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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.


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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