Lieutenant Governor Hager blocks Governor Gilmore's state worker pay raise plan. A live report from Richmond on
the prospects for a General Assembly Special Session.
And a school bus ends up in a precarious position- -though only after dropping off all the students.
Tonight on News 7 sports, everything from the arrival of the Avalanche to a refreshing open door policy at UVa's spring football workouts.
Plus, Jon Wood get sponsorship money from the Mark Warner for Governor campaign.
Prospects for a warmer forecast are on the horizon and WeatherSchool has a spring storm theme as well. More just ahead.
[IN Q=It's about the integrity]
((LT. GOV. JOHN HAGER: IT'S ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.))
[OUT Q=of the General Assembly.]
One of the Governor's closest political allies defects... killing the Gilmore state worker and teacher pay raise.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.
The pressure is even greater now for a special session on the state budget.
That's NOT the job of lawmakers at today's one day "veto override" session.
But it is the undercurrent on everyone's mind.
[Double Boxes=Ketih and Ellen/State Microwave]
Ellen Qualls is at the State Capitol with today's developments.
[Live=Ellen Full/State Microwave]
Keith, Lieutenant Governor John Hager may still have a shot at the Republican nomination for governor.
He did NOT win friends in the Gilmore camp today with the ruling.
[IN Q=But I cannot come before]
[SUPER=01-Del. Vince Callahan/(R) Fairfax; :]
[SUPER=01-Sen. John Chichester/(R) Stafford Co.; :]
[SUPER=01-Val Marsh/Alliance for Mentally Ill; :]
[OUT Q=think this is amazing personally.]
(([sot hager 15:04:13 ]
((LT. GOV. JOHN HAGER: BUT I CANNOT COME BEFORE... DO SOMETHING THAT I CONSIDER TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.))
((DEL. VINCE CALLAHAN: I THOUGHT IT PUT HIM IN A PRETTY GOOD SPOT TO SHOW A LITTLE STATESMANSHIP. Did he do that? OBVIOUSLY.))
That's the House's chief budget negotiator.
Scrapping the pay raise amendment puts that and many other budget emergencies back on lawmakers.
House Speaker Vance Wilkins now favors a compromise budget, which does 70 percent car tax phase-out this year, but stays at 70 percent next year.
He's looking for senate sponsors to justify a special session.
((WILKINS: CAUSE I DON'T WANT TO JUST COME... SOME HOPES OF GETTING SOMETHING DONE.))
Still NOT much hope expressed by the Senate's chief negotiator.
[sot 14:46:44 ]
((CHICHESTER: WELL WE'RE AT AN IMPASSE THAT HASN'T RESOLVED ITSELF AT THIS JUNCTURE.))
That's great news for the no car tax supporters who say state spending is the problem.
While they shook signs in the faces of passing motorists, a rally of those most hurt by the cuts drew teachers, museums, mental health advocates, and environmentalists together inside.
((VAL MARSH/ALLIANCE FOR MENTALLY ILL: TO MY MIND, THIS ARRAY OF INDIVIDUALS...I THINK THIS IS AMAZING, PERSONALLY.))
[Live=Ellen Full/State Microwave]
( ad lib)
[Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/State Microwave]
The redistricting session does NOT kick off until tomorrow.
But those Democrats drawn into the same district by the Republican leadership are busy assessing their options.
House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith defends the plan.
[IN Q=So we feel comfortable.]
((DEL. MORGAN GRIFFITH/R-SALEM: SO WE FEEL COMFORTABLE... AROUND THE STATE.))
((JACKSON: I'VE NEVER CARED... BY THIS PROCESS.))
[OUT Q=by this process.]
Cattle farmer Madison Marye says he has NOT ruled out a move to Fairfax to continue to represent the 39th Senate district... which was plucked out of western Virginia.
[IN Q=Oh I wouldn't say that]
((SEN. MADISON MARYE/D-SHAWSVILLE: OH I WOULDN'T SAY that...BOUND TO BE IN SOMEBODY'S DISTRICT.))
[OUT Q=to be in somebody's district.]
The loss of legislative districts in southwest and southside Virginia is a result of population shifts.
The targets of those new district lines are, in many cases, political.
A body was discovered in the town of Pulaski this morning, and tonight police are investigating.
There's no word yet on the identity of the victim, or whether investigators suspect foul play.
The body was apparently found on First Street... but so far police have released few details.
It's not etched in stone.
But according to one member of the Montgomery County school board the Blacksburg High School Indian MASCOT may not be around much longer.
Teresa Hamilton has the latest on this emotional issue.
Keith, the board is considering two policies. Both will probably upset die hard Indian fans who want to keep both the Indian name and logo.
But others who believe the two are offensive to Native Americans may have a different opinion.
[IN Q= The first policy]
[OUT Q=public hearing next week.]
(( The first policy drafted by the Montgomery County school board would do away with the Blacksburg Indian name and Indian mascot by prohibiting schools from using symbols, logos, mascots and team names associated with groups of people.
The board is also looking at a second option.
Under that policy-- Blacksburg High school would be allowed to keep the Indian name but would have to do away with the Indian logo.
Both policies are outlined on a flier advertising a public hearing next week. ))
The public hearing will be held at Blacksburg high school next Tuesday night.
The board is expected to make a decision April 17th.
Keith, school board member Jim Klagge says chances are the board will chose one of the two options.
[GRAPHIC=School Bus Ax]
A Lynchburg school bus driver suffered minor injuries as she crashed her bus into a telephone pole this afternoon.
Bus number-96 was not carrying any children when it veered off the road on Carroll Avenue around 2:15.
The vehicle ran up the left embankment then struck a telephone pole, snapping it in half.
The driver.. 27- year- old Shawnta (shawn-TAY) Lloyd.. told authorities she doesn't remember how the wreck occurred.
The road was closed for about two hours while crews worked to remove the bus and repair the pole.
School officials say- -as usual in such cases- -Lloyd will be tested for drug and alcohol use.
Montgomery County School officials have fired the bus driver who forgot a child last month.
The unidentified employee had been on suspension for leaving seven-year old Justin Nester on the bus. The Christiansburg boy fell asleep on his ride home and woke to find the bus empty and parked at Shawsville Middle School.
He says he started walking, but was quickly picked up by a woman named "Maggie" who brought him home safely.
Yesterday, the bus driver was fired.
School officials say drivers are supposed to check the bus before leaving.
[GRAPHIC=Bomb Threat Charges]
Police say they know who made two different bomb threats at Blacksburg Middle School.
The school was evacuated yesterday after a threat was found on the wall of the girl's bathroom.
Charges are expected to be filed against a 13-year-old girl next week.
Three other girls ages 12 and 13 are being charged with making a bomb threat last Wednesday after they allegedly slipped a note under an office door.
A few months ago, a little Franklin County girl drowned in a bathtub.
Now authorities want to hold her parents responsible.
That's just one story still ahead on News 7 at Six.
And a Roanoke County company wants to stake its claim in China...
But some are wondering if the stalemate over a spy plane will hurt Optical Cable's chances.
The cause of plane crash in Rockbridge County this morning has not been determined.
A single engine Piper carrying two people hit trees at the end of a runway.
The plane was taking off from a private air strip about six miles west of Lexington.
No one was injured but there was some damage to the plane's wings.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
A Campbell County man is facing a long prison term for a drunk driving accident that killed three people last fall.
[SUPER=03-Campbell Co./File Tape]
Maurice McKinley Toller (TOH-ler) was convicted today on three counts of involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.
Toller's blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit when his truck crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on October 27th.
Taron (tuh-RONE) Woodruff, his mother Ramona and Jonathan Anthony all died in the crash.
Toller faces up to 67 years in prison when he's sentenced in June.
A Franklin County grand jury has charged the parents of a 10-month old baby girl with her drowning death in December.
Rocky Mount residents Kimberly Jenkins and John Ratliff (RAT-liff) face charges of involuntary manslaughter.
A search warrant affidavit filed in Circuit Court says Jenkins put the baby down for a nap in the bathtub on December 8th ... and that she said the baby turned on the water.
A judge is giving the owner of a Smith Mountain Lake water company three months to find a buyer... or repair the water system.
Robert Winney says he CAN'T fix the waterworks or pay 24-thousand dollars in fines because he's bankrupt, in poor health and can't find any buyers.
He supplies water to 54 residents in three lake subdivisions.
State health officials say he's ignored tainted water samples, failed to fix leaks and overcharged customers.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 4:42 - :58]
[IN Q=We're very confident]
((DAVID TALBOT/CUSTOMER: WE'RE VERY CONFIDENT THAT WE COULD DO THE SAME THING AND DO A LOT BETTER THAN MR. WINNEY EVER DID. HE HAS PUT NOTHING INTO THIS SYSTEM. YOU KNOW HE HAS HIS HOME FOR SALE. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH HE'S ASKING? 450-THOUSAND DOLLARS. HE'S BROKE? GIVE ME A BREAK. ))
[SUPER=01-David Talbot/Waterworks Customer;]
[OUT Q=give me a break.]
The judge asked the state to help Winney sell the waterworks for 30-thousand dollars.
Customers on the system say they plan to make an offer to buy it.
Officials at a Roanoke company have good reason to be concerned about the Chinese-American standoff after last weekend's collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet.
Jennifer Miele is in our studio tonight with more.
[ROLL VIDEO FOR MB SET]
[LIVE=Jennifer FULL/MB SET]
Keith, the company in question is Optical Cable.
The Roanoke-based fiber optic manufacturer wasn't banking on an international incident to delay expansion plans in China.
The Chinese Government is demanding an apology for the death of a Chinese pilot after a collision with a U-S spy plane. But the U.S. isn't giving in.
How does this affect Optical Cable? Well, last month Optical Cable President Bob Kopstein announced he was in negotiations with the Chinese.
Kopstein says a deal in China would double the company's workforce, sales, and may lead to construction of a new manufacturing facility there.
Last week Optical Cable reported more than 3 million dollars in orders from China in the first quarter of 2001.
[LIVE=Jennifer FULL/MB SET]
[NEWS 7@6 GRAPHIC ON MB SET]
I spoke with Bob Kopstein this afternoon. He said the company won't be affected by the conflict -- but he says he'll continue to keep a close eye on the situation.
He expects his counterparts in China to visit the U-S towards the end of the month.
A mixed effort on Wall Street after yesterday's volatile session.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW gained 30 points.
NASDAQ dropped 34.
The welcome mat at Danville's visitor center will now take weekend traffic.
The chamber of Commerce plans to open the Vistors Center on Saturdays so people can learn more about the city's attractions and events.
The move comes after the public requested the extended hours as well as increased weekend events in the area.
[IN Q=Not only with the Virginia]
((MARGARET McMANN/CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: NOT ONLY WITH THE VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY HAVING EVENTS EVERY WEEKEND ALSO WITH AVERETT FOOTBALL STARTING IN SEPTEMBER. WE GOT A STATE BOWLING ASSOCATION CHAMPSIONSHIP GOING ON FOR ABOUT FOUR MONTHS STARTING IN APRIL. WE HAVE FESTIVALS COMING IN SO JUST A LOT OF TRAFFIC IN THIS AREA.))
[SUPER=01-Margaret McMann/Chamber of Commerce]
[OUT Q=in this area]
The Visitors Center will be open on Saturdays from nine to two in the afternoon.
The Chamber will see how many people use the center before deciding whether to expand hours even further.
Coming up tonight on the Big 7 - the Salem Avalanche players are now in town.
Vick gets some more pub for himself and the Hokies.
Jon Wood gets political.
And we'll check in on the open air policy at UVa during this year's spring workouts.
The Salem Avalanche is preparing to open the Carolina League Season this Friday night at Kinston.
[SUPER=03-Salem/April 27; :]
The Avalanche finished the season strong last year. And this season the Colorado Rockies have sent some of their top talent to the Carolina League affiliate.
And two players that were on last year's team Matt Holiday and Choo Freeman are back after a successful spring training.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q="In other...]
[SUPER=01-Matt Holiday/Avalanche Outfielder; :]
[SUPER=01-Choo Freeman/Avalanche Outfielder; :]
[OUT Q=.....exciting team."]
After three road games in Kinston, The Avalanche returns to Salem for its season home opener against Myrtle Beach.
The Martinsville Speedway is picking up some unexpected steam for this Saturday's Craftsman Truck Series event.
1999 champ Jimmy Hensley now has a truck for the Advance Auto Parts 250, and today Jon Wood picked up some unexpected sponsorship dollars
from Mark Warner the democratic candidate for governor.
The Warner campaign will make the sponsorship deal official tomorrow.
[SUPER=03-Radford/Last Saturday; :00]
Along with sponsoring Jon's truck at Martinsville this weekend, Warner also will provide sponsorship dollars all season long for Wood's Late Model stock car efforts at the New River Valley Speedway.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=FOR THE REMAINDER...]
[SUPER=01-Jon Wood/Gets Warner Sposnsorship; :00]
[VO NAT CON'T]
Jon Wood is hoping to race at both Martinsville and New River this Saturday.
The NFL draft is coming up on April 21st and Michael Vick is still the odds on favorite to be the number one pick in the selection process.
Today Vick got a blast-off in the form of ESPN the magazine.
The April 16th edition features Michael on the cover and inside with a 5 page article titled - "Number one with a Bullet."
The magazine also has a very interesting four page spread entitled filling the void with a look at what Vick's absence means for Tech.
For the first time since 1982, a new boss is roaming the football practice fields at Virginia. Steve Mason checks in on UVa's spring practice and says, the new sheriff in town isn't nearly as tough on the media as his predecessor.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=01-Al Groh/UVa Head Football Coach; 21]
[SUPER=04-2000 Season; :30]
[OUT Q=......news 7 sports"]
((Al Groh's media friendly approach is giving fans early and often looks at the 2001 Cavaliers. Of the 15 spring workouts, Groh is allowing the media to video tape seven of those. Media access like this was unheard of under George Welsh, but Al says exposure is needed in order to grow the program.
Groh's defense has some huge holes. Gone are linebacking veterans Byron Thweatt, Donnie Green and Yubrenal Isabelle, the team's three leading tacklers last season. Look for junior Angelo Crowell to pick up some of the slack.
Matt Schuab and Bryson Spinner continue their battle for the quarterbacks job. The annual spring game kicks off at 1pm April 21st at Klockner Stadium. Steve Mason News 7 sports.))