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Friday, December 19, 2014
Updated 12/19/14 @ 4:45 pm

Three arrested following home invasion:
(Caswell County, N.C.) -- Caswell County officials have arrested three men in connection with a Caswell County home invasion in which the homeowner was tied up and robbed at gunpoint. 34-year-old Donald Philip Riley III of Gibsonville, NC is charged with one count of felony breaking & Entering and three counts of felony larceny. 49-year-old Harold Lee Williams, Jr. of Yanceyville, NC is charged with counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, second degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and felony breaking and entering. 36-year-old Ronald Richard Whitfield, Jr., of Mebane, NC, is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and felony breaking and entering. All three men are being held in the Caswell County Detention Facility under secured bond.
Deputies make arrests following a series of break-ins:

(Caswell County, N.C.) -- A Greensboro man was arrested in connection with the October 28th break-in of Heather’s Market in Yanceyville. The suspect is also connected to the break-in of Smith’s Store in Ruffin. 32-year-old Spencer Maxwell Armstrong is in the Guilford County Detention Facility on counts of Felony Breaking & Entering, Felony Larceny, and Injury to Real Property. His court date is set for January 22 of 2015.

Martinsville Police search for robbery suspect:
(Martinsville, Va.) -- Martinsville police are searching for two men who robbed another man at gunpoint early this morning.  The victim was leaving the CVS on East Church Street around 3 a.m. when two men walked up.  They demanded his wallet, keys and cell phone. One of them had a gun. Both left the scene before police arrived.
Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Martinsville Police Department or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME.

State Senator Proposes Animal Cruelty Registry:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Questions over the price tag led to a delay for a local lawmaker’s bill dealing with animal abusers.  Now he hopes a re-tooled version will clear the General Assembly when they convene next month.
          The Senate Finance Committee earlier this year opted to wait until 2015 before taking up the proposal from Franklin County State Senator Bill Stanley.  It would create an Animal Cruelty Registry.
          Stanley says the revamped measure will cost only a fraction of the original estimated pricetag.
          The registry would include the names of folks convicted of certain felony animal cruelty offenses. A person on the Registry could request removal of his name after 15 years, provided that he has no additional felony convictions.

Dr. Stanley Jones named Danville School Superintendent
(Danville, Va.) --
The Danville School Board last night hired Dr. Stanley B. Jones as the next superintendent.
          The 53-year old Jones has served as Superintendent in King and Queen County since August 2013. Under his leadership, King and Queen County Public Schools have expanded career and technical offerings and increased dual-enrollment opportunities for its students.
          Before that, Jones served as Executive Director of Instruction for Spotsylvania County Schools; Director of School Safety and Discipline Hearing Review Officer for Hanover County Schools; and, for seven years, was Principal of Lee-Davis High School in Hanover County.
          Jones has also served as the Minority Achievement Coordinator in Williamsburg Schools. He began his career in student services positions with Radford University and Lynchburg College.
          School Board Chairman Ed Polhamus says Jones brings a wealth of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to the position.
          Jones is originally from Roanoke and married a Patrick County native. He has degrees from Radford University; William & Mary; and Virginia Tech.

Pretrial motions in Danville Capital murder case:
(Danville, Va.) -- The man charged with murder in last year’s stabbing death of Gilmore  Cowan will be in Danville Circuit Court today for a pre-trial motions hearing.
          U.S. Marshals Found Harry James Gladmon in Roanoke last year and arrested him. Danville police say Gladmon and another man confronted the 56-year-old Cowan as he was getting off work at the Pure gas Station on the South Boston Road September of 2013.  Cowan was getting into a friend’s car when two men wearing Halloween masks approached. One stabbed him repeatedly before the pair fled.   
          Investigators found the masks nearby and said one of the assailants was cut and sought treatment in the emergency room of the local hospital.   
          Gladmon is being held in the Danville City Jail, without bond, charged with Capital Murder.  No word yet on a trial date.

State Senator says everyone should have a "Right to Try":
(Richmond, Va.) -- Personal experience has prompted an area lawmaker to introduce what he calls the “Right to Try” bill.  Southside State Senator Bill Stanley says the measure allows those who suffer from a deadly illness a chance to try to save their lives using experimental drugs and therapies that are in development but have not yet been federally approved. Stanley’s father fought cancer in the late 80’s.  At the time, there were drugs being developed and tested---but because they had not been federally approved, he could not use them before he died at the age of 51. Stanley says the approval process for new medications that treat and/or cure deadly diseases often take years to win final approval.

EPA expected to announce regulations:
(Associated Press) -- The EPA tomorrow will announce their first-ever rules for storing and handling coal ash.  It comes nine months after a massive Coal Ash spill into the Dan River, contaminating 70 miles of the waterway. Pressure for federal intervention began in 2008, when a dike rupture at a Tennessee power plant spilled more than a billion gallons of ash that covered 300 acres. But the Obama administration delayed action until a federal court order last fall demanded that it get moving, setting up tomorrow’s announcement. More than two dozen utilities and others have lobbyists in Washington.  Environmental groups are bracing for the possibility that the EPA will NOT designate coal ash as a “hazardous material.”  The federal government always has left it up to the individual states to manage coal ash storage and disposal.

Census Bureau shows 37% of Danville's Children in Poverty:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville has the eighth-highest overall poverty rate in Virginia, and the fourth-highest rate among school-age children.  The city also has the state’s lowest median household income.
          That’s according to the latest poverty survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. It shows more than 37 percent of Danville's school-age population lives in poverty. That’s down slightly from a year ago.
          The overall poverty rate in Danville is 25 percent.  The under-18 poverty rate in Danville is Virginia's third-highest and is more than double the state average. Pittsylvania County's rates were also above the state average.
          The Census Bureau also says the median household income last year in Danville was around $30,900 dollars. Pittsylvania County’s was almost 41-thousand.  The state median was nearly 63-thousand.
Pitt. Co. strikes out in prayer appeal:

(Danville, Va.) -- A federal appeals court panel in Richmond will NOT consider the latest effort from Pittsylvania County in their long-running battle over prayers at public meetings.
          A three-judge panel with the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that the County’s latest appeal was filed past the 100-day deadline.  They also rejected the County’s arguments over 53-thousand dollars in legal fees awarded to the ACLU of Virginia.
          Chatham lawyer Barbara Hudson sued supervisors in 2011 over the board opening meetings with Christian prayer. Judge Michael Urbanski agreed and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting supervisors from promoting any one religion in prayers.

DCC set to help Commonwealth build work force:

(Danville, Va.) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe wants to add 50,000 credentialed community college graduates to the Virginia economy before the end of his term.  And a local college president says a new effort from Richmond will help make that goal a reality.
          Bruce Scism with Danville Community College says a half (m) million dollars from the Federal Workforce Investment Act calls for a new model.
          Scism says a well-equipped workforce is the top request of businesses that want to expand or relocate to Virginia. Other participating community colleges include Patrick Henry in Martinsville, and Southside Virginia in Keysville.
          Scism says they hope to begin the offerings by next spring.

Governor proposes budget to help retired teachers and new businesses:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to more than double the pot of money he can spend trying to lure companies to Virginia, ease school districts' teacher retirement burdens, and give raises to rookie deputy sheriffs.
     The governor unveiled these and other proposed changes to the state's biennial budget Wednesday at a Capitol briefing to state lawmakers.
     To help pay for the Democratic governor's priorities, McAuliffe wants to limit tax credits designed to bolster the coal industry and sell off $250 million worth of unclaimed property that's been turned over to the state.
     The governor is renewing his push to expand Medicaid, a top legislative priority that's been blocked by Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly.
     Lawmakers will take up the governor's proposal in January when the 2015 legislative session begins.

Victim in malicious wounding case dies:
(Gretna, Va.) -- A Gretna man is behind bars, charged with malicious wounding following the death of a Chatham woman two weeks ago.
          The Star-Tribune reports 29-year old Henry Daniel Doss is charged with beating 44-year old Mary Adkins Hooker December second at a home on Daniel Road. Hooker died nine days later in the intensive care unit at Danville Regional Medical Center.
          According to the court records, Doss allegedly grabbed Hooker “by her hair and banged her head on the floor six times. He then started punching Hooker with his fist multiple times.”  She suffered three broken ribs and possible nose fractures, along with a black eye and a bad contusion on her chest.
          Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Haskins tells the Star-Tribune that they haven’t decided whether to upgrade the charges.
          Doss is being held without bond in the Pittsylvania County.  He’s scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the malicious wounding charge in March.

Coroner identifies Danville fire victim:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Medical Examiner and the Danville Fire Marshal have released more information on a fatal fire last Friday.
          The coroner yesterday officially identified the victim as 56-year old Jeffery Cumbo-Senior.  An autopsy shows he died of smoke inhalation in a fire at his house on Carlson Avenue.
          Local fire investigators yesterday confirmed the fire was an accident.  They also ruled out any possible connection with fire early that same day at another house on Carlson.
          Cumbo taught second grade at Schoolfield Elementary School.


Council sends rezoning back to planners:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Planning Commission will take up a controversial rezoning case again…this, after City Council this week sent it back for clarification.
          Council wants planners revisit a series of rezoning requests from developers targeting Stewart Street---a narrow road connecting West Main and Watson Streets, running next to Townes Funeral Home.
          Project consultant Gus Dyer says they’re planning a five-to-six (m) million-dollar development.  It would include two-dozen high-end apartments, ten single-family homes and eight townhouses. He addressed neighbor’s concerns that the development would become another derelict structure. But neighbors say they're worried about traffic, property values, and what could happen down the road if someone else purchases the units.
          Councilman Fred Shanks says he’s not opposed to the concept…but this proposal needs work.  Council voted eight-to-one to send the request back to planners…with Buddy Rawley casting the lone dissenting vote.

Telvista to add 300 jobs in Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- Telvista has renewed its lease in Danville and plans to add nearly 300 jobs at the local call center.
     The Texas-based call center outsourcing firm will add the jobs to its 62,000 square feet location on Cain Creek Boulevard, which is owned by the Industrial Development Authority of Danville. The company also plans to bring approximately 300 new jobs to the area, bringing the total workforce to 580.
     Governor Terry McAuliffe praised the announcement and said the company has “thrived in Danville since opening its facility in April 2005.” He added that creation of jobs that are not tied to federal contracts will “help us build a new Virginia economy.”
     Following a multi-state search, Telvista decided to keep its contact center in Danville. The company cited location and an available labor pool, as well as its investment in the property.
     Telvista’s Chief Operating Officer, David Arellano, said the Danville community has provided the right mix of labor availability, quality and cost structure" and said those factors played a key role in the decision to expand locally.
     Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders called the announcement an early Christmas present for the city.

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