Norfolk and Newport News awarded millions for public housing; inmate saves prison staff member from attack; Thomas Jefferson is on his way to Monticello and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The federal government awarded Norfolk and Newport News $30 million each to help redevelop public housing communities in the cities. They plan to raze decrepit apartment buildings and replace them with mixed-income developments. – The Virginian-Pilot

• A state audit faulted the Virginia State Police, Department of Emergency Management and Department of Fire Programs for poor financial controls, including over the use of more than 2,000 credit cards used to make more than $11.4 million in purchases. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• An inmate at an Augusta County prison saved a female member of the counseling staff from an attempted rape after hearing her cries for help. The prison has been suffering from staffing shortages and there were no guards around. – The News Leader, WRIC

• Richmond City Council voted on a spending plan that sets a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax. They rejected the mayor’s proposal to increase real estate taxes. The budget boosts funding for schools by $18 million and includes millions for road maintenance. – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Roanoke City Council approved a budget with no tax increases that directs an additional $2.1 million in funding to the local schools under a long-standing funding formula that gives the district 40 percent of local tax revenues. – The Roanoke Times

• The number of lobbyists in the General Assembly increased by 25 percent over the past decade. – WVTF

• Lawyers for the Virginia National Guardsman who took an armored vehicle on a joy-ride across central Virginia now say he’s pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. – WTVR

• Authorities successfully extracted a 900-pound-man charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine from his home and were en route to a hearing at the federal courthouse in Richmond when his ambulance was diverted to the hospital for unspecified medical issues. When he is able to attend the hearing, a judge has said it will be held in the courthouse’s loading dock for the man’s “own safety and dignity.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Colonial Williamsburg’s longtime Thomas Jefferson interpreter is leaving for a job at Monticello, a move that in some ways follows the broad strokes of Jefferson’s real-life trajectory (minus a stop at the White House). – The Virginia Gazette

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