Just ahead on NEWS 7 at six...
It's one of the most recognized attractions in southwest Virginia... but some say the Mill Mountain Star is in danger of losing its luster.
And, a stray cat in Danville bites several people before being diagnosed with rabies.
In sports, Michael Jordan reaches another milestone in his N-B-A career, The Hokies lose a Big East game at the Cassell.
And the 4-th ranked Virginia Cavaliers were knocked from the unbeaten losing their first conference game.
A winter weather warning is in effect for tomorrow as our region is in store for rain, sleet and even significant snowfall. We've got the details for your hometown forecast... next.
[IN Q=I think its a shame]
((GWEN GORDH: I THINK ITS A SHAME THAT PEOPLE CAN'T JUST ENJOY THE BEAUTIES OF ROANOKE WITHOUT GOOFING IT UP.))
[OUT Q=goofing it up]
Some local residents say the Roanoke Star is too trashy.
Good evening, I'm Teresa Hamilton.
[GRAPHIC=News 7 at 6]
It is one of a kind and attracts thousands of visitors to Roanoke each year.
That easily makes the Mill Mountain Star one of our regions most popular attractions.
But as Justin McLeod shows us, the star doesn't always shine so bright.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Greg Hegner/Superintendent of Parks; :40]
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Roanoke]
((((NAT SOUND OF THE STAR))
Its a site that stands out beautifully day or night.
But the site the Roanoke Star is located isn't always so pretty.
[IN Q=I think its a shame]
((BOB GORDH/VISITOR: I THINK ITS SHAME BECAUSE ITS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PLACE HERE.))
[OUT Q=beautiful place here]
((NAT SOUND OF WALKING THROUGH LEAVES; 9:03:15))
Just take a walk around and you'll see the problem.
Trash and graffiti are as abundant as the amount of visitors.
[IN Q=It makes it look]
((GWEN GORDH/ROANOKE RESIDENT: IT MAKES IT LOOK AS IF WE DON'T APPRECIATE WHAT WE HAVE.))
[OUT Q=what we have]
Its Park and Recreation's job to clean this all up.
Officially, the city does a massive cleanup twice a year.
During the summer, crews do routine maintenance checks several times a week.
But in the winter its a much different story.
[IN Q=We're covering snow removal]
((GREG HEGNER/SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS: WE'RE COVERING SNOW REMOVAL. WE'VE GOT A LOT OF OTHER DUTIES. WE DO LEAF COLLECTION AS WELL SO A LOT OF OUR STAFF IS DIVERTED TO OTHER ACTIVITIES.))
[OUT Q=other activities]
[IN Q=Parks and rec realized]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: PARKS AND REC REALIZED THERE WAS A PROBLEM. SO IN JULY, IT HIRED SECURITY. THEIR JOB IS TO COME HERE EVERY NIGHT AND CLOSE THE GATES AT 11 O'CLOCK. THE CITY SAYS THATS REDUCED THE PROBLEM BY NEARLY FIFTY PERCENT.))
[OUT Q=nearly fifty percent]
But some marks remain.
The city lacks equipment to remove spray paint (9:09:41) and permanent marker.
The city can replace wood panels and railings but that costs several thousand dollars each year.
However, some say the best way is for the public do its part.
[SOT 9:08:40; 8:54:29]
[IN Q=I think they]
((JEFF JANSEN/ROANOKE RESIDENT: I THINK THEY CAN WALK A LITTLE FURTHER TO THE TRASH CAN RATHER THAN THROW OVER THE SIDE.))
((GREG HEGNER/SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS: WE CAN'T BE THERE ALL THE TIME AND WE CERTAINLY APPRECIATE ANYBODY'S HELP. IF THEY NOTICE A PROBLEM NOT JUST THAT PARK, BUT ANY PARK, CALL US PLEASE.))
[OUT Q=call us please]
Its all in effort to make Mill Mountain a pretty site, whether you're looking at the star or walking around it.
Justin McLeod, News 7, Roanoke.))
The city will hold two community wide clean up days at the Mill Mountain Star.
The first on Saturday April 13th... The second will be held Saturday May 18th.[Snow-Preps]
This time tomorrow, the star and other parts across Southwest Virginia will either see snow, rain, or a mixture of both.
The city of Roanoke says its ready for whatever mother nature brings our way.
Roanoke's Street Traffic Manager says the city will have 20 trucks on stand-by for tomorrow's storm.
Crews plan to fight the elements with salt and various other chemicals.
The city has more than 6-thousand tons of salt in storage.
Officials say salt laid down earlier this week for another storm should help melt any ice.
Some of our local heroes got a big thank you today.
The Science Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke allowed firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians to tour the museum for free today.
They were treated to a MegaDome Theater showing of "Wildfire: Feel the Heat" as well as an exhibit on wildfires.
Museum officials felt it was important to acknowledge and thank local men and women who have dedicated their lives to public service.
A distinct pinging noise could be heard in Roanoke today.
For the first time in more than 15 years, the city held a ping-pong tournament.
The event held at the Norwich Recreation Center attracted fewer than ten players.
But Roanoke's Parks and Recreation Department hopes to expand this and other programs in the next year.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We're starting teen programs]
((MIKE BARNHILL/PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT: WE'RE STARTING TEEN PROGRAMS IN OUR RECREATION CENTERS TO TRY TO GET OUR NUMBERS UP AND HELP GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO AND HELP THEM PLAN THE PROGRAMS SO THAT WE CAN OFFER WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF OFFERING SOMETHING THAT JUST MAY NOT FLY.))
[SUPER=01-Mike Barnhill/Roanoke Parks and Recreation Dept.;]
[OUT Q=may not fly]
Today's tournament was open to all ages.
Players had to win two out of three games to move foward in the competition.
The first place winner received a gift certificate to C-M-T.
((TERESA TOSSES TO BREAK))[Danville-Rabies]
A stray cat in Danville has reportedly been diagnosed with rabies.
The animal was reported to the humane society by a local resident who had been scratched by the cat.
The animal, which was drooling and acting disoriented, also scratched two workers at the animal shelter.
The cat was later euthanized-- and tested for rabies.
This is the first confirmed case of rabies in Danville in more than 20- years.
It won't be a walk in the park when state lawmakers return to Capitol Square next week.
But as Joe Dashiell reports... lawmakers are hopeful they'll find a new attitude in Richmond.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=With a new Governor and a redistricted House of Delegates]
[SUPER=01-Sen. John Edwards/(D) Roanoke; :12]
[SUPER=01-Sen. Bo Trumbo/(R) Fincastle; :21]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :42]
[SUPER=01-Del. Chip Woodrum/(D) Roanoke; :55]
[SUPER=01-Del. Morgan Griffith/(R) Salem; 1:07]
[OUT Q=JD News 7]
(( With a new governor, and a redistricted House of Delegates, change is in the air. And following last year's embarassing budget stalemate, lawmakers say that may not be such a bad thing.
[IN Q=Everybody's committed]
((SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: EVERYBODY'S COMMITTED TO AVOIDING WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR. THE BREAKDOWN THAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR WAS EXTREMELY UNFORTUNATE. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT EVER HAPPENED AND I CERTAINLY HOPE WE DON'T EVER HAVE IT HAPPEN AGAIN.))
((SEN. BO TRUMBO: GIVEN THE SCENARIO OF LAST YEAR. IT WAS LIKE ALL THE STARS HAD MET AND ALIGNED THEMSELVES FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. I DON'T THINK ANY ONE PERSON COULD HAVE CHANGED THAT SCENARIO GIVEN THE MAKE-UP, GIVEN THE TRANSITION OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE OVER THE YEARS, AND SO I THINK EVERYONE'S GOTTEN THAT BEHIND THEM AND NOW WE'RE OUT TO DO THE THINGS WE NEED TO DO.))
[OUT Q=to do the things we need to do.]
As local legislators told Roanoke County officials recently, money will be tight. New initiatives will have to wait for better times. But they are optimistic the new governor and members of both parties will work harder to find common ground.
[IN Q=Governor Elect Warner has reached out]
((DEL. CHIP WOODRUM: GOVERNOR ELECT WARNER HAS REACHED OUT, MADE SERIOUS EFFORTS AT TRYING TO COME TO AN AGREEMENT AND TO TRY TO START TO WORK ACHIEVING A CONSENSUS.))
((DEL. MORGAN GRIFFITH: WE'VE HAD SOME MEETINGS TO TRY TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES WE MADE LAST SESSION... TO TRY TO MAKE SURE WE KEEP AN OPEN OUTLOOK ON EVERY PROPOSAL THAT'S BEING PUT OUT THERE.))
[OUT Q=that's being put out there.]
Stay tuned. The General Assembly convenes its 60 day session on Wednesday... with Governor Gilmore's final State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.
Joe Dashiell News 7 ))[S-UVA]
Virginia's 9 game win streak ended this afternoon in Charlottesville as the Cavaliers lost their A-C-C opener to N.C. State 81 to 74.
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/Cavaliers vs Wolfpack; :]
The Cavaliers fell behind in the first half.
But when Roger Mason pulled up and hit this three pointer Virginia trailed by only 2.
State comes back getting out on the break as Julius Hodge lays it in and the Wolfpack led 48 to 37 at the half.
The Cavaliers rallied to open the second half Adam Hall with the steal and the Jam and Virginia trailed 57 to 52.
But State didn't panic the Wolfpack keeps it outside this three pointer and the lead was back to 8.
Then with over 9 minutes left in the game Chris Williams hits the baseline jumper to make it 65 to 64.
The Wolfpack maintained the lead despite a couple of U-V-A runs and N.c. State wins it 81 to 74.
Virginia Tech continues to look for its first win in the Big East.
This afternoon at the Cassell, Seton Hall beat the Hokies 80 to 72.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/Tech vs Seton Hall; :]
Ricky Stokes and the Hokies trailed by only 3 at the half.
But the Pirates came out with a 10 to 2 to run and took a 7 point lead in the first 5 minutes of the second half.
Tech trailed by 12 8 minutes into the half when Demari Tompkins came in and hit the jumper cutting the lead to 10.
Seton Hall then scored 8 straight points and with 12 minutes left in the game the Hokies trailed 60 to 42.
Brian Chase ended the Hokie drought this jumper made the score 60 to 44 Seton Hall.
[SUPER=34-Seton Hall/80/Virginia Tech/72/;]
Tech's Terry Taylor led the Hokies with 16 points but it wasn't enough Seton Hall downs the Hokies 80 to 72.
Last night in Chicago, Michael Jordan became the fourth player in N-B-A history to score 30-thousand points.
[SUPER=03-Chicago, IL/Comcast SportsNet; :]
Jordan returned to Chicago for the first time since coming out of retirement.
He needed 15 points and he had that many midway through the second period.
Jordan would finish with 29 points and the Bullets would beat the Bulls 89 to 83.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's special....]
[SUPER=01-Michael Jordan/30-Thousand Career Points; :]
[OUT Q=.....right direction."]
Jordan joints Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Wilt Chamberlain in the 30-thousand point club.