Officials are trying to determine what caused the fatal explosion at the New River's castings plant, while rescuers continue to search for two missing women.
And G-E announces a mega deal with a Japanese Company that could have big local implications.
News 7 at noon is next.
It's a big change at the Roanoke Valley's biggest manufacturer.
General Electric is forming a joint venture with the Japanese company Toshiba.
In October, Toshiba will take over 51-percent of the GE-business that makes drive systems.
Those are the electronic brains behind certain types of industrial equipment.
Hundreds of employees in Salem work on the drive-systems.
There's no word on how many of their jobs might be affected.
The drive-system business has been losing money.
GE says this joint venture will help the company stay competitive in the global marketplace.
The G-E plant in Salem employs a total of 13-hundred-50 workers.
We'll have more on what this move could mean for General Electric and its employees tonight on News 7 at Five and Six.
[TAPE#00-09 at 31:10]
It's slow going in the search for two missing employees at New River Castings.
[Double Boxes=Melanie and Marya/Starlink]
Marya Jones is in Radford and joins us with an update.
( ad lib)
[***ROLLED FROM STARLINK***]
[SUPER=01-Edward Anderson/Victim's Father;]
[SUPER=01-Doug Hamilton/Victim's Husband;]
[SUPER=01-Willie Hall/Victim's Fiance;]
[VO NAT SOT]
[OUT Q=manufacturing auto parts there.]
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[Double Boxes=Melanie and Marya/Starlink]
It's Super Tuesday, a defining day in the race for the White House.
Both parties will award more than half the delegates necessary to secure a nomination.
Republicans vote in 13 states with 613 delegates at stake.
Voters in 15 states will award one-thousand-315 Democratic delegates.
Bobbi Harley has the latest.
(///// SOT /////)
[11:30 UPDATE WINDOW]
[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
[SUPER=01-John McCain/(R) Presidential Candidate;]
[OUT Q=CBS News, NY.]
(( FROM CONNECTICUT TO MASSACHUSETTS TO NEW YORK, VOTING GOT UNDERWAY
EARLY - WITH HILLARY CLINTON ONE OF THE FIRST TO CAST HER BALLOT THIS SUPER TUESDAY - FROM HER NEW HOME TOWN JUST OUTSIDE MANHATTAN.
AND ITS NOT HARD TO GUESS WHO SHE CHOSE
SOT - HILLARY CLINTON; I voted for Al Gore because I believe he will be the best president to being the century.
IN FACT WITH A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE FIFTEEN STATES VOTING TODAY PLUS ANOTHER HANDFULL THAT HITS THE POLLS NEXT TUESDAY - VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE COULD WRAP UP ENOUGH DELEGATES TO WIN THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION.
(LOCATOR: NEW YORK CITY)
BUT ON NEW YORK CITY'S EAST SIDE - HIS BELEAGUERED OPPONENT BILL BRADLEY
ISN'T GIVING UP SO EASILY - EVEN HIS SUPPORTERS ARE BARING IT ALL TO ATTRACT SOME VOTES.
NAT SOT - 5:09:16 - Bradley, Bradley - high fives bare chested guys
BUT IT MAY NOT ONLY BE THE END OF THE LINE FOR BRADLEY - ON THE REPUBLICAN TICKET - HOW THE VOTE GOES TODAY COULD MAKE OR BREAK JOHN MCCAIN'S CAMPAIGN.
OF THE TWO BIG PRIZE STATES VOTING TODAY - NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA - THE LAST MINUTE RALLYING WENT TO THE WEST COAST AND CALL TO SEND A MESSAGE TO FRONT RUNNER GEORGE W. BUSH.
SOT - JOHN MCCAIN - 2:10:02 - California will not allow our elections to be bought - take your dirty money and take it
back to Texas.
BUT A CONFIDENT BUSH PROMISED HIS SUPPORTERS THAT ONCE TODAY'S VOTES ARE
COUNTED, HE WOULDN'T HAVE TO MAKE ANOTHER CAMPAIGN SPEECH UNTIL THE
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
The man convicted in a Botetourt County murder for hire scheme learns his fate.
Details are still ahead on News 7 at Noon.
And protestors march on Florida's capitol, hoping to overturn the state's ban on affirmative action.
First let's get our warm forecast from Patrick Evans.
[music up full]
The events that led up to the fatal fire on Church Avenue a couple of years ago are so complicated that the court today agreed to pay for a private investigator for the defense.
Brian Eugene Jackson is just one of several people who've been accused of having a hand in setting the fire.
[SUPER=04-May 18, 1998;]
The rooming house blaze claimed six lives.
One man has already pleaded guilty to having SOME involvement in it, but he claims Jackson was the one who actually struck the match.
Jackson's case is set for trial in June.
A man who conspired to kill the estranged husband of his former girlfriend will spend five years in prison.
[SUPER=03-Botetourt Co./April 1999]
Thomas ``Butch'' Gray will also be placed on five years probation after serving the term imposed by a Botetourt County judge yesterday.
Gray was arrested after trying to hire Sheriff Reed Kelly as a hit man.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush has a full-scale protest on his hands today.
Thousands are marching today in Tallahassee against the state's affirmative action changes.
Ministers from all over the sunshine state came together last night for a prayer vigil in front of the governor's mansion.
They want Governor Jeb Bush to reverse his "One Florida plan".
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=we hope that Gov. Bush received the impact that ...]
[SUPER=01-Rev. Tommy Troutlan/International Chaplain Assoc.]
[OUT Q=that we're making.]
One Florida bans the consideration of Race or gender in university admissions and contracting decisions.
[GRAPHIC=Va. Capitol Moment Silence]
The House of Delegates has revived a mandatory, statewide minute of silence in Virginia classrooms.
[SUPER=03-Chesterfield Co./File Tape]
An amendment failed that would have let schoolchildren bring reading materials to focus their thoughts.
[IN Q=This is]
((DEL. BOB MARSHALL/R-PRINCE WILLIAM CO.: THIS IS WHAT WAS READ TO THE BODY HERE...LORD MAKE US INSTRUMENTS OF YOUR PEACE. WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET US SO LOVE.))
((DEL. HARVEY MORGAN/R-GLOUCESTER: SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK THE OCCULT OR VOODOO OR OTHER THINGS ARE OF A RELIGIOUS NATURE.))
((DEL. BOBBY ORROCK/R-SPOTSYLVANIA: IF A STUDENT IN MY CLASS WISHED TO BRING IN OBSCENE MATERIAL, PROFANE PHOTOGRAPHS, SEXUAL MATERIALS.))
[SUPER=01-Del. Bob Marshall/(R) Prince William; :00 ]
[SUPER=01-Del. Harvey Morgan/(R) Gloucester; :13 ]
[OUT Q=sexual materials.]
Current law lets local school boards decide if they want a minute of silence.
The bill would mandate a minute for "meditation, reflection, or prayer."
It now goes back to the senate, which has already approved the statewide mandate concept.
State lawmakers also signed off on a bill that bans children under the age of 15 from pickup truck beds.
[SUPER=04-Ins. Inst. for Highway Safety;]
The bill would mean a 25-dollar fine on violators.
But NO points would go on the violator's license.
The bill includes exceptions for certain farm uses and for parades.
Governor Jim Gilmore has NOT announced if he'll sign the ban.
Former Governor George Allen vetoed the bill twice.
It's been about six months since an internet toy company chose Southside as the location for its second distribution center.
E-toys made its first shipment out of the Pittsylvania County plant last week.
And as Surae Chinn tells us, etoys-dot-com isn't just about playthings - it's creating much-needed jobs in an area hit hard by unemployment.
[IN Q=James Bacote is]
[SUPER=01-James Bacote/Distribution Supervisor; :07]
[SUPER=01-Lori Riano/Etoys Spokesperson; :51]
[OUT Q=News 7, Pittsylvania County.]
(( James Bacote is a distribution supervisor for etoys. He's been on the job for seven weeks.
((JAMES BACOTE/DISTRIBUTION SUPERVISOR: SINCE I'VE BEEN WITH ETOYS THINGS HAVE BEEN LOOKING UP FOR ME AND MY FAMILY.))
Times weren't always good for the Bacote family. James is a former Tultex employee who worked at the Martinsville plant for 16 years. He quit when they told him he'd be out of a job within months.
((JAMES BACOTE/DISTRIBUTION SUPERVISOR: IT WAS VERY WORRISOME AT TIMES KEPT THE FAITH I WAS GOING TO FIND SOMETHING.))
That something led him to toyland. (nats :02)
The company is helping to absorb the hundreds who have been left out of work from the massive shut down of textile plants.
((LORI RIANO/COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR: WE HAVE THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR A CAREER CHANGE, UNEMPLOYED, LAID OFF...IN THE LOCAL AREAS.))
((SURAE CHINN/REPORTING: THERE ARE 90 EMPLOYEES HERE. THE COMPANY PLANS TO HAVE A STAFF OF MORE THAN 300. THAT MEANS ETOYS NEEDS MORE EMPLOYEES. AND THAT IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN SOUTHSIDE.))
((LORI RIANO/COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR: YES WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR SOME FUN ENERGETIC PEOPLE))
((WE'RE DEFINITELY GOING TO NEED QUITE A FEW PEOPLE ESPECIALLY PEAK SEASON IN OCTOBER.))
That's helpful for hundreds just like James Bacote who's future is looking brighter and a lot more fun. Surae Chinn, News 7 Pittsylvania County.))
It's a big party in the Big Easy.
Officials in New Orleans expect tens of thousands of people to pack into the French Quarter before the day is over.
The Fat Tuesday celebrations will continue until midnight when Mardi Gras ends and Lent begins.
Teresa Estacio reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-New Orleans, LA;]
[SUPER=01-Mallory Hill/9 Years Old; QUICK!!!!!!!]
[OUT Q=CBS NEWS, NEW ORLEANS.]
((FAT TUESDAY ON THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS...
(NATZ OF BAND PLAYING)
IT'S PARTY CITY.. IN A PLACE WHERE LIVING LARGE.. SEEMS TO BE A WAY OF LIFE.
THIS IS THE ZULU PARADE...ONE OF THE OLDEST AND LARGEST OF MARDI GRAS PARADES. THE ZULU COCONUT OR "GOLDEN NUGGET" IS AMONG THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER ITEMS TOSSED FROM THE MANY FLOATS AND PARADES OF MARDI GRAS.
SOT: ROBERT MOORE/TOURIST (09:10:51)
"EVERYONE IS HAVING A BLAST, PARTYING, HARDYING"
SOT: ESTACIO AND MALLORY HILL/9 YEAR OLD SPECTATOR
"WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT MARDI GRAS? CATCHING ALL THE BEADS."
DURING MARDI GRAS... YOUR NET WORTH IS MEASURED IN BEADS... CHEAP TRINKETS TO BE SURE, BUT PERSUASIVE IN MANY WAYS.
FAT TUESDAY IS THE GRAND FINALE OF MARDI GRAS, THE LAST DAY OF MORE THAN A WEEK OF PARADES, PARTIES AND UNINHIBITED FUN THAT TRANSFORMS THE CRESCENT CITY INTO A GIANT PLAYGROUND. ROMANS STARTED MARDI GRAS OR CARNIVAL CENTURIES AGO AS A FEAST BEFORE OF THE HOLY SEASON OF LENT. ASH WEDNESDAY BEGINS THAT SEASON TOMORROW.