11:11pm, 04/18/15
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 Saturday, April 18, 2015
Updated 4/18/15 @ 6:32 am

State weighing proposed expansion of Danville Historic District:
(Danville, Va.) -- Staffers are weighing a proposal to add the Ross Street area to Danville’s Historic District.
            The state Department of Historic Resources will hold a public meeting next month to explain what this would mean to landowners in that area.  The new portion of the district would include Ross and Grove Street, along with several nearby areas like Holbrook Avenue and Chambers Street.  It would also include Midtown Market, the Grove Street Cemetery, and Sacred Heart Church.
            This would add 21 acres to the district.  66 properties would be included.  Only nine of which are listed as “non-contributing.”
            A final vote will be taken in June.

Hurt votes to kill the "Death Tax":
(Washington, D.C.) -- A local lawmaker voted yesterday to “kill the death tax.”  Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt was in the majority yesterday as the House voted to permanently repeal the federal estate tax. 
     Hurt calls the tax not only destructive, but also immoral.  He points out these assets already have been taxed, both when the income was first earned and then oftentimes with additional layers of tax on interest, dividends, and capital gains.
     Also, Hurt says the estate tax discourages investing and saving for the future.  He says repealing it would have little effect on revenue.
     President Barack Obama disagrees…he says the $300 billion cost of eliminating a tax that would affect relatively few people isn’t worth it.


Halifax County man killed in Cayman Islands:
(Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island) -- Police say a cruise ship passenger from Halifax County was killed in the Cayman Islands when the personal watercraft he was operating collided with one operated by a teenage tourist.
     The collision occurred Wednesday off Grand Cayman's popular Seven Mile Beach.  Cayman police yesterday identified the man as 31-year-old Robert Cole from Virgilina.
     Police say Cole and a female passenger were thrown from their rented machine when it collided with another personal watercraft, operated by a 15-year-old from New York.     
     They were all passengers on Carnival cruise ships.
     The boy sustained a minor injury to his nose. Cole’s passenger was treated and released.  The Royal Cayman Island Police Department is investigating.


Gladmon gets life-plus-25 in stabbing death:
(Danville, Va.) --
A Danville killer will spend the rest of his life in prison.  Harry James Gladmon was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder; then give life-plus-25 years.
            Federal Marshals arrested Gladmon in Roanoke in December-2013.  He’d been on the run for three months following the stabbing death of 56-year old Gilmore Cowan.
            Police say Cowan was stabbed repeatedly by two men wearing Halloween masks as he got off work at the Pure Station on the South Boston Road.  One of the two suspects was wounded during the stabbing.
            So far, Gladmon is the only one who’s been arrested in the case.

Bond denied for murder, arson suspect:
(Danville, Va.) --
39-year-old Christy Michelle Beskin will remain in the Danville City Jail until she goes to trial.  A judge this morning denied bond for the Pittsylvania County woman who’s charged with first degree murder and arson in last month’s death of 50-year-old Donna Gail Hiatt-Lanier. According to a search warrant, Danville's assistant fire marshal, Richie Guill, said he found Lanier in the kitchen. He said there was blood splattered on the fridge near the body and a sword and baseball bat were beside the victim.  He said she had severe injuries that were not a result of the fire. The search warrant revealed that there was a strong odor of kerosene in the house.  Beskin will remain in the Danville City Jail under no bond until her next court appearance.

Judge refuses to block Sweet Briar closing:
(Bedford, Va.) -- (AP) --
A judge is refusing to block Sweet Briar College from closing its doors.
     The ruling came Wednesday in Bedford Circuit Court, where Judge James Updike refused to stand in the way of the closure but issued a 60-day injunction.
     The injunction orders the college to refrain from spending any charitable contributions on the closure of the small, private women's college.
     In a statement, a spokeswoman for Sweet Briar said the ruling allows the college to work toward an "orderly and responsible wind down of operations."
     An appeal is expected by opponents of the school's closure.
     Sweet Briar is scheduled to close Aug. 25. The college's board announced the closing on March 3, angering alumnae and current students.


Parents of Noah Thomas to remain in jail:
(Pulaski County, Va.) -- Noah Thomas’ parents will remain in jail.
     Paul Thomas and Ashley White were appeared in Pulaski County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Wednesday. Bond was denied for both during separate hearings. Both are charged with two felony counts of abuse and neglect of children.
      The couple’s 5-year-old son, Noah, was found dead March 26 in a septic tank near the family home at the conclusion of a five-day search.
      Investigators say the couple gave different versions of the events leading up to their son’s disappearance and later admitted to leaving the children at home alone. In addition to Noah, Thomas and White have a 6-month-old child who was removed from the home the day after Noah went missing.
     Thomas also told prosecutors he is a regular marijuana user.
     If convicted, Thomas faces up to 10 years in prison. White could receive 15 years for her crimes.

McDaniel to retire as Pitt. Co. School Superintendent:
(Chatham, Va.) --
Pittsylvania County School Superintendent James McDaniel will retire effective June 30. He is retiring after 41 years of service in Danville and Pittsylvania County. 
      McDaniel has served as Superintendent since July, 2003 when he was appointed to replace Jerry Webb.
The School Board had offered McDaniel a three-year extension to his current contract agreement.
     McDaniel began in the Danville Public School system before joining Pittsylvania County in 1996. 
     In a Press Release this morning, McDaniel said, “While I have enjoyed my time in Pittsylvania County, I hear more and more clearly each day the calling of my faith, my family and my friends. Also, there are new journeys ahead with endless possibilities worth exploring.”


Still no answer to smelly water question:
(Danville, Va.) -- The latest test results are still inconclusive in determining the source of the odd taste and odor in the city’s drinking water.
     That was the word yesterday from the Department of Environmental Quality.  Also yesterday, Danville Utilities got test results from a private lab that show no presence of pesticides in raw water samples.
     Operators at the city’s water treatment plant are feeding a higher dosage of carbon to remove the earthy and musty taste and odor in the treated water. The city also has flushed out water storage tanks across the to remove any water with a bad taste and smell. Customers may continue to notice an odd taste and odor in their tap water until it purges out of the city’s distribution system. The Office of Drinking Water confirms all tests show Danville’s tap water is safe to drink.
     City and state officials continue to suspect biological activity is the culprit.


Danville man shot and wounded:
(Danville, Va.) --
Danville Police are investigating an early-morning shooting.  It happened just before one am Wednesday in the 1400 block of Richmond Boulevard.  Officers found a 24 year old Danville man suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper back side of his leg. The victim said he was walking on Richmond Boulevard when he was shot. He was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The police investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at 793-0000.

Pitt. Co. school leaders want to expand STEM Academy:
(Chatham, Va.) --
After falling short in their efforts to include it in their regular budget, Pittsylvania County School leaders are now hoping grant money will expand their new STEM Academy.  Superintendent James McDaniel says the goal is to increase the number of teachers at the STEM Academy from three to four, and increase the number of grades being served. The grant would add several positions to the school, as well as create an after-school program for STEM learning called “Beyond the Bell.”  The STEM Academy began this year with a 670-thousand grant from the Danville Regional Foundation.  Right now, it includes seventh and ninth graders --- this grant would increase service to grades four-nine.  They’re now asking the Foundation for a three-year, two-and-a-half (m) million dollar grant for the expansion.

Duke Energy gets delay in sentencing for coal ash crimes:
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- Duke Energy has received a delay in pleading guilty to environmental crimes by raising the specter that bureaucratic red tape could result in power being cut to military bases across North Carolina.
      U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard on Tuesday approved a one-month delay in Duke's sentencing hearing, which had been set for later this week. Duke has agreed to admit guilt on nine misdemeanor counts and pay $102 million over years of illegal pollution leaking from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.
      Duke's lawyers said Tuesday the company needs a waiver from rules that bar corporations convicted of crimes from receiving or renewing federal contracts. Without the waiver, Duke said electrical service might be disrupted to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, post offices, federal courthouses, prisons and other facilities.
 
Shooting investigated as possible hate crime:
(Goldsboro, N.C.) (AP) -- Police say they are investigating the fatal shooting of a North Carolina community college worker as a possible hate crime.
     Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton refused to say Tuesday what hate crime was being investigated. Brent Hood, who was the supervisor of shooting victim Ron Lane, says his employee was gay.
      Police say 20-year-old Kenneth Morgan Stancil III entered a campus print shop where he used to work in a work-study program and fired once with a pistol-grip shotgun, killing Lane, his former supervisor.
      The shooting happened Monday morning. Police say Stancil fled and was eventually captured early Tuesday on a beach in Florida.
      School officials say Stancil was dismissed from the school's work-study program for too many absences.


Teen killed in ATV accident:
(Martinsville, Va.) – Authorities have identified the teen killed in an ATV accident Sunday as 17-year-old Amanda Marie Wood of Bassett. The accident was reported at 4:45 Sunday afternoon and happened in the 1800 block of Hidden Valley Dr. in Martinsville.  The Henry County Sheriff’s Office responded and found that Wood was operating a side-by-side ATV when the accident happened.
     The Henry County Department of Public Safety and Fieldale-Collinsville Volunteer Rescue Squad attempted life saving measures. Wood was taken by ambulance to the Memorial Hospital of Martinsville & Henry County, where she was pronounced dead.
      The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an external examination and found trauma to the head.


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