Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment


Associated Press

Posted on December 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Dec 28 at 6:00 AM


Cheetahs kill white-tailed deer at National Zoo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two cheetahs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have killed a white-tailed deer after it apparently jumped into their enclosure on Friday. A spokeswoman calls it "a normal and expected reaction" by the carnivorous big cats.

The zoo says a zookeeper heard noises from the cheetah pen shortly before noon and found the deer carcass next the cheetah siblings, named Carmelita and Justin.

Doctors will examine the carcass to make sure the deer didn't have any diseases.

No witnesses saw the deer entering the cheetah habitat — other than the cheetahs.

Deer are plentiful in Rock Creek Park, which borders the zoo. The National Park Service has used sharpshooters to control the deer population.


Virginia flu cases rise to widespread levels

(Information in the following story is from: WAVY-TV,

PORSTMOUTH, Va. (AP) — Virginia Department of Health officials say flu cases across the state have risen to widespread activity.

While the most recent synopsis from federal officials says flu levels in Virginia are at a regional alert, state officials told WAVY-TV that a weekly report Thursday indicates activity has risen statewide.

Last year's flu season landed about 381,000 people in the hospital nationwide. That's the most since at least 2005. A contributing factor was that the flu vaccine was only 51 percent effective overall.

The CDC advises that anyone six months and older who has not gotten a flu vaccine yet this season should get one.


Dominion renewable energy facilities open

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Resources Inc. is marking the beginning of commercial operations at two renewable energy facilities in Connecticut.

The Richmond, Va.-based energy company said operations have begun at its fuel cell facility in Bridgeport, Conn., and solar center in Somers, Conn.

The facilities collectively produce about 20 megawatts of energy, which is enough power for about 20,000 homes.

The company says it will sell the output of the fuel cell power station and solar center to Connecticut Light & Power under fixed power purchase agreements.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy and serves retail customers in 15 states.


CEO of company in Va governor's scandal steps down

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The head of the dietary supplement maker at the heart of a political scandal involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has stepped down.

Star Scientific Inc. said CEO Jonnie R. Williams and president Paul Perito resigned following Friday's shareholder meeting in Washington, D.C. Their intentions were announced last month.

Both will stay on with the Glen Allen, Va.-based company for another year to help with litigation and product development.

Shareholders also voted to change the company's name to Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals. It makes an anti-inflammatory supplement called Anatabloc.

Dr. Michael Mullan is replacing Williams. Mullan is the CEO of the Roskamp Institute and Archer Pharmaceuticals Inc.

State and federal investigators are looking at whether Williams or his company received anything in return for loans and gifts he gave to McDonnell's family.


Train derails in W.Va.; tanker car lands in creek

KIMBALL, W.Va. (AP) — Hazardous material crews are cleaning up following a trail derailment in West Virginia.

Officials say at least 16 cars of the Norfolk Southern train derailed around 8:30 a.m. Friday in an area of McDowell County along U.S. Route 52. No evacuations were ordered and there were no injuries.

The train has five locomotives and 111 cars and is about 7,000 feet long. It was headed from Bellevue, Ohio to Linwood, N.C.

State emergency officials say booms are in place to prevent the tar leaking from a ruptured tanker car from going any farther down into Elkhorn Creek.

About 700 feet of track was damaged in the derailment and will have to be replaced. Norfolk Southern expects train traffic to reopen Saturday afternoon.


Woman injured, 6 cats dead after McLean fire

MCLEAN, Va. (AP) — Fairfax County fire officials say a woman was taken to a hospital and six of her cats were dead after a fire at her McLean home.

Capt. William Moreland, a spokesman with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, says the fire broke out at the home on Westmoreland Street on Thursday afternoon.

Moreland say firefighters found a woman unconscious inside and she was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center's burn center with life-threatening injuries.

Six cats were dead but firefighters were able to revive one dog and one cat. They were taken to Suburban Animal hospital, where they were treated and released.

Damage is estimated at $50,000.