Straight ahead on News 7--
Westvaco announces a three- billion- dollar merger with another paper company, and that COULD mean job cuts.
And police in Radford are investigating a series of sexual assaults on young women.
Another warm humid day across the region with a slight chance for a passing shower...I'll have your forecast....
Stay tuned-- News 7 at noon is next.
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Job cuts could be coming to Westvaco after the company announced it is merging with another paper company.
Westvaco and Mead Corporation announced today they are merging in a three-billion dollar stock swap.
The combined paper company, MeadWestvaco, will have more than 32-thousand employees in 30 countries.
A spokesman for Mead says there will be some job cuts, but no decision has been made on exactly how many jobs will be lost.
The deal is expected to be finalized later this year.
Radford City Police are investigating a string of sexual assaults.
Police says four-women between the ages of 18 and 22 have been assaulted within a week.
Officials say NONE of the attacks took place on the Radford University campus.
Police believe there is more than one assailant and are warning people to take extra safety precautions at night.
Cox Cable says four thousand high-speed Internet Service Customers in our area won't notice a thing when "Excite at Home" goes off-line.
The cash-crunched Internet company is edging closer to bankruptcy or a possible buyout since its lender demanded a 50 million dollar payment by Friday.
Cox, "Excite at Home's" local provider, says its been aware of the situation for months.
Cox says it is working to make sure customers will be switched to another provider if the payment isn't made by Friday.
No word yet on who that provider may be.
Police officers in Amherst County seized a bumper crop of illegal marijuana yesterday.
Air and ground crews spent most of the day searching spots where confidential tips indicated there might be marijuana growing.
By early afternoon, their efforts had turned up more than three dozen fully mature plants, each with a street value of about a thousand dollars.
No arrests were made, but authorities say their investigations continue.
The state police Drug Enforcement Division reports success in other parts of our area as well.
More than 17-hundred plants were discovered in Franklin, Montgomery, Botetourt, Pittsylvania, Floyd and Patrick Counties this summer.
Those plants are said to have a combined street value of one-point seven million dollars.
The seizures will result in six arrests.
Authorities in Great Britain have seized 22- million dollars worth of the drug, Ecstasy.
Armed officers and customs officials seized the 500- pound shipment early yesterday morning after a lengthy undercover operation.
Police tracked down the car carrying the illegal shipment from Germany to a warehouse 80 miles west of London.
Four men are under arrest on suspicion of intent to supply the drug.
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[IN Q=We don't know where]
((MARK ORGAN/GLOUCESTERSHIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT: WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY WERE GOING BUT WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS
THAT A MILLION TABLETS OF WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE ECSTASY ARE NOT GOING TO
THE STREETS OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE UK SO IT'S REALLY GOOD NEWS FOR US ))
[SUPER=01-Mark Organ/Gloucestershire Police Department;]
[OUT Q=really good news for us.]
While Ecstasy is often the drug of choice for club- hoppers, it can cause serious side effects such as mood swings, dehydration, and on a rare occasion, death.
Nearly HALF the population of a small town in northern California is evacuated, as a fast- moving brush fire continues closing in.
About 35- hundred people live in Weaverville, where a hospital and the county jail were also evacuated.
Authorities say the fire has destroyed nearly 10 structures so far.
The fire's grown to a thousand acres, burning in both directions.
Close to 13- hundred firefighters are battling the blaze on the ground.
They're receiving help from several air tankers and helicopters in the air.
A plane crash in Spain today killed three people, and injured about two dozen others.
The passenger plane carrying 44 people crash- landed near an airport in southern Spain.
The plane's broken fuselage blocked two lanes of a major highway.
Traffic was backed up for miles as rescue crews rushed to help the victims.
Airline officials say the plane was traveling from northern Morocco.
The plane belongs to a Spanish subsidiary of the national airline, Iberia.
Officials say they still don't know what caused the crash.
TOSS TO LEO[WX-Tease]
((TOSS TO LEO))
[SS=NONE]LEO IN WX-CENTER
[WXPRO/FULL] WEATHER MAP
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If you parked illegally in Roanoke, it's going to cost you more money. That story is still to come.
and last night's Big Game Jackpot was worth 90 MILLION dollars. After this break, we will let you know if anybody won it.
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The Big Game lottery is getting even bigger.
No one won last night's 90 MILLION dollar jackpot. That means Friday's drawing will be worth one hundred and fifteen million dollars.
Thirteen second-prize winners won 150-thousand dollars in last night's drawing.
Seventy-one players matched four of the five lotto numbers, plus the Big Money Ball number. Those tickets are each worth 5-thousand dollars.
[GRAPHIC=ROANOKE CITY SEAL]
The city of Roanoke is raising parking fines. The new fees are designed to free up more spaces in the downtown business district.
The city says some people were finding it cheaper to pay a fine than to pay for a parking space.
Starting September first, the fine for overtime parking goes to 15 dollars.
Violating a no parking sign will also cost 15 dollars.
Parking illegally in a space for the disabled will cost 125 dollars.
Hugh and Carolyn Elsea will have to find a new home for their daughter's horses.
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors has denied a special use permit for their private stable near Cave Spring High School.
Joe Dashiell has more on a dispute that left neighbors on both sides of the fence.
[IN Q=If I vote against]
[SUPER=01-Fuzzy Minnix/Cave Spring Supervisor; :00]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :09]
[TWO UNSUPERED BITES HERE]
[SUPER=01-Jessica Goodspeed/Horse Owner; :40]
[OUT Q=Joe Dashiell News 7 Roanoke County]
(([OPENS ON FUZZY MINNIX SPEAKING]
[IN Q=If i vote against ]
[OUT Q=stole the deed to the ranch.]
The supervisors faced a difficult decision, with some neighbors speaking in favor of the private stable, and others against.
[IN Q=I was extremely happy]
[OUT Q=happy now with the horses there.]
But in the end the vote was unanimous... the horses must go.
[SOT JESSICA GOODSPEED]
[IN Q=I tried to come in here]
[OUT Q=and that's all I can do.]
One of the horses, a mare, is pregnant and expecting a foal within a month... so the supervisors gave the Elseas 30 days after the foal is born to remove the horses from the property.
Joe Dashiell News 7 Roanoke County))
Senator John McCain told reporters he felt fine as he checked into a hospital for prostate surgery.
The Arizona senator arrived this morning at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix for treatment of a benign enlargement of his prostate.
Today is also McCain's 65th birthday.
The operation is expected to keep him in the hospital for a couple of days.
McCain has called his condition a "minor'' problem.
Last year, McCain underwent surgery to remove skin cancer lesions on his face.
They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but it seems that even pop icon Madonna has her limits--
[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
A New York condom supermarket plans to start selling a condom wrapped in a package featuring a photo of Madonna.
The picture comes from a set of nude photos she posed for back in 1979.
The photographer sold the rights to the pictures two years ago.
Madonna's attorneys tried to stop the sale, but backed off when the photographer produced an agreement the singer had signed.
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[SOT 3:34:26 ]
[IN Q=What happened was]
((GINA KELTZ/CONDOMANIA STORE:WHAT HAPPENED WAS....AND HE'S BEEN DOING THAT. ))
[SUPER=01-Gina Keltz/CondoMania Store;]
[OUT Q=been doing that.]
"CondoMania" says they wish Madonna would get on board and support the packages to help spread the word about safe sex.
[SOFT MUSIC UNDER]
Coming up a little later in Sports, the U-V-A Cavaliers's football season has taken an unfortunate twist.
But first we'll tell you why an image in a tree has a group of New Yorkers going out on a limb.
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[COMM BREAK #2]
After years of planning and work, a New River Valley community is just weeks away from unveiling a veterans memorial.
Residents of the Sunnyside-Tom's Creek area of Montgomery County say some 90-veterans live in their community.
All fought in one of the four major wars.
Their names will be inscribed on a six-and-a-half foot centerpiece and two tier memorial located here on Glade Road.
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[SOT 57:08:23 - 43:08:03]
[IN Q=I THINK PEOPLE WILL BE]
((ARCHIE MONTGOMERY/MEMORIAL ORGANIZER; I THINK PEOPLE WILL BE CURIOUS AND COME BY AND LOOK BUT ITS MAINLY FOR THE PEOPLE WE KNOW AND THE PEOPLE WE'VE KNOWN.))
((RALPH WOODROW LONG/WWII VETERAN; TO ME IT MEANS PEOPLE CARE ABOUT US AND UH THEY WANT TO SHOW APPRECIATION, I THINK ITS A WONDERFUL THING MYSELF.))
[SUPER=01-Archie Montgomery/Memorial Organizer; :00]
[SUPER=01-Ralph Woodrow Long/World War II Veteran; :08]
[OUT Q=A WONDERFUL THING MYSELF.]
The memorial was made possible by private donations and money from the county.
The official dedication is September 15th.
Is it a holy sign or just a figment of the imagination?
Some people in New York City believe an elm tree bears the image of the Virgin Mary.
Gretchen Carlson has the story.
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[SUPER=03-New York, NY; :00]
[SUPER=01-Gretchen Carlson/CBS News; :45]
[SUPER=01-Henry Stern/Parks Commissioner; 1:16]
[OUT Q=CBS News New York]
((TRACK) LOCATOR: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
There are lots of Elm trees along Arden Street in Manhattan s Inwood
section but one in particular is getting more attention than the
others. It s the tree surrounded by all the candles and people too.
(SOT/fast - )
Everybody was like, O my God, that s the virgin!
You see that spot just above the trunk of the tree? Well, some people
claim it s an image of the Virgin Mary a weeping Virgin Mary.
(SOT - ) Yolanda Rodriguez/Resident
It s a beautiful thing when all of these people are here and they have
all this energy and maybe it will spread out to the neighborhoods and to
The excitement started last week when a devout Catholic on the block
spotted the Madonna image on the Elm tree. Now people can t help but
stop and stare at the sight.
(STAND-UP BRIDGE 11:51-12:08) Gretchen Carlson Reporting
As you might imagine, news about this mysterious tree has spread quickly
as well as the stories from one woman saying the tree cured her
headache to even bigger claims like a woman in a wheelchair suddenly
being able to walk after rubbing some of the sap from the tree on her
(SOT - Anna Ventura/Resident
I guess it s in the eye of the beholder. I ll probably see an image
but somebody else will see something different just a tree.
I don t see nothing I can t believe it.
Parks Commissioner Henry Stern has his doubts too. He agrees the mark
on the tree is a phenomenon - but says it s a natural occurring one.
(SOT - ) Henry Stern - Parks Commissioner
Some time ago that tree was pruned and the wound form the pruning oozes
sap 2 or 3 times a year.
So it seems the decision is up to you whether you see a miraculous
image or just a simple spot on a tree. Gretchen Carlson, CBS News, New
[WXPRO/FULL] ROANOKE STATS
On Wall Street at Noon, the DOW was DOWN 106 points.
Nasdaq has lost 22 points.
[SPORTS MUSIC UNDER]
Still to come .. it was ladies' night out as a host of hometown hoops weekly teams storm the hardwood.
We'll have highlights up next.
And .. a Winston Cup Car smashes into the wall at Lowe's Motor Speedway yesterday .. but THIS crash was intentional.
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[COMM BREAK #3]
It was all about basketball last night .. as a slew of hometown hoops weekly teams hit the hard wood.
We start off with the group 2-A runners- up ... Northside.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co./Highlanders vs. Vikings; :00]
The Vikings taking on the Highlanders and Glenvar coach Bryan Harvey.
In the first half, watch Sarah Frazier with the nice entry pass to Amanda Kite.
She finishes for Glenvar.
To the second half.
Jessica Wilkerson hands off to Katherine Heath, who passes to Corrie Feritta for the two.
But it was 19-17, Glenvar.
Then, Northside's Meghan Myers makes the fake inside, and hits the two to give the Vikings the lead.
But Kite makes good on this shot from the corner, two of her 17, she also had 11 rebounds. And Glenvar beats Northside 44-37.
[WIPE WIPE WIPE]
[VO-NAT WIPE TO #ENG!!!!!]
[SUPER=03-Daleville/Mustangs vs. Cavaliers; :00]
Over in Daleville, Lord Botetourt played host to Eastern Montgomery in the Lady Cavaliers tip- off 2001 tournament.
Early in the first, Montgomery's Anne Ryan steals the ball from Catherine Childress and sinks it from outside.
Then, the Cavs' Merideth Miller passes it to Kristen Graham.
She puts it off the glass for two.
[SUPER=33-Lord Botetourt/40/Eastern Montgomery/36;]
The Mustangs answer--
In the second half, knotted at 22 when Kristen Wood beats the defense down the floor for an easy bucket.
But the Cavs take the lead for good when Amber Graham makes the three point shot.
Cavs win 40-36.
Virginia all A-C-C running-back Antwoine Womack will be out for the next 7 to 9 weeks.
[SUPER=03-Madison, WI/Saturday; :00]
Womack will undergo surgery to repair the high ankle sprain suffered against Wisconsin. The surgery will take place as soon as possible after the swelling in the ankle decreases.
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/2000 Season Opener vs. BYU;]
Last year's starter Arlen Harris was lost for a good portion of the season with a knee injury suffered in the season opener against BYU, which opened the door for Womack.
Harris should start against Richmond.
Groh likes his progress.
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[SUPER=01-Al Groh/UVa Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=.....progress along pretty good"]
The Hokies of Virginia Tech are getting ready for their season opener. With the latest from the team and an update on construction at Lane Stadium, here's Mike Stevens.
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[IN Q=FIRST AUDIO]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Virginia Tech Head Coach; :24]
[SUPER=01-Jim Weaver/Virginia Tech Athletic Director; :50]
[SUPER=01-Jake Houseright/Virginia Tech Linebacker; 1:43]
[OUT Q=...NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
(( The Hokies began game week preparations for Connecticut with a surprise addition. Defensive end Darrius Monroe who last year pleaded guilty to cocaine possession rejoined his teammates. Monday the charge against him was dismissed after he underwent a successful probationary period and even completed his bachelor degree requirements in four years time.
While Monroe gets a second chance, fans planning to attend this Saturday game will want to be right the first time when it comes to entering Lane Stadium. The South endzone construction is affecting pedestrian traffic flowing into the grandstands.
Houseright isn't the only one laughing. Tech is favored by 46 points.
One player who won't be in action this Saturday or the rest of the season is sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Lewis who will use this as redshirt season. In Blacksburg Mike Stevens News 7 Sports.))
Former major league ace Rick Ankiel is heading back to St. Louis after spending part of this Appalachian League season in Martinsville and Pulaski.
[SUPER=03-Pulaski Co.; :00]
The Cardinals say Ankiel will be promoted once his rookie league season ends. But Cards' manager Tony La Russa says he's not sure how Ankiel will be used.
Ankiel reported to Johnson City June 19th after failing to get out of the first inning in two starts from Triple-A Memphis.
The lefty has been awesome for Johnson City, going 5-and-3 with a one-point-33 E-R-A and 158 strikeouts in 87 and two-thirds.
He walked just 18 in 14 starts.
And finally today--
A Winston Cup car was sent into a wall at Lowe's Motor Speedway yesterday -- on purpose.
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[IN Q=Nat Car]
((NAT CAR CRASH))
[OUT Q=NAT CRASH]
Researchers tested out the energy-absorbing Humpy Bumper. All indications were that the test was a success, but the data still must be analyzed.
The bumper is designed to address concerns about the rigidity of the front of stock cars and the lack of any sort of bumper to absorb the energy from a crash.
By the way, it's called the 'Humpy Bumper' in honor of 'Humpy' Wheeler, the president of Lowes Motor Speedway.
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