09:20pm, 07/30/14
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Updated 7/30/14 @ 6:00 pm

N.C. Food company coming to Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- A North Carolina company will resurrect a 20-year old Shell Building in Danville’s Airside Industrial Park. 
     Sky Valley Foods announced Wednesday that the company will bring its food production operations to town. They plann to hire sixty workers immediately, and hope to have 100 on board by the end of next year.
    Two weeks ago, Danville City Council signed off on a $2.75 million loan to purchase the former Shorewood building. The building has been vacant for a year since Amcor purchased the local operation, then shut it down.
     Six months ago, officials from Sun Valley approached Danville's Office of Economic Development to talk about expanding operations locally. They expressed an interest in the Amcor building. 
     Sky Valley will make a variety of food and drink products that will be sold under well-known trademarks to major food and grocery chain stores. They specialize in natural and organic salad dressings and sauces.

Reward offered in Caswell County homicide:
(Yanceyville, N.C.) -- North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that the state is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed a Caswell County fisherman more than five years ago.
      47-year-old Robert Allen Michalec had gone fishing with a friend in Hyco Lake the night of June 25, 2009. When he didn’t show up for work the following day, sheriff’s deputies went looking for him. Michalec’s body was found in the lake near the dock where he had been dropped off the night before.
      The death was ruled a homicide after the state medical examiner determined that Michalec died of blunt force trauma.
      Anyone with information about his death is asked to contact the Caswell County Sheriff’s Department or the State Bureau of Investigation at (919) 662-4500.
Vacations, trips detailed at ex-governor's trial:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- The assistant to the wealthy businessman at the center of the corruption case against ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has testified about arranging trips for the former first family.
     Jerri Fulkerson told a jury Wednesday that some of the trips she arranged were a McDonnell family vacation at a lake house owned by her boss, Jonnie Williams. She also talked about flights for some of the five McDonnell children to Florida, Georgia and a resort in Virginia.
      Bob and Maureen McDonnell are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for promoting his products. Williams is the former CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific Inc.
      Williams is expected to testify under immunity as the prosecution's star witness.

Local jobless rates down from 2013:
(Southside, Va.) -- Danville-area jobless rates are steady from a month ago, but down from a year ago.  That's according to the June report  from the Virginia Employment Commission. 
     The Danville Metropolitan area rate was 7.8% in June, up from 7.7% in May. It's down from 8.5% a year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Danville and Pittsylvania County lost about 900 total jobs in the year-to-year period. That 2.3% drop was the highest in Virginia.
     Martinsville no longer has the state’s highest jobless rate.  Their 10.3% rate is lower than Lexington's, which shot up to nearly 11.5%. Martinsville's rate fell from down from 12.2% in June of 2013. The Danville City rate is just under ten percent. Pittsylvania County’s 6.6% rate was the lowest in the region.


Cause determined in house fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville’s Fire Marshall has determined that a morning fire that destroyed a home off the South Boston Road started in an overloaded electric socket.
     The early morning blaze destroyed the home at 118 Cain Street. The house was fully involved when the first units arrived at around 2:00 Wednesday morning.
     Battalion Chief Dallas Swinney says the house was a total loss. The family was out of town when the fire broke out and there were no injuries.
     16 crew members spent three-and-a-half hours at the scene. Swinney says the family has a place to stay. (Leonard Harville photos)

Martinsville woman charged in daughter's overdose death:
(Martinsville, Va.) -- Martinsville investigators say a five-year old girl died last year after consuming methadone, cocaine, painkillers and other prescription drugs.  They have charged the mother with murder.
     It was last November when Martinsville Police got a report of two unresponsive children at a house on Dunlap Street.  Five-year-old AahLayah Martin died about an hour after officers arrived on the scene.  A second child, a 2-year-old girl, was experiencing what police described as “a medical emergency” and was taken to a Roanoke hospital.  She has since recovered.
     Prosecutors charged the girl’s mother, Dominique Lanier Martin.  Investigators say the medications were not prescribed to her.


Gov. McAuliffe discusses workforce development at DCC:
(Danville, Va.) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe listened Tuesday as educators and business leaders offered suggestions for upgrading workforce training on the Southside,  and said the state must do a better job of “tying what our students are learning with the jobs and the skill sets of the future.”
      Nearly every hand in the room went up when McAuliffe asked how many local employers have unfilled jobs because they can’t find workers with the training needed to fill those positions. McAuliffe told the gathering that “the system as it exists today is not working.”     
      McAuliffe said the jobs are available, but “we’ve got to match what jobs are out there with what they ought to be taught in school.”
     Several suggestions were made during the hour-long roundtable discussion at Danville Community College, and Gov. McAuliffe said he will include those ideas in an executive order he is preparing on workforce development.

McAuliffe hails ruling striking down same-sex marriage ban:
(Danville, Va.) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe says he welcomes an appeals court’s decision striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. The governor said he "was overjoyed" by the ruling adding: "Virginia needs to be open and welcoming to everyone."
      McAuliffe’s comments came in Danville, a day after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled that state laws banning gay marriage violate the U.S. Constitution.
      Gov. McAuliffe said the ruling underscores his belief that Virginia should have an open door policy. He said  Monday's decision "sends a signal that Virginia is open and welcoming to everyone."
     The decision applies throughout the circuit, which includes North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.
     The issue will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Terry McAuliffe addresses the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce
(Leonard Harville photo)

Gov. McAuliffe brings his wife & cabinet to Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe threw out the first pitch at the Danville Braves baseball game Monday night.  On Tuesday, he was joined by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and his cabinet for a series of stops in the area.  McAuliffe visited Goodyear workers during shift change and stopped by the Danville Chamber of Commerce's State of the Region Breakfast. McAuliffe held a full cabinet meeting at The Institute before moderating a roundtable discussion on economic development and workforce development at Danville Community College.

Dorothy McAuliffe meets with residents of Danville House (Ken Warrick photo)

Shooting victim's condition is upgraded:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man who suffered multiple wounds in a weekend shooting is showing signs of improvement. Danville Police say he is now listed in stable condition at Danville Regional Medical Center. The victim had been listed as serious after suffering multiple gunshots wounds late Saturday night. The incident happened at around 11:30 in the 100 block of Macon Street. Capt. Barry Creasy said officers responded to a report of shots fired and found a 38 year old male victim inside a car. The man was shot several times and was taken to the emergency room by the Danville Life Saving Crew. At last report, no arrests had been made. (photo: Leonard Harville)

US court: Va. gay marriage ban unconstitutional:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.
     A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
      In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia's same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.
      The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.

North Carolina AG to no longer defend gay marriage ban:
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- North Carolina's attorney general says his office will no longer defend the state's voter-approved ban on same sex marriage in court after a federal appeals court ruled a similar prohibition in neighboring Virginia unconstitutional.
     Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling made it highly likely North Carolina's ban will be overturned. North Carolina is part of the 4th Circuit. Cooper said any federal judge in North Carolina would be bound by the ruling.
     Cooper, a Democrat, said further opposition to the four federal lawsuits challenging his state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would be "futile."   Cooper had previously said he personally opposes the marriage ban, but his duty as attorney general was to defend the state law approved by voters in 2012.

     State Senate leader Phil Berger says Cooper should defend North Carolina's same sex marriage ban. The Eden Republican said after the Senate session on Monday that Cooper should stand up for the people of North Carolina and uphold its constitution. More than 60 percent of voters approved the amendment in 2012.

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