ELIZABETH RIVER WHALE
Whale dies in Elizabeth River in Virginia
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) - A whale that entered the Elizabeth River in Virginia earlier this week has died.
Joan Barns of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center says the whale died on Thursday morning. A necropsy is planned, including tissue and blood samples for further study.
The 35- to 45-foot sei whale was first spotted Monday in the river's Southern Branch near the Jordan Bridge and Paradise Creek.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sei whales are usually seen in deeper waters of oceanic areas far from the coastline.
FORMER GOVERNOR TRIAL
Ex-Virginia governor downplays Ferrari ride
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Gov. Bob McDonnell downplayed the significance of his joy ride in a Ferrari owned by a former CEO of a dietary supplement maker.
McDonnell testified about his use of the sports car Thursday at his corruption trial in Richmond. He and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company's supplements.
McDonnell said it was fun to drive the sports car back to Richmond from a free vacation at the businessman's Smith Mountain Lake house and he did not think it was "big deal."
Jurors have been shown several photos of McDonnell driving the Ferrari, which is one the world's most expensive sports cars.
SEXUAL ASSAULT-TASK FORCE
Sexual assault task force created for Va. colleges
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A task force to combat sexual assaults on Virginia's college campuses has been created by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe signed an executive order Thursday creating the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence.
The task force will include campus administrators, advocates, law enforcement, higher education attorneys, health professionals and others. The task force will be chaired by Attorney General Mark Herring.
Herring's office will also begin a training program with college and university staff who are involved in the prevention of and response to reports of sexual violence. A statewide summit will be held in Richmond in October to bring together campus leaders to discuss ways to prevent and respond to sexual violence.
The task force will provide a final report to the governor by June 1.
MINE SAFETY GRANT
Va. agency gets $269K in mine safety funding
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is receiving nearly $269,000 in health and safety training grants from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The funding is part of $8.3 million in grants for 47 states and the Navajo Nation in fiscal year 2014. The state funds are being given to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy in Big Stone Gap.
Officials say grantees will use the funds to provide federally mandated training and retraining to miners. Some states use these grants to support their mine emergency response efforts and other functions.
MSHA chief Joe Main says the grants will enable miners to better prepare and arm them with the proper knowledge to avoid accidents and injuries.
Va-area artifacts vie for 'endangered' designation
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Time is running out to vote for some of the area's most unique relics that are vying for the title of Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts.
The program sponsored by the Virginia Association of Museums is designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts.
While the designation doesn't come with award money, officials say it has helped some of those previously listed apply for grants and help with fundraising efforts.
Using input from public online voting that ends on Saturday, an independent panel of experts will select the top artifacts in mid-September.
The nominees include regalia of the Pamunkey Indian tribe, a 1930s German Box Car, a 1905 Steinway piano, a skeleton tank, and the tombstone of the founder of Virginia Tech.
Liberty U reaches record on-campus enrollment
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Liberty University says has reached record enrollment for on-campus students.
The Lynchburg school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell says more than 13,800 students are studying on its campus this semester.
The surge in enrollment includes more than 7,700 students living on campus. The record figure also means nearly every student housing facility is at capacity.
Officials say that Liberty is continuing a $500 million campus rebuilding, which includes more residence halls as well as new and upgraded academic, recreation and athletic facilities.
The university expects to reach a residential population of 16,000 by 2020.
Redskins' Gruden: a night owl who needs his sleep
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - New Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden is more of a night owl than an early bird, but he's no Joe Gibbs.
Gruden says he doesn't plan to spend the night at Redskins Park, as Gibbs did so often during two stints coaching the team.
Says Gruden: "I need my sleep."
Predecessor Mike Shanahan like to arrive early to work, but the transition to Gruden hasn't required the holdover assistants to reset their body clocks.
Offensive line coach Chris Foerster says Gruden "lets the coaches coach" and essentially work their own hours as long as they get their assignments done.
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