Friday, December 13, 2013
Updated 12/13/13 at 1:40 pm
Hurt votes for budget; cites concerns:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt voted in favor of the budget approved by the House Thursday, but said he did so without any great enthusiasm.
The Chatham Republican said the "budget plan is not a solution to our debt crisis, but it is a step in the right direction." And Hurt said he "looks forward to continuing to fight for true spending reform and for policies that will balance our budget and guarantee a brighter future for all Virginians and Americans.”
Meanwhile, the White House is applauding a bipartisan House vote to approve the two-year budget agreement.
The legislation cleared on a vote of 332-94, with sizable majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike voting in favor. Final passage is expected next week in the Senate.
The agreement averts another government shutdown and eases some of the automatic spending cuts.
White House press secretary Jay Carney says the vote "shows Washington can and should stop governing by crisis and both sides can work together to get things done."
Final passage is expected next week in the Senate despite reservations on both sides. Some conservatives don't like spending increases. Democrats are unhappy that the measure lacks an extension of unemployment benefits due to expire three days after Christmas.
Poverty rate high for Danville children:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville has the fourth-highest overall poverty rate in Virginia, the highest rate among school-age children, and the second-lowest median household income.
That’s according to the latest poverty survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. It shows more than 39 percent of Danville's school-age population lives in poverty. That ties Danville with Martinsville for the highest rate in Virginia and is up slightly from a year ago.
The overall poverty rate in Danville is almost 26 percent. That level trails only Martinsville, Radford and Harrisonburg.
The under-18 poverty rate in Danville is Virginia's 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 $30,500 dollars. That is the second-lowest in Virginia, trailing only Martinsville. Pittsylvania County’s Median Income was $42,000. The state median was $61,000.
Sex offender gets more time for failing to report change of address:
(Wentworth, N.C.) -- A man who is a registered sex offender will be spending more time in jail after failing to notify authorities of a change of address.
According to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, 34-year-old Chis Lamont Parker was sentenced to a minimum of 82 months in prison after being charged with failing to notify the sheriff’s department of his change of address.
Parker is a registered sex offender, convicted twice of sex crimes that require his being placed on the N.C. Sex Offender Registry for the duration of his life. Notifying the local sheriff’s office of any change of address by someone on the Sex Offender Registry is required by law.
Deputies at the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office routinely check to validate the addresses of offenders placed on the registry residing within the county. In this case, officers discovered Parker was not living at the address he had on record with authorities.
Danville next stop for Civil Rights Coalition:
DANVILLE, Va. (AP) - A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a 10-city tour of Virginia to raise awareness of the plight facing former offenders.
Called the "Mobile Justice Tour," advocates of restoring ex-offenders' rights are scheduled to make a stop in Danville on Saturday. The tour rolls into Harrisonburg, Hampton and Norfolk next week. It'll then make stops in Richmond, Reston, Lynchburg, Ferrum, Fredericksburg and Petersburg, through January.
The coalition behind the tour says it wants to raise awareness about issues such civil rights restoration for citizens with felony convictions, removing questions about an applicant's criminal background from initial employment forms and sentencing reform.
5 students arrested following middle school fight:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Police made five arrests Thursday following a fight involving multiple students at Bonner Middle School.
According to a press release, school resource officers at Bonner learned of “a potential conflict involving several students over comments made by another student.”
The SRO’s warned the students of the consequences of a fight.
Later, at about 11:10 am, staff broke up a brawl involving the same students in the cafeteria. School resource officers responded immediately and Danville Police were called.
Police say a 13-year-old female student was assaulted by four female students, ranging in age from 13 to 15. These were the same students who were warned earlier in the morning.
As the SRO's were escorting the students away from the cafeteria, a 14-year-old male approached and attempted to start another fight. He was removed from school property along with the females.
All five students were charged with disorderly conduct. The female students were also charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. Their names are being withheld due to their ages.
Melony Stowe, Danville Public School’s director of communications, said all five students face automatic suspension as a result of the altercation. Stowe said the five will not be returning to school until police and school officials “determine consequences.” She said once the investigation is completed, school officials will determine what type of services the students will need during their suspensions.
Stowe says Principal Kevin Whitlock will be notifying parents of the incident, adding that “safety is our number one priority.”
Danville ranks high in Census Poverty survey:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville has the fourth-highest overall poverty rate in Virginia…the highest rate among school-age children, and the second-lowest median household income.
That’s according to the latest poverty survey from the US Census Bureau. It shows more than 39- percent of Danville's school-age population lives in poverty. That’s tied with Martinsville for the highest rate in Virginia, and its up slightly from a year ago.
The overall poverty rate in Danville is almost 26-percent---that's trails only Martinsville, Radford and Harrisonburg. The under-18 poverty rate in Danville is Virginia's highest; and its more than double the state average. Pittsylvania County's rates were also above the state average.
Also, the Census Bureau says the median household income last year in Danville was around 30-thousand-500 dollars. That’s the second-lowest in Virginia, trailing only Martinsville. Pittsylvania County’s median income was 42-thousand dollars. The state median was 61-thousand.
City leaders want Main St. Post Office re-opened:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville City Council is ready to ask the US Post Service to reverse last month’s decision to close their Main Street Post Office indefinitely.
A postal spokesman says an inspection found chipping paint in back rooms that hadn't been painted since the 1970s. Crews are being brought in to address the problem.
The station had previously stopped window service; however, the postal department later resumed window hours on a limited basis.
In a resolution that’ll be voted on next week, Council points out how crucial convenient postal service is to downtown businesses and residents. They also note over a hundred (m) million dollars in recent investment in the River District.
The Danville Federal Building was built in 1934. The US Western District Court’s Danville division is on the second floor. The US Bankruptcy Court is on the third floor.
Reynolds enters House race:
(Martinsville, Va.) -- A former Martinsville mayor has entered the race to fill a Virginia House of Delegates seat.
Attorney Kimble Reynolds was certified as a candidate after filing paperwork with the Roanoke Voter Registrar. Reynolds lives in Roanoke and a law office in Martinsville.
Reynolds has run as a Democrat in past races. He served on former Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello’s transition team in 2008 and later operated the Congressman’s headquarters in Martinsville. Ten years ago, he ran as a Democrat against Robert Hurt in the 16th District House of Delegates race, but lost.
Reynolds says he missed the deadline to get on the ballot for the Democratic primary. He says he tried to contact the Roanoke Democratic Party chairman but couldn't because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Democrat Sam Rasoul and Republican Octavia Johnson are the other candidates in the 11th District race. A special election is set for Jan. 7 to fill Onzlee Ware's seat.
Danville native charged in child's death:
Louisa County, Va.) -- A Danville native is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse and neglect in Louisa County. This, after lab results determined her six-month old died from a lethal dose of Benadryl.
31-year old Tristan Tankersley Goodwin was arrested last week, nearly a month after she was indicted by a grand jury. Six-month-old Tyler Firth’s death in March was originally believed to have been the result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Lab results showed otherwise. Tests showed a lethal dose of Benadryl and high levels of Tylenol in his body.
Goodwin will remain locked up at the Central Virginia Regional Jail pending a Dec. 16 court date.
Congressional vote could mean $$$ for Pitt. Co. Schools:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Pittsylvania County leaders are hoping they’ll get good news from Richmond and Washington as they get ready to set next year’s budget. Superintendent James McDaniel says that will add more than a (m) million dollars to next year’s budget---not including any pay hike for teachers. He’s hoping some of that can be offset by greater state aid to local school districts. McDaniel also says the budget deal being voted on those week in Washington would some of the cuts from the sequester earlier this year. That would mean 329-thousand dollars in restored cuts locally.
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.