Getting passenger rail service rolling in Roanoke. We'll find out what needs to be done to make it happen.
And across the commonwealth-- Virginians mark Lee-Jackson Day.
In sports, Mike Stevens visits Yates racing today in the NASCAR Media tour reports.
And Steve Mason has a look at some options the Hokies have in replacing Michael Vick at the quarterback position.
Temperatures in the upper 40s tomorrow get the weekend forecast kicked off the right way. The full details coming up along with our Friday WeatherSchool.
[IN Q=It's going to take a lot of people]
((IT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN WESTERN VIRGINIA WHO FINALLY SAY, THIS IS IMPORTANT.))
[OUT Q=this is important]
The campaign to restore passenger rail service in Roanoke brings a new round of recommendations.
Good evening, I'm Jean Jadhon.
A committee chaired by former mayor David Bowers is recommending that the old N&W station serve as the new home of Roanoke's passenger rail service.
And next week, the committee will ask city council to contribute to the renovation of the Roanoke landmark.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean and JoeD /Microwave;]
Joe Dashiell is outside the station tonight with more on the committee's recommendations.
Jean... plans to renovate the old passenger rail station are already moving forward... The convention and visitors bureau is slated to move in here... and as we reported earlier in the week, the project could include a museum devoted to the work of photographer O. Winston Link.
But advocates of passenger rail service hope that it might serve its original purpose as well...
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[IN Q=There was a time]
[SUPER=01-David Bowers/Rail Service Committee; :41]
[OUT Q=we'll be ready for it.]
((There was a time when Roanoke saw 20 passenger trains every day... But since the late 70s, only the occasional excursion has stopped here.
Efforts to restore passenger rail service are moving forward... the state has already come up with several million dollars for the Trans Dominion Express between Bristol and Washington... and Congressmen Boucher and Goodlatte are pursuing federal funds for Amtrak service.
Next week, Roanoke's Passenger Rail Service Committee will ask city council to designate the former N&W passenger station as the future site of a passenger rail depot... and consider contributing one- point- seven million dollars toward the renovation of the building.
[IN Q=I think Roanoke needs to get ready]
((DAVID BOWERS/PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE COMMITTEE: I THINK ROANOKE NEEDS TO GET READY AND WE CAN DO THAT BY DESIGNATING OUR FUTURE SITE FOR A PASSENGER RAIL DEPOT AND SECONDLY BEGIN TO SET MONEY ASIDE FOR IT. WE CAN'T DO IT ALL AT ONCE, BUT IF WE SET A LITTLE ASIDE EACH YEAR FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS, THEN WHEN THAT PASSENGER TRAIN COMES THROUGH ROANOKE, THAT DEPOT WILL BE THERE. WE'LL HAVE COMMITTED THE MONEY TO REBUILD IT AND WE'LL BE READY FOR IT.))
[OUT Q=we'll be ready for it.]))
The committee is also encouraging council to continue working with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern to arrange more excursions, and with state and federal lawmakers to secure more funding for passenger rail initiatives
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean and JoeD/Microwave;]
But ultimately Jean, David Bowers says the people of western Virginia must speak up to let their representatives in Richmond and Washington know that they consider passenger rail service a priority.
Virginia Consumers will soon be able to chose between two energy suppliers.
Allegheny power is now eligible for the customer choice program.
That means current American Electric Power customers enrolled in the program will be able to choose between the two companies for electricity.
Allegheny Power is A-E-P's first competitor in Southwest Virginia.
Customers could be able to buy electricity from Allegheny Power as early as February first.
The State Corporation Commission says Air Cable of Roanoke is once again operating in compliance with Virginia law.
Until yesterday, the company had not paid its annual state corporate fees .. and was therefore technically violating a state law.
In addition, Air Cable employees who work in this and a second area building were paid yesterday. Some hadn't seen a paycheck in at least a month.
The company says it will take care of all its debts to employees by Monday.
Voters in Rocky Mount will elect a Mayor and town council this May.
Here's why- last July, the town annexed one and a half square miles of Franklin County and state law requires a special election when a town's population increases by five percent.
Councilman Mark Newbill and incumbent Ben Pinckard already plan to run for mayor.
Four other council members have thrown their hats in the ring for re-election.
Unless you paid a visit to the D-M-V today, you may not have been aware this was Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia.
State offices were closed, but just a few communities marked the occasion with a ceremony.
In Bedford, Civil War re-enactors dressed in period costume gathered at the City- County museum.
Organizer Leslie Mehaffey says it makes sense to give Virginia's Civil War generals their own holiday separate from Martin Luther King.
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[IN Q=They're all good]
((LESLIE MEHAFFEY/U.D.C. RE-ENACTOR: THEY'RE ALL GOOD MEN, LEE, JACKSON AND KING, THEY ALL HAVE WONDERFUL IDEALS ABOUT THEM. PEOPLE LOOK AT THIS TIME PERIOD DURING THE 1860'S DIFFERENTLY, OF COURSE, THAN THEY LOOK AT THE KING PERIOD.))
[SUPER=01-Leslie Mehaffey/U.D.C. Reenactor]
[OUT Q=the King period.]
Visitors to the museum got a first- hand look at a Civil War cannon, weapons and other period artifacts.
The first Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia was in 1891.
110 years later, the Confederate generals are on their own again.
Ellen Qualls has more from Richmond.
[IN Q=nat sot singing]
[SUPER=01-Red Barbour/Sons of Confed. Veterans; :]
[SUPER=01-Henry Kidd/Sons of Confed. Veterans; : ]
[SUPER=01-J. E. B. Stuart, IV/Museum of the Confederacy; :]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(([nat sot dixie]
For 17 years, the third Monday in January's been like Sunday mornings in Virginia-- simultaneous but seldom-shared observances.
Virginia's been lumping together Robert E- Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King in one holiday.
[nat sot rebel yell]
[sot standup 11:50:09]
((LEE, JACKSON, AND KING WERE ALL PUT ON THE SAME HOLIDAY... GILMORE WHO FOUGHT TO SEPARATE THE HOLIDAYS LAST YEAR.))
Gilmore sees it as a matter of respect.
But for which one?
He says he had NO plans to celebrate the newly single Lee-Jackson Day.
[sot 10:24:26 ]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: WELL I'M WORKING I GUESS TODAY. AND NEED TO BE DOING THAT. AND I'VE GOT A GUEST COMING IN FROM THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE TONIGHT THIS EVENING. SO I THINK I'LL PROBABLY STAY PRETTY CLOSE TO HOME TODAY. BUT I AM GOING TO ATLANTA TOMORROW. I'VE BEEN INVITED TO COME DOWN BY CORRETTA SCOTT KING TO TALK TO HER BECAUSE OF THE ADVANCEMENTS THAT WE'VE MADE HERE IN INCLUSION AND OPENING OPPORTUNITY.))
((RED BARBOUR/SONS OF CONFED. VETERANS: I THINK WITH TODAY'S CLIMATE, THE CONFEDERACY'S BEING DEMONIZED AS RACIST. THAT'S THE PART THAT BOTHERS ME MOSTLY, BECAUSE THAT'S AN UNTRUTH.))
The Sons of Confederate Veterans point out that Robert E- Lee actually shared the most crucial of views with Martin Luther King.
((HENRY KIDD/SONS OF CONFED. VETERANS: HE INHERITED MORE THAN 200 SLAVES FROM HIS FATHER-IN-LAW. FREED ALL OF HIS SLAVES. WROTE DOWN ALL OF THEIR NAMES INDIVIDUALLY AS PEOPLE, NOT PROPERTY, PRIOR TO THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION.))
Initially irritated that the Confederates had to move to the Friday before the King holiday, their supporters now say it's okay with them.
Take it from J.E.B. Stuart the fourth... a direct descendant of another famous Confederate.
[sot 09:51:12 ]
((JEB STUART IV/MUSEUM OF THE CONFEDERACY: I THINK THE THING THAT WILL GIVE THIS A LITTLE MORE IMPETUS IS THE FACT THAT STATE EMPLOYEES WILL BE HAVING A DAY OFF AND MAYBE THEY'LL REFLECT AND SAY WELL GEE, MAYBE I OUGHT TO STUDY A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT PERIOD AND UNDERSTAND IT A LITTLE BETTER. SO I THINK THAT'S THE MOST POSITIVE EFFECT.))
Monday, Virginia celebrates its first-ever King Day, all by itself.
[nat sot ]
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
Next on News 7, find out why an effort to honor King year-round in Southside is running into roadblocks.
And later-- see how the information superhighway and the real highway will merge at Virginia's rest stops.
On Monday, the nation honors the life of Martin Luther King, Junior.
But a Danville man says that's not enough and wants to rename a stretch of road after the civil rights leader.
But as Justing McLeod reports, his plan's hit a roadblock.
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[SUPER=01-Torrey Dixon/Wants Name Change; :12]
[SUPER=01-John Hamlin/Danville Mayor; 1:04]
[OUT Q=News 7, Danville.]
[GRAPHIC=School Bus Accident]
An elderly woman whose car struck a Smyth County school bus full of children has been found guilty of reckless driving.
[VO-NAT Tape 00-43, TC 10:21]
The crash happened south of Chilhowie in October.
Police say 86-year-old Virginia Garrett ran a stop sign and hit the bus, which overturned in a ditch.
More than 40-children were thrown out of their seats.
Five were airlifted to area hospitals.
A Smyth County judge fined Garrett 500 dollars and suspended her license for 90 days.
Focus on a local condominium project has shifted.
Its developers may now take action against the city.
The Cherry Hill Condominium project is almost complete.
For months, some residents of south Roanoke battled the height of the building in court -- even after the city approved building plans.
The city issued a stop work order in July saying the building was in violation of city codes.
Developers say the city had no right to stop construction because building administrator Evelyn Dorsey approved the building plans.
Cherry Hill developers notified the city of a potential claim today.
They may sue for court costs incurred during the suit.
Building administrator Evelyn Dorsey may also be named.
City officials would not comment.
Stocks ended the week on a losing note.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW dropped 84 points.
NASDAQ lost 14.
Campaign contribution limits are still "job one" for Virginia's ethics watchdogs.
But Governor Jim Gilmore's 50-thousand dollar severance payment to an outgoing agency head tops the list of "stinky" ethical problems in the state this year.
So Common Cause of Virginia wants a bill to require disclosure of such deals.
[IN Q=And if they]
((STEVE CALOS/COMMON CAUSE: AND IF THEY WANT TO DO IT, YOU KNOW, LET 'EM DO IT. BUT LET IT BE REPORTED. LET IT BE DISCLOSED. AGAIN I THINK THAT WILL CURTAIL THE PRACTICE SOMEWHAT. BUT AGAIN, WHEN YOU HAVE TENS AND EVEN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, PUBLIC DOLLARS, BEING USED TO BUY SILENCE, OR TO GREASE THE SKIDS, THAT'S NOT AN APPROPRIATE USE FOR PUBLIC FUNDS.))
[SUPER=01-Steve Calos/Common Cause;]
[OUT Q=public funds.]
Also on the Common Cause legislative wish list: making it easier for felons to get their voting rights back.
Virginia has the toughest process in the nation.
And, reforms to the voting process itself -- inspired by Florida's voting fiasco in November.
Virginia's found a way to combine its real highways with the information superhighway.
The "virtual visitors center" idea is really a scaled down version of the Governor's original plan to make interstate rest stops into mini-museums.
When lawmakers nixed that in the budget, the administration went back to the drawing board and came up with 24 hour, multimedia outlets for each rest stop.
[IN Q=A touch screen]
((A TOUCH SCREEN DVD THEATER SHOWCASES THE LOCAL ATTRACTIONS IN THIS CENTER. PEOPLE CAN COME IN AND HOTEL RESERVATIONS AND GOLF RESERVATIONS!))
[OUT Q=golf reservations.]
The web-based centers also provide real-time traffic, weather, and road condition information.
And, of course, the bathrooms remain.
And coming up in sports, Steve Mason has a look at football at Virginia Tech after Michael Vick.
And Mike Stevens continues his reports on the media tour today he stops in on Yates Racing and Dale Jarrett.
[GRAPHIC=Michael Vick ]
With the departure of Michael Vick, the Virginia Tech football program must now find a quarterback to lead the Hokies in 2001. Will it be Grant Noel? Jason Davis? Or the three high school players who have comitted to Tech, Bruton's Bryan Randall, Arkansas product Will Hunt or Deep Creek's Chris Clifton? Steve Mason has more.
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[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=03-Newport News/Yesterday; :00]
[SUPER=01-Michael Vick/Possible Top Draft Pick; :10]
[SUPER=01-Marcus Boddie/Michael's Younger Brother; :37]
[SUPER=03-Williamsburg/This Week; :53]
[SUPER=01-Bryan Randall/Has Committed to Tech; 1:16]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Va. Tech Head Coach; 1:44]
[SUPER=01-Jim Cavanaugh/Va. Tech Linebackers Coach; 1:54]
[OUT Q=....News 7 sports"]
((An overflow crowd at the Boys and Girls Club listened to hometown hero Michael Vick say leaving Tech for the NFL was a decision he had to make in order to reach the next level as a football player and as a person.
The hype and comparisons between Michael's talents and those of his quarterbacking younger brother Marcus Boddie will certainly grow. Last August Marcus,a junior at Warwick high school where his brother played, told news 7 sports he wanted to follow in his brothers footsteps at Virginia Tech, a stance that has not changed, although weighing his options has become important.
Marcus says no matter which NFL city his brother goes to, he will finish his career at Warwick. He also responded to the fact Tech recruited and received a commitment from Bruton senior quarterback Bryan Randall, the state's number one prospect.
Randall was planning to redshirt next season at Tech, but with Vick's departure, one has to wonder if that plan could change.
Tech does have talent at quarterback already on campus. Red shirt sophomore Grant Noel played in three games this past season. Sources have also mentioned defensive back Eric Green moving to quarterback. He was all state in Florida in high school. In the mean time, Beamer and his staff are working overtime to find the right quarterback to fill Michael Vick's shoes.
The Hokies return 9 of 11 starters on a defensive unit that finished 16th in the nation in rushing defense and the entire backfield returns. Steve Mason News 7 sports.))
The Express travels to Richmond tonight. Left wing Troy Lake is out 8 to 12 weeks with a severed hamstring. Today, The Express signed Mike Omicioli (omi-chelli) for the remainder of the season. The 5 foot 5, 165 pound center played for Hampton Roads last year and had 60 points in 47 games. He played for Providence of the AHL and Lowell before being released Monday. He arrives in Roanoke Sunday.
Also, Right wing Ben Schust is supposed to join the Express tomorrow in Florence for Roanoke's game against Pee Dee. He has been with Providence for the last two weeks. He has one assist in five games.
After failing to pull off a repeat last season, 1999 Winston cup champ Dale Jarrett again has his sights set on racing's top prize.
In tonight's report from the NASCAR media tour, Mike Stevens tells us how Jarrett plans to DELIVER the championship.
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[IN Q=First audio..]
[SUPER=03-Charlotte, NC; :00]
[SUPER=01-Dale Jarrett/UPS Ford Driver; :26]
[SUPER=01-Susan Rosenberg/UPS Public Relations; 1:04]
[OUT Q=.....news 7 sports."]
A project to create seven statues of Roanoke's sister cities has been in the works for seven years. Today the project is still running into some road blocks.
[DOUBLE BOXES= Jean and Kate/Newsroom;]
Kate Weidaw is in the newsroom tonight with more.
Seven years ago the statues were slated to go on Mill Mountain.
But after that plan fell through three years ago the Roanoke Valley Sister Cities Organization thought Century Park off Church Avenue would be the ideal location.
But it would mean trees would have to be cut down and that led the owner of the building next to the park to say "lets find another option."
Despite the problems the project is moving forward.
[DOUBLE BOXES= Jean and Kate/Newsroom]
Tonight on News 7 at 11 we'll hear why the sister cities statues are an important part of Roanoke history and what
it's going to take to bring the statues to the city.