- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The killing of two journalists on live TV, the sentencing of former Gov. Bob McDonnell for political corruption and his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a rescue package for struggling Sweet Briar College marked a year of tragedy and triumph in Virginia in 2015.

Twenty-four-year-old reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down by a disgruntled former co-worker while doing an interview in late August at Smith Mountain Lake. The shooting propelled the state into national headlines and spurred new calls for stricter gun laws in the state and across the country.

Despite the heartache, this year also came with celebrations: the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, particularly General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865; Richmond’s successful hosting of the Super Bowl of international bicycle racing - the 2015 UCI Road World Championships; and the retirement of legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beemer, who over 29 seasons put the Hokies on the map of national football powerhouses.

The spotlight also fell on the commonwealth in 2015 after a dispute over the Confederate flag raged in Christiansburg, and when a transgender student in Gloucester filed a lawsuit challenging a policy that bars him from using the boys’ restrooms at his high school.

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