Henry County's school consolidation plan comes to a screeching halt.
We'll have reaction from both sides.
And, a civics lesson becomes real life as local students learn the art of lobbying first hand.
Tonight on News 7 sports, awards and honors are being served up on the dinner hour edition of News 7 as the All-American team has a devilish flavor.
And the ACC Player of the Year - may be a Terrapin - but he is anything but slow on his feet.
Light rainfalls continues into the night time hours, but will gradually taper off as we move toward morning. Get the full forecast, coming up.
News 7 at Six is next.
[IN Q=We'll have to try to maintain...]
[OUT Q=tight, very tight.]
The Henry County School system will stay as it is... for now.
The School Board today voted to cease action on a controversial plan to consolidate schools.
Good evening, I'm Shannon Young.
And I'm Keith Humphry.
The plan's been a source of contention in Henry County for months.
Today's vote means opponents of consolidation can breathe easy, at least until the Board of Supervisors decides to re-address the issue.
The Henry County School Board, minus two members, today voted unanimously to follow a recommendation made last week by school superintendent, Sharon Dodson.
Dodson suggested the board scrap the plan that would have have consolidated four high school into two and turned Carver Middle school into an elementary school.
Without supervisors' support the school board had its hands tied.
(///// SOT at :23 /////)
[IN Q=What choice did we have?]
((KATHRYN WICKLINE/HENRY CO. SCHOOL BOARD CHAIR: WHAT CHOICE DID WE HAVE? WITHOUT SUPERVISOR'S SUPPORT, WHY CONTINUE WITH IT?))
[SUPER=01-Kathryn Wickline/Henry Co. School Board Chair;]
[OUT Q=why continue with it?]
Opponents of the plan say they understand changes need to be made to better allocate resources and educate students.
But they say there's a better way to make those changes.
(///// SOT at :11 /////)
[IN Q=Something's gonna have to be done...]
((JUDY CLOUD/PARENT: SOMETHING'S GONNA HAVE TO BE DONE BUT I THINK PARENTS NEED TO HAVE SOME INPUT AND TEACHERS NEED TO HAVE SOME INPUT 'CAUSE THEY'RE THERE ON THE FRONT LINES AND THEY KNOW WHAT WILL WORK.))
[OUT Q=they know what will work.]
Today's vote stipulates that the consolidation plan be stopped until "a study or plan is initiated by a vote of the Board of Supervisors."
Governor Warner says attorney general Jerry Kilgore is moving too fast on the legislative redistricting case.
As we reported last night, a judge in Salem yesterday rejected the Republican plan to redraw House and Senate districts.
Just minutes after the opinion was released, Kilgore said he would appeal it to the state Supreme Court.
Today, Warner said the attorney general should have consulted with him first.
"The Court did not rush to judgment," Warner said, "and neither should the Commonwealth."
The Governor also had economic development on his mind as he paid a visit to one of Bedford County's most successful corporate citizens, Barr Laboratories.
Barr announced today it's spending seven million dollars to nearly double the size of its facility in Forest.
Bedford County is kicking in some financial incentives, and the Governor arrived with a check of his own to help the project along.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I'm pleased]
((GOV. MARK WARNER: I'M PLEASED THAT BARR IS STRENGTHENING ITS COMMITMENT TO THE COMMONWEALTH, AND ALONG WITH TRAINING AND OTHER INCENTIVES, I HAVE APPROVED 200- THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OPPORTUNITY FUND TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS DEAL COULD HAPPEN.))
((BRUCE DOWNEY/BARR LABORATORIES: SO WE THINK WE HAVE BEEN A GOOD INVESTMENT FOR THE COMMUNITY, WE THINK WE HAVE TRIED TO GIVE BACK SOME OF THE GREAT AMBIANCE THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US TO MAKE THIS A GREAT PLACE BOTH FOR OUR COMPANY AND FOR OUR EMPLOYEES.))
[SUPER=01-Gov. Mark Warner; :00]
[SUPER=01-Bruce Downey/Barr Laboratories; :15]
[OUT Q=and for our employees.]
Barr Labs currently employs about 265 people.
The expansion should create another 75 new jobs.
The company manufactures more than 100 different generic medicines at its plant in Forest.
More jobs are on the way to southside Virginia.
A high-tech tobacco company plans to expand its operation in Mecklenburg County.
Star Scientific says it will add about 315 jobs to its manufacturing and processing plant.
The company makes cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products that have lower amounts of toxic chemicals.
State grants totaling 800-thousand dollars will help pay for the expansion.
Halmode Apparel is closing its Roanoke distribution center.
About 200 people will be out of work.
The company says the cost of operating the plant is too high.
The shutdown will start in July and is expected to last several months.
Halmode is owned by the Kellwood Company, a manufacturer of women's clothing.
A sexual harassment case against the Radford Police department has been thrown out of federal court.
Lieutenant Gather Blackburn pled guilty to assaulting a fellow officer. The case grew out of a sexual assault in July of 1999.
The other officer, a female rookie, sued the city, claiming Radford had "maintained a hostile work environment."
She sought one million dollars.
Today Judge Jackson Kiser recognized that the city never investigated the incident. He points out the woman never pressed the issue or indicated she wanted the police department to pursue the matter further.
When lawmakers are in Richmond, so are the lobbyists.
This year, the list included a group of students from Montgomery County with a legislative proposal of their own.
Joe Dashiell has their story...
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=School groups come and go]
[SUPER=03-Richmond/Feb. 21; :00]
[SUPER=01-Naomi Huntington/Auburn 9th Grader; :16]
[SUPER=01-Ryan Bowyer/Auburn 8th Grader; :36]
[OUT Q=JD News 7 Richmond]
((School groups come and go during the General Assembly session, but when a handful of 8th and 9th graders from Montgomery County travelled to the State Capitol in February.... they weren't just observing the legislature they were part of the process.
[SOT NAOMI HUNTINGTON 12:46:19]
[IN Q=We first developed a bill of rights]
((WE FIRST DEVELOPED A BILL OF RIGHTS AND NOW WE'RE BRINGING IT TO THE STATE LEGISLATORS AND TRYING TO GET IT ADOPTED AS POLICY FOR ALL OF VIRGINIA'S STUDENTS.))
[OUT Q=to get it adopted as policy for all of Virginia's students.]
What started as a class project with teacher Tim Baynum, has become a cause for the Auburn Middle and High School Students.
And after taking their bill of rights to the school board, they decided to lobby state lawmakers.
[SOT RYAN BOWYER 12:48:36]
[IN Q=Every student deserves]
((EVERY STUDENT DESERVES CERTAIN RIGHTS. EVERYBODY DESERVES THE RIGHT TO LEARN AND STUDENTS JUST NEED SOMETHING THEY CAN GO ON, AND LIKE NAOMI SAID, SO THEY CAN BECOME BETTER PEOPLE LATER ON.))
[OUT Q=become better people later on.]
The bill of rights won't become law this year... Legislators were polite, but non-commital. Still the students say they learned some valuable lessons.
[IN Q=Do you think you know more about]
((DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. YES IT'S VERY SLOW. THAT'S THE THING WE LEARNED. IT TAKES A LONG TIME, BUT YES WE ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.))
[OUT Q=every minute of it.]
... lessons that will help as they try to rally more support... and return again next year.
Joe Dashiell News 7 Richmond))
Optical Cable's new management and shareholders face off.
More on today's shareholder meeting next on News 7 at Six.
Plus a year long effort pays off...
We'll check out the high-tech addition at one area hospital.
It was a sort of changing of the guard today at Optical Cable Corporation's annual shareholders meeting.
The company's founder is no longer part of its management... and the new blood is left to deal with dozens of lawsuits, and hundreds of angry shareholders.
[***NEWS 7 @ 6 MB GRAPHIC***]
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon & Jennifer/MB SET;]
Business Reporter Jennifer Miele attended the meeting.
So Jen, how was this meeting different from the last one?
[LIVE= Jennifer /FULL MB SET]
Keith, Shannon, for starters, Founder Bob Kopstein himself lead last year's meeting... today it was acting president Neil Wilkin.
Last year, cameras were allowed in, but not this year.
And instead of receiving questions straight from the floor, the company asked shareholders to write their questions down and hand them to company attorneys.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Bob Kopstein]
[SUPER=01-Bart Breumma/Optical Cable Shareholder; :21]
[SUPER=01-Bob Kopstein/Former Optical Cable President; :39]
[SUPER=01-Neil Wilkin/Optical Cable Acting President; 1:00]
[SUPER=01-Ken Harber/Vice-President of Finance; 1:17]
[OUT Q=misses having him around.]
(( Bob Kopstein -- Optical Cable founder -- was just another face in the crowd after today's meeting.
He suffered a number of financial setbacks that affected the company's stock price, and was fired from his position as president.
Shareholders like Bart Breumma traveled all the way from Ohio to question the board about its decision to let Kopstein go.
((BART BREUMMA/OPTICAL CABLE STOCKHOLDER: I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED TO HAVE A QUESTION ANSWER PERIOD WHERE YOU COULD HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF INTERCHANGE WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD.))
Though officials answered numerous questions about the company itself, nothing about Kopstein's removal was mentioned -- and that did not sit well with the former C-E-O.
((ROBERT KOPSTEIN/FORMER OPTICAL CABLE PRESIDENT: THE PEOPLE AT THE COMPANY SHOULD RESPOND TO THOSE THINGS EVEN THOUGH IT MAY BE THINGS THAT I CAN'T RESPOND DIRECTLY TO.))
But the board did not take its decision lightly.
Members say they did what was best for the company in light of a half dozen pending class-action lawsuits and a deflated stock price.
((NEIL WILKIN/ACTING PRESIDENT:I DON'T BLAME BOB. AND I CAN'T SPEAK FOR INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES ... BUT THERE'S NO ANIMOSITY THAT I HAVE TOWARD BOB AT ALL.))
Many of these men worked with Kopstein for the last 16 years building the company -- and they are hopeful he'll accept a consulting position offered to him by Optical Cable.
((KEN HARBER/VP OF FINANCE: BOB WAS A GOOD FRIEND AND I THINK EVERYONE MISSES HAVING HIM AROUND.))
[***NEWS 7 @ 6 MB GRAPHIC***]
[LIVE= Jennifer /FULL MB SET]
If you remember, last year Kopstein centered his plan around forming manufacturing partnerships in China.
This year, Wilkin says the company will focus less on those partnerships and more on sales.
One other note... a Roanoke Judge has given those onboard one of the class action lawsuits 30 additional days to gather complaints against Optical Cable.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon & Jennifer /MB SET;]
Kroger rang up a 350 million dollar profit in the fourth quarter... though that's about five percent less than a year earlier.
Earnings per share were 43 cents for the quarter ending February Second.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates more than 24-hundred supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states.
Wall Street had to settle for a mixed result for a second consecutive session this week.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW gained 21 points.
NASDAQ fell 32.
Due to some computer problems, we can only bring you a partial list of local stocks tonight.
A New River Valley hospital is getting ready to open its new Intensive Care Unit.
Officials at Montgomery Regional Hospital say the three-story addition triples the size of their I-C-U.
Staff work space is increased and the number of patient beds will go from 8 to 10.
Construction took about a year.
Patients will be moved into the unit next Wednesday.
Officials say it boasts state-of-the-art technology.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=WHAT WE CALL]
((REED KENNEDY/MRH CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER; WHAT WE CALL WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY FOR OUR CLINICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM WHEN NURSES AND PHYSICIANS CAN BASICALLY WHEEL A LAP TOP TO THE BEDSIDE AND LOOK AT INFORMATION THEIR ON THE PATIENTS LAB WORK ENTER INFORMATION IN AND THAT DOESN'T HAVEN'T TO PLUG IN ANYWHERE, IT JUST GOES WIRELESS BACK INTO OUR MAIN SYSTEM.))
[SUPER=01-Reed Kennedy/MRH Chief Operating Officer; ]
[OUT Q=OUR MAIN SYSTEM.]
The new ICU occupies the second floor of the addition.
The two other floors will be developed in the future for other patient services.
Officials say the cost of the project is 4.8-million dollars.
A woman from Nebraska has been picked to become the next president of Ferrum College.
Jennifer Braaten is from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Nebraska, where she's been college president since 1999.
When she takes over at Ferrum in mid-July, she'll be Ferrum's 10th President, the Methodist school's first female President.
Doctor Braaten's husband is Senior Pastor of a Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C.
Coming up tonight on the Big 7, the ACC makes waves in the all-America team out tonight and Dixon does it in the ACC.
Plus, Teamer gets another honor -
And Frank Beamer checks in from Danville with the low down on his Hokies with spring ball on the way.
We begin tonight with the announcement of the Associated Press all-American basketball team that was just released this afternoon.
the unanimous pick on the first team is none other than Duke guard Jason Williams.
All 72 voters in the nationwide panel selected Williams to the first team, a place he also landed last year.
He is joined on the first team by Kansas star Drew Gooden, Cincinnati's Steve Logan, Gonzaga's Dan Dickau and Maryland's Juan Dixon.
VMI's Jason Conley - who is the first freshman ever to lead the nation in scoring received honorable mention recognition.
The Maryland Terrapins have made a clean sweep of the top two awards in the ACC.
Yesterday, Gary Williams was named the league's coach of the year and today the Terrapins
[SUPER=03-Charlottsville/This Season; :00]
Juan Dixon was named the ACC's player of the year.
The six foot three inch senior guard who was second in the league in scoring and first in free throws and steals, received 41 of a possible 84 first place votes to beat out Duke Jason Williams who was second.
Dixon is just the fourth player from Maryland to win the ACC's player of the year honor following the footsteps of Joe Smith, Len Bias and Albert King.
He heads into the NCAA tournament this week having scored in double figures in 48 straight games.
We now have the complete list of NCAA games for you for the first two days of the tournament.
Thursday afternoon the Madness begins as
[GO TO PINNACLE 6996]
Kentucky opens the party with Valparaiso - with tipoff set for 12:25pm.
The second game of the afternoon will have Wake Forest against Pepperdine.
[GO TO PINNACLE 6997]
The night session on Thursday night opens with North Dame and Charlotte.
The late game on Thursday night has Duke battling Winthrop just before 10.
[GO TO PINNACLE 6998]
We also now know the Friday games. NC State takes on Michigan State at 12:15.
Then is it's U-Conn and Hampton U in the afternoon.
The night session on Friday has St. John's and Wisconsin with Maryland playing in the nightcap against the winner of tonight's play-in game between Alcorn State and Siena.
While the UVa men had to settle for the NIT and the Tech men have again been reduced to nothing more than spectators this postseason - one former Hokie is dancing.
Rolan Roberts, who made more headlines for his off-the-court antics in Blacksburg than he did for his play in the Cassell, is now a key member of the Southern Illinois Salukis.
As a senior transfer this season Roberts has helped lead Southern Illinois to a 26-and-7 record.
He is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds a game while shooting 61 percent from the floor.
The 11th seeded Salukis play Bobby Knight and Texas Tech Friday in Chicago.
[GO TO ENG#!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/This Season; :00]
On the women's court the Richmond Times has named all-state basketball team for women's division one college players and a freshman, UVa's Brandi Teamer is not only on the all-state team, but the Illinois native also is the state's player of the year.
Teamer helped lead UVa to its 19th straight NCAA tournament appearance this year.
Her coach Debbie Ryan is the coach of the year.
Tech's Ieva Kublina also earned a spot on the all-state team.
The Virginia Tech football team begins it's spring season next Saturday March 23rd. Coach Frank Beamer and his staff have been up before six AM each day this week putting the Hokies through conditioning.
[SUPER=03-Danville/Last Night; :00]
One could understand if coach Beamer was tired last night when he spoke to the Danville Boys and girls club at Averett College.
But Beamer is enthusiastic about his Hokies. Senior Running back Keith Burnell has agreed to move from offense to defense due to a large stable of running backs which includes the now healthy Lee Suggs.
One likely spot for Burnell is the rover position vacated by Kevin McCadam.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Virginia Tech Head Football Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=....how that goes right now"]
Tech graduated a good portion of it's defense so much of the load for this season looks as if it will fall on the offense. Kevin Jones was the Big east rookie of the years and Suggs is back as strong as ever from his 2001 knee injury.
(///// SOT /////)
[OUT Q=......in our program"]