Nearly three weeks ago-- they weren't sure what the future would hold.
Today-- those doubts are put to rest as more than 700- students graduate from Longwood College.
And, dry conditions spark one county to issue a ban on open burning.
In sports, Scores and highlights from Major League baseball, the N-B-A and N-H-L.
And Roanoke College was playing for a spot in the Division Three Atlantic Regional championship at the Moyers Sports Complex.
First sunshine and then a few light showers today... what are we looking for tonight?... it may be another mixture of weather... the forecast details are straight ahead.
Three weeks after fire ripped through their campus, Longwood College graduates say it's time for them and their school to start focusing on the future.
Good evening, I'm Teresa Hamilton.
All told, 724 Longwood students started their new lives with degrees in hand today.
But they say it's difficult to leave their school during a time of such great need.
Steve Smallshaw has the story.
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[SUPER=04-April 24th; :11]
[SUPER=01-Tanya Giles/Longwood College Graduate; :25]
[SUPER=01-Jason Gill/Longwood College Graduate; :37]
[SUPER=01-Dr. Patricia Cormier/Longwood College President; :53]
[SUPER=01-Jessica Payne/Senior Class President; 1:21]
[OUT Q=News7, Farmville.]
(( [natsot music 00:41:50]
It was a processional like any other, except it marked the end of what was anything but an ordinary year for these Longwood College seniors.
18 days earlier fire dramatically altered their lives and their school.. destroying Longwood's historic rotunda and adjacent residence halls.
As the graduates lined up Saturday in the shadow of the burned-out buildings, many were experiencing mixed emotions.
((TANYA GILES/LONGWOOD GRADUATE: IT'S SORT OF BITTERSWEET. IT'S SAD THAT THE ROTUNDA BURNED DOWN, BUT I'M HAPPY TO BE GRADUATING AT LONGWOOD. THEY GAVE US THESE LITTLE PINS TO COMMEMORATE THE EVENT, SO I'M JUST EXCITED TO BE HERE.))
[OUT Q=to be here.]
((JASON GILL/LONGWOOD GRADUATE: BECAUSE I FINISHED BACK IN DECEMBER AND THEN CAME BACK AND SEEING THE DAMAGE THAT WAS DONE AND HEARING ABOUT IT WAS A BIG SHOCK TO ME.))
[OUT Q=shock to me.]
[natsot bell (one ring) 00:46:09]
Longwood's historic bell pealed three times, marking the school's commitment to its past, present and future.. a future its president says is quite secure.
((DR. PATRICIA CORMIER/LONGWOOD COLLEGE PRESIDENT: THE HEART OF LONGWOOD BEATS ON, THAT IT'S STILL STRONG AND THAT THOSE BUILDINGS WILL BE RECONSTRUCTED AND ONCE AGAIN ASSUME THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACES AS THE CENTERPIECES OF OUR CAMPUS.))
[OUT Q=of our campus.]
((Longwood officials figure it will take anywhere from 40 to 60 million dollars to replace the buildings lost in the fire. But the graduates were told that today is not about loss and destruction, but about their own personal triumph and achievement.. as both they and their school mark a new beginning.))
[OUT Q=a new beginning.]
((JESSICA PAYNE/SENIOR CLASS PRESIDENT: AFTER ALL, THE ROTUNDA WAS MERELY A SYMBOL OF WHAT WE BELIEVE LONGWOOD STANDS FOR. BUT IN FACT, WHILE OUR SYMBOLS CAN BE LOST OR TAKEN AWAY FROM US, NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY THE KNOWLEDGE, VALUES AND PRIDE THAT LONGWOOD COLLEGE HAS INSTILLED IN EACH OF US.))
[OUT Q=each of us.]
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Farmville.))[Tech-Grad]
Another chapter is also beginning for graduates at another local university.
[NAT SOUND STUDENTS CHEERING]
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/Courtesy Virginia Tech]
This morning, Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech was packed with seniors and their families.
Congressman Rick Boucher spoke during the commencement ceremony.
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[IN Q=to the class]
((REP. RICK BOUCHER: TO THE CLASS OF 2001 I WOULD SAY THAT YOU ARE PRIVILEGED TO HAVE RECEIVED YOUR EDUCATION HERE IT WILL OPEN MANY DOORS FOR YOU AND I CHALLENGE YOU TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR OPPORTUNITIES.))
[OUT Q=of your opportunties.]
Some students decided to make graduation even more fun by decorating their ordinary blue cap into a work of art.
Following the main ceremony-- each department held its own commencement ceremony on campus.
90- thousand pounds of non perishable food, such as canned goods, only lasts a week at Second Harvest Food Bank in Roanoke.
That's why letters carriers across the Roanoke Valley are taking part in the area's largest one day food drive.
Kate Weidaw has the story.
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[SUPER=01-Roy Wine/Delivery Supervisor;:22 QUICK!!]
[SUPER=01-Stewart Feather/Second Harvest Development Director;:37]
[OUT Q=kw news7 Roanoke.]
(( As if the mail bag wasn't heavy enough, letter carriers are taking on some extra weight this weekend.
[NAT SOUND OF LETTER CARRIER PICKING UP BAGS]
Residents across the Valley are leaving cans and boxes of non perishable food on their front stoop for the Second Harvest Food Bank. It's the amount of food that surprises letter carriers.
((ROY WINE/DELIVERY SUPERVISOR: I ANTICIPATED IT WOULD BE ONE OR TWO CANS OF FOOD WE WOULD PICK UP AT EACH RESIDENTS IT ENDED UP BEING BAGS AND BOXES OF FOOD.))
And the small mail trucks get loaded with food.
Back at the post office on Grandin Road volunteers haul cans and boxes onto the Second Harvest truck.
((STEWART FEATHER/SECOND HARVEST: THE DEMAND FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE HAS INCREASED EVEN THOUGH THE ECONOMY IS GOOD AND AT THE SAME TIME WE'VE HAD A DECREASE IN SUPPLY.))
And with 90-thousand pounds of food coming in this weekend the increase in supplies will help agencies feed the hungry.
If you forget to leave your letter carrier a bag of food it's not to late all you need to do is drop it off at your local post office. Kate Weidaw News7 Roanoke.))
Investigators are looking into what sparked a blaze at a Roanoke apartment complex late last night.
Fire broke out at Hunt Manor shortly after 11.
Fire officials say it started in an upstairs bedroom.
Everyone inside got out safely, but fire fighters had to force their way into the apartment next door to get the children out.
The Roanoke County Fire Marshal's Office has issued a ban on open burning today.
Today's weather conditions-- combined with the continuing dry spell make for "Red Flag Conditions" - meaning there's high danger for fires to spread.
Fire officials say the danger for fires is getting serious and without some rain, you can expect more bans in the coming weeks.
Coming up, some say the post-election election mess wasn't confined to Florida, and the Commonwealth encountered problems too...
and is your child buckled up correctly? Local volunteers and state troopers check car seats for safety. We'll have more on that coming up, but first, some spotty rain showers today... Let's hear now from Jacey Birch in the WeatherCenter.
A recent trip North proved successful for some Roanoke Valley leaders.
About 40- community, business, and government leaders recently returned from a three day trip to Portland, Maine.
Earlier this week-- several folks who went gave the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors a brief rundown.
They described Portland as a city with a thriving technology business center.
Those who went, say the venture was also a way to focus on Roanoke's many assets.
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[IN Q=FOR THREE DAYS]
((LORRAINE LANGE/ROANOKE CO. SCHOOLS: FOR THREE DAYS I CAN HONESTLY SAY, WE TALKED ABOUT ROANOKE, EVERY TIME WE WENT SOMEPLACE WE SAID, WE COULD DO THIS IN ROANOKE OR WE'VE GOT THIS IN ROANOKE, SO IT WAS A REALLY GOOD TIME FOR ALL OF US TO APPRECIATE WHAT WE DO HAVE IN THE ROANOKE VALLEY, AS WELL AS LOOK FORWARD TO A VISION OF WHAT WE CAN HAVE IN THE ROANOKE VALLEY.))
[SUPER=01-Lorraine Lange/Roanoke Co. Schools;]
[OUT Q=can have in the Roanoke Valley.]
The supervisors also recognized and honored a local teacher for her success at Clearbrook Elementary.
Connie Finnerty was recently named teacher of the year by the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce.
It is the most organized push for election reform in modern times in Virginia.
"VOTE" or "Voices of the Electorate" kicked off a campaign this week to reform both the machinery and attitudes of voting in the Commonwealth.
A broad coalition of civic, civil rights, environmental, education, and labor union groups is behind it.
The League of Women Voters says the problems of the 2000 election were NO surprise to the groups who monitor elections.
[IN Q=Antiquated voting machines, ballot systems]
((CONNIE HOUSTON/LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: ANTIQUATED VOTING MACHINES, BALLOT SYSTEMS THAT CONFUSE THE VOTER....POLL WORKER TRAINING, CHAOTIC... OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS CONCERNS.))
[SUPER=01-Connie Houston/League of Women Voters;]
[OUT Q=and other civil rights concerns.]
[SUPER=03-Chesterfield Co./File Tape;]
"VOTE" has a pledge for elected officials and candidates to sign, saying they will support money and legislation to reform voting in Virginia this year.
[GRAPHIC=Child Safety Seats]
State police and local volunteers teamed up to inspect child safety seats in Roanoke today.
Those who sponsored the free event-- say it's important to make sure safety seats are in good condition.
Volunteers say an improperly fitted safety seat won't protect a child in a crash.
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[SOT - TC 15:11:23]
[IN Q=We want to make sure...]
((ANN LEFFLER/VOLUNTEER; WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE SEAT HASN'T BEEN RECALLED, THAT IT FITS THE CHILD PROPERLY, THAT IT'S INSTALLED IN THE VEHICLE SECURELY, AND THAT ALL THE STRAPS ARE THREADED PROPERLY.))
[OUT Q=harness straps are threaded properly.]
Volunteers say they usually find under a half-dozen seats that have been recalled. Another child safety seat check will be held next Saturday at the Read Mountain Fire and Rescue building in Cloverdale, beginning at 2 o'clock.
Still to come on News 7,
See how an old Roanoke high school auditorium has been transformed in a premier theater.
And playing in the sand isn't just for kids anymore.
We'll take you to Loch Haven Resort for a little fun in the sun. Stay tuned, News 7 at 6 will return.
[TAPE#=Time Off #]
Roanoke's old Jefferson High School is coming full circle.
Starting next week, the building's auditorium will come back to life.
Shannon Young has the story in this week's Time Off.
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[SUPER=01-Janet Burrow/Jefferson Center Pres. & CEO; :20]
[SUPER=01-Joseph Glosson/Shaftman Performance Hall Director; :52]
[SUPER=01-Bill Krause/Opera Roanoke; 1:16]
[OUT Q=SY N7 ROANOKE.]
((The last time this stage hosted a performing art was more than a quarter century ago, when what is now known as the Jefferson Center was still Jefferson High School.
But in less than a week, this theater will come to life as the curtain goes up on the newly renovated Shaftman Performance Hall.
[IN Q=What we tried to do was continue to keep...]
((What we tried to do was continue to keep the integrity of the original design of the auditorium and use that as our basis and improve on that in every way that we could.))
[OUT Q=improve on that in every way that we could.]
A state of the art sound system will guarantee that whether you're in the first row or rear of the balcony, you'll catch every word, every note.
Once green, the walls now sport a warmer shade, and fluorescent lights have given way to fixtures both functional and attractive.
And nearly one-thousand plush, red velvet seats add a touch of glamour, and harken back to the twenties when the building was built.
[IN Q=People are coming in and their eyes...]
((People are coming in and their eyes are opening, tears are welling up, and that's even before it's being finished, which it is as we speak.))
[OUT Q=which it is as we speak.]
[IN Q=As I think I said before...]
((As I think I said before, I'm giddy.))
[OUT Q=I'm giddy.]
Bill Krause and his Opera Roanoke have been nomadic for years, performing at Mill Mountain Theater and Olind Hall.
And while Krause says he's grateful to have had access to those facilities, the new theater, Opera Roanoke's new home, is a dream come true.
[IN Q=It's nice to be able to walk out of our office...]
((It's nice to be able to walk out of our office door and directly into the theater. If we're rehearsing and need to come back to the office and get something we can do that.))
[OUT Q=get something we can do that.]
Directors say they'll present an eclectic mix of entertainment to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
But, regardless of the performance, they're certain everyone will applaud the theater.
[IN Q=Next week when our performances start...]
((Next week, when our performances start on the 17th, the response will be overwhelming. There will be not a dry eye in the house, I predict. Absolutely.))
[OUT Q=dry eye in the house. Absolutely.]
Shannon Young, News 7, Roanoke.))
Playing in the sand took on new meaning at Loch Haven Lake Resort in Roanoke County today.
World renowned sand sculptor Alan Matsumoto used his tools to create cartoon characters from the children's book Wind in the Willows.
The resort brought in the sand artist to kick off a free weekend for the public to check out Loch Haven.
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[IN Q=it's a great]
((SKY PREECE/LOCH HAVEN OWNER: IT'S A GREAT PLACE FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES BECAUSE IT IS NOT CROWDED AND IT GOT NICE WATER FOR SWIMMING WE PROVIDE CANOES AND KAYAKS.))
[SUPER=01-Sky Preece/Loch Haven Owner]
[OUT Q=canoes and kayaks.]
The resort will be open to the public all day tomorrow.
And coming up in sports, Roanoke College continued play in the Division three Atlantic Regional Softball championship.
And Jason Keller holds off the field to win the Busch race today at Loudon, New Hampshire.
The Roanoke College Maroons advanced to the championship game of the Division three Atlantic Regional with a 5 to 3 win over top seeded Salisbury State.
[SUPER=03-Salem/Roanoke vs Salisbury St.; :]
Roanoke had a big third inning. Rachel Capozzi hits a shot past the short stop and Crystal Berry scores to make it 1 to nothing Maroons.
The Maroons then came up with a big defensive play. In the bottom of the third with runners on first and second April Harned hits this shot sure to bring in some runs but Amy Layman makes the catch crashing into the fence.
Then in the top of the fourth, Roanoke's Crystal Hileman hits a single to right field Lisa Wasiloff scores and the Maroons led 2 to nothing.
The Maroons continued the scoring in the fifth Sonya Hylton hits a single up the middle bringing in Amy Layman to make it 3 to nothing and Roanoke wins it 5 to 3.
The Chicago Cubs were in St. Louis this afternoon for a match up with the Cardinals.
[SUPER=03-St. Louis, MO/FOX SPORTS; :]
St. Louis opened the scoring in the third. With the infield in Jim Edmonds hits a shot off the pitcher's glove it scores a runner from third and the Cardinals took the one to nothing lead.
The Cardinals added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth. Fernando Vina hits a shot to left centerfield scoring Eli Marrero and St. Louis was on top by the score of 2 to nothing.
The Cubs got on the board in the fifth Matt Stairs hits this solo homer to right centerfield to make it 2 to 1 Cardinals and St. Louis goes on to win it 5 to 2.
The New York Yankees started the day in first place in the American League East. New York hosted Baltimore this afternoon and the Yankees win the game 8 to 5.
[SUPER=03-Toronto, Canada/FOX SPORTS; :]
Now, lets go to Toronto where the Seattle Mariners jumped on the blue Jays for 5 runs in the third. Three came off the bat of Mike Cameron who hits this homer to right field off Chris Carpenter scoring John Olerud and Al Martin and Seattle wins it 11 to 7.
And here are this afternoons scores.
[WIPE TO MOTION]
[SUPER=0092-/N.Y. Mets/1//San Francisco/4/5//;]
[OUT Q=...last score."]
Jason Keller became the 11-th different winner on the Busch circuit today winning the Pharmacy 200 at Loudon, New Hampshire.
[SUPER=03-Loudon, NH/FX; :]
A caution came out with just under 20 laps to go and on the re-start Keller would hold off Kevin Harvick and the rest of the field to win the race. Keller became a little emotional in the post race interview and dedicated the win to his friend Adam Petty.
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[IN Q="My mom...]
[SUPER=01-Jason Keller/Pharmacy 200 Winner; :]
[OUT Q=.....for him."]
Harvick was second followed by Mike Skinner, Jeff Green and Kenny Wallace.
The Winston cup drivers have the weekend off. However, they will be just as busy as they prepare to join their families and celebrate the Mother's Day weekend.
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[IN Q="It is a...]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Gordon/#24 Chevrolet; :00]
[SUPER=01-Rusty Wallace/#2 Ford; :15]
[SUPER=01-Steve Park/#1 Chevrolet; :31]
[SUPER=01-Michael Waltrip/#15 Chevrolet; :46]
[OUT Q=.....thankful for that."]
The drivers return to work next weekend at the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte for the Winston.