McDonnell files for divorce; Air board got inaccurate information, former members say; Prison time for Charlottesville beating; Spy gear feared on Chinese Metro cars and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• A federal appeals court ruled the chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors violated the First Amendment when she temporarily blocked a constituent on Facebook. President Donald Trump is facing similar lawsuits. The judges ruled the ban “amounted to an effort ‘to suppress speech critical of [such members’] conduct of [their] official duties or fitness for public office’ further reinforces that the ban was taken under color of state law.” (The Washington Post)

• Former Gov. Bob McDonnell filed for divorce from his wife, Maureen. The two were co-defendants in a 2014 corruption trial and Bob McDonnell’s defense largely rested on blaming his wife for taking $175,000 loans and gifts from a dietary supplement salesman. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned McDonnell’s convictions and charges against he and his wife were later dropped.  (WTOP)

• Two former members of Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board, voting today on a permit for a natural gas compressor station planned for a rural African-American community as part of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, warn that regulators are preparing to vote based on inaccurate information from the Department of Environmental Quality and from the utility. (The Washington Post)

• An Ohio man was sentenced to serve three years and 10 months in prison for his part in the group beating of a black man during the Aug. 12, 2017, white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. (WVIR)

• Five members of Virginia’s congressional delegation said they’re forgoing salaries during the government shutdown in solidarity with federal workers who aren’t getting paid: Reps. Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton, Rob Wittman and Denver Riggleman. (The Washington Post)

• The city of Richmond apologized after garnishing $600 from the paycheck of a woman who never lived in the city for personal property taxes she never owed. “All of this could have been avoided had they just taken the time to listen to me in the beginning,” the woman said. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

• Following concerns from some parents that the schools would “indoctrinate their children,” Stafford County Public Schools’ superintendent struck language in a proposed transgender-student policy that said administrators may “foster an understanding of gender identity, to create a school culture that respects and values all students.” (The Free Lance-Star)

• Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer (R) says he’ll fun for the state Senate seat being vacated by Dick Black. He promised to be focused on transportation instead of the social issues that kept Black in the news. (The Washington Post)

• Roanoke announced a downtown redevelopment plan that would bring a new bus station, train station, shops and apartments.  (The Roanoke Times)

• Metro officials are worried Chinese-supplied rail cars could have spy equipment built into them. (The Washington Post)

• The state broadcast its last traffic update via AM radio over the weekend. VDOT encourages drivers to instead rely on electronic roadside signage or their website, apps or 511 hotline for traffic information. (Daily Press)

• Four 170-foot-tall shipping cranes were delivered to the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. Officials say they’ll be the largest on the East Coast. (The Virginian-Pilot)

• During that 18-hour-long backup on I-81 in Bristol last month, some stranded drivers started sounding desperate. “Maybe I die here?” one man asked an emergency dispatcher, according to recordings. But most just wanted to know what was going on and if they were allowed to use the bathroom on the side of the road. (They were.) (The Roanoke Times)

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