Winter weather could begin in earnest in just a few hours.
And, a brand new candidate for Roanoke mayor is already talking about firing staff.
Tonight in sports, Bill Elliott announces his semi-retirement from racing, we'll meet the finalists for the Dudley Award, plus
have reaction from Kevin Jones on his decision to leave school a year early for professional football.
A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is on the way late tonight, and could cause problems
for your morning work commute.
The full forecast details in just a bit.
News 7 is next.
Storm warnings are in effect: Snow, Sleet and ice are on the way
The first winter storm of the season is our top story.
Good evening, I'm Shannon Young.
And I'm Keith Humphry.
One year after snow and ice snarled traffic on US 220 for hours, western Virginia is preparing for the first significant winter storm of this season.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co./December 4, 2002]
It was December fourth of last year, when the storm disabled vehicles and left hundreds of people stranded for up to eight hours.
This year, VDOT officials aren't thrilled with the prospect of ice in the forecast, but say they will have more weapons at their disposal.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We have a whole arsenal]
((LAURA BULLOCK/VA. DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION: WE HAVE A WHOLE ARSENAL OF CHEMICALS THAT ARE IN LIQUID FORM THAT WE'RE USING NOW. AND WE HAVE OUR TRUCKS PLACED STRATEGICALLY, ALONG THE MAIN TRAVELLED ROADS WITH THOSE TANKS READY TO PUT CHEMICALS DOWN ON THE PAVEMENT. 02:12 WE DO LIKE TO SEE A LITTLE BIT OF SNOW OUT THERE A LITTLE BIT OF ACCUMULATION BEFORE WE PUT THE CHEMICALS DOWN, BUT WE WET THEM FIRST NOW AND THAT GETS THE MELTING ACTION STARTED FASTER.))
[SUPER=01-Laura Bullock/VA Dept. of Transportation]
[OUT Q=gets the melting action started faster.]
V-DOT has stockpiled thousands of tons of road salt, and other chemicals at its facilities.
Approximately 750 employees are standing by in western Virginia to deal with the winter weather.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has also been closed from Roanoke South in anticipation of the storm.
(Shannon toss to Brent)
Some schools are already dealying classes for tomorrow.
[TAKE SCHOOL TOUCH FULL]
Henry County and Tazewell County schools will both operate on a two hour delay Thursday.
[TAKE WDBJ WEBPAGE FS]
You can always find an up to the minute list of school delays and closings on our webpage at WDBJ7.com
Roanoke's mayoral race is heating up, with some tough talk from a familiar face.
Former Roanoke mayor David Bowers announced he's running again for office, and if elected, promised to make some major changes in the city's adminstration.
[***BOWERS GRAPHIC IN MONITOR***]
[DOUBLE BOXES=Myranda & Keith/NEwsroom;]
Myranda Stephens joins us now to tell us what some of those changes are.
Keith, Bowers made a list of his top three priorities if elected back into office.
And priority number one includes taking a vote to fire city manager Darlene Burcham.
[IN Q=I would say]
((DAVID BOWERS/D-- CANDIDATE FOR ROANOKE MAYOR: I'M DETERMINED TO GET INTO THE RACE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION FOR MAYOR, AND TO CHANGE THINGS DOWN AT CITY HALL AND TO GET THE CITY BACK ON TRACK AND TURN THINGS AROUND AS IT SHOULD BE. I THINK IT'S JUST A MESS RIGHT NOW.))
[SUPER=01-David Bowers/(D) Candidate for Roanoke Mayor;]
[OUT Q=at city hall]
[****MYRANDA'S MIC HOT****]
Bowers compared Roanoke's mayoral race to the California governor's race... saying the citizens of Roanoke want a recall, and he's the Terminator.
But, when asked why he would want to fire Darlene Burcham, Bowers would only say that the city wants a change and he feels "Roanoke government should be run by Roanokers."
Burcham's office said it had no comment.
While making changes in the city's adminstration is the first item on Bowers' agenda, he also hopes to save Victory Stadium and build peace between what he calls the squabbling school board and city council.
Bowers says he hopes to get the city of Roanoke back in the direction it was headed in when he was first elected mayor in 1992.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Myranda& Keith /Newsroom;]
Although he lost to Ralph Smith in 2000, he believes this time will be different... Keith.
Roanoke police have made an arrest in Monday night's shooting.
They arrested 20 year old Corey Lee Hazzard today.
He's accused of shooting Daniel Christopher Morgan after a confrontation on Florida Avenue.
Morgan was wounded, though no information has been released about his condition.
Hazzard stands charged with malicious wounding and use of a firearm.
Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones made his decision to leave for the NFL official today.
Steve Mason says taking care of his family, his health and his financial future were key factors.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Kevin Jones/124.5 Yards a Game Average; :19]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Va. Tech Head Coach; :33]
[OUT Q=.....News 7 sports"]
The dissappearance of a college student is hitting close to home for a member of the Roanoke Express.
That story when News 7 returns.
And a feud with a judge puts Pittsylvania County's chief prosecutor on the other side of the legal system.
The elected prosecutor in Pittsylvania County has apologized for the actions that led him to be cited for contempt of court.
That way David Grimes and his chief deputy managed to avoid going to trial where they faced the possibility of criminal convictions.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=A judge from]
[SUPER=01-Judge Pat Doherty]
[SUPER=01-David Grimes/Pittsylvania Co. Commonwealth's Attorney]
[SUPER=01-Leigh Drewry/Special Prosecutor]
[SUPER=04-November 30, 1995]
[OUT Q=get him the first time.]
(( A judge from Roanoke County presided over the ante-bellum courtroom, prepared to hear evidence of disrespect shown Judge B-A Davis.
((THERE WILL BE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE BEFORE THE COURT TO FIND EACH OF YOU GUILTY OF CIVIL CONTEMPT.))
The deal was Grimes and his deputy Bryan Haskins would each have to read from an "agreed statement," apologizing for delaying trials last May.
((FOR THAT INCONVENIENCE, I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND HAVE APOLOGIZED.))
Grimes read reporters a prepared statement but wouldn't depart from it.
Special prosecutor Leigh Drewry says Grimes tried to bait judge Davis into acting inappropriately Grimes by suggesting the judge was incapable of following the law.
((JUDGE DAVIS TREATS EVERYONE THE SAME WAY. I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF PRACTICING BEFORE HIM. I FIND HIM TO BE A PERFECT SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN.))
Davis was not in court today and could not have been called as a witness even if the case had gone to trial.
Drewry still believes a case could have been made for criminal contempt.
[10:13:30 REVERSE 2]
((IN FACT, I BELIEVE I CONSIDERED BRINGING AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE AGAINST THEM OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.))
But Judge Doherty agreed to transfer the criminal contempt citation to civil contempt and accept an apology from Grimes and Haskins as their punishment.
Prosecutor Drewry thinks Grimes has a vendetta against Judge Davis, citing complaints Grimes has filed with the Chief Justice and the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.
((I LEARNED AS A YOUNG LAWYER REAL FAST. IF YOU'RE GOING TO TAKE ON A JUDGE YOU'VE GOT TO GET HIM THE FIRST TIME.))
David Grimes was re-elected last month to another four-year term as Pittsylvania County Commonwealth's Attorney with 62-percent of the vote.
A hockey player in our area is closely watching the case of a missing college student in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
22 year old Dru Sjodin disappeared from a Grand Forks shopping mall on November 22nd.
One member of the Roanoke Express is from Grand Forks, and knows Sjodin.
Defenseman Tim O'Connell first met her through mutual friends at college, and worked with her in the summer of 2002.
After practice today, he told News 7 that Sjodin is one of the nicest and most outgoing people he knows.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT - 10:42:45]
[IN Q=She's just a great...]
((TIM O'CONNELL/ROANOKE EXPRESS DEFENSEMAN; SHE'S JUST A GREAT GIRL ALL AROUND, JUST THE LITTLE THINGS. THIS IS A PERSON YOU NEVER SEE SAD, I'VE NEVER SEEN HER SAD ONCE. SHE ALWAYS HAD A SMILE ON HER FACE.))
[SUPER=01-Tim O'Connell/Roanoke Express Defenseman; ]
[OUT Q=a smile on her face.]
[VO-NAT - :07+]
O'Connell says even though Sjodin has been missing for 11 days, he still has hopes that she will be found alive.
Two old warehouses in downtown Roanoke have now become a new center for business and technology.
Today the city, Carilion and the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Corporation celebrated the grand opening of the new Warehouse Row Business Center on Norfolk Avenue.
The center was developed out of two warehouses, redesigned to provide office space for businesses looking for a place to grow.
Three technology-based companies have moved in so far.
Officials say they hope to attract several more in the near future.
The stock market couldn't maintain solid, midday gains.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW closed 20 points higher.
NASDAQ lost 20.
City Ballet didn't mean to step on any toes.
The Roanoke dance company will present the Nutcracker on the same weekend as Southwest Virginia Ballet.
But the executive director says the conflict was unintentional.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I really want, I guess, the attention to be...]
[SUPER=01-Michele Goacher/City Ballet;:00]
[SUPER=01-Dagmar Kessler Jelincic/Radford Univ. Artist in Residence;:35]
[OUT Q=I think we're gonna do it.]
[IN Q=I really want, I guess, the attention...]
((MICHELE GOACHER/CITY BALLET: I REALLY WANT, I GUESS, THE ATTENTION TO BE TAKEN OFF THE FACT THAT WE'RE TRYING TO COMPETE WITH ANOTHER ORGANIZATION. IT'S NOT ABOUT THAT.))
[OUT Q=it's not about that.]
In a little more than a week The Nutcracker Ballet will open on two Roanoke Stages.
Michele Gaucher's City Ballet and dancers from Radford University will perform at the Jefferson Center.
Terri Post's Southwest Virginia Ballet will fill the Civic Center.
Post says she's had the weekend of December 13th booked for years now and that its bad form for another company to choose the same dates.
But, her peers disagree.
[IN Q=No, it happens all the time in the real world.]
((DAGMAR KESSLER JELINCIC/RADFORD UNIVERSITY ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: NO, IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME IN THE REAL WORLD. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.))
[OUT Q= happens all the time (second time).]
[BUTT BUTT BUTT]
[IN Q=And once you get involved you can't pull out.]
((MICHELE GOACHER/CITY BALLET: AND ONCE YOU GET INVOLVED YOU CAN'T PULL OUT. THERE'S SO MUCH INVOLVED. YOU JUST CANNOT ALL OF A SUDDEN SAY, "OH, SORRY!"))
[OUT Q=cannot all of a sudden say, "Oh, sorry!"]
Gaucher says she never would have purposely pitted her 3-year old dance company against Post's established group and that she checked with the Civic Center in August to make sure there would be no conflict.
The Civic Center says Southwest Virginia Ballet put its production on the calendar in 2001.
But Gaucher says she wasn't privy to that information.
Both sides agree the situation is unfortunate, but that, ultitmately, the show must go on.
[IN Q=And that's the only thing...]
((DAGMAR KESSLER JELINCIC/RADFORD UNIVERSITY: AND THAT'S THE ONLY THING THAT'S EVER MATTERED TO US. THAT WE PRESENT THE BEST PERFORMANCE THAT WE CAN AND I THINK WE'RE GONNA DO IT.))
[OUT Q=and I think we're gonna do it.]))
Gaucher says, in the future, local ballet companies might want to look at each other's schedules more closely before planning their own performances.
Coming up, K-J says show me the money, J-R Reynolds and his fellow UVA freshmen are ready for a Golden Gopher invasion, and
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville reveals his future racing plans.
Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones is heading for the NFL. Steve Mason says, the Hokies knew from the first snap that KJ would be able to shoulder the NFL load someday.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Kevin Jones/3,322 Yards & 34 TD's in Tech Career; :20]
[SUPER=01-Tracey Jones/Kevin's Mom; :34]
[SUPER=03-Chester, PA/2000; :44]
[SUPER=01-Billy Hite/Va. Tech Running Backs Coach; :59]
[SUPER=01-Mike Imoh/Va. Tech Sophomore Running Back; 1:06]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Va. Tech Head Coach; 1:28]
[SUPER=01-Thomas Jones/Kevin's Father; 1:37]
[OUT Q=..news 7 sports"]
((Jones entered the Tech media room looking like a million bucks. Big money his projected top 10 pick will bring him in ther NFL draft, the possibility of injury at tech next season, and the ability to take care of his family were major reasons for his decision, which was not an easy one.
((TRACEY JONES/KEVIN'S MOM:))
The last time KJ made this type of move his mom was at his side as he broke out the Tech colors and then broke the hearts of Penn State fans back in 2000 at Cardinal Ohara High school. But Jones leaves Blacksburg a year early with the full support of his coaching staff and his teammates.
((BILLY HITE/VA. TECH RUNNING BACK COACH:))
((MIKE EMOH/VA. TECH SOPHMORE RUNNING BACK:))
((CEDRIC HUMES/VA. TECH SOPHOMORE TAILBACK:))
While the reality of his departure is painful for those who love him at Tech, the timimg of KJ's annoucement might help coach Beamer in that two huge recruiting weekends are on the horizon and Jones NFL jump leaves the door open for another blue chip tailback.))
((FRANK BEAMER:VA TECH HEAD COACH:))
((THOMAS JONES/KEVIN'S FATHER:))
[WIPE to ENG!!]
Jones will be in Richmond next Tuesday night for the Dudley Award Ceremony. He is a finalist for the award that goes to the state's best player along with UVA quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub finished as the runner up for the Dudley Award last year, losing to Lee Suggs by just two votes. The third finalist is Hampden-Sydney wide receiver Conrad Singh.
Pete Gillen and the roundball Cavaliers host the Minnesota Golden Gophers tonight at U-Hall as part of the ACC-Big
Ten challenge. The Cavs are led in scoring by freshman Gary Forbes. Gillen says that all five of his first year players are getting a baptism by fire in the early part of the season.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Pete Gillen/Virginia Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=a little bit easier."]
We finish up with one note from the track. Awesome Bill Elliott announced today that he is retiring from full time driving.
Elliott made his Winston Cup debut in 1976 and was voted Nascar's most popular driver a whopping 16 times. He is one of only ten drivers to top 20 million dollars in career winnings. Elliott will race a part time schedule in 2004, which is said to include five to ten races. He'll be replaced in the number nine Dodge of Ray Evernham, by Busch Series driver Kasey Kahne.