Fairfax County approves police body camera program; Dominion and others have spent $109M lobbying for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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• Fairfax County approved a body camera program for the police department. Implementation will start next year, and the county plans to issue 1,210 cameras for all police stations within three years.  The Washington Post

• Independent investigators of the Virginia Beach shooting are looking into reports of a hostile work environment in response to “allegations that African American employees were being treated differently; that they were often more subject to discipline than their counterparts, that they were less likely to be promoted than their counterparts,” an investigator said.  NPR

• Sen. Mark Warner’s office says there’s a deferred maintenance backlog of more than $186 million along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  WXFR

• Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, went to the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to advocate for the No Hate Act, which would improve hate crime reporting across the country. “Once we have those facts, then the Justice Department and Homeland Security can actually look at the situation and say, ‘OK, well we need to do this, or maybe we can let that go,'” Bro said.  NBC12

• Utility giants, including Dominion Energy, have spent more than $109 million lobbying federal lawmakers and officials since the $7.8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline project was unveiled five years ago.  HuffPost

• A woman is suing a Falls Church company because it denied her a job when she requested two five-minute breaks to pray during her shift, she said in a lawsuit.  WTOP

• An accreditation commission asked Liberty University to provide more information about recent reports on President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s leadership style and personal business.  Associated Press 

• “Police seized over 1,000 vials of liquid THC vape pen cartridges that have been linked to recent lung illnesses in Waynesboro this week.”  WHSV

• Portsmouth can’t condemn its city jail yet, but a circuit court judge ruled this week that it can condemn other buildings in its Civic Center Complex.  The Virginian-Pilot

• “Henrico County-based tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. has ended merger talks with Philip Morris International Inc., the company it spun off in 2008.”  Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Free fish this weekend! (But only in public fresh waters.)  Associated Press

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach.