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Sandy River Distillery to renovate historic log cabin, open farm distillery highlighting Virginia grains, barrels



On March 31, 2022,  Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that the growing cluster of outdoor attractions around High Bridge State Park and Appomattox River near Farmville will soon be adding a Virginia-focused craft distillery to its list of amenities. Sandy River Distillery will be part of the popular Sandy River Outdoor Adventures Resort, which offers bike and kayak rentals, high-ropes courses, zip lines, as well as glamping tents, and cabin rentals. This project will lead to the creation of ten new jobs, over $500,000 in new investment, and the purchase of more than 20 tons of Virginia-grown corn, berries, and rye. An 1840s log cabin relocated from nearby Prospect, Virginia has been rebuilt on-site to serve as the farm distillery’s tasting room.

“Today’s new agriculture and tourism-focused announcement show that the entrepreneurial spirit in Virginia continues to grow,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Sandy River Distillery is giving our residents and our visitors yet another reason to get out and experience all the Commonwealth has to offer.”

Sandy River Distillery will produce a line of grain-to-glass whiskey and gin that pays homage to Virginia’s distilled spirit traditions, in addition to a line of canned specialty cocktails. The company plans to source as many ingredients from Prince Edward County as possible, including berries grown on Sandy River’s farm. All whiskeys will be made using Virginia-grown grains and aged in new White Oak barrels produced by Speyside Bourbon Cooperage in Atkins, Virginia. The craft distillery will complement the many other tourism-related businesses that have been growing in the area since the opening of High Bridge Trail State Park in 2008.

“This project is a great example of the strong connection that Virginia’s surging craft beverage industry is forging between that state’s two largest industries, agriculture, and tourism,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “I thank Sandy River Distillery for their commitment to Virginia sourcing and I am pleased we could partner with Prince Edward County for their first-ever AFID award to help bring new jobs, investment, and market opportunities for our farmers to this part of rural Virginia.”

“Virginia is the Birthplace of American Spirits, and has quickly become a premier destination for spirits lovers from all over the country and the world,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Sandy River Distillery is a welcome and exciting addition to an already thriving and diverse region, as travelers can now enjoy fine Virginia spirits after experiencing world-class outdoor recreation offerings and unique lodging options. Additionally, the success of cross-industry collaboration and the anticipated economic impact are further testaments to the power of partnership. The addition of Sandy River Distillery provides an inviting opportunity for Virginians and travelers alike to discover why Virginia is for Spirits Lovers.”

“Through our unique destination and the mixing of old and new techniques and materials, we seek to honor the history of Virginia homesteaders, traditional craft distilling, and to tell the story of who we are today,” said Sandy River Distillery owner Mark Smith. “We hope our distillery can be a bridge between our region’s farmers and our community’s many residents and visitors, and that through our use of local ingredients and commitment to producing only the highest quality whiskeys and spirits, together we are Distilling Pure Adventure.”

“On behalf of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, I want to congratulate Mark and Candace Smith and Sandy River Distillery,” said Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Odessa Pride. “This project represents a significant investment in Prince Edward and continues our efforts to diversify our local economy adding to the local attractions that we have to offer. Prince Edward County is proud to partner with the Commonwealth of Virginia in obtaining AFID grant funding for this project thereby creating jobs and capital investment while supporting our local agricultural community.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Prince Edward County and Sandy River Distillery, Inc. to secure this project for Virginia with a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Prince Edward County will match with local funds. This is Prince Edward County’s first-ever AFID Facility Grant award, an economic development tool to help localities support new and expanding agriculture and forestry-based businesses.

“Since the High Bridge Trail State Park opened in 2008, there has been a flurry of development in this area of Prince Edward County,” said Senator Mark Peake. ” With the announcement of Sandy River Distillery, it will complement the many other attractions that have developed around the park meaning guests who come to enjoy the beauty of the park have many options to choose from to encourage them to spend more time in our beautiful section of the Commonwealth.”

“Welcoming Sandy River Distillery to the 60th House District is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Delegate James Edmunds. “In addition to the jobs and the direct economic development that the distillery will bring, I am excited they will be purchasing Virginia’s own commodities such as corn, berries, and rye. This will help ensure local farmers and producers continue to be successful.”


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Three interesting bills of the week: implicit bias training, geriatric parole and furloughed feds



The Virginia General Assembly convened for its 2023 session in Richmond on Jan. 11, 2023. (Sarah Vogelsong / Virginia Mercury)


Hundreds of bills are filed for General Assembly consideration each year. In this occasional series, the Mercury takes a look at a few of the proposals that might not otherwise make headlines during the whirlwind legislative session. 

House Bill 1734 – Implicit bias training for practitioners working with pregnant persons

This legislation from Del. Chris Head, R-Roanoke, is part of a bipartisan effort that would require practitioners who have direct contact with persons who are or may become pregnant to complete two hours of continuing education related to implicit bias and cultural competency in health care.

The Virginia Board of Medicine would adopt and implement the policies and require that the education be completed at least once every other license renewal cycle, which is every two years. The bill defines implicit bias as “a bias or prejudice that is present but not consciously held or recognized.”

An identical version of the bill introduced this year by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, was struck in committee Thursday, with the panel agreeing to send a letter to the Task Force on Maternal Health Data and Quality Measures asking for a study.

Advocates have been calling for solutions to narrow the gap in racial disparities in maternal mortality for years. Multiple studies have confirmed that many medical professionals hold implicit biases that affect the quality of care.

Black women in Virginia are more than twice as likely to die in childbirth than white women, according to a 2017 Virginia Department of Health report. In 2020, non-Hispanic Black women nationwide experienced maternal mortality rates nearly three times higher than those of their white counterparts, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

This is the eighth piece of legislation brought before the General Assembly to require implicit bias training for health care providers since 2022.

House Bill 1458 – Limiting certain geriatric prisoners from petitioning the Parole Board for release

This bill from Del. Jason Ballard, R-Giles, would expand the list of offenses that prohibit a person from petitioning the Parole Board for conditional release as a geriatric prisoner.

Current law allows any geriatric prisoner serving a sentence for a felony offense other than a Class 1 felony — the most serious type of crime, such as capital murder — to petition the Parole Board for conditional release. The designation includes any person who has reached the age of 65 or older and has served at least five years of his or her sentence or anyone who has reached the age of 60 and has served at least ten years of his or her sentence.

Ballard’s legislation would expand the list of felony offenses that prohibit geriatric prisoners from petitioning the Parole Board to include crimes such as the murder of a pregnant woman, killing a fetus, lynching, acts of terrorism, kidnapping or abduction, robbery or carjacking, and treason, among others.

Lawmakers voted along party lines to move forward with the bill in subcommittee this week.

Senate Bill 1545 – Eviction and foreclosure relief for furloughed federal agency employees during a shutdown

SB 1545 from Sen. Aaron Rouse, D-Virginia Beach, would provide temporary relief from eviction and foreclosure proceedings for certain Virginians who are furloughed or lose wages or payments as a result of a partial closure of the federal government. Eligible residents would include employees of U.S. government agencies and contractors for those agencies.

Under these circumstances, an employee would be granted an extra 60 days of protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent if he or she provides written proof of being furloughed.

Additionally, a 30-day stay will be granted if an employee owns a one- to four-family residential property and faces foreclosure or if the property’s owner has a tenant who the federal government furloughed within 90 days of the closure or 90 days following the end of the closure.

The bill defines the closure of the U.S. government as a “closure of one or more agencies of the United States federal government for a period of 14 consecutive days or longer as a result of a lapse of appropriation.”

Senate lawmakers unanimously moved forward with the bill in a subcommittee last week and full committee this week.

The last federal government closure was in December 2018 and lasted 35 days – the longest in the country’s history.

by Meghan McIntyre, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

Three interesting bills of the week: Pound charter, stillborn child tax credit and private police

Three interesting bills of the week: declawing cats, antidepressants and the UDC

Three interesting bills of the week: journalism tax credits, negligent fires and cyclist exemptions


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Despite public pushback, Board of Ed accepts draft history standards for first review



A speaker holds up a sign supporting a draft of the history standards different from the version completed by the staff at the Virginia Department of Education. (Nathaniel Cline / Virginia Mercury)


The Virginia Board of Education voted to accept for first review the newest draft of Virginia’s hotly debated history and social science standards Thursday on a 5-3 vote.

President Daniel Gecker, Vice President Tammy Mann, and board member Anne Holton, all appointees of former Govs. Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe, opposed moving forward with the proposal over concerns that the introductory pages were too “political.”

“I did take my time and read through the January revision,” said Mann during a Wednesday work session, referring to the latest draft. “It is improved, but it is difficult to constantly have to navigate through these coded ways of dealing with elements of our history.”

Despite the concerns, board member Andy Rotherham, an appointee of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, on Thursday made a motion to move forward with the new standards.

“This process is not over,” he said, calling the proposal “good at this point in the process.”

The vote, which followed four hours of public comment, came after months of pushback by Virginians who criticized a lack of transparency in the authorship of changes that appeared in a November draft and the absence from it of influential figures and events. The final draft will set Virginia’s expectations for student learning in history and social science in K-12 schools, as assessed through the Standards of Learning tests.

Complicating the process was the decision to separate the standards from an accompanying curriculum framework. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow has said the combination led to “vague” and “confusing information,” although one board member said the separation “created the conditions for confusion.”

The controversy over the standards, which under state law must be revised at least every seven years, has bled over into the General Assembly. Last week, legislation that would have required the Board of Education to publish a list of any consultants used in revising the standards and how much they were paid at least 30 days prior to a public hearing on a revision failed in a House subcommittee.

“This process is too important to our kids to leave it to conversations behind closed doors without transparency about who is deciding what will be taught in our schools,” said the bill’s patron, Del. Suhas Subramanyam, D-Loudoun.

On Thursday, Balow urged speakers to assess the standards and not base their opinions on “a specific set of talking points.”

“It’s not a long document, and it’s meant to be public-facing,” Balow said. “So I really hope that people take a look at the standards and find themselves, find their cultures, find their interests reflected in the standards because they are representative voices and work over the last two years. This is not a standalone document that was stood up over the last couple of weeks.”

January draft vs. alternative version

The board heard from dozens of speakers Thursday criticizing the newest draft, which they accused of “whitewashing” parts of history, requiring a high rate of memorization and excluding various issues such as geographical themes and the American labor movement.

“I’m concerned that this new revised standard is going to set education back in this commonwealth,” said Milton Hathaway, a parent of public school graduates. “There is no question about your commitment to education in the Commonwealth, but to pass this January standard is going to set our commonwealth back, and your name will be on the documentation.”

Martin Brown, Virginia’s chief diversity officer and director of the state’s Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion, was a rare supporter to speak on Thursday.

“We believe the good, the bad, and the ugly have actually been communicated in the standards,” Brown said.

He added that the standards are “more robust” and have “more expanded content” about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Indigenous people’s movement in America.

Additional remarks by Brown that the standards honored recommendations issued by the African American History Education Commission, however, stoked pushback from former commission members in attendance.

One member, Makya Little, told the Mercury no one on the commission knew Brown.

“We literally had no idea who he was,” said Little, who served as the commission’s parent advocate and is running for the House District 19 seat as a Democrat.

“What the Youngkin administration is doing is what the DeSantis administration is doing,” she added, referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has publicly criticized what he calls “woke” ideas and “indoctrination” in schools. “They are just being more underhanded about it.”

The January draft included content from earlier drafts produced in August and November.

An alternative version was published by the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium, Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and American Historical Association in December.

Many speakers and groups urged the board to accept that alternative version, which its crafters said aimed to “ensure that content was accurate, age-appropriate, inclusive, and vertically articulated in a manner that supports a natural progression of content, depth, and skill acquisition.”

However, a motion to substitute the alternative draft for the administration’s latest version failed 3-5, with Mann, Holton, and Gecker in favor.

Board member Anne Holton, a former Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointee, at the Virginia Board of Education business meeting on Feb. 2, 2023. (Nathaniel Cline/Virginia Mercury)


‘Restoring excellence’

On Wednesday, the board spent significant time debating the opening pages of the January draft, which included a discussion of the standards’ guiding principles, background, and context.

Mann urged the board to remove the section, which she said: “has a tone that is [more] partisan than is needed in this kind of document.” She particularly objected to a statement that the new draft would “restore excellence” to Virginia education.

“The standards are not our problem, in my humble opinion,” Mann said. “This is a revision of 2015 [standards]. If we have issues with how students are performing on assessments, that deserves to be understood because that may not be due to our standards lacking, but it actually may also be associated with the fact that they may not have access to instruction that is qualified to teach the high standards.”

Holton also expressed opposition to the phrase, which she said could be interpreted as a reflection on current and future educators.

“How are we going to retain qualified teachers when we tell all the teachers across the commonwealth and all the curriculum educators that we need to restore excellence because they’ve decimated it?” Holton asked. “I think it’s the wrong way to start out this document.”

Youngkin appointees Suparna Dutta and Bill Hansen disagreed, with Dutta calling the draft “fantastic” and Hansen saying he viewed the introductory pages as “a call to action” after the recent drop in assessment scores statewide.

“I’m viewing this as more of a call to action, a call to help change things because if we keep going on the trajectory we’re going, it’s not a good one,” Hansen said.

Public hearings are scheduled to begin on March 13 and run to March 21 at five locations in Virginia, according to Virginia Department of Education staff. Final approval is expected on April 20.

Gecker said he expects line edits to be conducted after public comments.


by Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Elite cross-country runners race in Virginia for Team USA spot



Top distance runners in the country recently competed at Pole Green Park in Hanover County for a chance to land a spot on Team USA in the upcoming World Athletics Cross Country Championship in Bathurst, Australia.

Over 450 participants participated in the USA Track, and Field Cross Country Championship held on Jan. 21 as part of the Richmond Cross Country Festival. There were 12 qualifying Team USA spots between the men’s and women’s teams.

Professional runner Emily Durgin, who represents Adidas, competed in the women’s 10K and punched her ticket to the World Championships.

“I did not really prepare much for this race, but I think that’s what made it just so fun and exciting,” Durgin said.

Durgin dropped out of the New York City Marathon last November for personal reasons, she said. She decided to take care of her body and rested until three weeks before the championship qualifier race.

“Not that I was necessarily planning on putting pressure on making the team and moving forward, but I knew I just wanted to compete, and I love to front run,” Durgin said.

Her training runs felt good, and she was ready to return to her cross-country roots, she said.

“I was like, ‘all right, let’s just kind of brush off the end of last year and start on a positive note and run hard from the front,’” she said. “I knew if I did that, it would produce a good result.”

Durgin has competed in national championships, but this will be her first time competing in the World Championships. She wants to ensure she does everything to set herself up for a good performance and represent USATF, USA, and her brand Adidas.

Runners were divided into sex and age brackets for the long distance 6 kilometers, 8 kilometers, and 10 kilometers races.

The six women who placed on Team USA in the 10K category were, in order: Ednah Kurgat, Makena Morley, Durgin, Emily Lipari, Weini Kelati, and Katie Izzo.

The six 10K runners who placed on the men’s Team USA were: Emmanuel Bor, Andrew Colley, Anthony Rotich, Leonard Korir, Sam Chelanga, and Dillon Maggard.

Pole Green Park has hosted cross-country championships more than five times, such as the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships, according to the Collegiate Running Association. The USATF Championship has never been held in Virginia, according to Steve Taylor, the race organizer. Taylor founded the Collegiate Running Association and coordinates with the USATF national development team.

Taylor was excited to see six years of planning become a reality.

“Yesterday, I was out at the course, and there were Olympians out there,” Taylor said. “Just jogging the course, and they’re right here in Richmond.”

Track and field fans came out to watch and buy Team USA gear from the onsite shop.

Organizers wanted this to be a community event, Taylor said.

“We wanted it to be free so people could come in and see our nation’s best cross country runners compete and earn a spot on Team USA,” Taylor said.

The day’s first race was a community 6K race, which brought 12 people to the starting line. A race for ages ten and under followed. The competitive races were underway by 10:30 a.m., with the last one at 2:50 p.m.

Top athletes from around the globe will compete in the World Championships in Bathurst, Australia, on Feb. 18.

By Janae Blakeney
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Animal welfare advocates disappointed bill to declaw cats failed



A proposal to outlaw the declawing of cats, a procedure that animal rights advocates call cruel and unnecessary, failed to advance from a House subcommittee last month.

House Bill 1382 would have made cat declawing a $500 civil penalty for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation, and $2,500 for the third or any subsequent violation. The bill was tabled by a 6-4 vote in a House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources subcommittee.

The bill is important because cats’ claws are natural and used for stretching, marking territory, balance, and more, according to Molly Armus, Virginia, state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Declawing cats is actually an “incredibly painful procedure,” according to Armus.

“I think it’s up to us, as people who are taking these cats into our homes, to learn more humane and less invasive ways to manage scratching,” Armus said.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, an onychectomy, or declawing, includes ten separate amputations. PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, according to its website.

According to the Animal League Defense Fund, declawing is typically performed for convenience. Many people declaw their cats to prevent scratching, its website states.

“Localities around the nation, a couple of states, including our neighbor Maryland, have passed a declawing ban,” said bill sponsor Del. Gwendolyn Gooditis, D-Clarke, in the committee meeting.

New York and Maryland are the only U.S. states that have outlawed declawing. According to PETA, multiple U.S. cities have passed declawing laws, with the most located in California.

“Declawing cats means, look at your hands, it would be the equivalent of your fingers and your toes being chopped off at the first knuckle,” Gooditis said.

According to PETA, the procedure can cause impaired balance, as much as a person would after losing his or her toes. Declawed cats may have to relearn how to walk.

“It’s a removal of that last bone,” Gooditis said.

In the committee meeting, Susan Seward, a lobbyist for the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, or VVMA, testified against the bill. The VVMA strongly opposed the bill, Seward said.

“I think one of the unintended consequences would be setting up a really unpleasant and adversarial relationship between animal control and veterinarians, and that is certainly not a relationship we want to diminish,” Seward said to the committee panel.

Alice Burton, program director for nonprofit animal welfare organization Alley Cat Allies, said the organization was disappointed the bill failed.

Alley Cat Allies mission is to protect and improve the lives of cats, according to its website. The organization operates a trap-neuter-return program to help stabilize the cat population. A cat is transported to a veterinarian, spayed, and returned to its original location.

It’s an act of cruelty to declaw cats, according to Burton, who was an animal control officer for 15 years.

“They no longer have their nails as a defense, so their first instinct is to bite,” Burton said. “So all of a sudden, they’ve got these bites on their record, which obviously does not bode well for them.”

Declawed cats also struggle to use the litter box because the litter hurts their paws, she said. Burton said that many declawed cats will stop using the litter box and soil where they aren’t supposed to.

“I would say most of the time, these negative effects lead to these cats being surrendered to the shelters or rescue groups,” Burton said. “They would, in most cases, be deemed unadoptable, and they would be euthanized.”

There are many other humane options out there, according to Burton.

Humane alternatives to declawing include trimming a cat’s claws regularly, using deterrents such as double-sided tape on furniture, rubber caps for the nails, and providing a variety of scratching options, according to Alley Cat Allies.

“We’re not giving up,” Burton said. “We’re going to come back and keep fighting.”


By Cassandra Loper
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Bill to add identifying stamp to firearms fails in subcommittee



A House bill requiring firearms to be microstamp-enabled recently failed in the Virginia General Assembly, but not without a tense exchange before the vote was called.

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, introduced House Bill 1788, which would require firearms sold after July 1, 2025, to have a unique “alphanumeric or geometric code” that identifies the item’s make, model, and serial number. That identifier would create a micro stamp on each expended cartridge case each time the firearm was fired.

The bill would also make it unlawful to transfer a firearm that wasn’t microstamp-enabled. The altering of the stamp would be a Class 3 misdemeanor, according to the bill, which is punishable by a maximum $500 fine.

Filler-Corn called the bill “pro-law enforcement” because the identifying information could help solve crimes, she said.

“We’ll continue to introduce legislation, support legislation, and eventually, when we’re back in control, actually pass legislation that will save lives,” Filler-Corn said.

California and New York are the only states with a micro stamp policy.

According to Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, there is a lack of companies and manufacturers producing microstamp-enabled firearms now. The organization lobbies for gun rights.

Van Cleave said the measure is “totally unconstitutional” and would be difficult to establish.

“There would have been some analogy in history back in the late 1700s or the 1800s where we had things that marked gun cartridges and it was a requirement,” Van Cleave said. “There was no such thing, nothing even close.”

Firearm store owners would need to get their hands on microstamp-enabled firearms to sell them legally to the public. The bill had a delayed start period of two years.

Tony Martin is the owner of New American Arms, a local gun store in Richmond. He said his business would not be the only one affected if the bill had passed.

“My concern, I think, would be that it would affect sales of all guns,” Martin said. “Maybe this is a politically motivated attempt if we require technology that’s not available, and then they say, ‘OK, well, because of this law, you can’t sell guns.’”

The bill contained a provision that would not apply to any firearm manufactured prior to July 1, 2025.

The issue is not about the loss of firearms in society but the amount of crime committed and, most importantly, Filler-Corn said, the crime that goes unsolved.

There was a tense exchange ahead of the subcommittee’s vote on the measure. Committee chair Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, eventually declared Del. Candi Mundon King, D-Prince William, out of order when she was speaking about the bill. Mundon King, whose husband works for law enforcement, thanked Filler-Corn for introducing a “revolutionary” bill. The delegate said she grew up in a community “ravaged by gun violence and unsolved crimes.”

“It stays with you; it stains communities,” Mundon King said.

Freitas interrupted Mundon King when she said, “the only people who have an issue with this [bill] are people who are benefitting.”

Freitas had stated a few minutes before, when Filler-Corn blamed the gun lobby for preventing the bill’s passage, that it was OK to “argue passionately” on behalf of a bill but not OK to question the intentions of others being discussed.

“We will do this one day, but not today,” Mundon King said as Freitas called the vote after a back-and-forth exchange.

The final vote to kill the measure was 6-4.

 Lawmakers introduced around 50 firearm-related bills this session, according to a Virginia Legislative Information System website review. Different parties represent the two chambers, and gridlock is anticipated for most gun control proposals and for measures that would roll back existing gun control policies.

“There is never going to be one bill that will answer and solve all gun violence,” Filler-Corn said. “But every single bill, every single measure, every single gun violence prevention bill, and gun safety bill that we have passed, each and every one of them actually saved lives, and it makes a difference.”

By Samuel Britt
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Richmond man sentenced to 10 years for possession of child pornography



Attorney General Jason Miyares announced the successful prosecution of Michaud Yancey for Possession of Child Pornography, Second or Subsequent Offense. After being found guilty by a jury, the Richmond City Circuit Court sentenced Yancey to three years of active imprisonment with an additional seven years suspended.

Yancey was initially investigated for uploading cartoon images depicting the sexual exploitation of minor females. Yancey permitted officers to seize and search his electronic devices, and following a forensic examination, child pornography images were found on three of his devices.

As a result of his conviction, Yancey will be on probation for an indefinite period following his release and will be required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction where he works or resides following his imprisonment.

“Upholding Virginia law and protecting our children is one of my office’s most important responsibilities. I’m proud of our collaboration with local law enforcement to ensure justice was served,” said Attorney General Miyares.

This case was investigated by the Richmond City Police Department, as part of the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Attorney General Miyares’ Computer Forensics Unit. Assistant Attorney Generals Cynthia Paoletta of the Computer Crime section and Ayesha Osborne of the Major Crimes and Emerging Threats section of the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case on behalf of the Commonwealth with assistance from the Richmond City Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

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Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 11 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 12 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
11:30 am Galentine’s Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Galentine’s Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Feb 12 @ 11:30 am – 5:00 pm
Galentine's Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Come Celebrate Friendship & Treat Yourself! Only 30 tickets available and they will go quickly. Tickets include: A Beautiful Brunch at Vibrissa Beer! Two tickets to a Mimosa Bar at Vibrissa! A Silent Auction at[...]