The profit picture at First Union produces a major restructuring plan at the bank.
We'll lay out the details on NEWS 7 at SIX.
And the Sons of Confederate Veterans score a victory in federal court. Will the state finally issue a Confederate battle flag license plate now?
In sports, The Jets have a new head coach, Michael Vick signs with a Virginia agent who will negotiate his pro-contract.
And Roanoke native Tiki Barber gets ready for the Super Bowl by turning the spotlight on the press. We'll hear from him later.
A chilly rain today with some fog developing tonight. Look for even more rain showers tomorrow.
[IN Q=They need a]
((GEORGE BRAMMER/AG EDWARDS: THEY NEED A STRONG ECONOMY AND GREENSPAN TO LOWER INTEREST RATES. THOSE THINGS WILL HELP THE BANK.))
[OUT Q=hkelp the bank.]
More layoffs and restructuring at First Union, but at least one analyst says the worst may be over.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.
First Union announced today that profits have fallen 29% in the last quarter.
The company has implemented a major restructuring plan to cut its losses.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith and Jen/Microwave;]
News 7 Business Reporter Jennifer Miele is in Roanoke tonight with the details.
[LIVE= Jen FULL/Microwave]
Keith, it seems First Union bit off more than it could chew when it bought the Money Store and Core States.
But changes to upper level management are leading some analysts to believe the worst for First Union may be over.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We have torn away]
[SUPER=01-George Brammer/A. G. Edwards; :30 ]
[OUT Q=consider buying it.]
((KEN THOMPSON: WE HAVE TORN AWAY THOSE BUSINESS WHO HAVE MINIMAL CONNECTION TO OUR CORE STRATEGIES. WHICH WERE NOT UP TO SCALE OR HAVE LIMITED PROSPECTS FOR NET INCOME GROWTH.))
The need for Cost reduction also forced First Union to revamp its entire upper management team.
One First Union employee says about 20 people in Roanoke have been let go so far.
But how did First Union get itself into trouble?
It made loans that may never be paid back.
And the Fed didn't help matters much.
((GEORGE BRAMMER/FIRST UNION: BY RAISING INTEREST RATES, THAT SLOWED THE ECONOMY. THEY CAUSED SO BUSINESSES TO HAVE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND SOME BUSINESSES TO TAKE BANKRUPTCY AND OF COURSE, FIRST UNION HAD LOANED MONEY TO SOME OF THOSE BUSINESSES.))
A slowing economy will certainly exaggerate First Union's losses.
Still, optimism among management persists.
((GEORGE BRAMMER/A.G. EDWARDS: MANAGEMENT FEELS THAT THE WORST IS OVER. THAT 2001 WILL BE BETTER AND 2002 WILL BE BETTER THAN THAT.))
One thing to remember -- First Union is still making money -- just not as much as it did the year before.
And the nation's fifth largest bank must not be looking too bad because the Wall Street Journal reports FleetBoston may consider buying it.))
While the bank's new management decides how to go about cutting its losses, employees in Roanoke are left to wait and see.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean and Jennifer/Microwave;]
One employee says she expects more layoffs to happen in the near future, Keith.
Norfolk Southern is also laying off more Roanoke workers.
The railroad confirmed late this afternoon it is furloughing 34 conductors, effective today.
Norfolk Southern cites an economic slowdown for its latest workforce reduction.
Bassett Furniture is battling a sales slowdown, but the company is hoping for better things by the end of this year.
The company says sales last year dropped 2-point-7 per cent from 1999.
Basset C-E-O, Robert Spillman, calls the results "unacceptable" and expects improvement this year.
[GRAPHIC=SCV Plate Lawsuit]
The Sons of Confederate Veterans have won the right to have the Confederate Battle flag on a special Virginia license plate.
A federal judge ruled in their favor today. But the ink was barely dry on Judge Jackson Kiser's decision, before legislators and lawyers in Richmond started grumbling about doing away with the specialty license program altogether, rather than issue a tag bearing the battle flag.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Judge Kiser said]
[SUPER=01-Brag Bowling/Sons of Confederate Veterans; :30]
[SUPER=01-Del. Viola Baskerville/(D) Richmond; :45]
[OUT Q=specialized license plates.]
(( Judge Kiser said he understood the legislature's attempt to avoid political controversy, by keeping the battle flag off the plate. He pointed out, though, that it was the only one of about 300 organizations denied the right to display their logo on a vehicle tag.
"Without the logo, Judge Kiser wrote, "the Sons will be left with little more than a specialty plate that is restricted and inferior to plates issued to other organizations- -a watered down honor to say the least."
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It was more]
((IT WAS MORE THAN WATERED DOWN. THIS WAS OUTRIGHT DISCRIMINATION. IT WAS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS RUN AMUCK.))
[OUT Q=run amuck.]
One member of the legislative Black Caucus still insists the state should not issue anything bearing such a divisive symbol.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It shouldn't be]
((IT SHOULDN'T BE A MOVING BILLBOARD FOR ALL TYPES OF ISSUES AND WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW IS VERY SIMILAR TO SAYING, "NO," TO SPECIALIZED LICENSE PLATES.))
[OUT Q=specialized license plates.]))
Delegate Baskerville says the state should re-examine the whole program.
And late today the State Attorney General's Office issued a statement, saying today's ruling may affect the future of the specialty license program.
The governor who removed the Confederate flag from Virginia's Air National Guard planes has an opinion on this.
Former governor Doug Wilder says he thinks the ruling upholds free speech. He, too, says the problem is with the specialty license plate program itself.
Wilder says the Nazi Party or any hate group could apply.
[IN Q=How could]
((DOUG WILDER/FORMER GOVERNOR: HOW COULD THE PEOPLE WHO SAY DEATH TO ALL JEWS-- THAT'S PRETTY MUCH WHAT THE ARYAN PEOPLE SAY ON SO MANY OCCASIONS -- HOW COULD THEY BE DENIED? AND THIS IS THE PROBLEM THAT'S CONFRONTING THE PEOPLE IN MISSOURI ALSO, YOU KNOW WITH THE KU KLUX KLAN WANTING TO ADOPT A HIGHWAY, AND THEY SAY WELL WE MIGHT HAVE TO JUST GET OUT OF THE ADOPT A HIGHWAY BUSINESS. WHAT'S THE STOP THE KU KLUX KLAN TO COME IN TOMORROW TO GET A LICENSE PLATE?))
[SUPER=01-Doug Wilder/Former Governor;]
[OUT Q=license plate?]
Any legislative or legal limits on the specialty license plate program could be bad news for a new NASCAR plate.
That plate was unanimously approved by the House Transportation committee today in Richmond.
Students in Highland County WILL have to go to school tomorrow.
The original schedule called for no classes Friday, but because of today's cancellation, schools will be open tomorrow.
Turning art into business.
Still ahead on News 7, find out how a new Incubator in Floyd hopes to bring in dollars and tourists.
And Amherst delegate Vance Wilkins has tremendous power as House Speaker.
But some say he's wrongly using that power to shoot down bills he doesn't like.
When Amherst Republican Vance Wilkins became what many consider the second most powerful man at the State Capitol, he promised a new way of doing business.
But in his second year as Speaker of the House, critics say he's made one committee his own personal "kill zone" for bills he doesn't like.
Ellen Qualls reports.
[IN Q=Troopers, sheriffs]
[SUPER=01-Del. Jerrauld Jones/(D) Norfolk; :53 ]
[SUPER=@Ellen2; 1:15 ]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( Troopers, sheriffs, police, and guns.
That's the business of the House of Delegates' Committee on Militia and Police.
But now it appears it's shooting down bills the powerful Speaker of the House doesn't like.
14 out of 23 members are Republicans.
Most get high ratings from the NRA.
So what do you think they'd do with a license plate for the Million Mom March?
Or a seatbelt bill, that would normally go to the Transportation Committee?
((SPEAKER VANCE WILKINS/R-AMHERST: WELL, NOW THERE MAY BE A COUPLE BILLS THAT I PUT ONE PLACE OR ANOTHER THAT DID NOT FIT IN THOSE EXACT CATEGORIES...PEROGATIVE OF THE SPEAKER TO PUT THE BILLS ANYWHERE HE WANTS TO PUT THEM.))
Patrons of bills that have gotten the Wilkins' treatment are starting to call the committee a graveyard.
((DEL. JERRAULD JONES/D-NORFOLK: THAT'S NOT NECESSARILY... SOME ATTACK HERE.))
Wilkins says he's mostly trying to even out the workload, to make the system more efficient.
And expect more changes next year.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
A 16- year- old Amherst County boy is headed to prison for killing his mother and wounding his father last summer.
Daniel Maddox was sentenced today in Amherst County Circuit Court.
Maddox pled guilty to shooting to death his mother then turning the gun on his father in their home June 28th.
Prosecutors say Maddox gave several different reasons why he did it.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=He claims in]
((ED MEEKS/PROSECUTOR: HE CLAIMS IN ONE OF HIS STATEMENTS THAT HE DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO SUMMER SCHOOL, HE CLAIMED THAT HE'D BEEN THROWN OUT OF THE HOUSE BY HIS MOTHER AND WAS ANGRY WITH HER.. BUT YOU HAVE SO MANY VARIOUS MOTIVES THAT HE GAVE, IT'S HARD TO SAY WHICH ONE WAS THE TRUE ONE.))
[OUT Q=the true one.]
Maddox was sentenced to a total of 43 years in prison.
An inmate awaiting trial in a fatal hit-and run accident took his own life at the Roanoke City jail.
Authorities say Anthony Brooks of Goodview hanged himself with a bedsheet early this morning.
He was supposed to be in court today on involuntary manslaughter and other charges in the death of Teresa Hale.
The Vinton woman was hit by a pickup truck as she was leaving a nightspot on Orange Avenue last November.
Several Southside communities believe its time to get connected.
Officials from Henry and Patrick Counties, and the City of Martinsville announced today a partnership with Virginia Tech's Center for Wireless Telecommunications.
Virginia Tech will study whether a broadband wireless communication network can be implemented in the area.
That network would provide among other things high-speed access to the internet.
Representatives from each community say their future depends on this high-tech venture.
[IN Q=Companies around the world]
((MIKE SEIDLE/HENRY CO. SUPERVISORS: COMPANIES AROUND THE WORLD WILL NEED THIS WIRELESS ACCESS TO DO BUSINESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY AND VERY FEW COMMUNITIES ARE POSITIONED TO OFFER IT. WE ARE READY TO MOVE THE HEAD OF THAT LINE.))
[SUPER=01-Mike Seidle/Henry Co. Board of Supervisors]
[OUT Q=of that line]
The study will identify local businesses and industries that would benefit from the technology.
The study should be completed by the summer.
Investors ignored some mixed earnings news, sending the markets higher.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW gained 94 points.
NASDAQ climbed 86.
Artists aren't always thought of as business people.
But grants to a Floyd County arts center are giving them a chance to be both.
Congressman Rick Boucher presented nearly 400-thousand dollars in federal and state grants to the Jacksonville Center today.
The money will help renovate the old barn into a business incubator for about 20 artists, musicians and crafters.
Officials say it will promote tourism.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 8:08 - :27]
[IN Q=More than a million]
((RICK BOUCHER/(D) 9TH DISTRICT: MORE THAN A MILLION ANNUAL VISITORS WHO TRAVERSE THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY THROUGH FLOYD CO. NOT MANY OF THEM LEAVE THE PARKWAY. BUT PERHAPS MORE OF THEM WILL IF WE HAVE THE JACKSONVILLE CENTER JUST A COUPLE OF MILES AWAY THAT OFFERS A WIDE VARIETY OF ARTS AND CRAFTS THAT ARE LOCALLY PRODUCED AND REFLECT THE CULTURE OF THESE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS.))
[SUPER=01-Rep. Rick Boucher/(D) 9th District;]
[OUT Q=these Appalachian Mountains.]
The Jacksonville Center will also host dances, theater performances and community events.
Another member of Roanoke's senior management team is moving on.
Deputy City Manager Jim Ritchie has announced he will retire on April first.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/April 9, 1999;]
Ritchie has been employed by the city since 1975, and says he has enjoyed working with citizens to solve community problems.
Though many of Roanoke's longtime administrators have left in the last few years, Ritchie says the city is in good hands.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I remember at the age of 32]
((JIM RITCHIE/DEPUTY CITY MANAGER: I REMEMBER AT THE AGE OF 32 WHEN KIT KISER AND I AND ALL OF US THEN WERE CALLED THE YOUNG MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE CITY. AND IT'S TIME FOR THE CHANGE AND THE TRANSITION. AND THE CURRENT CITY MANAGER IS DOING SOME REALLY GOOD THINGS FOR THE CITY. AND I THINK WE'VE GOT SOME YOUNG PEOPLE COMING ALONG. AND I THINK THE CITY IS IN GREAT HANDS.))
[SUPER=01-Jim Ritchie/Deputy City Manager]
[OUT Q=the city is in great hands.]
In retirement, Ritchie says he plans to spend more time with his family, his church, and his bicycle.
North Cross school is getting a new headmaster.
Paul J. Stellato of Millbrook, New York will start work July first at the private school in Roanoke.
He has degrees in English and in writing, and has been teaching for more than 20 years.
Coming up, Michael Vick's choice of agents has people raising their eyebrows, Herman Edwards is the Jets new head coach.
The Roanoke Express has had a week to lick their wounds before returning to the Round House this week. An update coming up.
Michael Vick's choice of an agent and marketing group to represent him as he begins his professional career is drawing mixed reviews.
Yesterday Vick announced that he will allow the marketing firm owned by former Bills' quarterback Jim Kelly to handle his public relations.
That means this firm will determine how Vick is marketed across the country and which endorsement offers he will accept.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/Last Season; :00]
Vick's agent who will negotiate his contract is the relatively unknown Andrew Joel out of Richmond.
Many felt Vick would pick Bruce Smith's agent Leigh Steinberg, but instead he decided to stay in state.
[SUPER=03-Nashville, TN/This Season;]
Joel's only current NFL clients are Vick's former Va. Tech teammate Shyrone Stith, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars and former North Carolina tailback Deon Dyer.
The NFL also has now confirmed that Vick's college career actually ended on January 5th, four days after the Gator Bowl when he signed on with Andrew Joel.
That was a week before Vick officially announced he was leaving Tech. [S-Tiki]
[TAPE#=SP-90 tc 36:50]
When Super Sunday arrives Roanoke will be well represented.
Former Cave Spring and UVA star Tiki Barber has had a great year for the New York Giants.
In the regular season he rushed for more than a thousand yards and eight touchdowns. He caught the ball for 719 more yards and another TD.
Today he met the media and turned the table on the reporters.
When asked about his great season, he says he prepared well physically and mentally in the off season.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=the new]
[SUPER=01-Tiki Barber/Giants Running Back;]
[OUT Q=I finally got it]
Super Bowl Sunday is the 28th. Kick off is at six o'clock.
The Roanoke Express has had all week to regroup and heal some wounds after watching its record hit the 500 mark.
One of the keys to Roanoke's play in the coming weeks will be how well Adam Dewan bounces back from his wicked bout with the flu.
One that forced him to miss three games and lose a staggering 15 pounds.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=JUST GETTING...]
[SUPER=01-Adam Dewan/Hopes to Play this Weekend; :04]
[OUT Q=...SOLID FOOD."]
Roanoke will find out how much the return of Dewan and Ben Schust and the arrival of Mike Omicelli will help when it hosts South Carolina tomorrow night.
South Carolina leads the southeast division, but this will be the first time the two teams have played each other this season.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=IT'S DEFINITELY...]
[SUPER=01-Ben Schust/Express Right Winger; :00]
[SUPER=01-Perry Florio/Express Head Coach; :22]
[OUT Q=...VERY WELL ROUNDED."]
After Friday night's game with South Carolina at the Roundhouse, the Express hits the road to play at Trenton on Saturday night.
On another note, defensemen Calvin Elfring and Jeff Sproat will represent Roanoke in the ECHL All-Star Game on Febraury 13th.
[TAPE#=SP-81 tc 50:29]
The man who made New York football history in 1978 for recovering and returning a fumble to help the Eagles beat the Giants 19-17 is returning to the Big Apple.
Herman Edwards is known for what's simply called "the fumble." Now he will be known as the Jets new head coach.
[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
Edwards is coming from Tampa Bay where he was the assistant head coach for the Buccaneers.
He becomes the N-F-L's third active black head coach and replaces Al Groh who left to become UVA's head coach.