Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Updated 12/10/13 at 12:55 pm
Caswell Couple will face the death penalty:
(Yanceyville, N.C.)-- A Caswell County couple accused of killing their 8-year-old daughter will face the death penalty in Caswell County, N.C.
Dominique and Willie Lunsford, Jr., are accused of starving their daughter, Danielle Lunsford. Danielle was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center in October 2010 — when she was 8. When she arrived, the little girl was in cardiac arrest, unresponsive, and severely malnourished. She weighed only 35 pounds.
Chief Caswell County Assistant District Attorney LuAnn Martin said in court Tuesday the Lunsfords home schooled all of the children in the home and kept them away from neighbors and relatives.
Danielle Lunsford passed away on Sept. 25 at Vidant Children’s Hospital after being on life support for nearly three years.
Downtown Ribbon Cutting will coincide with Christmas Parade:
(Danville, Va.) -- The River District Development Project is in its third year. This weekend, local leaders will celebrate the end of the first phase of the downtown revitalization effort.
A 5-30 ribbon-cutting is set for Phase One of the Streetscape project. Crews have installed new, wider sidewalks on the lower end of Main Street. Phase Two, which includes a Gateway Plaza and fountain, is still under construction.
In addition to the cosmetic improvements, the city has also converted Patton Street to two-way traffic to provide better access to businesses and parking lots serving stores on Main Street. They’ve also opened a new parking lot at 500 Main St.; and conducted a parking study for the full district.
Right after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Main Street will play host to the annual Rotary Christmas Parade.
Martinsville firm to expand---again:
(Martinsville, Va.) -- Solid Stone Fabrics will spend a million dollars, creating 16 new jobs over the next three years as they expand their Martinsville facility.
David Stone, President and CEO, started the company in his home in 2003. Since then, they’ve grown from three employees to 24 with plans to add another 16 jobs in this latest expansion.
Solid Stone will continue to operate in their current location on Fayette Street---and will be expanding to the former American of Martinsville headquarters building on Church Street in Uptown Martinsville. They’ll use an additional 23-thousand square feet of manufacturing space. Stone says they expect to be fully operational in their new facility by next week.
The Tobacco Commission approved $100,000 for the project.
McDonnell wants more Mental Health spending:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing increased mental health funding and the creation of a task force to look at ways to head off mental health crises.
The governor announced the initiatives Tuesday. They follow the November death of a Virginia state senator's son less than one day after he had been released from emergency custody.
McDonnell is proposing more than $38 million in state funding over the next two-year budget cycle for critical mental health services. The task force would include mental health and law enforcement officials among its members.
Virginia mental health officials have already announced changes in response to the death of Sen. Creigh Deeds' son Gus.
Citing the Virginia Tech massacre, McDonnell said Virginians have experienced "tremendous heartache" as a result of mental health tragedies.
Caswell County man shot; uncle charged:
(Ruffin, N.C.) -- A Caswell County man is on the critical list after he was shot Sunday night…and his uncle is in jail.
Caswell County Sheriff’s Lt-Frank Rose says the call came in shortly before eight-thirty PM Sunday from Route 158 near Ruffin. Deputies found 24-year old Roger Dale Coltrane suffering from a gunshot wound to the arm and upper chest.
He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro---last listed in critical but stable condition.
Investigators have charged 44-year old Roger Lee Coltrane with attempted first degree murder. He was taken into custody without incident and he is being held in the Caswell County Detention facility under a half-(m) million-dollar secured bond. His first court appearance is set for Wednesday.
Hundreds of local customers still without power:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Utilities have restored electricity to thousands of customers in Virginia. But new outages are possible as another winter storm hits the state.
Power outages statewide on Monday topped 114,000. As of Tuesday morning, the number of outages is down to about 14,700.
Dominion Virginia Power reports about 9,100 outages, including about 8,800 in Northern Virginia. About a hundred of their local customers are still off-line.
About 5,100 customers served by Virginia's electric cooperatives are without power. That includes about 500 Mecklenburg Co-op customers in Pittsylvania County---
Appalachian Power reports about 440 outages in Southwest Virginia. The utility says wintry weather on Tuesday could cause additional outages and complicate efforts to restore power.
Judge to consider gag order in missing teen case:
(Lovingston, Va.) (AP) -- Nelson County's prosecutor is seeking a gag order in an abduction case involving a missing teenager.
Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin wants to prevent potential witnesses and others involved in the case from disclosing information that could hamper impaneling an impartial jury.
Randy Taylor of Lovingston is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 3 on an abduction charge. The charge stems from the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy of Shipman.
Murphy was last seen Aug. 3 at a gas station in Lovingston. Authorities found her car several days later in a parking lot in Albemarle County.
A hearing on Martin's motion for a gag order is set for Wednesday morning in Nelson County Circuit Court.
Minor damage, no injuries in early-morning fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- A North Main Street convenience store caught fire Monday morning.
Captain Dean Fowler says the call came in at around quarter after three from the Speedway Food. Engines from the Third Avenue and Airport Drive stations responded, along with an additional engine and ladder truck from the Bridge Street station.
There was fire coming from the front porch and roof. Fowler says they made a quick attack and were able to contain it to a small area.
Fowler says a quartz light on the front of the structure had malfunctioned and dropped down. The heat from the light in turn set the wood sheeting on fire and spread from there.
Damage was held to a minimum and the business should still be operational. Crews spent an hour and 15 minutes at the scene. No one was hurt.
Hurt says time is running out on budget agreement:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt says he’s encouraged that members of Congressional budget committees, talked over the Thanksgiving recess---but he says they’re no closer to coming up with a budget plan by the self-imposed Friday deadline.
Any deal is expected to be a narrow one. It would likely address how much of sequestration to replace with other cuts and, setting the top-line spending levels for the government. Hurt calls that short-sighted. He says any meaningful budget should call for major reforms to entitlement spending.
Meantime, another conference committee is meeting on the farm bill -- a $1 trillion five-year measure to deal with agriculture subsidies and welfare and nutrition programs. Congress has already spent two years working on the bill, which expired in 2011, and has been operating through short-term deals. Lawmakers have until Jan. 1 to renew the law.
Man wanted for Danville homicide arrested in Roanoke:
(Danville, Va.) -- The search for Harry James Gladmon has ended.
Members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrested Gladmon in Roanoke Thursday night. He has since been returned to Danville, where Gladmon is being held in the city jail under no bond.
Gladmon is charged with first-degree murder and stab, cut or wound in the commission of murder.
Investigators had been searching for Gladmon in the death of Gilmore M. Cowan. The 56-year-old Cowan was stabbed repeatedly during the early morning hours of September 30 as he got off his job at the Pure Station on the South Boston Road. He was getting into a friend’s car when two men wearing Halloween masks grabbed him. One stabbed Cowan repeatedly before the pair fled on foot. Police were called to the emergency room after learning that one of the assailants was cut during the attack.
Va. Tech names new president:
(Blacksburg, Va.) (AP) - Timothy Sands has been named the 16th president of Virginia Tech, succeeding President Charles W. Steger.
Tech's Board of Visitors approved the hiring of the Purdue University provost Friday.
In June, Steger announced he was stepping down after 14 years at the helm of the Blacksburg university. He agreed to stay until his successor was named.
Steger was thrust into the national spotlight on April 16, 2007, when a student-gunman killed 32 students on the Tech campus in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed himself after the rampage.
During his tenure, Tech increased its enrollment, saw its research portfolio grow by more than 300 percent, and established a school of biomedical engineering and created a school of medicine.
Carlisle to lease former I.W. Taylor School:
(Danville, Va.) -- Carlisle School has found a new home for its Danville campus.
The Danville School Board voted Thursday night to enter into a lease agreement with the private school to lease the former I.W. Taylor Elementary School on Piney Forest Road, which has been vacant since the school closed last June.
Danville School Superintendent Dr. Ed Newsome says the board has been in negotiations with Carlisle for the past several months and both sides have agreed to a three year lease, starting in the spring and extending through June 2016.
Carlisle operates schools in Martinsville, Danville and Chatham, but a decline in enrollment has led to the closure of the Pittsylvania County campus. The Danville campus was too small and the Taylor location will allow the private school to expand its offerings.
Newsome describes the agreement as a "win-win" for all concerned. He says "it will not have a significant impact on the numbers of students that we have (and) we don't feel like there is competition with the public schools."
Newsome says the agreement covers a three year period and is renewable on a yearly basis.
Human remains found in Franklin County:
(Franklin County, Va.) -- The Franklin County Sheriff's Department says possible human remains were found Thursday in the Henry area of Franklin County.
A news release from Lt. Phillip Young said the remains will be sent to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke. Until a positive identification is made, police will not release any further information on what Young described as “an active investigation.”
The charred remains of 53-year-old Vicky Harbour Purdy were discovered October 6 inside a burned vehicle in the 2000 block of Philpott Road in Henry. Her death was later ruled a homicide, but the cause of death was not revealed.
Investigators have been searching for 53-year-old Ricky Dodson of Bassett. Dodson was reported missing on Oct. 7 by his mother. She said her son had dated Purdy on and off for years.
Kiwanis announces 2013 Citizen of the Year:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Kiwanis Club awarded Charles H. “Charlie” Majors the 81st Annual Citizenship Award. Majors is a Georgia native and a graduate of Auburn University. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Majors came to Danville to join the firm of Clement & Wheatley before joining American National Bank where he served as Chief Executive Officer for 20 years. Majors is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the bank.
Majors was a member of the Danville School Board for nine years, then served as Chairman of the School Board for five years. Majors has served on a number of boards in the Community, including Averett University Board of Trustees, the Danville Regional Foundation Board of Directors, and the Virginia Economic Development Foundation.
Charlie Majors and his wife Carol are also active members of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church.
Bristol passes Danville for highest metro jobless rate:
(Richmond, Va.) -- For the first time in years, the Danville area jobless rate is not the highest among Virginia's metropolitan regions. Thursday's report from the Virginia Employment Commission shows the October jobless rate in Danville and Pittsylvania County at 7.2%. It was 7.1% in September and 7.7% a year ago.
A sharp spike in Bristol's jobless rate -- from 6.8% in September to 8.1% in October -- pushed that city ahead of Danville in the monthly survey.
The state's highest single jobless rate is still in Martinsville, at 12.5%. But that city's rate was down more than two-and-a-half percent from a year ago.
The Danville City rate was 8.6%; Pittsylvania County's rate remained steady at 6.3%; Halifax County's rate of 8.9% was unchanged from a month ago and a year ago. Henry County's 7.9% jobless rate is down more than a full percentage point from last year.