New voting maps could be done soon; former delegate is charged for business dealings; shutdown threatens home purchases in Southwest Virginia and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

  • In the most recent court hearing on Virginia’s redistricting case, federal judges said they could be ready to pick a new map in the next month or two. Republicans, who took their challenge to the Supreme Court, expect the case to be picked up there in the same timeframe. – The Virginian-Pilot
  • Former Del. Ron Villanueva of Virginia Beach was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, falsification of records and aiding with false written statements. He lost his seat to newcomer Kelly Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, in 2017. – The Virginian-Pilot
  • A poll from the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affair found 49 percent of Virgnians support the incentive package offered to land the Amazon deal. Forty-one percent said the state is paying too much. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Sen. John Edwards, D- Roanoke, wants to use a wholesale gas tax, not tolls to fund improvements on Interstate 81. “Providing a wholesale tax of 5% will go unnoticed by people filling up at the pump because this is not a retail tax at the pump, and the price of gasoline at the pump varies tremendously on almost a daily basis,” he said. – WSET
  • More than 160 people responded to Newport News Shipbuilding’s 2,500 notices for voluntary buyouts. “The applications to participate in the program were in line with company projections, which will allow us to continue our focus on streamlining overhead costs,” a spokesperson for the company said. – The Daily Press
  • Lawmakers in Northern Virginia want to make it easier for school districts to opt out of Virgnia’s “King’s Dominion” law that requires academic years to start after Labor Day. Sen. Janet Howell, D- Reston, has proposed letting Northern Virginia set their own opening dates. – InsideNOVA
  • The number of students in Caroline County public schools is projected to decline over the next 10 years, in part because of an increase in private school enrollment. – The Free Lance-Star
  • The former Washington-Lee High in Arlington got its new name last night: Washington-Liberty High. – The Washington Post
  • A former Henrico County teacher will spend five years in prison for asking a 16-year-old in Pennsylvania to perform sexual acts for several months in 2017. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • The federal shutdown has shut down the USDA loan program, which is popular in Southwest Virginia. It means home purchases are in limbo and could still be delayed as the department catches up when the government reopens. – The Roanoke Times
  • More than 200 corrections officers at the federal prison in Pennington Gap probably won’t be paid today because of the federal shutdown. “When Friday hits, that’s when the reality sets in,” a union representative said earlier this week. – Bristol Herald Courier
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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.