New president selected at Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Timothy Sands has been named the 16th president of Virginia Tech, succeeding President Charles W. Steger (STEE'-gur).
Tech's Board of Visitors approved the hiring of the Purdue University provost Friday.
In June, Steger announced he was stepping down after 14 years at the helm of the Blacksburg university. He agreed to stay until his successor was named.
Steger was thrust into the national spotlight on April 16, 2007, when a student-gunman killed 32 students on the Tech campus in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho (sung-wee joh) killed himself after the rampage.
During his tenure, Tech increased its enrollment, saw its research portfolio grow by more than 300 percent, and established a school of biomedical engineering and created a school of medicine.
Va. to introduce new mental health protocols
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia mental health officials say they are introducing changes in January to ensure that hospital beds will be available for people who pose a danger to themselves or others.
The promised protocols follow the Nov. 19 death of a Virginia state senator's son who had been released from emergency custody less than one day earlier.
Austin "Gus" Deeds attacked his father, Sen. Creigh (KREE) Deeds, and then killed himself.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services announced the upcoming changes in a report issued late Thursday.
It said the new policy will specify "clear and specific expectations for contacting private hospitals." It will also clearly spell out when an emergency mental health worker can contact a state mental hospital to find a bed.
Proposed VRS venture heading to study panel
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Retirement System will study a proposed venture to manage investments for other public and potentially private funds.
That decision stops short of seeking permission from the 2014 General Assembly to embark on the new enterprise.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the VRS board of trustees voted 7-1 on Thursday to form the study panel to examine the proposed subsidiary, known as Project Frontier.
The dissenting vote was cast by Edwin T. Burton III, the longest-serving member of the board. He opposes the $61 billion public retirement system competing against private investment management firms.
VRS officials who support the branching out have said retirement system staff's attention would not be diverted from managing the investment of public pension funds.
US OKs offshore wind-testing lease to Va.'s DMME
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has taken a big step in its quest to collect data off the coast ahead of wind turbine development in Atlantic waters.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Friday there was no other competitive interest in the area of the Outer Continental Shelf where DMME proposes to design and develop a 12-megawatt offshore wind test turbine. BOEM must still approve the installation of the testing facility.
The information collected by the so-called demonstration project will ultimately be publicly available.
Dominion Virginia Power successfully bid on an expanse of ocean nearly 25 miles off Virginia Beach to develop one of the nation's first offshore wind farms. Development of the area isn't expected for at least five or six years.
Fort Monroe in line for Va. funding
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell's biennial state budget provides funding for operations and management of historic Fort Monroe.
The Hampton landmark on the Chesapeake Bay is in line for $6.7 million in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 and more than $700,000 in supplemental funding in fiscal year 2014.
McDonnell's office said Friday the governor's budget amendments also authorize the issuance of bonds totaling $22.5 million through the Virginia Building Authority. That would cover a good portion of the $26 million anticipated to fund capital improvements.
The moated fort was deactivated as a military installation in the fall of 2011. It is now under the management of a state authority.
During the Civil War, Fort Monroe was known as "Freedom's Fortress" because of the slaves who sought refuge in the Union stronghold.
Key Bridge reopens after earlier closure
WASHINGTON (AP) - The D.C. police department says the Key Bridge has now completely reopened after being closed earlier in the morning for unspecified police activity.
The department posted on Twitter around 7 a.m. Friday that the bridge was now open in both directions.
The bridge connects the D.C neighborhood of Georgetown to Rosslyn in Virginia.
It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the bridge closure.
Death penalty ruled out in Va. triple slaying
MADISON, Va. (AP) - A Newport News man will not face the prospect of a death sentence if he's convicted in the slayings of three family members in Madison County.
The Culpeper Star-Exponent reports that an agreement announced Thursday will spare Rashad Riddick the death penalty in the killings of his uncle, his uncle's wife and her daughter. They were found shot in February 2011.
Instead, Madison County Commonwealth's Attorney George Webb said he would seek back-to-back life sentences. The 26-year-old defendant is scheduled to stand trial next September.
The agreement announced Thursday in the case had the blessing of Riddick's attorney.
Riddick has pleaded not guilty.
He is charged with the shooting deaths of 55-year-old James Clark Jackson, 53-year-old Karen Lee and 26-year-old Chante Latrice Davis.
PEARL HARBOR DAY
Pearl Harbor remembrance set in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony is set at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
The event from 11 a.m. until noon Saturday will honor Virginians and all U.S. military who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.
The ceremony is sponsored by the Richmond Council of the Navy League of the United States. The Richmond chapter's president, Milton Owen, will speak.
The program will include laying of memorial wreaths and special tributes to Pearl Harbor survivors who've been invited to attend.
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