Va. inmate escapes while on work-release job
WEYERS CAVE, Va. (AP) - Authorities are searching the Weyers Cave area for an inmate who escaped while on work release.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says 44-year-old Karan Batra escaped at about 10 a.m. Wednesday. He was a member of a work release crew landscaping the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport's grounds.
Batra is described as an Asian male, 5-feet 5-inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans and an orange Virginia Department of Corrections work shirt when he was last seen.
Geller says Batra has connections to the Alexandria area.
She says Batra's convictions are for non-violent crimes and he isn't considered dangerous. However, he shouldn't be approached.
The Virginia Department of Corrections says Batra was assigned to Cold Springs Work Center.
2 charged in Va after kids found in filthy camper
SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) - A man and a woman face charges in Suffolk after police found two young children covered with bug bites inside a locked and filthy camper trailer.
Police tell media outlets that the officers forced their way into the camper after they heard crying. They found a 2-year-old girl and a 6-month-old boy inside.
The officers also found soiled diapers, feces and urine-covered bedding.
The camper was in the backyard of a residence where the officers went Tuesday morning to serve a warrant in a different case.
The children were taken to a local hospital and later released to their grandfather.
Police charged 23-year-old Jaronda Rena Wilson of Newport News and 22-year-old Laron Huston Neal of Suffolk with abuse and neglect, reckless disregard and cruelty and injuries to children.
Va. AG presses Treasury to release funds
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office is pressing the federal Treasury Department to go ahead and release Virginia's $115 million share of a national Medicaid fraud settlement.
The state has been promised the money for leading an investigation that resulted in last year's $1.5 billion settlement with Abbott Laboratories. The attorney general's office expects to receive an initial $10 million payment this week. But the Treasury Department said earlier this month that it needed more details on how the office plans to spend the rest.
In a letter released Wednesday, a deputy attorney general tells the Treasury Department that its demand for more information is inconsistent with its own guidelines and past practice. He asks the department to immediately release the money so Virginia can earn interest on it.
POLICE CHIEF CHARGED
SW Va. police chief faces drug charge
ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - A police chief in southwestern Virginia has been charged with drug distribution.
Marion Police Chief Michael Dean Roberts was arrested Wednesday morning on one count of distribution of a controlled substance. An affidavit filed by a federal agent in U.S. District Court in Abingdon accuses the 54-year-old Saltville resident of selling the prescription painkiller Lortab to a cooperating witness.
Court records do not list an attorney for Roberts, and no hearing date has been scheduled.
Roberts did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment.
Suspect in Va trooper's slaying faces more charges
DINWIDDIE, Va. (AP) - A man accused of killing a Virginia State Police trooper is facing more charges.
Russell E. Brown of Chesterfield had been charged with capital murder, attempted capital murder and two firearms counts.
Last month, a Dinwiddie County grand jury indicted the 28-year-old Chesterfield man on the original charges and additional counts of attempted murder, malicious shooting and another firearms charge.
Commonwealth's Attorney Lisa Caruso tells The Progress-Index the new charges were added after more information was received.
Brown is charged with fatally shooting Master Trooper Junius Walker on Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie County on March 7.
According to court documents, Brown told investigators that God made him do it.
Caruso says the results of a court-ordered evaluation of Brown have not yet come back.
Gehry refines design for Eisenhower Memorial in DC
WASHINGTON (AP) - Stone or bronze carvings depicting Dwight D. Eisenhower's accomplishments as Army general and president mark the latest creative change Architect Frank Gehry has made to his design for an Ike memorial park in Washington.
Early last year, Gehry planned to use bas reliefs carved on stone blocks to depict Eisenhower's achievements. He added 9-foot-tall bronze sculptures to the design in May 2012 after members of Eisenhower's family said the memorial needed stronger sculptural elements to show the 34th president's achievements more prominently.
Now Gehry is proposing that he use bas reliefs, either in stone or bronze, to serve as backdrops for the heroic-sized sculptures.
The Associated Press got an early look at the design changes, which will be reviewed Wednesday by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
JAMES RIVER-POWER LINE
Proposed James River power line sparks alarm
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The National Trust for Historic Places has added a section of the James River to its list of America's Most Endangered Historic Places because of a proposed power transmission line that would mar the scenic approach to some of Virginia's most significant historic places.
A coalition of preservation groups and others welcomed the designation Wednesday and said it would increase awareness of the Dominion Virginia Power proposal.
In a statement, Dominion said it had "thoroughly investigated all viable alternatives" before settling on the route of the transmission line.
Dominion is seeking approved of the State Corporation Commission to build the transmission line. The 8-mile transmission line would cross 4.1 miles over the river and entail as many as 17 towers.
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