Va. transportation plan begins road show
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State transportation officials are taking their six-year, $13.1 billion draft transportation plan on the road.
Their first stop Thursday is Chesapeake, followed by eight other stops across the state through May. The final plan will be adopted on June 18.
The plan made its debut Wednesday in Richmond. It would allocate $9.9 billion for highway construction and $3.2 billion for rail and public transportation.
Charlie Kilpatrick is commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation. He says a critical aspect of the program is the rehabilitation of roads and bridges across the state. That entails 57,000 miles of infrastructure.
Specific projects will be selected for funding beginning in July 2016.
Tours mark Virginia Cave Week April 20-26
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is offering a few walks on the wild side.
Virginia Cave Week marks its 15th year starting next week and walking tours are being offered at some of the more than 4,000 known caves in the state. The guided tours are being coordinated by the Virginia Cave Board, which oversees and protects the natural attractions.
One tour involves the Mill Creek Springs Natural Area Preserve in Montgomery County. The 222-acre preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The Cave and Karst Fest is also scheduled during the week. The event offers displays on geology, bats and protection efforts.
For teachers, virtual cave tours are available at http://www.vacaveweek.com
Va. boasts 240-plus farmers' markets
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is seeing an explosion of farmers' markets.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the state has more than 240 farmers' markets statewide. That's a 180 percent increase since 2006.
The department says besides the fresh farm products sold at these markets, it also makes economic sense to buy locally. A Cooperative Extension survey found that if every household in the state spent $10 a week on locally grown products, consumers would be investing $1.65 billion back into the economy.
To find a local farmers' market, the state maintains a list of markets region by region. It can be found at VirginiaGrown.com.
Appeals court: Consumer case improperly sealed
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court in Virginia says a judge improperly allowed a company to fight a complaint about the safety of one of its products in secret.
A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the possible injury to a company's reputation does not justify sealing court records.
The case involves a company that sued to keep a complaint about one of its products out of a database created by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2011. The product was blamed for the death of an infant.
U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. in Maryland allowed the company to sue under the pseudonym "Company Doe" and sealed the case. The appeals court returned the case to Williams with orders to unseal it.
John Edwards returns to court practicing law
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has returned to the courtroom to help represent a 4-year-old Virginia boy in a medical malpractice case.
Edwards is one of three attorneys representing the parents and guardians of a boy with brain damage and physical injuries they say occurred in December 2009. At that time, the boy was an infant in the care of Pitt County Memorial Hospital and an emergency room doctor.
In 2012, Edwards faced six felony charges in a case involving nearly $1 million provided by two wealthy political donors to help hide his pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter as he sought the White House in 2008.
A jury acquitted Edwards on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and deadlocked on the remaining five.
Warner stresses bipartisan record at Shad Planking
WAKEFIELD, Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen Mark Warner is touting his bipartisan bona fides in rural Virginia at the 66th annual Shad Planking, a political rite of spring in the Old Dominion.
Warner told a largely Republican crowd of several hundred there are people of good will in both major political parties and more bipartisan relationship are needed.
Warner's potential Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie also attended the annual beer-and-fish political picnic but was not a featured speaker.
Held at the Wakefield Sportsmen's Club, the Shad Planking historically has been a must-attend event for Virginia politicians and candidates.
This was fourth time Warner, a former governor who is seeking a second term as senator, has been a speaker at the event.
Metro Silver Line project director resigns
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - The head of the beleaguered $3 billion project to extend Metro's Silver Line through Tysons Corner is resigning.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Wednesday that project director Pat Nowakowski is leaving next month to take a job at another transit agency.
The contractor recently declared it has substantially completed work on the project, but MWAA is still conducting its own review to see whether it concurs. MWAA has already once rejected the contractor's claim that work was finished.
Even though the project was supposed to have been completed months ago, MWAA officials praised Nowakowski's stewardship of the project.
Also Wednesday, the authority said it expects it can keep the current $3.50 fee on the Dulles Toll Road in place through 2018, contingent on receipt of a low-interest federal loan.
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