This Hour: Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

This Hour: Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment

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Ex-governor's corruption trial focuses on marriage

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Lawyers defending former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife against corruption charges say the couple couldn't have been scheming together to accept bribes from a businessman because their marriage was falling apart.

The attorneys said the couple had a long-broken marriage and that Maureen McDonnell had developed a crush on a businessman who is the prosecution's star witness.

The McDonnells are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in loans, designer clothes, vacations and a Rolex watch from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific. Prosecutors say that in exchange, they helped to promote Williams' business. If convicted, they could face decades in prison.

The trial is set to resume Wednesday morning with the continued testimony of Williams' assistant, Jerri Fulkerson.


Virginia man whose son died pleads to charges

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - A Bedford man accused of waiting several hours to report the death of his 2-year-old son in order to clean up a meth lab in his home has pleaded guilty to child abuse and methamphetamine manufacturing.

Media outlets report 26-year-old Michael Anthony Smith entered the plea Tuesday in Bedford County court.

The child's mother, 24-year-old Shana Marie Witt, is charged with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Witt left her bedroom while Smith remained in bed on Feb. 27. According to Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Krantz, she returned and told Smith she had "done something bad." Witt and Smith then had sex and waited to call 911 in order to hide the signs of cooking meth.

The child was pronounced dead at Bedford Memorial Hospital. An autopsy showed the boy suffocated.


DMV's mobile service centers traveling across Va.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' mobile service centers are travelling across the state to better help customers.

Officials say the five "DMV 2 Go" service centers are making stops around the state in August. Each full service office provides all DMV transactions.

And the DMV's partnership with other government agencies also will allow customers to buy copies of Virginia birth certificates, obtain E-ZPass transponders and apply for their hunting or fishing licenses.

A full list of upcoming stops can be found at .


Norfolk skate park closed for graffiti cleanup

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A Norfolk skate park has been temporarily closed for graffiti cleanup.

The Virginian-Pilot reports city workers are removing purple and red spray paint from the Northside Skate Park this week.

Police Cpl. Melinda Wray says police are investigating the graffiti, which was left on two separate days earlier this month.

Norfolk parks spokeswoman Jennifer Cauldwell says vandals have left their marks on the park's concrete about six times this summer.

Cauldwell says park officials hope to have it reopened later this week.


Virginia teen sentenced in wreck that killed 2

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - A teenager has been sentenced to serve up to four years in a prison program for young offenders in a November crash that killed two passengers.

The 17-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday in Roanoke County Circuit Court on two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The Roanoke Times reports that under state law, the incarceration will be reviewed by the Virginia Parole Board to determine when he's fit for release.

Court records show the youth got into his mother's car without permission on Nov. 11 and picked up a group of friends. He was driving on a learner's permit that had been suspended five days before due to another crash.

Killed in the Nov. 11 accident were 20-year-old Jefferson Cody Elliott and 18-year-old Danial Wayne Buckner.


Buses to replace trains on section of red line

WASHINGTON (AP) - Metro says free shuttle buses will replace trains on a section of the red line this weekend.

Metro says beginning Saturday and continuing through system closing on Sunday buses will replace red line trains between NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten. The Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland stations will be closed.

Metro says customers using the shuttle buses should allow an additional 10 minutes of travel time for each station stop.

Metro says elsewhere on the red line trains will run every 10 minutes.

Metro says the orange, blue, yellow, green and silver lines will operate at regular weekend intervals.


Coast Guard says drownings are up in 5th District

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard 5th District is emphasizing safety on the water following 40 drownings that occurred from northern New Jersey to southern North Carolina this summer.

A statement from the Coast Guard says that of the 40 boating- or swimming-related deaths, 34 people were not wearing lifejackets.

Capt. William Cameron, 5th District response chief, says regardless of how a person ends up in the water, wearing a lifejacket is the single most important precaution a person can take to increase their chances of survival when things go wrong.

The Coast Guard is strongly encouraging boaters and swimmers to take simple precautions like swimming in areas with lifeguards, getting a free, local vessel safety check and taking a boating safety course.


Va. to hold back-to-school sales tax holiday

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is giving shoppers a break on buying back-to-school supplies.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's office says the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday will begin Friday and run through Sunday.

During the three-day holiday, shoppers at retail stores statewide won't have to pay sales tax on notebooks, pens, calculators, binders and other school supplies priced up to $20.

Shoes and most clothing items priced up to $100 also will be exempt from the sales tax.

The Department of Taxation has posted a list of eligible items and guidelines on its website,


More road signs unveiled to promote Va. wine

CHATHAM, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials are unveiling new road signs aimed at attracting more visitors to Virginia wineries.

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore unveiled the Southern Virginia Wine Region road signs this week at The Homeplace Vineyard in Chatham.

The signs in southern Virginia are part of a larger program that has located nearly 40 signs in thirteen Virginia American Viticultural Areas and wine regions.

Officials say Virginia is home to more than 250 wineries and is fifth in the nation for wine grape production.

A 2012 economic impact study shows that Virginia's wine industry contributes $747 million annually to the state's economy. Virginia wineries and vineyards support 4,800 jobs that provide $156 million total in wages.


Stamp depicts Civil War battle in Petersburg

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a Civil War stamp depicting the 1864 Siege at Petersburg.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday at the Petersburg National Battlefield for the new stamp.

Officials say the ceremony will take place near the site of an underground explosion that took place 150 years ago and created a huge depression in the earth. That led to the battle being named "Battle of the Crater."

The stamp depicts the 22nd United States Colored Troops engaged in the June 15-18, 1864, assault on Petersburg. The Petersburg Campaign stamp is a reproduction of an 1892 painting by J. Andre Castaigne.

The stamp is part of the Postal Service's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which claimed the lives of more than 620,000 soldiers.

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