Bolling gets himself a job; Oysters and ocean acidification; ‘Green vomit’ GOP exorcism; Norfolk Southern grant a ‘mistake’ and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

♦ Former Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling helped create a six-figure job for himself at JMU right after his term on the school’s Board of Visitors ended, specifically seeking a three-year appointment to fatten his state retirement account. While no violations of law are alleged, the situation is drawing scrutiny. “It would certainly fail my smell test,” says Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, who is carrying a bill to prohibit such arrangements. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

♦ A Patrick County EMT was suspended after national news outlets began reporting on racist comments he made as a regular guest on a white supremacist podcast, where he talked about terrorizing black patients, among other offensive comments. (CNN)

♦ The ocean is absorbing a third of the carbon dioxide humans are producing, causing rapid acidification around the world, threatening oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay in particular. (The Virginian-Pilot)

♦ Virginia Republicans met in Norfolk for closed-door strategy sessions with names like “Winning Back Suburbia” and “How to Win Again.” Conservative radio host John Fredericks summed up the mood: “This party has to have a public exorcism of Corey Stewart — complete with holy water and green vomit.” Stewart, for his part, said he has no ambition to make another run for statewide office. (The Washington Post)

♦ Fatal opioid overdoses are down slightly in 2018, but deaths from cocaine and meth are rising. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

♦ Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to drop town father Col. John Fitzgerald’s name from a newly refurbished park over concerns about his status as one of the area’s largest slave holders. Instead, the council settled on “Waterfront Park.” One council member observed that, “It’s not the jazziest name, but it serves a purpose.” (The Washington Post)

♦ It’s been seven years since a criminal defendant in Virginia was sentenced to death and the state’s death row population, once among the highest in the country, has dwindled to three. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

♦ The Virginia Supreme Court endorsed a model policy to allow people to bring their cellphones into courthouses around the state, but it’s still up to local judges whether they want to adopt the changes. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

♦ A Virginia Beach man who spent 27 years in prison for rape is innocent, according to his accuser, who was 11 at the time of the trial. (The Virginian-Pilot)

♦ The superintendent of Stafford public schools says he doesn’t think the county should have a public hearing or referendum on a proposed policy to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, calling it “remarkably unfair” to make transgender students and their families “defend something that they live with, they love and they respect.” (The Free-Lance Star)

♦ Dominion Energy is one step closer to expanding into South Carolina after utility regulators there gave them the green light to buy SCANA Energy. “No one will be happy with any decision we made here today,” said one public service commissioner. (The State)

♦ Dominion Energy applied to recover $302 million from ratepayers to cover the cost of environmental upgrades to three coal plants. The average household would see bills rise by $2.15 a month. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

♦ Democrat Christian Worth, a Lexington political activist, faces off Tuesday against Republican Ronnie Campbell, a Rockbridge County supervisor, in a bid to serve the remainder of Representative-elect Ben Cline’s term in the Virginia House of Delegates. (The Roanoke Times)

♦ “Speaking for Steve Landes, I would count it as a mistake,” said Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta) about the $1.9 million the state gave Norfolk Southern in 2016 to move jobs from Roanoke to Norfolk. The railroad announced last week it was moving to Atlanta. (The Roanoke Times)

♦ U.S. Reps.-elect Elaine Luria (D-2nd District) and Denver Riggleman (R-5th District) visited Israel. (The Washington Post)

♦ Gov. Ralph Northam is the first governor in a decade to include school construction funds in his budget proposal, but the $80 million in loans would be a drop in the bucket and do little to alleviate needs on the “frozen in time” waiting list. (Daily Press)

♦ Virginia’s “rocket docket” capital punishment system, which could get an accused man tried and hanged in under a month, meant fewer people were lynched in Virginia compared to other southern states. (News Leader)

♦ The Legal Aid Justice Center is challenging a Virginia law aimed at “habitual drunkards,” prosecuted in a civil proceeding that doesn’t guarantee indigent defendants a lawyer. Virginia and Utah are the only two states with such a law. (The Free Lance-Star)

♦ Business is great for local Christmas tree farmers. “I wish I had another 150 acres I could plant.” (The Daily Progress)

♦ Who are we? Where are we? Not Tidewater, decided Hampton Roads in 1983. (The Daily Press)

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