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Latest Virginia news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT


Activists seek to decriminalize ‘magic’ mushrooms in DC

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite pandemic conditions that made normal signature-gathering almost impossible, activists in Washington, D.C., say they have enough signatures for a November ballot initiative that would decriminalize natural psychedelics such as certain mushrooms. Activists presented more than 36,000 signatures to the Board of Elections. They claim the plant-based psychedelics can successfully treat depression, trauma and addiction. The initiative would direct the police to treat such natural psychedelics as a low law-enforcement priority. But even if it passes, supporters acknowledge it will probably be blocked by Congress, which retains the right to alter or even overturn D.C. laws.


Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s NFL team is shedding the “Redskins” name and logo after recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans. The change comes less than two weeks after team owner Dan Snyder launched an organizational review of the name. A new name for one of football’s oldest franchises must still be selected and it’s unclear how soon that will happen. Native American experts and advocates have long protested the name they call a “dictionary-defined racial slur.” The name dates to 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.


2 inmates make first escape from Bon Air center in 20 years

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two inmates have escaped from a Virginia juvenile prison in what authorities say is the first break from the facility in 20 years. News outlets report the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice said 20-year-old Jabar A. Taylor and 18-year-old Rashad E. Williams escaped from Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center on Monday. Authorities say the two apparently used a cord to choke a security staffer, and escaped  through a hole that had been cut in a security fence. Officials said the two then got into a vehicle that was apparently waiting for them and fled the area.


Veteran news anchor Jane Gardner dies of fifth cancer bout

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Jane Gardner, a longtime news anchor in the Norfolk television market, has died after a fifth bout with cancer. Gary Gardner said Monday that his wife died late Saturday night at Sentara Leigh Hospital. Gardner was a broadcast journalist for decades for WTKR and WVEC, and was inducted into the Virginia Commonwealth University Hall of Fame in 2018. Gardner left broadcast journalism in 1998, and in 1999 was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat skin cancer in 2009, ovarian cancer in 2015 and lung cancer in 2016. After doctors found the lung cancer was in remission, she learned in June of 2018 that the cancer returned.


Del. Jay Jones announces bid for Virginia Attorney General

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Democrat is announcing his bid to be the state’s next attorney general. Jay Jones, a state House delegate from Norfolk, made the announcement Monday in a campaign video saying it’s time for a “new generation of leadership.” If elected next year, the 31-year-old Jones would be the first African-American to be Virginia’s attorney general. In his announcement, Jones said his campaign is “generations in the making” and highlighted his family’s history of fighting for civil rights. Jones lined up several endorsements for his campaign launch, including U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria and state Sen. Louise Luc.


Indictment planned for officer accused of stun gun assault

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to obtain an indictment against a white Fairfax County police officer charged with assault after firing a stun gun at an African American man. The procedural move means Fairfax County prosecutors are dropping three assault charges against officer Tyler Timberlake in General District Court and instead opting for a grand jury indictment that will allow him to be tried by a jury in Circuit Court. A judge granted prosecutors’ motion to drop the charges at a hearing Monday over defense lawyers’ objections. Timberlake was charged last month with three counts of misdemeanor assault. Video footage shows him firing his stun gun at an unarmed man who was acting erratically.


Plan: Richmond’s Lee statue would be cut apart, reassembled

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The state of Virginia plans to remove the large statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond’s Monument Avenue by cutting it into three sections and then reassembling it elsewhere. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that statue’s removal still depends on a court’s approval. But in the meantime, the state has been figuring out how it could deconstruct the sculpture. A state review board recently approved a plan that calls for a crane to remove the 21-foot statue from its 40-foot pedestal. The bronze statue would then be taken apart because it’s too tall to go under bridges. A conservation firm said the entire process will leave “little evidence of cutting and reassembly.”


Officials: 2 hospitalized after fire in Virginia jail

COURTLAND, Va. (AP) — Authorities say two people were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries following a fire at a Virginia jail. WAVY-TV reports the Courtland Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to battle the blaze at Southampton County Jail Sunday night after an inmate notified officials about the fire. WVEC-TV reports the blaze was put out within an hour. Officials say multiple people were triaged at the scene, leading to the two to be sent to a hospital. Authorities did not reveal the identity of those hospitalized. Officials say the cause of the fire is not known.

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