Virginia State Police released the annual state-wise crime report yesterday, that showed violent crime declined by 1.6%, while property crime was down 3.9% from the 2012 figures. The homicide rate remained about the same at 3.84 per 100 thousand. Vehicle thefts and attempted thefts were down six% and robbery was down 3.7%. The exceptions were fraud and drugs. Fraud offenses increased by 7.6% and drug offenses increased for the fourth year in a row, this time by 3.8%.
Articles by Charles Fishburne
The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by James Risen, the New York Times reporter who refused to testify against a former CIA officer on the grounds that he has a right to protect his source’s identity. Reporters have long argued they have a constitutional right not to reveal their sources. The government, in most cases, has denied that right exists.
An advocacy group says Virginia’s response to the needs of mentally ill individuals is insufficient, and more needs to be done to help prevent crises.
There is a graveyard in Staunton, with the bones of 2,900 people, who lived and died at Western State Hospital, in an era when mental illness was considered incurable, and they were simply put away. Attitudes changed and so did public policy and in the 1990’s Virginia, and the nation, began to discharge patients into the community but there was a problem.
A new report says Virginia has the second highest graduation rate in the country of students attending the state’s four-year public colleges and universities. The State Council of Higher Education says 70% graduate within six years, based on a group of students who began attending colldge in 2007. That’s second only to Delaware that has a graduation rate of 73%.
Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason’s rates increased by 10 percentage points during the period. Christopher Newport improved points from 59% to 79%.
One person died and five others were injured in a house fire early yesterday morning in Chester. It happened at 2:25 a.m. in the 4100 block of Hamlin Court in Chester.
Family members identified the victims as David Vance, Jr., his wife Stacey, their two young boys, David’s father and Stacey’s mother. Five were hospitalized with life threatening injuries, three of them were serious injuries, one of those later died. Relatives said it was Stacey’s mother, but officials have not yet confirmed the identity.
Gasoline prices are higher than last year at this time, as the summer driving season begins. Triple A says the summer driving season started last weekend, and motorist paid slightly more for gasoline that in the previous two years. They blame higher global oil prices, driving by tensions in key oil producing regions, most notably the Ukraine and Libya.
Triple A still believes prices have likely hit their peak and should decline into the summer, unless geopolitical conditions get worse.
Reynolds American is launching a new campaign against cigarette smugglers using what they call the new “tobacco road.” That would be Interstate 95, the preferred route of tobacco smugglers along the East Coast, as they transport cigarettes to markets up North where a single smoke can sell for five dollars on a New York City sidewalk.
A statue honoring “The Bedford Boys,” is being installed at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. The statue, called “Homage” is scheduled to be dedicated on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June.
The Bedford Boys were 19 soldiers from Bedford who were killed that day, as the Allies invaded Normandy June 6th, 1944.
Congress established the memorial in Bedford because the little town proportionately had the nation’s severest losses that day. Bedford’s population at the time was 3200.
The Richmond area’s jobless rate has declined to five percent…lowest since November, 2008. Richmond’s rate was 5% in April, down from 5.5% in March.
Virginia unemployment in April was 4.7% overall compared with 5.9% nationally.
Martinsville had the highest rate in April at 11.2%, Arlington County and the city of Falls Church the lowest at 3.2%.
The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors has not yet reached a decision on public prayer policy at its government meetings. The county board began its regular meeting yesterday with a prayer as usual, but has no new policy yet as the result of a recent Supreme Court Decision, and a letter from the ACLU, demanding a change.
However, religious leaders will apparently no longer be advised to keep prayers genetic and nonsectarian. One question is whether representatives outside traditional monotheistic religions will be allowed.