07:53am, 03/03/15
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Monday, March 2, 2015
Updated 3/2/15 @ 5:15 pm

Danville Utilities warns of bill payment scam:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Utilities is warning its customers about a scam involving a demand for immediate payment of their utility bill. A commercial business was the target.
      In this scam, the business received a phone call requesting the purchase of a pre-paid card for a “power reload,” to avoid a loss of service.
       The department does not contact customers by phone and demand immediate payment, and never asks or requires customers who have delinquent accounts to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid electric service disconnection. This is a scam.
      Customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications by letter from Danville Utilities over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection -- never just a single notification one hour before disconnection.

Rockingham Co. authorities look for robbers:
(Rockingham County, N.C.) -- Rockingham County Sheriff’s Investigators are looking for two men who robbed Village Sweepstakes in Reidsville Sunday at around 4 a.m.
     Two males, dressed entirely in black with their faces covered with masks, came into the business and demanded money. One pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the employees, then robbed the business of an undisclosed amount of cash and a cell phone. They then drove away in a light colored, 4-door passenger car.
     Anyone with information about this armed robbery is asked to call the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office at 336-349-9683 or Rockingham County Crime Stoppers at 336-349-9683.

Another fatal accident in Pittsylvania County:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) – Virginia State Police are investigating a second fatal crash in Pittsylvania County in as many days.
    Trooper L.G. Foley Jr. is investigating a single-vehicle crash that occurred Saturday at 4:25 p.m. on Route 29, less than a mile north of Route 931.
     A truck loaded with wood chips was traveling north on Route 29 when it ran off the road and crashed. The driver, David H. Nichols, 65, of Rustburg, Va., died at the scene. His remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy.
     The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. The Virginia State Police Salem Division Crash Reconstruction Team is assisting with the investigation.
     Route 29 was reopened by 11 p.m. Saturday.

General Assembly wraps up 2015 session:
(Richmond, Va.) – Virginia's 2015 legislative session is in the books.
     Lawmakers adjourned Friday after passing legislation at the last minute aimed at tightening the state's ethics rules for public officials and curbing sexual assaults on Virginia's college campuses.
     The ethics-reform proposal puts a $100 cap on gifts lawmakers can accept - including meals, entertainment and travel - from lobbyists and their clients, or others seeking to do business with the state. Lawmakers were spurred to reform the state's ethics rules following the conviction last year of former Gov. Bob McDonnell on corruption charges.
     Other measures passed this session include legislation assuring that a mother can breastfeed her baby in public, Virginia's first effective medical marijuana legislation, and a bill that adopts two new official state songs.

Charges filed in Martinsville shooting:
(Martinsville, Va.) – A Martinsville man is facing six felony counts after another man was shot outside of his home early yesterday. It happened at around 2-30 am in the 100 block of Park Street. Officers found 19-year-old Malik Moorehead suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County.  His condition has not been released. 38-year old Calvin Edward Cabiness.  has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding and five weapons counts.

Marketing picks up for former Schoolfield Mill site:
(Danville, Va.) – An 80-acre site that was once a center of textile manufacturing in Danville for more than 100 years is now primed to be a center of technology. 
     Tomorrow night, Danville City Council will get an update on efforts to market the Dan River Technology Park.  It’s the former Schoolfield Mill site.  The city Industrial Development Authority owns the site---they would like to sell or lease it. It offers up to 1.9 million square feet for future development.
     Marketing firms say there are pitching the fact that the site includes several existing structures, has its own electrical substation, unlimited water supply and is hooked into Danville’s high-capacity broadband.


Council ready to launch 2016 budget process:
(Danville, Va.) – Danville City Council tomorrow night will get their first look at next year’s budget.  City Manager Joe King will present the panel with a working draft of the 2016 spending blueprint.  Council will have a month to make recommended changes before sending a version out for public comment.  Earlier, King said he did not expect the package to include any new programs or initiatives.  It’s also unlikely to include any increase in Electrical, Water, Gas or Telecommunications fees.  It could include a hike in the wastewater rate.


Local chef killed in Mount Cross wreck:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- A Danville man was killed in an icy crash on the Mount Cross Road early Friday morning.
     31-year-old Chad Matthew Smith died when his 2006 Jeep Liberty ran off the right side of the Mount Cross Road, struck a ditch, and overturned before snapping a utility pole.  
     Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the Executive Chef at the Golden Leaf Bistro in downtown Danville.
     Trooper Matthew Zola says Smith was northbound on Mount Cross near its intersection with Golf Club Road when he apparently hit a patch of black ice and crashed. The car came to rest on its top and Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
     Zola said it’s believed the accident happened about 2 a.m. That’s when neighbors reported losing power. A resident who lives nearby spotted the accident just before seven a.m.
    It’s believed that a combination of speed and icy road conditions contributed to the accident.

Danville police look for sexual assault suspect:

(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Police Department is looking for the man who sexually assaulted a woman outside the Danville Salvation Army Wednesday morning.
     A 51-year-old Danville woman reported that she was smoking in front of the Salvation Army headquarters on Henry Street, where she was volunteering.  Just after 10:00 a.m., a stranger approached, began a brief conversation and suddenly forced her to the ground. He was able to remove some of her clothing and fondle her before the victim's husband came to her aid after hearing her screams. After pulling the suspect off his wife, the attacker ran to a car described as a gray or silver Nissan or Honda and fled the scene.
      The attacker was a black male in his mid-30s with dreadlocks, stocky build, and wearing glasses, a black hoodie, and black pants.
     Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Danville Crimestoppers at (434) 793-0000. You may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

DRF wants to help city's "China Strategy:
(Danville, Va.) --
The City of Danville’s “China Strategy” is about to get a 100-thousand dollar boost.  The Danville Regional Foundation is offering a grant, providing the city match the total.  The DRF says they want to encourage city efforts to market the area aggressively to companies in China---one of the world’s largest markets.  Danville City Council is expected to vote on the grant next week.

Warner co-sponsors campus assault bill:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Virginia Senator Mark Warner joined a bipartisan group of 10 senators yesterday reintroducing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.  He says the bill would stress real accountability and transparency from higher education institutions for sexual assaults occurring on college campuses.  He says the bill would also professionalize the response to, and reporting of, sexual assaults that occur on campuses in order to increase prosecutions, better protect and empower students, while also respecting the rights of the accused.

General Assembly passes budget:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Both houses of the General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to the new state budget.
     The package restores 130 (m) million dollars in aid to local Governments.  That’ll add up to $350,000 in state funding to Danville and about $181,000 to Pittsylvania County. It also includes money to renovate DCC’s Engineering and Industrial Technology Building.
     Other highlights include a 1.5 percent teacher raise, $193 million for the teacher retirement fund and health care and drug benefits to 22,000 Virginia residents with severe mental illnesses.
     Last year’s budget was delayed for several months because of a deadlock over Medicaid expansion, with Republicans who oppose expansion eventually winning.


Danville man charged with "sexting" minor:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man is in jail for soliciting a juvenile via text message.  City Police say 21-year old Christopher Isler used a messaging application that does not store text data outside of the device being used to send the explicit message to a minor.  He was arrested Monday afternoon without incident. He was also served with a protective order to have no contact with the victim. He is currently being held in the Danville City Jail under no bond.

Buggs Island Lake bill heads to Governor:
(Richmond, Va.) -- A local lawmaker’s bill dealing with the name of a Southside Lake has cleared the General Assembly and is headed to the Governor’s desk.
     Mecklenburg County State Senator Frank Ruff says area tourism officials got quite a surprise when they began looking into using the name Kerr Reservoir, along with Buggs Island Lake, to promote the tourist attraction.  They were told that was illegal.
     Turns out a 1952 resolution from the Virginia General Assembly prohibits localities from using Kerr Reservoir---even though that’s the name the Federal Government gave to the Army Corps of Engineer project.
     For more than 60 years, Virginia residents have called it “Buggs Island Lake.”  Ruff says that had led to confusion.
            Ruff’s bill to allow either name be used to promote the lake cleared the House of Delegates yesterday on a unanimous vote.


Council expected to authorize repayment of Marcerata Wheels grant:
(Danville, Va.) -- Staffers are asking Danville City Council approve $1.5 million dollars for the latest round of repayments to the Virginia Tobacco Commission for projects that never materialized.
            The total includes $600,000 to settle the grant issued two years ago to Macerata Wheels. The company promised to create 101 jobs and invest $8,000,000 over a three-year period.  Macerata was supposed to have 25-percent of those goals met at this point but still has no employees. Council will be asked to authorize full repayment of the Macerata performance grant and to transfer money from the fund balance to make the payment.
The $1.5 million also includes the second of four payments for U.S. Green Energy. The first $400,000 installment repayment was made by the Industrial Development Authority.  The agreement obligates USGE to repay the entire $1.6 million grant.  The first payment to the city of Danville is due by June 30. 
The figure also includes $250,000 each for the first installment on repayments to the Tobacco Commission for grants awarded to Web Parts and GOK Furniture. The city of Danville is pursuing legal action against those two companies.


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Carol Metz
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