PHOTO RELEASE–Newport News Shipbuilding Engineers Named Virginia Peninsula Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Feb. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that the Peninsula Engineers Council named Michael Reilley and Daniel Hebert Virginia Peninsula Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year, respectively. The Newport News Shipbuilding employees were recognized at the group’s annual banquet on Sunday.

Reilley, Newport News’ chief engineer, began his shipbuilding career in 1984. He has held a range of engineering and leadership positions supporting the construction and overhaul of aircraft carriers and submarines. He most recently served as the propulsion plant director during the successful trial and delivery of USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78).

“Having worked with him for more than 25 years, I know Mike to be an excellent technical leader as well as a community- and family-oriented individual,” said Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design. “He is dedicated to causes larger than himself and is highly regarded by his colleagues at Newport News Shipbuilding, the U.S. Navy and community.”

In his current role, Reilley leads a staff of experts and is recognized as the technical authority in various disciplines. Reilley is a licensed professional engineer who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University and a master’s in engineering management from the George Washington University. He also has served as the vice chair for the eastern Virginia section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Virginia Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board.

Hebert, who began working at Newport News in 2008, received the Doug Ensor Award. The award is named after the founder of the Peninsula Engineers Council and recognizes the early accomplishments of an engineer under 35 with less than 15 years of experience.

Hebert serves as the research and development program lead in additive manufacturing and helped pioneer the qualification of 3-D metal printing in naval shipbuilding. His work helped lay the foundation for a significant technical milestone in the industry: the installation of the first 3-D-printed metal part of a nuclear-powered vessel.

“In a short time, Dan has distinguished himself as an asset to our company,” Southall said. “He sets the example for his peers. He is enthusiastic, energetic and an adept engineer. Dan has a bright future ahead of himself.”

Hebert, who has two patents pending in the area of additive manufacturing, holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Gannon University and a master’s in engineering management from the George Washington University. He serves as the secretary for the eastern Virginia section of ASME.

“The Peninsula Engineers Council’s purpose is to strengthen and promote the engineering profession on the Virginia Peninsula,” said Vanessa Aubuchon, president of the Peninsula Engineers Council. “Mike and Dan have impressive careers and have proven themselves to be outstanding models of a long history of engineers in the area. They uphold the values of the engineering profession by doing what is best for their community and holding themselves to a high technical bar. It is a pleasure to recognize these two individuals at the PEC awards banquet. The PEC congratulates these two individuals on a job well done.”

Formed in 1970, the Peninsula Engineers Council comprises representatives from organizations dedicated to strengthening and promoting the engineering profession in the Virginia Peninsula area. The member organizations consist of 18 local chapters of engineering and technical societies, a local science and education foundation, and two government organizations.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Mission Driven Innovative Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 40,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

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Super Bowl 53: Bayer Leverkusen mocks low-scoring game

The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams were locked in a defensive battle. (Getty Images)

Bayer Leverkusen poked fun at the low-scoring Super Bowl 53 between the Patriots and Rams.

The Patriots led the Rams 3-0 at halftime in Atlanta in the second-lowest scoring first half in Super Bowl history.

Leverkusen took the chance to mock the NFL, with association soccer often criticized for lacking goals.

"SoCcER iS a LoW-sCoRiNg sPoRt," the Bundesliga club wrote on Twitter, inspired by the SpongeBob meme.

SoCcER iS a LoW-sCoRiNg sPoRt

— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) February 4, 2019

The Rams answered the Patriots’ field goal with one of their own as the teams finished the third quarter tied at 3-3.

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Walgreens Is Big Winner at Auction for Shopko’s Pharmacy Assets

A Walgreens spokesman said Saturday that his company was pleased with the auction results and, pending the sales’ approval by the bankruptcy court, looks forward to welcoming Shopko customers to the chain’s pharmacies.

A hearing to approve the sales to the successful bidders is expected to be held Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Omaha, Neb.

An auction for Shopko’s pharmacy assets, including prescription inventories, records, customer lists and patient profiles, was held Wednesday in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the law firms representing the general-merchandise chain since it filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

About 20 other companies, including Albertsons and CVS, were also named successful bidders for additional pharmacy assets that were auctioned off at remaining locations.

Before filing for chapter 11 protection, Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko, which is backed by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc., had found buyers for pharmacy assets at 82 other locations, generating about $95 million in proceeds. Shopko later put roughly 150 remaining additional pharmacy outlets on the auction block.

Shopko, which sells everything from baby gear to clothes to kitchen appliances, entered bankruptcy operating about 370 stores in more than 20 states. It had said about 70 unprofitable stores were in the process of closing, and the company expects to further reduce its footprint by about 40 stores during the bankruptcy. It said it owed about $440 million to lenders.

Shopko has also filed bid procedures that could result in a new equity investor, a debt-to-equity swap, or other asset sales.

Write to Becky Yerak at

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Newport News detective found guilty of reckless driving

Officers stopped Justin Briggs on Ridgeview Drive last summer.

Police said Briggs — who was off-duty at the time — was driving impaired with a child in the car. The child was a family member, according to police.

On Thursday, Briggs was sentenced to six months behind bars, with all six months suspended.

Briggs also received one year of year of unsupervised probation and a six-month license suspension.

Under the suspended license, Briggs will only be able to drive to and from work, and drive for work, "medically necessary travel," and to and from a court-ordered facility.

After his arrest, he was put on administrative leave without pay. Newport News police have confirmed he is still with the department.

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Thousands brave snow to rally against Serbia populist leader

Thousands of people have braved snow and freezing temperatures in Serbia’s capital to turn up for the fifth week of street protests against populist President Aleksandar Vucic.

The demonstrators marched through downtown Belgrade blowing whistles and booing and jeering loudly as they passed the Serbian presidency building on Saturday. Some carried Serbian flags and banners reading "We are the people" or "Down with the thieves."

The demonstrations started after thugs beat up an opposition leader in November, putting pressure on Vucic.

Critics accuse the president of imposing an autocracy through strict control over the media and promoting hate speech against opponents.

Vucic rejects being labeled as domineering and has suggested he might call an early election this year. A former extreme nationalist, he has held office saying he favors Serbia joining the European Union.

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Italy’s Euroskeptic Agenda Reflects Weakening Public Support for the EU

ROME—Italy’s new government is laying the groundwork to challenge Europe’s financial orthodoxy and immigration rules, setting out a euroskeptic policy agenda in a country where public frustration with the European Union has supplanted once-broad support.

In his inaugural speech to Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said his government would push for a change of the rules underpinning the eurozone to spur growth and cut the country’s massive debt, which he said austerity policies helped worsen.

“A new wind” is blowing in Italy, said Mr. Conte, who heads a government supported by the maverick 5 Star Movement and the hard-right League, which have come out strongly against the eurozone’s limits on public spending.

“If populism is listening to the needs of the people, we accept” such a label, he said.

The government on Tuesday won a confidence vote in the Italian Senate, the first of two parliamentary votes of confidence that will fully empower it. The second, in the lower house where the government has a majority, is slated for Wednesday.

The speech sent yields on Italian debt higher and the country’s benchmark stock index lower, a week after global markets were rocked by investor concern over politics in Italy.

In his speech, Mr. Conte stuck to the coalition agreement the two parties struck. That agreement called for bold policy to turn around Italy’s economy—one of the most troubled in Europe—and confront a migration crisis that has brought 750,000 people to its shores since 2011.

The two crises have badly eroded support for the EU in a country that was historically one of its biggest boosters. In 2010, three out of four Italians had a positive view of Europe.

Many Italians blame the EU for unpopular moves taken to shore up the country’s finances and gradually reduce its massive debt, including an increase in the retirement age, cuts to the mostly free health-care system and a reduction in public services.

“We have to go to Brussels, slam our fists on the table, claim our rights and renegotiate the [EU] treaties,” said Giuseppe Dodaro, a 26-year-old medical student from the southern Calabria region who voted for 5 Star.

Most businesses don’t want Italy to leave the euro because of the chaos and uncertainty the move would bring and because any benefits would be short-lived. But many agree with plans by the new government to loosen the rules governing the currency to allow more government spending.

“The [euro] parameters are constricting Italy’s growth,” said Armando De Nigris, whose 130-year-old family-owned balsamic-vinegar business had revenue of about €80 million ($93 million) last year.

EU treaties require member countries to keep their budget deficits below 3% of gross domestic product or face disciplinary proceedings. EU authorities have shown flexibility toward countries that are making an effort but struggling with weak economies. But the bloc insists all members do their best to follow the rules.

Mr. Conte said the government plans to implement “revolutionary measures” that will reboot the Italian economy, including cutting corporate and individual taxes to as low as 15% and enacting huge welfare spending to support Italy’s legion of unemployed and poor.

The large deficits that would likely result from such a program could violate EU deficit rules. Opposition leaders on Tuesday derided the plans as “propaganda” that Italy’s strapped public finances can’t afford.

“How do you do it?,” asked Franco Mirabelli, a center-left senator. “With what resources?”

Italian 10-year government bond yields rose to 2.726% Tuesday afternoon from 2.537% on Monday, snapping a four-session streak of declines, while its two-year notes yielded 0.883%, up from 0.694%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Italy’s main stock benchmark, the FTSE MIB index, fell 1.2%, while the FTSE Italia All-Share Banks index fell 3.4%.

Both governing parties have been harshly critical of Europe’s handling of the migrant crisis. Mr. Conte pledged to push for a review of European rules on immigration, including the introduction of “compulsory and automatic” allocation of migrants from Italy to the rest of Europe.

The bloc has delayed overhauling its contentious system for dealing with the hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum. Some African countries have signed repatriation agreement but it is expensive and cumbersome to people back.

“Europe abandoned us on the immigration crisis,” said Riccardo Fedeli, a 22-year-old graphic designer from the central Italian region of Umbria who voted for the League.

In recent days, Matteo Salvini, the head of the League, has thundered against immigration, accusing Tunisia of sending “convicts” to Italy’s shores. He has promised to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants.

“Either Europe gives us a hand to secure our country, or we will choose another way,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Mr. Conte also said the government plans to promote the revocation of the EU’s sanctions on Russia. He reaffirmed Italy’s support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the U.S. as a key ally.

—Riva Gold
contributed to this article.

Write to Giovanni Legorano at and Eric Sylvers at

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Mother remembers son who died in dirt bike accident in Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va (WAVY) — A mother of a man killed over Memorial Day weekend says her son died doing what he loved.

On Saturday, 36-year-old James Laughlin, of Newport News, died after he was involved in a wreck after 11 p.m., according to Newport News police.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Warwick Boulevard and City Center Boulevard.

"He was a good person, he was a really good person," said his mother Manuela Laughlin. "I know he is in heaven. I know he is there."

Manuela Laughlin, who also lives in Newport News, told 10 On Your Side that her son had recently acquired the dirt bike involved in the accident.

"He loved motorcycles, he loved race cars, he loved everything that was fast," she said. "I just want everybody who rides motorcycles to really think twice before they drive in it."

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Group holds first meeting on reducing Virginia evictions

RICHMOND, Va. — A new coalition has held its first meeting to try to tackle the complicated question of why Virginia is home to five out of the top 10 cities in the country with the highest eviction rates.

The Campaign to Reduce Eviction met Tuesday to begin a campaign to bring down high eviction rates in Richmond, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

The coalition was formed last month after data collected by a team headed by Princeton University sociology professor Matthew Desmond was published in The New York Times.

Housing advocates and attorneys who attended the meeting said the high rates are fueled in part by a shrinking supply of affordable housing and by housing that’s not subsidized enough.

The coalition is expected to propose legislation to help tenants fight evictions.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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