State Tax Revenue Outpacing Forecast

Finance Secretary Warns Pace Is 'Unsustainable'

Virginia's tax collections continue to surpass expectations, according to figures released by the state.

State Secretary of Finance John M. Bennett told the Senate Finance Committee that tax collections have increased by 15.2 percent during the first 11 months of the fiscal year. That's well ahead of the official forecast of 10.3 percent growth for fiscal 2005, which ends in two weeks. Revenue grew at an even higher rate in May, increasing by 23 percent over last year.

Bennett said that such growth was unsustainable because it came largely from historically unpredictable sources: investors, real estate transactions and corporate income.

Va., Md. Granted Waivers to 'No Child'

Changes Could Help Schools Avoid Sanctions

Federal regulators have granted Virginia and Maryland new flexibility in enforcing the No Child Left Behind educational standards -- changes that could keep some schools from facing sanctions later this year.

Still, Virginia officials said the federal government did not go far enough. In January, the state Board of Education asked for waivers from 10 areas of the law, and it has since asked for two more. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education granted four of those requests, state officials said. Five others were rejected, and three are under review.

Virginia's new flexibility comes in the complex formula for deciding whether schools and school districts are making yearly progress. One of the most significant changes gives credit to students who fail a state Standards of Learning exam but then pass an exam in the same subject.

MS-13 Members Get Life for Slaying

Jurors Ask Men to Counsel Others Against Gangs

A federal jury in Alexandria deadlocked on a death sentence for two members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha street gang, meaning that the men will spend the rest of their lives in prison for the killing of a 17-year-old government witness.

Under federal law, Ismael Cisneros, 26, and Oscar A. Grande, 22, will be sentenced to life in prison without parole for stabbing to death Brenda Paz, who was 16 weeks pregnant. Her body was found on the banks of the Shenandoah River in July 2003.

Jurors took the unusual step of writing a note with their verdict saying they hope the two men will counsel youth against joining gangs.

Dumfries Mother Guilty in Girl's Death

Baby Drowned in Tub After Woman Took Drugs

A Prince William County jury convicted a Dumfries woman whose 6-month-old daughter drowned in a bathtub while she slept on the couch after snorting prescription drugs.

After deliberating for two hours, the jury found Alison Nicole Spivey, 25, guilty of felony child abuse and involuntary manslaughter, both of which carry maximum sentences of 10 years.

Aid Delayed to Dying Man in Fairfax

Confusion Over Jurisdiction Blamed

A man having trouble breathing waited 14 minutes for an ambulance Monday morning, and Fairfax County officials said confusion over the man's location caused the unusually long wait for help. The man died a short time later at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

It was not clear whether a rapid response would have saved the man.

The 50-year-old man, whose name was not released, apparently was stricken shortly after 8 a.m. at Waldron Inc., at 5910 Farrington Ave., just west of Van Dorn Street. The line between Alexandria and Fairfax runs past Waldron's offices, with Waldron on the Fairfax side. There were problems with the routing of the initial 911 call and confusion over whether Alexandria or Fairfax emergency services should be dispatched.

New battle: Jason Torres's wife, Susan, is brain-dead from cancer, but he and her parents hope that her body can be sustained long enough to safely deliver her 5-month-old fetus.