09:25pm, 12/17/14
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Updated 12/17/14 @ 3:40 pm


DCC set to help Commonwealth build work force:
(Danville, Va.) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe wants to add 50,000 credentialed community college graduates to the Virginia economy before the end of his term.  And a local college president says a new effort from Richmond will help make that goal a reality.
          Bruce Scism with Danville Community College says a half (m) million dollars from the Federal Workforce Investment Act calls for a new model.
          Scism says a well-equipped workforce is the top request of businesses that want to expand or relocate to Virginia. Other participating community colleges include Patrick Henry in Martinsville, and Southside Virginia in Keysville.
          Scism says they hope to begin the offerings by next spring.

Governor proposes budget to help retired teachers and new businesses:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to more than double the pot of money he can spend trying to lure companies to Virginia, ease school districts' teacher retirement burdens, and give raises to rookie deputy sheriffs.
     The governor unveiled these and other proposed changes to the state's biennial budget Wednesday at a Capitol briefing to state lawmakers.
     To help pay for the Democratic governor's priorities, McAuliffe wants to limit tax credits designed to bolster the coal industry and sell off $250 million worth of unclaimed property that's been turned over to the state.
     The governor is renewing his push to expand Medicaid, a top legislative priority that's been blocked by Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly.
     Lawmakers will take up the governor's proposal in January when the 2015 legislative session begins.

Victim in malicious wounding case dies:
(Gretna, Va.) -- A Gretna man is behind bars, charged with malicious wounding following the death of a Chatham woman two weeks ago.
          The Star-Tribune reports 29-year old Henry Daniel Doss is charged with beating 44-year old Mary Adkins Hooker December second at a home on Daniel Road. Hooker died nine days later in the intensive care unit at Danville Regional Medical Center.
          According to the court records, Doss allegedly grabbed Hooker “by her hair and banged her head on the floor six times. He then started punching Hooker with his fist multiple times.”  She suffered three broken ribs and possible nose fractures, along with a black eye and a bad contusion on her chest.
          Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Haskins tells the Star-Tribune that they haven’t decided whether to upgrade the charges.
          Doss is being held without bond in the Pittsylvania County.  He’s scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the malicious wounding charge in March.

Coroner identifies Danville fire victim:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Medical Examiner and the Danville Fire Marshal have released more information on a fatal fire last Friday.
          The coroner yesterday officially identified the victim as 56-year old Jeffery Cumbo-Senior.  An autopsy shows he died of smoke inhalation in a fire at his house on Carlson Avenue.
          Local fire investigators yesterday confirmed the fire was an accident.  They also ruled out any possible connection with fire early that same day at another house on Carlson.
          Cumbo taught second grade at Schoolfield Elementary School.


Council sends rezoning back to planners:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Planning Commission will take up a controversial rezoning case again…this, after City Council last night sent it back for clarification.
          Council wants planners revisit a series of rezoning requests from developers targeting Stewart Street---a narrow road connecting West Main and Watson Streets, running next to Townes Funeral Home.
          Project consultant Gus Dyer says they’re planning a five-to-six (m) million-dollar development.  It would include two-dozen high-end apartments, ten single-family homes and eight townhouses. He addressed neighbor’s concerns that the development would become another derelict structure. But neighbors say they're worried about traffic, property values, and what could happen down the road if someone else purchases the units.
          Councilman Fred Shanks says he’s not opposed to the concept…but this proposal needs work.  Council voted eight-to-one to send the request back to planners…with Buddy Rawley casting the lone dissenting vote.

Pet found dead after kitchen fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- A kitchen fire Tuesday morning left moderate damage and a dead pet in the 600-block of Cardinal Place. Fire crews found light smoke showing from a second floor window around 10:00 at the apartment complex. Firefighters found the fire in the kitchen and quickly put it out, but remained on the scene to clean up hot spots. Crews found the animal, obviously a pet, dead inside the kitchen. The Fire Marshall says unattended cooking sparked the blaze. The local Red Cross is helping the occupant.
Two arrested after last week's home invasion:

(Eden, N.C.) -- Rockingham County Deputies made two arrests this week in connection with a break-in that happened last Friday.
          Officials received a call around 2 a.m. last Friday from Melinda Lenee Swain of Eden, N.C. Swain said she had answered a knock at her door when two women pushed their way into her home, beat her, and stole her cell phone and $25 cash. Swain said she tried to escape the attackers by locking herself in the bathroom. The women knocked the door down and continued to beat her. They fled the area in a gold four-door Honda.
          24-year-old Chrishanna Babb and 30-year-old Shereva Marie Johnson are being held in the Rockingham County Jail on Burglary, Kidnapping, and Assault charges. They are being held on $30,000 bond each.

Telvista to add 300 jobs in Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- Telvista has renewed its lease in Danville and plans to add nearly 300 jobs at the local call center.
     The Texas-based call center outsourcing firm will add the jobs to its 62,000 square feet location on Cain Creek Boulevard, which is owned by the Industrial Development Authority of Danville. The company also plans to bring approximately 300 new jobs to the area, bringing the total workforce to 580.
     Governor Terry McAuliffe praised the announcement and said the company has “thrived in Danville since opening its facility in April 2005.” He added that creation of jobs that are not tied to federal contracts will “help us build a new Virginia economy.”
     Following a multi-state search, Telvista decided to keep its contact center in Danville. The company cited location and an available labor pool, as well as its investment in the property.
     Telvista’s Chief Operating Officer, David Arellano, said the Danville community has provided the right mix of labor availability, quality and cost structure" and said those factors played a key role in the decision to expand locally.
     Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders called the announcement an early Christmas present for the city.

Hurt opposes spending bill:
(Washington, D.C.) -- Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt hopes a new Congress next year will mean a return to open debate on massive spending bills.  The Chatham Republican says he and his colleagues had only 48 hours to debate the trillion-dollar spending bill that passed this weekend.  He says that’s not NEARLY enough time.  Hurt says he was disappointed the final package did little to use their power of the pursestrings to thwart the President’s executive orders on Immigration.  But Hurt says with the new year comes a new Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate.  He thinks that will dramatically change the landscape in Congress.

Governor proposes Gun Control measures:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Governor Terry McAuliffe calls new gun-control measures he proposed this week, “common-sense proposals will keep guns out of the hands of criminals, will keep communities safe, and will help to build a new Virginia economy.”
          McAuliffe wants to re-instate Virginia’s old “one-handgun-a-month” restriction.  A limit on purchases to one gun per month became law in 1993 under Governor Doug Wilder, but it was repealed under Bob McDonnell. 
          McAuliffe calls the limit a way to “prevent dangerous people from stockpiling and trafficking dangerous weapons.”
          Gun rights advocates have argued that restricting ownership would not have stopped high-profile Virginia shootings for which mentally ill individuals were responsible, such as the Virginia Tech case and the tragedy that struck State Senate Creigh Deeds and his family last year.
          McAuliffe will also propose keeping guns away from people convicted of crimes related to domestic violence and revoking concealed-handgun permits for parents who are behind on child-support payments.

No charges in Puckett probe:
(Richmond, Va.) -- Federal prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges in the resignation of a state senator who quit amid job talks. The surprise exit of Democratic Senator Phil Puckett in June threw control of the evenly split state Senate to Republicans, who had discussed giving his daughter a judgeship and Puckett himself a job on the state tobacco commission.  It also spelled doomed for the Governor’s efforts to expand Medicaid in Virginia.  Terry McAuliffe is expected to include that expansion in his mid-year budget proposals on Wednesday.

Council to get Blight Eradication update:
(Danville, Va.) -- 71 buildings were scheduled to be razed in the Monument Street-Berryman Avenue neighborhood over second half of the year. Tonight, City Council will get the latest on what’s next.  The project is part of the Danville’s blight eradication program, the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has been purchasing properties in the area for demolition.  Community Development Director Earl Reynolds says the city hopes to market the property. Danville hired Community Planning Partners Inc. to do study of the area and provide what Reynolds describes as “visionary” concepts of what “might be possible,” if the land were available for new development. He envisions something akin to the neighboring River District property. Consultants will update City Council tomorrow night in a Special Meeting

Local lawmaker supports efforts to cap gifts:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville Del. Danny Marshall says he’s pleased that state lawmakers will soon be limited on the value of gifts received. House Speaker Bill Howell and other GOP leaders have announced a $100 cap that’ll apply to all gifts given to state and local elected officials. The bill is being offered in the wake of the scandal that brought down former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, who were convicted up accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a dietary supplements maker. The cap applies to cash and intangible gifts like meals and concert tickets. Marshall says the issue is one of trust. He says that -- twice a year -- state legislators will be required to file a list of all gifts they’ve received, and Virginians will be able to go on-line and view those lists.

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