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VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING

Reunion site named after hero of Virginia Beach shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The post office where survivors reunited after a mass shooting in a Virginia Beach government office building has been named after the man who gave his own life for his co-workers. The Virginian-Pilot reported that a plaque was unveiled Friday honoring Ryan Keith Cox at the post office that now bears his name. In interviews, Cox’s co-workers have said he ushered women into a room and told them to barricade the door. Cox then left to see if anyone else needed help. The gunman and shot and killed him soon after that.  He was one of 12 people killed in the mass shooting May 31.

SOLAR POWER

Applachian Power Co. renews search for solar projects

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — More than a year after requesting proposals for large-scale solar farms, Appalachian Power Co. is still searching for projects.  The utility issued its call for solar farms in November 2018. Appalachian Power said in a news release that it recently renewed that request when the first round “did not result in any viable projects." The Roanoke Times reports that Appalachian said it is looking to buy projects that will produce up to 200 megawatts — enough to power more than 30,000 homes. A 2018 law requires Appalachian to construct or acquire solar generation projects capable of producing at least 200 megawatts by July 1, 2028.

FATAL TRUCK PLUNGE

Widow sues over NC trucker's death in Chesapeake Bay plunge

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The widow of a North Carolina truck driver who died when his rig plunged off Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 2017 is suing for $6 million. The Virginian-Pilot reports the lawsuit filed by Billie Jo Chen against the CBBT says the bridge-tunnel’s own wind and gauge policy should have prohibited Joseph Chen from crossing the bridge. Attorneys with Pender & Coward, the Virginia Beach firm representing the CBBT, did not respond to interview requests from The Virginian-Pilot.  Filings in Northampton County Circuit Court show the CBBT is claiming sovereign immunity, which typically protects governmental entities from negligence lawsuits.

CAMPAIGN EMBEZZLEMENT

7-year sentence imposed for theft from campaign, others

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former lawyer has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for embezzling more than $1.6 million from groups including the campaign fund of Virginia's Democratic Senate majority leader, Richard Saslaw. Seventy-one-year-old David H. Miller of Fairfax was sentenced Friday in federal court in Alexandria. A jury convicted Miller on fraud and other counts last year. Prosecutors say he embezzled not just from Saslaw's campaign but also a Canadian business and an autism organization. Miller's wife, Linda Wallis, was Saslaw's campaign treasurer. She was sentenced to nearly five years for her role in the scheme. The embezzlement from Saslaw's campaign exceeded $650,000.

AP-US-VIRGINIA-GUN-LAWS

Virginia House advances gun control measures

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrats in the Virginia House are advancing a package of gun-control measures less than a week after tens of thousands of pro-gun advocates from around the country rallied at the state Capitol. But the bills did not include a proposed assault weapon ban, a top priority for Gov. Ralph Northam and one that's drawn fierce resistance from gun-rights advocates. A Democratic-led House committee voted Friday for several pieces of gun legislation that a Republican majority has blocked for years. Those bills include limiting handgun purchases to once a month and universal background checks on gun purchases.

VETERANS LAWSUIT-DISCHARGE RECORDS

Veterans group: Lawsuit prompts Pentagon to reopen database

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A veterans group says the Pentagon will reopen a records database that helps service members to appeal a less-than-honorable discharge. The National Veterans Legal Services Program had sued the Defense Department over a lack of access to the database. It contains decisions by military review boards that grant or deny a veteran’s discharge appeal. Veterans study those decisions in hopes of building successful arguments of their own. The veterans group said Friday that the Pentagon has agreed to make almost all of the records available by the end of March. Veterans can lose some or all of their benefits depending on the their discharge.

OFFICER-FATAL DRAGGING

Virginia police officer dragged by car dies from injuries

Police in Virginia say a man has been charged in Newport News with felony homicide after a 24-year-old police officer was fatally dragged by a vehicle during a traffic stop. Police Chief Steve Drew said Friday during an emotional news conference that Katie Thyne was one of two officers standing by the vehicle. It drove a block before slamming into a tree Thursday evening. Drew said the driver was Vernon Green II. He said Green's vehicle was pulled over because of a drug complaint. Drew said Thyne was a hero and a U.S. Navy veteran who left behind a 2-year-old daughter and a loving partner.

CNS-ANIMAL TETHERING

Tethering bill adds new protections for animals kept outside

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Animal rights advocates want lawmakers to advance legislation that expands on a tethering bill passed last year by the General Assembly. The new legislation would increase the minimum length of a tether and adds conditions that include temperature, severe weather and require the animal to be brought inside when the owner isn’t home. Senate Bill 272, introduced by Sen. John Bell, D-Loudon, would increase the required length of the tether from 10 feet or three times the length of the animal to 15 feet or four times the length of the animal.