A helicopter crew chief from this area loses his life in Iraq. We have two reports on Michael Lalush, a Marine from Botetourt County.
Former state G-O-P Director Ed Matricardi enters a guilty plea to avoid spending a year and a half in prison.
Tonight on News 7 sports - the Martinsville Speedway unveils its new care center.
Jim Baron turns down Tech for the chance to be a Rich Ram.
and North Carolina has called a news conference for later tonight to announce the release of head basketball coach Matt Doherty.
A massive warm up is still on schedule and Leo looks ahead to the fickle month of April for weather almanac goodies.
News 7 at Six is next.
[IN Q=My wife told me this morning]
((MY WIFE TOLD ME THIS MORNING THEY THOUGHT HE WENT DOWN, AND MY HEART SUNK RIGHT AWAY.))
((HE WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND HE CERTAINLY DID.))
[OUT Q=and he certainly did.]
The war with Iraq hits home in western Virginia
Botetourt County mourns the death of a young marine
Good evening, I'm Shannon Young.
And I'm Keith Humphry.
The parents of a Botetourt County Marine who died in Iraq say he lost his life doing a job he loved.
23-year-old Michael Lalush was killed in a helicopter crash in Sunday.
His death is the first of the war from our region.
[***LALUSH GRAPHIC IN MONITOR]
[IRAQ DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon & Marya /BAM;]
Marya Jones interviewed his parents off-camera today and is here with more on what they had to say.
Keith and Shannon, Dave and Becky Lalush say their consolation is knowing that their son died doing what he wanted to do.
[LIVE= Marya /FULL BAM]
They spoke to me in their Botetourt County home but said they didn't want to share their grief on camera.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Michael Lalush]
[OUT Q=when I get home.]
(( Michael Lalush's parents say his proudest achievement was being a Marine.
As a sergeant crew chief, responsible for repairing Hueys, he rode wherever his helicopter flew.
On Sunday, as it landed to refuel, it stirred up dust, blinding the pilots and crew, and crashed.
His mother Becky Lalush says, "Half the time, I don't want to believe it really happened. With 300,000 troops over there, you think the odds are pretty slim of something happening to you."
Lalush showed an early aptitude for fixing things ... and for being a Marine.
At 16, he signed up with the recruiter. After graduating from Lord Botetourt in 1997, he began a six-year career as a helicopter mechanic.
In February, he left Camp Pendleton, California, for Kuwait with his unit.
In his last email to his parents, he wrote:
"I just wanted to write you and let you know everything is good... I have no idea when I'll be able to call again... I've taken about 100 pictures so far. I hope I'll have lots of pictures to show you when I get home."))
[LIVE= Marya /FULL]
Lalush's body will be brought back to the U-S by two of his closest friends -- roommates at Camp Pendleton, who were with him in Iraq.
His parents say he'll be buried according to his wishes at Arlington National Cemetery sometime in the next week or two.
(Marya tosses to JoeD)
Joe Dashiell has been talking to others who knew the young marine
Marya, Lalush was already in high school when he moved to western Virginia.
[LIVE= JOeD /FULL BAM]
Though he didn't spend his entire life here, he certainly made an impact on the community.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Few students]
[SUPER=203-Botetourt Co.; :00]
[SUPER=201-Alan Brenner/Lord Botetourt H. S. Principal; :17]
[SUPER=201-Chris Rouse/Botetourt Country Club; :36]
[SUPER=201-William Kohler/Lord Botetourt H. S. Teacher; 1:14]
[OUT Q=very, very nice young man.]
((Few students at Lord Botetourt High School and few members of the current faculty knew Michael Lalush, but his death has affected them in a personal way.
He graduated from Lord Botetourt in 1997, a good student and positive influence who excelled in his vocational classes.
[IN Q=I see Michael Lalush]
((I SEE MICHAEL LALUSH AS ONE OF THOSE GREAT KIDS THAT'S GOOD WITH HIS HANDS, POSITIVE ATTITUDE WELL LIKED BY EVERYONE AND HE WENT INTO SOMETHING THAT HE LOVED. HE WAS PROUD OF BEING IN THE ARMED SERVICES, AND HE WENT INTO HELICOPTERS WHERE HE COULD USE ALL OF THOSE SKILLS HE HAD DEVELOPED.))
[OUT Q=he had developed.]
[IN Q=My wife told me]
((MY WIFE TOLD ME THIS MORNING THEY THOUGHT HE WENT DOWN, AND MY HEART SUNK RIGHT AWAY 37... BECAUSE I REMEMBER EXACTLY WHO IT WAS, REMEMBER SAYING LALUSH.))
[OUT Q=saying lalush.]
He will also be remembered on the fairways of the Botetourt Country Club golf course, where as an energetic 16 - year- old, lalush landed a summer job as a cart attendant.
[IN Q=I'll remember him]
((I'LL REMEMBER HIM, BECAUSE HE FOUGHT FOR ME MY WIFE AND KIDS, PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE AND PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE. ))
[OUT Q=paid the ultimate price.]
So too at Lord Botetourt, where shop teacher William Kohler spoke with his students about a young man who was in their place... just a few years ago.
[IN Q=But I just feel sorry]
((BUT I JUST FEEL VERY SORRY FOR THE FAMILY AND WISH THE BEST FOR THEM, AND GLAD I HAD A CHANCE TO KNOW MIKE AS A STUDENT. VERY VERY NICE YOUNG MAN.))
[OUT Q=very, very nice young man.]))
[LIVE= JOeD /FULL BAM]
This morning, the school remembered Michael Lalush during the pledge of allegiance and the moment of silence, and officials say they are planning other recognition.
[DOUBLE BOXES=KEith-Shannon & JoeD /BAM;]
And Keith and Shannon, they say they will not soon forget his sacrifice.
[GRAPHIC=War in Iraq]
The Pentagon now says 46 U-S troops have been killed in the war.
109 have been wounded.
The Iraqi people were promised they would hear from their leader on live TV.
He never turned up.
Instead, the Information Minister read a statement said to be from Saddam Hussein which calls for a holy war against the coalition.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the coalition will settle for nothing less than the ''unconditional surrender'' of Iraq.
He's denying rumors that the U-S is in peace negotiations.
The former head of Virginia's Republican Party choses family over a possible prison sentence.
More on his plea agreement next on News 7.
And later, some business owners hope some ancient creatures will breathe new life into their town.
It's a guilty plea and no prison time for Ed Matricardi.
The former state GOP director entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors today for listening in on a Democratic conference call.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-SHannon & Meghan/State Microwave;]
Richmond Bureua Chief Meghan Muldoon has been following this story.
She joins us now with more.
[LIVE= Meghan /FULL State Microwave]
Matricardi was facing five felony counts and as much as 25 years in prison for his role in the eavesdropping controversy.
But after today, he is no longer looking at a trial or any jail time.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=ED MATRICARDI WAS BACK IN.]
[SUPER=03-Richmond/File Tape; :00]
[SUPER=01-Paul McNulty/U. S. Attorney; :10]
[SUPER=01-David Maguire/Asst. U. S. Attorney; :21]
[OUT Q=IN THIS CASE.]
(( Ed Matricardi was back in court.
This time is was to plead guilty to one count of wire interception for listening in on a Democratic Party conference call last year.
[IN Q=MR MATRICARDI NOW ADMITS]
[OUT Q=A WIRE COMMUNICATION.]
[IN Q=THE JUDGE WARNED]
[OUT Q=I PLEA GUILTY.]
After a year-long investigation that resulted in three misdemeanor convictions, including one for Claudia Duck Tucker, a former aide to then-Speaker Vance Wilkins, federal prosecutors can now add Matricardi's felony conviction.
But many believe it will not stop there.
As part of the agreement, the former head of the state's Republican party is to cooperate fully in the investigation.
Federal prosecutors say they will pursue any lead that comes out of the debriefing.
[IN Q=IT WOULD BE IMPRUDENT]
[OUT Q=IN THIS CASE.]))
[LIVE=Meghan /FULL State Microwave]
Federal prosecutors say they are recommending that Matricardi serve three years of probation and pay a 10-thousand dollar fine.
Matricardi's attorney says "it's a good agreement" because his client avoided prison time.
His attorney says it will permit Matricardi to take care of his wife and two young daughters.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon & Meghan /State Microwave;]
Keith and Shannon, his sentencing is scheduled for July 8th.
Prosecutors have a key witness lined up to testify against four men accused of beating a Lynchburg man to death last year.
28-year-old Ronald L. Brooks Junior was attacked in the 100 block of Jackson Street last June.
19-year-old Quinten Lamont Mosley (MOZE-lee) admits to kicking Brooks once and has agreed to testify against the others in exchange for a reduced charge.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=There was a]
((WANDA YODER/DEFENSE ATTORNEY: THERE WAS A LOT OF RELUCTANCE ON THE PART OF THE COMMUNITY TO COME FORWARD AND TALK ABOUT THESE EVENTS. I THINK IT WAS COURAGE ON MY CLIENT'S PART TO HAVE TALKED TO POLICE WHEN THERE WERE MANY OTHERS WHO JUST REFUSED OR HAVE NOT COME FORWARD AT ALL.))
[SUPER=01-Wanda Yoder/Defense Attorney]
[OUT Q=come forward at all.]
Mosley pleaded guilty today to voluntary manslaughter and must testify in the other four trials before he's sentenced.
Those cases are set for later this spring.
Bargain hunters went to work today following four straight days of losses on Wall Street.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW rose 78 points.
NASDAQ gained seven.
Dale Wilkinson joined a long line of Republicans hoping to win a seat in Virginia's Senate today.
Wilkinson's campaign announcement was delayed a week because of a car accident that killed his son Andrew.
Wilkinson addressed the accident first in his remarks today.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=To all the cynics ]
((DALE WILKINSON/CANDIDATE FOR STATE SENATE: TO ALL OF THE CYNICS OUT THERE, I WANT FOLKS TO KNOW I'M NOT RUNNING FOR THIS OFFICE BECAUSE MY SON DIED. I'M RUNNING FOR THIS OFFICE BECAUSE OF THE WAY MY SON LIVED. I WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MY SON LIVED. I'M DOING THIS IN HONOR OF MY SON.))
[SUPER=01-Dale Wilkinson/Candidate for State Senate;]
[OUT Q=in honor of my son.]
Wilkinson says that he wants to address issues in education, if he gets the nomination.
The nominee will be chosen in a firehouse primary May 10.
Wilkinson is the sixth Republican to announce a campaign for Bo Trumbo's seat.
Jim Jones, Brenda Johnson, Brandon Bell, Joe "Butch" Church and Joe Obenshain are the others.
A local artist hopes hints of a time gone-but-not-forgotten will help keep a small Rockbridge County town from going extinct.
Yesterday, six dinosaur-replicas appeared near a handful of businesses in Glasgow.
The life-sized monsters are the work of local creator Mark Cline, known for attractions like the Haunted Monster Museum at Natural Bridge.
Glasgow business owners say the animals are the talk of the town.
(///// SOT at :17 /////)
[IN Q=We had 20 little kids here this morning...]
((SARAH FUNKHOUSER/CO-OWNER, GROCERY EXPRESS: WE HAD 20 LITTLE KIDS HERE THIS MORNING THAT WERE JUST WILD ABOUT 'EM AND EVERY COMMENT THAT I'VE GOT HAS BEEN POSITIVE ABOUT IT.))
((SHERRY CLINE/ARTIST'S WIFE: THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS THAT ARE IN BETWEEN THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AND NATURAL BRIDGE AND WE'RE HOPING THEY'LL COME THROUGH, STOP, HAVE A SANDWICH, YOU KNOW, BUY SOME STUFF, HAVE THEIR PICTURE MADE WITH 'EM.))
[SUPER=01-Sarah Funkhouser/Grocery Express Co-Owner; :00]
[SUPER=01-Sherry Cline/Artist's Wife; :13]
[OUT Q=have their picture made with 'em.]
The dinosaurs will stay put for at least two weeks.
Coming up tonight on News 7 Sports - the Baron is apparently balking at the Hokies.
UNC is set to fire Matt Doherty tonight.
and the Martinsville Speedway is stepping to protect its drivers with a brand new infield medical care center.
It's a good thing Tech's Jim Weaver isn't trying to hire a baseball coach - because the Hokies' athletic director is now 0-for-2.
Last week Jeff Lebo told Tech's one man search committee no, and now Rhode Island coach Jim Baron has done the same.
[SUPER=03-Kingston, RI; :00]
Baron was all jacked up to bring his family down to Tech for a visit today, but he cancelled the trip.
Sources tell us that Rhode Island then went to work with Baron's agent Rob Ades to see what it would take to keep him in Kingston.
It will take $5 million bucks.
Baron will get a 10 year contract worth $500 thousand a season.
Rhode Island has scheduled a newsconference for later tonight to confirm the deal.
With two strikeouts, it's uncertain where Tech will now turn.
As we told you last night, Weaver and East Tennessee coach Ed DeChellis met over the weekend in Marion. We also can confirm that DeChellis did not accompany his assistants to the final four today.
The favorite of many alumni is former Hokie player Ron Everhart. Both Frank Beamer and Dell Curry have spoken on his behalf. Everhart is at Northeastern where it's being reported that he just signed a new two year contract extension. However, there is some debate whether the extension actually has been signed.
Tech may simply sit back and wait now that a true domino effect is about to take place.
The North Carolina Tarheels
[SUPER=04-This Season; :00]
have called an 8pm news conference tonight, and reports out of Chapel Hill say that Matt Doherty will resign or be fired.
Either way he is done after three tumultuous years at UNC.
He makes $850 thousand bucks a year and he has three years remaining on his contract.
Doherty was 19 and 16 this season and made the NIT with the youngest team in America.
Testing heated up this afternoon at the Martinsville Speedway in preparation for the April 13th Virginia 500. Travis Wells checks in now with news both on and off the track.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Kyle Petty/Georgia Pacific Dodge Driver; :26]
[SUPER=01-Clay Campbell/Martinsville Speedway President; :42]
[SUPER=01-Ricky Craven/2001 Old Dominion 500 Winner; 1:19]
[OUT Q=News 7 Sports."]
((Eight drivers took testing turns around the half mile Martinsville Speedway on Tuesday. Not among the drivers behind the wheel was Kyle Petty, who is still recovering from two cracked ribs suffered in a crash at Bristol on March 23rd. Like most drivers, Petty can appreciate the value of a quality health care facility at the track. Which is why the unveiling of a new infield care center at Martinsville is big news.
Travis: While the new facility is a definite improvement, it would be hard to improve on the competition level at Nascar's shortest track. In the past eleven races here, there have been eleven different winners.
The Virginia 500 takes the green flag a week from Sunday. At the Martinsville Speedway, Travis Wells, News 7 Sports.))
The Express begins its five game playoff series with Greensboro Thursday. Coach Tony MacAulay addressed the decision by the Richmond Renegades to cease operations.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Tony MacAulay/Express Interim Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=......back in the league"]
Sources also told news 7 sports today that all indications point to the Express returning for next season.
The snow is melting fast on the mountain tops and Leo Hirsbrunner is dressed for spring. He has sky details in our April almanac.
(///// SOT /////)
[OUT Q=meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner]
[MUSIC CONTINUES FOR ADDITIONAL 1:05]