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Associated Press

Posted on November 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 9:00 AM

AIRCRAFT CARRIER-CHRISTENING

Navy christens next generation of aircraft carrier

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Navy christened the USS Gerald Ford by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship.

It's the most technologically advanced aircraft carrier the United States has built.

The Ford class represents the first new aircraft carrier design in more than 40 years. Among other things, it will be able to launch jets faster than previous aircraft carriers and will require fewer crew members. The Navy anticipates that having fewer crew members on board will save $4 billion over the ship's 50-year life span.

Former president Ford's daughter, Susan Ford Bales, is the ship's sponsor. She performed the ceremonial breaking of a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship's bow Saturday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

In cliffhanging Va. AG race, Democrat gains

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Virginia's cliffhanger race for attorney general has gotten tighter.

The Fairfax County Electoral Board completed a canvass of absentee votes in one of its voting districts, and Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring gained more than twice as many votes as Republican state Sen. Mark Obsenshain.

The canvass puts Herring's vote total in District 8 at 5,137 votes to Obenshain's 2,039 votes.

Virginia-wide, the State Board of Elections still shows Obenshain with a 1,262-vote edge over Herring out of 2.2 million ballots cast. But the statewide total vote does not reflect the 3,200 votes added Saturday in Fairfax County. Election officials blame tabulating errors for the initial undercount.

More than 3,000 provisional, or contested votes, still remain to be counted as well. Those won't be certified by local registrars until Tuesday.

VETERANS DAY

Veterans Day weekend marked at Va. attractions

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The men and women who defended their nation are getting some small gestures of gratitude in return around Virginia this weekend and on Veterans Day.

Starting Saturday and running through Monday, James Madison's Montpelier will offer free admission to veterans and active military. Family members are not included.

At Colonial Williamsburg, free admission is being offered to active military, guard, reservists, retirees and their dependents, through Monday. Special programs are also planned.

In recognition of Veterans Day weekend, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are waiving fees at all day use recreation sites.

Finally, Virginia State Parks will waive parking fees on Monday. Over the weekend, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will offer special programming.

HIGHWAY FATALS

VSP: 5 killed in separate crashes Saturday

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia State Police say crashes in Prince George County and Caroline County have killed five people.

State police say three died Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in Prince George County. The vehicle was traveling north on the interstate when it ran off the road and struck a tree. Two men and woman died in the crash. State police said no one was wearing a seatbelt.

The victims have not been identified.

About the same time in Caroline County, a vehicle traveling east on Route 207 collided with a pickup truck, which then ran off the road and struck utility pole. Two passengers in the pickup were killed. State police identified the victims as Colonial Beach residents.

Police say charges are pending in that crash.

MINE SAFETY VIDEO

Lights, camera, action for Va. mine safety

BIG STONE GAP, Va. (AP) — The Virginia department that oversees mining is developing a training video to ensure workers are prepared for an underground emergency.

The $50,000 for the training video was awarded to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The safety video will be produced at Alpha Natural Resources training center in Julian, W.Va.

DMME expects to wrap up the video and have it ready for distribution next June.

The funding for the grant comes from the Brookwood-Sago program. The program is named after the men who died in two explosions at the Jim Walter Resources mine in Brookwood, Ala., in 2001 and the men who died after an explosion at the Sago mine in West Virginia in 2006.

UVA-SPACECRAFT

UVa class building satellite for NASA flight

(Information in the following story is from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Next September, NASA will send high-altitude balloons into the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere as part of an effort to collect data on cosmic radiation.

If all goes as planned, one of the balloons will be attached to a satellite designed by students at a unique class at the University of Virginia.

For the past two years, the Spacecraft Design course at U.Va. has been working on just one project — a satellite to eventually launch into space.

NASA has been reaching out to college space programs, offering the chance to fly student experiments to the edge of space using high-altitude balloons.

BEAR KILLS

Bear kills in Va. leave 20 cubs in foster care

(Information in the following story is from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com)

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — It's been a bad year for bears in Virginia, as a poor acorn crop has sent them in search for food and often in the path of cars and trucks.

The road deaths have left 20 orphaned bear cubs in foster care at Virginia Tech and the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.

Wildlife biologist Jaime Sajecki of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tells The Roanoke Times many of the road kills have involved sows with cubs.

That reflects what was likely a productive breeding season last year.

Sajecki said that might be because of a bumper acorn crop in 2012, which saw bears going into dens in excellent physical condition.

During poor acorn years cub production often is poor.

RETIREMENT SYSTEM

VRS seeks to expand investment portfolio

(Information in the following story is from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The $59 billion Virginia Retirement System is seeking the General Assembly's approval to manage other investments for a fee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Saturday the system's board voted 7-1 last month to seek the Legislature's blessing to branch out.

The retirement system wants to manage outside assets through a subsidiary, called Project Frontier, with the idea of generating additional revenue.

Charles W. Grant is managing director of internal asset management at the retirement system. He says the Project Frontier initiative represents a "very good investment opportunity" for VRS.

Not everyone agrees.

Project Frontier already has come under the scrutiny of the legislature's watchdog agency, and the board's longest-serving member opposes the plan.

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