Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Enterprise inactivation ceremony Dec. 1 in Norfolk - The Virginian-Pilot

By Mike Connors
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 18, 2012

NORFOLK

After 51 years of service, the aircraft carrier Enterprise will inactivate on Dec. 1, in a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station.

The inactivation ceremony will be the last official public event for the ship, which has had more than 100,000 sailors serve aboard it, a Navy news release said. Thousands of those sailors are expected to attend the event.

The Enterprise was commissioned on Nov. 25, 1961, and was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It is a veteran of 25 deployments to the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean and Middle East.

The Enterprise has served in conflicts ranging from the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to the Vietnam conflict and the Gulf wars. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the carrier launched the first strikes in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the release said.

All Enterprise veterans, their families and friends, and shipyard workers can register to attend the inactivation week events and the ceremony by visiting the ship's website, www.enterprise.navy.mil.  

Photos: Intrepid's propeller arrives at new Norfolk home - The Virginian-Pilot

A propeller from the aircraft carrier Intrepid is on display as public art across from Sarah Constant Beach Park in Norfolk's Ocean View neighborhood.

Panel to release Military Highway ideas today - The Virginian-Pilot

By Mike Connors
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 18, 2012

NORFOLK

A panel examining ideas for the Military Highway corridor will make its suggestions public this afternoon.

The panel will present its ideas at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose Garden at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, a city news release said. The event is free.

The Urban Land Institute panel, sponsored by the city of Norfolk, spent today touring the area, the release said. Panel members will then analyze data and hold interviews today before the public presentation.

Things the panel is looking at include what development should occur in the area, a timetable for improvements and what the city’s role in such improvements should be. Transportation in the area also is being studied.  

Defense: Navy actions led to pirate hostage deaths - The Virginian-Pilot

By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 18, 2012

NORFOLK

Attorneys for three Somali men charged in the deaths of four Americans during a pirate attack in the Arabian Sea last year say the Navy and FBI’s efforts to rescue the hostages led to the killings.

Defense lawyers also asked that the high-profile federal trial be moved out of Norfolk, where they argue deep pride in the Navy and an unusual interest in piracy cases will make it difficult to assemble an objective jury.

The arguments were spelled out in a series of motions filed by the defense team Monday.

Co-defendants Ahmed Muse Salad, Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar and Abukar Osman Beyle face the death penalty on murder, kidnapping, piracy and related charges.

The men are accused of pirating the yacht Quest in February 2011 and killing the vessel’s owners, Scott Underwood Adam and Jean Savage Adam of the Los Angeles area, and their friends Phyllis Patricia Macay and Robert Campbell Riggle of Seattle. It was the first in a wave of pirate attacks off the coast of east Africa.

The pirates hoped to bring the Americans back to Somalia and begin ransom negotiations, according to court records, but the plan fell apart when Navy warships began shadowing the yacht. Navy helicopters and snipers were deployed.

The destroyer Sterett was maneuvering between the Quest and the Somali coast when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the warship.

The Navy's “aggressive actions” and “the failure to conduct the negotiations with the Somalis in a proper fashion” created an unstable situation “that resulted in the violent deaths of eight individuals,” including four hijackers, defense lawyers argued in a discovery motion filed Monday.

As the Navy destroyer closed on the yacht, according to court records, shots were fired on board the Quest, resulting in the deaths of the four passengers and two hijackers. A team of Navy SEALs boarded the yacht, and two more Somalis were killed, records show.

“While the defense does not contend that the actions of the Navy/FBI are legal defenses to any of the charges, it is without dispute that none of the Americans had been harmed until the Navy/FBI acted in an extremely aggressive fashion,” defense lawyers wrote in the motion.

Larry Dash, an assistant federal public defender and one of seven attorneys representing the men, said the defense team did not wish to comment.

In a separate motion, defense attorneys asked for a change of venue, arguing that the area’s large Navy presence and local media coverage of the case has likely tainted the jury pool.

“Furthermore, this trial will begin less than three months after a major Hollywood motion picture about Somali piracy, starring Tom Hanks, filmed, in part, in Norfolk, is set to premier,” the lawyers wrote, arguing that Hampton Roads residents have a heightened interest in piracy cases.

A poll conducted by the defense found that more than 65 percent of Norfolk residents had heard of the case, and about 31 percent had already decided that the defendants are “definitely guilty.”

The case is scheduled to go to trial June of next year.

Eleven others have already pleaded guilty to taking part in the pirate attack, and each denied shooting the Americans. They have agreed to testify against the three remaining defendants.

For more information, check back at PilotOnline.com or read Wednesday's Virginian-Pilot.

Kaine, Warner speak in Norfolk - WAVY-TV

Updated: Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 8:31 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 8:31 PM EDT

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Tim Kaine, who is running for U.S. Senate and U.S. Senator Mark Warner met in Norfolk Monday to formally seek a compromise to sequestration and the looming cuts to the defense budget.

Kaine and Warner, both Democrats, appeared together at Grow Innovative, a downtown Norfolk marketing firm.

Kaine said he is hopeful his Republican opponent, former senator George Allen's ideas about the budget impasse, are more a part of the problem than a solution.

"There were two strategies a year ago around the debt ceiling situation," Kaine said. "One that suggested the nation should default on its credit for the first time ever. My opponent and a few others, they were loud but they were small in number promoted that point of view. That would have created a fiscal collapse like the 2008 fiscal collapse"

In a web posting last week, George Allen criticized Kaine's support of the Democrats' plan to increase revenues, alluding to defense budget cuts.

"Kaine and Obama are so eager to raise taxes that they are willing to use as leverage the jobs of more than 200,000 Virginians, as well as our military's preparedness," Allen wrote.

Warner emphasized cooperation and compromise in the midst of sequestration.

"We're spending too much and we're collecting revenues at a 70-year low," Warner said. "You gotta find a place in the middle."

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee told WAVY.com from the floor of the Republican Convention last month that the House budget proposal is a step toward middle ground.

"We need to understand that we've cut almost a half a trillion dollars out of defense that is in the budget that starts October 1," Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Ca.) said.

That budget was rejected by the Senate. Late Monday afternoon, Allen's campaign released a statement saying the former senator supports reversing defense cuts and replacing the revenue by repealing Obama's healthcare plan and unleashing America's energy resources.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Warhol Museum director to talk about artist - The Virginian-Pilot

By Teresa Annas
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 18, 2012

NORFOLK

The director of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh will talk on Wednesday at the Harrison Opera House about how the Pop artist succeeded by flouting the rules.

Artists in the 1950s assumed ultra-serious personas; Warhol played the dumb blonde.

Sculptors just before Warhol went for heavy, metal, masculine forms; Warhol made silvery balloon "pillows" that floated away.

Eric Shiner's free talk is set for 11 a.m. and sponsored by the Norfolk Society of Arts.

Shiner had big shoes to fill when he took over the Pittsburgh museum, which is the nation's largest museum devoted to a single artist. He had been curator since 2008 under Tom Sokolowski, who departed in late 2010.

Sokolowski, who was the museum's innovative director for 15 years, had been an equally provocative curator in the 1980s at the Chrysler Museum, where the Norfolk Society typically holds its lecture series. (This is the first lecture of its season, which will be entirely held at the Opera House because of construction at the Chrysler.)

A show of Warhol portraits from the Pittsburgh museum was on exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach this summer and closed Aug. 19.

IF YOU GO

What "Andy Warhol: Consumption x Production," lecture by Eric Shiner, right, director of The Andy Warhol Museum

Where Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Blvd., Norfolk

When 11 a.m. Wednesday; a 10:30 a.m. coffee precedes the talk

Contact (757) 853-0221, www.chrysler.org; free parking in the opera house's north lot

Teresa Annas, (757) 446-2485, teresa.annas@pilotonline.com

Judge denies bond on drug charges in Norfolk - The Virginian-Pilot

By Scott Daugherty
The Virginian-Pilot
© September 18, 2012

Norfolk

Wearing an oversized black T-shirt with his hands cuffed behind his back, Donald Peter Charles didn't look much like a five-star general.

According to federal agents, however, that's his rank in a nationally known street gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Miller ordered Charles held without bond Monday on federal drug charges.

He noted that Charles has four convictions regarding cocaine and violated his probation several times. He said he was afraid Charles, 31, of Virginia Beach, would continue to deal drugs while out on bond.

Outside court, Charles' public defender said he was not surprised the judge decided to keep his client locked up.

"The alleged gang affiliation didn't help my argument," Keith Kimball said.

According to court documents, Charles is a "five star general" in the Nine Trey Gangsters.

Special Agent Wendall Cosenza wrote in an affadavit that Charles appears to take orders from the gang's top leaders, who are incarcerated in New York. In court, he recalled searching Charles' home and finding a photo of him with one of the gang's "godfathers."

Charles was arrested Wednesday after state police stopped his girlfriend's car and found 1 kilogram of cocaine powder. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

In an interview after the traffic stop, Charles told federal agents he got the cocaine from a person in New York, Cosenza said. Charles said the source, whom he refused to identify, gave him the drugs on the condition he later pay him $33,000.

Information obtained in a wiretap led state police to stop and search Charles' car.

Cosenza said they overheard Charles and his source on the wire talking about when and how they would meet in New York.

Scott Daugherty, 757-222-5221, scott.daugherty@pilotonline.com