Democrats rap Cuccinelli over federal law

Virginia Democrats slammed state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday for refusing to support reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.

In a telephone press conference, Delegate Jennifer McClellan of Richmond and Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos criticized Cuccinelli for being one of three state attorneys general who did not sign a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the act.

“Virginians deserve to know what prevented Ken Cuccinelli from sticking up for the Violence Against Women Act, not a half-hearted excuse for sitting on his hands while Republicans killed the reauthorization,” McClellan said.

“As attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli is the chief law enforcement office in the Commonwealth, charged with doing whatever it takes to keep all Virginia safe from those who would do them harm.

“In light of that responsibility, and his desire to be our next governor, Virginians deserve to hear a real explanation from him as to why he would refuse to support the Violence Against Women Act.”

Cuccinelli’s spokesman said there is a simple explanation: By policy, the attorney general’s office does not sign letters of support for federal legislation that is still subject to amendment.

“It is beyond comprehension how anyone could seriously try to blame a single state attorney general because 535 members of the U.S. Congress didn’t pass a piece of legislation,” said Brian Gottstein, the attorney general’s director of communication.

He noted that Cuccinelli supports many programs against domestic abuse. For example, the attorney general operates the Address Confidentiality Program, a mail-forwarding service that keeps the addresses of domestic violence victims confidential. Cuccinelli’s office also collects cellphones to donate to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program for victims in protective shelters.

In an interview, political commentator Bob Holsworth said he believes Democrats are attacking Cuccinelli on this issue to paint him in a bad light in this year’s gubernatorial race. “The Democrats are trying to position Cuccinelli as someone out of touch with the mainstream. Using social issues like this is a great way to do that,” said Holsworth, the founding director of the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

During the conference call, Stamos, who has been a prosecutor in Arlington County and Falls Church for more than two decades, said the Violence Against Women Act has helped law enforcement officials.

“The act has helped people in our office to deal with the very specific and specialized needs of domestic violence victims. It has provided the training and tools that we need at the local level to prosecute very difficult cases,” Stamos said.

Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines and assistance for women who have escaped domestic abuse.

“It is a piece of federal legislation that works in the trenches at the local level,” Stamos said.
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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May 2017
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Spring PlantFest at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6. Now in its 30th year, the plant sale features approximately 40 vendors from around the region offering a wide array of plants, shrubs, trees and garden-themed items. A tool sharpener will be on-site and for a fee will sharpen hand tools, knives and scissors with same-day service. Knowledgeable, helpful Garden volunteers and Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and offer suggestions. Rain or shine. For details, call 262-9887 or visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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