10:02pm, 05/27/15
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 Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Updated 5/27/15 @ 2:50 pm

Allergease falls flat:
(Danville, Va.) -- A company that hoped to become a household name while bringing 150 new jobs to Danville has fallen short.  And the city is on the hook for a loan that brought them to town.
      Allergease -- a company that makes allergy relief lozenges -- moved their headquarters into a portion of the Pemberton Building on Bridge Street. The company planned to  set up a warehouse and distribution operations on nearby Newton Street.
      Two years ago, the Tobacco Commission awarded a $1.1 million dollar grant for the project, contingent on their meeting hiring and investment goals within three years.  There is still a year remaining, but the company has fallen well short of its goals.
      Council will vote next week on a four-year repayment plan to the Commission. It will be offset by $425,000 that remain from the original loan.
      It’ll be the fifth time the city has had to repay the Commission for grants that didn’t pan out.  Council has agreed to repay $600,000 dollars for the grant awarded to Macerata Wheels, $1.6 million for the U.S. Green Energy grant, and $1 million dollars each for grants given to Web Parts and GOK Furniture.

Fatal crash in Henry County:
(Henry County, Va.) – A Henry County man died after he was thrown from his pickup in an accident on the Oak Level Road.
      Trooper R.L. Lawson says the two-vehicle crash happened about 9:00 Tuesday night.
      A Ford F150 pickup truck was southbound on Oak Level Rd when it crossed the center line and sideswiped a GMC Yukon.  The pickup then ran off the left side of the roadway, struck an embankment and overturned, ejecting the driver.
     The driver, 25-year-old Jamie Deond Turner of Bassett, was transported Martinsville Memorial Hospital, where he died a short time later. Turner was not wearing a seatbelt.
     The driver of the Yukon was not injured.
     Virginia State Police are continuing their investigation.

Larson named new CEO for Danville Regional Medical Center:
(Danville, Va.) -- Alan Larson has been named the Virginia market president and the new CEO of Danville Regional Medical Center, effective Aug. 1. Larson will also have regional oversight of both DRMC and Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County while leading the daily operations of DRMC.
      Larson joins LifePoint from TD HealthCare, a healthcare consulting and interim leadership organization that Larson founded and has led as CEO since 2006. He replaces Jerry Dooley, who has served as interim market president and CEO of DRMC since November 2014. Memorial Hospital CEO Michael Ehrat will report to Larson and continue leading the Martinsville and Henry County facility.
     Victor Giovanetti, chief operating officer of LifePoint Health’s Eastern Group of hospitals, said the company was “thorough and deliberate” in its efforts to “find the right leader” for the local hospital and that “Alan stood out as the strongest candidate.” He cited Larson’s leadership experience within both the hospital and health system settings.
      Prior to TD HealthCare, Larson served as senior vice president of Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a five-hospital system, and as CEO of the system’s Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus from 2003-2006. He previously served in leadership roles at hospitals within Community Health Systems, NetCare Health Systems Inc., and HealthTrust Inc. systems. In addition, Larson was one of eight founders of a start-up ambulatory care company in Nashville, TN.

Council delays budget vote amid compression concerns:
(Danville, Va.) --
Danville City Council hopes to settle a dispute over employee pay raises next week before voting on the entire city budget.
     At a work session next Tuesday, council members will hear from staffers on what they can afford and NOT afford.
     City workers haven’t had merit raises or a pay-for-performance review system since the mid-to-late nineties.  They got cost-of-living increases instead.
     City Manager Joe King said that resulted in city workers earning less than workers in other localities, making it hard to retain employees or attract new ones.
     Last year, the city gave employees compression increases meant to get employees closer to the pay scale they would have been making if raises had not been skipped. This year, a pay-for-performance system was put in.
     But the City’s Public Safety workers addressed Council last week, saying the new system was unfairly impacting their more veteran employees.

Suspect at large in Eden shooting:
(Eden, N.C.) --
Eden Police are searching for a man wanted in a shooting near Douglas Elementary School yesterday afternoon.  Officers say it happened on Price Street at around quarter after one.  Police found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. 26-year old Jalessa Settle was taken to Moses Cone Hospital. Douglas Elementary was placed on lockdown as a precaution---then was dismissed a few minutes later.  Police are searching for 25-year-old Steven Antwan Malloy on one count of Attempted First Degree Murder. He has previous addresses in Eden, Reidsville, and Greensboro.


FTC approves Reynolds, Lorillard merger:
(Greensboro, N.C.) --
Reynolds American's proposed $25 billion acquisition of rival Lorillard has cleared a key regulatory hurdle to move closer to completing a deal that will unite some of the nation's top cigarette brands.
     The Federal Trade Commission gave its consent Tuesday after wrapping up a 10-month review that concluded Reynolds' previously announced divestiture plans will be enough to preserve competition in the U.S. cigarette market.
     Camel cigarette maker Reynolds is creating another competitor by selling its Kool, Salem, Winston, and Maverick brands to the U.K.'s Imperial Tobacco for $7.1 billion. To get the deal done, Reynolds is also selling Lorillard's Blu e-cigarette brand to Imperial in addition to a Greensboro, North Carolina plant.
     The Lorillard acquisition will put Reynolds in a better position to challenge Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.


Kittens die in early-morning fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- A family of three escaped a pre-dawn blaze Tuesday morning, but some of their pets weren't as fortunate. Three engines, a ladder truck and a battalion and safety officer responded to the call shortly before 5:00 from the 12-hundred block of Paxton Street. Crews found heavy fire showing from the front of the house. All of the occupants were out of the home, and the fire was under control within 20 minutes. Several animals were rescued from the burning building, but some kittens on the upper floor did not survive. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Memorial Day accident claims life of Bedford man:
(Salem, Va.) -- Charges are pending in a fatal crash in Franklin County.
      Virginia State Police Trooper S. A. Richardson is investigating the two-vehicle accident that happened on Route 122 and Route 636 in Franklin County.
      A Hyundai Sonata was northbound on Route 122 and was making a left turn onto Route 636 when it was struck by a southbound Dodge Ram.
      The 2013 Hyundai was driven by 29-year-old Tiffany M. McGuire of Hardy, Va.  Elmer Cecil Johnson Jr., 64, was a passenger in the Sonata and died at the scene.  Both driver and passenger were wearing seatbelts.
      The 2011 Dodge Ram was driven by 32-year-old Charles A. Hunt, also of Hardy. Hunt was not injured.
     Charges are pending. The accident remains under investigation. 

Danville boy competing in Scripps Spelling Bee:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 12-year-old from Danville is in the nation’s capital this week to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
     Caleb D. Adams is a seventh grader at Westwood Middle School and is sponsored by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Danville.
     According to his profile, Adams likes computers, gaming, swimming and reading. He serves as vice president of Westwood’s National Junior Honor Society and also spends time volunteering at God’s Storehouse and the Danville Area Humane Society.
    Caleb’s favorite subject is math and he hopes to one day attend MIT and study engineering.
    He is one of 265 participants in this year’s national spelling bee, which gets underway Wednesday and concludes with finals on Thursday.

Supervisors to tour poultry operations:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Pittsylvania County leaders are ready to take the next step to try and recruit a full-fledged poultry operation to the area.    
     Board members have been invited to tour a feedmill and hatchery in Jetersville next week and a processing plant in Glen Allen, Va.
      A study released earlier this year suggests Pittsylvania County is an "excellent fit" for the poultry industry. It says a full-fledged poultry complex – including a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant -- could have an economic impact of $476 million and bring 1,200 jobs to the county. 
     The study listed several possible sites, including the former Burlington Textile plant site in Hurt, the Ringgold East Industrial site, the Cherrystone Industrial Park and the Berry Hill Mega Park.

High-speed chase ends with shooting:
(Roanoke, Va.) -- State Police have identified a man who was shot and wounded by troopers following a high-speed chase on I- 81.  25-year-old Justin Howard St. Clair of Fincastle remains hospitalized in stable condition.  The shooting occurred on southbound I-81 in Botetourt County Monday afternoon. Troopers tried to pull over a vehicle for speeding and it didn't stop.  The vehicle ran off the interstate and wrecked following a 21-mile chase. Troopers say St. Clair got out of the vehicle with a gun. He was shot after he refused to comply with troopers' demands to drop the weapon. The state police's Bureau of Criminal Investigation field office in Salem is investigating.

Danville man shot twice at motel:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 34-year old Danville man was shot twice at the Innkeeper Motel on the Piney Forest Road early Monday morning.
      Captain Timothy Jones says the call came in at 4:45 a.m. Officers responded and found a man suffering from two gunshot wounds to his lower extremities.  He was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center with what police described as “non life-threatening injuries.”
     Investigators and crime scene units were still at the scene at mid-day.


Unattended cooking sparks blaze on Arnett Blvd:
(Danville, Va.) -- Someone left the stove on Sunday night at a house in the 400 block of Arnett Boulevard and the resulting fire left the home unlivable.
      Danville Fire Battalion Chief Chris Key says the call came in just before 9:30 from a single-story house. Firefighters put out the kitchen fire quickly, but there was extensive damage in the kitchen, and heat and smoke damage throughout the rest of the home.
     No one was home and no one was hurt.


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