Youngkin appoints new superintendent of public instruction

Youngkin appoints new superintendent of public instruction

(The Center Square) – Tennessee’s Chief Academic Officer Lisa Coons has been appointed to serve as Virginia’s new superintendent of public instruction, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday. 

Coons, who led Tennessee’s revision of its English Language Arts instruction in her most recent role, is expected to assume her new position as the commonwealth’s chief school officer April 17. She has served in her current position since 2019 and previously worked as an executive officer of division priority schools for Metro Nashville Public Schools. 

Last week, Coons was named as a finalist in Nebraska’s search for its next Commissioner of Education. 

“Dr. Coons’ proven leadership will serve Virginia’s students, families and teachers well and help make Virginia’s education system best-in-class,” Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera said in a statement Wednesday. “She has demonstrated success in addressing learning loss, creating and implementing evidence-based literacy policy and practices, and building strong partnerships with teachers, communities, school and division leaders, and parents.”

Coons’ appointment comes three weeks after Jillian Balow, the previous superintendent of public instruction, resigned from her post. Balow did not provide a reason for her departure in a letter to Youngkin earlier this month. 

Coons will join the Virginia Department of Education as it continues to navigate several issues that have provoked criticism in recent months. The department is still reviewing public comments that came in response to the Youngkin administration’s “model policies” for students, which would require students to use bathrooms and participate on sports teams that align with their biological sex instead of their gender identity, among other policies. The standards have been subject to criticism and labeled anti-trans by opponents. 

Additionally, the Board of Education continues to weigh revisions to the state’s history and social studies standards, which have been criticized by education groups for leaving out important historical information and context. The board, which just completed a series of public hearings across the commonwealth, is expected to vote on the third version of the standards next month. 

The department also faced blowback earlier this year after a calculation error overstated the amount of state aid schools could expect to receive by roughly $201 million. Lawmakers have since passed a budget amendment to ensure schools will not experience a shortfall. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Coons said Youngkin “has set a bold academic agenda that puts students first and empowers families to help set priorities for their children.”

“We have an opportunity in Virginia to be the country’s best state for education, and we’ll achieve that vision through partnerships with families, educators and school division leaders,” Coons said. 

On Wednesday, Youngkin also announced the appointment of Jeremy Raley, Goochland County superintendent, to serve as the new chief of state at the Department of Education. Raley has been in public education for 26 years and served as superintendent since 2016, according to a news release. 

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30 boats destroyed in fire near Ship Canal Bridge

30 boats destroyed in fire near Ship Canal Bridge

Firefighters battling the blaze said flames reached as high as 70 feet.

SEATTLE — About 30 boats were destroyed in a fire near the Ship Canal Bridge early Wednesday morning.

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) said the fire started at a boat rack dry storage facility along 701 NE Northlake Wake at about 2 a.m. Firefighters arrived to find the entire storage facility on fire. The flames reached as high as 70 feet and the fire could be seen miles away, according to firefighters on the scene. 

Authorities originally said 42 boats were destroyed by the fire but revised their estimate after further analysis from fire investigators. A few boats near trailers were salvaged. The facility was used by people storing their boats for a longer period of time.

Hours after the flames started, police said a man in his 40s was escorted from the scene in handcuffs. A spokesperson for the SFD said the man was on a boat in the water near the fire. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, and Seattle police will conduct further investigation, the spokesperson said.

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As of 5 a.m., firefighters said the fire is under control and there were no injuries. 

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire and the total amount of damages. There was some damage to the back of a business along NE Northlake Way, according to officials.  

Officials said more than 100 personnel responded to the early morning fire, including 14 fire engines, five ladder trucks, Fireboat Chief Seattle and additional support units, along with the Coast Guard.

Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Lights shut off power to two buildings while firefighters battled the fire. A spill team is accessing the area.

The boatyard fire comes one day after firefighters responded to five separate fires across western Washington on Tuesday. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Download our free KING 5 app to stay up-to-date on news stories from across western Washington.

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It’s canstruction! Virginia Beach ‘gravity-defying’ contest gathers thousands of pounds of food for hunger relief

It’s canstruction! Virginia Beach ‘gravity-defying’ contest gathers thousands of pounds of food for hunger relief

If you visit Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach this week, you may notice something out of the ordinary.

Stacks of tuna, corn and ravioli have welcomed guests at the shopping center since Sunday in celebration of the 22nd Canstruction Design and Build Competition.

The competition invites teams of architects and engineers to build “gravity-defying” structures out of canned food. Each team had eight hours to complete their respective sculptures, and all of the food used in the competition will be donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. Competitors for this year’s contest included AECOM, Clark Nexsen, HDR, Moseley Architects, MSA, Ulliman Schuyler-Alberici, JV and Whiting-Turner Contracting Team.

“The Food Bank is beyond grateful to Canstruction and that it’s back in the public eye where it belongs,” Food Bank CEO Chris Tan said. “Canstruction not only gives the public the opportunity to look at (architects’ and engineers’) creative genius, but it also draws attention to the importance of our work as a food bank and that the reality of it is that people are going to bed hungry in this community every night.”

On Tuesday, local organizers announced the winners of the competition, which was in-person for the first time since 2019.

Across the country, the Canstruction organization — an international hunger-relief charity — hosts the event and works to raise millions of pounds of food each year for local food banks. This is the 22nd year the competition has been held in Hampton Roads, and seven groups competed for awards in various categories. In the design portion, teams could use magnets, rubber bands or zip ties to aid their designs, from King Neptune to an homage to one of Virginia’s most iconic slogans. Each winner will go on to Canstruction’s national competition in its respective category to go up against sculptures from across the country.

  • Best Original Design: Tapping into a Future without Hunger by Ulliman Scutte-Alberici, JV
  • Honorable Mention: King Neptune’s Fury by AECOM
  • Most Cans: CANstructing the Community by MSA
  • Best Use of Labels: Curtailing Hunger by Clark Nexsen
  • Best Meal: Love CAN by Moseley Architects
  • Structural Ingenuity: Tapping into a Future without Hunger by Ulliman Scutte-Alberici, JV
Clark Nexson’s creation titled “Curtailing Hunger” was awarded Best Use of Labels for Canstruction on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

“Tapping into a Future Without Hunger (had) a very clean structure. A lot of thought went into the design and execution. The structural curve of the faucet with no sagging is outstanding,” Andy Pendleton, juror and chef at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, said about the best original design winner when sharing judges’ comments to each team.

Each sculpture uses hundreds of cans, and they will be on display until Sunday before being donated. Monetary donations can be given at

“Over the years, Hampton Roads Canstruction has contributed over 600,000 pounds of food to help us feed the nearly 160,000 people we serve every year,” Tan added. “Every hour the food bank is open, we deliver the weight of an elephant of food to the community. (Tuesday night), we will be adding 20,000 cans of food to that total, or the weight of basically two elephants.”

Eliza Noe,

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Dick Van Dyke suffers ‘minor injuries’ in Malibu car crash

Dick Van Dyke suffers ‘minor injuries’ in Malibu car crash

Veteran actor Dick Van Dyke has suffered minor injuries after his car was involved in a collision in Malibu, California, police in the city have confirmed.

Veteran actor Dick Van Dyke has suffered minor injuries after his car was involved in a collision in Malibu, California, police in the city have confirmed.

Officers were called to the scene on the morning of Wednesday, March 15, where they found that a silver Lexus had collided with a gate.

In a phone call with CNN, a spokesman for the Malibu Police Department confirmed that the 97-year-old actor, who starred in classic children’s films “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Mary Poppins,” suffered “minor injuries.”

The spokesman said the fire department had also been notified of the incident but that no further details were available about the actor, who last month became the oldest contestant ever to appear on Fox singing contest “The Masked Singer.”

CNN has reached out to Van Dyke’s agent for comment.

Van Dyke landed “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which ran on CBS from 1961 to 1966, after winning a Tony award for his role in the musical “Bye-Bye Birdie.”

“Mary Poppins” launched his movie career in 1964, and four years later he returned to the big screen as inventor Caractacus Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

In 2018, Van Dyke, who has also won four Emmys and one Grammy, made a dancing cameo in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Last year, he starred in a music video released by Arlene & The Vantastix, his wife Arlene Silver’s band.

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Police besiege gunman in Thailand who killed at least 3

Police besiege gunman in Thailand who killed at least 3


BANGKOK — Police in Thailand said Wednesday they cordoned off a neighborhood in a city southwest of the capital and trapped a gunman inside his house after he shot dead at least three people and wounded several others.

Thai television showed images of police taking positions on a quiet street in Phetchaburi, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Bangkok, some carrying weapons and others with protective shields.

Police confirmed that three people, including a motorcycle delivery driver, had been killed in the incident, which began early Wednesday afternoon. At one point, a body spotted by a police drone in front of the house could not be retrieved because it was in the line of fire.

At least two injured people, one a local official who rushed to the site when he was notified of the shooting, were taken to a hospital.

Police evacuated children from nearby schools and care centers and surrounded the gunman’s house while waiting for specially trained officers to try to resolve the crisis, as the gunman sporadically fired at them.

The police Central Investigation Bureau on its Facebook page identified the suspect as Anuwat Waentong, 29. Thai media reported that he had been due to make a court appearance Wednesday on a drug charge.

The suspect’s mother was brought to the site to appeal to her son over a bullhorn to give himself up, calling him by his nickname, Beam.

“Do you want me to pick you up or your friend? Listen to me, Beam. Beam, can you hear me?” she pleaded with him. “Answer or call me. Can you hear me, son? There’s still a chance. Do you want me to go get you or do you want to come down yourself?”

The shooting came just a week after a standoff in Bangkok in which a police lieutenant colonel shot a gun into the air as he resisted police efforts to detain him, holding off his fellow officers for 27 hours. The officer, who was said to have suffered from mental stress, died in a hospital after being shot by police who stormed the house where he had been holed up.

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Doctors expected to testify in Gwyneth Paltrow's ski trial

Doctors expected to testify in Gwyneth Paltrow's ski trial

Attorneys plan to call four witnesses — possibly including Paltrow.

PARK CITY, Utah — More witnesses are expected to testify on Wednesday in a trial about a 2016 ski crash between Gwyneth Paltrow and a retired Utah man suing her and claiming her recklessness left him with lasting injuries and brain damage.

On the opening day of the trial, Paltrow and retired optometrist Terry Sanderson appeared across the courtroom from each other, looking nonplussed to hear arguments that have become familiar over the past seven years of legal proceedings. Since Paltrow and Sanderson’s skis intertwined on what they expected to be an enjoyable day on the slopes with friends and family, the two have been tangled in a lengthy legal drama about what really happened on a beginner’s run that day at one of the most upscale ski destinations in the United States.

The mountain, Deer Valley Resort, has among the region’s most expensive lift tickets and is known for its après-ski champagne yurts and proximity to Park City — a posh resort town known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival.

Though the court is not publishing a witness list, attorneys said Wendell Gibby and Sam Goldstein — a radiologist and neuropsychologist — would likely be called to testify on Wednesday. Sanderson’s lawyers said they expected to call four witnesses total on Wednesday and left the possibility open that one could be Paltrow, depending on when others expected to testify arrive in Park City.

Gibby and Goldstein have previously appeared as expert witnesses for Sanderson, who has said he broke ribs and sustained brain damage from the crash. Attorneys have argued over whether Sanderson’s medical problems stemmed from the crash or were merely a byproduct of aging.

Both parties blame the other for the collision and claim they were crashed into from behind, relying on a little-known Utah law stipulating that whoever is downhill has the right of way when skiing and snowboarding. Paltrow’s attorney have asked Judge Kent Holmberg to enact special restrictions throughout the actor-turned-wellness tycoon’s trial, while she has used a blue notebook to shield her face from view when entering and exiting the courtroom.

They called Sanderson’s story “utter B.S.” building off earlier claims from court filings and previous depositions where they accused him of suing to exploit the Oscar-winning star of “Shakespeare in Love’s” wealth and celebrity.

Sanderson’s attorneys have attempted to paint her as a negligent celebrity with little care for the injuries inflicted upon the 76-year-old military veteran. They called Sanderson’s ex-girlfriend and a ski companion who was nearby during the crash to testify on Tuesday. Karlene Davidson said the crash had “changed” Sanderson and contributed to the demise of their romance. Craig Ramon testified that Paltrow hit Sanderson and said that afterward, one of her family’s ski instructors came up to him and said “Your buddy just took out Gwyneth Paltrow.”

The trial underway in Park City is the latest development in the seven-year case and follows Sanderson’s decision to amend an earlier lawsuit after a $3.1 million complaint that named Paltrow and Deer Valley was dismissed. Paltrow subsequently filed a counterclaim for $1 and attorney fees.

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