Jan 15

Members of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents are calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell, the General Assembly and the Board of Education to give more flexibility to local school divisions. Association President and Gloucester County Public Schools Superintendent Ben Kiser said the decision-making trend of Virginia policymakers has been to replace local control with more state authority over public schools. Kiser asked lawmakers to be cautious about approving additional school mandates without providing money to pay for them.
 
 
Police have arrested and charged two juveniles in the shooting death of a Newport News mother. Two Newport News boys, one 15 and the other 16, have been charged. The charges stem from the shooting death of 27-year-old Phyllis Vinston on Jan. 5 . The mother of two was gunned down when trying to retrieve her sons, ages 5 and 7 who were outside playing on bikes when she heard gunshots. Family members said she yelled at the gunman when she ran out to get her sons. Police have not been able to determine if Vinston was a bystander or if she was targeted because of what she said to the shooters.
 
 
IF YOU’RE EXPECTING A REFUND FROM THE STATE THIS TAX SEASON, DON’T EXPECT TO GET A CHECK. THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU WON’T GET YOUR MONEY THOUGH. JOEL DAVISON FROM THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION SAYS THAT THANKS TO LEGISLATION FROM LAST YEAR’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION, THEY DECIDED TO DO AWAY WITH PRINTING OUT REFUND CHECKS. YOUR MONEY IS EITHER GOING TO GO TO DIRECT DEPOSIT, OR IT WILL BE MAILED TO YOU IN A PREPAID DEBIT CARD. DAVISON SAYS THAT DEBIT CARDS ARE SAFER THAN CHECKS, AND MORE CONVENIENT. HE SAYS THE DOING AWAY WITH THE CHECKS WILL SAVE THE STATE ABOUT 200-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN PRINTING AND MAILING COSTS.
 
 
Gov. Bob McDonnell told his newly formed Campus and School Safety Task Force Monday that “time is of the essence” for it to present him with initial ideas he can give to the General Assembly. The 40-member task force created by McDonnell in the wake of the massacre last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School has until Jan. 31 to give the governor its preliminary ideas that can be quickly considered by the General Assembly before it ends its session at the end of February. McDonnell said he has $33 million of unallocated funds in his budget amendments that can be used to help pay for recommendations put forward by the task force.
 
 
A cougar has been sighted in the area west of Urbanna. Three people saw the tan cat, also known as a mountain lion, puma or panther, with its distinctive long tail that curves up at the end. Cougars, however, aren’t believed to inhabit Virginia. Lee Walker, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the agency fields about a call a week from residents who are sure they saw an elusive felines.

January 15, 2013 |

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