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Today on News 7 at Five, the local N-Double-A-C-P comes out in support of a local police officer accused of drug dealing. A national furniture store files for bankruptcy and closes five stores in our region,
and the signs of life are fading aboard a submarine stuck at the bottom of the sea.
Ready for a change in weather? Looks a bit cooler tomorrow. We'll explain in a moment.
In Sports, Averett College is getting ready to field its first football team.
Plus on health Check, researchers say a new discovery could someday lead to better treatments for Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injuries.
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The nation's largest furniture company files for bankruptcy, closing several stores in our area.
Good evening, I'm Jean Jadhon.
300 Heilig-Meyers stores will close nationwide, including five stores in this region.
The company's failure to collect from debtors has forced it to sell-off half of its showrooms.
Jennifer Miele is in the newsroom with an update on the company's restructuring plans.
Jean, the company has actually been restructuring since last April when they began closing and selling-off branches and stores nationwide.
In July, they even replaced their CEO.
Some analysts say this could be the beginning of the end of Heilig-Meyers.
[IN Q=An announcement from]
[SUPER=01-Brian Gottstein/Legg Mason;:28]
[OUT Q=in twenty nine states.]
(( An announcement from company headquarters in Richmond this morning confirmed that Heilig-Meyers filed for chapter 11 protection.
That motion will allow stores to operate while restructuring occurs, but effective immediately, stores will no longer offer in-store financing.
Stores in Christiansburg, Radford, Martinsville, Collinsville and Rainell, West Virginia will close all together.
Some analysts say this could be just the beginning of store closures.
[IN Q=The bottom line is]
((BRIAN GOTTSTEIN/LEGG MASON: THE BOTTOM LINE IS, WHEN 70 TO 80 PERCENT OF YOUR INVENTORY IS SOLD ON CREDIT, AND YOU'RE GETTING A LOT OF DELINQUENCIES THAT YOU HAVE TO WRITE OFF. THAT'S YOUR CORE BUSINESS THAT IS NOT MAKING MONEY.))
[OUT Q=not making money.]
First Union yesterday won a court order that prohibits Heilig-Meyers from laying off personnel in the credit department.
The order would help to ensure loan repayment.
The company has eight stores in the viewing area, and employs 16 thousand people in twenty nine states.))
Again, five stores in the viewing area are closing.
Jean, tonight at 6, we'll take a look at what these closing could mean for customers who've financed furniture through Heilig-Meyers.
The Local Branch of the N-double-A-C-P is sticking up for a Black police officer charged with drug dealing and racketeering.
Fred Pledge AND his attorney are both under federal indictment, though the two cases are un-related.
Defense attorney Rickey Young is charged with tax evasion and mail fraud. The indictment came exactly three weeks after his client, Officer Pledge, was indicted.
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[IN Q=So now that]
((SO NOW THAT HE'S TAKING PLEDGE'S CASE, ISN'T IT UNUSUAL THAT A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER WE INDICT RICKEY YOUNG ON TAX EVASION. GIVE ME A BREAK.))
[SUPER=01-Rev. Carl Tinsley/NAACP Acting President]
[OUT Q=give me a break.]
The indictment against Pledge alleges that he and "other officers" were engaged in drug trafficking , among other things.
The other officers haven't been identified. The N-double A-C-P is concerned that they're all Black.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=You will see ]
((YOU WILL SEE THAT OFFICER PLEDGE DIDN'T WORK WITH THESE OFFICERS DIRECTLY. THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE HE WORKED WITH WERE WHITE.))
[SUPER=01-Martin Jeffrey/NAACP Board Member]
[OUT Q=with were white.]
A new indictment against Pledge was handed up this afternoon, adding about 15-thousand dollars worth of bribes he's accused of taking.
Eight SEALED indictments were also returned, so we still don't know who the "other officers" are.
Signs of life have faded inside the crippled Russian Submarine on the bottom of the sea.
As Lee Cowan reports, a British Rescue Mission is on the way, but it may be too late.
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[SUPER=01-Lee Cowan/CBS News;]
[OUT Q=standard outcue.]
((The best chance for a susccessul rescue now rests on the shoulders of three British submarine pilots who will operate this underwater helicopter now rushing to the crash scene in the frigid Barents Sea. But it may not get on station until Saturday, one day after the Russians expect air to run out.
It was flown to Norway from Prestwick, Scotland, this morning after Russian president Vladimir Putin reluctantly admitted failure, low visibility and strong underwater currents no match for two versions of
the Russian evacuation capsules, one of which was almost lost.
With no signs of life coming from the mamouth nuclear powered submarine, this is likely to be the last realistic attempt to rescue as many as 118
sailors now stranded for five days. And some Russian officials are skeptical it can work.
The problem, this spokesman says,. is foreign rescue equipment is not compatible with our equipment and our rescue procedures.
Even if a watertight seal can be achieved, experts say the submarine's hatch still has to be opened from the inside and some wonder if there is
anyone left to do it. High powered search lights have illuminated damage to the Kursk's hull. Her torpedo tubes are open to the ocean and debris
is scattered around her bow, supporting Russian claims there was a catastrophic explosion on board that may have wiped out a good portion
of the crew before the sub ever sank.))[tease#1]
Still to come on the newscast, a former Presidential candidate is diagnosed with skin cancer. We will have the details after this break,
Also we'll see why a local farmer says a new strain of tobacco may hold the future of the Virginia Economy.
[Commercial Break #1]
Al Gore has ended his cross country trip to Los Angeles. He's finally arrived at the Demcratic National Convention. Teri Okita has more.
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[SUPER=201-Al Gore/(D) Presidential Candidate;]
[SUPER=201-Joe Lieberman/(D) V.P. Candidate;]
[SUPER=201-Teri Okita/CBS News;]
[OUT Q=Los Angeles]
Nat Sot: Airport cheers/music
With his battle cry, "You Ain't seen nothing yet" - Al Gore arrived at
Los Angeles for the biggest moment of his political life. Running mate
Joseph Lieberman welcomed the Gores to L-A and their campaign hit the
Gore will spend much of the day putting the finishing touches on his
Sot: Delegate (looking forward to)
But tonight the convention will belong to- two of most important people
in Gore's life . Joe Lieberman was warmly received last night. He will
use tonights speech to introduce himself and his vision - to the
american people. And Gore's daughter Karrena Gore -Schiff will deliver
what is being billed as a deeply emotional tribute to her father.
Poss nat sot:
Around the convention hall and throughout the city....the Los Angeles
Police department is on high alert. One of the biggest demonstrations
today... was in protest of police brutality. Dozens have been arrested.
Meanwhile on the Republican side- Senator John McCain of Arizona has been diagnosed with a recurrance of skin cancer.
McCain was the top contender against George W. Bush for the republican presidential nomination-
McCain is expected to hold a press conference at the end of the week to talk about his medical condition.
During his campaign he released his medical records which showed he had a cancerous mole removed from his shoulder in 1993- His doctor said at the time he was cured of the cancer.
In their own words "the rest is all uphill."
The Green Party of Virginia filed petitions today to get on the ballot in the Commonwealth.
[IN Q=We're turning]
((SHERRY STANLEY/VIRGINIA GREEN PARTY: WE'RE TURNING IN 17-THOUSAND-295 OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT SIGNATURES TODAY. SO PART OF THE ROUGH GOING IS GETTING ON THE BALLOT. AND THE 400 MINIMUM IN EACH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, WE'VE MADE THAT TOO. SO WE'VE ALREADY GOTTEN OVER THAT FIRST HURDLE OF THE ROUGH GOING. SO THE REST NOW IS ALL UPHILL.))
[SUPER=201-Sherry Stanley/Virginia Green Party;]
[OUT Q=all uphill.]
Green Party candidate Ralph Nader says he's on the ballot in 20 other states.
Nader's core issues are campaign finance reform, ending corporate welfare, universal health care, and getting rid of NAFTA.
The deadline to file is next Friday.
So far, the Libertarian party is the only other alternative party to file.
Business and political leaders say Danville and Pittsylvania County have the chance of a lifetime to become a booming economic hub.
The "Future of the Piedmont Foundation" unveiled a plan to establish a graduate program.
It will be called the Dan River Institute to allow higher education in advanced technology and engineering.
There will also be a research component. This is a joint effort between Virginia Tech, Averett College and Danville Community College.
The institute will help people like Annette Burke. She doesn't want to leave the area to continue in higher education.
[IN Q=I went into]
((ANNETTE BURKE/STUDENT: I WENT INTO COMPUTERS BECAUSE THAT WAS THE GROWING THING. BUT ONCE I GRADUATED FROM DCC IN ORDER TO CONTINUE I WOULD HAVE MOVED OUT OF TOWN.))
((SENATOR CHARLES HAWKINS/(R) CHATHAM:AND DO SOMETHING THAT HAS NOT BEEN DONE IN MY LIFETIME. OFFER AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR CHILDREN A FUTURE WHERE THEY GREW UP.))
[OUT Q=they grew up.]
The foundation's plan also includes a cutting edge Multi Media Service Access Point or M-SAP. This would provide high speed internet services at low costs to the region.
Investors may soon be able to buy into the new type of tobacco that's expected to be a medical cure.
(Ta-BIO) Tobio -- a company of Virginia tobacco growers -- hopes the State Corporation Commission will approve its business plan this fall.
Tina Tenret visited the first Virginia farmer to grow the new tobacco, to talk about its medical AND moneymaking potential.
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[IN Q=Look closely]
[SUPER=01-Tony Banks/VA Farm Bureau;]
[OUT Q=Tina Tenret News7 ]
Look closely: this new type of tobacco might someday cure physical -- and financial -- pain.
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((NAT SOT CUT))
Croptech researchers cannot wait to get their hands on this prize to take it back to the lab.
They picked Joe Williams as the first Virginia farmer to grow this Oriental strain.
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[IN Q=I think it's pretty]
((JOE WILLIAMS/FARMER: I THINK IT'S PRETTY EXCITING. IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S DIFFERENT AND NEW.
butt butt butt
TONY BANKS/VA. FARM BUREAU: IN THE FLUE-CURED, THE TOBACCO WAS TRANSPLANTED OR SET IN ROWS. HERE THE SEED WAS JUST SPREAD ON THE GROUND SO THERE IS NO TRUE ROW.))
[OUT Q=NO TRUE ROW]
That means farmers can cram ten to 20 times as much of this tobacco on each acre -- for less money.
But experts say that makes these plants more susceptible to pests and disease.
(///// SOT /////)
((nat sot migrant workers))
Farmers WILL save money on scarce and pricey hand labor, since researchers are designing a special machine to cut this crop.
Joe Williams just juryrigged a machine he already had.
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[IN Q=More people]
((TINA TENRET/NEWS7: MORE PEOPLE THAN JUST THE TOBACCO FARMER STAND TO MAKE MONEY OFF THIS OPERATION. IF THE RESEARCH SUCCEEDS, THEY'LL HAVE TO BUILD PROCESSING PLANTS, WHICH MEANS JOBS. IT ALSO MEANS PROFITS FOR DEALERS OF MACHINERY, UTILITIES, EVEN OFFICE SUPPLIES. THE FARM BUREAU HERE SAYS TO EXPECT THE FIRST PROCESSING PLANT TO GO UP WITHIN THREE YEARS.))
[OUT Q=WITHIN THREE YEARS]
Farmers say on this tobacco plant, everything is golden, not just the leaf.
Tina Tenret, News7, Pittsylvania County
This weekend the Virginia Museum of Transportation will see a diverse cross section of the automotive world. Jacey Birch is there to tell us about Ugly Trucks and Fast Cars.
[LIVE=Jacey Full Microwave]
[OUT Q=News 7 at 5 continues.]
It's still a few days away but they're already showing hot rods and ugly pickup trucks.
This year's Cool Wheels Festival is this Saturday and
Jacey Birch is live at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in downtown Roanoke where the engines are starting in festival planning for this weekend.
[SUPER=01-Rebecca Fitzgerald/Va. Museum of Transportation]
[Double Boxes=Robin/Jacey Microwave]
Coming up today in Sports, a former Hokie football star gets canned by the fish,
And on health check, a toy is being recalled because it could be harmful to children.
[REV NET ANNOUNCEMENT]
[Commercial Break ]
Topping tonight's healthcheck- a popular childrens toy could be dangerous-
Playskool is now voluntarily recalling the toy.
The recall involves 420-thousand Busy Poppin' Pals toys.
Small springs inside the toy can break loose, posing a choking and laceration hazard to young children.
Playskool received 16 reports of the springs breaking. Five children reportedly put the broken springs in their mouths- and two suffered cuts.
The Busy Poppin' Pals have a white carry handle and the playskool logo on the front.
They sold nationwide for the past four years for about ten dollars.
Scientist have made a breakthrough that could someday help people with spinal cord injuries or Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
For the first time, they have reproduced nerve cells using stem cells drawn from bone marrow.
Researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey say the results are positive. If they hold up, doctors might one day be able to use the cells to replace damaged ones in patients' brains and spinal cords.
Stem cells are stored in various organs and grow naturally into the specific types of cells needed by those organs. Stem cells from fetal tissue can grow into any type of cell; the latest study suggests that
the same might be true for adult stem cells.
Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the midweek sports ticker.
Former Virginia Tech quarterback Jim Druckenmiller is once again out of work.
This afternoon the Dolphins cut the former first round draft pick.
Druckenmiller, could not climb the depth chart in Miami playing behind Damon Huard, Jay Fielder and now Mike Quinn.
Druckenmiller's agent says the Dolphins never gave him a chance to excel.
The problem is that he may have trouble getting picked up.
The Dolphins were unable to find anyone wanting to trade for Druck and his $652 thousand dollar salary.
In the midst of all the hoopla surrounding the opening of the college football season with the Hokies and Cavliers - you may missed hearing about the Cougars.
This morning Averett College in Danville held the school's first ever football practice.
More than 100 young men turned out for the opening day of workouts as Averett prepares for its first season of intercollegiate competition.
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[IN Q=WE'VE GOT SOME...]
[SUPER=01-Frank Fulton/Averett Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=....the program."]
The Averett College Cougars open the season on September the second at Ferrum.
More on the Cougars is coming up tonight on News 7 at Six.
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[GRAPHIC=News 7 sports]
A South Carolina minor league baseball team walked the fine line between good humor and bad taste last night.
Figure skater Tonya Harding threw out the first pitch for the Charleston Riverdogs.
It also happened to be "Bat Night" at the ball park.
You may remember Harding was linked to the clubbing attack of rival skater Nancy Kerrigan.
Harding says she's learned from her mistakes and that last night was fun.
At six, the Friday Football Extra previews continue with Pulaski County in the spotlight tonight.[5-Cannery]
Bedford County officials have decided not to "can" the New London cannery after all.
It was last month that a move to keep the cannery went down to defeat when a new water line failed on a 3- to three tie vote.
But last night, supervisor Bob Bashore, who missed the first vote, brought the issue up again.. and this time the measure passed 4- to 3.
Supporters say the cannery is an important part of the county's heritage.. others feel the 20- thousand dollars for a new water line would be better spent elsewhere.
Today's website of the day marks a sad day for Elvis Presley fans.
Presley died on this date in 1977.
But the king of Rock and Roll is living on strong on the internet and our website today can help you find him.
Just click on the Webwatch logo on our home page at WDBJ7-dot-come and you will find Everything Elvis from Graceland's official site to the Elvis Encyclopedia. There's even a link for the Flying Elvi sky diving team.