Investigators aren’t sure what motivated Virginia Beach shooting; Coal company with Virginia operations wants to sell mines; The state needs acorns and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Investigators in Virginia Beach are struggling to find the motive behind a mass shooter’s rampage in May that killed 12 people. That “has left already-reeling families starved for closure, with several saying they can’t fully grieve without knowing what led up to the tragedy and how it all unfolded.”  The Virginian Pilot

• A grand jury indicted Warren County’s top government officials for mishandling a major economic development deal. “It’s not every day that your entire government gets arrested. It’s so shameful,” a local activist said.  The Washington Post

• Under Virginia’s education funding formula, a major redevelopment proposal in downtown Richmond “would give the appearance that the locality has an increasing tax base, but those revenues will go to something other than schools,” an analyst said.  VPM

• Norfolk City Council approved a land deal with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, paving the way for a waterfront casino development.  The Virginian-Pilot

• Bill Drennan, a Republican House of Delegates candidate in the 87th District in Prince William County, called himself a “climate change skeptic” and said the issue had become “a religion … not based on science.”  Prince William Times

• Over the last four years, the Virginia Railway Express “has seen a steady increase in heat orders — namely speed restrictions that require trains to run 20 miles per hour slower.” In July, these restrictions were in place for 90 percent of the month.  DCist

• Another coal company with operations in Virginia filed for bankruptcy and wants to sell its mines. “It is unclear whether the purchasing companies will continue to mine coal at the current rate, and whether they will retain all of the current … employees.”  Lexington Herald-Leader

• Five sailors assigned to the Norfolk-based USS George H. W. Bush have died in the last three months, including three who died by suicide within days of each other.  The Virginian-Pilot

• Arlington County and Alexandria split into separate localities in the 1870s. Now they’re reconsidering creating a joint entity to prepare for Amazon’s HQ2 project.  The Washington Post

• “The Virginia Department of Forestry is asking residents to gather up and donate acorns and nuts, which will then be planted at the state-run nursery and help build the ‘forests of tomorrow.’”  WTOP

• The state has started mailing one-time tax refund checks. Don’t ignore the envelope if you get one. It has money in it.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

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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.