Governor Mark Warner travels to three western Virginia cities today, including a stop at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke.
Warner will promote the agenda he laid out last night in his State of the Commonwealth address.
He plans to conduct a roundtable discussion on the state budget and his priorities for the this year's legislative session.
In his address last night, the governor told lawmakers that the state has faced the most serious fiscal crisis in modern history.
Richmond Bureau chief Meghan Muldoon more on his speech and reaction to it.
[IN Q=Lawmakers gave]
[OUT Q=MM, News 7 Richmond.]
(( Lawmakers gave Governor Warner a warm welcome as he asked them to tackle the state's multi- billion dollar shortfall through sweeping reforms in state government.
[IN Q=WE HAVE A UNIQUE]
[OUT Q=SQUANDER IT.]
Warner presented an upbeat outlook for Virginia's budget problems which seemed to puzzle even fellow Democrats.
[IN Q=IT'S INTERESTING THAT]
[OUT Q=FIRST EXPECTED.]
Republicans applauded the Governor's commitment to protect funding for education and his decision to balance the budget without tax increases.
But when Warner announced he found funds from a recent settlement to reopen the twelve D-M-V offices he closed in the fall, the gloves came off.
[IN Q=MY FEELING IS]
[OUT Q=FIRST PLACE.]
[IN Q=the real question]
[OUT Q=FEEL THE PAIN]
[OUT Q=WHEN HE COULD.]
Although Warner left the lawmakers with a view of what is to come, Republican say he left just as many questions behind.
[IN Q=forty-five percent]
[IN Q=SOME OF IT WAS]
[OUT Q=WHERE'S THE MEAT.]))
News that 12- of the state's D-M-V offices could re-open is being met with relief but also a little skepticism.
[SUPER=03-Rocky Mount/File Tape;]
In our area, if the governor's plan is approved, offices in Bedford and Rocky Mount would be back in business.
Last night, residents we spoke with said they were excited about the news, but also hesitant because it's not yet a done. deal.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I think ]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Scott/Franklin Co. Resident; :00]
((JEFF SCOTT/FRANKLIN CO. RESIDENT: I THINK THAT'S GREAT NEWS AND THE SOONER THE BETTER, AND WE'LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE IF THEY DO OPEN IT, PROMISES ARE GREAT BUT I WANT TO SEE RESULTS.))
[OUT Q=to see results. ]
Warner says re-opening the offices will not solve problems with customer service.
He says to help alleviate long lines and other problems... D-M-V reforms he's already outlined, designed to save money and improve customer service, will remain in place.
The opening day of the General Assembly Session also brought new leadership in the House of Delegates and a new member from Western Virginia.
Joe Dashiell has that part of the story.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=nat sound]
[SUPER=01-Bill Howell/(R) Stafford; 24]
[OUT Q=J.D. News 7 Richmond.]
In other news,
Police in Roanoke are investigating a fatal shooting that happened last night on Plantation Road.
Authorities say just after 11, a red Dodge Neon drove alongside a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and multiple shots were fired from the Neon.
26- year- old Antwone Lamont Preston of Northwest Roanoke was shot while riding in the Jeep.
The two other people in the vehicle were NOT injured.
Preston was transported to Roanoke Memorial Hospital where he later died.
[take Crimeline board]
Roanoke police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Crimeline at 344-8500.
[GRAPHIC=US Airways Crash]
Federal investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a U-S Airways Express plane to crash in Charlotte yesterday morning.
They say they aren't ready to rule anything out just yet, but add that terrorism is unlikely.
Authorities are pinning their hopes on the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder to provide some answers.
They're also picking through the wreckage, searching for clues.
21- people were killed when the turbo-prop plane crashed just after take-off.
The plane that crashed flew its first trip of the day from the Lynchburg Regional Airport.
[VO-NAT - :8.5]
The Beechcraft 19-hundred aircraft flew out of Lynchburg around 6:15 yesterday morning and landed in Charlotte about an hour later.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT - 14:23:23]
[IN Q=After arrival at Charlotte...]
((MARK COURTNEY/LYNCHBURG REGIONAL AIRPORT MANAGER; AFTER ARRIVAL AT CHARLOTTE, AND ALL OF OUR PASSENGERS DEPLANED THE AIRCRAFT, THAT THAT WAS REDESIGNATED FLIGHT AS FLIGHT 5481, AND THAT WAS THE AIRCRAFT THAT CRASHED ON DEPARTURE TO GREENVILLE/SPARTANBURG.))
[SUPER=01-Mark Courtney/Lynchburg Regional Airport Manager;]
[OUT Q=...to Greenville/Spartanburg.]
[VO-NAT - :17+]
Mesa Air, the parent company of the operator of the USAirways Express flight, confirmed that NONE of the 15 passengers or the 2 crew members on the Lynchburg flight continued on the Greenville flight.
A 21-year old nurse from Roanoke happened to have a roof-top vantage point when the plane went down in Charlotte.
Erin Murphy had just finished the drive from Roanoke to Charlotte yesterday, arriving just as flight 54-81 was taking off.
She was taking her boyfriend to catch a flight to Michigan. They had reached the top floor of an open- deck parking garage when they noticed something unusual about the U-S Airways commuter plane.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Just like a ]
((ERIN MURPHY/PLANE CRASH WITNESS; JUST LIKE A ROCKET, STRAIGHT UP IN THE AIR. I LIVE NEAR THE AIRPORT AND THAT'S NOT RIGHT. THEN IT FLIPPED OVER AND WENT BACK DOWN. MY HEART STOPPED.))
[SUPER=01-Erin Murphy/Plane Crash Witness]
[OUT Q= my heart stopped.]
Murphy lives in Northeast Roanoke- -barely a mile from the end of the runway at Roanoke Regional Airport.
Though shaken by what they both saw, her boyfriend, Toby Witkege (WIT-kedge) went through with his flight to Grand Rapids.
Encouraging news for those who are out of a job.
President Bush has signed a 13- week extension of jobless benefits, acting quickly after the House and Senate passed the measure this week.
An additional one-point-nine million unemployed workers who exhaust their normal payments are expected to benefit from the program before it expires in June.
Union worker's at Salem's General Electric plant are taking part in a nationwide strike next week.
Thousands across the country and hundreds at in Salem are expected to walk the picket line to fight hikes in health care premiums.
It's set to begin next Tuesday at 12:01 a-m and last 48-hours.
General Electric officials say its health benefits remain among the best in the industry and that despite the strike they will meet customer needs.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=if we ]
((WILEY FOUTZ/IUE-CWA UNION LOCAL 161; IF WE SUCCEED IF WE'RE SUCCESSFUL IN OUR FIGHT AGAINST GENERAL ELECTRIC AS LARGE A CORPORATION AS IT IS AND MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND THAT SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE COST IT WILL AFFECT EVERY AMERICAN THAT NEEDS BASIC HEALTH CARE INSURANCE. ))
[SUPER=01-Wiley Foutz/IUE-CWA Union Local 161;]
A picket line is also meant to deter G-E's plan to seek "substantial" health premium increases during national contract union negotiations in May.
Now here's a look at your local stocks.
Authorities in New Jersey captured a woman early this morning who was wanted on child endangerment charges, after a seven- year- old boy left in her care was found dead in a storage bin.
Police say Sherry Murphy was found sleeping at an apartment in Newark.
They'd been looking for the 41- year- old go-go dancer since the body of Faheem Williams was found Sunday, a day after his two brothers were found starving in a locked room.
Murphy was supposed to be watching the children after the mother was sent to jail.[6-Brown]
The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office is looking for a second suspect in connection with the murder of a Blairs couple.
[SUPER=03-Pittsylvania Co./November 14;]
Willie and Clara Bell Harston were found beaten to death in their Malmaison Road home November 13th.
Authorities arrested 27-year old James Antonio Generette (JEN-ah-RETT-tee) in North Carolina and recently extradited him to Pittsylvania County where he's being held without bond.
Yesterday, the sheriff issued another warrant, this one for the Harston's 25-year old next-door neighbor, Carlot (CAR-litt) Brown.
She's wanted for being an accessory after the fact.
Authorities say Generette had been visiting Brown at the time of the murder.
They believe she's staying in the Durham, North Carolina area.
A police officer, two firefighters and a heroic stranger are being credited with saving five people from a burning house in Martinsville.
Police say Officer Robert Smith was on patrol at about 2 A-M yesterday when he noticed a house burning on Moss Street.
The people inside the house were asleep.
Smith and an unknown man who rushed to help entered the house and got four people out safely.
Martinsville firefighters Brad Bean and John Kaccor (KAY-ZER) went in and rescued another man who was overcome by smoke.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire... and they hope to find the brave citizen who helped so they can thank him.
(Kimberly tosses to bump)
U-S officials say at least one American was aboard a flight that crashed in Turkey yesterday.
A Turkish Airlines jet fell short of the runway while landing in thick fog.
The plane split apart on impact, killing 75 passengers and injuring five others.
Turkey's prime minister says the military has dismissed sabotage
as a possible cause.
He says it was most likely bad weather conditions.
Bob Goodlatte got the powerful promotion he'd been hoping for.
The House Republican Conference elected him to serve as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
We have one school announcement to pass along this morning.
[TAKE FS School Touch]
Craig County schools are closed today due to a power outage...
3600 hundred people in the Craig-Botetourt Electric CO-OP service area are without power.
The company says an A-E-P transmission line to two of its sub-stations is down.
No word on when power will be restored.
A-E-P says it should be around 7 this morning.
Another outage is affecting 700 people in Roanoke.