Virginia Tech

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Democrats say their major Election Day gains in November have boosted the odds of passing new gun control measures.

Democrats in the swing state swept three statewide offices and picked up at least 15 House seats, nearly erasing Republicans' lead in Virginia's lower chamber. Republicans narrowly lead the Senate.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he and his wife are "shocked and saddened by the senseless violence" at a gay nightclub in Florida that killed 49 people.

Hogan said in a statement Sunday that they offer their condolences to the family and friends of "the innocent victims of this act of terror" and gratitude to first responders and law enforcement who responded with "bravery and courage."

Authorities say Omar Mateen opened fire early Sunday at the club before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A charter bus carrying college students to three Virginia campuses overturned, leaving one person seriously injured and 35 others aboard with minor injuries near the close of the holiday weekend.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told The Associated Press there were no reported fatalities after the bus overturned Sunday evening on an exit ramp of the Powhite Parkway in North Chesterfield County just south of Richmond, the state capital.

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Some independent clubs at Virginia Tech say they're worried that they may have to disband when the school starts charging them rental fees.

The Roanoke Times reports that Virginia Tech's recreational sports department will begin for the first time in January to charge hourly rents for using rooms in the War Memorial Hall.

Joshua Kim, lead instructor for the martial arts Kendo Club, says he's concerned that the group will lose members or possibly have to shut down. The room that the club uses will cost $10 an hour, eventually doubling to $20.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An optional retirement plan for about 5,000 Virginia higher education employees is getting new management.

The Virginia Retirement System plans to switch the plan's management from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity to International City Management Association - Retirement Corp. The change will be effective in fall 2016.

Retirement system spokeswoman Jeanna Chenault told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the change is expected to reduce beneficiaries' fees and improve the plan's management.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Days after two journalists were fatally shot during a live broadcast at a Virginia resort, several Democratic legislators have produced a petition with nearly 28,000 signatures supporting expanded background checks for gun buyers.

The northern Virginia lawmakers unveiled the petition Thursday at a news conference in Arlington, signaling a likely push for universal background checks in the next legislative session. Currently, private sales - including those conducted at gun shows - are not subject to background checks.

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There was a first at Nandua High School in Onley this year.

Kedanta Chandler became the first African American male student to become valedictorian of his class.  

He had facetiously predicted that he would be on that big night of graduation.

And, after graduating at the top of his 2015 class his dream came true.

Kedanta told the Salisbury Daily Times that he just tried to do whatever he had to do but added it was a “good feeling.”

On graduation night several weeks ago he was one of 142 seniors at the school.

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia Tech has banned travel for university business to three West African countries because of the Ebola virus.

President Timothy Sands announced the ban on travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia late Monday in a letter posted on Tech's emergency management website. The across-the-board ban includes travel for research, educational purposes and outreach.

Sands also discouraged employees and students from taking personal trips to the countries.