McAuliffe: ‘Tough decisions ahead’ as $1.5B shortfall looms

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe warned Virginia lawmakers Friday to brace for “tough decisions ahead” to address a roughly $1.5 billion budget shortfall driven largely by lower-than-expected income and sales tax collections.

The state will help fill the gap with about $125 million that was supposed to cover a pay boost for state employees, teachers and other state-supported workers, the Democratic governor said. He proposed using another roughly $378 million from the state’s rainy-day fund, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly would have to approve that.

And while that money may partially address the state’s budget woes, difficult choices about cuts will have to be made, McAuliffe said.

“We cannot assume that the remainder of the fiscal fix will be easy or short,” McAuliffe told a joint meeting of the House and Senate money committees. “We must prepare ourselves for tough decisions ahead.”

State employees — who were looking forward to a 3 percent raise in December — are frustrated, but have been through similar situations because of shortfalls before, said Johnna Cossaboon, spokeswoman for the Virginia Governmental Employees Association.

“We’re looking at a high rate of turnover with state employees who have less than five years in, and this isn’t going to help that,” Cossaboon said.

McAuliffe said revenue for the current-two year budget is expected to be down by $1.2 billion. That’s in addition to a shortfall of nearly $280 million carried over from the budget year that ended June 30.

The governor blamed the state’s fiscal problems on a sluggish income and sales tax revenue growth.

High-paying jobs lost due to automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration and to defense spending cuts have been replaced by lower-wage positions, McAuliffe said. At the same time, baby boomers are retiring, leaving behind younger workers who earn less, McAuliffe said. Many other states currently face similar issues, McAuliffe said.

“Just because other governments are experiencing revenue difficulties does not mean that Virginia will be satisfied to be part of the pack,” McAuliffe said. “We must focus on the budget actions necessary to keep our great Commonwealth moving forward,” he said.

Republican Del. Chris Jones, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he expects McAuliffe’s administration will soon notify state agency heads of various scenarios about possible cuts. Both McAuliffe and Republicans said they are eager to protect education funding, but weren’t specific about what else might be on the table.

“We’ll begin rolling our sleeves up to find a solution to what we face,” Jones said.

10 Things to Know for Today

By The Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Polls show that majorities favor letting people illegally in the U.S. stay and also back tougher deportation laws. The GOP nominee is either caught up in, or trying to exploit, that contradiction.


The country’s civil protection agency increases the death toll from the disaster to 267. The number of injured being treated at hospitals stands at 387.


As the war against the Taliban grinds on, they are still largely treated as property despite constitutional guarantees of equality.


The campaign is intended to stop some teachers from sending pupils out to beg for money and food. Dozens of children are beaten, chained, attacked or sexually abused while begging.


Authorities blame a powerful explosion that hit a checkpoint some 50 meters (yards) away from a police station in the southeastern town of Cizre, in Sirnak province, on Kurdish militants.


Officials in Minnesota, for example, brand their federally-funded program as Building Community Resilience, and Massachusetts renames its Countering Violent Extremism program as Promoting Engagement, Acceptance and Community Empowerment.


Two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi are found slain in their home in a possible break-in and vehicle theft.


The White House says expanding a national monument off the coast of Hawaii will protect more than 7,000 species and improve the ecosystem’s resiliency.


The move follows a botched attempt to break into the phone of an Arab activist in the Mideast using hitherto unknown espionage software.


Brazilian police charge the American swimmer with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Rio Games.

Virginia TV station marks 1 year since fatal on-air shooting

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia television station is marking a year since two journalists were fatally shot during a live broadcast watched by thousands of viewers.

The television station, WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, held a moment of silence during Friday’s “Mornin” newscast around 6:45 a.m.

Friday marks one year since 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward were killed. Parker was a reporter and Ward a cameraman. They were killed by a former co-worker who later turned the weapon on himself.

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Aug. 26, the 239th day of 2016. There are 127 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 26, 1968, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago; the four-day event was marked by a bloody police crackdown on anti-war protesters in the streets and a tumultuous nominating process that resulted in the choice of Hubert H. Humphrey for president.

On this date:

In 1789, France’s National Assembly adopted its Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

In 1883, the island volcano Krakatoa began cataclysmic eruptions, leading to a massive explosion the following day.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing American women’s right to vote, was certified in effect by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.

In 1939, the first televised major league baseball games were shown on experimental station W2XBS: a double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. (The Reds won the first game, 5-2, the Dodgers the second, 6-1.)

In 1944, French Gen. Charles de Gaulle braved the threat of German snipers as he led a victory march in Paris, which had just been liberated by the Allies from Nazi occupation.

In 1958, Alaskans went to the polls to overwhelmingly vote in favor of statehood.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for a term of office in his own right at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 1972, the summer Olympics games opened in Munich, West Germany.

In 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani (al-BEE’-noh loo-CHYAH’-nee) of Venice was elected pope following the death of Paul VI; the new pontiff took the name Pope John Paul I. (However, he died just over a month later.)

In 1986, in the so-called “preppie murder case,” 18-year-old Jennifer Levin was found strangled in New York’s Central Park; Robert Chambers later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served 15 years in prison.

In 1996, Democrats opened their 42nd national convention in Chicago.

In 2009, authorities in California solved the 18-year disappearance of Jaycee Lee Dugard after she appeared at a parole office with her children and the Antioch couple who’d kidnapped her when she was 11.

Ten years ago: Iran’s hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (mahk-MOOD’ ah-muh-DEE’-neh-zhahd), inaugurated a heavy-water production plant, a facility the West feared would be used to develop a nuclear bomb. Chad’s President Idriss Deby ordered California-based Chevron Corp. and Malaysian company Petronas to leave the country, saying neither had paid taxes. (The dispute over taxes was later resolved, with the two companies agreeing to pay $289 million.)

Five years ago: More than 2 million people along the Eastern Seaboard were ordered to move to safer ground as Hurricane Irene approached the coast. A Boko Haram sect member detonated a car loaded with explosives at the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, killing 25 people and wounding more than 100 others.

One year ago: Alison Parker, a reporter for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were shot to death during a live outdoor interview with Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, by Vester Lee Flanagan, a disgruntled former station employee who then fatally shot himself while being pursued by police. (Gardner was seriously wounded in the attack.) Amelia Boynton Robinson, 104, who was widely considered the mother of the American civil rights movement, died in Montgomery, Alabama.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Francine York is 80. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Valerie Simpson is 71. Pop singer Bob Cowsill is 67. Broadcast journalist Bill Whitaker is 65. Actor Brett Cullen is 60. NBA coach Stan Van Gundy is 57. Jazz musician Branford Marsalis is 56. Country musician Jimmy Olander (Diamond Rio) is 55. Actor Chris Burke is 51. Actress-singer Shirley Manson (Garbage) is 50. Rock musician Dan Vickrey (Counting Crowes) is 50. TV writer-actress Riley Weston is 50. Rock musician Adrian Young (No Doubt) is 47. Actress Melissa McCarthy is 46. Latin pop singer Thalia is 45. Rock singer-musician Tyler Connolly (Theory of a Deadman) is 41. Actor Mike Colter is 40. Actor Macaulay Culkin is 36. Actor Chris Pine is 36. Country singer Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line) is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Cassie Ventura is 30. Actor Evan Ross is 28. Actor Dylan O’Brien is 25. Actress Keke Palmer is 23.

Thought for Today: “When the political columnists say ‘Every thinking man’ they mean themselves, and when candidates appeal to ‘Every intelligent voter’ they mean everybody who is going to vote for them.” — Franklin P. Adams, American journalist-humorist (1881-1960).

Radford police seeking public’s help with two animal cases

From Radford City Police

Police are asking the public’s help with two recent animal cases being investigation by officers at the Radford City Police Department and Animal Control.

KittenThis morning, public works employees discovered a trash bag containing three kittens believed to be approximately three to four months old. Two of the kittens were deceased in the bag and one was alive. The bag was placed in trash cans in the 1600 block of West Main Street. The deceased kittens are believed to have possibly been White cardrowned. The surviving kitten was taken to a local veterinary service for treatment. I have attached a photo of the surviving cat which has a unique mark on his back. One of the deceased kittens was an orange male and the other a black male.

Investigators are also looking for information about a white car that has abandoned cats and kittens on several occasions in Riverview Park in the west end of Radford. A possible photo of the vehicle is attached.

Citizens are reminded that domesticated animals can be forfeited at most animal control facilities. Contact any animal control officer or animal service groups for additional details.

If anyone has information related to either of these cases please call the Radford Police Tip Line at (540) 731-5040 or email

Obituary for Judy Frazier Taylor

Judy Frazier Taylor, 67, of Dublin, VA. died Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital. She was born on June 1, 1949 and was the daughter of the late Randall Frazier and Sadie Sue Mullins Frazier.

Surviving are: Husband, Darrell F. Taylor. Three children, Wesley Taylor, Adam Taylor, and Felicia Taylor. Sister, Rose Coffey. Brother, Randy Frazier. 8 grandchildren.

Mrs. Taylor will be cremated and no services will be held.

Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski.

10 Things to Know for Thursday

By The Associated Press

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:


Rescue crews using bulldozers and their bare hands race to dig out survivors from the strong quake that hit central Italy and killed scores.


She’ll enter the highly anticipated fall debates with Trump facing the same kind of heightened expectations that often saddle an incumbent president.


The U.S. may get drawn into cooperating with Russian forces in the civil war even though it believes Moscow’s intervention has only undermined the U.S. goal of defeating the Islamic State group.


Multiple twisters tear the roofs off apartment buildings, send air conditioners falling onto parked cars and cut power to thousands of people.


Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest rebel group announce a deal to end a half-century of hostilities.


America has a debt problem, and the big borrower this time may surprise you: Corporate America.


After scanning the vast reaches of the cosmos for Earth-like planets where life might exist, scientists have found one right next door, celestially speaking.


The bitter letter from the notorious Depression-era gangsters was sent to a former member of their gang they felt had betrayed them.


Paisley Park, the private estate and production complex of the late rock superstar, will open for public tours starting next month.


The six-month suspension follows the goalie’s disparaging comments about Sweden following the Americans’ early departure from the Rio Olympics.

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Aug. 25, the 238th day of 2016. There are 128 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act establishing the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior.

On this date:

In 1718, hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some settling in present-day New Orleans.

In 1825, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil.

In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.

In 1944, during World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation. Romania declared war on former ally Germany.

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure providing pensions for former U.S. presidents and their widows.

In 1960, opening ceremonies were held for the Summer Olympics in Rome.

In 1975, the Bruce Springsteen album “Born to Run” was released by Columbia Records.

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.

In 1989, Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Neptune, its final planetary target.

In 1998, retired Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell died in Richmond, Virginia, at age 90.

In 2001, Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby (meh-tay mar-it shes-em hoy-bee), a single mother and former waitress, married Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon (hoh-uh-kahn) in Oslo. Rhythm-and-blues singer Aaliyah (ah-LEE’-yah) was killed with eight others in a plane crash in the Bahamas; she was 22.

In 2009, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died at age 77 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a battle with a brain tumor.

Ten years ago: A college student’s checked luggage on a Continental Airlines flight that had arrived in Houston from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was found to contain a stick of dynamite, one of six security incidents that day that caused U.S. flights to be diverted, evacuated or searched. Joseph Stefano, who wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” died in Thousand Oaks, California, at age 84.

Five years ago: Fifty-two people were killed in a fire at a casino in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey that was allegedly targeted by a drug cartel. The New York Yankees became the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a game, with Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson connecting in a 22-9 romp over the Oakland Athletics.

One year ago: French authorities formally opened a terrorism investigation into a foiled attack four days earlier; a prosecutor said minutes before he slung an assault rifle across his chest and walked through a high-speed train, suspect Ayoub El-Khazzani of Morocco watched a jihadi video on his cellphone.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Monty Hall is 95. Actor Sean Connery is 86. Actor Page Johnson is 86. TV personality Regis Philbin is 85. Actor Tom Skerritt is 83. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 83. Movie director Hugh Hudson is 80. Author Frederick Forsyth is 78. Movie director John Badham is 77. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 77. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O’Jays) is 73. Actor Anthony Heald is 72. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 67. Actor John Savage is 67. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Outlaws; Blackhawk) is 67. Rock singer Rob Halford is 65. Rock musician Geoff Downes (Asia) is 64. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 62. Movie director Tim Burton is 58. Actor Christian LeBlanc is 58. Actress Ashley Crow is 56. Actress Ally Walker is 55. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus is 55. Actress Joanne Whalley is 55. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 54. Actor Blair Underwood is 52. Actor Robert Maschio is 50. Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 50. Alternative country singer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is 49. Actor David Alan Basche (BAYSH) is 48. Television chef Rachael Ray is 48. Actor Cameron Mathison is 47. Country singer Jo Dee Messina is 46. Model Claudia Schiffer is 46. Country singer Brice Long is 45. Actor Eric Millegan is 42. Actor Alexander Skarsgard is 40. Actor Jonathan Togo is 39. Actor Kel Mitchell is 38. Actress Rachel Bilson is 35. Actress Blake Lively is 29. Actor Josh Flitter is 22.

Thought for Today: “History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.” — Konrad Adenauer, German statesman (1876-1967).

German diplomat’s son petitioning Va. governor for pardon

DILLWYN, Va. (AP) — A German diplomat’s son convicted of murder is petitioning Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe for an “absolute pardon” and parole based largely on blood analysis.

Jens Soering is serving two life terms for the 1985 slayings of his ex-girlfriend’s parents. Soering’s petition this week says a blood analysis concludes that Soering, who has Type O blood, was not the source of at least some of the Type O blood found at the scene, The Washington Post ( reported. Investigators said his claim was not new.

“This is no longer about believing me,” Soering, 50, told the newspaper from Buckingham Correctional Center in Virginia. “Unless you’re a climate-change denier and creationist and you don’t believe in DNA, then you have to believe I’m innocent. The only other option is I did it with somebody else, whom I’ve been protecting for 31 years.”

Soering initially confessed to killing the couple but recanted and has insisted he is innocent. He said his then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, killed her parents and told him afterward. Haysom testified against Soering and is serving a 90-year sentence.

In the absence of hair or fingerprints, prosecutors relied heavily on the presence of the Type O blood to link Soering to the crime.

Maj. Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, who led the investigation, said Soering’s latest claim is nothing new.

“These results have been publicly known for several years,” Gardner wrote in an email to the paper. “Based upon the totality of evidence that was presented in Jens’ trial in June 1990, I remain confident that he perpetrated these heinous crimes.”

The blood tests are decades old: a 1985 blood typing test and a 2009 DNA test.

Soering’s attorney Steven D. Rosenfield said what is new is a belated comparison of the two tests. No one compared the 1985 blood type report with the DNA report until July, when Rosenfield began preparing to file a petition with McAuliffe on other grounds, including unrelated revelations in a forthcoming German documentary, “The Promise,” about Soering’s case.

The film suggests that Haysom, an admitted drug user, committed the murders with help from a now-deceased man who had supplied her with heroin. Soering’s defense had also raised that scenario in his trial.

An analysis by an expert Soering hired said that put side by side, the test results indicate that a male other than Soering was the source of the Type O blood.

“The only way the commonwealth can now argue for Jens’ guilt is to assert that he committed the crime with an unknown accomplice, who was injured and left Type O blood at the scene,” he said. “The accomplice cannot be Ms. Haysom, who has Type B blood. Until now, there has been no suggestion by the commonwealth that there was a third murderer involved. The commonwealth’s position has always been that Jens acted alone, committed this crime and left his Type O blood at the crime scene.”


Information from: The Washington Post,