Cohen helped Falwell Jr. keep photos under wraps; Income in rural areas is growing quickly; Blacksburg wants to allow dogs at festivals and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW
Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Donald Trump’s fixer/lawyer says he successfully helped Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. keep racy photos under wraps ahead of Falwell’s endorsement of Trump. “I actually have one of the photos,” Michael Cohen said. “It’s terrible.” – Reuters

• A growing backlog in state forensic labs, exacerbated by a rising caseload combined with increasingly complicated synthetic street drugs, has led to delayed cases and long waits in jail for defendants awaiting trial. – The Virginian-Pilot

• Judges on the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sounded skeptical of a lawsuit challenging a Native American tribe’s sovereign authority to operate an online loan business that charges interest rates as high as 650 percent. “It seems like your bottom line is, ‘We don’t like payday loans.’ ” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Suffolk-based seat held by powerful House Republican Chris Jones, which is newly competitive because of court-ordered redistricting, didn’t generate much interest among Democrats, with just one candidate, real estate agent Clint Jenkins, filing to run. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The Republican nominating battle over the Hanover-based 97th House seat held by Del. Chris Peace continues, with a majority of members of the district committee writing state elections officials to tell them a convention held over the weekend was invalid and to disregard challenger Scott Wyatt’s victory. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Populations outside the state’s three largest metro areas may be shrinking, but household incomes in rural areas are rising at more than twice the rate while poverty rates fall, according to latest census data. – Stat Chat

• A Richmond police officer backed out of a promise to apologize to middle schoolers at a school assembly for telling a group of students to “wait till your asses turn 18, then you’re mine.” The department said he had already apologized to the families involved in private and “no longer feels he can handle” attending the public event. – WTVR

• Heavy rain has some farmers worried about this year’s apple season, but on the bright side, they say there’s no way it’ll be worse than last year’s. – The Winchester Star

• Blacksburg is considering legislation to end a ban on dogs at street festivals. “People like to take their dogs with them.” – The Roanoke Times