federal parks and a major bike route.
The News Leader says more details on the project will be revealed next month.
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