BC-VA--Virginia News Digest, VA

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Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Stories planned for Friday, May 24

The supervisor is John Raby. The Virginia AP can be reached at 800-552-9935 or 804-643-6646, or by emailing aprichmond(at)ap.org. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Stories from outside Virginia likely will not be available on the AP Limited wire. Additional Virginia and national news stories contributed by other newspapers are available in the Member Marketplace section of AP Exchange for members who receive this service. Reruns are also available from the Service Desk, 877-836-9477. To contribute photos, call the AP State Photo Center at 888-273-6867. To order repeats of AP photos, call 800-622-5527, ext. 1904. If you have technical problems, you may reach AP technicians directly at 800-453-4008.

NEW AND DEVELOPING:

NASA HARDWARE-HIGH SCHOOLS

NASA-CONTRACT FRAUD

SHAKEN BABY DEATH

CIVIL WAR-VICKSBURG

BANNED SWIMMING COACH

EARNS-DOLLAR TREE

EARNS-ADVANCE AUTO PARTS

EMAIL TENSIONS

NATURAL BRIDGE-SALE

NASA HARDWARE-HIGH SCHOOLS

HAMPTON — High school students in Virginia have finished building NASA a spinning chair that astronauts in Texas will use to practice being disoriented. The chair was made by 16 students under a NASA program where high school students build real-world products. It underwent its first test spins at NASA's Langley Research Center on Thursday. By Brock Vergakis.

NASA-CONTRACT FRAUD

ALEXANDRIA — An eighth person has pleaded guilty in a $30 million fraud and bribery scheme that duped NASA into awarding contracts to companies that falsely claimed eligibility for preferences granted to small, economically disadvantaged businesses. By Matthew Barakat.

SHAKEN BABY DEATH

ALEXANDRIA — A Quantico woman was sentenced Thursday to 8 ½ years in prison, far less than what was sought by prosecutors, for fatally shaking and fracturing the skull of a 9-month-old girl who had been left in her care. Amy Hunter pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court to second-degree murder in the April 2011 death of Chelsea Peterson. At the time, Hunter lived on Marine Corps Base Quantico with her husband and provided day care for Peterson, whose family also lived on base. By Matthew Barakat.

CIVIL WAR-VICKSBURG

VICKSBURG, Miss. — Even 150 years later, Vicksburg is still overshadowed by Gettysburg — so much so, that the Mississippi city is having its Civil War commemoration a few weeks early rather than compete with Pennsylvania for tourist dollars around July 4. Union forces waged a long campaign to conquer Vicksburg and gain control of the lower Mississippi River. The effort culminated in a concentrated military attack that started May 18, 1863, and a siege that started eight days later. Confederate forces surrendered the city on July 4. By Emily Wagster Pettus.

AP Photos.

BANNED SWIMMING COACH

ROCKVILLE, Md. — A Virginia man who was once one of the nation's most prominent swimming coaches is scheduled to be sentenced for sexually abusing one of the girls he instructed. Richard J. Curl, who pleaded guilty in February, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday afternoon in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He faces up to 15 years in prison. By Eric Tucker.

EARNS-DOLLAR TREE

RICHMOND. — Discount retailer Dollar Tree Inc. said Thursday that its net income increased 15 percent in the first quarter as consumers spent more at its stores, which sell goods for $1 or less. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose almost 5 percent in morning trading. By Michael Felberbaum.

EARNS-ADVANCE AUTO PARTS

RICHMOND — Advance Auto Parts Inc. said Thursday that its first-quarter profit fell nearly 9 percent as it experienced softer sales and higher costs. The Roanoke, Va., seller of auto parts and batteries posted earnings of $121.8 million, or $1.65 per share, for the quarter ended April 20, down from $133.5 million, or $1.79 per share, a year ago. By Michael Felberbaum.

EMAIL TENSIONS

SMITHFIELD — Two officials in Isle of Wight County are under fire for sending emails to other county officials that critics say are racially offensive. The local NAACP and other community leaders are calling for county Board of Supervisors member Byron Bailey and county school board member Herbert DeGroft to resign.

NATURAL BRIDGE-SALE

ROANOKE — A Virginia landmark and tourism attraction once owned by Thomas Jefferson is up for sale. The privately owned Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County is being put on the market, along with Natural Bridge Caverns and a 150-room hotel.

SPORTS:

CAA EXPANSION-ELON

RICHMOND — Elon is joining the Colonial Athletic Association for the 2014-15 season, said a person familiar with the situation. Elon, a member of the Southern Conference, will announce the move at a scheduled 2 p.m. press conference Thursday afternoon. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made. By Hank Kurz Jr..

The AP-Richmond

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