Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Updated 12/11/13 at 5:55 pm
Police appeal for info. on flea market thief:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s investigators are hoping to return property stolen during numerous break-ins in the area.
In November, Campbell County investigators arrested Raymond Ray Hackett, who lives Milton Highway in Ringgold, for a break-in there. Hackett is also suspected of entries in multiple jurisdictions, including several in Pittsylvania County.
Hackett was a frequent vendor at flea markets across the region and is believed to have sold stolen merchandise at flea markets in Danville, Lynchburg and Roanoke.
Investigators are asking the public’s help in locating merchandise sold by Hackett. Of particular interest are firearms, jewelry, and electronics.
Pittsylvania and Campbell County investigators searched Hackett’s vehicle and residence and recovered a quantity of property believed to be stolen.
A property viewing was held at the Pittsylvania County Sheriffs Office in November and several victims were able to recover their belongings. Another property viewing is scheduled for next week and additional property viewings will be held as more items are recovered and victims are identified.
Anyone who has purchased merchandise from him in the past two years is asked to call Pittsylvania County Crimestoppers at 1-800-791-0074. You may be eligible for a cash reward.
Pitt. Co. School leaders weigh new location for STEM Academy:
(Danville, Va.) -- A new plan is in place for Pittsylvania County school leaders as they try to find a place to host a new STEM academy next fall.
Last month, the Board of Supervisors last night took no action on their request for help in purchasing an existing building. Superintendent James McDaniel says they're now looking at moving the Academy into the Pittsylvania County Cultural and Educational Center in Chatham---the former Planatarium building. McDaniel says renovations would cost at least one-and-a-half (m) million dollars. They're asking for grant money from the Danville Regional Foundation, along with the State.
McDaniel says there won’t be any room in that building for their Alternative School and Horizon Academy. Those programs will likely keep operating out of the White Oak Center, which the School Board leases.
Gag order issued in case of missing teenager:
(Nelson County, Va.) -- A Nelson County judge has signed a gag order in the Alexis Murphy case. The order includes lawyers for both sides, employees of their law firms, and law enforcement officials.
The suspect, Randy Taylor, was on hand at the hearing but did not speak.
Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin wants to prevent potential witnesses and law enforcement officials from disclosing information to the media and public about the case.
Taylor’s trial is set for February.
Murphy remains missing.
Death penalty sought in Pelham beating death:
(Pelham, N.C.) -- Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty, if they get a conviction in the 2007 beating death of an elderly Pelham man.
84-year-old Edward Bruce Jones was found inside his mobile home on Jones Road. Investigators labeled the death “suspicious” after they noticed a series of wounds to the upper torso. The state medical examiner confirmed Jones died from blunt force trauma.
It was just a few weeks ago when Caswell County authorities picked up a suspect, 27-year old David Nathaniel Allen of Reidsville. They say Allen had done some work for Jones and was suspected of stealing items from his home.
Allen will stand trial next year.
Caswell Co. couple could face the death penalty:
(Yanceyville, N.C.)-- A Caswell County couple accused of killing their 11-year-old daughter could face the death penalty if they're convicted.
Dominique and Willie Lunsford, Jr., are accused of starving their daughter, Danielle Lunsford. Danielle was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center in October 2010 — when she was 8. When she arrived, the little girl was in cardiac arrest, unresponsive, and severely malnourished. She weighed only 35 pounds.
Chief Caswell County Assistant District Attorney LuAnn Martin announced yesterday that the state would explore Capital Punishment if the couple is convicted. She says the Lunsfords home-schooled all of the children and hid them away from neighbors and relatives.
Danielle Lunsford passed away on Sept. 25 at Vidant Children’s Hospital after being on life support for nearly three years.
Danville City Council mulls pay hike:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville City Council members earn less than any of their colleagues in Virginia---with the lone exception of Martinsville. Next week, they'll vote on a plan to give them their first pay hike in 24 years. The proposal would boost annual compensation for Council members from $5,000 to $7,000---the Mayor's compensation will increase from $8,000 to $12,000. This would still place Danville below compensation levels in most similarly-sized cities. There will be a public hearing next Tuesday before Council votes on the plan.
Wal-Mart, AIG announce North Carolina facilities:
MEBANE, N.C. (AP) — The world's largest retail store chain and a financial company that got the biggest U.S. government bailout five years ago are opening new North Carolina operations that expect to employ nearly 700 workers.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open a grocery distribution center in Alamance County that willemploy about 450. State and local governments offered the retail giant more than $9 million in tax breaks, land, roads and other incentives if it meets job and investment projections.
Insurance giant American International Group plans a Charlotte software design, development and testing center employing 230 people. AIG could get more than $5 million in government sweeteners.
Also, an Israeli-based textile maker says it's adding 65 jobs at Spuntech Industries in Roxboro
Downtown Ribbon Cutting will coincide with Christmas Parade:
(Danville, Va.) -- The River District Development Project is in its third year. This weekend, local leaders will celebrate the end of the first phase of the downtown revitalization effort.
A 5-30 ribbon-cutting is set for Phase One of the Streetscape project. Crews have installed new, wider sidewalks on the lower end of Main Street. Phase Two, which includes a Gateway Plaza and fountain, is still under construction.
In addition to the cosmetic improvements, the city has also converted Patton Street to two-way traffic to provide better access to businesses and parking lots serving stores on Main Street. They’ve also opened a new parking lot at 500 Main St.; and conducted a parking study for the full district.
Right after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Main Street will play host to the annual Rotary Christmas Parade.
Martinsville firm to expand---again:
(Martinsville, Va.) -- Solid Stone Fabrics will spend a million dollars, creating 16 new jobs over the next three years as they expand their Martinsville facility.
David Stone, President and CEO, started the company in his home in 2003. Since then, they’ve grown from three employees to 24 with plans to add another 16 jobs in this latest expansion.
Solid Stone will continue to operate in their current location on Fayette Street---and will be expanding to the former American of Martinsville headquarters building on Church Street in Uptown Martinsville. They’ll use an additional 23-thousand square feet of manufacturing space. Stone says they expect to be fully operational in their new facility by next week.
The Tobacco Commission approved $100,000 for the project.
McDonnell wants more Mental Health spending:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing increased mental health funding and the creation of a task force to look at ways to head off mental health crises.
The governor announced the initiatives Tuesday. They follow the November death of a Virginia state senator's son less than one day after he had been released from emergency custody.
McDonnell is proposing more than $38 million in state funding over the next two-year budget cycle for critical mental health services. The task force would include mental health and law enforcement officials among its members.
Virginia mental health officials have already announced changes in response to the death of Sen. Creigh Deeds' son Gus.
Citing the Virginia Tech massacre, McDonnell said Virginians have experienced "tremendous heartache" as a result of mental health tragedies.
Caswell County man shot; uncle charged:
(Ruffin, N.C.) -- A Caswell County man is on the critical list after he was shot Sunday night…and his uncle is in jail.
Caswell County Sheriff’s Lt-Frank Rose says the call came in shortly before eight-thirty PM Sunday from Route 158 near Ruffin. Deputies found 24-year old Roger Dale Coltrane suffering from a gunshot wound to the arm and upper chest.
He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro---last listed in critical but stable condition.
Investigators have charged 44-year old Roger Lee Coltrane with attempted first degree murder. He was taken into custody without incident and he is being held in the Caswell County Detention facility under a $500,000 secured bond. His first court appearance is set for Wednesday.