Va jobless rate falls to 5.2% in April
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Employment Commission says the state's jobless rate fell in April for the second consecutive month.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.2% in April. That's down from 5.3% in March, and down from 5.9% a year ago.
Virginia's unemployment rate has been trending down since joblessness peaked at 7.4% from December 2009 until March 2010.
The Labor Department says the national unemployment rate was 7.5% in April. Unemployment rates fell in 40 states, rose in three and were unchanged in seven.
1 sailor dead, 7 injured in training accident
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A U.S. Navy spokesman says one sailor was killed and seven were injured during a training exercise at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
Lt. David Lloyd, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Group Two in Virginia Beach, Va., said the eight sailors were riding in a Humvee as part of a convoy on the post when the accident occurred Wednesday night.
The Navy identified the sailor as Jonathan H. Kaloust, a NAVY SEAL, based out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Fort Story, Va.
Lloyd said the cause of the accident remains under investigation and he had no other details.
Seven sailors sustained minor injuries and were treated and released from a hospital.
The U.S. Navy has used Fort Knox as a training ground since World War II.
EASTERN SHORE ARSONS
2 linked to E. Shore arsons competent for trial
ACCOMAC, Va. (AP) - Two people suspected in setting a string of fires on Virginia's Eastern Shore have been found competent to stand trial.
The conclusion followed a court-ordered psychological evaluation of Charles R. Smith II and Tonya Bundick.
Police have said the couple is responsible for most of the 77 arsons on the Eastern Shore since last fall. They were arrested April 2.
The Daily Times reports (http://delmarvane.ws/11Kty95) that the psychological evaluations of Smith and Bundick found that both defendants suffer from depression.
The evaluations reveal that Bundick was subjected to verbal and emotional abuse at home as a child and physically abused by her father.
The evaluation of Smith notes that he was abandoned by his biological father.
USPS official sentenced for taking bribes
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A former U.S. Postal Service official has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for accepting at least $40,000 in bribes to help a Maryland company receive $6 million in contracts.
Forty-8-year-old Gene Quarles of Spotsylvania pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court in Alexandria to bribery of a public official. Prosecutors had sought a 2-year sentence.
Court documents show Quarles, a purchasing specialist, regularly received payments between 2010 and 2012 from the owners of AH Computer Consulting, Inc. in Rockville, Md. On at least one occasion he received $3,500 cash in a brown paper bag.
In exchange, Quarles provided inside information that helped AHCC land two contracts totaling $6 million.
The company and its CEO-Technical Director, Adel Elaraby of Gaithersburg, Md., have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
HAZMAT SPILL-INTERSTATE 95
I-95 southbound reopened after Va hazmat spill
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) - The southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Stafford County have reopened following a crash that stopped traffic until late Friday morning.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said lanes reopened around 11 a.m. following an early-morning crash involving two tractor-trailers.
The rest area near Fredericksburg has been closed temporarily while vehicles involved in the earlier crash are moved there.
Virginia State Police say the impact of the crash several barrels of an organic, corrosive, liquid material to fall off 1 of the tractor-trailers and land in the right southbound lane.
The tractor-trailers remained upright and neither driver was injured in the rear-end collision.
1 of the drivers, 35-year-old James E. Harris Jr., of Chester, was charged with following too closely.
MINERAL SANDS-MINING OPERATION
Mineral sands mining operation planned in Va
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new mineral sands mining operation is in the works in Virginia.
Gov. Bob McDonnell says Iluka Resources is moving forward with a project to extract and concentrate titanium and zircon minerals in Dinwiddie County.
Officials say the project is subject to regulatory and environmental approval, as well as approval from the company's board.
The proposed operation would include a $67 million investment in equipment and property. Additional costs are expected to bring the total investment to $120 million.
The governor's office says the project would create 86 jobs and additional jobs during construction.
The company currently operates similar facilities in Greenville and Sussex counties.
McDonnell has committed a $300,000 performance-based grant for the project. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission also committed $525,000.
Steger delivers Va. Tech commencement address
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - The nearly 6,000 students at Virginia Tech's spring commencement ceremony heard from President Charles Steger (STEE'-gur) just days after he announced his retirement.
Steger was the commencement speaker Friday at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg. During his remarks to graduates, he touched upon milestones during his nearly 14 years as president.
He added those achievements were a collective success, and he thanked Tech's faculty, staff and students.
The Roanoke Times reports that as commencement concluded, the stadium filled with cheers and applause.
Steger will remain at Tech until his successor is named.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.