The Governor of Mississippi declares a northern county a disaster area after a weekend tornado.
Five people were killed...those who survived the twister are trying to clean up and move on.
And a southbound lane of Interstate 81 is still closed after a tractor- trailer overturned this morning.
Temperatures are warming up today and the sun is out for good... it might be a good time to wash your car... the forecast is next.
Join us for News 7 at Noon.
You may have never heard of Pontotoc, Mississippi before this weekend.
The tiny town is making headlines after a devastating tornado.
Good Afternoon, I'm Kimberly McBroom.
Residents of the Mississippi town are trying to pick up the pieces after a deadly weekend tornado that killed at least five people.
Terisa Estacio has the latest.
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[SUPER=01-Johnny Seal/Pontotoc Resident;]
[OUT Q=Estacio, CBS News, Pontotoc.]
(LOCATOR: PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI)
THERE'S VERY LITTLE LEFT STANDING HERE IN PONTOTOC, MISSISSIPPI. THE
SMALL TOWN WAS PRACTICALLY WIPED OFF THE MAP ON SATURDAY NIGHT WHEN A
DEADLY TWISTER STRUCK WITH A VENGEANCE.
SOT: JOHNNY SEAL/PONTOTOC RESIDENT
LOST MY SON, LOST FIVE BUILDINGS...
THE TORNADO CUT A 23 MILE PATH OF DESTRUCTION THROUGH
PONTOTOC...LEVELING DOZENS OF HOMES AND DAMAGING MANY OTHERS. BUT AMID
THE RUBBLE AND WRECKAGE ... RESIDENTS FOUND AN UNLIKELY SURVIVOR.
SOT: RICKY MOONEYHAN, RESIDENT
"I DIDN'T THINK SHE'D MADE IT."
HER BARN WAS LITERALLY BLOWN AWAY... BUT THIS HORSE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO
"SHE'S NOT HURT AT ALL, WE GOT HER OUT YESTERDAY, SHE'S NOT HURT, IT'S
MANY OTHERS HERE WERE NOT AS LUCKY. AREA HOSPITALS TREATED AT LEAST 48
INJURED PEOPLE. RESIDENTS HERE MUST NOW GATHER THE STRENGTH TO MOVE ON,
SOME WITHOUT ANY OF THEIR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS.
WHILE PARTS OF TEXAS AND ARKANSAS WERE ALSO HIT BY THE SAME STORM
SYSTEM... NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI SUFFERED THE GREATEST DAMAGE BY FAR.
HERE IN PONTOTOC, GOVERNOR RONNIE MUSGROVE HAS DECLARED THE COUNTY A
DISASTER AREA. A MOVE THAT COULD BRING FEDERAL RELIEF FUNDS TO
THOUSANDS OF VICTIMS.
C.L., CBS NEWS, PONTOTOC.
A teenager was struck and killed by a train while walking along the trestle over Peek Creek in Pulaski yesterday morning.
She was accompanied by two other people when the accident happened.
Kate Weidaw reports.
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[SUPER=01-Larry Welch/Victim's Brother;:19]
[SUPER=01-Barry Buckner/Pulaski Police Department;:50]
[OUT Q=kw news 7 Pulaski]
((18 year old (Kuh-tee-kuh) Katika Maria Welch along with her brother Larry, and her boyfriend, Steven Horton, decided to walk the tracks to take a puppy to a neighbors home.
Larry says when he heard the train coming he ran off the trestle and jumped from the tracks... but witnessed his sister's death.
((LARRY WELCH/VICTIM'S BROTHER: MY SISTER WAS WALKING PRETTY FAST AND SHE FELL AND TRIPPED AND THE TRAIN HIT HER, KILLED HER, AND IT HIM TO. HIS LEGS ARE BROKEN I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE REST OF HIS BODY IT'S A SAD THING.))
Maria was killed instantly. Horton suffered two broken legs and was flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Investigators say the Norfolk Southern engineer did all he could to stop the train.
((LT. BARRY BUCKNER/PULASKI POLICE DEPT.: HE SAW IT AND THE WHISTLE WAS BLOWN AND THEY KNEW IT WAS COMING THEY JUST COULDN'T GET ACROSS IN TIME.))
More than two months ago a similar accident occurred in Lynchburg, when two teenagers were killed while walking across a train trestle. Officials say it's against the law to walk on the tracks... and Sunday's accident could have been avoided.
((LT. BARRY BUCKNER: THERE IS NO TRESPASSING ON RAILROAD PROPERTY SO THEY WERE TRESPASSING WHEN THEY WERE HIT.))
Buckner says this isn't the first time some one has been hit by a train in Pulaski and it probably won't be the last. Maria was just days away from her 19-th birthday. Kate Weidaw News 7 Pulaski.))
Katika Maria Welch's boyfriend, Steven Horton underwent surgery. There's no information on his condition at this time.
[GRAPHIC=81 Accident 4869]
A tractor trailer driver overturned his rig this morning on Interstate 81.
The accident happened in the southbound lanes near mile marker 173 in Botetourt County.
State Police say the driver apparently fell asleep. He ran off the right shoulder. The truck then rolled over on its side.
The driver was temporarily entraped, but he managed to get out by himself.
He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
VDOT says one southbound lane near Natural Bridge will remain closed for the next several hours while crews cleanup from this morning's accident. Officials say it may re-open by mid afternoon.
Clifton Forge residents vote next week on whether to remain a city or a town.
Before heading to the polls, they may want to see what happened in South Boston.
Six years ago, South Boston reverted to a town and became part of Halifax County.
Town officials believe the move saved money and improved services.
[IN Q=The cities and South Boston]
((VANDIE SAUNDERS/DIRECTOR OF FINANCE: YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK BY BEING, AND WORK VERY WELL, IF YOU BE INVENTIVE AND OPEN MINDED.))
[SUPER=01-Vandie Saunders/Director of Finance]
[OUT Q=inventive and open minded]
But town officials also stress changes don't happen overnight.
Tonight on News 7 at Six, we'll visit South Boston and show you how six years later the move from a city to a town is still a work in progress.
Microsoft is squaring off with the government today.
Arguments are under way in a federal appeals court in Washington.
The government wants the seven- judge panel to uphold a lower court ruling to split up Microsoft because it acted as a monopoly.
The attorney for the software giant says Microsoft did NOT break the law and didn't engage in anti- competitive behavior.
Seven hours have been set aside for arguments in the case over two days.
Daimler Chrysler officials promise the road will get smoother for the lagging company.
The C-E-O says earnings will drop more than 13- percent this year because of its poorly- performing U-S division.
This morning, he unveiled sweeping reform plans to get the automaker out of the red.
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[SOT 6:19:46 ]
[IN Q=The overall]
((JUERGEN SCHREMPP/DAIMLER CHRYSLER C.E.O.: THE OVERALL IMPACT OF THOSE INITIATIVES WILL ACCUMULATE TO 1.3 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS IN THE YEAR 2001.))
[SUPER=01-Juergen Schrempp/Daimler Chrysler C.E.O.;]
[OUT Q=year 2001]
Schrempp predicts the German company will break even by next year and turn a profit by 2003.
Meanwhile, fellow- automaker Mitsubishi is cutting its Japanese workforce by 14- percent.
Company officials say the cutbacks are part of a turn- around plan worked out with Daimler-Chrysler, which owns 34- percent of Mitsubishi.
The company also plans to reduce its worldwide workforce by about 95- hundred.
But officials say that won't be in the form of layoffs.
All the cuts will be made in Japan.
Mitsubishi vows to return to profitability in the next few years.
Governor Gilmore's Cabinet gets to work today to trim the budgets of state agencies by as much as 15- percent.
The governor is looking to cut 420 million dollars ... and
he says he'll try to spare public education and services to the
mentally ill and the elderly.
The annoucement came right after the General
Assembly adjourned without adopting a new budget in a stand-off over how to phase out the car tax. Lawmakers will reconvene in next month's special session to try to resolve the
budget deadlock ... and prevent the cuts.
[GRAPHIC=Center in the Square]
Roanoke Valley museums, parks and cultural institutions will have their eyes on that special session.
At this point, no money is allotted for them in this year's budget.
At Roanoke's Center in the Square - the history museum will be losing 30 percent of its annual budget and that means two staff members will have to be cut.
The director of the museum says he's disappointed and is planning for the impact the loss in funding will have.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=the quality]
((KENT CHRISMAN: THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY FOR WHAT WE OFFER THE PUBLIC IS GOING TO BE DIMINISHED, THE NUMBER OF EXHIBITS WE HAVE ON VIEW AND ALSO THE AMOUNT OF MONEY AND THE QUALITY OF THE EXHIBITS THAT WE ARE ABLE TO BRING TO THE PUBLIC.))
[SUPER=01-Kent Chrisman/History Museum Exec. Director;]
[OUT Q=to the public.]
The Art Museum of Western Virginia will also be losing 25 percent of its million dollar budget.
So far cuts are NOT in the works.
The director says she's hoping to make up the funds somehow.
((JUDY LARSON/EX. DIR. ART MUSEUM: I'M HOPING WE DON'T HAVE TO CUT PROGRAMS AT LEAST NOT TO SEVERELY BUT ALL THESE THINGS ARE ON THE TABLE WE'LL JUST SEE WHAT HAPPENS.))
[SUPER=01-Judy Larson/Art Museum Executive Director; ]
[OUTQ=see what happens.]
Both museum directors are hoping Gilmore will allot funding during a special General Assembly session next month to balance the budget.
Nearly 1-million dollars of Roanoke County taxpayers' money is invested in a troubled California electric company.
Pacific Gas and Electric is just one company in California that has been experiencing financial problems because of an energy shortage.
Roanoke County's treasurer says when he initially invested the money on December 5th, it was a top rated company.
Despite the problems, the county is being advised not to pull out.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=the company]
((FRED ANDERSON/ROANOKE CO. TREASURER: THE COMPANY IS SAYING THEY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN PAY US BACK WITHIN 6 MONTHS, IN FACT PEOPLE ARE ADVISING ME DON'T SELL THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BUY THIS AT A CUT RATE AND THIS IS A KNEE JERK REACTION TO THE SITUATION.))
[SUPER=01-Fred Anderson/Roanoke Co. Treasurer]
[OUT Q=to the situation.]
Anderson says in his 20 plus years of investing taxpayer money, utility companies have always been a good investment.
Viewers respond to the death of Dale Earnhardt in this week's News 7 Feedback.
Assignment editor Joe McKean has more.
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[IN Q=Animation Open]
[OUT Q=Animation Close.]
(( Dale Earnhardt's death seconds from the finish line of the Daytona 500 brought scores of comments about our coverage through the week.
From Chatham: (Cheryl Saunders) "I just wanted to thank you for such a fitting tribute to a fallen hero. The special...was very informative and I think Mike Stevens did an excellent job of presenting the information in a caring, personal manner."
From Bassett (The Beachams): "Dale you will be missed within our NASCAR family. You were not my favorite, but I did enjoy your racing and spirit on the track. You had what it took to make it in racing."
More than a hundred people posted notes on our web site, almost all of them like this one from Natural Bridge (Carolyn Johnson): "Dale Earnhardt was a great driver and a great man. Race fans young and old loved to love the Intimidator and they also loved to hate him. Watching NASCAR races will never be the same without Dale."
But not everyone liked everything we aired. A viewer from Blacksburg wrote (Kelly Reed): "I feel the in-camera shot of his accident was shown in poor taste. The community is at a loss right now and by adding to our memory the last thing Dale saw before he died is traumatic."
And there was this note from Pulaski: (Allen and Michele Lanter): "Why all this (expletive) over Dale Earnhardt and nothing on Eddie Mathews? It looks like a Hall of Fame baseball player should get more space than a thrill seeking big headed race car driver. Anybody would have to have a death wish to drive a race car. You cover the sports you like, not the public."
The mailing address at News-7 is PO Box 7, Roanoke, 24022-0007; our fax number, 343-7269; e-mail should be sent to email@example.com. And our website, wdbj7.com, has an on-line forum.
Joe McKean, News-7.))
Kuwait is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War and its liberation from Iraqi forces.
[SUPER=03-Kuwait City, Kuwait;]
But the occasion is bittersweet--
150- American soldiers died a decade ago because of the take-over efforts of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Those soldiers were remembered today at a wreath laying ceremony on the grounds of the U-S Embassy.
Retired General Colin Powell was a key player in the Gulf War.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 10:09:56 ]
[IN Q=Today Kuwait]
((COLIN POWELL/SECRETARY OF STATE: TODAY KUWAIT OCCUPIES IT'S RIGHTFUL PLACE AMONG THE PEOPLES OF THE REGION AND OF
THE WORLD. IT IS FREE, IT IS PROSPEROUS AND IT HAS A WEALTH OF
FRIENDS AND ALLIES, WHILE IRAQ THE AGGRESSOR SITS STRANDED, TRAPPED
IN A PRISON OF IT'S OWN MAKING."
[SUPER=01-Colin Powell/U. S. Secretary of State;]
[OUT Q=its own making]
Meanwhile, residents in Kuwait marked today's occasion with a liberation parade complete with brightly- colored floats.