VIRGINIA BRIEFING

VIRGINIA BRIEFING

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Senate Committee Holds Hearing On Granting Tribes Federal Recognition

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), Sen. James Webb (D) and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) attended a Senate hearing Thursday to push lawmakers to give formal federal recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes.

The hearing, however, comes just as the Senate is set to recess, and no further action is expected this year. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said that he held the hearing because Webb had been "irritatingly aggressive" and that it set the groundwork for the committee to make a decision early next year.

"That gives us something to look forward to," said Wayne Adkins, who heads Virginia Indians Tribal Alliance for Life. "I'm very hopeful."

Virginia Indian tribes have been seeking federal recognition, which would enable them to apply for federal health, education and housing benefits, for more than 15 years.

They hoped to win recognition by May 2007, the 400-year anniversary of the Jamestown settlement. The House approved the legislation just days before the commemoration began.

-- Brigid Schulte

LOUDOUN COUNTY

Man Sentenced to Serve 21 Years In Rape of His Elderly Landlord

An El Salvadoran national who was living in Round Hill was sentenced Thursday to 21 years in prison for raping his 70-year-old landlord last year, Loudoun County's chief prosecutor said yesterday.

Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill sentenced Silvestre Murga-Paniagua, 40, who was renting an apartment from the victim.


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