Jury recommends life sentence for Fields; Methane caused Louisa water scare; Culpeper wants to cap solar farms and more headlines

    Hundreds of anti-racist protesters rallied at UVA before marching around the city on Aug. 11, 2018, in Charlottesville, the anniversary weekend of the deadly white supremacist rally that left one dead and dozens injured. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

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    ♦ A jury recommended James Fields serve life in prison plus 419 years for murdering Heather Heyer and injuring and maiming dozens of bystanders during a car attack last year. Heyer’s mother called the recommendation appropriate. “The bottom line is justice has him where he needs to be.” A judge will ultimately decide Fields’ sentence. A hearing has been set for March. Fields also faces federal hate crime charges, for which he could receive the death penalty. (Associated Press)

    ♦ The state tourism office settled a trademark infringement lawsuit against an online retailer who opened a shop called “Virginia is for Gun Lovers.” As part of the agreement, the store owner, a 28-year-old who said he opened it on a whim and only ever made 10 sales, took down the site and paid the state $500. (Richmond BizSense)

    ♦ Louisa County officials say methane sewer gas likely caused water contamination that prompted a do-not-use order and an evacuation of people living in an area where officials worried the gas could cause an explosion. (WTVR)

    ♦ Leaders in Culpeper County are pursuing a cap on solar farms that would limit production to 240 megawatts, which they’ve calculated is the amount of power consumed by local residents. (Culpeper Star Exponent)

    ♦ Del. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, told constituents at a town hall on coal ash that he’s opposed to burying it in place and working on legislation that would require Dominion Energy to dig it up and recycle it where possible. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    ♦ The developers behind the proposed resort casino in Bristol say they’re hopeful for their chances winning approval for the project in the General Assembly. “I can’t imagine the legislature would give $573 million to Amazon and take them into an area that is thriving already [northern Virginia] and not let us just vote on this. How can they turn down our right to vote on our own destiny?” (Bristol Herald Courier)

    ♦ After a heated hearing, a judge dismissed assault charges against former Delegate Joe Morrissey and his former law client. “I’m finding neither one is guilty,” the judge said. Morrissey lost his law license over the summer. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    ♦ For every 10 out-of-work adults in Virginia, six are women, according to a new study. (WVTF)

    ♦ Norfolk District Court has been holding a twice-monthly mental health docket to try to get offenders treatment and services in cases where mental illness is a factor. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    ♦ Officials in Virginia Beach are talking about subsidizing a new hotel near their convention center, saying the facility is losing out on business because there’s nowhere to stay within walking distance. (The Virginian-Pilot)

    ♦ Five people were arrested in Danville after an unmarked state police vehicle was sprayed with bullets during a drive-by shooting. The special agent inside the vehicle wasn’t injured. (Danville Register & Bee)

    ♦ VDOT is bumping the speed limit up from 60 to 65 miles per hour on a 9.5 mile stretch of Interstate 64 in Newport News and Hampton. (Daily Press)

    ♦ Hampton Roads leaders are once again talking about rebranding the region “to something that is more effective to our business community, especially our hospitality and tourism industry.” (Inside Business)

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