[TAPE#=03-01 TC 36:33]
(Leo tosses to Richard on PATIO)
[DOUBLE BOXES=Leo / Richard PATIO;]
Leo, so far A-E-P is reporting scattered power outages, but many lights have been flickering all night.
Roads around Roanoke are in fair condition, with the trouble spots being around Lynchburg and Central Virginia, and north on Interstate 81 around Rockbridge and Augusta Counties.
The situation is improving, but many roads were blocked last night for long periods of time.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Tim Robison/Virginia State Police; :32]
[OUT Q=slow is the word.]
(( All three lanes of Route 2-20 in Roanoke were blocked for most of the night after a tractor trailer crashed through the guardrail and down an embankment.
The work wasn't easy. Before the truck could be pulled up and towed away, crews needed torches to tear out parts of the guardrail.
The truck went over after the driver apparently lost control on an icy bridge late last night. Roanoke police say the driver had only minor injuries.
Many roads around the region are just wet, but law enforcement officials warn icy patches are still out there.
[SOT - 3:02:28]
[INQ=Watch out for black ice...]
[OUTQ=Slow is the word.]))
[TAKE VDOT BOARD FS # 4491 EssC]
And you can check out road conditions around the state by calling VDOT's hotline at 1-800-367-ROAD,
[TAKE WEB PAGE 4473 ESSC]
or on their web page, and you can find a link to that at WDBJ-7-dot-com.
So it was a long night last night
[DOUBLE BOXES=Kimberly/ Richard PATIO;]
but Kimberly, it should be easier to travel as the temperatures rise.
There were other backups overnight, mainly along two parts of I-81 at either end of Roanoke County.
State police say slick roads sent several vehicles off the highway, so traffic was stopped until everything could be cleared.
Then there was route-460 East in Blacksburg. A series of accidents led police to shut it down for about two hours.
Police say treacherous road conditions caused a car to slide into a ditch and overturn around eight, near the south entrance to Virginia Tech.
An off-duty policeman offered assistance before another vehicle slid into his truck.
Blacksburg Police arrived a short time later, but as the two ON-duty policemen got on the scene, two more cars slid into the pileup.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q="A total..."]
[SUPER=01-Bruce Bradbery/Blacksburg Police Department]
[OUT Q="...has occured"]
All of the injured drivers were treated at Montgomery Regional Hospital and released.
President Bush has said that the U-S will go to war with or without the United Nations.
That could be the case, now that Russia says it's ready to veto a resolution supporting war.
This morning, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (ee-VAHN-awf) said his country will veto the measure if it means preserving "international stability."
Meanwhile, the Iraqi people are buying up guns, apparently ready to defend themselves against U-S troops.
Still hoping to avoid an invasion, Saddam Hussein has agreed to destroy his Al-Samoud Two missiles, reportedly starting tomorrow.
U-S officials don't appear impressed.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Saddam Hussein]
((COLIN POWELL/U. S. SECRETARY OF STATE:SADDAM HUSSEIN IS TRYING TO USE TIME TO HIS ADVANTAGE TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS FAILURE TO COMPLY ))
[SUPER=01-Colin Powell/U. S. Secretary of State;]
[OUT Q=failure to comply.]
The march to war continues in the Persian Gulf, where the U-S now has more than 200-thousand troops.
[GRAPHIC=Terror Alert Elevated]
Today President Bush will talk with the new employees of the Homeland Security Department.
The President's visit comes one day after the national terror alert status was lowered from Code Orange to Code Yellow.
It drops from "high" to "elevated", but top administration officials warn that al-Qaida is still capable of striking the U-S.
Un-identified gunmen have opened fire on the U-S Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
Authorities say two Pakistani officers were killed, and at least five other officers were wounded.
No Americans were injured.
The gunmen were armed with automatic weapons, and fired from a park outside the consulate.
Authorities and witnesses aren't sure how many people were involved.
Security around the U-S facility has been tight since last summer's bombing that killed 12 people, all of them Pakistanis.
In business news, Wall Street has managed to gain back some ground.
Alexis Christoforous has that story and more in this morning's Marketwatch.
[SUPER=01-Alexis Christoforous/Reporting; :00]
[OUT Q=your local stocks]
((THE U-S GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE LOWERED THE TERROR ALERT STATUS FROM ORANGE TO YELLOW... BUT DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR WILLINGNESS TO INVEST... CBSMARKETWATCH.COM CONDUCTED A POLL TO FIND OUT...
AND 72 PER CENT OF THOSE RESPONDING SAID THE NATION'S TERROR ALERT STATUS HAD NO IMPACT ON THEIR DECISION TO INVEST. 14 PER CENT SAID THEY WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO INVEST IF THE ALERT STATUS DROPPED TO GREEN.
ON WALL STREET.. STOCKS RALLIED ON THE HEELS OF SOME GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS..
THE DOW RAN UP 78 POINTS.
WHILE THE NASDAQ CLIMBED 20.
ON THE STOCKS TO WATCH LIST:
IBM CONFIRMS IT'S LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES. BIG BLUE SAYS LESS THAN HALF A PER CENT OF ITS WORKFORCE IS BEING LET GO IN THE SERVICES AND SOFTWARE DIVISIONS.. THAT TRANSLATES INTO LESS THAN A THOUSAND WORKERS.
THE HEALTH OF THE ECONOMY MAY BE IN QUESTION, BUT IT SEEMS SOME PEOPLE STILL NEED THEIR STARBUCKS FIX. THE SPECIALTY COFFEE RETAILER SALES AT STORES OPEN AT LEAST A YEAR ROSE 7 PER CENT IN FEBRUARY FROM A YEAR EARLIER.
EXPECT MORE VOLATILITY IN THE OIL PITS AS THE COUNTDOWN TO WAR CONTINUES. CRUDE OIL NEARLY TOUCHED A 12 YEAR HIGH OF 40 DOLLARS A BARREL YESTERDAY BEFORE EASING A BIT TO CLOSE NEAR 37 DOLLARS A BARREL.
ON TODAY'S ECONOMIC CALENDAR.. FOURTH QUARTER GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AND THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN'S CONSUMER SENTIMENT INDEX.
TRACK ALL THE PRE-MARKET ACTION AT CBS.MW.COM.. AT THE NASDAQ
I'M ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS IN NY.))
(tape tosses to stocks)
We've had reports of scattered power outages around here.
The winter storm has also left about a quarter of a million North Carolina residents in the dark.
At least one fatal wreck is blamed on the weather.
[SUPER=03-Guilford Co., NC;]
Duke Power has reported 200-thousand customers without power in the Triangle and Triad areas of North Carolina.
Duke says it may be several days before all outages are fixed. The utility company is getting about a thousand additional crewmen from other companies to supplement its own force of 22-hundred workers.
Treacherous road conditions could be found throughout our area last night especially in Southside.
Many there spent the day slipping and sliding thanks to freezing rain that quickly became ice.
Justin McLeod has more on conditions there.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Nat Sot]
[SUPER=01-Barbara Swanson/Ringgold Resident; :12]
[SUPER=01-Ricky Roach/Danville Resident; :40]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Joyce/Martinsville Public Works; 1:03]
[SUPER=01-Dennis Bowles/Energy Services Manager; 1:30]
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Martinsville]
((NAT SOUND OF WALKING IN ICE))
Whether you were walking in it, driving on it, or trying to get rid of it, this latest storm proves ice is never nice.
[IN Q=It's a long time]
((BARBARA SWANSON/RINGGOLD RESIDENT: IT'S A LONG TIME SINCE I'VE SEEN THIS MUCH. I DON'T KNOW THAT I'VE EVER HAD REALLY AND I'VE LIVED HERE ALL MY LIFE.))
[OUT Q=all my life]
((QUICK NAT SOUND OF WOMAN DUMPING A BIG SHEET OF ICE AT 1:00:48))
That may or may not be true but what you see here is definitely impressive.
By Thursday night, more than an inch of ice had accumulated throughout Southside.
Sidewalks and parking lots look more like skating rinks.
Even some roads, like this one in Martinsville, had to be closed because of extreme icy conditions.
[IN Q=It's fine if everybody]
((RICKY ROACH/DANVILLE RESIDENT: IT'S FINE IF EVERYBODY WILL GO. PEOPLE WANT TO HIT THEIR BRAKES FOR NO APPARENT REASON, GOING IS NO PROBLEM STOPPING IS A LITTLE HARD.))
[OUT Q=is a little hard]
Also hard is getting this ice off the roads.
Snow plows cannot be used to clear the ice away because blades are typically ineffective.
So city crews in Martinsville can only use chemicals and abrasives to treat the roads.
But even that is a challenge.
[IN Q=That's the biggest thing]
((JEFF JOYCE/MARTINSVILLE PUBLIC WORKS: THAT'S THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH THE SALT, EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO GET SALT NOW.
WE TYPICALLY GET IT WITHIN TWO DAYS AND IT TOOK US OVER A WEEK TO GET IT THIS TIME.))
[OUT Q=it this time]
((NAT SOUND OF LOADING UP SALT))
The city of Martinsville has enough chemicals for this storm but anything beyond that is in doubt.
Another concern here in Southside is power outages.
A tree fell on power line Thursday afternoon, taking with it 750 customers here in Martinsville.
[IN Q=That poplar tree]
((DENNIS BOWLES/ENERGY SERVICES MANAGER: THAT POPLAR TREE WAS VERY BRITTLE IT PULLED IT OUT BY THE ROOTS. THERE IS JUST SO MUCH WEIGHT WITH THE ICE ON IT, THAT'S THE PROBLEM WE'RE HAVING, TREES TOPPING OVER.))
[OUT Q=topping over]
The worst may be over but for many Southside residents, the damage has definitely been done.
[IN Q=Ready for spring]
((BARBARA SWANSON/RINGGOLD RESIDENT: READY FOR SPRING, READY FOR SPRING, I THINK EVERYBODY IS. I THINK WE WOULD LIKE US SOME PRETTY WEATHER AND GET BACK TO THE BEACH.))
After the winter we've had so far, no one would disagree with that.
Justin McLeod, News 7, Martinsville.))
(Kimberly tosses to bump)
[TAPE#=502-06 TC 1:40:41]
Roanoke City and County leaders say an unprecedented level of cooperation has produced a giant step towards creating a Regional Water Authority.
[VO-NAT - :11.5]
At a joint meeting of the Roanoke City Council and the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors yesterday, the localities authorized utility directors to go ahead with planning for the partnership.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT - 22:41:44]
[IN Q=It's not a first...]
((RALPH SMITH/ROANOKE MAYOR; IT'S NOT A FIRST FOR AN ACTIVITY JOINTLY SHARED. WE'VE DONE QUITE A NUMBER OF SMALLER THINGS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, BUT I THINK THIS IS THE REAL ICING ON THE CAKE. AND IT OPENS THE DOORS TO EVEN GREATER PROGRESS IN THE FUTURE.))
[OUT Q=greater progress in the future.]
[VO-NAT - :09+]
Both governing bodies will still need to review details on the proposed agreement before a final action is taken, and the authority is actually created.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Kim/Leo and Steve]
(Toss to Steve for wknd preview)
More than 100 Roanoke area National Guardsmen and women are now on their way to parts unknown.
Family and friends of the 229th Chemical Company provided an emotional sendoff yesterday morning at the Roanoke armory.
Approximately 125 soldiers embarked on their dual mission of providing smoke cover for ground troops, and running decontamination operations in case of a chemical attack.
Gaberielle Trent knows that her husband's job is to head into areas that other troops are leaving. That makes saying goodbye even harder.
(//// SOT /////)
[SOT 17:41.09 ]
[IN Q=We have to have]
[SUPER=01-Gaberielle Trent/Soldier's Wife;]
[OUT Q=now it is yes.]
The Chemical company will be on active duty for at least a year.
[TAPE#=02-50 TC 1:42:40]
Sweeping changes may be ahead for the American media.
The Federal Communications Commission is looking at relaxing media ownership rules.
Current regulations are in place to prevent a company from owning a large concentration of media in one market.
At a public hearing, twenty-one panelists testified for and against the regulations.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 11:30:42 // 11:13:33]
[IN Q=we have]
(( ANDREW JAY SCHWARTZMAN/MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT; WE HAVE THE BEST SYSTEM OF BROADCASTING IN THE WORLD BECAUSE OF NOT IN SPITE OF THE OWNERSHIP REGULATIONS UTILIZED SINCE 1934.))
((JAY IRELAND/NBC TELEVISION STATIONS; THOSE RULES WERE BASED ON A VIEW WHERE BROADCAST TELEVISION WAS THE ONLY SOURCE FOR VIDEO PROGRAMMING THAT WORLD NO LONGER EXISTS AS WE KNOW THEREFORE THE RULES MUST REFLECT TODAY'S MARKETPLACE. ))
[SUPER=01-Andrew Jay Schwartzman/Media Access Project; :00]
[SUPER=01-Jay Ireland/NBC Television Stations; :08]
The F-C-C is relying on studies, various industry experts and public comment for its decision.
Out of citizen comment, all supported keeping the regulations in place.
The F-C-C is expected to make a decision by the end of May.
News 7 Mornin' will return after the break. But first, if you're hitting the slopes this weekend, here's a look at the conditions of area ski resorts.