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VIRGINIA BRIEFING

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.

Murga-Paniagua raped the woman in November while intoxicated and wielding a knife, Commonwealth's Attorney James E. Plowman said in a statement.

Murga-Paniagua was in the United States legally on a work permit, Plowman said, and will be deported after his prison term.

-- Jonathan Mummolo

EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Two Breakaway Congregations Will Pay Diocese in Lawsuit Deal

Two of 11 congregations locked in a court battle with the Episcopal Church have settled their 19-month-old dispute, agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to the Virginia Diocese, the diocese said in a statement yesterday.

The diocese sued the 11 congregations in February 2007 after parishioners voted to pull away from the national church over scriptural disputes. The lawsuit sought to keep parish properties and assets.

Potomac Falls Church in Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer Church in Centreville do not have actual church properties and meet in public school buildings.

Terms of the agreement were not made public. The lawsuit involving the nine other churches continues.

-- Michelle Boorstein

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Woman Found Dead in Falls Church Area Is Identified; Killing Ruled a Homicide

A Fairfax County woman who was found dead in her Falls Church area apartment Thursday morning was identified yesterday as Genevieve P. Orange, 29, and police said her death was a homicide.

Police checked on Orange when she didn't show up for work Thursday at the Futures Industry Association in Washington, they said. Orange was found inside her home at the Prestwick Apartments, 6166 Leesburg Pike, about 11:22 a.m.

An autopsy yesterday determined that Orange died from blunt force trauma to the upper body, Officer Don Gotthardt said, and police had no suspects or motive in the case.

Orange worked for the futures association, a trade association of brokers, companies and exchanges involved in commodity futures trading, for five years.

"She was a terrific employee," association president John Damgard said in a statement.

"She was very well-liked by her colleagues in the office and everyone she worked with on a daily basis. We all miss her very much."

-- Tom Jackman

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