U.Va. says mandatory reporting of student arrests is working

The mandatory reporting system for student arrest and convictions that the University of Virginia implemented after Yeardley Love’s May 2010 death is working, said Dean of Students Allen W. Groves.

The system has brought mainly misdemeanor alcohol offenses to administrators’ attention, Groves said, calling them the vast majority of the small number of disclosures. Students have disclosed a handful of felony issues (though felony charges are often reduced to misdemeanors in court), he said.

For a number of years, U.Va. has required students to alert officials to arrests and convictions, but it was up to students to seek out administrators.

The annual prompt was announced in August 2010, months after it was revealed that university officials hadn’t known that the student charged in Love’s death had reportedly threatened a police officer during an arrest in Lexington while an undergraduate.

The new system is meant to be an early warning system for dangerous behavior, not a punitive tool, but a few matters have been referred for disciplinary action, Groves said. Mostly, he said, officials look for patterns of behavior.

Brief by The Richmond Times-Dispatch


JMU student remains in critical condition after fall

A James Madison University student remained in critical condition Sunday after falling when a balcony railing gave way during a University of Virginia fraternity party early Saturday.

Joseph A. Gabro, 20, a JMU student from Ashburn, remained hospitalized Sunday at U.Va. Medical Center.

Also injured was Corey P. Milner, 18, a U.Va. student from Ashburn. He was listed in good condition at the medical center.

Lt. Ronnie Roberts, spokesman for the Charlottesville Police Department, said no criminal charges will be filed.

Brief by The Richmond Times-Dispatch


New Richmond jail may be delayed

Richmond’s plan to start site work on a new jail in December appeared to hit a snag Monday after the City Council postponed a vote that would have sent changes to its plans to the state for approval.

Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall said the delay means the city will go to the Board of Corrections in November, one month later than planned, but he said it’s unclear whether the start of site work will also be postponed.

The city will be asking the Board of Corrections to allow aspects of the jail to be built to more-lenient standards of the American Correctional Association.

Brief by The Richmond Times-Dispatch


VCU campus experiences two-day spike in sexual assaults

On Sept. 28, a female student was sexually assaulted on the 1200 block of Cumberland Street near the West Cary Street Parking Deck.

Two similar incidents happened off campus on Sept. 27, according to VCU Police.

The suspect is described as a thin black male, approximately 160 pounds, with slight facial hair and a dark complexion. He was last seen wearing a burgundy shirt and burgundy hat.

VCU and Richmond police are increasing patrol in the area and the incident is currently under investigation.

Brief by Mason Brown



Cantaloupe outbreak is deadliest in a decade

Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that 72 illnesses and 13 deaths are linked to the tainted fruit. State and local officials say they are investigating three additional deaths that may be connected.

The death toll released by the CDC Tuesday – including newly confirmed deaths in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas – surpassed the number of deaths linked to an outbreak of salmonella in peanuts almost three years ago. Nine people died in that outbreak.

Last week the CDC reported deaths in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Maryland.

Brief by The Associated Press


ITV admits using video-game footage in IRA program

Britain’s ITV network admitted Tuesday that its much-vaunted new investigative series, “Exposure,” picked up a mischievously labeled clip from the Internet and never figured out it came from a military shoot-’em-up game, Arma II.

The footage was of a 1988 Irish Republican Army attack, according to a documentary crew from Britain’s ITV network. Gamers, however, countered that it is a clip from a video game, saying they recognized the scene.

The program sought to document how deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi supplied the outlawed IRA with weaponry in the mid-1980s, a topic that has been extensively documented. It also asserted – without backing up the claim with evidence – that Gadhafi continued to fund IRA dissidents until recent months.

ITV spokesman James MacLeod maintained that ITV did have real footage of the 1988 attack in question – something that, if true, has never been seen publicly before – and would edit it into the online version. But the program remained off of the network’s video-streaming list Tuesday night.

Brief by The Associated Press


FEMA finds extra disaster aid money just in time

Faced with the imminent possibility of running out of money this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency scoured every financial nook and cranny to come up with enough money to keep its disaster relief fund in the black for a few more days.

The search yielded about $40 million left over from projects to rebuild infrastructure damaged disasters that occurred before August’s Hurricane Irene. The newly found cash, announced Monday, means the agency’s disaster aid arm will likely be solvent until the end of the budget year on Friday. As of Tuesday, FEMA had about $175 million available and spends an average of about $35 million a day.

Besides hunting in old disaster accounts for extra money, the agency also put limits on spending for some recovery projects, including infrastructure repairs from disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. In late August, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate announced that the agency would limit disaster aid money to “immediate needs,” including repaying states for debris removal and giving individual victims financial help.

The move meant that about $400 million in public assistance projects was put on hold.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration also asked Congress for $500 million in emergency funding.

If the funding bill is passed, FEMA expects to resume funding both new and old disaster projects.

Brief by The Associated Press

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