West Point teacher sues district for being fired over not using student’s preferred pronouns; Culpeper sets solar development target at 2,400 acres and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Fairfax County Police suspended an officer for turning over the subject of a traffic stop to ICE. Like most local departments, Fairfax police have a policy against enforcing civil immigration laws. “This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused.” – The Washington Post
• A former French teacher in West Point is suing the local school district for firing him after he refused to use a transgender student’s new pronouns in class. “He just didn’t want to be forced to use a pronoun that offends his conscience,” one of his lawyers said. The school district says it will mount a vigorous defense. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
• “A Charlottesville man is asking for compensation and an apology after he says state police officers stormed his house with flash grenades and automatic weapons, handcuffed his daughter and her friend, tore the place apart and then left without explanation.” – WVTF
• Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, accused Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, of writing “the Republican bill that would let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.” Politifact rates the claim false, noting that while Dunnavant opposed Obamacare and sponsored legislation to expand short-term insurance plans, those providers could already deny coverage of pre-existing conditions with or without her legislation. – VPM
• “Forest conservation grants totaling nearly $4 million have been awarded as part of an effort to offset environmental damage to Southwest Virginia caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” – The Roanoke-Times
• Culpeper County, which is not legally allowed to cap the amount of land that can be used for solar but is hoping to avoid massive, utility-scale projects, established an “upper target” for the county of 2,400 acres of solar  about 1 percent of its total landmass. – Culpeper Star-Exponent
• Economists in Hampton Roads called 2018 a “year to remember” for the region as it continues its long-delayed rebound from the depths of the 2008 recession. – The Virginian-Pilot
• Roanoke-area police used a drone with a thermal camera to find and rescue stranded hikers who said they were surrounded by coyotes. – The Roanoke Times
• Three winning lottery tickets purchased in Virginia  worth about $50,000 each  are about to expire. So check those numbers. Or don’t. Prizes that aren’t collected go toward schools and “go unclaimed more often than you might think,” a lottery spokesman said. – The Washington Post

Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered to your inbox daily in News to Know, our free newsletter.