Fears of a massive oil spill in the Atlantic after what's known as the world's largest oil rig sinks off the coast of Brazil.
And it was a long night for Henry county authorities.
They're investigating a murder in Collinsville AND a destructive motel fire.
Spring began this morning but nobody told the weather... a winter mix is forecasted for most areas today and tonight... we've got the details here.
Stay tuned-- News 7 at noon is up next.
Good Afternoon, I'm Kimberly McBroom.
Let's get details about the wintry forecast from Jacey Birch in the weather center.
[Kim tosses to Jacey]
[toss back to Kim]
You'll notice several school systems are closing early today due to the winter weather.
We'll continue to run the schools along the bottom of your screen throughout the newscast.
[TAKE FS WEB ADDRESS]
Or you can get the information on our web page at WDBJ-7 dot Com.
Efforts are under way to prevent a massive oil spill in the southern Atlantic.
The rig is operated by Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras.
Workers are struggling against high winds and rough waters to keep 400- thousand gallons of crude oil and diesel fuel from flowing in the sea.
This isn't the FIRST of the rig's troubles--
Last Thursday, explosions and fire ravaged the rig and killed at least two workers.
The rig accounts for most of the million-and-a-half barrels Brazil produces each day.
Economists hope they hear what they WANT to hear from the Federal Reserve today.
Fed chairman Alan Greenspan arrived at a policy- making meeting this morning.
Greenspan is expected to announce an interest rate cut for the third time this year in an effort to boost the economy.
Most analysts believe the Fed will slash the rate by a half-point.
But others are hoping for a larger cut of
three-quarters of a point.
An announcement of the decision about interest rates is expected later this afternoon.
A Henry County man faces first degree murder charges in the death of his friend.
George Lincoln Hopkins was arrested for the murder of Larry Thomas Bennett.
Sheriff's deputies say the two men had been drinking early this morning when they got into an argument.
During the altercation the two men broke a glass coffee table.
That's when deputies say Hopkins allegedly cut Bennett several times with the glass.
Hopkins is being held in the Henry County Jail without bond.
We'll have more tonight on News 7 at 5 and 6.[Farner]
[TAPE#=01-08 TC 27:02]
A Campbell County man will spend the next ten years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill his ex- girlfriend.
[SUPER=03-Campbell Co./File Tape]
27- year- old Michael Farner had been convicted on two counts of solicitation of murder.
He had tried to hire an undercover police officer to kill Lisa Miller because she allegedly knew too much about crimes he'd been involved in.
Farner was given the maximum sentence of ten years during a court hearing this morning.
He'll also undergo three years of supervised parole once he's released.
Henry county fire officials are investigating a blaze at the Dutch Inn in Collinsville.
Authorities say the blaze broke out at the inn on Business Route 2-20 around midnight.
The inn was evacuated-- No injuries were reported.
Officials say the lounge, lobby, offices, and the inn's trademark windmill were all damaged in the fire.
They aren't sure yet what triggered the blaze, or if it's suspicious.
[GRAPHIC=COMAIR Contract Vote]
Comair Pilots are threatening to strike.
Unless a tentative agreement is reached or the president intervenes the pilots could hit the picket line on Monday.
A strike would impact travel in and out of Roanoke since Comair provides service to the valley.
Teresa Hamilton reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Comair ]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/Yesterday; :00 ]
[SUPER=01-Nehennie Kriek/Passenger; :22]
[SUPER=01-Josiah Tlou/Passenger; :30]
[OUT Q=Hamilton, NEWS 7, Roanoke.]
(( Comair is owned by Delta Airlines and serves more than eight million passengers in a year.
Yesterday afternoon-- word came down that its pilots had overwhelmingly rejected a proposed five year contract from management.
Passengers who use Comair out of Roanoke fly to Cincinnati mainly to connect to other flights.
[sot 00:01:15 00:03:08 ]
[in q=How often do ]
((teresa speaks: how often do you fly comair? NEHENNIE KRIEK/PASSENGER: TWO TO FOUR TIMES A WEEK, SO IT WOULD DISRUPT ME A LOT, YES.
JOSIAH TLOU/PASSENGER: I FLY QUITE OFTEN MAYBE TWO TIMES A MONTH SOMETHING LIKE THAT. So would this create a hardship for you if that would happen?
OF COURSE, IT WOULD BE FOR ANYONE WHO IS TRAVELING AND WHO HAS APPOINTMENTS TO MEET, YEAH, DEFINITELY.))
[OUT Q= yeah, definately.]
The contract was overwhelmingly rejected by the pilots.
Only six of the nearly eleven hundred pilots voted to accept the offer.
In the past President Bush has said he's inclined to block airline strikes because they could hurt the struggling economy.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Roanoke.))
Both sides are set to resume contract talks Friday to try to resolve salary, scheduling, and other issues.
Nine Roanoke positions at Norfolk Southern are being abolished.
The company announced it will close its Reclamation Operation as of May 18th.
N-S says the number of freight cars is being reduced, so the demand for employees needed to recondition the cars has decreased.
Norfolk Southern Spokesperson Susan Bland says the company hopes to find the displaced employees other work in Roanoke.
Today marks the second day of debate in the Senate over campaign finance reform.
A bill co-sponsored by Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold and Arizona Senator John McCain calls for a ban on all soft money.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It'st ime for]
((SEN. JOHN MCCAIN/R- ARIZONA: IT'S TIME FOR THE PARTIES TO STOP BEING A CONDUIT FOR
SOFT MONEY AND UNREGULATED AND UNDISCLOSED MONEY, AND IT'S TIME TO BE A
PARTY OF THE PEOPLE AGAIN. ))
[SUPER=01-Sen. John McCain/(R) Arizona;]
[OUT Q=the people again.]
During the last election, soft-money donations hit record levels at almost 500- million dollars.
But opponents of the bill argue it would strip political parties of legitimate soft money that helps pay for grass- roots activities.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=This ban would]
((SEN. CHUCK HAGEL/R- NEBRASKA: THIS BAN WOULD WEAKEN THE PARTIES AND PUT MORE MONEY AND
CONTROL IN THE HANDS OF WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS AND INDEPENDENT GROUPS WHO
ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE ))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Chuck Hagel/(R) Nebraska;]
[OUT Q=ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE.]
Lawmakers are expected to continue debating through next week.
A teenage boy was shot and wounded this morning in Roanoke.
The 16-year-old is in critical condition at Carilion-Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The shooting happened at an apartment in the 100 block of Elm Avenue, about two hours ago.
Police have taken a 15-year-old girl into custody and are questioning her about the shooting.
The inquiry into the fatal collision between an American submarine and a Japanese fishing boat wraps up today.
John Blackstone has more from Hawaii.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Pearl Harbor, HI;]
[SUPER=01-Scott Waddle/U. S. S. Greeneville Commander;]
[SUPER=01-Charles Gittins/Waddle's Attorney;]
[OUT Q=Blackstone, CBS News, Pearl Harbor.]
The admirals running the naval court of inquiry are wrapping up their
investigation apparently without hearing testimony from the
The navy has refused to give testimonial immunity to Commander Scott
Waddle, the captain of the Greeneville who admits he is ultimately to
CMDR SCOTT WADDLE,
"IN COMMAND, THE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE ABSOLUTE. THE
RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE MINE."
But without immunity Waddle says he won't testify, fearing his words
could be used against him in a court martial.
Waddle's attorney says he's shocked the admirals don't want to hear from
SOT Gittens "That tells me either they've made up their minds, or they
The Greenevilles officer of the deck, Lt Michael Coen, read a statement
to the court of inquiry apologizing to the families of the nine Japanese
The court did grant immunity to one of the sonar technicians on the
Greeneville. Petty Officer Patrick Seacrest. He testified he failed to
follow regulations for plotting nearby ships.
A court attorney said to Seacrest: "You got lazy didn't you."
"Yes," he answered "just a little bit."
AS THE COURT OF INQUIRY COMES TO AN END THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS IT WAS A
SERIES OF SMALL MISTAKES AND MINOR DECISIONS THAT SET THE GREENEVILLE ON
COURSE FOR TRAGEDY.
JB CBS NEWS PEARL HARBOR
Plans to build a Biomedical Institute in Roanoke are moving forward.
Yesterday, Roanoke City Council authorized the Housing Authority to begin acquiring land for the project.
Planners envision a 110- acre biomedical research park that will bring multi-million dollar investment, high paying jobs and tax revenue to the city.
The housing authority will begin work immediately to acquire and clear the first five acres, and officials say the first building could be up and running within three years.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=This is the moment we've been waiting for]
((THIS IS THE MOMENT WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE LAST MAY, SINCE WE FIRST ANNOUNCED THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CITY TO BE THE HOME OF THE BIOMEDICAL INSTITUTE.))
[SUPER=01-Darlene Burcham/Roanoke City Manager]
[OUT Q=home of the biomedical institute.]
Wimmer Tire is one of the first businesses that will be affected by the project. Owner Mark Hall supports the Biomedical Institute, and says he's negotiating with Carilion to relocate... but yesterday he encouraged city council to make sure businesses in the area receive fair compensation.
Your child has just been accepted to college.
Is it time to laugh, or time to cry?
That's the question Jennifer Miele will answer tonight on News 7 at Six.
The average cost of a four year education runs between 40 and 80 thousand dollars.
And tuition expenses aren't just scaring parents.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I have a sister]
((WANDA WRIGHT/WILLIAM FLEMING STUDENT: I HAVE A SISTER, I HAVE FOUR SISTER, AND ONE OF THEM WENT TO COLLEGE AND SHE'S STILL PAYING LOANS OFF, AND SHE HAS A FAMILY. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE THAT BURDEN ON ME.))
[SUPER=01-Wanda Wright/William Fleming Student]
[OUT Q=burden me.]
Still, guidance counselors say going into debt by taking a loan isn't such a bad idea.
[IN Q=They can stretch]
((JEANETTE RADER/GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: THEY CAN STRETCH THEM OUT UP TO 10, 20, 30 YEARS AND THE PAYMENT COULD BE VERY MINIMAL IN COMPARISON TO WHAT THEY ARE GETTING.))
[SUPER=01-Jeanette Rader/Guidance Counselor]
[OUT Q=they are getting.]
We'll have a full report on financing a college education tonight at six.[Solomon-Says]
[TAPE#=01-11 TC 24:32]
If you're living your life under the watchful eye of a clock, a Blacksburg author says you're barking up the wrong tree -- and he would know, because HE is a DOG.
News 7's business reporter Jennifer Miele has an interview with Solomon and his owner Joanne Anderson.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We discovered a book]
[SUPER=01-Joanne Anderson/Co-Author of Solomon Says;:33]
[OUT Q=News 7, I'm Jennifer Miele.]