Local prosecutor investigating Va. Gov. McDonnell
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Richmond's top prosecutor is looking into gifts to Gov. Bob McDonnell in an investigation requested by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Cuccinelli sent a letter last November to Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring appointing him to review McDonnell's statements of economic interest. Herring disclosed Cuccinelli's request, but refused to provide the letter or details of his investigation.
Former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider claims he told federal and state investigators last summer about gifts a wealthy businessman gave McDonnell and his family. Schneider is facing embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing from the mansion's kitchen.
Cuccinelli also asked Herring last month to examine his own financial filings after amending them to include gifts from the same donor.
The FBI also is investigating gifts to the McDonnells.
Group files lawsuit over Va. veteran's detainment
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A civil liberties group has filed a federal lawsuit against law enforcement and mental health officials on behalf of a former Marine who was detained in a psychiatric facility after posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook.
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Richmond over the weeklong detention of Brandon J. Raub, a Chesterfield veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Raub was taken into custody Aug. 16 after being questioned by Chesterfield County police and federal agents about his ominous Facebook posts, including some that spoke of a pending revolution. A judge ordered him released Aug. 23.
Attorneys claim his detention was part of a federal program called "Operation Vigilant Eagle" that involves the surveillance of veterans who express views critical of the government.
Fewer Virginians expected to travel during holiday
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Fewer Virginians are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day weekend.
AAA Mid-Atlantic said Wednesday that it expects slightly more than 1 million Virginians to travel during the holiday weekend. That's down 1.6% from 2012.
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Martha Mitchell Meade says some people have less money to spend this year because of automatic federal spending cuts and the expiration of the payroll tax cut.
AAA Mid-Atlantic expects more than 923,000 vehicles will be on the roads during the holiday weekend, down about 4,000 from 2012.
To reduce congestion, the Virginia Department of Transportation says most highway construction and maintenance work zones will be suspended on interstates and other roads from noon Friday to noon Tuesday.
Witnesses in Md. and region report seeing meteor
(Information in the following story is from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com )
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - A bright light seen traveling across the sky over the weekend by dozens of witnesses across Maryland and the region is what astronomers are calling a fragmenting meteoric fireball.
The Frederick News-Post of Maryland reports witnesses saw the fireball Saturday as early as 12:18 a.m. and as late as 1 a.m., with the majority of the sightings around 12:30 a.m. Some witnesses also reported hearing delayed booms.
The American Meteor Society says the fireball, a term used to describe an unusually bright meteor, is believed to have entered the atmosphere near Washington and traveled northwest.
The society says 60 witnesses reported seeing the meteor, including 13 from Maryland. Other witnesses in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio also reported seeing the meteor.
Men wearing werewolf masks rob Roanoke store
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Roanoke police are searching for two robbers wearing werewolf masks who held up a convenience store.
Surveillance photos from the store show one man wearing a gray werewolf mask. Another man wore a brown werewolf mask.
Roanoke police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/12TIUns) that 1 of the men pulled a gun on a store employee.
The men fled with an undisclosed amount of money.
Sathwik Karnik wins National Geographic Bee
WASHINGTON (AP) - 12-year-old Sathwik Karnik of Plainville, Mass., has won the 2013 National Geographic Bee.
To clinch the title, Sathwik correctly named Chimborazo as the mountain in Ecuador that represents the farthest point from the Earth's center. Thirteen-year-old Conrad Oberhaus of Lincolnshire, Ill., finished second.
Sathwik led throughout the final round of the 25th annual geography bee and was the last contestant to get a question wrong. He wins a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.
Sathwik's older brother, Karthik, made the finals in 2011 and 2012, finishing 5th and 6th. Karthik says he's thrilled that his brother was able to finish what he started.
Amazon unit to expand in Fairfax Co., add 500 jobs
HERNDON, Va. (AP) - A subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. is expanding in Fairfax County and expects to provide 500 new jobs.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday that Amazon Web Services plans to open an office in the Herndon area.
Amazon Web Services provides cloud computing services to business and government customers. On Tuesday the company announced it had received authority to operate under a government program designed to streamline cloud computing services.
The company was lured in part from a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund. The state grant will be matched by county funds that will be used to improve an intersection in Herndon near the office site.
Police: Pastor arrested on sex-assault charges
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A pastor in Virginia has been arrested in the wake of claims by two women that he sexually assaulted them as juveniles in North Texas.
Geronimo Aguilar (AG'-yih-lar) was taken into custody at his Richmond, Va., home Tuesday on charges filed by Fort Worth police. The 43-year-old Aguilar is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14.
The case was generated by law enforcement in Anaheim, Calif., based on the allegations of the two women. Authorities say they were juveniles living in Fort Worth in 1996 and 1997 when Aguilar allegedly assaulted them.
Aguilar's lawyer, David Carlson of Glen Allen, Va., told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that his client denies any misconduct. He says Aguilar was cleared of wrongdoing by investigators in the 1990s.
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