The local furniture industry suffers another setback--
Pulaski Furniture announces dozens of layoffs.
And despite family pleas for privacy-- photos from Dale Earnhardt's autopsy MAY become public.
Temperatures are inching their way up the mercury and it looks like we have a nice Thursday beginning to develop... tonight some changes may be in store.
Stay with us-- News 7 at noon is next.
On the heels of other cutbacks, Pulaski Furniture officials announce more workers are out of a job.
More cutbacks at Pulaski Furniture... 36 people were let go due to a slowdown in sales of curio cabinets.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Pulaski Furniture cut 90 jobs in Ridgeway, and 13 others in Pulaski last month.
Pulaski Furniture is still the nation's leader in curio cabinet manufacturing, but the company says its inventory is just too high.
Officials are hopeful that the economy will pick up the second half of the year. [Thomas-Trial]
[GRAPHIC=Thomas Murder Trial]
Deliberations COULD begin as early as today in the capital murder trial of Jeffrey Thomas.
The defense rested its case yesterday, taking just one afternoon.
So closing arguments are underway. Thomas is charged with murdering Tara Munsey in January of last year.
We'll have more on today's proceedings tonight on News 7 at 5 and 6.
The photographs from Dale Earnhardt's autopsy may have already made their way into public hands.
A Florida Circuit Judge says his office heard from a man identified as Timothy Campbell, who claims to have the photos and intends to distribute them.
Meanwhile, Campbell told Volusia County sheriff's deputies that he had one photo, but kept it for sentimental reasons and never intended to make it public. Campbell says police did NOT take the photo from the home.
Campbell says he obtained the photo from a friend who got it from a worker at the Medical Examiner's Office.
He may be charged with a crime if the photo was stolen.
Earnhardt's widow is going to court to try to keep the pictures from the public. Several newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, want to examine the photographs.
Democrat Mark Warner has been lining up support for months, but today his campaign for Governor comes into sharper focus.
The Alexandria businessman is formally announcing his candidacy in a statewide fly-around tour.
He started the day with a speech in Abingdon, and he plans to rally supporters at the Roanoke City Market Building, before moving on to Norfolk and Richmond later this afternoon.
Warner has no opposition for the Democratic nomination.
In a vote split along party lines, the House is expected to pass President Bush's tax cut plan.
But NOT before House Republicans receive an earful of opposition from Democrats.
Teri Okita reports from Capitol Hill.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Rep. Roscoe Bartlett/(R) Maryland;]
[SUPER=01-Rep. Dick Gephardt/(D) Minority Leader;]
[OUT Q=Okita, CBS News, Washington.]
(LOCATOR: WASHINGTON, DC)
NATSD FULL OF FLOOR DEBATE)
DEBATE IS UNDERWAY ON CAPITOL HILL THE CENTERPIECE OF THE PRESIDENTS
TAX CUT PLAN IS EXPECTED TO CLEAR THE HOUSE THIS AFTERNOON MOSTLY
ALONG PARTY LINES. THEYLL VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT TO REDUCE INCOME TAX
RATES ACROSS THE BOARD OVER 10-YEARS AT A COST OF 958-BILLION DOLLARS.
THE GOP SAYS ITS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
(Super: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett/R-MD.)
SOT: Its your money. You can spend it much better.
BUT MANY DEMOCRATS QUESTION THE RUSH TO PASS A TAX CUT PLAN BEFORE
THERE'S A BUDGET SHOWING ENOUGH MONEY FOR THOSE CUTS. AND THEY WANT
IN WRITING THAT IF THE GOVERNMENTS MONEY SUPPLY DRIES UP, SO DO THE
SOT: Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Minority Leader
PASSING THE HOUSE WILL BE THE EASY PART. THE REAL BATTLE WILL BE IN THE
SENATE, WHERE SEVERAL REPUBLICANS PLAN TO JOIN ALMOST ALL OF THE
DEMOCRATS IN VOTING AGAINST THE PLAN IN ITS CURRENT FORM, KILLING THE
(Super: Teri Okita/Reporting)
STANDUP: THE SENATE WONT BE AS QUICK AS THE HOUSE TO MOVE ON THIS BILL
IT WONT HIT THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE THERE UNTIL AT LEAST APRIL.
MEANWHILE, PRESIDENT BUSH WILL CONTINUE HIS SALES PITCH THIS WEEK
STOPPING IN KEY DEMOCRATIC STATES. TERI OKITA, CBS NEWS, WASHINGTON.
President Bush is expected to sign a bill repealing workplace safety regulations established late in the Clinton administration.
By a vote of 223 to 206, House members gave final passage to the bill that revokes protections against repetitive motion injuries.
The vote came less than a day after Senate approval.
It's the first piece of legislation for business- friendly Republicans in Congress.
The White House says it was concerned the protective rules would have a negative impact on jobs and the economy.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats and organized labor fought against the repeal.
Southside's Virginia International Raceway has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=nat sound car]
[OUT Q=nat sound car]
The raceway reopened a year ago this month after closing nearly two decades ago.
The nearly 3 1/2 mile track is known for its challenging terrain, different elevations, and sharp turns.
Raceway officials promise an even bigger and better racing season this year.
[IN Q=For example, at the end of September]
((LAURA COMSTOCK/VIR SPOKESPERSON: FOR EXAMPLE, AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER WE HAVE THE SEASON FINAL FOR THE AMA RACE SERIES. CONSERVATIVELY, WE'RE EXPECTING AROUND 20-THOUSAND SPECTATORS FOR THAT EVENT.))
[SUPER=01-Laura Comstock/Virginia International Raceway;]
[OUT Q=for that event]
The largest race last year only attracted nearly two thousand people.
Tonight on News 7 at Six, we'll hear from area businesses to see if they've seen a major economic boost because of the race track.
Classes are canceled today, but counselors are on hand at the Catholic high school in Pennsylvania that was the scene of a shooting.
14-year-old Elizabeth Bush is in custody, after
allegedly shooting a fellow eighth-grade girl yesterday.
The incident happened in the school cafeteria.
Meanwhile, police are commending 14- year- old Brent (PAW-kee) Paucke who talked Bush into dropping the gun.
He shared his story on "The Early Show".
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I was like]
((BRENT PAUCKE/STUDENT: I WAS LIKE, JUST PUT DOWN THE GUN, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE
LIKE THIS. JUST GIVE ME THE GUN AND WE CAN TAKE CARE OF IT. DON'T' GET
YOURSELF IN ANY MORE TROUBLE THAN YOU ARE. JUST, IT WILL BE OK, JUST
GIVE ME THE GUN.))
[OUT Q=give me the gun.]
Bush is in custody, charged as a juvenile with attempted homicide and aggravated assault.
Police say she shot her classmate because of an ongoing feud.
But the victim's father is reportedly denying there was a feud.
A Bedford county middle school student is suspended AND under arrest for allegedly threatening to shoot a classmate.
Investigators say the 12 year old boy allegedly made a threat by phone ... that he'd bring a gun to
school to shoot a female classmate.
The boy later said is was just a joke, but the girl told school officials he had made the same threat before.
Roanoke's police chief is defending his decision to keep former officer Fred Pledge on the payroll .. until Pledge pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
As far as the chief is concerned, the federal probe is complete.
Chief Joe Gaskins made the decision to place Pledge on leave WITH pay last year, pending the outcome of the case.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=The ultimate goal]
((CHIEF JOE GASKINS/ROANOKE POLICE DEPARTMENT: THE ULTIMATE GOAL WAS TO GET AT THE FACTS, TO DETERMINE WHETHER PLEDGE HAD DONE ANYTHING WRONG. IF SO, WE WANTED JUSTICE TO RUN ITS COURSE.))
[SUPER=01-Joe Gaskins/Roanoke Police Department]
[OUT Q=wanted justice to run its course.]
A federal judge still has to decide whether Pledge is guilty of bribery and extortion or simple robbery. Pledge will be sentenced accordingly.
Clifton Forge will become a town in a couple of months.
Last night, the city held its first council meeting since Tuesday's reversion vote.
But the town status issue came up only briefly with the mayor encouraging everyone to move forward.
[SUPER=03-Clifton Forge/Last Night;]
Interim City manager John Rowe says the first order of business will be financial matters.
He says the city will have to close out existing bank accounts, open new ones and order new checks under the town of Clifton Forge.
Rowe says Clifton Forge will also have to establish an office and hire staff to handle money collection now that the city will be losing its constitutional officers.
[in q=That is a ]
((JOHN ROWE/INTERIM CITY MANAGER: THAT IS A JOB FOR A TREASURER WHICH IS A CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICER SO WE'LL HAVE THAT RESPONSIBILITY.))
[SUPER=01-John Rowe/Interim City Manager; ]
[OUT Q= have that resposibility;]
Mayor Dusty Rhodes says there won't be any big changes in terms of city council. Council will simply become "town council".
But the area WILL see a change on the county level.
In the future-- Clifton Forge will be represented on the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors.
[in q=Again, with ]
((AGAIN, WITH REDISTRICTING WE SHOULD GET TWO MEMBERS FROM THE CLIFTON FORGE AREA DEPENDING ON HOW IT'S ALL DIVIDED UP.))
[super=01-Dusty Rhodes/Clifton Forge Mayor;]
[OUT Q= all divided up.]
Both the mayor and city manager say they expect the city to make a smooth transition.
Clifton Forge will officially become a town on July first. [Trade-Show]
This year's Fast Track trade show is underway.
Martinsville and Henry County are hoping to boost the economy by forming partnerships between local businesses.
Jennifer Miele reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=What do an appliance]
[SUPER=01-Steve Sheppard/Chamber President;:23]
[SUPER=01-H. G. Kolinski/Site Star;:39]
[SUPER=01-Chad Anderson/EMS Coordinator;1:08]
[OUT Q=JM News 7 Martinsville.]
(( What do an appliance store, a dinosaur, and a jacuzzi have in common?
Each made waves at this year's Fast Track trade show in Martinsville.
More than a hundred local companies strutted their high-tech stuff.
The chamber of commerce hopes these local companies will use each other's technology to help their businesses grow.
((STEVE SHEPPARD/CHAMBER PRESIDENT: ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SPUR AN IDEA, AND IT MAY BECOME THE NEXT BIGGEST BUSINESS IN HENRY COUNTY OR MARTINSVILLE.))
And partnerships ARE happening.
Bassett Furniture has teamed up with Site Star to bring locally made furniture to the world wide web.
((H.G. KOLINSKI/SITE STAR: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TODAY IS CALLED THE CONNECTED OFFICE. WHEREBY, IF YOU'VE GOT A BUSINESS WITH SEVERAL OFFICES LOCATED IN SEVERAL AREAS, WE'LL ACTUALLY HOOK THEM ALL TOGETHER, AND BRING ONE POINT OF CONTACT VIA THE INTERNET. ))
A local distributor is making high tech equipment a hot commodity for Martinsville Fire and Rescue services.
This heat sensor helps firemen find hot spots from outside a burning home, even in the dark of night.
((CHAD ANDERSON/EMS COORDINATOR: THESE CAMERAS COST ABOUT 15 THOUSAND DOLLARS A PIECE, BUT THE PRICE ON A LIFE, IS WELL BEYOND THAT.))
Today we find Martinsville and Henry County businesses poised and ready for change.
Tomorrow, we may find them well aligned for the future.
Jennifer Miele, News 7, Martinsville.))
The torch is officially passed in Israel--
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Barak handed his office over to new leader Ariel Sharon this morning.
Sharon's first day in office coincided with the start of a Jewish holiday.
But the occasion was overshadowed by worries over threats of new suicide bombings by the militant group, Hamas.
Meanwhile, Sharon has pledged to unite Israel, and says he's willing to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat if the current violence ends.
The skies were smiling on the space program when the
[SUPER=03-Kennedy Space Center;]
Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off on schedule, just after 6-30 this morning.
Three of the seven crew members on board will replace three of the residents who have been living in the international space station, Alpha.
While there, the crew will conduct two space walks.
Discovery is scheduled to dock with the space station Saturday morning.
And finally today--
The annual (eye-DIT-ah-rod) Iditarod race is heating up in the snow- covered mountains of Alaska.
[SUPER=03-Rainey Pass, AK;]
68 teams of dogs, sleds, and mushers are making the annual run.
Linwood Fiedler is leading the pack, by about an hour.
But some of his competitors question his technique...
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 3:18:48 ]
[IN Q=I question whether]
((JEFF KING/MUSHER: I QUESTION WHETHER HE SHOULD BEE BEING A LITTLE MORE
CONSERVATIVE RUNNING THROUGH THE HEAT OF THE DAY HAS NEVER STRUCK ME AS
A GOOD IDEA. BUT HE'S DOING WELL SO FAR, SO WE'LL SEE WHAT HE DOES.))
[OUT Q=see what he does.]
The annual trek from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome wraps up in just over a week.
The race commemorates a feat achieved by
mushers and sled dogs back in 1925, when they made the thousand- mile journey to deliver life- saving diptheria serum.