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Local News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Updated 3/3/15 @ 6:08 pm

Danville man charged with murder in child’s death:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man has been indicted for murder in the death last November of a 20-month-old child.
     A grand jury issued indictments Monday against 28-year-old Michael James Gill, Jr.,  of Danville. Gill was indicted for murder and felony child neglect in the death of Aleigha Grace Sadler. The cause of death is listed as homicide by blunt force trauma. Gill was served with the indictments in the Danville City Jail, where he was being held for probation violation. He continues to be held without bond.
      On the night of November 20, Danville fire and EMS personnel responded to a home in the 100 block of West Woodlawn Dr. for a report of an unresponsive child. The toddler was transported to Danville Regional Medical Center and subsequently flown to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment, where she died shortly thereafter.  
Sweet Briar College to close:
(Amherst, Co., Va.)  Sweet Briar College will shut down this summer because of financial issues.
     The private women's college in Sweet Briar announced the Aug. 25 closure Tuesday in a news release. The college says its board of directors approved the closure on Saturday.
      Sweet Briar attributed the decision to what it calls "insurmountable financial challenges."
      President James F. Jones says in the release that he, the board and several alumnae have searched for solutions. But they concluded they couldn't change two realities.
      Jones says one reality is a decline in the number of students who choose to attend small, rural, private liberal arts colleges. The other is the unsustainability of an increase in the college's tuition discount rate.
Nyholm named an Influential Virginia:
(Alton, Va.) -- VIR majority owner and CEO Connie Nyholm has been named as one of the 50 most influential Virginians by VirginiaBusiness.com.
      The publication notes that last year, VIR welcomed 400,000 visitors, and with new events added to the roster this year, the total could reach 500,000.
      When away from the track, Nyholm serves on the boards of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, The Launch Place, VirginiaFIRST and the Roadracing Industry Council.
Virginia International Raceway, which initially operated from 1957 to 1974, had turned into a cow pasture before Nyholm and a business partner reopened the track in 2000.The 1,370-acre resort now draws thousands of visitors each year. It boasts five racetrack configurations, a kart track, skeet and rifle ranges, a spa and a restaurant.

Analysis blames foul water taste on algae blooms:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville has received confirmation that the taste and odor issues in the city’s drinking water are caused by algal blooms in the Dan River. City officials say the blooms now have passed.
      City water treatment plant operators say they have not noticed abnormal odor in the raw water for nearly a week but are still adding carbon as a precautionary measure.
      Interim Director of Utilities Jason Grey says it still may take a few more days for the taste and odor to be purged because of the length of time the water is in the storage tanks and the distribution system.  He says customers may notice odor in their hot water a bit longer because of the trapped gases in the hot water heater.
     The city is still testing the treated water leaving the plant for regulated contaminants. Those tests continue to show the water is safe to drink.

Pitt. Co. open to poultry complex:

(Chatham, Va.) --
A full-fledged poultry complex could bring up to 12-hundred jobs to Pittsylvania County, with an economic impact of up to $476 million.
     The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last night to draw up a resolution to support the idea.  An integrated poultry complex would include a hatchery, feed mill and a processing plant.  In addition to the jobs, it could also mean $1.8 million in estimated tax revenue for the County. 
     A consultant’s report says the closest processing plant is in Dobson, North Carolina, 75 miles from Chatham. That report listed several possible sites…including the former Burlington Textile plant site in Hurt, the Ringgold East Industrial site, the Cherrystone Industrial Park and the Berry Hill Mega Park.

Halifax Co. Supervisors to add tie-breaking member:
(Halifax, Va.) – The Halifax County Board of Supervisors is still without a leader…but the panel voted last night to make sure they’re never tied again.
      For the third month in a row, the panel deadlocked last night, four-to-four, on selecting a new Chair and Vice-Chair.
     The panel then approved the addition of a tiebreaking member.  That will be on  the ballot this November.  Residents of the entire county at large will elect the tiebreaker.  Their term will begin in January.  
     This person will not be a regular voting member of the board.  If the board has a split vote, the tiebreaker will cast the deciding vote.

Century-old Brosville home catches fire:
(Brosville, Va.) – Major damage yesterday afternoon to a century-old stone cabin in the Brosville area.  A fire broke out shortly after Noon.  Units from five volunteer fire departments went to Beckham Court.  They learned the occupant had been awakened and was already out of the house.  Most of the fire damage was to an addition to the home.  The fire began in a wood store in the rear of the house.  No one was hurt.

Two treated after mattress fire:
(Danville, Va.) – A shorted out electric blanket caused a mattress fire overnight in Danville---a fire that sent two people to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
            Battalion Chief Chris Key says it happened at a small home in the 100-block of Wood Avenue.  An occupant had already knocked the fire down.
            Crews went inside and found the mattress still smoking.  They took it out of the house, along with the electric blanket and a pillow.  They then spent a few minutes venting smoke from the house.
            Two of the occupants were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, then taken to Danville Regional Medical Center.

Danville Utilities warns of bill payment scam:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Utilities is warning its customers about a scam involving a demand for immediate payment of their utility bill. A commercial business was the target.
      In this scam, the business received a phone call requesting the purchase of a pre-paid card for a “power reload,” to avoid a loss of service.
       The department does not contact customers by phone and demand immediate payment, and never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid electric service disconnection. This is a scam.
      Customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications by letter from Danville Utilities over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection -- never just a single notification one hour before disconnection.

Rockingham Co. authorities look for robbers:
(Rockingham County, N.C.) -- Rockingham County Sheriff’s Investigators are looking for two men who robbed Village Sweepstakes in Reidsville Sunday at around 4 a.m.
     Two males, dressed entirely in black with their faces covered with masks, came into the business and demanded money. One pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the employees, then robbed the business of an undisclosed amount of cash and a cell phone. They then drove away in a light colored, 4-door passenger car.
     Anyone with information about this armed robbery is asked to call the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office at 336-349-9683 or Rockingham County Crime Stoppers at 336-349-9683.

Fatal accident in Pittsylvania County:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) – Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal crash this weekend in Pittsylvania County.
     Trooper L.G. Foley Jr. says it happened Saturday at 4:25 p.m. on Route 29, less than a mile north of Route 931.
     A truck loaded with wood chips was traveling north on Route 29 when it ran off the road and crashed. The driver, David H. Nichols, 65, of Rustburg, Va., died at the scene. His remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy.
     The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. The Virginia State Police Salem Division Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the investigation.
     Route 29 was reopened by 11 p.m. Saturday.

General Assembly wraps up 2015 session:
(Richmond, Va.) – Virginia's 2015 legislative session is in the books.
     Lawmakers adjourned Friday after passing legislation at the last minute aimed at tightening the state's ethics rules for public officials and curbing sexual assaults on Virginia's college campuses.
     The ethics-reform proposal puts a $100 cap on gifts lawmakers can accept - including meals, entertainment and travel - from lobbyists and their clients, or others seeking to do business with the state. Lawmakers were spurred to reform the state's ethics rules following the conviction last year of former Gov. Bob McDonnell on corruption charges.
     Other measures passed this session include legislation assuring that a mother can breastfeed her baby in public, Virginia's first effective medical marijuana legislation, and a bill that adopts two new official state songs.

Charges filed in Martinsville shooting:
(Martinsville, Va.) – A Martinsville man is facing six felony counts after another man was shot outside of his home early Sunday. It happened at around 2-30 am in the 100 block of Park Street. Officers found 19-year-old Malik Moorehead suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County.  His condition has not been released. 38-year old Calvin Edward Cabiness.  has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding and five weapons counts.

Marketing picks up for former Schoolfield Mill site:
(Danville, Va.) – An 80-acre site that was once a center of textile manufacturing in Danville for more than 100 years is now primed to be a center of technology. 
     Tomorrow night, Danville City Council will get an update on efforts to market the Dan River Technology Park.  It’s the former Schoolfield Mill site.  The city Industrial Development Authority owns the site---they would like to sell or lease it. It offers up to 1.9 million square feet for future development.
     Marketing firms say there are pitching the fact that the site includes several existing structures, has its own electrical substation, unlimited water supply and is hooked into Danville’s high-capacity broadband.

Council ready to launch 2016 budget process:
(Danville, Va.) – Danville City Council tomorrow night will get their first look at next year’s budget.  City Manager Joe King will present the panel with a working draft of the 2016 spending blueprint.  Council will have a month to make recommended changes before sending a version out for public comment.  Earlier, King said he did not expect the package to include any new programs or initiatives.  It’s also unlikely to include any increase in Electrical, Water, Gas or Telecommunications fees.  It could include a hike in the wastewater rate.

Local chef killed in Mount Cross wreck:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- A Danville man was killed in an icy crash on the Mount Cross Road early Friday morning.
     31-year-old Chad Matthew Smith died when his 2006 Jeep Liberty ran off the right side of the Mount Cross Road, struck a ditch, and overturned before snapping a utility pole.  
     Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the Executive Chef at the Golden Leaf Bistro in downtown Danville.
     Trooper Matthew Zola says Smith was northbound on Mount Cross near its intersection with Golf Club Road when he apparently hit a patch of black ice and crashed. The car came to rest on its top and Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
     Zola said it’s believed the accident happened about 2 a.m. That’s when neighbors reported losing power. A resident who lives nearby spotted the accident just before seven a.m.
    It’s believed that a combination of speed and icy road conditions contributed to the accident.

Danville police look for sexual assault suspect:

(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Police Department is looking for the man who sexually assaulted a woman outside the Danville Salvation Army Wednesday morning.
     A 51-year-old Danville woman reported that she was smoking in front of the Salvation Army headquarters on Henry Street, where she was volunteering.  Just after 10:00 a.m., a stranger approached, began a brief conversation and suddenly forced her to the ground. He was able to remove some of her clothing and fondle her before the victim's husband came to her aid after hearing her screams. After pulling the suspect off his wife, the attacker ran to a car described as a gray or silver Nissan or Honda and fled the scene.
      The attacker was a black male in his mid-30s with dreadlocks, stocky build, and wearing glasses, a black hoodie, and black pants.
     Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Danville Crimestoppers at (434) 793-0000. You may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000

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