Coming up on News 7--
Conflicting reports of WHEN exactly winter will come to an end--
We'll have a live update from Mill Mountain Zoo, the home of Roanoke's OWN prognosticator.
And are safety patrols really effective on Interstate 81?
The Virginia Department of Transportation has a progress reports.
A wind advisory in effect today for much of our viewing area... but head north and we're expecting some snow showers. Interesting weather pattern for this Friday... we'll explain.
Stay with us-- News 7 at noon is next.
VDOT's safety service patrol is celebrating a year of helping motorists in trouble.
The Safety Service Patrol started patrolling I-81 from Buchanan to Christiansburg in December 1999.
Safety patrollers are trained in CPR and auto repair.
They've helped nearly 7-thousand motorists in the last year.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 33:56 - 34:19]
[IN Q=If they would just]
((CURTIS GOAD: IF THEY WOULD JUST BASICALLY GO THROUGH THEIR PREVENTATIVE MAINTENENCE... CHECK YOUR FUEL, SPARE, HAVE A JACK. AND BASICALLY JUST CHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU LEAVE.))
[SUPER=01-Curtis Goad/VDOT Safety Patroller;]
[OUT Q=before you leave.]
VDOT patrollers have covered more than 500-thousand miles since starting the Safety Service Patrol last year.
[GRAPHIC=Martin Luther King]
Roanoke residents are offering suggestions on how they think Martin Luther King Junior should be honored.
During a public hearing before the memorial committee last night, residents recommended naming places like the Roanoke Civic Center, Orange Avenue, the Higher Education Building, and the airport after the civil rights leader.
Kate Weidaw has more.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=04-August 8, 1963; :00]
[SUPER=01-Brenda Hale/Roanoke NAACP President; :16]
[SUPER=01-Alvin Harper/Roanoke Resident; :45 QUICK!!!]
[SUPER=01-Troy Eichelbergen/Roanoke Resident; :48]
[SUPER=01-Anne Lemon/Roanoke Resident; 1:01]
[OUT Q=kw news 7 Roanoke.]
(([NAT SOUND OF KING 00-45 1:16:28]
While Dr. Martin Luther King Junior had a dream and vision for America, Roanoke has a vision of honoring the civil rights leader.
((BRENDA HALE/PRES. NAACP: DR. KING LIVED HIS LIFE THROUGH NON VIOLENCE SO WE SHOULD TRY AND EXEMPLIFY THAT.))
Roanoke's NAACP President believes a memorial for King would make people more aware that violence needs to stop.
Back in 1999 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference tried to rename Orange Avenue after King. In the end the proposal was rejected by City Council.
But the issue didn't die there and now a committee has formed to ask residents what they want named after King.
((ALVIN HARPER: I THINK MELROSE WOULD BE MORE VISIBLE TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY SOMETHING WE CAN BE PROUD OF AND OUR CHILDREN CAN BE PROUD OF TO SEE.))
((TROY EICHELBERGEN: I FEEL IF WE ARE GOING TO PAY A TRIBUTE TO HIM IT SHOULD RUN DOWN THE HEART OF THE CITY THAT IT WOULD MAKE ROANOKE A BETTER CITY.))
Other say something that teaches the community about his work is more appropriate.
((ANNE LEMON: LOCAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUMS EDUCATE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THEIR OWN CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY AND THEY BECOME A PHYSICAL SITE TO CONTINUE HIS WORK.))
Another man said naming a path after King would symbolize his efforts to get people to walk in numbers for the civil rights cause.
((KATE WEIDAW/REPORTING: IF YOU MISSED LAST NIGHT MEETING THE COMMITTEE WILL BE TAKING COMMENTS THROUGH APRIL. THE COMMITTEE PLANS TO MAKE ITS RECOMMENDATION TO CITY COUNCIL IN MAY BASED ON WHAT THE MAJORITY OF RESIDENTS SAY THEY WANT.
KATE WEIDAW NEWS 7 ROANOKE.))
Teachers in Danville are upset and they're letting the school board know why.
More than a hundred teachers turned out last night for the monthly school board meeting.
They're angry over reports that the board may extend the school day by as much as thirty minutes.
Teachers are also upset because they've been asked to cut back on heat because of the high utility bills.
[SOT 17:14:33; 17:08:00]
[IN Q=our question is]
((KIM ROBERSON/DANVILLE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: OUR QUESTION IS IF WE'RE HAVING TROUBLE PAYING OUR UTILITY BILLS THEN WHY DO WE NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT EXTENDING OUR SCHOOL DAY.))
((ROBERT LEE/DANVILLE TEACHER: THERE ARE STRONG FEELINGS AMONG TEACHERS THAT OUR RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCERNS WILL BE IGNORED.))
[SUPER=01-Kim Roberson/Danville Education Association]
[SUPER=01-Robert Lee/Danville Teacher]
[OUT Q=will be ignored]
Some teachers say that assessment has led to low morale within the Danville school district.
The School board chairman says no one's even talked about extending the school day.
[GRAPHIC=Pitts Drag Strip]
Some Pittsylvania county residents don't want a proposed drag strip in their community.
They're going to court today to put the brakes on the project.
A Java man wants to build the quarter-mile drag strip on his land off of Route 832.
The property owner says it'll bring money and jobs to the area.
But many residents don't want the drag strip. They say it would harm this peaceful rural community.
[SOT :00:24:08, :00:42:22]
[IN Q=This thing is going]
((LESLIE REDD/AREA RESIDENT: THIS THING IS GOING TO BRING MORE TRAFFIC, MORE POLLUTION, AND THE NOISE IS GOING TO BE UNBEARABLE.))
((STONE GREGORY/PROPERTY OWNER: I DONT THINK ANY OF THE ARGUMENTS HOLD ANY WATER. IT WONT CHANGE THINGS SUBSTANTIALLY.))
[SUPER=01-Leslie Redd/Area Resident; :00]
[SUPER=01-Stone Gregory/Property Owner; :09]
[OUT Q=things substantially]
By a four to one vote, the Pittsylvania County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the drag strip.
Residents will head to court today-- They'll seek an injunction to prevent any construction until a lawsuit against the county is resolved.
They are suing to overturn the board's decision.
[GRAPHIC=George W. Bush]
President Bush is apparently trying to prove he is indeed a "uniter, not a divider".
He spent his morning attending a Senate Democratic retreat.
No other President in recent memory made such a gesture.
But he'll spend the rest of the day with members of his own party.
He's in Williamsburg for a retreat with Republicans from both houses.
Aides say Bush want to send the message that he's serious about bi- partisanship.
On this Groundhog Day, nearly 30- thousand eager fans of Punxsutawney Phil stood out in the cold this morning to hear from the famous prognosticator.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I'm very glad]
((I'M VERY GLAD I DON'T COUNT THE CHAD. BUT AS
A COMMITTEE OF ONE, I RELY ONLY ON THE SUN. YOU KNOW WHAT THE MEANING OF
THIS IS. NOW, I SEE MY SHADOW, GEE WHIZ, SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER THERE IS.))
[OUT Q=WINTER THERE IS.]
And there you have it--
Phil saw his shadow, even though the skies were overcast and snow was falling.
Even though they were disappointed by the news, people seemed to still have a good time.
While the ancient tradition of Groundhog day disappointed hundreds of summer-seekers in Pennsylvania, the weather story is very different here in Roanoke.
Kylie, the Prarie dog didn't see her shadow this morning at Mill Mountain Zoo.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Kim & Jennifer/Microwave;]
News 7 BUSINESS reporter Jennifer Miele is there covering Groundhog day.
So Jen, how exactly did you get THIS assignment??
((ROLLCUE:...and let's hope she's right.))
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Well I want to welcome]
[OUT Q=Yeah, I'm going to go outside and play. (DOUBLE OUT)]
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith & Jennifer/Microwave;]
Libya's leader says he has proof that would exonerate the man convicted in the fatal bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
But that statement could spark renewed U-N sanctions against the country.
Allen Pizzey reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Tripoli, Libya/Yesterday; :00]
[SUPER=01-Jack Flynn/Victim's Father; :29]
[SUPER=03-London, England; :53]
[SUPER=01-Allen Pizzey/Reporting; :57]
[OUT Q=Allen Pizzey, CBS News, London.]
(Khadaffi - Tripoli Thursday)
vo: For anyone who thought the Lockerbie story was over, Muammar Khadaffi
had a surprise.
Welcoming home the Libyan acquitted of the attack on Pan Am 103 the
Libyan leader said he would present new evidence on Monday that would
reverse the guilty verdict on his co-accused.
Britain and the U.S. have vowed to reimpose full UN sanctions unless
Libya accepts full responsibility for the bombing and American relatives
of the victims want the U.S. and other governments to keep after
SOT Jack Flynn, Father of Victim (NYC Thursday)
"Hopefully the government takes a level of action against a terrorist
country such as Libya and makes sure that they never do it again to
vo: Some American relatives have begun a 10-billion dollar lawsuit
against Libyabut no payment is likely before an appeal against the
conviction of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahiwho got life for the terrorist
(British presser - London Thursday)
vo: And that will be bedeviled by new allegations from British relatives.
They claimed a timing device pointed to long-alleged but unproven Syrian
Allen Pizzey..CBS News, London
Martinsville attorney Rickey Young says he'll appeal his tax evasion conviction.
The jury of 12 women found Rickey Young guilty on five counts of willful failure to file... for the five years in the mid-90's he did NOT file a federal tax return.
Young was not allowed to tell the jury that the government had hoped to prove he was stealing cars, laundering money and selling drugs... but, he says, they couldn't prove that.
Young says he will appeal the jury's verdict.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT @ 15:33 ON "verdict" tape]
[IN Q=I don't...I understand, but I]
((I DON'T, I UNDERSTAND, BUT I DON'T AGREE WITH IT. I JUST HAVE TO HOPE THE LAW INTERVENES. I STILL DON'T THINK THAT IT'S WILLFUL FAILURE TO FILE.))
[SUPER=01-Rickey Young/Convicted Tax Evader]
[OUT Q=failure to file.]
Young won't be sentenced until April.
His troubles don't end there. His law license was suspended a week ago. And as a result of last night's conviction Young could be disbarred.
Governor Gilmore's political action committee may be the focus of an investigation by The Virginia State police.
It's over a "no car tax" phone bank paid for by the governor's New Majority PAC.
Senate Finance Committee members say the telemarketers appear to be staying on the line and listening in -- which would be a felony in Virginia.
[IN Q=In those cases]
((SEN. KEN STOLLE/R-VIRGINIA BEACH: IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE PHONE CALL WAS NOT ANSWERED... AND ON THOSE TAPES, THERE'S A LOT OF WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE INCRIMINATING INFORMATION WITH REGARDS TO WHETHER THEY'RE LISTENING... WHERE THEY ARE IN THEIR INVESTIGATION, I'M NOT SURE.))
[sot 15:38:11 ]
((RAY ALLEN/GOVERNOR'S CONSULTANT: THERE'S ALWAYS SOME ROOM FOR SOME HUMAN ERROR WHEN YOU'RE MAKING THOUSANDS OF TELEPHONE CALLS.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Ken Stolle/(R) Virginia Beach; :00]
[SUPER=01-Ray Allen/Governor's Consultant; :21 QUICK ]
[OUT Q=telephone calls.]
Governor Jim Gilmore's staff says he was unaware of the police probe when reporters caught him in the hallway-- even though his public safety secretary knew of it last Friday.
[IN Q=I certainly]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: I CERTAINLY DON'T THINK ANYBODY OUGHT TO BREAK THE LAW...DON'T THINK THE SENATORS OUGHT TO BE SO THIN-SKINNED ABOUT THEIR CONSTITUENTS TALKING TO THEM ABOUT THE CAR TAX CUT.))
[OUT Q=car tax cut.]
The Senate Finance Committee says the car tax cut should be frozen at 47-and a half percent phase-out until the economy improves.
That's what Gilmore promised in 1998.
But the Governor is now calling any halt to the 70-percent phase-out this year a "reinstatement" of the tax.
A bridge in Covington is closed for now because officials say it's unsafe.
Hawthorne Road Bridge was closed on Wednesday.
Its pavement and supports are deteriorating.
Covington's city manager says he's aware of the problem, and he's asked V-DOT for funding to fix it.
No word yet on when the bridge will re-open.
One of the last known survivors of the Titanic sinking has died in southern France at the age of 92.
Michel Navratil is thought to be the last male survivor of the Titanic.
Even though he was only three years old when it happened, it's said that he never forgot the ordeal.
Navratil and his brother were among those rescued by the Carpathia, the first ship to reach the scene of the sinking.
Their father, however, went down with the Titanic.
The "unsinkable ship", as it was called at the time, hit an iceberg and sank just before midnight on April 14, 19-12.
The contents of the infamous "Dora" estate near Smith Mountain Lake will be auctioned off in a couple of weeks......but the owners won't enjoy a dime of the profits.
This 12- thousand square foot estate near Huddleston was seized by U-S Marshals last year.
Its former owners.. Dorothy Saunders and Thelma Mae Barger.. built and furnished the home using money they'd embezzled from two elderly sisters.
Saunders and Barger are now in prison.. and their belongings are on the auction block.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We'll have a]
((BARRY MUSE/TED COUNTS AUCTIONS: WE'LL HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE JUST CURIOUS AND WOULD JUST LOVE TO SEE THE INSIDE OF THE HOME HERE AND WHAT THEY HAD. BUT THERE'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE THAT'S GOING TO BE INTERESTED IN THE CUT GLASS, THE COLLECTION HERE, AND THE SILVER, PEOPLE COLLECTING THE SILVER.. IT'S GOING TO BE PEOPLE INTERESTED IN THE CHANDELIERS.))
[SUPER=01-Barry Muse/Ted Counts Auctions]
[OUT Q=in the chandeliers.]
The auction will take place at the home on Tolers Ferry Road in Huddleston on February 17th.
In business news this afternoon--
The Labor Department reports the nation's un-employment rate has risen to its highest level in 16- months.
It climbed two- tenths of a percent last month to four- point- two percent.
The manufacturing sector continues taking a
It's lost about 250- thousand jobs since June .