12:57pm, 04/24/14
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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Updated 4/24/14 @ 7:50 am

Danville school leaders to open up entire budget:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville school leaders will explore changing the way they draw up their budgets…even though the current system has been in place since 1954.  The School Board and City Council held a joint session last night.
          Superintendent Doctor Ed Newsome says they’ve always presented City Council with just their general fund budget proposals…not their cafeteria and grants budgets.  After questions were raised last night, Newsome says they have no problem giving Council those budgets to review.  Combined, those funds total more than 12 (m) million dollars.  They include federal Title I and Title III funds---funds that are off the regular budget cycle and are targeted for specific uses.
          Also last night, the School Board presented a revised 2014 budget.  It eliminates two proposed Executive Director positions, shifting that money to two other positions that would have otherwise been eliminated.

Environmental groups to form Dan River coalition:
(Henderson, N.C.) -- Some local groups are trying to join forces to do some arm-twisting in the wake of the big coal ash spill.
          The Roanoke River Basin Association, Appalachian Voices and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy are holding a meeting tonight in Henderson-North Carolina.  They want give residents and property owners along the river basin a chance to share their concerns.  They also want to begin organizing a coalition of citizens and grassroots civic and environmental groups.
          Their goal would be to lobby Duke Energy to clean up the Dan River as soon as possible---and eventually clean up all of its 33 coal ash sites in North Carolina.

Lawmaker hopes Mega Park effort continues:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Delegate Danny Marshall hopes a recent change of heart by the Army Corps of Engineers will lead to a pair of Southside Virginia MegaParks that could handle virtually any industry---no matter the size.
          Marshall says the Mega Park effort began a few years ago when the region missed out on a major employer.  Volkswagen looked elsewhere, because there was no site with available water and sewer on a graded lot to allow them to move in at once.
          That’s when the Tobacco Commission worked with local leaders to come up with the Mega Park effort.  It began with proposals for the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County.  The Corps initially denied the permit, calling it speculative since there were no industries ready to move in.
          Now that the Corps has approved a permit for the Henry County project, Marshall hopes that’ll mean an easier time of getting the Berry Hill Mega Park effort off the ground in Pittsylvania County.


Supervisors approved budget, with dissent:
(Chatham, Va.) -- This year’s budget process in Pittsylvania County is over. The Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 Tuesday night to approve a $175 million budget for the next fiscal year.          
      The plan hikes the county’s real estate tax rate 3 cents, from 56 cents to 59 cents per $100 of assessed value. It also includes a 2-cent tax increase from reassessment. Overall property values rose 3.6 percent in the reassessment, which will bring in an additional $700,000 in revenue.    
       The budget relies on about $2.1 million in new money. Still, supervisors had to take $500,000 from the county’s surplus to balance the package.
       The budget calls for a 3% pay increase for county employees, including 1% required for the Virginia Retirement System.
     Tunstall Supervisor Tim Barber and Westover’s Coy Harville voted against the budget.
      Supervisors also voted unanimously to approve a $92 million school budget that includes $16.4 million in local money -- an increase of nearly $1 million from the current year.


Bond set for woman charged with murdering her husband:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Bond has been set at $150,000 dollars
for a Ringgold woman charged with stabbing her husband to death two weeks ago.  
     Teu Medley Pointer was arrested at the couple’s home after authorities found her husband, John, stabbed to death on April tenth.
     At this week’s bond hearing, prosecutors portrayed Pointer as a woman with a history of losing her temper over domestic disputes.  Pointer's attorney said she acted in self-defense.  Pointer is a special-ed teacher and guidance counselor at the Regional Alternative School in Dry Fork.


Governor scores two wins in veto session:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe has successfully vetoed two religious expression bills---along with a measure that would have granted people who get red-light tickets the right to contest citations in circuit court.
          The state Senate voted yesterday to uphold McAuliffe’s vetoes during a one-day “veto session.”
          McAuliffe had vetoed a bill that would have codified a student’s right to pray at school. Another would have prohibited censorship of sermons given by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard.
          The Senate voted to uphold McAuliffe’s veto of a red-light camera bill, missing by one vote the two-thirds majority needed to override.
          Lawmakers did not take up the state’s proposed $96 billion two-year budget. Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on whether the budget should include expanding Medicaid eligibility to about 400,000 low-income residents. State government could shut down if no budget is passed by July 1.


Former Martinsville city manager named Pittsylvania Co. administrator:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Martinsville’s former city manager has been named as the new county administrator in Pittsylvania.
     Clarence Monday was named to the post Tuesday and will begin his new duties July 1.
    Monday currently serves as Amherst County administrator. He was one of four finalists for the Pittsylvania County post. The board of supervisors received 27 applications for the post, which was left vacant after longtime county administrator Dan Sleeper retired unexpectedly last September.  
    Monday held several positions in Martinsville before becoming city manager there. He resigned from that position in December 2011 to pursue other career opportunities.  


Duke: Moving coal ash would cost up to $10 billion
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- Duke Energy says that removing all of the company's coal ash away from North Carolina's rivers and lakes would take decades and cost up to $10 billion, with the state's electricity customers likely footing nearly all the bill.
      Duke's North Carolina president Paul Newton told state lawmakers Tuesday the company needs flexibility to consider more cost-efficient options that include leaving much of its 100 million tons of toxic ash in place after being covered with giant tarps and soil. State officials say all 33 of Duke's unlined dumps are contaminating groundwater.
      Environmental groups are calling for new legislation requiring Duke to move its coal ash to lined landfills away from waterways following the massive Feb. 2 spill in Eden that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.


Seven year old dies of gunshot wounds in Franklin Co.:
(Wirtz, Va.) -- Franklin County authorities say a 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 7-year-old brother on Monday.
     Franklin County Sheriff's Lt. Phillip Young tells media outlets that the investigation indicates the children were playing at a neighbor's house when the older boy found a .45-caliber handgun. The boy accidentally fired the gun and the bullet struck his brother.  Young says the 7-year-old died instantly.
     The shooting occurred Monday morning at a residence in the Burnt Chimney community. Young says at least one adult was in the house at the time.
     No charges have been filed. The investigation is continuing.   The victim's name hasn't been released.

Danville man wins $100,000 in Cash 5 game:
(Danville, Va.) -- Larry Woods hit the lottery a day after his birthday, taking home the $100,000 grand prize in the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 game.
        He matched all five winning numbers in the April 18 Cash 5 night drawing. Those winning numbers were 9-10-19-22-25. He used Easy Pick and allowed the computer to randomly select the numbers on his ticket.
      Woods bought the winning ticket at Happy Shopper in Midlothian.
      What was his reaction when the clerk told him he had a winning ticket? “I can’t even explain it,” he said.


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