Monday, May 20, 2013
A tornado approaches Shawnee, Oklahoma Sunday.
God's Pit Crew responds to tornadoes:
(Granbury, Texas) -- Tornadoes in Texas damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes while twisters in Oklahoma Sunday night caused even more widespread devastation.
God’s Pit Crew has already responded, sending 3 truckloads of emergency supplies -- about 120,000 pounds -- to the hardest hit area, Granbury, Texas.
Crew Chief Randy Johnson says he expects volunteers to make more trips to Texas this week.
God’s Pit Crew is now working to arrange another delivery of bottled water to Shawnee, OK.
One of several tornadoes that touched down in parts of the nation's midsection on Sunday leveled the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park near Shawnee. Two people are confirmed dead.
Johnson says fuel costs for the trip are very expensive and God's Pit Crew is in need of donations of cash, or bottled water for the victims.
Fryer fire closes seafood restaurant temporarily:
(Danville, Va.) -- A fire at Long John Silver’s restaurant on the Piney Forest Road has forced the business to close temporarily.
Danville fire trucks were called to the scene just before 1:00 Monday afternoon. The manager advised firefighters that the restaurant had been evacuated and all employees were accounted for after a fryer fire. Attempts by employees to put out the fire were unsuccessful.
Firefighters found a small fire in the fryer, which had to be disassembled before using the restaurant’s extinguisher.
The restaurant was closed for business so the equipment could be repaired and the kitchen cleaned from the fire. Prior to reopening the restaurant will be inspected by the Fire Marshal's Office and the Health Department.
New GOP ticket to tour state today:
(Richmond, Va.) -- The freshly-minted Republican state-wide ticket will make a campaign stop in Martinsville this evening. Gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli (pictured, left) will be joined by lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, and attorney general nominee Mark Obenshain at the Dutch Inn in Collinsville at 5:45 p.m. as part of the statewide fly-around. All three nominated at the Republican Party convention Saturday in Richmond. Their tour will start today in Virginia Beach and end Tuesday in Fredericksburg.
Budget public hearing scheduled:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville residents will have a chance tomorrow night to weigh in on next year’s proposed budget---a budget that holds the line on real estate and personal property taxes…but call for increases in water and utility rates.
The budget also sets aside $1.13 million to implement the new pay classification and compensation plan under study. Under this new plan, preliminary figures show more than half of all city employees will receive a pay adjustment in the next fiscal year.
Danville Public Schools will receive the full $17.4 million as requested by the School Board. The budget also sustains support for key economic development and community programs like River District development and blight eradication.
The package includes four-(m) million dollars for redevelopment of existing buildings in the River District and industrial park development. In addition, $1.75 million goes toward blight eradication. The budget also includes bond money to complete the new Lynn Street fire station and 911-communication center, make improvements to the adult detention center and replace the Brantley substation transformer
Council to double down on blight fight:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville’s City Manager is asking City Council to step up the fight on blight. At a work session this week, the panel will look over Joe King’s proposals to continue blight eradication efforts.
The Proposed Capital Improvement budget includes $1.75 million to expand blight eradication. But King says there is also an 166 properties already in the "demolition pipeline." That includes 53 houses ready for asbestos inspections---63 houses ready for demolition---and 54 owners that have been issued demolition orders.
King says it’ll take more than two (m) million to handle those cases. Council is considering a proposal to make up the balance from the undesignated General Fund balance.
Danville leaders to weigh 10% hike in bus fees:
(Danville, Va.) -- City leaders this week will begin debating a proposal to increase mass transit fees to offset the loss in federal and state aid.
For 20 years, the Danville Transit System has received transit planning grant funds that subsidize salary and wages at ninety percent for staff involved with planning and reporting activities. Federal and state planning grant funds are provided to urbanized areas that maintain a population of 50,000 or more residents. But the Federal Transit Administration says Danville is no longer eligible because our population is now below 50-thousand.
Last month, the Transportation Advisory Committee approved a ten percent fee increase for all bus fares and a reduction in the half fare discount period for seniors and persons with disabilities.
City Council will begin discussion at a work session tomorrow night.
Four students picked for Pitt. Co. School Board program:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Top students from each of Pittsylvania County’s four high schools will have a chance to help the county School Board next year. Superintendent James McDaniel says it’s part of their student liaison program. The students will have no voting power, but will be able to lend the student perspective to board members. The students are Nathalie Nicholson from Chatham High School---Rebecca Varnadoor from Gretna---Jamie Hodnett from Dan River---and Jordan Moorefield from Tunstall.
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.
Danville Community College welcomes new industees into their Sports Hall of Fame
L to R Ray Dooley, Dr. Ed Polhamus, Fred Butler, Jimmie Wood, Dr.Grady Tuck, Coach; George (Buddy) Clayton, Jesse Meadows Jr, Dr. Harold Henry, AthleticDirector
(RIchard Davis photo)
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