10:04pm, 09/14/14
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Sunday, September 14, 2014
Updated 9/14/14 @ 12:00 am

Cause determined in house fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- Firefighters made quick work of a fire at a home at 1255 West Paxton Avenue Saturday morning.
     Smoke was visible from the second story of the large, frame house when the first units arrived at 7:23 a.m. A small fire was found on the second floor.
Several units responded, along with rescue personnel, the Haz-Mat team, a ladder truck and 17 personnel. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze in 10 minutes and the ladder truck wasn’t needed.     
      No injuries were reported; the house is vacant and is being remodeled. Firefighters spent  the morning venting smoke and conducting clean-up operations.      
     Minor smoke, fire and water damage was noted to the home. 
     The Danville fire marshal determined that the fire was started by some improperly discarded smoking materials
. (Leonard Harville, photographer)

Teen murdered near his home:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville detectives are hoping someone living in the Woodside Village Apartments spotted the person who shot and killed a Danville teenager overnight.
     19-year-old Paul Andrew Harper, Junior (pictured, left) died of gunshot wounds shortly after arrival at Danville Regional Medical Center.
      Police received multiple reports of gunshots fired on Woodside Drive just before 11:30 Thursday night. They arrived to find a man lying in the street near the housing complex.
     Friends and family identified the victim as Harper, who lived nearby.
     At this point, no arrest has been made in the homicide and no motive has been given.
     Danville Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 793-0000. You do not have to give your name and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward. (crime scene photo: Leonard Harville)

Arrests made in string of residential entries:
(Ruffin, N.C.) -- Rockingham County authorities believe they have solved a four county crime spree with a pair of arrests.
     Just before noon last Thursday, sheriff’s deputies stopped a Kia Forte that neighbors had spotted and reported as suspicious on Guerrant Spring Road in Ruffin.
     They pulled the car over at the intersection of U.S. 29 Business and N.C. Highway 14 and found two men inside, along with property stolen from homes in Rockingham, Guilford, Forsythe and Davidson Counties.
      The items were taken during a series of break-ins at homes in the Ruffin and Reidsville area.
       Robert Cornelius Rice and Adrian Lamarr Sides -- both 25 and from Winston-Salem -- were arrested on numerous felony charges. Both were placed in the Rockingham County Jail, pending their initial court appearances next Wednesday.  


New fire station dedicated; the fallen remembered:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville’s new fire station was dedicated Thursday as firefighters and friends gathered to remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
      The Danville Fire Department Headquarters will also house the city’s emergency communications center and represents a $9 million investment that was seven years in the making.
     Mayor Sherman Saunders said the state-of-the art facility replaces the Bridge Street Station -- which was constructed almost ninety years ago -- and includes almost a million dollars in technology upgrades.
      Fire Chief David Eagle said the new station was first envisioned by former chiefs B.G. Lewis and David Lampley and represents the collective efforts of hundreds of individuals.
     The 32,000 square foot facility was built by Blair Construction Co. of Gretna and includes cobblestones, wood and brick from the original Danville Lumber Company site.
     Firefighters hope to move into the new facility at the end of the month.
     The dedication was preceded by a ceremony of remembrance marking the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
     Fire Captain Kevin Hayes unveiled a twisted steel girder from the Twin Towers which was given to local firefighters who helped in the aftermath of 9/11.
Hayes said the steel girder represents sacrifice, and "in the case of 343 of our brothers on that day, firefighters sacrificed their lives in the performance of their duties."

Officials cut ribbon on new YMCA:
(Danville, Va.) -- The new YMCA opened its doors last weekend to members.  Wednesday, they cut the ribbon on the building that’s been in the planning and construction stages for six years.  The new YMCA features a much larger pool with six lanes, as opposed to four lanes. Each lane is also two feet wider, and the pool area is less humid.   Spokesman Dustin Whittle says they also have a new basketball court with a walking track overhead.  And Whittle says their emphasis will be on “family," as they emphasize their programs for youth and children.  The new Danville Family YMCA will open to the public Saturday.

“Fix It Danville” takes another swipe at blight:
(Danville, Va.) -- The city of Danville is asking local residents to report potholes, graffiti, blighted buildings, damaged sidewalks and other eyesores through a free mobile app for iPhones and Android phones.
     Called “Fix it Danville,” the app uses GPS technology to pinpoint problems. Residents may also use their phones to send pictures.
     Inez Rodenburg is Danville’s director of information technology and says the app provides a convenient way for citizens to report problems at any time of the day or night.
     Once reported, the issue is submitted to the appropriate city department, which reviews the concerns and submits a work order for any needed repairs. An email confirmation follows and the app user is also notified once the issue has been resolved.

State Police identify pilot in Carroll County plane landing:
(Hillsville, Va.) (AP) -- Police have identified the pilot of a plane that crashed on a foggy Interstate 77 median in Southwest Virginia.
     Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says 67-year-old Bernard F. Heimos of Laguna Niguel, California, suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. He was taken to a hospital in North Carolina.
     Geller says the 1939 J3 single-engine plane was traveling from Dayton, Ohio, to Johnson County, North Carolina, when it crashed Wednesday afternoon in Carroll County.
     She says the plane clipped treetops in the median as it flew along the interstate. The plane crashed into a mountain that makes up the median at Fancy Gap.  Geller says there was dense fog in the area at the time of the crash.  
     The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Noblis ready to expand Danville operation:
(Danville, Va.) -- Danville's Cray supercomputer made its debut nearly three years ago. Now, the company that runs the Center for Applied High Performance Computing is ready to expand. 
    The $5 million computer is co-owned by the city and Noblis, a northern Virginia Technology firm. 
      Danville Economic Development Director Telly Tucker says the company is recruiting to expand their workforce from three to 15.
     The incentive package approved in 2010 included two grants from the Virginia tobacco commission totaling $3 million. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership approved a $1 million grant to renovate the Old Belt-number One building on Bridge Street. The city chipped in $675,000 and Noblis invested $1.5 million.
     With 15 jobs, Noblis will meet the performance agreement that was part of the original incentive package.

Averett ranks high among Southern universities:
(Danville, Va.) -- Averett University has recently been recognized by two third party reviewers – U.S. News & World Report and CollegesofDistinction.com. In the college rankings just released by U.S. News for 2015, Averett retained its position in the top 25, tying for 25th among Regional Colleges in the South. The University is once again the highest-ranking Virginia school among the 74 top tier schools listed as Regional Colleges. In addition, Averett ranked 9th among Best Colleges for Veterans among Regional Colleges in the South.
     Along with its U.S. News ranking, Averett has been named a 2014-15 College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. This is the second consecutive year the University has received this honor. Averett was selected for "providing an innovative, teacher-centered undergraduate education with a strong record of preparing its graduates for real-world success."

McCrory will NOT sign coal ash regulation law:
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory will let a coal ash cleanup bill become law without his signature.  He says it includes important protections that need to go into effect immediately but also undermines his authority.  His questions are over the General Assembly’s power to appoint a majority of a nine-member Coal Ash Commission who will oversee cleanup at Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds.  McCrory says that’s HIS job.  He and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will seek an advisory opinion from the state Supreme Court. If the high court doesn't answer, McCrory will file a lawsuit.

1798 ledger makes Virginia's "Top 10" endangered artifacts list:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 1798 General Store Ledger belonging to the Danville Historical Society has made Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts list.
      Historical Society President Sarah Latham says the designation will be used to attract donors interested in preserving this piece of Danville’s early history. Latham notes that the pages are discolored and frayed and have pulled away from the binding and "the ledger is definitely in need of conservation." 
      She says the book provides a rare glimpse into the city's early history and items offered for sale, which range from buttons to silk, silver and West Indies Rum, which she adds "seems to have been quite a popular item back then." 
      The General Store Ledger dates to just five years after Danville was founded and is the oldest piece in the group's archives.
    The “Top 10” program was created by the Virginia Association of Museums to draw attention to the need to preserve historic artifacts.

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