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This Hour: Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment

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SHIP COLLISION

Tug boats to try moving cargo ship grounded in Va

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - The Coast Guard says tug boats are set to try moving a 751-foot cargo ship that ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay.

Officials say the grounded bulk carrier Ornak will have water pumped off the vessel Friday morning and then tug boats will try to move it at high tide.

The ship was anchored east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and ran aground Tuesday night not too far away near First Landing State Park as winds gusted up to 70 mph.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that once the ship is freed, it will be moved to a nearby location for a hull inspection by a dive team. If the ship is deemed safe, it will be allowed back into service.

JAMES RIVER COAL-BANKRUPTCY

James River Coal wants to auction off business

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - James River Coal Co. intends to sell parts or all of its business at an auction in July.

The Richmond-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month as it faced challenges from the weak economy, environmental regulations and competition from natural gas.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that James River Coal has been working with advisers for three months to find potential buyers for its business or to obtain a capital investment.

According to court filings, the company is seeking preliminary indications of interest by May 22, with a bidding deadline of June 30.

The auction would be July 8, with a sale hearing in court on July 11.

The company mines coal used to produce steel and for power generation in Kentucky, West Virginia and Indiana.

CUTTER RETURNS

Coast Guard cutter heading home to Va. waters

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A Coast Guard cutter is heading back to Virginia waters after intercepting more than $100 million in cocaine in the Caribbean.

The Legare is scheduled to return to its Portsmouth homeport on Saturday after a 49-day patrol. The Caribbean patrol included two high seas drug busts.

The Coast Guard says the Legare crew and a law enforcement detachment seized 3,300 kilograms of cocaine. The contraband valued at $110 million was offloaded in Miami before the Legare set sail for Virginia.

UVA TUITION

U.Va. visitors to weigh tuition increases

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - The University of Virginia Board of Visitors meets next week to set tuition rates for the next academic year.

The U.Va. administration is proposing a 4.5 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduates. For out-of-state students, a 6 percent increase will be considered.

If approved, a first-year Virginia resident would pay nearly $1,000 more to attend U.Va. The $27,417 cost includes tuition and fees, room and board, among other expenses.

The board will meet on Wednesday at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Members will be in the region to attend the inauguration of the Donna Price Henry as the eighth chancellor of U.Va. College at Wise.

FELONS' RIGHTS

McAuliffe alters felons' voting rights procedures

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe is making it easier for felons to regain their voting rights.

McAuliffe announced Friday that he is reducing the waiting period for violent felons to apply for reinstatement from five years to three years. He is also removing drug offenses from the list of violent crimes that are subject to the waiting period.

The changes build on former Gov. Bob McDonnell's efforts to streamline the process. McDonnell's administration restored the civil rights of more than 8,000 felons, nearly twice as many as any previous administration.

McAuliffe says his administration already has restored the rights of more than 800 Virginians in his first three months in office.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE-WATER PLANT

Va. water authorities to split cost of new plant

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - Two regional water authorities are planning to split the cost of a new $14 million Smith Mountain Lake water treatment plant.

The Western Virginia Water Authority's board on Thursday voted unanimously to split the cost of the facility with the Bedford Regional Water Authority, which approved the agreement earlier this week.

Both authorities plan to expand their reach and quantity of water available for distribution. The new plant in Moneta is expected to produce up to 4 million gallons of water per day.

The agreement outlines a financial plan in which both authorities would split evenly construction, capacity and operation costs for the plant.

The Roanoke Times reports that the contract is set to last 16 years, with additional renewals available thereafter.

HEROIN DEATH

Va. man gets prison for heroin death

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - A Harrisonburg man who sold a deadly dose of heroin has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The U.S. attorney's office says 31-year-old Jean Paul Alvarado was found guilty in May 2013 to a single charge of distributing heroin resulting in death. He was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

Alvarado sold the deadly dose of heroin in March 2011.

U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said the rise in heroin abuse is underscored by the "staggering increase" in overdose deaths in the western district of his office.

ALEXANDRIA-WOMEN SHOT

Tug-of-war arises in W.Va. for man sought in Va.

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A public defender in West Virginia says a northern Virginia man sought for questioning in three slayings is being held illegally.

Wheeling police arrested Charles Severance on March 13 on a warrant related to a firearms charge in Virginia's Loudoun County.

Police in Alexandria, Va., have said they want to talk to Severance about three unsolved killings. He has not been charged in the slayings.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register (http://bit.ly/QhZUTR) says Severance's public defender, Shayne Welling, contends in a court filing his client is being held in West Virginia under a bogus warrant. He says the warrant from Loudoun County is a pretense to get Severance back to Virginia for questioning in Alexandria.

Welling asked a judge to direct Virginia authorities to appear before the court.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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