A Blacksburg municipal building is evacuated.
Details, straight ahead.
And a major lawsuit is filed against Wal-Mart.
Employees say the retail giant made them work overtime WITHOUT pay.
Another warm humid day across the region with a better chance for a few afternoon thunderstorms...I'll have your hometown forecast.....
News 7 at Noon starts right now...
[SUPER=#4054; News 7 Headline Banner]
A release of gas fumes forced an evacuation of the Blacksburg municipal building this morning...
Around 9:30...a small gas valve built up to much pressure and blew a door off in the building's chemical room.
About 100-people from inside were asked to evacuate and wait across the street as a precaution.
Gas service was shut down to the building while crews searched for the leak.
It was found, repaired and normal business resumed in about half an hour.
There was no fire or injuries.
Franklin County's retiring superintendent will leave his mark on the school system .... LITERALLY.
Leonard Gereau now has a school named after him.
County officials unveiled the LEONARD A. GEREAU Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration at a farewell party today.
They renamed the center to honor to the 18-year superintendent, who was instrumental in building it.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 23:06:06 - :21]
[IN Q=What I'm most proud of]
((LEONARD GEREAU/RETIRING SUPERINTENDENT: WHAT I'M MOST PROUD OF IS THE ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL OF OUR STUDENTS. TO FIND OUT THIS WEEK THAT 13 OF 15 OF OUR SCHOOLS GOT FULLY ACCREDITED FROM OUR STATE IS PROBABLY THE BEST SEND-OFF I COULD HAVE.))
[SUPER=01-Leonard Gereau/Retiring Superintendent;]
[OUT Q=send-off I could have.]
Gereau left a job as a Commissioner of Education in New York to take the superintendent's job in 1984.
He says he plans to spend more time with his wife and son at their Smith Mountain Lake home and do some consulting.
In the Middle East, there are conflicting reports about whether Yasser Arafat intends to run for re- election when Palestinians head to the polls in January.
[SUPER=03-Jericho, West Bank;]
A member of his Cabinet says Arafat WILL run, despite calls
from President Bush for new Palestinian leadership.
But another senior official says such talk is premature.
President Bush has called for an overhaul of the Palestinian
He says it's necessary in order to establish a Palestinian state.
Sid Clower is finished as Henry County's administrator and head of the public service authority...
Last night members of the Henry County Public Service Authority voted unanimously to terminate Clower as head of the county's water authority.
The agency also plans to sue him to recover missing money.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 15:23:38 tape 1]
[IN Q= I know he]
((BILL ADKINS/ HENRY CO. PSA VICE-CHAIRMAN: I KNOW HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST ADMINISTRATORS THAT THIS COUNTY HAS EVER HAD LEAVING OUT THIS ONE INSTANCE AND HE HAD A COMPASSIONATE HEAR FOR PEOPLE AND HE TURNED DOWN RAISES HE TOOK A TEN PERCENT CUT BUT OF COURSE HE COULD AFFORD IT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.))
[SUPER=01-Bill Adkins/Henry Co. PSA Vice-Chairman;]
[OUT Q=under the circumstances]
County spokesman Tim Hall says Clower was questioned several times about invoices-- but says Clower always had an answer and they believed him.
[sot 15:27:59 tape 1]
[IN Q= The invoices]
((TIM HALL/ HENRY CO. SPOKESMAN: THE INVOICES FOR THIS ACCOUNT WENT DIRECTLY TO SID, I CAN GUARANTEE YOU THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.))
[SUPER=01-Tim Hall/Henry Co. Spokesman;]
[out q= not happen again]
Clower is ALSO out as Henry County Administrator.
The Supervisors voted to fire Clower after the P-S-A made ITS decision.
[GRAPHIC=Legal Scales ]
Hundreds of thousands of former and current Wal-Mart employees are taking legal action against the retail chain.
They're accusing the company of forcing them to work overtime without pay.
Mark Strassman has details.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Atlanta, GA; :09]
[SUPER=01-Mary King/Wal-Mart Employee; :17]
[SUPER=01-Jameel Ragland/Former Wal-Mart Employee; :32]
[SUPER=01-Mark Strassman/CBS News; 1:07]
[SUPER=01-John Ruff/Plaintiff's Attorney; 1:44]
[OUT Q=Strassman, CBS News, Atlanta.]
'GIVE ME A 'W', GIVE ME AN 'A..."
At Wal-Mart -- so proud of its FAMILY spirit -- Mary and Larry King
found a bargain wedding.
They were married inside the Wal-mart store where they worked-- and
A year later, she's suing her company.
SUPER: Mary King - Wal-mart Employee
"IT'S NOT FAIR TO HAVE SOMEONE DO THIS. YOU SAY DON'T WORK OVER
FORTY HOURS. BUT WHEN I CLOCK OUT, YOU STILL WANT ME TO WORK."
Thousands of Wal-mart employees now complain managers routinely
encouraged them -- even pressured them -- to work off-the-clock.
SUPER: Jameel Ragland - Former Wal-mart Employee
"IT FELT LIKE I WAS BEING DONE WRONG. AND IF I TOLD THEM, I FELT
LIKE I WOULD LOSE MY JOB."
In twenty-eight states, current and former employees are suing
Wal-mart, for what amounts to back-pay. That could amount to HUNDREDS of
millions of dollars.
Wal-mart is the WORLD's largest retailer. These employees say the
real taboo was ANY overtime -- even if that meant missed breaks,
employees clocking out early, or altered timecards.
(STANDUP) (Mark Strassmann Standup)
"IN A HALF-DOZEN STATES, EMPLOYEES ALLEGE THAT AFTER CLOSING TIME,
AND AFTER THEY HAD 'CLOCKED OUT,' MANAGERS WOULD LOCK THE FRONT DOORS TO
KEEP THEM FROM LEAVING, UNTIL EVERYTHING WAS STRAIGHTENED UP FOR THE
"DID YOU FEEL TRAPPED?" 'YES. THERE'S NO WAY OUT WHEN THOSE DOORS
In a written statement, a Wal-mart spokesman said...
"We strongly deny the allegations ... Our policy is to compensate
our associates fully and fairly ... It is specifically against our
policy for any associate to work without compensation or 'off the clock."
But the issue is the company's PRACTICES.
SUPER: John Ruff - Plaintiffs' Lawyer
"WALMART HAS A POLICY THAT IT WANTS TO PAY ITS EMPLOYEES FOR ALL THE
WORK THEY DO. BUT THAT POLICY DOESN'T REALLY HAVE ANY CONSEQUENCES WHEN
If this was a family of employees ....
"IT'S NOT FAMILY ANYMORE. IT'S BUSINESS, IT'S ALL BUSINESS."
... this family feud is about money -- and appears headed for court.
Mark Strassmann CBS News, Atlanta.
Grammy- winner R- Kelly says he's innocent of child pornography charges.
The R-and-B star entered the plea this morning in a Chicago courtoom to all 21 counts against him.
He's accused of appearing on a videotape that prosecutors say
shows him having sex with an underage girl.
Kelly's due back in court again August seventh.
In the meantime, he remains free on 75-thousand dollars bail.
Police are "ale-ing" to find whom ever is responsible for a robbery Monday night.
Officers say someone stole four kegs of beer from Roanoke nightspot Corned Beef and Company.
They believe the thieves broke into a locked outdoor walk-in cooler Monday night.
Roanoke County dispatchers also received an anonymous phone call from a pay phone yesterday morning, stating that the kegs were being stolen.
Police would like to speak with whomever made that call.
((TOSS TO LEO))
[SS=NONE]LEO IN WX-CENTER
[SS=NONE]LEO TOSS BACK
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Still to come -
WorldCom's bombshell announcement sends Wall Street in a downward spiral...
And many people fear amusement parks may be on a fast track for disaster. We'll have that story and more coming up after the break.
[music up full]
For the first time since October, the Dow fell below nine- thousand this morning.
The stock market is apparently responding to news about the corporate scandal involving WorldCom.
The telecom giant disguised nearly four- billion dollars in expenses last year.
One analyst says WorldCom is now taking a major step toward bankruptcy.
The company plans to lay off 17- thousand workers, beginning Friday.
The WorldCom story appears to be pushing today's Federal Reserve meeting into the background.
The Fed is expected to release a statement about interest rates later this afternoon.
On Wall Street at Noon,
, the Dow was down 126 points. Nasdaq lost 11 points.
Optical Cable corporation has announced it will settle a federal securities lawsuit filed by shareholders against the company and its former CEO Bob Kopstein.
Under the settlement, Optical Cable shareholders would receive additional securities and possibly cash to help offest their losses.
The settlement still must be approved by the court.
Optical Cable stock plummeted in value when former C-E-O Kopstein was forced to sell most of his shares to cover stock trading losses.
A source says the nation's sixth largest cable T-V company is in the process of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Alephia Communications has been scrambling to sell assets-
Adelphia provides cable service to a number of area communities.
75- years ago today, the famous Cyclone roller-coaster opened in Coney Island, New York.
At the time, it was the ultimate thrill ride.
But now, roller coasters go higher and faster than ever.
And some worry they're not safe.
Tracy Smith takes a look.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-New York, NY; :00]
[SUPER=01-Tracy Smith/CBS News; :16]
[SUPER=01-John Graff/Amusement Industry Representative; 1:04]
[SUPER=01-Kathy Fackler/Mother of Injured Child; 1:21]
[OUT Q=Smith, CBS News.]
IT'S BECOME A QUINTESSENTIAL SOUND OF SUMMER: BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS
COMING FROM PEOPLE HAVING THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES.
THE ROLLER COASTER RACE BEGAN IN THE 20'S--WHEN THE CONEY ISLAND CYCLONE
WAS THE MOST FEARED RIDE IN THE LAND.
(SOT TAPE 8 143506)
(TRACY STANDUP: at 75 years old, this is the granddaddy of coasters. it
may be lower and slower than the new ones.. but it still feels just as
THE WOOD-FRAMED CYCLONE COULD HIT 60 MILES AN HOUR.. AND --AS LONG AS
YOU DIDN'T STAND UP OR JUMP OUT--DANGER WAS JUST AN ILLUSION.
(girls screaming on coaster)
BUT NOW, NEW CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES HAVE ALLOWED ENGINEERS TO BUILD
RIDES THAT ARE HIGHER, STRONGER AND FASTER.
(cedar point millenium pov)
THE RESULT: A HIGH SPEED RIDE THAT LOOKS DANGEROUS.. AND FEELS LIKE A
(girl screaming on millenium)
NEWER MACHINES CAN PULL AND TWIST RIDERS THROUGH A HELICAL TRACK.. OR
BLAST THEM STRAIGHT UP.. BEFORE A HIGH-VELOCITY PLUNGE.. BACKWARDS.
CRITICS SAY THE VIOLENT MOVEMENTS CAN LEAD TO HEAD INJURY.
RIDE OPERATORS SAY FEW ACTIVITES ARE AS SAFE.
(INDUSTRY SPOKESMAN: the outstanding safety record of the industry is
the best evidence of the fact that that we're doing an outstanding job
(kathy fackler with son)
BUT ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN: CATHY FACKLER'S SON LOST HALF OF HIS FOOT ON A
ROLLER COASTER-TYPE RIDE IN 19-98. SHE SAYS AMUSEMENT PARKS SHOULD COME
UNDER FEDERAL OVERSIGHT.
(FACKLER: i would also like to see regulators at either the state or
the federal level be empowered to go out and investigate serious
(colossus magic mountain sequence)
THE INDUSTRY SAYS THE CHANCE OF ACTUALLY GETTING HURT ON ANY RIDE IS
ABOUT ONE IN 23 MILLION.. MEANING YOU'RE MORE LIKELY TO LOSE YOUR LUNCH
THAN YOUR LIFE.
(twist turn and drop shot)
AND THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THE EFFECTS--IF ANY--FROM RIDING HIGH SPEED
COASTERS. THE BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION IS LOOKING AT THE ISSUE.. BUT
MEMBERS SAY THEY STILL HAVEN'T FOUND DEFINITIVE EVIDENCE THAT ROLLER
COASTER RIDING IS A HEFTY RISK .. INSTEAD OF A HARMLESS RUSH.
(FOR THE EARLY SHOW, TS, CBS NEWS)
[SOFT MUSIC UNDER]
The NBA is preparing for tonight's draft ...
Firefighters in Arizona are optimistic as they get a small grip on the raging wildfires.
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #2]
Firefighters battling the blaze in Arizona now have a small percentage of it contained.
But there's a chance today of dry thunderstorms-- which produce lightning, but no rain.
Chris Lawrence explains how that could affect firefighting efforts.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Show Low, AZ;]
[SUPER=01-Jim Paxon/Fire Information Officer; :08]
[SUPER=01-Brian Quinteo/Forest Service; :46]
[OUT Q=Lawrence, CBS News, Show Low, AZ.]
Narr: The Arizona wild fire has burned down homes, and beat back crews.
But Wednesday morning firefighters pushed back.
SOT: Jim Paxon/Fire Information Officer.
(scoreboard...5 percent contained.)
Narr: Not much but after week of losing ground, crews are beginning to
make it up.
Nat sot fire/crews.
Narr: But there's a 30% chance of lightning today. One strike here or
there and crews are back to where they started.
Nat Sot: (mother nature is still in control)
Narr: Overnight crews continued to build fire breaks...which helped keep
the fire from burning into Show Low.
BRIDGE: Chris Lawrence Reporting.
the FIRE HAD BEEN QUICKLY ADVANCING FROM THE south SO CREWS STARTED
THEIR OWN FIRE, BURNED THIS ARE OF GROUND AND CUT OFF THE FIRE'S FUEL.
Nat sot break.
Narr: The dangerous part...if the fire jumps the line to the other side
of the road.
sot: Brian Quinteo/Forest Service.
(then of course crews have the potential to be entrapped between the
advancing fire front and the fire that's spotted spotted behind them)
Narr: Long term Arizona will be living with the effects of this fire for
100 years or more. That's how long it could take for the land to
recover. And residents who built their lives around this patch of forest
can only wonder if their homes are still standing.
STANDUP TO COME.
[SPORTS MUSIC UNDER]
Coming up next in sports- thousands of athletes from all over the state are heading to the valley next month... we'll tell you why...
Plus- we'll see how one Express hockey player spends his time off the ice...
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #3]
The N-B-A draft is set for tonight-- but there was some last minute wheeling and dealing...
Former U-V-A player Courtney Alexander, who this past season played alongside Michael Jordan with the Wizards, was traded last night from Washington to the new New Orleans Hornets.
The Hornets, in return, will give the Wizards the 17-th pick in the first round tonight.
The Wizards also have the 11-th pick in the first round.
Roanoke Express veteran goalie Daniel Berthiaume has two passions in life, hockey and fishing.
He's now made a professional career out of both.
Steve Mason tells us how the veteran goalie is making "net" gains on the ice and on the water.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Daniel Berthiaume/Captain Bert's Owner; :30]
[SUPER=01-Mike Peron/Express Center; 1:19]
[OUT Q=..News 7 sports']
((His passion for fishing often brings him out onto Smith Mountain Lake when the early morning fog and sun are all that's moving. Berthiaume earned his captain's license and now takes anyone person fishing for striper around the 22 thousand acre lake for about five hours for 165 dollars, 190 bucks for two people for a half day. A a full day cost a fishing novice 215 bucks.
There are other benefits to a Captain Bert's charter, especially if you are a hockey fan who wants to talk about the NHL or ECHL when they aren't biting.
This professional fishing guide who is licensed by the U.S. coast guard, knows all the good spots and his charters are reaping the rewards.
Berthiaume is a free agent who hopes to play one more season for the Express and then retire. He has yet to net a contract. Steve Mason news 7 sports.))
The Washington Capitals got rid of their head coach after a disappointing season...
Veteran Ron Wilson was replaced yesterday by Bruce Cassidy.
He's 37 - the second youngest coach in the N-H-L.
He played in the league 10 years- but he has never coached a day in the N-H-L.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I DIDN'T...]
[SUPER=01-Bruce Cassidy/New Capitals Head Coach;:00]
[OUT Q=...QUITE A BIT."]
Roanoke is getting ready for the Commonwealth Games of Virginia next month...
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :00]
The 13-th annual games are set to kickoff July 19-th.
Yesterday, organizers said that while 19- hundred men and women are currently signed up to compete - they are expecting over 10- thousand athletes to take part in 45 sports.
The competition will be spread out over the valley at 80- different venues.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=WE HAVE...]
[SUPER=01-Pete Lampman/Virginia Amateur Sports President; :00]
[OUT Q=...down here to compete."]
Lampman also confirmed that Olympic Gold medal winner heavyweight Rulon Gardner will be the guest speaker for the opening ceremonies on Friday July 19-th.
FINAL LOOK AT THE WEATHER
SUPER=X4031; Fax/Copyright Noon/Weekends
[SUPER=X4030; e-Mail/Copyright Noon/Weekends]