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Cuccinelli backs human trafficking legislation


Legislation to curtail human trafficking in Virginia has gathered bipartisan support early in the General Assembly’s 2013 session.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the offense one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the country. He said Tuesday that Virginia was feeling the effect.

“Traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of children and adults – taking victims by threat, force, or coercion to exploit them for forced labor or sexual servitude. And it is happening right here in our commonwealth,” Cuccinelli said at a press conference.

Additionally, Cuccinelli announced a series of two-day training sessions for law enforcement and prosecutors across the state over the next six months. The first session starts today (Wednesday) in Northern Virginia.

The attorney general has a history of supporting measures to curb human trafficking. He introduced bills to combat the crime during his stint as a state senator and served on a human trafficking advisory group.

Cuccinelli pledged his support to the four bills and urged legislators to pass them:

HB 1606, sponsored by Delegate Timothy Hugo, R-Fairfax, and Senate Bill 1015, by Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston: These measures would increase the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor from a misdemeanor to a Class 5 or Class 6 felony, depending on the victim’s age.

HB 1870, sponsored by Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville: This bill would alter Virginia’s basic human trafficking statute to include “receiving money for procuring a person” as an offense punishable by a multijurisdictional grand jury. Jurisdiction would not be an issue in prosecuting human traffickers operating across county lines.

HB 1826, sponsored by Delegate Ronald Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach: This measure would also address issues in jurisdiction when investigating human trafficking. It would allow officers to keep pursuing an investigation into human trafficking outside of their own jurisdiction.

Both Republicans and Democrats joined Cuccinelli to express support for the legislation. They included Howell, Hugo and Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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The Greater Richmond Multiple Myeloma Support Group meets the third Monday of each month (except July and August) from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital Forest Campus,… Full text

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