A local factory is about to close. More than a hundred jobs will go with it. The details are just ahead on News
7 at 6.
Plus remembering a deadly factory explosion one year later.
Tonight on News 7 Sports, we'll take a look at the all-ACC teams released today.
Steve Mason checks the Cavs' pulse four days before their ACC tournament opener.
And former local baseball great Kelly Dampeer has landed a job as college head coach - but you'll never guess which college!
Snow showers are rushing into the region but accumulations will only range from a trace in the cities to 4 inches in the western highlands. Details just ahead.
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We'll get to our local news in just a moment, but first, we want to briefly get you caught up on three major national stories making news at this hour.
We'll start near San Diego, California, where two students are dead, and 13 other people are hurt, after gunshots were fired inside a high school.
A 15 year old freshman is in custody. Witnesses say he was smiling as he fired a handgun.
In Washington, DC, our country's Vice-President is back in the hospital, after suffering what aides call mild chest pains.
Dick Cheney is 60 .. and has a history of heart trouble.
President Bush says today's hospitalization is simply a "precautionary measure."
And that major snowstorm that was supposed to pound New York and other major cities may have spared the Big Apple, but it is still paralyzing air traffic in several northeast states.
And some areas could still get up to three feet of snow by tomorrow.
Stay with us for the latest on these stories ... on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather at 6-30.
[GRAPHIC=New River Castings]
Now on to our local news
It was one year ago today that an explosion at the New River Castings Foundry in Radford killed three employees.
Friends and family of the victims are preparing to gather tonight at a candlelight memorial remembering those who died.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean & Rachel/Microwave]
New River Valley bureau chief Rachel Cannon joins us with more on the event...Rachel
Jean, today's anniversary is a reminder of one of the worst industrial accidents to ever hit the New River Valley ... and those personally affected by the tragedy will not let the day go un-noticed.
We spoke with the organizer of tonight's event, a man who last his daughter in the explosion...
[INQ=It's going to be]
[SUPER=01-Ed Anderson/Father of Victim; :02]
[SUPER=03-Radford/March 5, 2000; :19]
[OQ=to guide my hands and I made the cross.]
[IN Q=IT'S GOING]
((ED ANDERSON/FATHER OF VICTIM; IT'S GOING TO BE VERY HARD FOR ALL THE FAMILY MEMBERS TO GO BACK THERE AND MORE OR LESS RELIVE WHAT HAS HAPPENED))
[SUPER=01-ED ANDERSON/FATHER OF VICTIM;:02]
[OUT Q=HAS HAPPENED]
Even though a year has passed, Ed Anderson says the day he lost his daughter Karen Hamilton feels like yesterday.
An investigation found it was a gas leak that caused the blast which started in the basement and completely destroyed the core of the building
But it will be a different scene at the New River Castings Foundry tonight as people gather to honor Karen along with the two other employees killed Debbie Sheppard and Curtis Grooms
[IN Q=There will be]
[OUT Q=COUPLE SONGS]
((THERE WILL BE SEVERAL SPEAKERS AND THERE WILL BE SOMEONE FROM EACH FAMILY SPEAK ABOUT THEIR LOVED ONE THEN THERE'S GOING TO BE A COUPLE SONGS.))
Those who attend 8 p-m event are asked to bring candles. Anderson plans on presenting the cross he built especially for his daughter
((There were no measurements done, I asked the Lord to guide my hands and I made the cross.))
In addition to tonight's ceremony, the trio will be remembered with a permanent memorial being created by the company which is currently in the planning stages.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean & Rachel/Microwave]
We will bring you more on tonight's event on News 7 at 11. [Standard-Register]
Rocky Mount is about to lose more than 100-jobs.
Plans to restructure Standard Register call for the closure of the company's Rocky Mount facility.
A company spokeswoman says the change will result in the loss of about 140-jobs.
At least one worker says he saw the cuts coming but that he's not made at his employer.
(///// SOT AT: 16/////)
[SOT 23:24:34-23:24:45 ]
[IN Q=They're treating us right.]
[SUPER=01-Kevin Ledbetter/Employee Standard Register;]
((KEVIN LEDBETTER/EMPLOYEE, STANDARD REGISTER: THEY'RE TREATING US RIGHT. THEY'RE DOING THE BEST THEY CAN. I COULDN'T COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT DEAL. MY BEEF'S WITH FRANKLIN COUNTY.))
[OUT Q=beef's with Franklin County.]
Some of the Rocky Mount employees were let go last Friday.
Some will stay on at the company until the last day of operations.
The company says all Rocky Mount employees will be paid through May first.
Some workers at a Montgomery County business are pushing to become a union shop.
Picketers rallied support today outside Wolverine Gasket's Blacksburg Plant .. for the upcoming March 15th United Auto Workers vote.
The company recently laid-off 105-employees...a factor some believe is connected to the push to unionize.
[IN Q=WE THINK]
((TIM DOUTHAT/FORMER WOLVERINE EMPLOYEE; WE THINK THERE COULD BE POSSIBLY SOME ECONOMIC REASONS AND SOME CONSTRUCTION REASONS FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE BUSINESS WE DO FEEL THAT IT'S BEING USED FOR SOMEWHAT OF A SCARE TACTIC TO PREVENT THE UNION FROM BEING VOTED IN.))
[SUPER=01-Tim Douthat/Former Wolverine Employee]
[OUT Q=VOTED IN 6:05:25]
Because the union vote petition was filed before the job cuts .. all 277-hourly workers, whether currently employed or not, are eligible to vote.
A Wolverine spokesman says the company respects the rights of its employees .. but is hopeful they will vote to con
tinue the current non-union relationship. [Tease#1]
Cable rates are going up in the Roanoke Valley. Just ahead, who's in for the higher bills ... and how much.
And a local family mourns the loss of a loved one killed on a training mission. A friend says Greg Skir-pee loved what he was doing.
[SCHOOL WATCH/FULL]SCHOOL DELAYS
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[Web Address Announce]
[GRAPHIC=Thomas Murder Trial]
Hair, footprints and D-N-A all link Jeffrey Alan Thomas to the murder of Tara Munsey.
That was the testimony of more than a half-dozen forensic scientists called today as witnesses in the capital murder trial.
One testified that Thomas' sperm was on the 16-year-old's thigh.
Another said footprints matching his type of Nike Air Jordan's were on her tee shirt.
Gun experts from the state crime lab linked shell casings found near her body to ones from a rifle Thomas allegedly had.
Another scientist said hairs found in Thomas' car were a microscopic match to Munsey's.
Jurors will hear more about DNA evidence tomorrow.[Guard-Crash]
A Montgomery County family is mourning the loss of a family member who was aboard the National Guard plane that crashed over the weekend...
Blacksburg native Staff Sergeant Greg Skurupey (Skir-pee) was one of the 18 guardsmen killed when the plane went down in Georgia.
The crew was returning to Virginia after a training mission in Florida.
Paul (Bow-yer) Bowyer is a long-time family friend and fellow church member who says Skurupey loved his job.
[IN Q=I'VE KNOWN GREG]
((PAUL BOWYER/FRIEND OF VICTIM: I'VE KNOWN GREG SINCE HE WAS A YOUNGSTERHE'S A FINE YOUNG MAN I THINK HE WAS DOING SOMETHING HE LOVED TO DO I TALKED TO HIS UNCLE AND HE SAID HE REALLY ENJOYED SERVING HIS COUNTRY IN THIS CAPACITY.))
[SUPER=01-Paul Bowyer/Friend of Victim]
[OUT Q=IN THIS CAPACITY]
Skurupey leaves behind a wife and two children.
He would have celebrated his 35th birthday yesterday.
The Gilmore administration says its freeze on state construction projects could mean a savings of 310 million dollars this year... and 96 million dollars in the next fiscal year.
If all those projects remain frozen, that would more than fill the 318 million dollar remaining hole in the two year budget.
That's without agency cuts.
NO decisions have been made yet on how much will actually remain frozen.
Republicans criticizing Republicans may be wish fulfillment for Virginia's Democratic Party.
But as Virginia Democrats take a deep breath and try to focus on how to regain some seats of power, they have another secret weapon: party chairwoman Emily Couric.
Ellen Qualls sat down with Senator Couric before she started her latest round of chemotherapy, in her battle against terminal cancer.
[IN Q=From Charlottesville's school board all the]
[SUPER=03-Richmond/February 1997; :00 ]
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/July 2000; :18 ]
[SUPER=01-Sen. Emily Couric/(D) Charlottesville; :38]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( From Charlottesville's school board all the way to the State Senate seat she won in 1995, she still may have been best known as the sister of Today show co-host Katie Couric.
Then Emily Couric started running for lieutenant governor, raised a lot of money, and saw her competition get out of the way.
But then this, last July.
[sot tape 00-3 01;55:35]
((SEN. EMILY COURIC/D-CHARLOTTESVILLE: YESTERDAY, I LEARNED THAT I HAVE CANCER OF THE PANCREAS, AND THAT THIS CANCER HAS SPREAD.))
Couric dropped out of the race-- but stepped into the role of state party chairwoman-- and kept the job of state senator.
We asked if it's a tough time to be her party's chairwoman?
((SEN. EMILY COURIC/D-CHARLOTTESVILLE: SURE. BECAUSE WE'RE SO LOW RIGHT NOW, GIVEN THE FACT THAT THE REPUBLICANS CONTROL BOTH HOUSES, THEY CONTROL ALL THREE STATEWIDE OFFICES, THE MAJORITY OF THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATIONS AND BOTH STATEWIDE SENATORS ARE REPUBLICANS... BUT WHAT A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE SOME IMPROVEMENT.))
[runs= 18 ]
Political analyst Larry Sabato jokes that it's the Democratic Party that's on life support, while Emily Couric's doing quite well for herself.
Republican Party director Ed Matricardi agrees, pointing out how "very, very tough" she's been on the Governor-- at a time when it's tough to shoot back at her.
Couric realizes she is a bit of a curiosity.
((SEN. EMILY COURIC/D-CHARLOTTESVILLE: PART OF THE SCENE IS JUST BEING ASKED LOTS OF QUESTIONS AND RESPONDING WITH PATIENCE AND GOOD CHEER.))
[runs= 04 ]
Is she tired of being asked about her health?
[BUTT TOGETHER sot 12:26:43]
((SEN. EMILY COURIC/D-CHARLOTTESVILLE: NO, NO. I LIKE THAT. I LIKE PEOPLE CARING. AND I THINK THE ENORMOUS SUPPORT I'VE HAD OF THE COMMUNITY HAS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE TO ME.))
[runs= 10 ]
[sot 12:28:47 ]
((SEN. EMILY COURIC/D-CHARLOTTESVILLE: BECAUSE THIS REALLY IS A DEATH SENTENCE. THE AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY IS FOUR TO FIVE MONTHS. I'M MORE THAN SEVEN MONTHS NOW. I MEAN, LOOK AT ME. I MEAN, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE I'M SICK.))
[runs= 12 ]
Roanoke's John Edwards is her office mate and seat mate in the Senate.
[sot 12:43:43 ]
((SEN. JOHN EDWARDS WELL YOU KNOW, THERE ARE OCCASIONS WHERE SHE SHOWS SOME SIDE EFFECTS BUT SHE IS HANDLING IT EXTREMELY WELL.))
[runs= 05 ]
With the legislative session over, Couric's back into her next round of treatment, while her Democratic party machine keeps the fire lit under the GOP.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
Stocks started the first full week of March by marching upward.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The Dow rose 96 points. NASDAQ climbed 25.
[GRAPHIC=Roanoke City Council]
More Roanokers will be rolling their trash cans to the curb if city council approves a new plan outlined today.
The controversial proposal would end refuse collection in many of the city's alleys.
But officials say they HAVE been working to address the concern that narrow streets and difficult terrain make curbside collection impractical in some neighborhoods.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=If people only have]
((IF PEOPLE ONLY HAVE STEPS OR A WALL IN THEIR FRONT YARD THAT MAKE IT VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO ROLL THE CONTAINER TO THE STREET, THEN THOSE ARE LOCATIONS WHERE WE WOULD CONTINUE TO COLLECT THE TRASH IN THE ALLEYS.))
[SUPER=01-Bob Bengtson/Public Works Director]
[OUT Q=collect trash in the alleys.]
The changes will allow the city to improve its recycling program in all neighborhoods. If council approves it, the plan would take effect July first.
Many Cox Communications customers will soon be paying more for cable television.
[TAKE PINNACLE FULL SCREEN]
The company has announced a new rate schedule that will increase the cost of standard service by two dollars four cents a month.
That means Cox customers in the Roanoke Valley will be paying just over 35- dollars a month for the popular 61- channel package.
Cox General Manager Catherine McCullough (muh-CULL-uh) says the increase is needed to cover rising programming costs and maintain quality service. The limited basic rate will remain the same for the third consecutive year. [Sport
Coming up tonight on the Big 7, Roanoke College is making major headlines tonight.
Roanoke Catholic rings up the area's first state hoops title.
And we'll get you ready for the ACC tournament with a trip to Charlottesville and a check of the all-ACC teams that were released tonight.
We begin tonight with a rarity of sorts at Roanoke College.
In this day and age when everyone is cutting back - the Maroons are adding on.
News 7 Sports has learned that Roanoke College is starting up a varisty baseball team that will be eligible to play for the ODAC title in the year 2003.
And the coach of the new team likely will be Kelly Dampeer, the former Northside and Radford University star who has been teaching hitting at Rip City in Salem.
Dampeer was an all Big South selection four years and then drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 draft. He played three years in the minors and retired last year.
Baseball will begin at Roanoke College as a club sport and play a partial varsity schedule in 2002.
On the March Madness front, the Tech women are playing Notre Dame at this hour in the Big East semi-finals in Storrs,
Connecticut. Tech ___ by __ early. We'll have highlights for you tonight on News 7 at 11. [S-ACC]
The Cavs have been very balanced this year so it should not be a surprise that no one from UVa
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/Janaury 31st; :00]
earned first team all-ACC honors, but Travis Watson the Cavs six foot eight inch center earned second team honors as a forward.
Two of his teammates were selected to the third team all-conference squad.
Chris Williams, the Cavs' top scorer gets this honor along with, my pick as the Cavs MVP this season - Roger Mason Junior.
Another Cav - high flying Adam Hall was voted to the ACC's all-defensive team.
Hall and the Cavs open the ACC tournament this Friday at 2:30 from the Georgia Dome.
And don't forget the entire ACC tournament starting with Friday Quarterfinals are right here on WDBJ-7. [S-Fans]
UVa's loss at Maryland Saturday and the Cavs win against the Terps in Charlottesville produced a 56 point swing, third largest in ACC history. Two games that define the season. Steve Mason has more.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=01-Roger Mason/UVa Guard; :11(QUICK!!!!!)]
[SUPER=01-Pete Gillen/UVa Head Coach; :35]
[SUPER=01-Brownie Polly/UVa Fan For 20 Years; :47]
[SUPER=01-Adam Hall/UVa Forward; :55]
[SUPER=01-Kirk Andrews/UVa Pep Band Member; 1:20(QUICK!!!!!!)]
[SUPER=01-Chris Williams/UVa Forward; 1:45]
[OUT Q=....News 7 sports"]
((What a home season the Wahoos had. 13 and 1 overall, 7 and 1 in the ACC. The Cavaliers are fully aware that the key to successful home cookin were the fans.
The Wahoos were 2 and 6 in ACC play away from Charlottesville. But lost in a disspointing road record is how Gillen has rejuvenated UVa fan excitement. 1998 Lord Botetourt graduate Kirk Andrews is now a member of the pep band and a fan of Gillen's.
Gillen delivered an autographed team picture and stops by band practice from time to time. He has even moved the band out of the nose bleed section.
The Cavs open the ACC tournament Friday at 3:30 against Georgia Tech. Steve Mason news 7 sports.))
The VHSL state quarterfinals get underway later this week, but Roanoke Catholic has already brought home the gold.
The Celtics won their second straight Virginia Independent Conference Division Two state title over the weekend in Petersburg.
This morning the students at Roanoke Catholic celebrated the title by ringing the bell at St. Andrew's Church.
The players and students in all grades were let out of school for a short time this morning to take part in the event.
Catholic defeated Potomac School 54-to-51 for the title.
Catholic Principal Karen Mabry and head coach Dick Wall also took a turn at clanging the bell.
UVa head football coach Al Groh is in the area tonight speaking at the Roanoke Valley Sports Club.
We'll see what the boss of the Cavs has to say tonight on News 7 at 11.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :00]
Also tonight at 11, we'll check in with a local football product from Cave Spring who signed scholarship papers earlier today with VMI.
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[ENG/FULL]LOCAL WEATHER VIDEO
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Clifton Forge voters face an unusual choice today. They must decide whether their city should no longer be a city.
It's called "reversion".
We'll see what voters are saying, and how many are turning out, in a live report tonight on News 7 at 6.