Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Updated 3/11/14 at 4:00 pm
NC gov: Panel should decide who foots pond bill
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory says he's going to stay out of the debate whether his former employer Duke Energy should be able to pass the costs of closing North Carolina's coal ash ponds on to consumers.
The governor told reporters Tuesday he wants to keep politics out of the decision-making on financial aspects of handling more than 30 ponds at 14 Duke Energy power plants. He says that's best left to the state Utilities Commission.
Duke Energy's CEO has said the company will pay for the coal ash spill cleanup in the Dan River but suggested customers pay the cost of closing other ponds.
Charlotte Rep. Ruth Samuelson co-chairs the Environmental Review Commission. Samuelson says it makes sense to her for both shareholders and ratepayers to pay for the closings.
Council budget work session tonight:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville City Council tonight will begin crunching the numbers on the proposed 2015 budget. The draft submitted last week by City Manager Joe King checks in at 99 (m) million dollars---about three (m) million more than the current outlay. It also calls for three more full-time positions; and three full-time equivalent positions. Specifically, King wants to hire an IT specialist to work in the police department to handle electronic paperwork. Right now, those duties are handled by a uniformed officer. Another proposal from King would have the city hire an Assistant Economic Development Director. There’s already money in the budget for that post. It’s been filled on a contractual basis the past few years by former Mayor Linwood Wright.
GWHS effort gets national recognition:
(Danville, Va.) -- A program founded by GW Assistant Principal Larry Toomer has won a prestigious Award. The Gentlemen by Choice Club is one of eleven recipients of the 2014 Magna Awards for innovative education programs.
School Spokesperson Melany Stowe says the club will be featured in this month’s American School Board Journal this month. Next month, they’ll be recognized at the National School Boards Association conference in Louisiana.
The club members are male students at GW. They mentor other male students in grades 6-8 at least once a week before school. When participating in any club activity, members always wear khaki pants and a tie. And Stowe says it’s a student-led program; with an annual budget of only $2,000!
Since the club's inception in 2011, Stowe says the number of students applying for admission has increased by almost 600%. Last year, 80% of the members took advanced level classes and 90% went on to college.
DENR to investigate another leaky pipe at Duke facility:
(Eden, N.C.) -- North Carolina inspectors will go the former Dan River Steam Station in Eden on Thursday. They’ll try to determine the source of arsenic, lead and other toxins that have been found in water from a third stormwater pipe on site.
That 12-inch pipe discharges water into a drainage ditch that empties into the Dan River. Officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources say neither the pipe nor the ditch drains from the area of the ash ponds at the plant.
The plant was the site of the nation’s third-largest coal ash spill February second. A 48-inch corrugated steel stormwater pipe that runs under the plant’s main ash pond broke---sending up to 39-thousand tons of water into the river.
Duke sealed that pipe less than a week later. Then DENR discovered water from a second, 36-inch stormwater pipe under the pond was also leaking a small amount of coal ash into the river.
The state says the water from the third stormwater pipe does not appear to contain coal ash, though it contains metals commonly found in coal ash.
A DENR spokeswoman says information from this week’s inspections will determine whether Duke will have to plug that pipe as well.
DEQ head says he will hold Duke "accountable" for spill:
(Richmond, Va.) -- The head of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says the state will hold Duke Energy "fully accountable" for the clean-up of the Dan River following last month's massive coal ash spill in Eden, N.C.
DEQ Director David K. Paylor said Monday that the agency is looking at the long-term health effects of the environmental disaster, a process he said is likely to take several years.
The DEQ is continuing its evaluation of the Dan River in the wake of the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.
Paylor says the agency remains focused on potential long-term effects on water quality and aquatic life in the river. He says sampling results of the treated drinking water for Southside localities that use the Dan River -- including Danville and South Boston -- have consistently met or exceeded all federal and state standards, and there are no public health concerns with drinking water.
Police probe theft of $15,000 in manhole covers:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Police are hoping the public will be able to shed some light on an unusual theft.
Investigators say $15,000 worth of manhole covers and inserts have been stolen from remote areas of the city.
33 were discovered missing February 28 from the pipeline that runs adjacent to Water Street and continues to the area of Wrenn Drive. Investigators say the pipeline running from Campbell Street to Wrenn Drive was also stolen.
During the thefts, the manhole frame is broken loose from the supporting concrete base. It’s believed that the thieves are using heavy equipment -- a tractor or possibly a backhoe -- in the crimes.
Authorities believe the manhole covers are being sold as scrap metal.
Danville Police are asking anyone with information on these thefts to call Danville Crime Stoppers at 793-0000. A reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons responsible for the larcenies.
A Danville woman was injured Monday morning when her car hit a tree and slammed into a corner of the Harris Financial Services Center
(Leonard Harville photo)
Danville firefighters were able to rescue animals from a house fire Saturday. One dog died in the blaze.
Cause determined in house fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- An electrical short caused a fire off West Main Street that left a Danville family homeless.
The Danville Fire Department was called to 615 Hunter St. at 7:07 Saturday morning. Firefighters found the blaze had spread from the kitchen through the ceiling, engulfing the entire attic. Shortly after arrival, flames shot through the roof. Fire crews were able to knock down the flames from the exterior of the home.
All the occupants of the house made it out safely and there were no injuries to firefighters. A pet dog was found hiding under the living room sofa and was rescued from the burning building; however, a second dog died in the blaze.
Battalion Chief Dallas Swiney says the house was a total loss Three engines, one ladder truck, a command unit, a safety officer and two staff personnel responded to the call.
The Danville Fire Marshal's office investigated and traced the cause to an electrical short in some wiring. The single-story, frame home was gutted by the fire.
The incident commander arranged for the family to be put in touch with the American Red Cross and the agency is assisting them in finding temporary lodging and assistance.
Danville snow plows hit Riverside Drive.
(Leonard Harville photo)