The Virginia State Police has issued a senior alert on behalf of Newport News Police Department on February 17, 2020 at 6:30 a.m.
The Newport News Police Department is looking for Marva Keyser, a black female, 77-years-old, 150 lbs., with hazel eyes and brown hair. She was last seen on February 16, 2020, at 9:30 p.m., on Wellesley Drive. She was last seen wearing a light jacket, long sleeve shirt – black and pink in color, red shorts just past the knees, and white/gray/red shoes.
The missing senior suffers from a cognitive impairment and the disappearance poses a credible threat to her health and safety as determined by the investigating agency.
Please contact the Newport News Police Department with any information regarding her whereabouts at 1-757-928-4100, option 4, or you may find complete information at www.vasenioralert.com.
The Virginia Senior Alert for Ms. Keyser of Newport News has been cancelled. The Newport News Police Department is reporting that she was safely located.
Congressman Cline announces 2020 Congressional Art Competition
Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) announced the 2020 Congressional Art Competition today. The Congressional Art Competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia.
The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in the District. The winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside other pieces from across the country and will also be featured on House.gov’s Congressional Art Competition page.
While schools remain closed due to the coronavirus, the Congressional Art Competition will continue as planned. This competition will allow students to remain engaged and hone their skills.
“All students from Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District are encouraged to participate in this year’s art competition,” Cline said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase artistic ability and for the selected winner to have their art on display for thousands of Capitol visitors throughout the next year. I am pleased that the competition will continue on as planned, and that the event has moved to electronic submissions to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.”
Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it must arrive in Washington, DC, framed. Even when framed, it must still measure no larger than the above maximum dimensions. No framed piece should weigh more than 15 pounds.
Accepted mediums for the two-dimensional artwork are as follows:
- Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
- Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
- Collages: must be two-dimensional
- Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
- Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
- Computer-generated art
Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted. For more information on copyright laws, we recommend you visit the Scholastic website.
Due to COVID-19, submissions will only be accepted electronically. Students should submit photographs of their entry and the Student Release Form to ArtCompetitionVA06@mail.house.gov.
The Student Release Form can be found here.
Entries are due by May 1, 2020. A winner will be announced May 7. For more information, contact District Director Debbie Garrett at (540) 885-3861 or Staff Assistant Tyler Hook at (202) 225-5431.
Congressman Ben Cline represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He previously was an attorney in private practice and served both as an assistant prosecutor and Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Cline and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Botetourt County with their two children.
I-81 southbound closed April 2nd in Augusta County for crash investigation
Southbound Interstate 81 is scheduled to be closed from about 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, April 2, for Virginia State Police to investigate a recent crash in southern Augusta County.
I-81 southbound motorists will detour at exit 213A, take Route 11 (Lee-Jackson Highway) south into Rockbridge County, and then take Route 606 (Raphine Road) west to return to the interstate at exit 205.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at http://www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany, and Bath counties.
DOJ announces $16 million available to Virginia governments and law enforcement agencies to aid coronavirus response
ROANKOE, Va. – United States Attorneys Thomas T. Cullen and G. Zachary Terrwilliger announced today that the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, has made available more than $16 million to help Virginia public safety agencies and local government agencies respond to the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump, will allow eligible state, local and tribal governments to apply immediately for these critical funds. The department is moving quickly to make awards, with the goal of having funds available for drawdown within days of the award.
The Commonwealth of Virginia will receive more than $16 million from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. Allowable projects and expenditures include, but are not limited to: Overtime, training, travel expenses, supplies, including personal protective equipment for medical personnel and first responders, and initiatives focused on addressing the medical needs of inmates in state and local detention centers.
“Our local communities are waging a war to mitigate the awful effects of the Coronavirus,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “These grants will provide additional funding to augment critical health and public-safety initiatives in cash-strapped counties, cities, and towns across the Commonwealth and increase safety for the brave health-care providers, police officers, and first responders on the front lines.”
“The Department of Justice is 100 percent committed to supporting our communities through these unprecedented times,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “In addition to upholding the rule of law, we are working daily to ensure that our state and local partners have the resources they need to effectively combat the spread of COVID-19. These grants underscore our commitment to stand with those on the frontline of this critical fight.”
Applications are currently being accepted and all applications are due by May 29.
The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force:
Western Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baudinet, USAVAW.COVID19@usdoj.gov or 540-278-1494.
Eastern Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin G. Cooke, Kaitlin.Cooke@usdoj.gov or 804-819-5416.
To report a COVID-19 fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or sending an email to email@example.com.
FBI at: https://www.ic3.gov or 804-261-1044.
To report fraudulent activity to the Virginia State Police, Virginians can contact the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For continuing information on the COVID-19 virus and the federal response, check https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
United States announces civil settlement to collect all debts owed by justice entities for violations of Federal Mine Safety Act
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) David G. Zatezalo, announced today a settlement between the United States and a group of 24 coal companies operating in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky to satisfy more than $5 million in unpaid penalties for violations of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.
In May 2019, the United States filed a civil action to collect debts owed against Southern Coal Corporation, Justice Coal of Alabama, A&G Coal Corporation, Black River Coal, Chestnut Land Holdings, Double Bonus Coal Company, Dynamic Energy, Four Star Resources, Frontier Coal Company, Infinity Energy, Justice Energy Company, Justice Highwall Mining, Kentucky Fuel Corporation, Keystone Service Industries, M&P Services, Nine Mile Mining, Nufac Mining Company, Pay Car Mining; Premium Coal Company, S and H Mining, Sequoia Energy, Tams Management, and Virginia Fuel Corporation.
According to the United States’ civil complaint, between May 3, 2014, and May 3, 2019, MSHA collectively issued at least 2,297 citations to the defendant mine operators for violations of the Mine Safety and Health Act, and at the appropriate time, assessed civil penalties for each violation, pursuant to the law.
The defendants failed to pay the penalties, even after MSHA sent multiple demand letters. MSHA then referred the civil penalties to the Department of Treasury for collection. The Department of Treasury made another written demand on the defendants, but they still failed to pay, and the Department of Treasury referred the civil penalties to the Department of Justice for collection. On September 5, 2018, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia made a written demand on the defendants for the delinquent debts. The defendants, however, still failed to pay the outstanding debts, and on May 7, 2019, the United States filed a civil complaint to collect the unpaid debts.
Today, the 23 named defendants agreed to pay the full amounts of the assessed civil penalties, plus interest and penalties. In total, the defendants will pay $4,065,578.29 to satisfy the debts identified in the United States’ May 2019 complaint. Additionally, the defendants and related company Bluestone Coal Corporation agreed to pay an additional $1,064,547.18 to get current on their other unpaid, Mine Safety and Health Act penalties that were not included in the United States’ May 2019 complaint.
“Thanks to the hard work and persistence of career attorneys from our civil division and the MSHA, the 24 Justice entities have agreed to pay, in full, all outstanding debts and penalties associated with their mine-safety violations,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “It is our hope that this landmark collection action and settlement agreement sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will aggressively pursue mine-safety violations and hold owners and operators accountable.”
“Ensuring that mine operators pay their penalties for violating mine safety and health laws is an important part of protecting miners’ safety and health, and that means holding them accountable if they fail to pay fines,” said MSHA Assistant Secretary David G. Zatezalo. “I thank my colleagues at the Departments of Treasury and Justice for their support in reaching this historic settlement.”
Executive Assistant United States Attorney Laura Day Rottenborn, Assistant United States Attorney Krista Consiglio Frith, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jason Grover, an attorney with the Department of Labor, are representing the United States in these matters.
Virginia State Police enforcement practices of Governor’s executive orders and directives
RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police encourages all Virginians to adhere to Virginia Governor Northam’s directives and does their part by staying home in order to best mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth. State troopers, for their personal protection and for the safety of the public, are minimizing their direct contact with the public. All Department recruitment events, public presentations, training, ceremonies, etc., have all been canceled or postponed through June 10, 2020.
Governor Northam has directed state and local law enforcement to initially address violations of the following Executive Order 53 and Executive Order 55 directives with education and warnings. Persistent violation of these Executive Order (EO) directives can result in an individual(s) or business being charged with a class one misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine:
• Prohibition of all public and private in-person, indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 individuals – with the exception of the operation of businesses not required to close under EO 53 and the gathering of family members living in the same residence;
• Closure of all dining and congregation areas in restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, and farmers markets;
• Any brick and mortar retail business (not listed in paragraph 5 of EO 53) failing to limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.
• Closure of all public access to recreational and entertainment businesses;
• Closure of public beaches for all activity, except for exercising and fishing;
• Cancellation of in-person classes and instruction at institutions of higher education;
• Cessation of all reservations for overnight stays of less than 14 nights at all privately-owned campgrounds
Virginia State Police have been and will continue to assess Virginia EO violations on a case-by-case basis.
State police are required to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth and will continue to have a visible presence within our communities and on the roads for the safety of those living, working and traveling in Virginia. The law still requires law enforcement to have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle. Virginia State Police will not be making random traffic stops on vehicles nor conduct checkpoints to determine if a driver is traveling for a permissible reason, as granted by EO 53 and EO 55.
The current Governor’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19:
• Do not require an individual to carry documentation related to one’s purpose of travel;
• Do not close Virginia roads/interstates to Virginia residents;
• Do not restrict non-Virginia residents from traveling into and/or through Virginia;
• Do not prevent Virginians from traveling out of the state. State police do encourage any Virginian(s) traveling out-of-state to check, in advance, the other state(s) for any travel restrictions in effect for that state(s). Governor Northam has advised Virginians returning from out-of-state and/or international travel to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.
For any additional questions related to the statewide “Stay at Home” order, please go to www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/faq.