[HEADLINES]

[TALENT=Kimberly]

(----------------)
[VO-NAT]
[GRAPHIC=Thomas Trial]


Jury selection is almost complete in the capital murder trial of the man accused of killing Radford teen Tara Munsey.
Marya Jones has an update from Pulaski.
(----------------)
[ANCHOR=Kimberly]


And attorneys for condemned killer Thomas Akers are fighting to save his life, while HE says he's ready to die.
(/////////////)
[TALENT=Jacey]
[SS=None]

Our temperatures stay warm today but tonight we may see some rain and by early tomorrow morning the rain most likely changes over to snow. More details in the forecast coming up.
[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[SS=None]


News 7 at noon, right after this break.




[Video-Open]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=noon]
[WRITER=kmc]
[TAPE#=net]
[GRAPHIC=none]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]


The capital murder trial of Jeffrey Thomas is about to get under way in Pulaski.
It's expected to last at least two weeks with testimony from DOZENS of witnesses.
(------------)


[Thomas]


[ANCHOR=Kim]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=kor]
[TAPE#=00-49 TC 1:37:50]
[GRAPHIC=Thomas Trial]


Testimony starts today in the capital murder trial of Jeffrey Allen Thomas charged with the slaying of Radford Teen Tara Munsey.

[Thomas Trial DOUBLE BOXES=Kim /Marya Starlink;]


Marya Jones is outside the courthouse in Pulaski where attorneys are wrapping up five days of jury selection. Marya have they seated a jury yet?
[LIVE=Marya /FULL]
[SUPER=@Marya1]
[SUPER=06-Pulaski]


((ROLLCUE:...TAPE ROLLED FROM TRUCK ( this afternoon)))
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT]
[IN Q=]
[SUPER=03-Pulaski; :00]
[RUNS=:34]
[OUT Q=called to testify]



[LIVE=Marya /FULL]
[SUPER=06-Pulaski;]




[Thomas Trial DOUBLE BOXES=Kim /Marya Starlink;]




[Akers-Execution]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=jda]
[TAPE#=00-47 TC1:37:07]
[GRAPHIC=Akers]


The execution of condemned killer Thomas Akers is set for Thursday night.
His attorneys are trying to stop the execution, despite the fact Akers says he wants to die.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]
[SUPER=03-Rocky Mount/January 1999;]


Akers is one of two men convicted of murdering 24-year old Wesley Smith in December, 1998.
Smith's body was found in a Franklin County field. He was beaten to death with a baseball bat.
One of the witnesses scheduled to attend Thursday's execution, is the victim's father, Wayne Smith.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 01:46:45]
[IN Q=It's nothing that I'm really]

((IT'S NOTHING REALLY THAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING, BUT IT'S MY WAY OF PUTTING CLOSURE IN THAT, AND KNOWING IN MY MIND THAT IT'S OVER WITH, WILL BE ONE LESS CHAPTER THAT I CAN TURN OFF AND I WON'T HAVE TO REHASH AND RELIVE. AND AT LEAST I DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HIM WALKING THE STREETS AND DOING IT TO SOMEONE ELSE.))
[SUPER=01-Wayne Smith/Wesley Smith's Father]
[RUNS=:22]
[OUT Q=doing it to someone else.]
(-------------)
[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[GRAPHIC=HOLD]


Akers refused to file any appeals and he threatened to kill again if the state doesn't carry out the death sentence.
But his attorneys have asked the Virginia Supreme Court to stop the execution, arguing that Akers is mentally ill and has brain damage.

[BioMed-Center]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=tha]
[TAPE#=00-53]
[GRAPHIC=none]

Roanoke City Council will take a look at the proposed biomedical research and technology park next month.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]

The project was discussed in detail during a public hearing and comment period last night.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke;]

If the project is approved by Roanoke city council... the park would be located on a 110- acre site near downtown Roanoke. About a half dozen people spoke during the hearing. All voiced support-- but one business owner did say he hoped he and others would be justly compensated if they were to relocate.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 19:47:13]
[IN Q=When we ask]

((BRAD ALLEN/ROANOKE BUSINESS OWNER: WHEN WE ASK SOMEONE TO SACRIFICE LET'S MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF OUR FAIR AND JUST COMPENSATION MEASURES AWE HAVE IN PLACE ARE ADHERED TO.))
[SUPER=01-Brad Allen/Roanoke Business Owner;]
[RUNS=06]
[OUT Q=are adhered to.]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]

Roanoke city council, planning commission and Redevelopment and Housing Authority were also at the public hearing. All three have to decide whether to go with the plan. But city council has the ultimate say on the project when it meets March 19th.
(------------)



[L'burg-Council]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=noon]
[WRITER=ssm]
[TAPE#=01-06 TC50:53]
[GRAPHIC=Lynchburg Seal]


Lynchburg's mayor revealed the state of the city last night.
He says it's "good", but there are many challenges ahead.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]
[SUPER=03-Lynchburg]


Carl Hutcherson delivered his first State of the City address as Lynchburg mayor.
In front of a packed audience inside city council chambers, Hutcherson said Lynchburg has a lot of things to be proud of.. including its diverse and dedicated workforce.
But with the city budget process looming, leaders say they'll have difficult decisions to make in the coming months.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 22:07:09]
[IN Q=As we continue]

((CARL HUTCHERSON/LYNCHBURG MAYOR: AS WE CONTINUE ON THIS YEAR'S BUDGET CYCLE, BOTH THE CITY AND THE LYNCHBURG SCHOOL SYSTEM WILL HAVE TO MAKE A NUMBER OF DIFFICULT DECISIONS AND SACRIFICES IN ORDER TO MEET OUR OBLIGATIONS. LYNCHBURG CITY COUNCIL IS COMMITTED TO CONTINUING THOSE CORE SERVICES THAT YOU AS CITIZENS HAVE COME TO RELY UPON.))
[SUPER=01-Carl Hutcherson/Lynchburg Mayor]
[RUNS=22]
[OUT Q=come to rely upon.]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]


The city also presented Awards of Excellence to seven people for their contributions to Lynchburg.
They included former Region 2000 director Rodger Fauber, school board member Harry Smith and Liberty University chancellor Reverend Jerry Falwell.
(------------)



[Republicans]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=noon]
[WRITER=dse]
[TAPE#=None]
[GRAPHIC=Campaign 2001]


A majority of Roanoke and Botetourt Counties' Republican delegates to the state convention will vote for Attorney General Mark Earley.
Earley came out ahead in last night's local party meetings.
Lieutenant Governor John Hager still holds a slim lead in the statewide delegate count, thanks to strong showings in Northern Virginia.
Republicans will choose a gubernatorial candidate at a June convention.

[Bush-Budget]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=NOON]
[WRITER=KMC]
[TAPE#=net]
[GRAPHIC=George W. Bush]


In a prime- time televised speech tonight, President Bush will unveil his one-point-nine- trillion- dollar budget to Congress.
A key part of the budget is Bush's trillion- dollar tax cut proposal.
Democrats say it'll work ONLY if there's a massive budget surplus.
Meanwhile, Bush's counselor says the President approached his budget the way a typical American family would.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 10:01:42 ]
[IN Q=Schools and health]

((KAREN HUGHES/PRESIDENT BUSH'S COUNSELOR:SCHOOLS AND HEALTHCARE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS FOR OUR SENIORS...FOR LOW INCOME SENIORS...OUR DEFENSE SPENDING--THOSE ARE PRIORITIES FOR THE PRESIDENT AND HE FUNDED THOSE PRIORITIES. ))
[SUPER=01-Karen Hughes/President Bush's Counselor;]
[RUNS=:09]
[OUT Q=funded those priorities.]
(-------------)
[ANCHOR=KIMBERLY]
[GRAPHIC=HOLD]


Hughes also says the President's budget will pay down a significant portion of the national debt.


[Sub-Apology]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=kmc]
[TAPE#=net]
[GRAPHIC=none]


A top U-S Navy official is in Tokyo to make a formal apology for the sinking of a Japanese fishing boat.
But the families of those who died in the collision with the American submarine say the apology is too little too late.
Barry Petersen reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT]
[IN Q=]
[SUPER=03-Yokota Airbase, Japan; :00]
[SUPER=01-William Fallon/U. S. Navy; :12]
[SUPER=04-File Tape; :28]
[SUPER=01-Barry Petersen/Reporting; :53]
[RUNS=1:04]
[OUT Q=Petersen, CBS News, ]
(



(Yokota arrival)

Admiral William Fallon is here as a special envoy...updating the Japanese on the continuing investigation, and delivering a personal letter...from President Bush to Japan's prime minister.

(SOT: ADM. WILLIAM FALLON

THIS LETTER EXPRESSES OUR NATION'S APOLOGIES AND REGRET TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE.

(Meets with PM Mori)

This high-ranking postman lost now time taking his message to the top of Japan's government, meeting with the prime minister and foreign minister.

(File/scott waddle)

The submarine's captain, Scott Waddle, sent his own letter to the Japanese people via fax and e-mail to Japanese news outlets. He talked of..quote..sincere regret...but neither apologized nor took responsibility...two public admissions the Japanese expect from the man in charge.

(NAT SOT/FAMILIES)

No wonder family members dismissed Waddle's effort as too little...too late.

(STANDUP) THE ADMIRAL ALSO PLANS TO MEET WITH FAMILY MEMBERS...HIS

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT AS SIMPLE AS SAYING..THE U-S IS SORRY. BP, CBS NEWS, YOKOTA AIR FORCE BASE, JAPAN
))

[CA-Pedestrians]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=kmc]
[TAPE#=net]
[GRAPHIC=none]


Nearly four- thousand mourners held a candlelight vigil last night in Santa Barbara, California.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]
[SUPER=03-Santa Barbara, CA;]


They gathered to remember four young people ran down over the weekend by a speeding car.
Police say the driver was 18- year- old college freshman David (uh-TEE'-uhs) Attias.
Attias will be arraigned today on four counts of murder for allegedly killing the victims on purpose.
[SUPER=04-File Tape;]


Witnesses say he drove his car at 60- miles- per- hour down a narrow street, screaming that he was the "angel of death."
Ryan Wood saved one victim by giving him mouth- to- mouth resuscitation.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 10:26:07]
[IN Q=At least]

((RYAN WOOD/HELPED VICTIM: AT LEAST.. THEY DIDN'T DIE ALONE. )) ((SAMANTHA STREET/STUDENT: THEY WERE LOVED..EVERYONE WANTED TO HELP. ))
[SUPER=01-Ryan Wood/Helped Victim; hot change!!]
[SUPER=01-Samantha Street/Student; :12]
[RUNS=:10]
[OUT Q=wanted to help]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]


Those familiar with (uh-TEE-uhs) Attias describe him as troubled loner.
He's the son of a Hollywood TV and Film director DANIEL Attias.
(------------)



[Science-Museum]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=noon]
[WRITER=tha]
[TAPE#=01-12 TC1:47:12]
[GRAPHIC=None]

You'll soon notice some changes at the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke;]

Last year-- the museum received 725- thousand dollars in state funding. But the museum may not get any for the upcoming year. Yesterday-- 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 layoff 19 part time employees. Full time employees at the museum will also take a 10- percent cut in pay.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 01:08:41]
[IN Q=We would]

((KEN SCHUTZ/SCIENCE MUSEUM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: WE WOULD JUST HOPE THAT THE PUBLIC WOULD BEAR WITH US AND ENJOY WHAT IS HERE FRO THE 12 MONTH PERIOD AND VOTE AND LOBBY IN A WAY THAT WOULD HELP ASSURE THAT WE WOULD HAVE FUNDING RESTORED IF WE DO INDEED LOSE IT.))
[SUPER=01-Ken Schutz/Science Museum Exec. Director; ]
[RUNS=13]
[OUT Q=lose it.]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]

The museum will also suspend contributions to its employees retirement plan.
(------------)



[Higher-Education]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=noon]
[WRITER=jmi]
[TAPE#=00-48]
[GRAPHIC=none]


The Higher Education Center in Roanoke is shaping up to be a learning experience for everyone involved in its construction.
(------------)
[VO-NAT]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke]


Big changes are in the works.
This parking lot set to hold about 90 vehicles will be complete by early Spring.
The coffee shop is brand new -- it opened its doors last week.
And this is the future site of a new day care center.
But a tea party in the library?
Folks at the Higher Ed Center say that's nothing new.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT]
[IN Q=We've got 13]

[tc:00:1:04] ((JAY STEPHENS: WE'VE GOT 13 DIFFERENT SCHOOL HERE, WE ALSO HAVE WORKFORCE TRAINING. WE RENT OUT ROOMS TO BUSINESS OR NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION WHO WANT TO DO TRAINING OR HAVE MEETINGS HERE. SO WE HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, IT'S NOT JUST STRUCTURED CLASSROOM LEARNING.))
[RUNS=11]
[SUPER=01-Jay Stephens/Higher Education Center]
[OUT Q=classroom learning.]
(------------)
[VO-NAT]


15 institutions, including Virginia Tech, Hollins and Radford have teamed up to bring high-tech education to the Roanoke Valley.
(------------)


[Mardi-Gras]


[ANCHOR=Kimberly]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=kmc]
[TAPE#=net]
[GRAPHIC=none]


It's a big crowd in the Big Easy--
Thousands of Mardi Gas revelers are enjoying the final days of parades and parties.
Teri Okita has a ringside seat on Bourbon Street.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT]
[IN Q=]
[SUPER=03-New Orleans, LA; :00]
[SUPER=01-Teri Okita/Reporting; :49]
[RUNS=:59]
[OUT Q=Okita, CBS News, New Orleans.]

((

(LOCATOR: NEW ORLEANS, LA)


TRACK: THE FUN NEVER STOPS AT MARDI GRAS.

(NATSD FULL OF REVELERS)


TRACK: THOUSANDS OF REVELERS DRESS IN CRAZY COSTUMES, MERRY MASKS, AND FUNNY HATS ALL HERE TO CELEBRATE FAT TUESDAY THE DAY BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN SEASON OF LENT BEGINS.

SOT: (revelers)


TRACK: BEER, BAUBLES, AND BEADS ARE THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS, AND PEOPLE WILL DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING TO GET THE MARDI GRAS MOMENTOS.

SOT: (revelers)


TRACK: AFTER A LONG AND HARD NIGHT OF PARTY, PILES OF TRASH AND BROKEN BEADS LITTER NEW ORLEANS FAMOUS BOURBON STREET MAKING IT HARD FOR CLEANING CREWS TO KEEP UP.

(NATSD BREAK)


TRACK: FOR EARLY RISERS, ONE OF THE MORNINGS HIGHLIGHTS IS THE REX PARADE WINDING ITS WAY THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE FRENCH QUARTER. FOR THOSE STILL RECUPERATING FROM LAST NIGHTS FUN, ANOTHER ROUND OF PARTYING ISNT TOO FAR AWAY.

(Super: Teri Okita/Reporting)

STANDUP: THERE'S POLICE PRESENCE ON ALMOST EVERY CORNER, AND UNLIKE THE CELEBRATIONS THAT TURNED VIOLENT IN SEATTLE AND AUSTIN LAST WEEKEND, POLICE SAY THINGS HAVE BEEN RELATIVELY CALM AND PEACEFUL HERE. TERI OKITA, CBS NEWS, NEW ORLEANS. ))

[Consumer-Confidence]


[ANCHOR=Kim]
[NEWSCAST=Noon]
[WRITER=kor]
[TAPE#=none]
[GRAPHIC=Business News]


In business news, a new report shows that consumers are less optimistic about the economy. The Conference Board says its index of consumer confidence dropped nearly nine points to 106-point-eight, marking the fifth straight monthly decline. That's the lowest level since June of 1996.
Meanwhile in January, new home sales posted their biggest drop in seven years.
The Commerce Department says they fell ten-point-nine percent, as consumers refused to be swayed by low mortgage rates.