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Lawmakers support raises for teachers, state employees

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia state employees and public school teachers could soon be getting raises and bonuses. Money committees in both the state House and Senate on Sunday unveiled their proposed versions of a two-year and more than $135 billion state spending plan. Both contain larger proposed raises than what Gov. Ralph Northam had proposed. Each chamber will now vote on its version of a state budget before trying to reconcile their differences before the legislative session ends next month There are key differences between proposed budgets, with teacher and state employee compensation being one of the most high-profile.


Shoplifting arrest ends search for teen accused of killings

MIDLAND, Va. (AP) — Police say a 17-year-old boy charged with fatally shooting his mother and 6-year-old brother in their Virginia home was apprehended after he tried to shoplift hair dye, clothes and a backpack from a North Carolina department store. Sgt. James Hartman, a spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia, said Levi Norwood was arrested Saturday after employees at a Target in Durham, North Carolina, found him in the sporting goods section and called police. Investigators didn’t immediately find any guns in Norwood’s possession, but Fauquier County Sheriff Robert Mosier said a car allegedly stolen by the teenage suspect would be returned to Virginia and searched for weapons.


Man facing prison term for plot to obtain $1M in stolen TVs

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Maryland are recommending a prison sentence of more than five years for a man who pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain hundreds of stolen televisions worth more than $1 million. Prosecutors explained in a court filing Saturday why they are recommending a 65-month sentence for Saul Eady. A defense attorney is seeking a three-year prison sentence for Eady, who pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud. U.S. District Judge George Hazel is scheduled to sentence Eady on Feb. 24.


Police: DNA, genealogy tests linked suspect to 1992 killing

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Investigators used DNA and genealogy tests to identify a suspect in a 28-year-old deadly robbery in Maryland, a man who was shot and killed when law-enforcement officers tried to arrest him in Virginia last week. Hans Huitz, a 51-year-old auto mechanic, was wanted on warrants charging him with first-degree murder and robbery in the March 1992 killing of James Essel, the 57-year-old owner of Sugarloaf Mountain Market in Comus, Maryland. Police said recent tests showed that Huitz was the source of a blood trail found at the market where Essel was robbed and stabbed 29 times.


Work begins on $20M beach replenishment project in Virginia

SANDBRIDGE, Va. (AP) — A $20 million project to replenish a 5-mile stretch of beach in Virginia is beginning after scheduling delays. Sand for replenishing Sandbridge Beach is coming from the Sandbridge Shoal, a site a few miles offshore. Contractors will widen the beach up to 90 feet and raise it to six feet. The Virginian-Pilot reports that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start mobilizing equipment at Little Island Park. Work to replenish Sandbridge Beach was scheduled to start last year, but the Corps said that plan was delayed due to a government shutdown and the need to complete other work at a resort area before hurricane season.


Tenn. university to offer tuition discounts in 9 states

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee university plans to offer discounted tuition to students from nine surrounding states. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the new regional tuition program will start this fall at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Under the program, students from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia would pay about $18,000 a year instead of about $26,000 a year as out-of-state students. University officials say the goal of the new regional tuition program is to attract and retain diverse talent in the area as well as reach enrollment goals laid out for the University of Tennessee system.


Bowhunting group says NJ bear set world record

A bowhunting organization says a 700-pound bear shot in New Jersey last fall has set a world record as the largest black bear killed with a bow and arrow in North America. The Pope and Young Club, a bowhunting and conservation organization, said the bear killed Oct. 14 in Morris County toppled a record set in 1993 by a hunter in California. The new record was announced after a special panel of judges was assembled Feb. 8 in Harrisburg, the group said. The mounted animal is to be displayed at the group's annual convention in Virginia in March.