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Associated Press

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 27 at 2:00 AM

LABOR DAY-LANES

VDOT seeks to smooth Labor Day weekend travels

RICHMOND (AP) — The Virginia Department of Transportation is smoothing the way for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

From noon Friday until noon Sept. 3, VDOT will suspend most road work and lift lane closures on most interstates to ease the travel woes of Labor Day travelers.

By suspending road work, VDOT will be eliminating potential bottlenecks during the heavily traveled holiday.

DOT also encourages motorists to dial 511 to get up-to-the-minute information on traffic accidents and congestion.

NAVY COMMANDER-REMOVAL

Navy fighter squadron CO relieved of duties

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The commanding officer of a Navy fighter squadron has been removed from the job due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Cmdr. Edward C. White was relieved of command of the Virginia Beach-based Strike Fighter Squadron 106 on Monday. The Navy says he was relieved of his duties following the preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a female Navy civilian employee.

White has commanded the squadron since June 2012. He has been temporarily assigned to the staff at Naval Air Force Atlantic pending the final results of the investigation.

Cmdr. Brent Blackmer has replaced White as the squadron's commander. Blackmer was originally scheduled to take command of the squadron on Sept. 26 in a regularly scheduled change of command.

DAY OF SERVICE

Va. state park offers 36 places to pitch in

RICHMOND (AP) — All 36 Virginia state parks will offer volunteer opportunities during the annual National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The day was established as a remembrance of the 9-11 attacks. The service projects offer an opportunity for individuals and communities to honor the thousands of victims of the attacks.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation manages the state's parks. The department says the state parks will offer opportunities to volunteer between Sept. 7 and Sept. 11. The chores include trail and shoreline cleanup, splitting firewood and more.

HIGH RIVERS

Late-summer Va. kayaking, canoeing at height

RICHMOND (AP) — Many Virginia rivers are at levels that are unusually high for this time of year.

That's true for the Rappahannock River, which typically is reduced to a trickle by the end of summer. But for outfitters in the Fredericksburg area, the current conditions are nearly ideal.

Bill Micks is co-owner of the Virginia Outdoor Center in Fredericksburg. He told The Free Lance-Star (http://bit.ly/16LE8eG) he's hoping for another couple weeks of strong business in rental canoes, kayaks and other flotation devices for river enthusiasts to loll in. The season runs into early October.

Earlier this year, the high waters were too much of a good thing. Micks said high waters took a big bite out of his business.

Other Virginia outfitters have had similar experiences this year.

GROTTOES GOLF CARTS

Golf carts drive Va. town's planning meeting

GROTTOES (AP) — Planners in Grottoes are looking into whether the town should be an official golf cart community.

The Planning Commission will meet Tuesday night to hear what residents have to say about the idea.

The Daily News-Record says state law allows golf carts on designated roads, with speed limits up to 25 mph. Grottoes doesn't have any roads designated for the carts.

The question is being driven by some residents who want a crossing on an avenue through the middle of the town of about 2,500.

About a dozen or so golf carts can be found traveling around Grottoes. They are used to run errands and to call on friends.

Town officials have looked at a copy of an ordinance that Elkton passed in 2011 that legalized golf carts.

MARCH ON WASHINGTON-CELEBRITIES

Winfrey, Foxx to join March on Washington events

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker are among the celebrities joining three presidents this week to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Soledad O'Brien and Hill Harper will host the "Let Freedom Ring" commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream speech on Wednesday. President Barack Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are also joining the tribute at the Lincoln Memorial.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington, will speak at this year's march, along with Winfrey, Foxx and Whitaker.

Winfrey and Whitaker are currently starring in the movie "The Butler" about a man who served for seven presidents as a White House butler.

Musicians including LeAnn Rimes and BeBe Winans are scheduled to perform.

PATSY CLINE-EXHIBIT

Patsy Cline focus of Virginia museum exhibit

WINCHESTER (AP) — An exhibition focusing on the short but significant life of country music legend Patsy Cline is opening this week in Virginia.

The show opens Friday at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester. It will tell the story of Virginia "Ginny" Patterson Hensley before she became Patsy Cline.

Before her death at age 30, Cline recorded the country classics "Crazy" and "Sweet Dreams," among other enduring hits.

Cline spent most of her life in the Shenandoah Valley. The museum exhibit, called "Becoming Patsy Cline," will include rare photographs, video and audio recordings and clothing. The museum says some objects have never been on public display.

The exhibit is on review through Feb. 2, 2014.

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