05:48pm, 02/27/15
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Friday, February 27, 2015
Updated 2/27/15 @ 12:40 pm


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 this 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 a chef at the Golden Leaf Bistro in downtown Danville and a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page said the eatery would be closed today "Due to the unexpected and tragic loss of our Executive Chef Chad Smith.”
     Trooper Matthew Zola investigated and said 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.

DRF wants to help city's "China Strategy:
(Danville, Va.) --
The City of Danville’s “China Strategy” is about to get a 100-thousand dollar boost.  The Danville Regional Foundation is offering a grant, providing the city match the total.  The DRF says they want to encourage city efforts to market the area aggressively to companies in China---one of the world’s largest markets.  Danville City Council is expected to vote on the grant next week.

Warner co-sponsors campus assault bill:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Virginia Senator Mark Warner joined a bipartisan group of 10 senators yesterday reintroducing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.  He says the bill would stress real accountability and transparency from higher education institutions for sexual assaults occurring on college campuses.  He says the bill would also professionalize the response to, and reporting of, sexual assaults that occur on campuses in order to increase prosecutions, better protect and empower students, while also respecting the rights of the accused.

General Assembly passes budget:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Both houses of the General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to the new state budget.
     The package restores 130 (m) million dollars in aid to local Governments.  That’ll add up to $350,000 in state funding to Danville and about $181,000 to Pittsylvania County. It also includes money to renovate DCC’s Engineering and Industrial Technology Building.
     Other highlights include a 1.5 percent teacher raise, $193 million for the teacher retirement fund and health care and drug benefits to 22,000 Virginia residents with severe mental illnesses.
     Last year’s budget was delayed for several months because of a deadlock over Medicaid expansion, with Republicans who oppose expansion eventually winning.

Danville man charged with "sexting" minor:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man is in jail for soliciting a juvenile via text message.  City Police say 21-year old Christopher Isler used a messaging application that does not store text data outside of the device being used to send the explicit message to a minor.  He was arrested Monday afternoon without incident. He was also served with a protective order to have no contact with the victim. He is currently being held in the Danville City Jail under no bond.

Buggs Island Lake bill heads to Governor:
(Richmond, Va.) -- A local lawmaker’s bill dealing with the name of a Southside Lake has cleared the General Assembly and is headed to the Governor’s desk.
     Mecklenburg County State Senator Frank Ruff says area tourism officials got quite a surprise when they began looking into using the name Kerr Reservoir, along with Buggs Island Lake, to promote the tourist attraction.  They were told that was illegal.
     Turns out a 1952 resolution from the Virginia General Assembly prohibits localities from using Kerr Reservoir---even though that’s the name the Federal Government gave to the Army Corps of Engineer project.
     For more than 60 years, Virginia residents have called it “Buggs Island Lake.”  Ruff says that had led to confusion.
            Ruff’s bill to allow either name be used to promote the lake cleared the House of Delegates yesterday on a unanimous vote.

Council expected to authorize repayment of Marcerata Wheels grant:
(Danville, Va.) -- Staffers are asking Danville City Council approve $1.5 million dollars for the latest round of repayments to the Virginia Tobacco Commission for projects that never materialized.
            The total includes $600,000 to settle the grant issued two years ago to Macerata Wheels. The company promised to create 101 jobs and invest $8,000,000 over a three-year period.  Macerata was supposed to have 25-percent of those goals met at this point but still has no employees. Council will be asked to authorize full repayment of the Macerata performance grant and to transfer money from the fund balance to make the payment.
The $1.5 million also includes the second of four payments for U.S. Green Energy. The first $400,000 installment repayment was made by the Industrial Development Authority.  The agreement obligates USGE to repay the entire $1.6 million grant.  The first payment to the city of Danville is due by June 30. 
The figure also includes $250,000 each for the first installment on repayments to the Tobacco Commission for grants awarded to Web Parts and GOK Furniture. The city of Danville is pursuing legal action against those two companies.

Driver injured in snow-related crash:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- Icy road conditions contributed to an accident that forced state police to close 729 for nearly an hour Tuesday morning after a Chevy Malibu slid on the ice, went down an embankment and wrapped around a tree.
     Ringgold Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Neal says emergency personnel from Kentuck and Ringgold responded to the 2,600 block of Kentuck Road about 10:20 this morning. Pittsylvania County sheriff's deputies assisted at the scene.
    The 24-year-old driver had to be cut from the wreckage. Neal says she appeared to be in fair condition upon transport to Danville Regional Medical Center. 

Local shelter director attacks "Anti-PETA" bill:
(Danville, Va.) – A lobbyist for PETA says a bill making its way through the General Assembly could force closure of the group's Norfolk shelter. But animal rights advocates who are critical of PETA say the bill would simply require them to make a better effort at adoption.
     Locally, Danville Area Humane Society Executive Director Paulette Dean calls it a “revenge bill.”  A PETA worker last fall captured a family pet along with a group of strays. The animal was euthanized.  But Dean says that shouldn’t result in a bill targeting private shelters state-wide.  She’s worried it could lead to quotas on animals taken in versus those put to death.
     Supporters say the bill clarifies what constitutes a private animal shelter, but makes it harder for groups like PETA to euthanize animals without first trying to find them homes. Dean says that may sound good on the surface, the spillover effect this would have on public shelters like the one here in Danville would be counter-productive.
Halifax County Board of Supervisors bill suddenly killed:
(Richmond, Va.) -- The latest effort to break the stalemate on the Halifax County Board of Supervisors was suddenly shot down this week on the floor of the Senate. Last month the Board deadlocked in a series of 4-4 votes on electing a new chairman.  They cannot conduct any business until they do.  The Senate yesterday voted to send the measure back to committee.  It had already passed the House of Delegates.  South Boston Delegate James Edmunds’ bill would’ve increased the number of members of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors to nine.  The Senate was swayed by an e-mail from four of the Board members, who asked the General Assembly NOT intervene in a local issue.

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