He's got the football world spinning--
Michael Vick's pending departure from Virginia Tech continues unfolding today.
We'll have statements from Coach Beamer and a fellow player.
And the 2001 Virginia General Assembly begins meeting at this hour.
A sunny day in store today with temperatures on the rise... the warmer forecast is straight ahead.
News 7 at noon is next.
The Hokies' loss would be the N-F-L's gain.
Virginia Tech prepares for the worst, as Michael Vick considers turning PRO.
Good Afternoon, I'm Kimberly McBroom.[1-Vick]
It appears that Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick is leaving Virginia Tech for the NFL draft. THis story broke last night and
[anchor=Kim & steve]
Steve Mason updates us on the facts that have developed today surrounding Vick's pending departure from Tech.
Kim, here's what we DO know. Yesterday, Michael Vick and his mother picked up his Tech transcript on campus in Blacksburg. The NFL requires a transcript from any underclassmen who is entering the NFL draft. We also know that Vick has informed some of his Tech teammates that he is leaving college for the NFL. There has been no formal announcement from Virginia Tech on Vick's situation at this time but head football coach Frank Beamer released a statement at 10:30 this morning in regards to his quarterback.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Jacksonville, FL; :]
[SUPER=01-Jarrett Ferguson/Va. Tech Fullback; :]
[OUT Q=...20 Million dollars]
Beamer's statement reads.... "I talked with Michael late Tuesday night. I will let him give you his decision on Thursday. What I asked him to do, and what I tried to help him do, was to gather all the information he needed to make both an informed decision and the decision that was best for him.
Whatever that decision is, I will fully support it. I plan to be at his press conference in Newport News on Thursday to show our support of Mike. I will not answer any other questions until that time."
three PM Thursday, Vick is scheduled to announce his intentions to enter the NFL draft from the Boys and Girls Club in Newport News. Vick said at a december 15th news conference in Blacksburg that he was returning to Tech for his junior season but he began to question his decision during Gator Bowl week. He later released a statement saying he intended to come back to school. But over the last two weeks he has obviously had a change of heart.
Injuries that cost him substantial playing time this season and the money are key factors in his decision. Sources say Vick's contract could command as much as 55 million with a signing bonus between 14 and 20 million dollars.))
One positive out of all of this, News 7 sports learned Tech wide receiver Andre davis, rumored to be leaving for the NFL if Vick left, is coming back to Tech for his senior season, according to Davis' mother, who made that statement this morning.Davis is at home in New York recuperating from surgery on his ankle and is scheduled to return to Blackburg.
Again, there has been no formal announcement on Vicks' leaving Tech for the NFL yet, but every indication points in this direction and, as we said earlier, he will hold a news conference tomorrow at 3 pm in Newport News. More on the Vick situation at five and six.,
[toss back to Kim][General-Assembly]
[GRAPHIC=Virginia State Capitol]
The 2001 Virginia General Assembly is gavelling into session right now.
[TAKE LIVE PICTURE]
You are looking at a live picture of the House of Delegates convening at this hour.
This year's 46 day session will be marked by a battle over the tightening state budget... and the final two steps of Governor Jim Gilmore's car tax cut.
Ellen Qualls will have a wrap-up of today's events tonight on News 7 at 5, 6, and 11.
[GRAPHIC=State of the Commonwealth]
Governor Gilmore will deliver his fourth State of the Commonwealth address tonight. Gilmore will use his address to outline his spending plans for the coming year.
[Take State of the Commonwealth FS 1011]
News 7 will carry the governor's speech live from the state capitol. Our coverage begins at 7 PM.
One of the issues on the General Assembly's agenda is the future of Southern Virginia Mental Institute in Danville.
This week, the Governor announced his intentions to close the facility in 2002.
Under the plan, the state would move away from publicly funded care to more community based care.
And that has many fearing the worst- including residents, hospitals and community services providers.
[SOT :00:00:38, :00:00:47]
[IN Q=Our behavorial health system]
((CHRIS MORGAN/DANVILLE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: OUR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SYSTEM CAN ACCOMMODATE ABOUT ANOTHER 17 OR 18 PATIENTS SO WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THE PATIENTS.))
((REV. LARRY HILL/OPERATES HOMELESS SHELTER: IF THEY DON'T HAVE A PLACE TO PUT THEM THEN THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO STAY HERE OR WE ARE GOING TO FIND ARRANGEMENTS OURSELVES AND THAT'S REALLY GOING TO HURT US IN A LOT OF AREAS.))
[SUPER=01-Chris Morgan/Danville Regional Medical Center; :00]
[SUPER=01-Rev. Larry Hill/Operates Homeless Shelter; :09]
[OUT Q=in a lot of areas]
The state promises to keep Southern Virginia Mental Institute open until the community based services are in place.
The General Assembly has final say on the plan to close the institute.
The General Assembly will also address two bills concerning teen aged drivers and the use of cell phones.
Statistics show teens with a carload of passengers are four times more likely to get in a serious collision than one driving alone.
[SOT 11:59:10 ]
[IN Q=It's clear]
((SEN. BILL MIMS/R-LOUDOUN CO.: IT'S CLEAR THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF DRIVING IS ONE THAT IF YOU ARE INEXPERIENCED AND YOU HAVE A DISTRACTION, IN PARTICULAR...VERY SERIOUS CAR CRASH.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Bill Mims/(R) Loudoun Co.;]
[OUT Q=car crash.]
Senator Mims's bill would raise the driving age by six months, as well as limit the number of teen passengers with a teen driver.
Cell phone users could get stopped by police for chatting while entering or exiting a highway.
That's a new version of a bill that's died in the past that would have banned cell phones in the hands of drivers altogether.
Authorities are still on the lookout for two people who may have abducted a North Carolina girl.
The 22-month-old baby girl disappeared from her foster home near Greensboro.
Officials believe Hailey Marissa Fuller was abducted by her mother, Alisha Hammond, and Alisha's father, Wesley.
Wesley Hammond is a registered sex offender in Virginia.
The Alleghany County sheriff says Hammond has ties to Allegheny county, so deputies there are on alert.
[GRAPHIC=George W. Bush]
George W- Bush is in Washington today, fresh from controversy over his former nominee for Labor Secretary.
Stephen Clark reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Linda Chavez/Former Labor Sec. Nominee;]
[OUT Q=Clark, CBS News, Washington]
PRESIDENT-ELECT BUSH HIT THE GROUND RUNNING...STARTING HIS TWO DAY TRIP
WITH A VISIT TO THE PENTAGON AND A MEETING WITH THE JOINT CHIEF'S OF
BUT HIS WELCOME TO WASHINGTON LAST NIGHT WAS ANYTHING BUT WARM. WHILE
HE WAS IN THE AIR, LINDA CHAVEZ, HIS NOMINEE FOR LABOR SECRETARY WAS
WITHDRAWING HER NAME FROM CONSIDERATION.
SOT: LINDA CHAVEZ/FORMER NOMINEE
i would have made a great secretary of labor
SHE STEPPED DOWN AFTER REPORTS SURFACED SHE MAY HAVE PAID AN ILLEGAL
ALIEN FOR WORKING IN HER HOME.
SOT George W. Bush/President-Elect
18:58:12 i absolutely believed she'd make a fine cabinet sec, but I can
understand her reluctance to move forward.
TODAY AT LEAST THREE NAMES ARE ON THE SHORT LIST FOR LABOR...MISSOURI
REPRESENTATIVE JIM TALENT ...WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER
DUNN...AND FORMER PEACE CORP DIRECTOR ELAINE CHAO...
THE PRESIDENT-ELECT ALSO HAD TO DEAL WITH THE CURRENT WHITE HOUSE
OCCUPANT WHO FOR THE FIRST TIME TALKED ABOUT HOW BUSH WON THE ELECTION:
9:32:09 by the time it was over, our candidate had won the popular vote
and the only was they could stop the elex was by stopping the vote in
THERE ARE TWO BRIGHT SPOTS TODAY FOR MR BUSH...HIS NOMINEE FOR EDUCATION
SECRETARY, ROD PAIGE IS EXPECTED TO SAIL THROUGH CONFIRMATION HEARINGS,
WHICH BEGAN EARLIER THIS MORNING.
AND THE OTHER BRIGHT SPOT...MOST OF WASHINGTON HAS LOST TRACK OF MR
BUSH'S TROUBLES BECAUSE ALL THEIR ATTENTION IS FOCUSED ON ANOTHER PAIR
OF NEW ARRIVALS TO D-C...TIAN-TIAN AND MEI-XIANG (may-shong).
Meanwhile, Bush's first choice for Labor Secretary is speaking out about
[SUPER=04-CBS "The Early Show";]
her reasons for withdrawing from Cabinet consideration.
Linda Chavez bowed out after criticism surrounding her letting an illegal immigrant live in her home in the early '90s.
Chavez was on C-B-S's "Early Show" this morning.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I didn't feel]
((LINDA CHAVEZ/FORMER LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE: I DIDN'T FEEL THERE WAS ANY PRESSURE. I FELT THAT THE PRESSURE WAS INTERNAL IN MY OWN. I THINK I DISAPPOINTED THE BUSH TRANSITION. I THINK I PUT THEM IN A DIFFICULT POSITION BY NOT BEING MORE FORTHCOMING. AND I DECIDED THAT IT WAS TIME FOR ME TO GO BECAUSE I WAS PROVIDING A TREMENDOUS DISTRACTION FROM THE ISSUE AT HAND, WHICH WAS GETTING ALL OF THE NOMINEES CONFIRMED. ))
[SUPER=01-Linda Chavez/Former Labor Sec. Nominee;]
[OUT Q=nominees confirmed.]
Chavez added that all the recounting in the Presidential election left the Bush team without enough time to thoroughly investigate Cabinet nominees.
A gay rights activist in Lynchburg believes gay crime victims deserve special attention from police.
He wants the local police force better trained to deal with hate crimes and their victims.
Steve Smallshaw has more.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=On September]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/September 23; :00]
[SUPER=01-Bill Connelly/Gay Rights Activist; :15]
[SUPER=01-Charles Bennett/Lynchburg Police Chief; 1:03]
[OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.]
(( On September 23rd of last year, a man walked into a Roanoke gay bar and opened fire.. leaving one person dead, six others wounded.
It was a crime that made headlines nationwide and left some local residents wondering whether it could have been prevented.
((BILL CONNELLY/GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: ALL OF THESE INCIDENTS MIGHT HAVE HAD DIFFERENT OUTCOMES HAD THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAKEN THE INITIATIVE TO SEND THE MESSAGE THAT OPPRESSION OF GAY AND LESBIAN PEOPLE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.))
[OUT Q=not be tolerated.]
So long-time gay rights advocate Bill Connelly is speaking out again.
Connelly wants the Lynchburg police force to undergo FBI training to help them recognize and deal with hate crimes, in particular crimes where gay citizens are the target.
Connelly says the training could help prevent gay crime victims from being mistreated by cops who might be inclined to look the other way.
((CONNELLY: SOMETIMES IN AN ORGANIZATION LIKE THAT, YOU GET 'BOYS WILL BE BOYS' AND IT INTERFERES WITH THEM BEING EFFECTIVE WITH A GAY MAN OR PERHAPS A LESBIAN, THAT THEY MIGHT FIND HUMOROUS, SO THIS KIND OF TRAINING IS A PREVENTATIVE THING.))
[OUT Q=preventative thing.]
But police chief Charles Bennett says he's not sure the need is there.
((COL.CHARLES BENNETT/LYNCHBURG POLICE CHIEF: ALL PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE, RELIGION OR SEXUAL PREFERENCE ARE PROTECTED BY THE EXISTING LAWS, AND THE INSTANCE IN PARTICULAR IN ROANOKE THAT WAS MENTIONED, THE PERPETRATOR WAS CAUGHT, ARRESTED AND IS GOING TO BE TRIED UNDER THE LAW. I'M JUST NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT ELSE COULD OCCUR.))
[OUT Q=else could occur.]
Bennett says he'll look into Connelly's request.
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Lynchburg.))
A local digital cable company has not paid its employees OR landlord in a month.
Air Cable employs 40 people Salem and Roanoke.
It uses wireless technology to provide digital quality television.
Employees say their last several paychecks bounced.
Air Cable's Landlord says he hasn't been paid either.
Air Cable says the payroll mishap was a clerical error and employees will "most likely" be paid on Friday OR Monday.
The company says customer service has not been affected by the payroll mishap.
But at least one customer says he's waiting for a refund check.
The company hasn't paid the State Corporation Commission either -- that means Air Cable is no longer legally allowed to operate in Virginia.
The latest round of Standards of Learning test scores show Roanoke city students are making the grade.
Superintendent Wayne Harris says 100-percent of the ninth and tenth grade students who took the December "end of course" World History tests received a passing score.
70-percent of students who took the Algebra S-O-L test passed.
The majority of those students were taking the test for the first time.
Plans for a new museum devoted to the work of famed photographer O-Winston Link are in the works. Link says he's honored, but he's also prepared to stop the project.
A tribute to Link is part of the plan for the old N&W passenger rail station that's now slated for renovation.
But Link believes the project should include the vintage steam locomotive 12-18 as the centerpiece, and he says without the engine he's not interested.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I know it's a tough job]
((I KNOW IT'S A TOUGH JOB. EVERYTHING IS TOUGH. IF YOU HAVE A GOOD CONCEPT. IT'S NOT EASY TO CARRY OUT. IT EITHER TAKES A LOT OF WORK, A LOT OF IMAGINATION, SOME VISION AND SOME MONEY.))
[OUT Q=and some money.]
Supporters still hope a Link museum will be part of the project, but they say they can't wait forever, and will ultimately move forward with other plans if Link isn't on board.
Roanoke County residents will soon be able to fine tune their internet skills---with a little help from Bill Gate
The Gates Foundation is funding more than fifty-thousand dollars in grants to the Roanoke County Library System.
The county received two of seventeen grants available in the Commonwealth.
The first grant will help fund a training lab for the Vinton branch.
The county wants to offer computer training programs to people who wouldn't normally have access to computers.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=WE HOPE TO BE]
((SPENCER WATTS/ROANOKE CO. LIBRARY DIRECTOR; WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO OFFER A WIDE VARIETY OF CLASSES THAT WILL TEACH PEOPLE ABOUT DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPUTER APPLICATIONS AS WELL AS INTRODUCE THEM TO THE INTERNET AND SURF AND GET THE BEST AND THE MOST OUT OF THE WEB))
[SUPER=01-Spencer Watts/Roanoke Co. Library Director]
[OUT Q=OUT OF THE WEB]
The computer training courses will be available to adults and children when the lab is finished in April.
The second grant goes to the Mount Pleasant Library for new computers and software.
Millions of stargazers have witnessed the 21st century's first total eclipse of the moon.
Dozens of people braved the chilly weather and gathered on the Eiffel Tower platform in Paris to watch the spectacle.
Likewise, eager viewers stood outside at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to witness the historic event.
The moon came passing through the Earth's shadow ,and progressively disappeared.
Scientists say when the earth's atmosphere bends and filters sunlight, it can cause the moon to turn an orange or reddish color.
The next lunar eclipse will take place in 2003.
In business news today--
Trans World Airlines confirms it's reached a deal with American Airlines.
T-W-A says it's selling American most of its assets for about 500- million dollars.
But the purchases don't stop there--
American Airlines is buying some of US- Airways' assets from United Airlines, as well as stake in start-up carrier, D-C Air.
Critics, especially travel agents, say the deal means fewer choices and higher prices for fliers, because there will be less competition.
Meanwhile, the decision is expected to draw a lot of attention today on the stock market.
[TAPE#=sp-85 tc 51:57]
Georgia Tech stung Virginia on the Cavaliers home court last night.
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/Georgia Tech vs. Virginia;]
Late in the game Tech's Shawn (fine) Fein shows no fear-- driving through the paint to tie it at 59.
UVA takes the lead just minutes later, when Chris Williams lets go a high arching shot.
The Cavs take the 65-63 lead.
(Fine) Fein would seal the victory for the Yellow Jackets with this bomb, just as the shot clock sounds.
Georgia Tech beats Virginia 73-68.
Virginia Tech wrestler Andrew Shuler is transferring to the University of Wyoming at the start of the spring semester.
Shuler was the starter in the 157 pound weight class.
[SUPER=03-Vinton/1999 Season; :00]
He was a three time state champion at Brookville, and posted a 139 and 9 record in high School.
He was 1 and 5 this season for Tech, and said he is leaving because he is not happy there.
Tech coach Keith Mourlam has been quoted on the Tech website as saying he supports Shuler.
The Hokies are a top 25 program.
[TAPE#=SP-91 tc 20:34]
In baseball news, the Cleveland Indians have a new rightfielder.
The Indians signed Juan Gonzalez to a one year, 10 million dollar contract.
They made the announcement yesterday afternoon.
Gonzalez needed to pass a physical before the deal was finalized.
There's also a 14 million dollar option for 2002.
And before we wrap up this afternoon--
Crowds were lined up this morning in Washington D-C.
They weren't waiting for politicians,
(May-SHONG) AND (tee-YEN tee-YEN) arrived from China last month.
Veterinarians had to quarantine the pair to make sure they were free of disease and adjusted to their new environment.
The pandas made their debut at the National Zoo this morning.
Zoo officials figure the panda exhibit will increase attendance by 400- thousand people a year.
The pair is on loan from the Chinese government for 10 years, at a price of 10- million dollars.