Ahead on NEWS 7 at six...
It's the end of the season for the Roanoke Steam-- but is the clock winding down for the future of the team?
Justin McLeod takes a look at the Steam's future.
Plus, the latest on the woman who plunged nearly 70- feet from the top of a Giles County waterfall.
In sports, the British Open needs extra holes to decide the outcome, Lance Armstrong pads his lead in France, and
the Commonwealth Games are in their final day. We'll check in on a team of Roanoke College Maroons, who hope that playing in the tournament will add up to success down the road.
Hazy sunshine and hot tempertatures made up the weather for your Sunday. A few pop-up showers in the mountains are cooling things off. I'll let you know what's in-store for your workweek coming up in the forecast.
[IN Q=We left a bad taste]
((ED JENKINS/STEAM GENERAL MANAGER: WE LEFT A BAD TASTE IN A LOT OF PEOPLE'S MOUTH BUT I THINK THAT WAS BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL PROBLEMS THAT WAS OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE FRONT OFFICE.))
[OUT Q=the front office]
Some fear Roanoke's professional football team has run out of steam.
Good evening, I'm Teresa Hamilton.
The Roanoke Steam played its last game of the season this weekend, and quite possibly its final game ever.
A lack of ownership caused numerous problems for the team this season leading some to speculate the team will not be back next year.
Justin McLeod has more on the team's future.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Nat sound of fans walking through the gate]
[SUPER=01-Marc Pr'Out/Steam Fan; :11]
[SUPER=01-Ed Jenkins/Team General Manager; :23 (QUICK)]
[SUPER=01-Matt Eres/Arenafootball2 League Official; :43]
[SUPER=01-Richie Ingram/Steam Fan; 1:24]
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Roanoke]
((((NAT SOUND OF FANS WALKING THROUGH THE GATE; TAPE 1 21:32))
As the fans walked through the gate (QUICK NAT SOUND OF THE GAME) and the team took the field, many wondered if the game is over for the Roanoke Steam.
[IN Q=What would it be like]
((MARC PR'OUT/STEAM FAN: WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE NOT TO HAVE THEM AROUND? I THINK IT WOULD GET PRETTY DULL REALLY.))
[OUT Q=dull, really]
And that is a real possibility according to team officials.
[IN Q=What are the chances]
((ED JENKINS/TEAM GENERAL MANAGER: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THE STEAM WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR? I THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN 50/50. RIGHT NOW WE'RE TALKING TO A LOCAL INVESTOR WHO IS VERY SERIOUS ABOUT KEEPING THE TEAM IN ROANOKE.))
[OUT Q=team in Roanoke]
((NAT SOUND OF THE GAME))
The Roanoke Steam has been around for three seasons.
It was run by a local group until May when the owners filed for bankruptcy.
The arena football-2 league then came in and took over the team.
[IN Q=I think the biggest]
((MATT ERES/ARENAFOOTBALL2 LEAGUE: I THINK THE BIGGEST THING IS THAT IT NEEDS TO BE A LOCAL GROUP THAT COMES IN HERE TO RUN THE TEAM. THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO KNOW THAT THE TEAM IS HERE TO STAY.))
[OUT Q=here to stay]
The league would like to have those new owners in place by the end of the summer.
[IN Q=Part of the problem]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: PART OF THE PROBLEM IS ALSO A LACK OF FANS. THE STEAM RANKS NEXT TO LAST IN THE LEAGUE FOR HOME ATTENDANCE, AVERAGING JUST UNDER TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE PER GAME.))
[OUT Q=people per game]
((QUICK NAT SOUND OF FANS CHEERING))
That is down from a high of just more than three thousand fans per game two years ago.
This season, overall attendance is up nearly twenty five percent but down significantly since the teams ownership problems came to light.
((NAT SOUND OF DRUM PLAYING; TAPE 1 24:26))
Loyal fans hope to drum up support by word of mouth.
[IN Q=I'm trying to get people]
((RICHIE INGRAM/STEAM FAN: I'M TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO COME HERE FROM THE ROANOKE ALTHLETIC CLUB. A LOT OF PEOPLE I'VE WORK WITH AT PITT OHIO, TRYING TO GET PEOPLE DOWN HERE. I DON'T THINK THEY REALIZE WHAT THEY'RE MISSING.))
[OUT Q=they're missing]
And unless an owner is found quickly, they may be missing it for good.
Justin McLeod, News 7, Roanoke.))
The city of Roanoke is poised to break a record this week, with a new low at Carvins Cove.
Today, the level of the city's main reservoir stood at 29- point- one feet below the spillway. That's just one tenth of a foot from the historic low recorded in the summer of 1999.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Any time you set a new record]
((MIKE MCEVOY: ANY TIME YOU SET A NEW RECORD THERE'S ALWAYS SOME SIGNIFICANCE IN THAT. AND I THINK IN THE FUTURE YEARS, HOPEFULLY THAT WILL BE OUR NEW RECORD AND WE WON'T SEE ANYTHING LOWER THAN THAT.))
[SUPER=01-Mike McEvoy/Roanoke City Utilities Dir.;]
[OUT Q=won't see anything lower than that.]
The next ten days will also bring some progress in the city's efforts to supplement its water supply. A temporary filter system at Crystal Spring, and a new well in southeast Roanoke should add about five million gallons a day by the end of the month.
Stage Four of the city's water conservation plan kicks in when the level of Carvins Cove hits thirty feet below the spillway.... but right now officials say they are NOT planning any tougher restrictions when the water falls below that level.
Mayor Ralph Smith says the city is doing everything it can to make sure the water crisis is gone by next summer.
The Mayor plans to discuss the problem and possible solutions in his "state of the city address" this week.
Smith says it is important to look to the future and not point fingers as to what happened in the past.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=You have to realize]
((RALPH SMITH/ROANOKE MAYOR: YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THEY DIDN'T SEE THE HISTORY, YOU CAN'T SEE AROUND THAT. IT'S THEIR BEST JUDGMENT. WAS IT FULLY THOUGHT OUT? WELL, YOU CAN DEBATE THAT BUT WITH THE FACTS THAT THEY HAD AT THOSE TIMES IT'S REALLY HARD TO ANALYZE THOSE NUMBERS TO CRITICIZE THOSE BEFORE ME.))
[OUT Q=those before me]
The mayor will deliver his state of the city address at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday morning.
The Smith Mountain Lake region also continues to feel the effects of the drought.
[SUPER=03-Smith Mt. Lake]
The lake is currently nearly three feet below full pond.
Due to the on-going drought, American Electric Power has requested several variances this year to decrease the amount of water released from its Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project.
A-E-P says lake levels are continuing to decrease under the variance-- but at a slower rate.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We're required by law]
((TODD BURNS/AEP SPOKESPERSON: WE ARE REQUIRED TO BY LAW TO RELEASE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF WATER. THAT'S NORMALLY 650 CUBIC FEET PER SECOND. WE'VE ASKED TO REDUCE THAT AMOUNT TO 450 CUBIC FEET PER SECOND AND THAT REQUEST WAS GRANTED. SO MOST DAYS OUT OF THE WEEK WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SATURDAY WHEN WE TIME THINGS TO ALLOW A LITTLE MORE WATER DOWN STREAM WE'RE RELEASING LESS WATER THAN WE NORMALLY DO FROM SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE.))
[SUPER=01-Todd Burns/AEP Spokesperson]
[OUT Q=from Smith Mountain Lake]
The current variance expires at the end of the month.
A-E-P says it plans to ask Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality to extend the variance.
[TAPE#=02-23 tc 48:20]
Crews working to relocate downtown Grundy unearthed a bit of a surprise
They were carving out a mountainside shelf when they found coal.
A spokesman for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers says a subcontractor has already removed about three thousand tons of coal.
That's about 75-thousand dollars worth - and he expects to find more before the project is finished.
The 12-inch seam is far too small to justify a coal mine...and that's just fine with the corps.
Devastating floods have nearly swept Grundy away several times...
So after years of planning - local, state and federal officials decided the best solution was to leave the (Luh-VYE-suh) Levisa Fork River where it is and move part of the town to higher ground.
Authorities today released the name and condition of the woman who fell nearly 70- feet from the top of a waterfall at the Cascades.
[SUPER=03-Giles Co./Friday; ]
31- year old Joyce Thompson of Peterstown, West Virginia is in extremely critical condition with head trauma and internal injuries.
Officials say Thompson was at the Cascades in Giles County with her two young daughters and cousin when she fell Friday afternoon.
Rescue crews and National Forest personnel had to use four-wheelers to carry Thompson two and a half miles to a waiting ambulance.
Thompson is being treated at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Still ahead on News 7 at 6, a piece of historical art is the center of controversy in Richmond...
and a local biker organization drives home the idea of helping others. More on that in just a few minutes, but first, let's check in with Brent in the WeatherCenter... on this hot and humid Sunday afternoon.
A 24-hundred year old relic is raising some modern day concerns for Virginia's largest art museum.
The legal ownership of this Egyptian artifact in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond is under question.
An Egyptian government official says the piece is stolen and they want it back.
The five-foot-long granite relief has been in the museum's collection since 1963.
Museum officials say they're mystified by Egypt's claim.
And that they have no evidence the artifact was stolen.
[IN Q=WE HAVE NO PROOF AT THIS POINT]
((Kathleen Schrader/VA Museum of Fine Arts: WE HAVE NO PROOF AT THIS POINT THAT WOULD INDICATE THAT THIS PIECE WAS ILLEGALLY EXPORTED FROM EGYPT AND I GUESS I'M JUST GONNA CONSIDER IT INNOCENT UNTIL ITS PROVEN GUILTY.))
[SUPER=01-Kathleen Schrader/VA Museum of Fine Arts]
[OUT Q=UNTIL ITS PROVEN GUILTY.]
Museum officials say they will return the artifact if Egypt proves it is stolen.
Some area bikers revved up support today for one area food bank.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=NAT SOUND OF MOTORCYCLE REVVING UP]
The Star City ABATE organization has been collecting food at various locations for the last several weeks.
Today, more than thirty bikers collected that food and delivered it the Southwestern Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 1:10:19; 1:00:22]
[IN Q=It's obvious that a lot]
((JOE NASH/ORGANIZER: IT'S OBVIOUS THAT A LOT THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT COME HERE AND GET FOOD. I THINK OVER A THOUSAND ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN GETTING THE FOOD BANK AND WE FIGURED IT WOULD BE SOMETHING GOOD FOR US TO GET INVOLVED IN.))
((KITTY TABOR/SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK: RIGHT NOW IN THE FOOD WE HAVE A LOT SNACKS AND SODA AND WE NEED CANNED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AND SOUPS AND WHATEVER NON-PERISHABLE FOODS THAT CAN COME HERE.))
[SUPER=01-Joe Nash/Organizer; :00]
[SUPER=01-Kitty Tabor/Second Harvest Food Bank; ]
[OUT Q=can come here]
The bikers collected more than 500 pounds of food.
They planned to hold a similar drive around Thanksgiving.
Still to come on News 7 at 6, after a playoff, Ernie Els winds up with a win the British Open. Travis Wells will have highlights in sports...
and we'll meet a local husband and wife who are a hit with the Salem Avalanche. Stay with us, we'll have that and more coming up.
[TAPE#=Profile #5 tc 1:54:28]
They are some of the biggest sports fans in our area, and some say they're a big reason behind the success of the Salem Avalanche.
They're not the coaches or even the players-- but a couple from Roanoke.
Justin McLeod has more in this week's Virginia Profile.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Nats-C'mon hit the ball,]
[SUPER=01-Libby Sprenger/Avalanche Fan; :23]
[SUPER=01-Paul Sprenger/Avalanche Fan; :34]
[SUPER=01-Stan Macko/Avalanche General Manager; :52]
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Salem]
((NAT SOUND OF LIBBY YELLING HIT THE BALL; 1:13:14))
If you've ever been to a Salem Avalanche game you most likely have seen this couple.
They're Paul and Libby Springer.
[IN Q=We just love the]
((PAUL SPRENGER/AVALANCHE FAN: WE JUST LOVE THE GAME.))
[OUT Q=love the game]
It is a love that is several years strong.
The Sprenger's come to as many home games as they can always sitting in the same two seats on third base line.
[IN Q=Cause its cooler]
((LIBBY SPRENGER: CAUSE IT'S COOLER AND I CAN SEE WHO COMES AND GOES (LAUGH).))
[OUT Q=comes and goes]
As the story goes, Paul would rather sit in the box seats closer to the field but there's just one problem.
[IN Q=She's the one in charge]
((PAUL SPRENGER: SHE'S THE ONE IN CHARGE, RIGHT? RIGHT RIGHT. AND ANY HUSBAND WHO DOESN'T SAY THAT THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG UP HERE (LAUGH).))
[OUT Q=wrong up here]
Joking aside, it is no laughing matter when it comes to the game.
((QUICK NAT SOUND OF LIBBY TALKING TO STAN))
They often tell management exactly how they feel.
[IN Q=She's very nice]
((STAN MACKO/AVALANCHE GENERAL MANAGER: SHE'S VERY NICE TO US, ALWAYS COMPLIMENTING US. HE GIVES US A HARD TIME AND WHEN HE GIVES US A HARD TIME, SHE YELLS AT HIM SO ITS ALL FUN.))
[OUT Q=it's all fun]
It is fun that continues off the field.
During the season, Libby often stops by with fried chicken and apple sauce cake for team officials.
[IN Q=Stan don't like]
((LIBBY SPRENGER: STAN DON'T LIKE NUTS IN HIS SO I HAD TO JUST PUT COCONUT. REPORTER: YOU KNOW WHAT STAN LIKES? OH YES, VERY MUCH. I SURE DO.))
[OUT Q=I sure do]
It is a friendship that is needed now more than ever.
[IN Q=The Sprenger's haven't]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: THE SPRENGER'S HAVEN'T MISSED A HOME GAME IN NEARLY FIVE YEARS. THAT UNTIL THIS SEASON, NOT BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO BUT BECAUSE THEY HAD TO. YOU SEE PAUL FOUND OUT IN APRIL HE HAS CANCER LEAVING HIM TOO WEAK TO COME OUT TO THE GAMES.))
[OUT Q=to the games]
((NAT SOUND OF THE GAME))
Even when they are not at the ball park, the Sprenger's still follow the team on the radio.
They made a pact long ago, one doesn't go without the other.
[IN Q=Last night my back ]
((LIBBY SPRENGER: LAST NIGHT MY BACK WAS HURTING REAL BAD AND I COULDN'T GO BUT I TOLD HIM TO COME ON AND HE SAID YOU KNOW I'M NOT COMING UNLESS YOU'RE COMING.))
[OUT Q=unless you're coming]
They hope to be coming to more games in the future.
Paul's cancer is now in remission.
And the Sprenger's have more to celebrate, this year marks their 58th wedding anniversary.
It is a bond (SHOT OF HOLDING HANDS) that reinforces the phrase, "for the love of the game."
Justin McLeod, News 7, Salem.))
Coming up in sports, racing from New Hampshire, the Commonwealth games roll on and
Ernie Els wins his first claret jug at the 131st British Open.
Ernie Els has twice been the runner-up to Tiger Woods in a major championship. Today, the man known as the Big Easy won his third major and Woods was nowhere to be found.
[SUPER=03-Gullane, Scotland/ABC Sports; :00]
Els's first British Open win didn't come easily though. Els squandered a three shot lead on the back side at Muirfield, but finished with a birdie and a par to force the first four way playoff in the history of major championships.
Thomas Levet, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington also joined the party. Ekington dropped out after missing a par putt at 18, the fourth playoff hole. As for Appleby, his chances died when he hit his approach way right into the bunker.
He couldn't get up and down and made bogey.
That left Els and Levet to play 18 again. Els found the bunker on his approach, but he likes the beach. With the awkward stance, he puts it to within about 4 and a half feet. Levet then tries to run home a long par putt, but just slides it by the cup. Ernie Els nails his putt and claims the British Open for the first time.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Ernie Els/Third Career Major Victory; :05]
[OUT Q=didn't win this."]
With new pavement in the corners to add another racing groove, passing was supposed to be a little easier at the New Hampshire International Speedway in today's New England 300.
[SUPER=03-Loudon, NH/TNT; :00]
The new surface caused all kinds of havoc today. A New Hampshire record 15 cautions flew this afternoon, including one right here at lap 74 when John Andretti and Casey Atwood get together on the front stretch.
Then late in the race, Dale Earnhardt, Junior who had been among the front runners, gets into a scrape with Todd Bodine. Little E finished 23rd.
Matt Kenseth had a dominant car most of the day, but Ward Burton slips past Kenseth with just ten laps to go. Burton puts the hammer down to win for the second time this season, but first since the Daytona 500.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Ward Burton/2nd Win this Season; :00]
[OUT Q=all day today."]
Elliott Sadler finished 10th while Stacy Compton came home 30th today.
Teams from various areas across the state are competing in the Commonwealth basketball Games tournament. Roanoke College is one of them and Steve Mason tells us how the tournament is all part of a bigger goal for the Maroons.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Nate Stewart/Maroons Senior Center; :18]
[SUPER=01-Robby Pridgen/Maroons Shooting Guard; :43]
[SUPER=01-Bryan Fasnacht/Maroons Point Guard; :53]
[SUPER=01-Josh Foster/Maroons Senior Guard; 1:23]
[OUT Q=....News 7 sports"]
((Robby Pridgen and his fellow Maroons had a lot to smile about after their first round 87-41 Commonwealth games slaughter rule win. Four Roanoke College players on this commonwealth games team will suit up for the Maroons next season and fun is the name of the game.
((ROBBY PRIDGEN/MAROONS SHOOTING GUARD:))
((BRIAN FASNACHT/MAROONS POINT GUARD:))
By any other team's standards, two conference tournament titles over the last six seasons is excellent, but for Page Moir and a Roanoke program that has a league leading 10 titles, it is not good enough.
The Maroons begin pursuit of an 11th ODAC men's basketball championship this October. Steve Mason news 7 sports.))[S
The Atlanta Braves are threatening to make a mockery of the N-L East race, entering today's game in Philadelphia with a 13 game lead over the Mets.
[SUPER=03-Philadelphia, PA/TBS; :00]
This afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love, Gary Sheffield had no love for Philly starter Randy Wolf. Sheff cranked his 18th homer of the season over the wall in left and the Braves led it 1-nothing in the first.
Kevin Millwood went 8 strong innings for the Bravos today. He struck out 6 and allowed just four hits as Atlanta (------------)
keeps rolling, beating Philadelphia 2 to 1.