Officials: Chemical spill caused fish kill in Virginia creek

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Virginia officials say around 165 gallons of an agricultural-use chemical leaked into a Roanoke-area creek, resulting in a large fish kill.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement Monday that a container at a Cloverdale business had a small puncture, and that rain washed the chemical, Termix 5301, into Tinker Creek. Officials were notified over the weekend.

The department says there haven’t been any reports of public exposure, and that the risk to nearby wells is extremely low. The chemical has been contained, but residents should avoid the creek until further notice.

Initial estimates suggest tens of thousands of fish may have died.

Officials say the business, Crop Production Services, has hired a contractor to clean up.

Termix 5301 is added to herbicides and pesticides before application.

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Former US diplomat liable in slavery, sex trafficking case

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former U.S. diplomat who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen has for the second time been found liable for enslaving and trafficking a woman who worked as a housekeeper.

The Washington Post reports a jury in Alexandria, Virginia, on Monday agreed that Linda Howard and her late husband Russell Howard forced an Ethiopian maid into sexual slavery in 2008. Linda Howard, who left the State Department in 2013, was ordered to pay $3 million in damages to the woman, who lives in Virginia. Howard’s husband died in 2012.

Linda Howard denied the allegations and argued the woman couldn’t sue for civil damages under a human trafficking law that didn’t pass until 2008.

The couple, who had fled to Australia, was previously found liable for trafficking another Ethiopian housekeeper.

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Marshals arrest drug suspect after 30-year fugitive hunt

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Authorities say U.S. Marshals have tracked down and arrested a fugitive wanted since the late 1980’s on federal drug charges.

Officials said Monday that 68-year-old Humberto Bonilla, a Colombian national, was arrested in New Jersey earlier this month. Bonilla, also known as Humberto Reyes, had an outstanding warrant in connection to federal charges out of Virginia.

A federal arrest warrant was issued out of Alexandria, Virginia, in 1987 charging Bonilla with failing to appear on charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. A fugitive investigation spanned several states.

Authorities developed information earlier this year that Bonilla may be living in New Jersey. On July 18, marshals made contact with a man who denied that he was Bonilla. Marshals fingerprinted the man on the spot, confirming his identity.

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Arlington residents target of missed jury duty phone scam

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WASHINGTON — Get a call about a missed jury duty? Officials are advising Arlington County residents to think twice before paying a fine over the phone as it may just be the latest telephone scam.

Residents have reported receiving calls from people claiming to be with the Arlington County Sherriff’s Office or other local law enforcement officials. The caller tells the victim that a missed jury duty warrants an arrest unless they pay a fine, according to an Arlington County news release.

Arlington County officials want to remind residents that authorities do not ask for money over the phone.

Think you’re a victim of this fraud?

Hang up immediately and verify the claim by calling the sheriff’s office at 703-228-4460. Then, file an online police report or call 703-558-2222.

According to the Arlington County Police Department, other recent frauds include utility companies threatening to shut down services unless a fee is paid, the IRS collecting fees and family members being held for a ransom.

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Arlington residents target of missed jury duty phone scam

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WASHINGTON — Get a call about a missed jury duty? Officials are advising Arlington County residents to think twice before paying a fine over the phone as it may just be the latest telephone scam.

Residents have reported receiving calls from people claiming to be with the Arlington County Sherriff’s Office or other local law enforcement officials. The caller tells the victim that a missed jury duty warrants an arrest unless they pay a fine, according to an Arlington County news release.

Arlington County officials want to remind residents that authorities do not ask for money over the phone.

Think you’re a victim of this fraud?

Hang up immediately and verify the claim by calling the sheriff’s office at 703-228-4460. Then, file an online police report or call 703-558-2222.

According to the Arlington County Police Department, other recent frauds include utility companies threatening to shut down services unless a fee is paid, the IRS collecting fees and family members being held for a ransom.

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NASCAR cuts weekend schedule to save money, ease travel

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LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Kyle Busch usually wakes up around 8 a.m. or so on race day and just waits until he’s needed for a meet-and-greet before he slips into the No. 18 Toyota.

But if he’s up, he may as well as qualify before lunch. And if he wins the pole, well, he may as well go win the race.

Busch was the biggest benefactor in NASCAR’s decision to try a reduced weekend Cup schedule at Pocono Raceway. NASCAR ditched the traditional practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and drivers made their run at the pole just a few hours before the start of Sunday’s race. Busch won the pole and won a race for the first time this season.

“I wouldn’t mind more days like that,” Busch said. “With my Xfinity and Truck efforts getting cut back more and more each year, that’s going to be more Fridays at home with my son. That’s going to be more fun for us drivers.”

NASCAR will try the two-day show again this week at Watkins Glen and Oct. 29 at Martinsville.

Pocono threw an infield fan festival on Friday night and a solid crowd turned out to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell have fun participating in lip sync battles, cooking showdowns and the like.

Watkins Glen is holding its own fan fest and a country music concert Friday night.

The real benefit to the skinny schedule is that teams can save money and spend more time at home. The cash and days off add up over the course of one of the more grueling schedules in sports. Plus, it’s hardly worth it for tracks to open the gates anymore on Fridays to draw a crowd not much larger than a minor league baseball game.

“That’s really what it’s about, it’s about quality of life for the team guys, giving them an extra day,” 2014 NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick said. “If we can add that up 10, 15, 20 weekends, that’s two or three weeks that you can keep those guys at home and let them spend some time with their families and kids and wives. Everybody is just gone so much, it’s almost becoming harder and harder — it is becoming harder and harder — to hire people because it is such a grind.”

NASCAR’s slice of the schedule was just one of many shake-ups this week that could influence the rest of the season:

ON THE FENCE

Busch had led more than 1,000 laps entering the race but was still on the longest losing streak of his career. He made a late charge down the stretch to win at Pocono for the first time and end an overall 36-race losing streak.

Busch stamped his automatic entry for NASCAR’s postseason (the series for some reason dumped the term “Chase” though everyone still uses it) and showed he’s a legitimate contender to win his second championship.

Joey Logano, runner-up to champion Jimmie Johnson last season, is in serious danger of missing the playoffs. Logano is 16 points outside the field and finished 27th at Pocono. Logano did win a race in April at Richmond that was later ruled “encumbered” because of a rear suspension violation. The decision by NASCAR essentially stripped him of all benefits that came with the victory.

Logano had won five, six and three races the last three seasons, so pulling off a second win this year is certainly possible. But his results of late make it seem like the championship season will go on without the Team Penske driver.

Earnhardt is buried in 22nd place in the standings in his final season. He swept Pocono in 2014 and hoped a solid run there this year could spark him into contention. He finished a solid 12th and has races left at Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Richmond.

“Michigan is a good one, that’s a good track for us,” Earnhardt said. “Bristol? I could probably win there.”

Matt Kenseth is 16th and holds the final transfer spot, 17 points ahead of Clint Bowyer.

SPONSOR WOES

Kyle Larson, the top young driver in the sport, lost Target last week as his sponsor in 2018. Kenseth, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are among the drivers with uncertain futures because of various sponsor issues. With TV ratings and attendance flatlining, teams are struggling to put together multiyear deals with a committed corporate backer that will fund the program

“I think the traditional model is going to go extinct soon, and it could be argued that it’s here right now,” 2012 champion Brad Keselowski said. “The traditional model (of just) being a consumer brand sponsor that just wants to see a car out there with their name out it will go extinct in the next couple years. That’s not always a bad thing. There’s other models that work and have proven to be successful.”

TRICKY TRIANGLE?

Would what Pocono call itself if it ditched its tri-oval shape for a Cup race on the road course? Track CEO Nick Igdalsky said he would like to hold one of the track’s two Cup races on the road course .

That’s if Pocono keeps two NASCAR weekends.

While track founder, Joseph Mattioli, and former CEO Brandon Igdalsky were adamant about keeping two races, Nick Igdalsky realized the track could be on the chopping block if NASCAR wanted to shake up the schedule.

“We’d love to continue having two,” he said. “But if one day, it that’s not the way the cards fall, so be it. We’d still be honored to be part of the show.”

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More AP auto racing: http://racing.ap.org

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Have you seen them? Police ask for help in finding missing woman, 2 boys

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WASHINGTON — A woman and two young boys are missing and police are hoping people can help locate them.

Police are searching for 27-year-old Courtney Ashe, her 5-year-old son, Cameron Martin and her 9-year-old cousin, Jaylen Sills-Russell.

The three were reported missing Sunday.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said the three were last seen Friday about 11 p.m.-11:30 p.m. leaving a relative’s home in Ashburn, Virginia, and they were supposed to be heading back to Leesburg, Virginia, but never made it.

“There is no indication at this point from talking with family members that there was any abduction,” Chapman said.

Chapman said that Ashe is from the Suffolk area and was visiting family for the last three weeks in Loudoun County, staying with her uncle who lives in Leesburg.

“I don’t think there was anything suspicious or concerning about her home situation, and that’s why there is no report at this point of any abduction,” Chapman said. “We’re just concerned for her well-being and the well-being of her son and her cousin.”

He said they might be in a 2002 blue Ford Taurus with Virginia plate VUV-9844.

“As you know, we had heavy downpours at that time [Friday],” Chapman said. “So we’re asking the public to keep an eye out for any vehicles that may have driven off the road.”

Chapman said an AMBER ALERT has not been issued because one of the main criteria for an AMBER ALERT is confirmation of an abduction.

Anyone with information should call the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-1021.

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Dirt bike, ATV riders set to get new course in Prince William Co.

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WASHINGTON — Virginia’s Prince William County is on track for a new dirt bike and ATV course just off Va. Route 28.

The county planning commission approved an application last week that has been in the works for years to allow the Family Off-Road Riders club of Prince William County to clear a main riding course and a kids’ course in Lehigh Portland Park. The course would be just off Route 28 between Fitzwater Drive and the Fauquier County line.

The Board of Supervisors is now expected to approve the permit for an initial five-year lease of the county parkland.

“We enjoy it, it’s a clean healthy activity … We get to take our kids out to go do something and when we get there, we get to participate with them. We’re not sitting on the sidelines just watching them,” club secretary Dave Hagy said.

Hagy said Monday the 141 members of the club sometimes drive more than an hour to reach an open track, although there are some privately-owned tracks that are closer.

The course would be just off Route 28 between Fitzwater Drive and the Fauquier County line. (Courtesy Prince William County Planning Commission)

The changes on the wooded land that the county eventually plans to turn into a more complete park would maintain some of the oldest trees, while clearing others for a groomed dirt trail and mostly gravel parking lot. Overall, about 14 acres would be cleared.

The group has been working on the proposal for a few years, since losing its previous track because the land was sold in 2015.

In 2000, a county task force determined that Prince William should have a legal, safe site to ride off-road motorcycles and ATVs, which spurred the use of the previous site starting in 2001.

The new facility would only be allowed to have 50 people at any given time and no more than 50 vehicles each day. It will only be allowed to be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer months and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. between October and March, with senior members of the club always there to supervise operations.

The county will maintain at least two portable toilets on the site.

Only club members would be permitted to access the gated parking lot and dirt tracks, but membership would be open to the public.

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Beach parking wars: Residents plant fake no-parking signs

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The scarcity of parking spaces near Virginia Beach’s oceanfront has led some residents to post fake no-parking signs.

WAVY-TV reported Friday that the city gets 30 to 40 calls each year about the illegal, homemade markers. And the problem is most acute on the city’s north end along the Atlantic Coast.

The city owns the first few feet of land in front of homes. That means the streets are available for public parking.

A legal, city-owned sign has a sticker on the back that details the punishment for defacing it. If a sign is deemed fake, crews will mark it for removal with a bright orange sticker.

The problem isn’t new. WAVY reported about fake signs back in 2008.

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Virginia’s Russell County gets roof manufacturing products operation

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia beat out Pennsylvania and West Virginia to land a $5 million investment in manufacturing operation.

McAuliffe said last week that JennChem LLC will create 40 new jobs in Russell County with the project. The company makes chemical roof support and sealing products used in mining and other industries.

The company will get a number of state and local incentives. McAuliffe approved a $100,000 grant and the state’s tobacco commission approved a $215,000 grant.

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