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Tornado slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

CAPE CHARLES, Va. (AP) - Virginia State Police say a New Jersey couple was killed after a tornado caused a tree to fall on their tent at a popular campground.

State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, of Jersey City, New Jersey, were killed Thursday morning as a fierce storm ripped through the campground.

Geller says three dozen people were hurt, including the couple's 13-year-old son who was in a tent next to his parents. He has life-threatening injuries.

Geller says the National Weather Service confirmed the storm was a tornado.


US issues 186 mining citations in June

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - The Mine Safety and Health Administration says inspectors issued 186 citations at 13 U.S. mining operations in June.

Eleven of those mines were coal operations, while the others were metal and nonmetal.

MSHA cited as examples Thursday coal mines in Virginia and West Virginia.

Twenty-five citations were issued at the Dickenson-Russell Coal Co. LLC's Cherokee Mine in Dickenson County, Virginia.

The West Virginia inspection occurred at Rhino Eastern LLC's Eagle Mine 3 in Wyoming County. MSHA said it found dozens of violations.

The impact inspections began in 2010 after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia killed 29 coal miners.


DC police say they issued 5 pot citations

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police in the District of Columbia issued five citations for marijuana possession in the first week of a new law that decriminalized possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Araz Alali said Thursday that five citations had been issued, though those numbers could change. He said four of the citations were issued in the city's seventh district, the southeast part of the city. One was issued in the city's fifth district. No other district reported issuing a citation.

The law that went into effect last Thursday replaced criminal penalties for possession of one ounce of pot with a $25 civil fine. It's not clear how long the law will last, however. The House has approved a spending bill that includes language barring the District from implementing the law.


NJ man sentenced in fatal college party shooting

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the fatal shooting of a New Jersey college student from Virginia.

The Essex County prosecutor's office says Marcus J. Bascus was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges in the death of Jessica Moore, a 19-year-old Disputanta, Virginia resident who was a sophomore honors student at Seton Hall University.

Prosecutors say the 23-year-old Bascus of East Orange admitted he gave a gun to 29-year-old Nicholas Welch of East Orange, who used it to open fire after he was denied entry to an off-campus party near Seton Hall in September 2010. The shooting killed Moore and wounded four other students who have since recovered.

Welch is serving an 80-year prison sentence for Moore's murder.


Tanker overturns, spills gas on I-95 in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state police say a tanker truck has overturned and spilled gasoline on Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County.

Spokeswoman Corinne Geller says the southbound truck collided with another vehicle at 6:07 a.m. Thursday near the 57-mile marker. The truck then veered off the interstate, struck a wall and overturned.

Geller says cleanup crews are pumping the gasoline out of the tank in order to contain the leak.

She says the truck's driver was taken to VCU Medical Center for treatment of injuries that were serious but not life threatening. The driver and two passengers in the other vehicle were transported to Chippenham Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The interstate's southbound lanes and two northbound lanes were closed for several hours.


Va. workplace death investigated

GALAX, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry are investigating a workplace death in Galax (GAY'-laks).

The Roanoke Times reports that the victim, Benjamin Lee Hancock, died Wednesday at American Mirror Co. after he became trapped in a piece of machinery.

The Carroll County man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hancock's body was sent to the Western Virginia Regional Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.


Va. birthplace of Secretariat stages reunion

DOSWELL, Va. (AP) - A weekend thoroughbred horse show at the farm that produced Triple Crown great Secretariat will be an equine family reunion of sorts.

Organizers of the Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Show say 51 horses that are related to Secretariat or other Meadow Farm champions will be featured at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The show will open Friday and continue through Sunday.

Organizers say the gathering of thoroughbreds honors the legacy of Meadow Stable.

Secretariat was born in 1970 at Meadow Farm. Now known as The Meadow Event Park, the site is home of the annual State Fair of Virginia.

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