Tappahannock police are attempting to find a missing 27-year-old man known to stay in Gloucester and Middlesex counties. Police found the man’s van and dog, but Benjamin Coffey, with no known permanent address, could not be found even after officers searched on the ground with dogs and by helicopter. Police believe Coffey lived mostly out of his van but had no reason to be a danger to himself or others. Coffey is described as a white man 5 feet, 6 inches tall, 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. He is known to frequent Gloucester and Middlesex counties and owns a sailboat in Deltaville,. Anyone with information on Coffey’s whereabouts is asked to call Tappahannock police.
Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to unveil his long-promised transportation funding reform package in Richmond less than a day before state lawmakers convene for their 2013 session. The governor, entering the fourth and final year of the single, nonrenewable term Virginia uniquely allows its governors, has kept details of the program closely limited to a handful of top aides and advisers. The only financial portion of the program he has discussed publicly would shift about $48 million from the General Fund by designating a sliver of the state sales tax for transportation use.
Virginia protected 26,375 acres of open space in 2012. The Virginia Outdoors Federation was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to encourage the preservation of natural and cultural heritage lands. The 2012 easements include about 120 miles of streams, 11,000 acres of high-quality farmland and 1,700 acres along scenic roads and byways. The easements typically involved agreements between private landowners and land trusts. Landowners who donate easements can receive state and federal tax breaks.
The York County Schools superintendent said Monday the division will have to fill a $2.9 million budget gap in the next fiscal year. The fiscal challenges are compounded by the unknown contributions from the federal, state and local governments, represented as question marks on the division’s balance sheet. The division knows it will see less money from the state government because of declining enrollment. The issue most likely to dominate budget discussions will be employee compensation. School division employees haven’t seen base pay increases, step increases or position regrades in the past four budgets and the board directed the superintendent to include compensation increases in his proposals.
A condemned Virginia inmate is fighting his former attorneys for the right to be executed next week.
Attorneys who represented Robert Gleason Jr. are asking a federal court in Roanoke to reappoint them to the case and allow them to appeal his death sentence. They argue Gleason was not competent to waive his appeals and that his condition has worsened due to his solitary confinement on death row. In a rare move, Gleason appeared in court on Friday to argue alongside state prosecutors that he should be executed. Gleason was serving life when he killed his cellmate in 2009. He vowed to keep killing unless given the death penalty. He strangled another inmate in 2010.
A Virginia Beach family physician is Virginia’s new health commissioner. Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday appointed Cynthia Romero to replace Karen Remley, who resigned in October over Virginia’s strict new abortion clinic regulations. Abortion-rights supporters have said the regulations could force most of the state’s 20 abortion clinics to close. Romero manages a family medical practice and is the first chief medical officer for Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.