Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated 12/05/13 at 1:30 pm
Body identified as missing Lynchburg teenager:
(Lynchburg, Va.) (AP) -- Lynchburg police say a body found in a heavily wooded area has been identified as that of a missing teenager.
Police say the medical examiner's office in Roanoke positively identified the body as 18-year-old Jamisha Gilbert of Lynchburg. Police say there's no further information to release.
A team searching for Gilbert found the body Wednesday morning.
She was reported missing Sunday by her mother. Friends last saw her between midnight and 1 a.m. Friday.
Police found her car crashed into a guardrail in the city late Friday morning.
Groups provide health care sign-up assistance:
(Danville, Va.) -- Two groups were in Danville Thursday, offering a pair of forums designed to help Southside residents enroll in the new Affordable Care Act.
Amber Poron works for Enroll Virginia in Lynchburg, a nonpartisan group that assists Virginians applying for coverage under the new health insurance marketplace.
She spoke Thursday on the campus of American National University, formerly known as National Business College. About 60 attended the campus forum. Many lack insurance and wanted to know how to sign-up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. While the website had a difficult rollout, Poron said she has found that many of the problems have been corrected and she has helped dozens select plans and enroll over the past two weeks.
Campus Director Carlene Wilson says "knowledge is imperative," since many of her students are training for careers in the health care field as surgical techs and medical assistants.
Poron says local resources are also available. PATHS Medical Center on Main Street has two certified applicant counselors.
Jobless rate holds steady in October:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady in October at 5.6 percent.
While the October rate was unchanged from September's unemployment, the Virginia Employment Commission says the two months blunted a four-month climb in the jobless rate. From April's 5.2 percent rate, unemployment increased to 5.8 percent in August.
VEC said Thursday that the October rate was affected by the partial government shutdown.
In October, employment gains were made in private education and health services and in the leisure and hospitality sector, among others. Job losses were in the professional, scientific and technical services sector.
The department says while nonfarm employment is trending upward, it has yet to surpass the pre-recession peak in April 2008.
Virginia's unemployment rate compares favorably with the U.S. rate, which was 7.3 percent in October.
Juveniles arrested in connection with neighborhood break-in:
(Danville, Va.) -- Three juveniles are in custody following a burglary that occurred Wednesday morning.
Shortly before 10:00 am, 911 dispatchers received a call about three suspicious youths going behind a house in the area of the 100 block of Third Ave. West. Uniformed officers and plainclothes investigators responded and apprehended two males and one female. A canvass of the area revealed that a residence in the 100 block of Downey Ln. had been burglarized. Property identified from this residence was found in the possession of the suspects. A burglary was attempted at another residence in the 200 block of Starmont Dr., but entry was not made.
All three were charged with burglary, grand larceny, and malicious damage. Their names are being withheld due to their age. They are currently being held in the W.W. Moore, Jr. Juvenile Detention Home.
Recent burglaries in this area remain under investigation. These arrests are the result of a citizen quickly reporting suspicious activity to the 911 dispatchers. The Danville Police Department would like to remind everyone who witnesses activity that seems suspicious or out of the ordinary to call 911 without delay.
Fieldale man sentenced for murder:
(Henry County, Va.) -- A Fieldale man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison in a March 20 shooting death in Henry County.
35-year-old Marcus Barnes pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in September. He also pleaded no contest to firearms charges.
28-year-old William Bradley Doss of Bassett died of a single gunshot wound.
Barnes’ defense attorney said the victim invited Barnes to Doss’ home. He claimed Doss provoked the fight and that Doss was armed with brass knuckles and a knife, which were found near his body.
Witnesses testified that after Doss tried to hit Barnes, Barnes pulled a small-caliber handgun and pulled the trigger. The firearm did not discharge and Barnes ran to a car driven by his girlfriend. He reportedly fired the fatal shot after Doss and his brother surrounded the car and began pelting it with rocks.
Barnes fired a single shot, which struck Doss in the chest. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a Martinsville hospital.
No city money used to demolish Hylton Hall:
(Danville, Va.) -- We’re learning more about the demolition of Hylton Hall and just who’s is paying to have the historic building taken down.
According to a city official, a memorandum of understanding is in place between the building’s owner -- Hylton Hall Partners -- and the Danville Industrial Development Authority.
According to the agreement, Hylton Hall Partners agreed to contract with an asbestos abatement company -- ECO Services LLC -- to perform asbestos removal. Hylton Hall Partners also signed a contract with Marshall Construction to demolish the building. That process started this week.
Once the demolition is completed, Hylton Hall Partners will have the site graded. The IDA will purchase the lot once it has been cleared and graded, for a net of $100,000. The IDA will then hold the property for future sale or development.
Hylton Hall Properties purchased the former Dan River complex in 2008 with plans to convert it into upscale apartments for seniors. Those plans fell through when the recession hit and were abandoned when fire destroyed the building in April of last year.
(Washington, D.C.) -- Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders is attending a summit in Washington, D.C., at the request of the White House.
The forum involves local leaders from across the country and focuses on manufacturing, which is the focus of President Obama’s Middle Class Jobs Agenda.
Mayor Sherman Saunders said he welcomes the invitation and looks forward to sharing Danville’s success stories. He also hopes to learn what other localities are doing to attract jobs.
The gathering features the White House Economic Advider, Gene Sperling, along with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Saunders is expected to participate in a roundtable discussion with other city leaders and share information about improving competitiveness for manufacturing investment and jobs.
The summit is being held in the West Wing of the White House in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Dec. 17-18 set for recount in Va. AG's race:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The recount in Virginia's historically close race for attorney general has been scheduled for Dec. 17 and 18.
Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals set those dates at a hearing Wednesday, allowing Fairfax County to begin its recount on the 17th with the rest of the state's localities joining in the next day. The additional time was given to Fairfax County because of its population and array of voting machines.
Once localities complete the recount, a three-judge recount court will convene to settle any challenged ballots.
Democrat Mark Herring has a 165-vote edge over Republican Mark Obenshain in the closest statewide race in modern Virginia political history.
Obenshain requested the recount, which will be done at taxpayer expense.
Both men are hoping to succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Police cordon off the Mall entrance near Belk's after a suspicious package was found.
Danville Mall cleared out for "suspicious" package:
(Danville, Va.) -- A portion of the Danville Mall was evacuated last night after a suspicious package was found near one of the entrances---turns out it was a false alarm.
Danville Police Captain Matt Carter says the call came in just before nine o-clock. Someone spotted a clear, plastic package sitting in front of the Belk’s entrance. The mall was evacuated and the State Police Bomb Squad unit was called in.
Carter says they found nothing suspicious with the package.
Danville Police report increase in burglaries:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Police are reporting a spike in residential break-ins over the past month or so, particularly in two areas.
Detectives says the North Main Street corridor has seen a number of residential burglaries since the start of November, as has the area around Danville Community College in the south side of town.
Detective Shannon Conner says its too early to say who’s responsible, but she notes Police have received multiple reports of g
of juveniles walking through neighborhoods, peering into windows.
Conner says folks should secure their homes and make sure no Christmas presents or other valuable items are locating near uncovered windows. Also, with new electronics purchases, try not to leave boxes outside until just before trash pickup.
Southside gun case on hold:
(Washington, D.C.) -- A former police officer in Rocky Mount and a Bassett Gun Store owner will wait until a big Supreme Court case before they enter pleas to federal gun counts
US Attorneys say 57-year old David Carson Haskins paid people to buy guns from Town Police Supply in Collinsville---a company that provides gun to law enforcement. Haskins then re-sold the guns on the internet. He runs Southern Gun Incorporated in Bassett
Prosecutors say 25-year old James Marion Slate of Rocky Mount made at least two of the straw purchases---while he was a patrolman with the Rocky Mount Town Department.
Both will plead guilty---but only after the nation’s highest court weighs in on another gun case with ties to Southside Virginia.
Federal prosecutors say 33-year old James Abramski used his police discount to buy a glock-19 from a Collinsville gun store in 2009. He then sold it to his uncle in Pennsylvania. The ATF says Abramski lied to the dealer when he signed a form identifying him as the “actual purchaser” of the weapon.
Abramski says since he and his uncle were legally allowed the own guns, he doesn’t qualify under the legal definition of a “straw purchaser.” The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments during their next session.
Each defendant faces a maximum five years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Haskins could get up to 18 additional years on the extra charges.
Gov. Bob McDonnell to speak at Averett:
(Danville, Va.) -- Governor Bob McDonnell will deliver the keynote address at Averett University's commencement exercises. The school announced Tuesday that McDonnell will address graduates Saturday, December 14 at the Grant Center.
The appearance comes just a couple of weeks before McDonnell ends his term as the state’s chief executive.