Firehouse primary winners; Deeds pushes for mental health reform; A rocket launch at Wallops; Two-headed snake dies

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

     

    — A federal judge sounded sympathetic after hearing arguments that the state’s practice of suspending drivers licenses for unpaid court fines places an undue burden on the poor and amounts to a modern-day debtors prison. “They shouldn’t be punished if they cannot pay,” he said. A ruling in the case is forthcoming. (C-VILLE)

    — Five years after his son’s death during a mental health crisis, Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, continues to push for reform of the state’s mental healthcare system, with an eye this year to overcrowding at mental health institutions and the care provided to inmates in state prisons and jails. “In many respects, we’ve made huge strides,” Deeds said, “but the frustrating part is that no matter how much you do, there’s still so much to do.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    — A state initiative to identify people convicted of crimes as a result of flawed state testimony about hair found at crime scenes is taking years as forensic officials dig through thousands of case files and courtroom transcripts. (Daily Press)

    — A 1,000-page report details the final hours of a sailor who was shot and killed at Naval Air Station Oceana after a night of drinking followed by a string of hit-and-run crashes that ended when he rammed his truck through the base’s gate. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    — Del. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, won a firehouse primary to run for state Senate to replace Jennifer Wexton, who won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    — Republicans picked Rockbridge County Supervisor Ronnie Campbell to run for the House of Delegates seat vacated by Ben Cline, who won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Campbell won a firehouse primary Sunday by one vote. Party officials declined the loser’s request for a recount. (The Roanoke Times)

    — Republicans in Prince William County are asking the state to investigate a phony PAC they say a former chair of the local Democratic party created to siphon votes in a close school board race. (The Washington Post)

    — The mayor of Charlottesville is proposing doubling her pay to $45,960 a year and doubling councilmembers’ annual salary to $38,300. (The Daily Progress)

    — Survivors of the Aug. 12, 2017 car attack in Charlottesville recalled their experience in graphic detail at a fundraiser for victims. (C-VILLE)

    — George Soros’ Open Society Foundations hired former congressman and gubernatorial hopeful Tom Perriello to serve as the philanthropic group’s executive director of U.S. Programs. (The Daily Progress)

    — Eschewing high-dollar pitches for condos, members of an American Legion post in Arlington partnered with an affordable housing developer to turn their old building into 140 affordable apartments, half of which will be set aside for veterans. (The Washington Post)

    — State university leaders say they had already been working on beefing up tech degree programs, so the timing was perfect when Amazon came knocking. (The Washington Post)

    — Smyth County got state approval to open Virginia’s third needle exchange program. (The Roanoke Times)

    — A rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility to resupply the International Space Station was successful. The flight into space was visible as far away as Washington, where a NASA photographer photographed the launching arching over the Jefferson Memorial. (The Washington Post)

    — The rare, two-headed copperhead snake found two months ago in Woodbridge died for “no apparent reason, just found dead one morning,” according to the state’s top snake expert. (The Washington Post)

    Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered to your inbox daily.