New bus routes, bikeshare stations coming to I-66 corridor

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. — New transportation choices are coming to the I-66 corridor to help tame the traffic in the area.

“This is, as you know, one of the most congested roads in the United States of America. And for too long, we kicked the can down the road. No longer are we kicking that can down the road,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday at a ceremonial ribbon-cutting in Falls Church.

“We’re taking a significant step to add many new travel choices,” he added.

The rollout of the first 10 so-called Commuter Choice projects is meant to coincide with December’s launch of new tolls for solo rush-hour drivers on I-66 inside the Beltway, who will be able to use the road for the first time.

The new projects include Fairfax Connector Express Service from the Government Center to the State Department and Foggy Bottom; a 300-space park-and-ride lot in Aldie, and 16 new Capital Bikeshare stations, all but one of which will be in Falls Church.

“Together, these 10 projects will move as many as 5,000 additional people daily through the I-66 corridor,” said McAuliffe, wearing a button that read “I-66; do you?”

The Commonwealth kicked in $10 million to fund these initial projects.

More multimodal projects will be coming, but future toll revenue from I-66 inside the Beltway will be used to pay for them.

The process of choosing the next batch of projects is scheduled to start in the fall.

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TED Talk on vulnerability inspires state Teacher of the Year

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A TED Talk shaped Michelle Cottrell-Williams’ perspective as a teacher.

The talk, led by scholar Brene Brown, delved into how vulnerability and shame influence people’s connections with one another, Cottrell-Williams recalled.

The 35-year-old teacher took the lesson to heart and, since then, has made it a point to talk less and listen more to her students, to let them be the guides for their own learning.

“I learned how important empathy is,” she said.

Cottrell-Williams, a social studies teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington County, was named Virginia Teacher of the Year on Monday. She was selected from among educators representing eight regions across the state.

She said advocating for students of color and those who learn English as a second language is one of her priorities. That’s important, she said, because public schools don’t do enough for those students.

Chris Willmore, Wakefield’s principal, said Cottrell-Williams challenges her students and encourages them to consider different perspectives.

“She’s extremely warm, caring, passionate, dedicated to her kids,” Willmore said. “She’s got a belief in each and every one of them.”

She has taught high school social studies for 11 years, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Education. She received a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a master’s degree from George Washington University.

Cottrell-Williams will be considered for the national Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in the spring.

The committee that selected Cottrell-Williams was constituted of professional and education associations, business community members and the state’s outgoing Teacher of the Year, Toney Lee McNair Jr., according to the release.

The other nominees included:

– Greenlee B. Naughton, an English teacher at Highland Springs High School in Henrico County

– Theresa A. Guthrie Goltermann, a STEM electives teacher at Tabb Middle School in York County

– Sarah M. Adamson-Mair, a kindergarten teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School in Caroline County

– Russell T. Jennings, an agriculture teacher at Fluvanna County High School

– Karey A. Henzey, a special education teacher at West Salem Elementary in Salem

– Chrystle M. Gates, a music teacher at Chilhowie Elementary School in Smyth County

– Tiffany W. Lynch, an English teacher at Park View High School in Mecklenburg County

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://ift.tt/g5lp9S

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Chocolate overload: Rig chock-full of candy bars overturns

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GORDONSVILLE, Va. (AP) — The scene was a chocoholic’s delight: a rig full of candy bars overturned on a road in Virginia.

CBS 19 in Charlottesville reported Tuesday that the truck was hauling 47,000 pounds (21,319 kilograms) of Hershey’s chocolate bars when it ran off the side of a road near Gordonsville.

The chocolate stayed in the truck.

The driver wasn’t hurt, but police say he may be cited.

The driver told police that a car ahead of him had no brake or tail lights and that he swerved off the road to avoid hitting the car.

Police said the truck should not have been on that road, which has length restrictions for vehicles. The truck was 67 feet (20 meters) long, 2 feet (0.61 meters) longer than is allowed.

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Information from: WCAV-TV, http://www.wcav.tv/

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Dave Matthews Band hosts free concert for Charlottesville

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WASHINGTON — Dave Matthews Band is giving back to its hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, by hosting a free concert for the community on Sunday.

The concert, produced by Live Nation, Starr Hill Presents and the University of Virginia, is described as a night of “music and unity” in response to recent events in Charlottesville.

The concert will include performances by Dave Matthews Band, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Cage the Elephant, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton and other special guests.

The event will be held in the University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium. Fans can live stream the event via Tumblr at 5:55 p.m. Sunday.

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Attorney: Stafford Co.’s ‘hands are tied’ about Confederate flag over I-95

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WASHINGTON — The huge Confederate battle flag that flies over Interstate 95 in Stafford County, Virginia, is there legally, despite emotionally-charged public opposition, according to the county’s attorney.

Stafford County Attorney Charles Shumate told the Board of Supervisors during a public meeting that the flag, which many see as a symbol of hate, is located on private property, which limits any steps the government can take.

During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, several attendees restated their calls for the board to find a way to take down or lower the flag, which flies near Falmouth.

“We see it as a symbol of hate, not heritage,” said Fredericksburg local business owner Kim Wyman. “Most of the people driving on I-95 don’t know the difference. They don’t know it’s the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and they don’t care.”

Wyman said her business has suffered, since people who see the Confederate flag flying keep driving.

“It’s been corrupted by the neo-Nazis, by the Klan,” said Wyman, of the flag. “Once that symbol becomes their symbol it’s no longer ‘Oh, it’s just about history and heritage,’ — it’s not.”

Despite ongoing tensions, anger, and court battles over Confederate war memorials in Virginia, and elsewhere, Shumate said there’s little the county can do.

“I have concluded, without equivocation, that this county has no legal authority to require the removal of that Confederate flag, from that private property, on that flagpole, which is 80 feet in height,” said Shumate.

An audience member yelled “coward,” as Shumate finished his statement.

Several speakers described seeing the flag from the highway as hurtful and racist, recalling the time when black people were only counted as three-fifths of a person.

“It’s been the law of this land, under the First Amendment, that the Confederate flag may fly,” said Shumate. “It may be very disrespectful to some people, and I respect that.”

Challenged by one heckler, said his legal guidance was not based on his beliefs.

“It’s not my personal beliefs — my belief is in the Constitution of the United States,” he said.

Shumate said he can understand the anger and frustration opponents to the Confederate flag are feeling.

“I served 11 months and 29 days in Vietnam, in a combat zone,” said Shumate. “To this day, if I see someone burning the American flag — that is so disrespectful and hateful to me, I want to grab a hold of that person and bring them great harm.”

Shumate said luckily, he has never witnessed a person burning a flag.

“I’d have to dig down and really understand, there’s a First Amendment our forefathers created that said, you know, you can’t do that,” he said.

Even if the Board were to pass an ordinance, regulating the size and height of flags, Shumate said it wouldn’t affect this case.

“This flagpole would be grandfathered,” said Shumate. “It would become a nonconforming use, and it will remain.”

“You will not be able to reduce the height of this flagpole, through a new zoning ordinance you would pass, so that pole and the flag on it would remain.”

Shumate said the Board and the individual members would likely be sued.

“If this board were to take some action contrary to my legal advice, they would expose themselves to litigation,” said Shumate. “This board’s hands are tied.”

Even before Shumate’s analysis, Cash, who has leased the land the flagpole sits on, told WTOP “the flag will stay.”

“It sits on posted private land and is protected by the laws and ordinances of the state of Virginia and Stafford County,” said Cash, who leased the land to a group called Virginia Flaggers until 2014.

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Arlington Drafthouse packs more stars onto schedule

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It’s going to be a star-studded fall and winter on Columbia Pike as the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse is continuing to add boldfaced names to its standup comedy schedule.

As previously reported, Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show will perform this coming Friday and Saturday, trying out new material and showing the audience “how the sausage is made.” He joins a fall lineup that includes Rhys DarbyPauly Shore and Steve-O.

The recently-announced additions to the schedule include:

  • Shawn Wayans of Scary Movie and In Living Color (Nov. 10-11)
  • Joel McHale of The Soup and Community (Nov. 17-18)
  • Darrell Hammond from Saturday Night Live (Jan. 5-6)
  • Brian Posehn of The Five Year Engagement and Netflix specials (Jan. 18-20)
  • Jay Mohr of Saturday Night Live (Jan. 25-27)
  • Steve Rannazzisi of The League (Feb. 9-10)
  • Michael Ian Black of Wet Hot American Summer (March 2-3)

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South Dakota lawmaker apologizes for Facebook post

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Republican South Dakota legislator under fire for a Facebook post has apologized for a “lack of judgment.”

Rep. Lynne DiSanto of Box Elder shared a meme Sept. 7 depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle. It was posted less than a month after a driver hit counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman.

DiSanto told the Rapid City Journal she should have taken that into consideration, and doesn’t condone protesters being hit by vehicles.

The real estate company that apparently employed DiSanto posted on Facebook she’s no longer with the firm. Keller Williams Realty Black Hills didn’t immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment.

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm tells the AP the incident won’t affect DiSanto’s position as House majority whip.

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Police: 3 people dead after vehicle hits tree, catches fire

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AMELIA COURT HOUSE, Va. (AP) — Three people are dead in Virginia after a car crashed into a tree and caught fire.

State police in Virginia said in a statement that the crash occurred at about 9:23 p.m. Tuesday night in Amelia Court House. The scene of the accident on Route 682 is about 45 miles southwest of Richmond.

The vehicle was driving around a curve before it ran off the road. The impact with the tree caused the car to catch fire.

The bodies of the people who died are being transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Police have not released the identities of the people who died.

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Civil War battle sites to receive $1M in preservation grants

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than 200 acres associated with seven Civil War battles in Virginia will receive nearly $1 million in grants to help preserve the sites.

The grants will be disbursed by the Department of Historic Resources to four nonprofit organizations that seek to preserve the battlefield properties with matching funds.

The land targeted for preservation is associated with the battles of Appomattox Court House, Cold Harbor, Fisher’s Hill, Gaines Mill, New Market, Second Deep Bottom and Second Manassas.

This year’s recipients are the Civil War Trust, Manassas Battlefield Trust, Richmond Battlefields Association and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Civil War heritage tourism plays a large role in Virginia’s economy. A 2015 study found that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War brought more than 3.7 million people and $290 million to Virginia.

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New U. Va. president will earn more than predecessor

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The new president of the University of Virginia will earn $750,000 in base pay each year, more than his predecessor.

TV station WCAV reports James Ryan will also receive additional $150,000 in deferred compensation when he takes the job next year.

Ryan will be eligible to earn an additional $100,000 bonus and will get a $20,000 car allowance as well as membership to two clubs of his choice, and university presidents also get free housing in the Carr’s Hill residence.

Current UVA president Teresa Sullivan earns a base salary of about $560,000, with $180,000 deferred compensation.

Ryan is the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and will be the ninth president of the university.

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