Federal officials are resuming a two- day public hearing, trying to determine what went wrong with Florida's Presidential vote.
Bobbi Harley reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Tallahassee, FL; :00]
[SUPER=01-Governor Jeb Bush/(R) Florida; :17]
[SUPER=01-Mary Frances Berry/U.S. Comm. on Civil Rights; :27]
[SUPER=01-Roberta Tucker/Florida Voter; :47 QUICK]
[SUPER=01-Lance deHaven-Smith/Florida Instit. of Government; :57]
[SUPER=01-Bobbi Harley/Reporting; 1:11]
[OUT Q=CBS News, Tallahassee.]
THE FIRST FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO VOTING IRREGULARITIES IN
FLORIDAnats (swearing in ) do you swear yes I doSTARTED WITH THE
SWEARING-IN OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT'S BROTHER - FLORIDA GOVERNOR JEB
BUSH, WHO DEFENDED HOW HIS STATE HANDLED THE ELECTION.
(SOT - GOVERNOR JEB BUSH/(R) FLORIDA -) No one that I'm aware of came to
me and said we have a serious problem we need to deal with in advance of
BUT THE CHAIR OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION FOUND FLORIDA HAD MORE
PROBLEMS THAN ANY OTHER STATE.
(SOT - DR. MARY FRANCES BERRY/CHAIR, US COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS - ) I
do not believe that this is a problem that occurs in every precinct
around the country uh in this great array and assortment of problems
occurs in every American election I just don't believe that I may be
wrong but I just don't believe it (12)
PROBLEMS LIKE ROBERTA TUCKER FACED ELECTION DAY - AN UNAUTHORIZED
HIGHWAY PATROL ROAD BLOCK A MILE FROM HER PRECINCT.
(SOT - ROBERTA TUCKER/FLORIDA VOTER - Q:) So you think it was
definitely some kind of intimidation? A: I definitely think so (05)
SHE AND THE OTHERS WHO TESTIFIED ALL DID GET TO VOTE - BUT THEY SAY THEY
FELT A BIAS AGAINST THEM.
(SOT - LANCE deHAVEN-SMITH - FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF GOVERNMENT -
All of this is a highly charged and to some extent linked together and
linked around the issue of race and the legitimacy of the outcome of
this election I don't think this is going to go away (11)
(OC -) IN FACT IT WILL TAKE MONTHS TO COMPLETE THIS INVESTIGATION - BUT
EVEN IF THE COMMISSION FINDS ANY INTENTIONAL DISCRIMINATION - SOME HERE
SAY IT WON'T CHANGE PROBLEMS THAT HAD BEEN FESTERING LONG BEFORE
ELECTION 2000. BH,CBSNEWS,TALLAHASSEE
Governor Jim Gilmore's plan to cut the car tax isn't getting far in the General Assembly.
Yesterday, a Republican committee killed a major funding mechanism for Gilmore's budget... meaning the car tax cut might be frozen for a year.
Southside Senator Charles Hawkins carried the bill for the Governor that would take tobacco settlement money up front in a one-time payment.
[IN Q=At least]
[OUT Q=care part.]
But the lump sum would shrink the overall tobacco payout.
The committee voted 15 to 1 to kill the bill-- which could freeze the Governor's car tax cut for a year.
And the Senators were shocked to hear revenue growth is at just one and half percent.
[IN Q=Even if you froze]
[SUPER=01-Sen. John Chichester/(R) Stafford Co.; ]
[OUT Q=not swept.]
The Governor's tobacco borrowing scheme is still alive in the House... but would face the same Senate committee.
Rocky Mount will hold a special election for Mayor in May.
The election is a result of 1.5 square miles in Franklin County annexed in July. A provision in the state code calls for a special election when the town's population increases by five percent.
Mark Newbill, a town official, will be challenging Mayor Ben Pinckard in the May special election. Newbill announced his decision to run for Mayor at a council meeting Monday night.
Pinckard's term as mayor would have expired June 30th, 2002, had the special election not been required.
[GRAPHIC=I 81 Safety]
VDOT is reducing the speed limit on one part of Interstate 81 beginning next week.
[TAKE FULL SCREEN MAP]
The change effects a 14 mile stretch between Salem and Cloverdale in Botetourt County will go from 65 miles per hour to 60.
Kate Weidaw explains why the change is happening and tells us some drivers aren't too happy about the speed reduction.
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[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Laura Bullock/VDOT Spokesperson; :23]
[SUPER=01-Lisa Arthur/Driver; :41]
[OUT Q=kw news7 Roanoke co.]
((Traffic on interstate 81 can get backed up quickly between Salem and Botetourt County.
[NAT SOUND TRAFFIC]
((LAURA BULLOCK: IN THE ROANOKE AREA WE HAVE INTERCHANGES THAT ARE REAL CLOSE TO EACH OTHER THERE IS A LOT OF MERGING AND WEAVING GOING ON.))
So in order to make the interstate safer VDOT has decided to lower the speed limit from 65 to 60 miles per hour.
((LAURA BULLOCK: WITH THE AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC COMING THROUGH THE TRUCKS THE COMMUTERS THE THROUGH TRAFFIC IT JUST SEEMS TO BE THE BEST THING TO DO IS LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT A BIT AND HAVE A BIT MORE CONTROL WITH THEIR VEHICLES WHEN THEY ARE DRIVING THROUGH.))
But not everyone is excited about the change. Lisa Arthur drives the interstate everyday to get to and from work.
((LISA ARTHUR: I THINK IT WILL BE JUST AS BAD BECAUSE EVERYBODY TRAVELS AT A DIFFERENT RATE OF SPEED ON THE INTERSTATE ANYWAY.))
Others are asking what will a reduction of five miles per hour do?
((DAVID SPATH: I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO THEIR OWN SPEED AND IT WON'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE.))
But as of January 19-th the 65 mile per hour signs along the 14 mile stretch will be history.
((KATE WEIDAW/REPORTING: NEW SIGNS WILL GO UP WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND WILL BE UNVEILED NEXT FRIDAY.
VDOT WILL REEVALUATE THE SPEED LIMIT REDUCTION IN A YEAR TO SEE IF FEWER ACCIDENTS OCCUR AND IF CONGESTION IS REDUCED.))
Interstate 77 will also undergo some changes.
Highway crews in Virginia and North Carolina are installing four message boards on the road near the state line.
They'll be linked to a weather station on Fancy Gap Mountain where weather often quickly
The signs will be up next year.
[GRAPHIC=Roanoke Co. Schools]
It was a busy night for members of the Roanoke County School Board.
Board members elected Mike Stovall as their new chairman and they chose Hidden Valley High as the name for the new South County high school.
They also moved S-O-L testing dates by about two weeks to give teachers and students more time to review material. And they raised substitute teacher pay to 75 dollars a day.
Members floated a new proposal for the early retirement incentive plan.
It would offer current retirees a 20 percent supplement for seven years. The board will vote on that compromise at its next meeting in two weeks.
[GRAPHIC=Henry School Consolidation]
The Henry County school board has decided to further study its plan to consolidate the high schools.
This week, hundreds turned out for two public hearings on the plan.
It involves consolidating four of the high schools into two.
But there's a lot of opposition to the plan, including a fear that some kids will be on the school bus for more than an hour.
So Board members plan to actually ride the bus routes to see first-hand if that's true.
The School board hopes to finish further study on the plan by the end of the school year.
It was a dramatic rescue in the San Francisco Bay--
[SUPER=03-Strawberry Point, CA;]
The coast guard had to rescue a California couple
after their sailboat broke free from its moorings.
Coast Guard members and firefighters teamed up to rescue the couple and their dog, when the ship came to rest against the cliffs.
The man and woman were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The dog, meanwhile, came through the ordeal just fine.
Lewis Gale-Clinic is taking two of its former physicians to court saying they violated the "no-compete clause" in their contracts.
The clinic asked a judge to keep Doctors Gregory Reibel (Ree-bul) and Preston Waldrop from practicing in the area until a final ruling in the case.
But the judge denied that request.
The Clinic says the doctors violated the employment agreement after opening a new medical practice in direct competition with the clinic.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We've invested]
((JON NESS/CEO LEWIS GALE CLINIC:WE'VE INVESTED SIGNIFICANT RESOURCES IN HELPING THEM DEVELOP A PRACTICE AND IT HAS HAD AND CONTINUE TO HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE CLINIC AND IS UNFAIR TO REST OF THE PHYSICIANS WHO ARE HONORING THEIR COMMITMENTS AND THEIR CONTRACTS ))
[SUPER=01-Jon Ness/Lewis Gale Clinic CEO;]
[OUT Q=their contracts]
The judge also refused the doctors request to dismiss the case.
But the doctors' attorney says his clients are pleased with the ruling because they can continue to see their patients.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=The fact of the matter is that]
((MIKE URBANSKI/DOCTORS' ATTORNEY:THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THESE DOCTORS ARE TAKING CARE OF SURGICAL PATIENTS AND I THINK FOR THE GOOD OF COMMUNITY AND THE GOOD OF THE PATIENTS THAT THIS MATTER BE RESOLVED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE ))
[SUPER=01-Mike Urbanski/Doctors' Attorney]
[OUT Q=quickly possible]
The clinic has 15 days to appeal the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.
The clinic's board will make that determination.
A former Virginia Tech professor admitted he embezzled 34-thousand dollars from the university using his state-issued credit card.
58-year-old George (Ly-bee) Libey was a professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Prosecutors say he charged personal expenses on his Tech credit card and submitted false invoices to the university.
The purchases ranged from a ladies' ring to upgrades for his van.
Under a plea agreement, Libey received 10 years' probation.
He'll have to repay the money.
Pay day arrived for 40 Air Cable workers.
Some of them had not seen paychecks for at least a month.
Paychecks for this pay period did arrive yesterday -- but the company still owes many of its workers AND its landlord thousands of dollars in back pay.
The local digital cable company services about a thousand customers in the Roanoke Valley.
Air Cable says all of its debts will be taken care of by Monday.
A new look for Danville's downtown shopping area is in the works.
The city's Main Street area has been declining for decades.
Business owners formed a Downtown association more than a year ago to help revitalize downtown.
The Association just hired an executive director who will work full-time to fix some of downtown's problems.
Merchants and shoppers believe this move is a step in the right direction.
[SOT 5:36:12, 5:38:13]
[IN Q=I think if we have someone]
((SYLVIA KEY/BUSINESS OWNER: I THINK IF WE HAVE SOMEBODY THAT'S WORKING ON THIS EIGHT HOURS A DAY THEY SHOULD BRING SOMETHING HERE TO DANVILLE THAT WE WILL LIKE.))
((SHARON ELDRIDGE-BOHANNON/SHOPPER: ITS DISCOURAGING WHEN YOU DON'T SEE MANY PEOPLE FREQUENTING DOWNTOWN. AND DOWNTOWN HAS A LOT TO OFFER, PEOPLE JUST DON'T REALIZE IT.))
[SUPER=01-Sylvia Key/Business Owner]
[OUT Q=Don't realize it]
The new executive director starts Monday.
She will start out dealing with three major problems.... attracting new businesses, cleaning up the area, and getting more parking for the area.
It's clean-up day at Australia's Great Barrier Reef--
[SUPER=03-Great Barrier Reef, Australia;]
A team of divers is mopping up toxic residue on the flood of the reef after a ship ran aground there in November.
The Great Barrier reef is a major tourist attraction in Australia, but it's environmentally endangered.
It's constantly under threat from pollution, international shipping, and various water-borne parasites.
The entire clean-up operation on the barrier reef is expected to take six weeks.
Survivor Rudy Boesch is recognized by the General Assembly for his military record as the longest serving Navy SEAL.
That may have made up for coming in third on the island.
Yesterday, Virginia's General Assembly honored the Commonwealth's most famous "Survivor."
So what kind of honor is it for a man who's won a Bronze Star and the Defense Superior Service Medal?
[IN Q=Uh, pretty high.]
((RUDY BOESCH/"SURVIVOR": UH PRETTY HIGH. I NEVER EXPECTED THIS. ... BUT I'M HONORED.))
((BRUCE JAMERSON/HOUSE CLERK: RESOLVED FURTHER THAT THE CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES PREPARE A COPY OF THIS RESOLUTION... BEST WISHES.))
[SUPER=01-Rudy Boesch/"Survivor"; :00 ]
[SUPER=02-Bruce Jamerson/House Clerk; :14 ]
[OUT Q=best wishes.]
Before heading home to Virginia Beach, Rudy Boesch (BOSH) even signed a few autographs and urged Michael Vick to stay in school.
Turning to business news--
The chairman of Federal Communications Commission is stepping down.
F-C-C Chair William Kennard made the announcement this morning, just hours after the agency approved the historic merger of A-O-L and Time Warner.
Approval came after some safeguards to protect consumers.
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[SOT 10:02:32 ]
[IN Q=Above all else...]
((WILLIAM KENNARD/FCC CHAIRMAN: ABOVE ALL ELSE, THESE CONDITIONS IN THEIR ESSENCE ARE DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE OPEN COMPETITIVE NATURE OF THE INTERNET...THAT WE ALL CHERISH.))
[SUPER=01-William Kennard/FCC Chairman;]
[OUT Q=that we all cherish]
One of those conditions requires the new company to open A-O-L's instant messaging service to rival providers over Time Warner's cable lines.
Meanwhile, the 106- billion- dollar merger will create the nation's largest media empire with holdings like C-N-N, H-B-O and Warner Brothers.