They're pulling out the spending axes in Richmond. Just ahead on News 7, how the budget impasse at the capital is
already hitting home.
And a Roanoke doctor hears it from the judge: pay up or get out.
Tonight on News 7 Sports - UVa moves up in the rankings - but not far enough.
And FSU football player dies, while Roanoke tunes up for the tourney.
And the Earnhardt saga continues tonight as one of his drivers - Steve Park - wins the rain delayed Dura Lube 400.
An early peek of spring with Robin's checking out the worms but a mixed bag of precipitation will arrive early Wednesday. Details coming up.
[IN Q=I'm directing agencies to submit]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: I'M DIRECTING AGENCIES TO SUBMIT PRELIMINARY SPENDING REDUCTION PLANS BY NOON ON FRIDAY.))
[OUT Q=reduction plans by noon on Friday.]
Virginia's budget stalemate means a temporary hiring and spending freeze today from the Governor.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.
[GRAPHIC=News 7 at Six]
State lawmakers left Richmond Saturday night without an agreement on the "no car tax" part of Virginia's two year budget.
That leaves the Governor with the Constitutional responsibility to balance the existing budget -- with 419 million dollars less than was expected when it was passed last year.
[Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/State Microwave]
Ellen Qualls is at the State Capitol.
What did the Governor announce this afternoon?
[Live=Ellen Full/State Microwave]
An immediate freeze on hiring and discretionary spending.
And a deadline of noon Friday for state agency heads to submit cuts of up to 15-percent.
Oh-- and by the way, he says -- it's the Senate's fault.
[IN Q=This is not my choice.]
[SUPER=03-Richmond/Last Week; :06]
[SUPER=01-Ron Tillett/Finance Secretary; :48]
[SUPER=01-Boyd Marcus/Governor's Chief of Staff; :57]
[OUT Q=the time for gamesmanship is past.]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: THIS IS NOT MY CHOICE. I DON'T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO JUST MAKE THE BUDGET UP MYSELF.))
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate chose NOT to go to 70 percent on the car tax cut based on borrowed money, cuts to state human services, and with a one time revenue boost based on selling the state's tobacco settlement money.
[SOT 15:17:38 ]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: REALLY, WHAT HAS BROUGHT US TO THIS PASS TODAY IS THAT THE SENATE HAS BASICALLY TAKEN A POSITION, AND THERE POSITION IS NONE OF THE OTHER OPTIONS OR TOOLS CAN BE AVAILABLE TO YOU. IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BUDGET AMENDMENT YOU MUST BREAK YOUR PROMISE TO THE PEOPLE. NO DISCUSSION, NO COMPROMISE, NO DEBATE.))
The Governor's staff is NOT specific in what immediate impacts will be.
[SOT 15:26:30 ]
((RON TILLETT/FINANCE SECRETARY: YOU HAVE NON MANDATORY TRAVEL THAT MAY TAKE PLACE. YOU HAVE CONFERENCES. YOU HAVE OTHER EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES THAT YOU MAY CHOOSE OR CHOOSE NOT TO DO.))
((BOYD MARCUS/GILMORE CHIEF OF STAFF: WE ARE VERY HOPEFUL THAT NONE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN TERMS OF FREEZING DISCRETIONARY SPENDING OR DELAYING HIRING WILL HAVE ANY IMPACT ON PEOPLE.))
We asked if the Governor would be making cuts in his own budget.
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: THERE'S NO NEED HERE FOR SYMBOLISM OR YOU KNOW-- THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS NOW FOLKS. THIS IS NOT ANY-- THE TIME FOR GAMESMANSHIP IS PAST.))
[Live=Ellen Full/State Microwave]
Senators are hard to find today... but...
[Double Boxes=KEith and Ellen/State Microwave][Science-Museum]
The Science Museum of Western Virginia is weathering another budget storm.
Last year-- the museum received 725- thousand dollars in state funding.
But the museum has not got any for the upcoming year.
Today-- the museum announced a series of cuts to deal with the projected shortfall.
Starting March 18th, the museum will close on Sundays and Mondays.
The museum will also lay off 19 part time employees.
Full time employees at the museum will also be taking a 10- percent cut in pay.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We're still ]
((KEN SCHUTZ/SCIENCE MUSEUM EXEC. DIRECTOR: WE'RE STILL HOPING....IF THEY DON'T DO THAT. ))
[SUPER=01-Ken Schutz/Science Museum Exec. Director; ]
[OUT Q=don't do that.]
The museum will also suspend contributions to its employees retirement plan.
Thomas Akers says he wants to die. And barring a last minute stay, the convicted murderer will get his wish on Thursday night.
Among the witnesses scheduled to attend the execution at the Greensville Correctional Center is Wayne Smith, the father of Akers' victim.
Joe Dashiell spoke with him this afternoon.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=You don't ever finish]
[SUPER=01-Wayne Smith/Wesley Smith's Father; :00]
[SUPER=@Joe2; :12 quick]
[SUPER=03-Franklin Co./December 20, 1998; :16 quick]
[OUT Q=JD News 7]
(([OPENS WITH SMITH INTERVIEW]
[IN Q=You don't ever finish]
((WAYNE SMITH/WESLEY SMITH'S FATHER: YOU DON'T EVER FINISH RELIVING IT. I DON'T CARE IF IT'S 25 YEARS. BUT BEING ONLY TWO YEARS, IT'S STILL SHORT ENOUGH TO WHERE A LOT OF THE MEMORIES DON'T GO AWAY. I GUESS THEY NEVER WILL GO AWAY.))
[OUT Q=they never will go away.]
The last two years have been difficult for Wayne Smith and his family.
Since the day that 24- year- old Wesley Smith was found in a Franklin County field, beaten to death with a baseball bat.
[IN Q=And he was a good]
((AND HE WAS A GOOD, I CONSIDER, WELL ABOVE AVERAGE KID. I DON'T KNOW OF ANY ENEMY THAT HE HAD AND THIS WHOLE THING WAS DONE FOR NO REASON.))
[OUT Q=done for no reason.]
Two men were convicted of the crime... Thomas Akers was sentenced to death.
Though lawyers have asked the Supreme Court of Virginia for a stay of execution... Akers has refused to file any appeals and has threatened to kill again if the state doesn't carry out the death sentence.
[IN Q=I tell you]
((I TELL YOU I'M A CHRISTIAN MAN. IT'S HARD TO SAY THIS, BUT GIVE ME THE BASEBALL BAT AND I'LL GO DO IT. I'LL GO DO IT RIGHT NOW AS LONG AS THE THE LAW WOULD ALLOW ME. I'D DO IT RIGHT NOW AND THINK NOTHING ABOUT IT.))
[OUT Q=and think nothing about it.]
Smith plans to witness the execution Thursday night and says he hopes it will close a difficult chapter of his life... one that he won't have to relive any longer.
Joe Dashiell News 7))
Testimony is set to begin tomorrow in the capital murder trial of Jeffrey Allen Thomas.
Attorneys have picked 27 of the 28 people who will be narrowed down to 12 jurors tomorrow.
Thomas is accused of murdering 16 year old Tara Munsey last year during a rape or attempted rape.
His defense attorneys have said the case was too heavily publicized for Thomas to receive a fair jury trial in Pulaski County.
The case is expected to last at least two weeks and include testimony from more than 80 witnesses.
The racketeering and drug trafficking trial of Roanoke Police Officer Fred Pledge is set to begin two weeks from today.
Today the judge ordered the city to turn over to the defense the personnel files of two other officers who've been implicated along with Pledge but not named in the indictment.
Also today a material witness in the case was locked up for threatening not to appear for trial.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=They asked me]
[OUT Q=going to prison, going to jail.]
[V/O NAT ]
Hartman told the judge her life was too valuable to kill herself, that she was just mad at the D-E-A. The judge ordered her released on a 25-thousand dollar appearance bond.
Just as traffic gets back to normal at the site of last week's pileup on Interstate 81, another accident is slowing it down just a few miles down the road.
Details are still ahead on News 7 at Six.
[IN Q=its tale of two cities]
((JUSTIN MCCLEOD/REPORTING; ITS TALE OF TWO CITIES. SOUTH BOSTON AND CLIFTON FORGE ARE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS BUT THEY MAY SOON SHARE THE SAME DISTINCTION. I'M JUSTIN MCLEOD, WE'LL HAVE THAT STORY COMING UP AS NEWS 7 AT SIX CONTINUES. ))
[OUT Q=News 7 at six continues]
Clifton Forge residents vote next week on whether to remain a city or become a town.
It's called "reversion" .. and city leaders say it would save taxpayers' money while improving their services.
Voters in Clifton Forge might look to South Boston .. to see what happens when a city approves reversion.
Danville Bureau Chief Justin McLeod shows us what worked and what is still a work in progress.
[IN Q=Nat sound of cars driving by]
[SUPER=03-South Boston; :00]
[SUPER=01-Ted Daniel/Town Manager; :13]
[SUPER=01-Vandie Saunders/Finance Director; 1:22]
[OUT Q=News 7, South Boston]
((((NAT SOUND OF CARS DRIVING BY))
Six years ago, South Boston was struggling to make ends meet.
The budgets were too high and revenues were too low.
So city leaders made the decision to revert from a city to a town.
[IN Q=Riverting from a city to a town]
((TED DANIEL/TOWN MANAGER: RIVERTING FROM A CITY TO A TOWN CAN BE TRAUMATIC FOR THE CITIZENS. TRAUMATIC FROM THE STANDPOINT THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE CHANGE AND A LOT OF CHANGE IN THEIR LIVES.))
[OUT Q=change in their lives]
Some changes came immediately.
The town eliminated two elected positions.
Halifax County now ran the schools which saved South Boston thousands of dollars.
Real estate taxes were cut nearly in half.
But not everything changed.
South Boston kept its own police and fire departments as well as public works.
[IN Q=Six years later, the move]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: SIX YEARS LATER, THE MOVE FROM A CITY TO A TOWN IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS HERE IN SOUTH BOSTON....MAINLY HAVING TO DO WITH THE CONSOLIDATION OF SERVICES. THE TOWN AND COUNTY ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT SHARING THEIR 911 OPERATIONS WHICH THEY HOPE WILL SAVE MONEY AND IMPROVE SERVICES.))
[OUT Q=will save money and improve services]
((NAT SOUND OF TRUCK DRIVING BY AT LANDFILL))
South Boston also shares its landfill operations with Halifax County.
They may soon consolidate the library as well as move town and county services into one building.
These are all examples of South Boston and Halifax County working and saving money together, something that seemed impossible just a few years ago.
[IN Q=You can make this work]
((VANDIE SAUNDERS/DIRECTOR OF FINANCE: YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK BY BEING, AND WORK VERY WELL, IF YOU BE INVENTIVE AND OPEN MINDED.))
[OUT Q=inventive and open minded]
And be open-minded for years.
Should Clifton Forge voters choose to revert to a town, experience here shows some changes happen right away while others take many many years.
Justin McLeod, News 7, South Boston.))
A Montgomery County company announced job cuts today...
Wolverine Gasket of Blacksburg says it will lay-off about a-hundred employees by Monday, March 5th.
Officials say a downturn in the auto industry is to blame.
Since January, Wolverine's business of making car gaskets is down 40-percent.
It hasn't experienced a workforce cut of this size since the early 1990's.
Buyers finally returned to Wall Street, pushing stocks sharply higher.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW jumped 201 points.
NASDAQ gained 46.
A Roanoke County judge wants a former Carilion doctor to pay up or get out of town.
Dr. William Ball's contract with Carilion stipulated he must wait two years before practicing in the area after his contract expired.
Carilion says Dr. Ball failed to honor that non-compete clause.
Ball argued the clause didn't apply since his contract ended in September.
The court sided with Carilion.
Ball will now have to move his primary care practice at least 25 miles away from its original location, or buy back his right to practice from Carilion.
Ball's lawyer says he plans to appeal.
A man hit by a train in Pulaski remains in a Roanoke hospital.
24-year-old Steven Horton is in serious condition at Carilion-Roanoke Memorial.
Horton and his 18-year-old fiancee Katika (kuh-TEE-kuh) Welch were struck by a Norfolk Southern train on a trestle over Peak Creek.
Welch died at the scene.
Welch's brother, Larry, made it across the trestle and wasn't hurt.
A tractor-trailer accident is affecting traffic on I-81 in Botetourt County.
One lane southbound is closed at the 173 mile marker, after a truck took a tumble early this morning.
Cleanup of the site may last until midnight.
Traffic is back to normal though at the Buffalo Creek bridge.
Both southbound lanes re-opened yesterday, after workers finished repairs.
The highway had been reduced to one lane after a fiery pileup involving 10 trucks and 10 cars.
Coming up tonight on the Big 7 - the Earnhardt saga takes another amazing turn at the Rock.
UVa gets a bump up, but little respect in the new poll.
And Roanoke College reacts to not only getting into the NCAA tournament - but to also landing a home game in the opening round.
It rained on the Rock yesterday, but this afternoon it could not rain on Dale Incorporated's racing team led by driver Steve Park as the pilot of the Pennzoil Chevy won the Dura lube 400.
[SUPER=03-Rockingham, NC/Fox; :00]
The race was extremely clean today as the caution came out on just 2 occasions.
Stacy Compton started on the point as the race was resumed from yesterday's rain out, but on lap 300 Compton's engine expired and Stacy finished 41st.
Jeff Gordon, who won the pole back on Saturday was the man to beat for most of the race. Gordon led 120 of the first 125 laps.
But on lap 339 Park was able to muscle the Pennzoil Chevy past Gordon and into the lead.
He would stay in front the final 54 laps holding off a hard charging, but clean driving Bobby Labonte to win one in honor of his boss.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Steve Park/Dura Lube 400 Winner; :00]
[OUT Q=...the whole family."]
Labonte ended up second with Jeff Gordon third, Tony Stewart fourth and Ricky Craven 5th.
As for the locals - Elliott Sadler was 11th, Ward Burton 16th, Rick Mast 32nd, Jeff Burton 37th and Stacy Compton 41st.
Kevin Harvick, who took over the Goodwrench Chevy was 14th, while the highest finishing Dodge driver was Sterling Marlin. he was 8th.
Next week the series moves to Las Vegas for the Daimler Chrysler 400.[S-Dale]
[GRAPHIC=DALE CRASH INVESTIGATE]
While NASCAR continues to investigate what actually happened to Earnhardt's seat belt in his fatal Daytona crash, more and more details of that fateful day are seeping out.
[SUPER=03-Pineville, NC; :00]
Last Thursday Darrell Waltrip and his wife Stevie were among the thousands who attended Dale's funeral in Pineville, North Carolina.
The morning of the Daytona 500, Stevie Waltrip taped a bible verse on the dash of Dale's car.
Corinthians 18:10 which says "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and be safe."
[TAPE#=sp-86 tc 1:01:18]
A Florida State Linebacker died today after an early morning workout.
18 year old Devaughn Darling collapsed shortly after seven.
He had just finished intensive agility and conditioning drills with his teammates, including his twin brother Devard.
Devaughn was one of the youngest players on the team.
He started on special teams last season as a freshman.
And was to begin spring practice next week as a starter at outside linebacker.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
After whipping Carolina by 20 yesterday the Virginia Cavaliers have jumped up to the number 7 spot in the new Associated Press top 25 college basketball poll.
The Cavs host Clemson this Wednesday night.
Duke is now 2nd while Carolina is still three spots in front of Virginia in fourth.
The Roanoke College men's basketball team plays Savannah College of Art and Design Thursday at 7:30 in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
The committee dropped the Maroons an early Christmas present by giving the at large selection a home date in the opener.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Page Moir/Roanoke Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=most of it"]
This will be the two school's third meeting in the last two seasons. The Maroons lost to Savannah this past November.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Colby Leftwich/Roanoke Senior Forward; :00]
[SUPER=01-Brad Dunleavy/Roanoke Senior Guard; :17]
[OUT Q=....good shot"]
Tickets are 5 bucks for adults and three dollars for kids 12 and under.
[GRAPHIC=Regional tourney time]
The Cave Spring girls basketball team is just one of several squads representing the area in the regional tournaments this week.
The Knights have used their strengths to get to a Northwest region date with Albemarle tomorrow night at seven at home. Quickness, limiting turnovers, and free throw shooting will all come in handy on the road to the state tourney.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I think]
[SUPER=01-Linda Long/Cave Spring Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=.....going into the region"]
The Knights post season dreams were all but a nightmare as this season began, but it's not how you start but how you finish.
Plans to change the face of Roanoke take their next step tonight.
A hearing will look at proposals to build a biomedical research and technology park.
The plans were announced last spring ... plans city leaders hope will transform Roanoke from a former railroad town into a major research center.
We'll tell you how the idea is going over tonight on News 7 at 11.