Thursday, May 23, 2013
Company to bring 150 jobs to Danville's River District:
(Danville, Va.) -- A company that makes organic lozenges will set up shop in the heart of Danville’s Tobacco Warehouse District.
AllergEase lozenges are similar to cough drops and contain plantain leaf, organic honey, vitamin C and menthol and are sold nationwide through CVS, Walgreens and Bartell drugs.
The lozenges were developed by Zeeshan Kaba and Dr. Omar Javery.
Kaba is president of AllergEase LLC and will locate the company’s warehouse and distribution operations at 110 Newton Street, using a portion of the Pemberton Building on Bridge Street for executive offices and headquarters.
The move to Danville will create 150 jobs and represents a $7.5 million investment over three years.
The city of Danville and the Virginia Tobacco Commission played key roles in bringing AllergEase to town. The company is now based in Arlington.
Tobacco Commission approves $9.5 million in local grants:
(Southside, Va.) -- The Virginia Tobacco Commission has approved grants that will bring jobs and technology to Southside.
Grants totaling approximately $9.5 million were approved Thursday for Averett University’s for the school's Telehealth Education program; the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region for the SOVA Work Ready Community program; Patrick Henry Community College Foundation for Stem-H offerings and Biology Lab upgrades; the Virginia Museum of Natural History Foundation for integrated STEM-H education; Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative for the Genomic Sequencing Center in Danville; the Future of the Piedmont Foundation for Southern Virginia Regional Alliance marketing efforts; the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority for the first phase of industrial sanitary sewer service to the Berry Hill Mega Park; and Pittsylvania County for a tire recycling facility and establishing a Machine Technology Program at the Career and Technical Center.
Police fire shot at armed intruder:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Police are looking for a gunman in a home invasion late last night. The call came in shortly after eleven-thirty from the 700 block of Claiborne Street. When policed pulled up, a woman frantically ran out to the officers and said there was a masked gunman inside. Police went into the house and saw a man standing near the back door holding a gun. When the man pointed the gun towards the officers, one of the officers fired a shot at him from a shotgun and then took cover. The man ran from the house out the back door. Officers brought in K-9 units to track the suspect, but they were unsuccessful. Evidence suggests that the man was not hit by gunfire. The man is a black male with dreadlocks. He has a thin build and is about six feet tall. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call Danville Crimestoppers at (434) 793-0000.
Worker dies in fall at factory:
(Ringgold, Va.) -- Pittsylvania County authorities are investigating a fatal workplace accident, but the Sheriff says they have no reason to suspect foul play.
Sheriff Mike Taylor says it happened Tuesday morning at the Intertape Polymer plant in Ringgold. 58-year old Daniel Graney of Browns Summit, N.C., was working on a platform about when he fell backwards. Taylor says he fell 36 and landed on a lower tier about eight feet from the floor.
Rescue squad members were unable to revive Graney. He died at the scene. Results of an autopsy should be available later this week.
Hurt supports Keystone Pipeline measure:
(Washington, DC) -- A local lawmaker is backing a plan to take the Keystone Pipeline decision OUT of the President’s hands.
Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt took to the House floor yesterday in support of the Northern Route Approval Act – a House initiative to pave the way for construction of the Keystone Pipeline.
Hurt says approval of the pipeline will lead to lower fuel prices and it will create jobs. Hurt says the energy policies coming out of Washington under this president are hurting local communities.
The measure cleared the House yesterday and now heads to the Senate.
Danville leaders avoid bus fee hike:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville leaders have managed to dodge a public transportation rate hike, thanks to higher-than-expected tax collections.
Transportation Director Marc Adelman had proposed a ten-percent fee increase. The most recent census numbers now classify the Danville bus system as a 'rural transit system'. That means instead of getting 90-percent state and federal subsidies, they can now get only 65-percent.
Combined with more people riding and the higher the cost of gas, that added up to a $16,000 shortfall.
City Councilman Lee Vogler suggested they apply some of the 100-thousand-dollar surplus in revenue collections to avoid the fee increase. Council is expected to finalize that proposal next month.
Devastation from a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
God's Pit Crew mobilizing massive response to Oklahoma:
(Moore, Ok.) -- It’ll be a bittersweet return to Oklahoma this week for God’s Pit Crew. It was a massive twister in the Sooner State in 1999 that led Randy Johnson to organize the crew. They're sending everything they have after Monday night’s devastating tornado.
Johnson says they’ll also make use of equipment they had in Texas over the weekend. Several of those drivers were already headed back to Danville when the twister hit in Moore-Oklahoma. Those trucks loaded up relief supplies in Tennessee and headed out to Oklahoma.
Johnson says all that travelling is taking its toll on their financial reserves. He notes that it takes $2,800 to send just one truck on a round trip. You can make a donation through their website at God’s Pit Crew-dot-org. They’re also accepting supply donations at their warehouse on North Main Street. Johnson says they need bottled water, canned food, baby supplies, personal hygiene products and pet food.
Today, 15% of the proceeds from every meal sold at Checkered Pig restaurants in Danville and Martinsville will be donated to the relief effort in Oklahoma. WBTM and WAKG will be at the throughout the day Thursday to encourage folks to respond.
Man jumps into Dan River to avoid trial:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 46-year old Danville man scheduled for a Circuit Court trial Tuesday morning left the courtroom and jumped into the river.
Anthony Falden was set to go to trial on a charge of possession of cocaine. Police say he left the courtroom, walked to the Martin Luther King Bridge, and got on the Riverwalk trail. From there, he jumped into the Dan River.
Police negotiators tried to get Falden to grab a buoy they tossed his way. They said Falden would grab the buoy, but then would let go.
Police got in contact with Falden’s family members by cell phone. When his daughter showed up, Falden came out of the water. He was a hundred yards downstream of the bridge. The incident lasted about thirty minutes.
Falden was not hurt, but he’s being taken to the hospital for an evaluation. Additional charges are pending.
No speakers at budget public hearing:
(Danville, Va.) -- Folks had a chance this week to let Danville City Council know what they think about next year’s proposed budget. No one showed up to speak at the public hearing.
A surplus in property tax revenue allowed Council to drop the city manager’s request for a five-cent hike in the real estate rate.
Several Council members said they had heard some concerns over a package of water and utility rate increases in the budget. The package includes four-(m) million dollars for River District and industrial park development---along with $1.75 million for 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.
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.
Pitt. Co. leaders approve pared-down School Safety plan:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Instead of being able to hire up to 16 new school resource officers, Pittsylvania County’s Sheriff’s will be able to apply for a grant that would fund most of the costs for SIX new officers.
The Board of Supervisors this week voted to remove the original one-point-seven (m) million dollar line item from Sheriff Mike Taylor’s School Safety Initiative. He’s now hoping for the US Department of Justice Grant that would foot 75-percent of the bill for a three-year period. The County would match 25-percent for three years, then pay the full cost for a fourth year.
The Danville Register and Bee reports that would come out to around 200-thousand local dollars.
Council begins approval process for downtown fountain:
(Danville, Va.) -- A local company is upping their donation, allowing a new downtown water fountain to become even MORE noticeable. And Danville City Council this week took the first step to make it happen.
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.
Council members says the fountain could give Danville a whole new identity.
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.
City finalizes dam purchase:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville leaders have finalized a plan to buy the former Schoolfield Dam and lease it back to the company that’s been using it the past 23 years.
Dan River and STS Hydropower of Michigan Corporation entered into a lease for STS to operate the four-and-a-half megawatt, federally-licensed hydroelectric facility at the Schoolfield Dam in 1989 with the lease ending in 2014.
Dan River filed for bankruptcy five years ago. All their property, including the Schoolfield Dam, came under the control of bankruptcy trustee. A bankruptcy court judge has signed off on the deal, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has lent their blessings.
The city will purchase the dam for 175-thousand dollars, then lease it back to STS. They would pay over 17-hundred dollars per year, through the year 2063.
Leaders lend preliminary approval for Danville Braves lease:
(Danville, Va.) -- The city is one step away from signing a deal to keep the Danville Braves in town for at least five more years.
City Council has approved a first readin of a Lease Agreement with the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, allowing the Danville Braves to continue to use American Legion Stadium as their home field for five years. The lease also contains the option for an additional five-year lease.
The Danville Braves will pay the City an annual rent of over 60-thousand dollars. The Lease also calls for various improvements to the stadium over the initial five year term. That will include expanding and enclosing the batting cage, field renovations, and outfield wall and concourse renovations.
The Braves have been in Danville since 1993.
Fryer fire closes seafood restaurant temporarily:
(Danville, Va.) -- A fire at Long John Silver’s restaurant on 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.
Sheriff Mike Mondul presents a $1,000.00 scholarship check through the Virginia Sheriff’s Institute to rising Averett University senior Taylor Hayden. Hayden is a criminal justice major who currently boasts a 3.75 overall GPA.