06:51pm, 04/23/14
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Updated 4/23/14 @ 6:00 pm

Supervisors approved budget, with dissent:
(Chatham, Va.) -- This year’s budget process in Pittsylvania County is over. The Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 Tuesday night to approve a $175 million budget for the next fiscal year.          
      The plan hikes the county’s real estate tax rate 3 cents, from 56 cents to 59 cents per $100 of assessed value. It also includes a 2-cent tax increase from reassessment. Overall property values rose 3.6 percent in the reassessment, which will bring in an additional $700,000 in revenue.    
       The budget relies on about $2.1 million in new money. Still, supervisors had to take $500,000 from the county’s surplus to balance the package.
       The budget calls for a 3% pay increase for county employees, including 1% required for the Virginia Retirement System.
     Tunstall Supervisor Tim Barber and Westover’s Coy Harville voted against the budget.
      Supervisors also voted unanimously to approve a $92 million school budget that includes $16.4 million in local money -- an increase of nearly $1 million from the current year.

Bond set for woman charged with murdering her husband:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Bond has been set at $150,000 dollars
for a Ringgold woman charged with stabbing her husband to death two weeks ago.  
     Teu Medley Pointer was arrested at the couple’s home after authorities found her husband, John, stabbed to death on April tenth.
     At this week’s bond hearing, prosecutors portrayed Pointer as a woman with a history of losing her temper over domestic disputes.  Pointer's attorney said she acted in self-defense.  Pointer is a special-ed teacher and guidance counselor at the Regional Alternative School in Dry Fork.

Lawmakers back in session for a day to consider McAuliffe vetoes
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Virginia lawmakers are meeting in Richmond to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's changes to the General Assembly's 2014 legislation.
     Legislators will consider McAuliffe's vetoes and proposed changes to several dozen pieces of legislation during a one-day session Wednesday.
     McAuliffe has vetoed two bills concerning religious expression. One would have codified a student's right to pray at school. The other would have prohibited censorship of sermons made by chaplains of the Virginia National Guard.
     The governor also vetoed a bill that would give people who receive red-light tickets the right to contest citations in circuit court. That bill passed the House 99-0 and the Senate 38-1.
     The General Assembly won't take up the state's budget. Republicans and Democrats remained deadlocked on whether the budget should include expanding Medicaid eligibility.

Former Martinsville city manager named Pittsylvania Co. administrator:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Martinsville’s former city manager has been named as the new county administrator in Pittsylvania.
     Clarence Monday was named to the post Tuesday and will begin his new duties July 1.
    Monday currently serves as Amherst County administrator. He was one of four finalists for the Pittsylvania County post. The board of supervisors received 27 applications for the post, which was left vacant after longtime county administrator Dan Sleeper retired unexpectedly last September.  
    Monday held several positions in Martinsville before becoming city manager there. He resigned from that position in December 2011 to pursue other career opportunities.  

Duke: Moving coal ash would cost up to $10 billion
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- Duke Energy says that removing all of the company's coal ash away from North Carolina's rivers and lakes would take decades and cost up to $10 billion, with the state's electricity customers likely footing nearly all the bill.
      Duke's North Carolina president Paul Newton told state lawmakers Tuesday the company needs flexibility to consider more cost-efficient options that include leaving much of its 100 million tons of toxic ash in place after being covered with giant tarps and soil. State officials say all 33 of Duke's unlined dumps are contaminating groundwater.
      Environmental groups are calling for new legislation requiring Duke to move its coal ash to lined landfills away from waterways following the massive Feb. 2 spill in Eden that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge.

Seven year old dies of gunshot wounds in Franklin Co.:
(Wirtz, Va.) -- Franklin County authorities say a 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 7-year-old brother.
     Franklin County Sheriff's Lt. Phillip Young tells media outlets that the investigation indicates the children were playing at a neighbor's house when the older boy found a .45-caliber handgun. The boy accidentally fired the gun and the bullet struck his brother.  Young says the 7-year-old died instantly.
     The shooting occurred Monday morning at a residence in the Burnt Chimney community. Young says at least one adult was in the house at the time.
     No charges have been filed. The investigation is continuing.   The victim's name hasn't been released.

Danville man wins $100,000 in Cash 5 game:
(Danville, Va.) -- Larry Woods hit the lottery a day after his birthday, taking home the $100,000 grand prize in the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 game.
        He matched all five winning numbers in the April 18 Cash 5 night drawing. Those winning numbers were 9-10-19-22-25. He used Easy Pick and allowed the computer to randomly select the numbers on his ticket.
      Woods bought the winning ticket at Happy Shopper in Midlothian.
      What was his reaction when the clerk told him he had a winning ticket? “I can’t even explain it,” he said.

Danville police look for hit-and-run driver:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Police responded to a hit and run accident on North Main Street just after 2:30 this afternoon.
     Initial reports indicate a green, Jeep Cherokee struck a car at North Main Street and American Legion Blvd near the Old Dutch Shopping Center and the truck failed to stop.
      Danville Police are looking for male driver of the truck.
      The Danville Lifesaving Crew responded after receiving reports of two injuries.

Halifax County fisherman drowns:
(South Boston, Va.) -- A 42-year-old Halifax man drowned this weekend at The Berry Hill Resort near South Boston.
          Divers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recovered the body of Christopher Tucker Sunday morning---the day after he and a friend fell from their boat.
          A spokesman with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says Tucker and another man were fishing in a small aluminum canoe when the canoe flipped over.  That happened after Tucker had caught a fish and jerked to the side to reel it in.
          The other man in the boat was able to make it to the shore after the canoe tipped over --- he told authorities he never saw Tucker resurface.
          The victim reportedly was not wearing a lifejacket and couldn’t swim. Divers were able to recover Tucker's fishing pole---with a fish still dangling on the hook.

Halifax Co. woman charged with abandoning infant
(Nathalie, Va.) -- A 25-year-old Halifax County woman was arrested Saturday after her five-month-old girl was found lying in a wooded area some five miles from her home.
          The Gazette-Virginian reports Rachel Pittman of Hodges Street called authorities just before eight o-clock Saturday morning to report her 5-month-old daughter, Virginia Anne, was missing.  She said she last saw the baby Friday night when she went to bed. When she woke Saturday morning she discovered the baby was missing.
          Investigators interviewed Pittman and found some of her statements were not accurate.  Deputies then began searching the Crystal Hill area for the baby. It was around 2 p.m. Saturday when Pittman finally admitted she had taken the infant down a farm road and left her in the woods around 9 p.m. Friday night.
          Pittman led authorities to baby---some 17 hours after being abandoned on a cold, rainy night.  Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark says the girl was dirty and hungry---they fed her and cleaned her up and took her to the hospital.
          Halifax County’s Department of Social Services was called in to take custody of the infant---later Saturday night she was released into foster care after getting a clean bill of health.
          Pittman was charged with felony child abandonment. More charges are expected. Pittman is being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail.

Danville man charged with felony hit-and-run:
(Danville, Va.) -- A Danville man was charged Saturday night with a felony hit and run---this, after he allegedly drove away from an accident where a pedestrian was hurt.
          Police say 82-year-old Thomas G. Gill hit a Danville woman in the 400 block of Arnett Boulevard at around 9:20 p.m.
          The pedestrian said she was hit as she crossed the road, and the driver left the scene. She was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
          Gill was arrested and released on bond. The police investigation is continuing.

Drowning at Farmer's Lake:
(Caswell Co, N.C.) -- Elon University honored one of its own with a memorial service. 
          Ed Watkins was an automotive mechanic in Elon’s Physical Plant department. He died this past weekend in a boating accident in Caswell County.
          University officials say Watkins was fishing with Elon groundskeeper James Moore at Farmer’s Lake in Caswell County on Friday when their boat overturned.  Moore swam to safety and called 911, but Watkins drowned. A volunteer firefighter on the scene was unable to revive him.
          Watkins had been an Elon staff member since 2007 and was described by the school as a dedicated worker and friendly colleague.

"Get Fit Dan River Region" begins Week Three:
(Danville, Va.) -- Get Fit Dan River Region earlier this month launched a new fitness challenge.  They want folks to lose 50-thousand pounds over the next three months!  Organizers Stephanie Ferugia and Ciji Moore have now taken the challenge to Danville City Council. 
     12 team leaders are heading up the effort to get the community involved.  Ferugia says it everyone could lose just a half-pound between now and the Fourth of July, they’ll shatter their goal.
     Moore says obesity is a real problem on the Southside, with Danville near the bottom of the list. And, for the last four years, she said Pittsylvania County "has been slipping steadily, ranking at 91 out of 133 localities. Danville ranks 121 on the list from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
     For more information, or to sign up, go to Get Fit Dan River-dot-Org.

City needs help to "Make Danville Shine!":
(Danville, Va.) -- Got some big cleanup projects you’ve been putting off?  You can take them up in a couple of weeks to help with the annual “Make Danville Shine” campaign during the month of May. To kick off the month, there will be an Expo at the Community Market May 1 from 3 to 7 p.m.  Emily Scolpini with Danville’s Housing and Community Development Division says folks can get advice on landscaping, painting, roofing, siding, masonry, electrical, plumbing, pest control and other home maintenance tips.  Last year, the city removed 210 tons of debris…and more than two-thousand tires. Groups can also pledge to clean up parts or all of their neighborhood and the city will make appointments for free use of roll-off containers, a grapple “bucket” truck and an 18-cubic-yard trailer.


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