FORMER GOVERNOR INDICTED
Prosecutors oppose McDonnell bid for more details
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is not entitled to more details on what they claim he did wrong.
McDonnell's lawyers have complained that the 14-count indictment in his public corruption case is too vague. They're asking for a "bill of particulars" spelling out in more detail exactly how he allegedly broke the law.
In court papers filed Monday, prosecutors urged a judge to reject the request. They said the indictment fairly apprises McDonnell of the charges, allows him to prepare a defense and enables him to avoid undue surprise at trial.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the CEO of a health supplements company in exchange for helping promote his products.
Senate sends Obama childhood cancer research bill
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has passed Republican-backed legislation to repeal taxpayer funding for political conventions. Instead, $126 million in the coming decade will go for additional research into pediatric cancer and other childhood disorders like autism and down syndrome.
The measure was passed by unanimous voice vote at the request of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The House passed the measure late last year.
The legislation was named after Gabriella Miller, a Virginia girl who died of brain cancer last year at age 10. She had helped raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and also sought to win public support for pediatric cancer research. A key House sponsor was Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Virginia public schools superintendent to retire
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's top public school administrator is retiring in May from the position she's held since 2008.
The state Department of Education said Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright announced her retirement on Tuesday.
Wright was appointed to the position by Gov. Tim Kaine in 2008 and was reappointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2010. She also served as acting superintendent under Gov. Mark Warner in 2006 and early 2007.
During her tenure, Wright oversaw a revision of the state's Standards of Learning tests to focus on college and career readiness. She also promoted the expanded use of technology in schools.
The Brunswick County native taught mathematics for 10 years at the secondary and middle school levels in Sussex County and Chesterfield County before joining the state agency in 1985.
JMU prof, student research ginseng restoration
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - A James Madison associate professor and a student are conducting a research project aimed at restoring American ginseng in the wild.
Ginseng long has been coveted in many Asian cultures because its multipronged root is believed to have medicinal properties. And the wild roots are believed to be more potent than cultivated roots.
James Madison junior biology major Emily Thyroff tells The Daily News-Record that ginseng has been overharvested in the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of Appalachia. She and associate biology professor Heather Griscom hope to learn about ginseng's ecology so they can create a restoration plan.
They are conducting experiments in the greenhouse at James Madison and in the field in West Virginia to identify optimal places to replant ginseng.
Ex-Va developer sentenced on federal fraud charges
CHARLOTTSVILLE, Va. (AP) - A former Albemarle County developer has been sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud charges.
Prosecutors say Michael Wayne Harding was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. The 59-year-old from Keswick previously had pleaded guilty to wire fraud and bankruptcy fraud.
Harding also was ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution.
According to a statement of facts, Harding secured mortgages by faking improvements made to properties owned by his company. Harding then had checks from the mortgage companies converted for his own personal use. Harding also admitted that after filing for bankruptcy, he filed false reports and failed to deposit all income into a required account.
Company proposes giant Ferris wheel in Va. Beach
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A St. Louis-based company is seeking approval to erect a giant Ferris wheel at Virginia Beach's Oceanfront.
The proposed SkyWheel Virginia Beach would be 200 feet tall and about 180 feet in diameter. It would have 42 glass-enclosed gondolas and an LED light show on its wheels and spokes.
Koch Development tells media outlets that it plans to invest about $12 million in the project.
If City Council approves the project, the Ferris wheel would open by the summer of 2015.
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