I-81 legislation excludes tolls for now; Republican senator proposes ‘radical’ change to health care; NOVA man charged with biting a human AND a dog and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

  • Even though Virginia has become the arena for debate on abortions performed in the third trimester, the Department of Health has no record of one being performed in the state in the last three years. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Legislation that once called for installing tolls along Interstate 81 is now a study to find money for safety and congestion improvements. – The Roanoke Times
  • As the population in Chesterfield County changes, Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, is breaking ranks with her party on immigration issues, most recently on a bill that would allow in-state tuition for students who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals policy. “They’re trying to do the right thing,” she said. “They’re trying to become citizens of the United States and through no fault of their own they’ve hit a wall.” – WCVE
  • Kelly Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, will face a challenger this year in the form of Republican Shannon Kane, a current member of the Virginia Beach City Council. Fowler was one of 15 Democrats who almost flipped the House in 2017. – Southside Daily
  • Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant wants to create the Commonwealth Care Division to take over the responsibilities of the subsidized federal marketplace and insurance for people outside of it who struggle to pay rising premiums. “I know it’s kind of radical, but we need radical. We’re in trouble with health care in this country,” she said. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Virginia Beach will test the drinking water of some of its residents after monitoring found arsenic levels that were more than double and triple the threshold that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency consider acceptable for drinking. – The Virginian-Pilot
  • Lorena Bobbitt of Manassas may have been lost to vague pop culture references since the mid-1990s, when she severed the penis of her abusive husband. She now goes by her maiden name, Lorena Gallo, and participated in a soon-to-be-released docuseries. – The New York Times
  • Military families are looking for new doctors to deliver their children since Langley Air Force Base Hospital told them the maternity ward is closing. – The Virginian-Pilot
  • A California man was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal agents about making threats against former U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett. The man sent Garrett a Facebook message in 2017 to say “You’re dead if I ever meet you in real life,” and other threats. – Associated Press
  • Jens Soering, a former University of Virginia student and son of a German diplomat, was again denied parole for the double murder of a Lynchburg couple in 1985. – The Daily Progress
  • A former dean at the University of Richmond is suing the university for $1 million, claiming one of her superiors discriminated against her based on her sex. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • The Redskins will train in Richmond at least through 2020, the team’s president Bruce Allen said. He hasn’t said what will happen after that or if discussions to extend the contract in Richmond have started.- Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • A Prince William County man was charged with animal cruelty and other offenses after biting his dog and an FBI agent. – 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. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.