Sunday, May 19, 2013
Danville names new school superintendent:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville School Board has chosen Edward Newsome, Jr. as the city’s new school superintendent, effective July 1.
Newsome comes to Danville from Maryland, where he serves as assistant superintendent of the Baltimore County school system. He succeeds Dr. Sue Davis, who is retiring after a long career in the local school system.
According to a news release, Newsome has more than 30 years experience in public education and has taught in the Washington, D.C. area and in Maryland. He has also worked as a principal on the elementary, middle and high school levels and in central office administration.
Newsome is an Army veteran and was born in Ahoskie, N.C.
Stolen lottery tickets redeemed as police search for suspects:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- Lottery tickets stolen in a break-in at Barbers one-stop on Rt. 58 in Brosville have been redeemed and police have photos of the thieves.
Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Deputies are working with the Virginia Lottery to identify three people who made off with a large number of lottery tickets in the May 4 larceny.
The front door glass of the business was smashed and investigators have a video showing a hooded man entering, snatching a stack of lottery tickets and fleeing.
Lottery officials confirm tickets matching those taken from the store were redeemed at convenience stores in Henry County, Martinsville, Franklin County, Rocky Mount and Roanoke later that morning.
Surveillance video from the several of the stores show at least three people. They are believed to be driving a white, 2001– 2004 two-door Ford Explorer.
Anyone with information about this burglary should contact the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office at (434) 432-7931.
Gulity pleas in convenience store robbery/chase:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man who hit a sheriff’s deputy’s car and a Danville Utilities truck at the end of a chase last summer entered guilty pleas to those charges and to the armed robbery of a convenience store. 47-year old Michael Edward Wyatt was arrested last July in the parking lot of Infinity Global on Memorial Drive after he reportedly jumped out of his moving car.
Wyatt was also charged in a robbery that happened the day before at PAK Supermarket and Grill on Westover Drive. Police tracked him to the Budget Inn on Piney Forest Road. That’s where the chase began. Wyatt is also a suspect in several residential burglaries in Pittsylvania County.
Wyatt pleaded guilty Friday to robbery, possession of a firearm after being a convicted felon, statutory burglary armed with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, felony elude and felonious malicious damage.
The charges Wyatt was convicted of carry a maximum sentence of two life sentences plus 20 years.
Because of Wyatt’s previous felony convictions, the two weapons charges will carry a mandatory minimum of eight years in prison. He will be sentenced on July 1.
Community College tuition to rise in Virginia:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Rates at Virginia's community colleges are going up.
The State Board for Community Colleges voted Thursday to increase in-state tuition and mandatory fees rate by 4.4 percent.
The increase translates to $5.50 more per credit hour next school year, which will cost a typical full-time student an additional $165 annually.
The tuition rate for out-of-state students also was increased. Out-of-state students make up about 5 percent of the total enrollment of Virginia community colleges.
The board said the increase will allow the Virginia Community College System to expand programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and health science. It also will be used to increase the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty from 45 to 47.5 percent.
Mixed bag in latest Danville Economic Survey:
(Danville, Va.) -- The latest report on Danville’s key economic indicators shows some good news. Machinery and tools tax collections are higher than the three previous fiscal years. Collected sales tax is slightly lower than last year’s total, but well above 2011 and 2010. There are fewer business licenses being issued, but building permits are above average for the last four years. City economic development officials say that shows continued investment in property and existing business.
South Carolina murder suspects arrested in Southside Va.:
(Virgilina, Va.) -- A mother and son from South Carolina are being held without bond in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax County. They’re charged in a weekend stabbing death in Union County-South Carolina.
Local authorities were alerted Wednesday that 21-year old Kenneth Wynn and 41-year old Tillia Wynn could be in Halifax County. They were wanted in South Carolina in connection with a Saturday stabbing death where two other people were injured.
Local deputies found the mother and son staying in a camper on Ramble Road in the Virgilina area. They were arrested without incident.
Both will be held locally until they can be extradited
Local woman wants to open Domestic Violence Shelter in Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- A local woman is asking city officials to help her open up a domestic violence shelter in Danville.
Alfrieta Bennett-Reaves wants a Special Use Permit to operate a transitional living shelter at 341 Holbrook Street. Reaves says the house on Holbrook has five bedrooms and three baths, and can house up to 16 people. Planners are requiring her get reviews from the Fire Marshal and the Building Inspector, and to make the home handicapped-accessible.
Danville hasn't had a domestic violence shelter since the former Doves Shelter closed over three years ago.
The Planning Commission is recommending City Council approve a permit for Reaves. Council will take it up next month.
Hurt supports Obamacare repeal:
(Washington, D.C.) -- The House voted to repeal Obamacare on Thursday for the third time since Republicans took over the chamber in 2011 ---its the 37th time the House GOP has voted to repeal or defund a part of the bill.
The 229-195 vote included two Democrats who sided with majority Republicans.
Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt says the President promised that his healthcare law would improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. It would let you keep your doctor and your healthcare plan. Obama also said it would lower insurance premiums. But Hurt says that hasn’t been the case.
Hurt says people want real healthcare reform, not government mandates. But the measure is not expected to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate.
First Piedmont Corp. plans Natural Gas Refueling Station:
(Danville, Va.) -- A local company is one step closer to setting up the city’s first-ever natural gas refueling station.
The Planning Commission this week signed off on a rezoning request and a Special Use Permit for First Piedmont Corporation. Company President says the station in the eastern end of Danville will allow them to service their new trucks, which will run on natural gas.
Stump says they may open the station to other vehicles in the future. They would tap into the city’s natural gas line to access the fuel. Danville City Council will vote on the rezoning and permit at their meeting early next month.
Former Pitt. Co. School bus driver charged with DUI:
(Chatham, Va.) -- A Pittsylvania County School bus driver is charged with driving a bus under the influence of drugs.
Investigators say 48-year old Linda Langford had already finished her route for the day on March 15th. She had pulled off to the side of Roark Mill Road in Hurt when a deputy stopped to see if she needed help. As he got out of his car, he says Langford drove away. The deputy pulled her over later.
Authorities say Langford admitted to having taken prescription medications - including the pain-killer Percocet - and was taken into custody.
A toxicology report confirmed she was under the influence and she was charged with DUI earlier this month. Langford is no longer working for Pittsylvania County Schools.
Langford is the daughter of Delma Towler, the 83-year-old woman who was shot and killed by an Altavista police officer last September.
Langford’s first court appearance is set for July 30.
God's Pit Crew to send help to Texas:
(Danville, Va.) -- Officials in Hood County, Texas, say it's hard to tell one street from another in a neighborhood of Granbury devastated by a tornado last night.
The National Weather Service estimates the tornado had wind speeds between 166 mph and 200 mph. The F-4 was one of 13 twisters to hit the region.
God’s Pit Crew today will send a tractor-trailer loaded with 40-thousand pounds of relief supplies to North Texas. Once there, they’ll decide if they’ll send a full-fledge volunteer response team.
At least six people were killed and dozens more injured, while witnesses describe two neighborhoods as unrecognizable, with homes ripped from foundations and others reduced to rubble.
Hurt not confident in Justice Dept. probe:
(Washington, D.C.) -- A local lawmaker says it’ll ultimately be up to Congress to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal---that’s because he doesn’t think the Attorney General will be able to conduct an effective probe.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the agency’s admission that they singled out conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status.
But Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt says Holder brings a “lack of credibility” and a “level of incompetence” that will force Congress to ultimately decide where the blame lies.
Hurt says the scandal is the latest in a series of abuses of power by the White House.
New program to prepare local students for high-end jobs:
(Chatham, Va.) -- A new Academy for local students will offer college credit, summer internships, and a chance to get their foot in the door with some of the area’s best-paying companies.
Pittsylvania County School Superintendent James McDaniel says the School Board has signed off on a plan to participate in the Academy for Engineering and Technology. That’s a partnership between the Institute in Danville, the New College Institute in Martinsville, and Virginia State University.
Students in the academy are considered to be dually enrolled at VSU. After graduating from high school, if they immediately do not go to work, they can pursue a degree from the university or another higher education institution.
McDaniel says if all goes well, the first students will enroll this fall.
Danville Sheriff Mike Mondul participates in "Rev Your Bev" Day at the WBTM/WAKG studio
Get Fit Dan River Region "Flash Mobs" people:
(Danville, Va.) -- Get Fit Dan River Region hit the streets yesterday, handing out free bottles of water.
Director Stephanie Ferrugia says “Rev Your Bev” Day is a statewide event that urges Virginians to exchange their sugary drinks for water.
Get Fit is also holding a photo contest via their Facebook fan page where you can submit your creative photo of ditching your soda or sugary drink or promoting water. The winner, who receives the most “likes” on their Facebook photo uploaded to our page, will be featured on our billboard located in the heart of the Dan River Region and on our cooking show, “What’s Cooking on the Dan.”
The Get Fit team will be around town in neon shirts with coolers on wheels passing out bottled water. They’ll be at the Festival in the Park on Saturday.
Axton man pleads guilty in fatal Pitt. Co. hit and run:
(Chatham, Va.) -- A Henry County man was set for trial later this month in connection with a fatal hit and run last September in Pittsylvania County. Instead, he’s decided to plead guilty.
Troopers say 39-year old Brian Cole of Axton, turned himself in two days after the accident. Last month, a Pittsylvania County Grand Jury indicted him for felony hit and run.
Troopers say Cole struck and killed 42-year old Thomas Bradner of Callands on Route 41 near Strawberry Road. Friends say Bradner was walking home when he was struck and killed by a northbound car.
Cole’s sentencing date is set for July Ninth.
JTI to up donation for downtown fountain:
(Danville, Va.) -- A local company is upping their donation, allowing a new downtown water fountain to become even MORE noticeable.
JTI-Tobacco originally donated $400,000 to build the fountain. The low bid came in at 425-thousand dollars. The city had also asked bidders to look into adding programmable-color lighting. That came in at an additional $40,000.
JTI has agreed to donate money---that’ll boost their overall donation to 465-thousand dollars.
Construction of the park is underway at the intersection of Main and Craghead---near what used to be the entrance to the northbound lanes of the King Memorial Bridge.
Developers say they can change the color of the lighting to reflect different holiday seasons.
Metal thief caught in the act:
(Providence, N.C.) -- Caswell County investigators have arrested the man who forced his way into Hayes Iron and Metal Tuesday and have recovered the copper wire he stole from the business.
36-year-old Lopez Carlos Jutirerez of Providence, N.C., is charged with breaking and entering and larceny.
Deputies responded to the business on Walter’s Mill Road in Providence after receiving a report of a break-in in progress. On arrival, the caller told them that the man had fled on foot. A short time later, police spotted Jutirerez coming out of the woods near the business. He was identified as the burglar and investigators also located a bag he had been carrying that contained $140 worth of copper wiring.
Jutirerez was arrested and placed in the Caswell County Detention Facility, where he’s being held under a $25,000 secured bond. His first court appearance is set for May 29 in Caswell District Court.
Critz man killed in Patrick Co. accident:
(Patrick County, Va.) -- Virginia State Police have identified the driver killed in an early morning accident in Patrick County as 38-year-old Darren Lee Martin of Critz, Virginia.
The single-vehicle accident happened about around 6:45 Wednesday morning on Route 773, three tenths of a mile west of Route 738 in Patrick County.
Martin’s 2006 Chevrolet Malibu was traveling westbound on Route 773 when it ran off the right side of the roadway, overturned and then struck several trees.
Martin was not wearing a safety belt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Averett employees Make Danville Shine:
(Danville, Va.) -- 17 Averett University employees took to the streets Tuesday, collecting trash as part of the Make Danville Shine campaign.
They concentrated on Colquhoun Street and spent part of the afternoon picking up trash along the historic street.
Councilman Alonzo Jones came up with the idea and says his co-workers are already planning another clean-up project. He says the program dovetails nicely with the city's blight eradication and downtown redevelopment efforts.
Jackie Gunn said the response from neighbors was encouraging and felt the project "would be a good way to give back to the community."
The Make Danville Shine campaign continues through the month of May. The city has agreed to waive many bulk collection fees to assist in the effort. (photos courtesy Stephanie Henderson)
Another rabies case in Pittsylvania County:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- Another rabies case has been confirmed in Pittsylvania County, this time in a raccoon on Laniers Mill Road.
The Health Department confirms that a raccoon in the neighborhood recently tested positive for rabies. Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that lives in the saliva and brain and nerve tissue of the infected animal. Rabies is transmitted through a scratch, bite or by getting saliva or brain tissue in an open wound or in the eye or mouth.
Rabies is preventable in animals through vaccinations, but fatal to both animals and humans once contracted.
It is possible that this rabid raccoon may have come in contact with other neighborhood animals, including cats, dogs and horses.