Chesapeake Bay test results are the best experts have seen; Richmond schools employee accidentally get extra vacation time; Northam tries to save I-81 plan and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Charlottesville car attacker James Fields pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crime charges in a plea deal that allows him to avoid the death penalty. He was already facing life in prison after being found guilty in state court. Prosecutors called it an “acceptable result.” – The Daily Progress

• The head of the Special Olympics in Virginia says Trump’s proposal to cut federal funding for the program would slow their expansion plans but would not mean the program goes away. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Water quality experts say the Chesapeake Bay is still polluted, but that recent test results were the best they’ve ever seen. – The Virginian-Pilot

• An effort to clear a backlog of untested rape kits in Virginia led to 140 DNA hits. – The Virginian-Pilot

• The state shut down the online arm of a for-profit college here after finding widespread plagiarism and determining that the quality of the classes offered was extremely low. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Richmond Public Schools accidentally gave 659 employees an extra week of paid vacation because of a typo in the school calendar. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Gov. Ralph Northam says a push to overhaul the DEQ is moving forward and report will be issued next month. “We’re refocused, there’s no question,” he told reporters. – The Roanoke Times

• Dominion Energy bowed to pressure from Gov. Ralph Northam to spend a promised $870 million on energy efficiency programs. The power company said recently its actual spending on things like LED bulbs could be significantly lower, drawing a backlash from lawmakers. – Associated Press

• Northam amended legislation to try to salvage a push to provide funding to fix Interstate 81, increasing tractor-trailer registration fees and gas taxes, but lawmakers remain divided over the idea. – The Roanoke Times

• The teenager who made the violent racist threats that shut down Charlottesville Public Schools for two days pleaded guilty to one felony count of threating a school and misdemeanor count of harassment. Prosecutors said they found no evidence he planned to follow through with the threat. – The Daily Progress

• A jury in Alexandria was unable to reach a verdict in the murder trial of a man who told doctors he was fighting a werewolf. – The Washington Post

• As is common with escalators, Metro riders are encouraged to stand to the right and walk to the left. Experts say that’s wrong and things move faster for everyone if both sides are used for standing. “Stand on both sides of the escalator. Others will follow.” – The Washington Post

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