NORFOLK, Va (AP) _ Norfolk Southern Corp.’s first-quarter profit fell 18 percent as severe winter weather slowed shipments and the railroad delivered 1 percent less freight overall.The Norfolk, Virginia, based railroad said Wednesday it earned $368 million, or $1.17 per share, during the January-March period. That’s down from $450 million, or $1.41 per share, a year ago. “Following the extreme winter weather across the U.S. rail network which impacted first-quarter results, we are seeing a rebound in shipments across all of our business,” Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman wrote in a statement. “Our people responded admirably to meet the challenges of the harsh conditions, and we remain focused on delivering superior service to our customers.” Declines in automotive, construction and forest product shipments offset increases in crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas shipments.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia lawmakers are returning to Richmond to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s changes to the General Assembly’s 2014 legislation. Legislators will consider McAuliffe’s vetoes and proposed changes to several dozen pieces of legislation during a one-day session Wednesday. McAuliffe has vetoed two bills concerning religious expression. One would have codified a student’s right to pray at school. The other would have prohibited censorship of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard. The governor also vetoed a bill that would give people who receive red-light tickets the right to contest citations in circuit court. That bill passed the House 99-0 and the Senate 38-1. The General Assembly won’t take up the state’s budget. Republicans and Democrats remained deadlocked on whether the budget should include expanding Medicaid eligibility.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Department of Forestry has issued a fire weather watch for the entire state. The advisory issued Wednesday signals an increased threat of wildfires. Forestry officials say the watch has been issued because of predictions of low humidity and high winds, among other factors.
They all add up to an increased wildfire danger.
If those conditions linger, the watch could be upgraded to a red flag warning. The National Weather Service already has issued red flag warning for some areas, including much of southwestern Virginia. That is issued when conditions are ideal for wilderness fires to start easily and spread rapidly.