Judge halts VA governor’s opt-out school mask order, for now
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A judge has temporarily halted an executive order by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin that allowed parents to opt out of school mask mandates for their children. The ruling means that mask mandates put in place by school boards may remain in place, at least for now. Arlington Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo ruled in favor of seven school boards that filed a lawsuit challenging Youngkin’s order. It was one of the first actions taken by Youngkin after he took office on Jan. 15. The judge said that while the case is pending in court, there appears to be a benefit to keeping the current polices of universal mask mandates in place.
POLICE OFFICER INDICTED-VIRGINIA
Virginia police officer charged in driver’s fatal shooting
HENRICO, Va. (AP) — A Virginia police officer has been indicted on a voluntary manslaughter charge in the shooting death of a man after a car crash in November. Henrico County Police Officer Timothy Grant Million III was released on an unsecured bond after his initial court appearance on Friday. Henrico County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor says Million was the first officer to respond to the scene after 53-year-old Tony Elliot Singleton crashed his vehicle Nov. 6. The prosecutor says Million was the only officer who fired at Singleton. The grand jury heard testimony from a witness who saw what appeared to be a knife handle in Singleton’s waistband. Taylor says Singleton was white.
BC-VA-MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE
Appeals court throws out another pipeline permit
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — For the second time in as many weeks a federal appeals court has thrown out a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Roanoke Times reports that in a written opinion Thursday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found “serious errors” with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conclusion that the pipeline wouldn’t jeopardize endangered species in its path _ specifically the Roanoke logperch and the candy darter. The 303-mile (487-kilometer) pipeline would transport natural gas drilled from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations through West Virginia and Virginia. Last week, the same panel shot down a permit that would have allowed the pipeline to pass through the Jefferson National Forest. Mountain Valley says it’s reviewing the decision.
Police: Missing 4-year-old boy’s father charged with neglect
HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — A man who reported his 4-year-old son missing earlier this week has been arrested on unrelated child neglect charges, but Hampton’s police chief said that doesn’t mean the investigation is over. Police say Codi Bigsby has not been found, but his father, Cory Bigsby, was arrested Thursday night and charged with seven counts of felony child neglect. The charges are not directly related to his son’s disappearance. News outlets report that court documents state that Cory Bigsby admitted leaving his four children home alone on several occasions. Attorney Jeffrey Ambrose says Bigsby had been at police headquarters since Monday.
FUGITIVE MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED
Georgia murder suspect found hiding in car trunk in Virginia
DAWSON, Ga, (AP) — A Georgia man has been charged with murder in the death of a 59-year-old woman after he was caught hiding in a car trunk in Virginia. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday that it had charged 26-year-old Nakia West with felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Annie Josie Chappell. She was found dead in her home in Dawson, Georgia, on Monday. West was arrested in Greenville, Virginia, on Wednesday after deputies found Chappell’s stolen car apparently abandoned in the middle of a road. After a failed search, deputies found West hiding in the trunk with a gun as they were towing the car.
Virginia Black caucus votes not to accept Black GOP member
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The only Black Republican in the Virginia House has taken to the chamber floor to criticize the legislative Black caucus for rejecting his application for membership. A.C. Cordoza’s speech Thursday prompted a sharp rebuke from Democratic members of the caucus. The group’s chairman confirmed that the group had voted against accepting the freshman member but questioned his intentions for seeking to join. Cordoza said when he reached out about membership, he was given a policy questionnaire about whether he supported a wide range of liberal priorities. He said the questionnaire showed the group is more about politics than identity.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Committee controlled by Dems kills Youngkin education bills
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Senate committee has killed two key pieces of education legislation sought by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, including one that was designed to eliminate teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools. The committee on Thursday also killed a bill that would have made it easier to create charter schools in parts of the state. Education reform has been a key part of Youngkin’s agenda, but Democrats still narrowly control the state Senate, and so far Democrats on the Education and Health Committee have blocked his legislation from moving forward. Youngkin, though, is still moving ahead on the administrative level with an initiative to root out policies based on critical race theory.
VIRGINIA COLLEGE LOCKDOWN
Police: Gunman kills 2 Virginia college officers, arrested
BRIDGEWATER, Va. (AP) — Authorities say a gunman has shot and killed two campus officers at a private college in Virginia, promoting a campus lockdown before the suspect was found and arrested. School officials placed Bridgewater College tweeted a warning of a shooter on campus Tuesday afternoon and urged students to shelter in place. Virginia State Police say the two campus officers responded to reports of a suspicious man and that he opened fire on them, fatally wounding both officers before fleeing. Authorities say 27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell was arrested off campus and treated for a gunshot wound. He’s facing multiple murder charges.
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