Coming up on News 7--
The local chapter of the United Steelworkers Union faces charges of NOT playing fair during the nine- month strike at Rubatex.
And a sinkhole on Interstate 81 may affect your travel plans this afternoon.
We'll have details.
Dry air and cool temperatures make for a perfect day. The sun is also going to make an all-day entrance for the first time in two weeks. We'll talk about the forecast shortly.
News 7 at noon is straight ahead.
A labor battle is brewing again at Rubatex-- Now, it's the UNION that's accused of unfairness.
Good Afternoon, I'm Kimberly McBroom.
We'll have more on Rubatex in a moment, but first this afternoon a sinkhole has closed one lane of Interstate 81 in Rockbridge County.
[TAKE FS MAP]
It's in a southbound lane at mile marker 204.
That's near Raphine.
VDOT doesn't know yet how long it will take to fix it.
The agency is advising people to be careful driving through that area.
More charges of unfair labor practices at Rubatex Corporation.... this time it's union members who are being charged.
13 violation counts have been filed against the United Steelworkers local 240.
All say the union participated in, condoned and encouraged actions which violated the National Labor Relations act during and after their nine month strike.
Among those charges, the company says the union made false statements to Bargaining Unit members, customers and the public.
They encouraged the harassment of replacement workers by use of derogatory language and insulting gestures.
Falsely disparaging company products through handouts and illegal intrusion at trade shows.
Canceling bargaining meetings without explanation and refusing to discuss future dates.
And condoning illegal picket line activity and failing to stop those activities.
Tonight on News 7, we'll here what the union has to say about those allegations.[Firestone]
Top executives of Ford and Bridgestone-Firestone are treading in hot water on Capitol Hill today.
Lawmakers are asking questions about why it took so long to get millions of faulty tires off the road.
Lee Cowan has the latest on the Congressional hearings.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Sen. Barbara Mikulski/(D) Maryland;]
[SUPER=04-Ford-Firestone File Tape;]
[OUT Q=Cowan, CBS News, Washington.]
(LOCATOR: WASHINGTON, DC)
After months of bad publicity and lawsuits piling up week by week
-- Ford and Firestone are facing down Congress --
Legislators only returned from their summer recess yesterday, but
BOTH the House and the Senate are demanding answers now.
(SEN. SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI, D-MD )
"When did they know it, and what the heck did they do about it?"
(VO BAD TIRES)
The House, wants to know why Ford and Firestone didn't do something
sooner about a tread separation problem on millions of tires possibly
linked to nearly 90 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
(VO/SET UP BYRD)
The Senate wants to know if the government could have done anything
to stop the problem before it got worse.
Ford is ready to defend itself. Using internal documents the auto
giant will admit to Congress the tire problems first came to its
attention in the Middle East THREE YEARS AGO, then more problems in
Malaysia/Thailand and after that: Venezuela -- but decided NOT to notify
(VO FORD/FIRESTONE FILE)
Although Ford mounted what it calls "repeated investigations" into
the tire problems, it was assured by Firestone there was no systemic
defect with the tires themselves.
(SOT/FROM FORD WHEN IT HAPPENS FOR UPDATE PIECE)
Firestone says it has already taken more than a million of the 6
and a half million problem tires off the road. But last week, the
government issued a safety advisory involving a million MORE tires.
(COWAN ON CAM:)
"Firestone refuses to recall those -- but has said it will replace them
at no cost. Today's hearings however go beyond corporate fixes -- to
address corporate responsibility. Lee Cowan, CBS News Washington."))
[GRAPHIC=New River Castings]
The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry fined New River Castings -- now New River Foundry 801-thousand dollars for a variety of safety violations..
The report was released yesterday exactly six months after the explosion that killed three people.
Marya Jones has more on the report's findings.
[IN Q=The 28-page report]
[SUPER=01-Edward Anderson/Karen Hamilton's Father; :19]
[SUPER=01-Doug Howell/Plant HR Manager; :58 ]
[OUT Q=MJN7, Blacksburg.]
(( The 28-page report depicts a plant that failed to train and protect its workers from the dangers within.
[***cover with pre-pro'd board***]
It charges the company with 21 willful violations and 20 labeled "serious."
Together, they carry 801-thousand dollars in penalties.
[BACK TO VIDEO]
Family members of Karen Hamilton, who died in the blast, say it's too little too late.
[SOT 15:49:43 - :57]
((EDWARD ANDERSON: IT'S A JOKE. BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE AND DONE THEIR JOB BEFORE THIS HAPPENED. NOT WAIT TILL AN ACCIDENT LIKE THIS HAPPENS.))
Investigators found that a chemical used to help make auto parts leaked into the plant's basement for two days before the explosion.
The report indicates that it could have been ignited by workers welding or smoking in the area.
[***cover with pre-pro'd quote from Intermet spokesman Mike Kelly***]
An Intermet spokesman says: "We are reviewing these citations, as well as the results of our own investigation. To the extent we have not already done so, we will incorporate any findings into our own ongoing safety initiatives."
((QUICK NATS: WORK AT PLANT TODAY))
Meanwhile, Intermet tried to get business booming again as 52 more workers joined about 150 already there.
The company promises a cleaner, safer, "model" plant.
[SOT 15:47:48 - :53]
((DOUG HOWELL/PLANT HR MANAGER: IT'S GOING TO BE A SHOWPLACE FROM BOTH A PRODUCTION STANDPOINT AND A SAFETY STANDPOINT WITHIN THE CORPORATION.))
((MARYA JONES/NEWS-7: NOW, ATTORNEYS ARE LINING UP TO FILE SUIT, THOUGH THEY HAVEN'T DONE SO YET. AND THE COMPANY'S TROUBLES MAY NOT END THERE. THE CITY OF RADFORD STILL HASN'T PUT OUT ITS REPORT ON THE EXPLOSION. COMMONWEALTH'S ATTORNEY RANDALL DUNCAN SAYS THERE'S A POSSIBILITY OF CRIMINAL CHARGES AHEAD. MARYA JONES, NEWS-7, BLACKSBURG.))
[GRAPHIC=Vinton PD New Chief]
The town of Vinton's new police chief is now on the job.
Former Pulaski chief of police, Herbert Cooley, was hired by town council last month.
He started work yesterday.
Cooley has 34 -years of law enforcement experience.
He says as the head of Vinton's 18-person police department, he plans to focus on community policing, in an effort to improve the department's tarnished image.
Cooley replaces Rick Foutz, who resigned last year amid a state police investigation into missing guns and drugs from the department's evidence room.
NO indictments were ever handed up.
Now Vinton town officials are trying to quash a 10-million dollar lawsuit filed by Foutz.
He says the town attorney and the town manager forced him to retire -- slandered him in town council meetings -- and conspired to ruin his reputation.
Town officials deny all of those allegations, and say comments in council meetings are privileged anyway.
A judge says he'll rule on the case in a week.
A historical summit began this morning at the United Nations.
The gathering of 150 heads of state is said to be the largest- ever meeting of world leaders.
Among the key-note speakers, President Clinton urged new efforts for world peace.
Lisa Leigh reports from New York.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-United Nations, NY;]
[SUPER=01-Kofi Annan/U.N. Secretary General;]
[OUT Q=Lisa Leigh for CBS News]
(LOCATOR: UNITED NATIONS)
More than 150 prime ministers, presidents and kings arrived this morning
the United Nations for the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
The Summit is geared to outline the future direction of the U-N;
address the problems of world poverty and peacekeeping.
(SOT, Kofi Annan, UN Sec. General)
9:47:12 we are here to strengthen and adapt this great institution,
55 years ago in the crucible of war, so that we can do what people
it in a new era. (:13)
President Clinton was the first head of state to address the Summit.
openly criticized Iraq, even with its UN ambassador Tariq Aziz in
attendance, for defying U-N weapons inspections teams, and called on the
assembly to work together for world peace.
(clinton sot at 10:01:28)
The leaders here can rewrite history in the new millennium, If we have
learned the lessons of the past, we can leave a very different legacy
our children. (:11:)
Clinton also hopes to use this week to move forward with the Middle
He will meet individually with Israeli President Ehud Barak and
President Yasser Arafat to attempt to end the stalemate after talks
in July at Camp David.
They may be lofty goals; even White House advisers are pessimistic that
agreement will be reached.
One of the more notable world leaders in attendance: Cuban President
Castro. He will address the Summit later this afternoon, and is
use his five minutes at the podium to harshly condemn the nearly 40-year
economic embargo against Cuba.
Reporting live from New York, LL, for cbs news.
An emergency rescue drill went terribly wrong, as it aired live on T-V today in Taiwan.
A helicopter lowering a police officer over a river tilted, and briefly dropped into the water.
When the chopper took off again, it began spinning.
It then plunged sideways into the water with fragments of its blades flying off in different directions.
The crash left the helicopter's co- pilot in a coma, and also injured four other crew members.
Officials say engine failure might have caused the helicopter to spin out of control.
In June, Virginia's Social Services Board voted to allow foster parents to physically discipline children in their care.
But yesterday, only one of every ten speakers supported the proposed policy on corporal punishment.
[SOT tape two 14:21:08]
[IN Q=I'm convinced]
((JIM FIORELLI/GOVERNOR'S BOARD ON ABUSE AND NEGLECT: I'M CONVINCED THAT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN LOVING PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE, YES, EVEN SPANKING, IS APPROPRIATE. SUCH DISCIPLINE PROVIDES THE CHILD WITH A CLEAR KNOWLEDGE OF APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF SECURITY AND LOVE.))
[SUPER=01-Jim Fiorelli/Gov. Board on Abuse and Neglect;]
[OUT Q=security and love.]
But the vast majority of those who spoke say -- whether you believe in spanking or shaking children or NOT -- it should never happen to foster children, most of whom are already abuse victims.
[SOT TAPE ON 10:57:54]
[IN Q=If you can]
((BEVERLY LYLES/PEDIATRIC NURSE: IF YOU TELL CARETAKERS YOU CAN SHAKE THIS CRYING BABY, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT HARSH OR ABUSIVE, WILL ANY OF THEM HAVE THE SAME DEFINITION OF HARSH AND ABUSIVE? WILL ANY OF THEM KNOW JUST HOW MUCH SHAKING IT TAKES TO MAKE THAT BABY'S BRAIN BLEED AND SWELL, TO MAKE HIS EYES HEMORRHAGE, TO MAKE HIM STOP BREATHING, TO MAKE HIM DIE?))
[SUPER=01-Beverly Lyles/Pediatric Nurse;]
[OUT Q=him die?]
The Social Services Board will receive written public comment for two more weeks.
It will probably vote again on its policy in October.
Virginia public school students will still observe the moment of silence at least for now.
Federal appeals court judges in Richmond have let the policy stay in place, pending a federal hearing in Alexandria on Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the new law blurs the line between church and state by actually suggesting children can pray, meditate, or reflect.
Virginia's school superintendent has suggested just announcing that children should observe one minute of silence.
State officials found out why the owner of Waterworks at Smith Mountain Lake charged a customer one thousand dollars for water.
Robert Winney has been punished by the State Corporation Commission before for overcharging customers and threatening to cut off their service.
Yesterday, Winney said he billed a customer one thousand dollars for water service because the resident is not in his company territory.
The customer DOES live in one of the three subdivisions served by Waterworks.
The State Corporation Commission will rule on this case next week.
While cooling rains are helping to control the wildfires in Idaho and Montana, the flames are raging in Colorado.
[SUPER=03-Near Boulder, CO;]
A wildfire forced the evacuations of families who live near a canyon in the Boulder area.
Winds whipped the blaze into treetops late last night.
Authorities believe lightning triggered the fire, which quickly grew to about 10 acres.
So far, the year 2000 is a disappointing one for England's Millennium dome.
Last month, only 18- thousand people a day entered the attraction, well short of the target of seven- MILLION visitors by the end of the year.
Fewer tourists for the landmark means less money.
After its chief executive had to appeal for more funding, the dome received a 68- million- dollar cash boost to sort out its financial difficulties.
Without the new funding, the Dome would have had to close.
Lynchburg's baseball stadium will not be renovated anytime soon.
In a unanimous vote yesterday, city council opted to postpone renovations until more money can be raised.
The lowest bid by a contractor exceeded the budget by one point seven million dollars.
The stadium design team will continue to raise money until next season.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Whatever they]
((RAY BOOTH/PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR: WHATEVER THEY GET, WE'LL DESIGN IT TO FIT THE BUDGET. HOPEFULLY WITH ALLOWING MORE TIME, TWO SEASONS, CONTRACTORS WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE MORE COMPETITIVE BIDS.))
[SUPER=01-Ray Booth/Public Works Director]
[OUT Q=competative bids.]
Stadium renovations were discussed when the Hillcats renewed their affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Officials say postponing the renovations will have no effect on the affiliation.
In business news, Optical Cable announced double digit sales growth today.
The company's revenues were up more than 32 percent for the quarter that ended in July... good news for the local company that manufactures fiber optic cable.
That's also good news for stock holders.... The share price has risen dramatically in the last two weeks, and today the company announced a three- for- two stock split.
able quarter. The company's C-E-O says the demand for high-speed Internet services may be the driving force behind this profit