Voters are few and far between but the decision's in their hands.
The latest on today's democratic presidential primary.
And, the ANTI-tax man is making his voice heard in Richmond.
Tonight in Sports - Travis Wells checks in from Daytona as Speedweeks 2004 rolls on.
Plus, Mt. Olive hits a shot heard round the south.
And Joe Gibbs is back to work today after a brief scare and hospital visit in Jacksonville last night.
Fast moving weather systems mean fast talking by the weatherman. Could it be snow by Thursday? Details ahead.
News 7 is next.
They say voter turnout is at an all-time low.
Election officials report only five-percent of area voters have gone to the polls for Virginia's Democratic Presidential Primary.
Good evening, I'm Shannon Young.
And I'm Keith Humphry.
There is just one-hour until polls close across the state.
Between Roanoke City, County and Salem there are more than 129-thousand registered voters.
Just five -percent of those people cast their ballots.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon &Rachel/Microwave;]
Susan Bahorich visited precincts throughout the Roanoke Valley today.
Susan, what did you see?
It was very slow today.
[LIVE= RAchel /FULL Microwave]
Voters trickled into precincts throughout the day - making for bored workers with a lot of time on their hands.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Ross Murray/Lee Hi Precinct; :08]
[SUPER=01-Jay Hardie/Voter; :39]
[SUPER=01-Robert Terry/Voter; :43]
[SUPER=01-Mary Cox/Voter; :56]
[SUPER=01-Kerri Thornton/Wasena Precinct; 1:12]
[OUT Q=VOTERS AREN'T OUT TODAY]
((If you didn't know better, you might think these polling places were closed. But, they're open and ready for business.
[INQ=We have about..]
((ROSS MURRAY, LEE HI DISTRICT: WE HAVE ABOUT 3,000 REGISTERED VOTERS, TURNOUT FOR MOST ELECTIONS IS UNBELIEVEABLY HIGH. I WISH IT WERE SO TODAY, BUT IT ISN'T.))
[OUTQ=.. but it isn't.]
People trickled in to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary, but turnout paled in comparision to the last Presidential election where more than 85-percent of the voters here at the Lee Hi precinct came to the polls.
Those who did make it out- say they were motivated by the country's current administration.
[INQ=Definitely need a..]
((JAY HARDIE, VOTER: DEFINITELY NEED A CHANGE -THOUGHT I SHOULD DO MY PART.))
[OUTQ=.. my part]
[INQ=I vote in..]
((ROBERT TERRY, VOTER: I VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION THAT I CAN- I THINK THEY'RE ALL IMPORTANT.))
[OUTQ=.. all important.]
Meanwhile in Roanoke County, the low turnout meant officials had more time to help folks use the area's new touch screen voting system.
[INQ=I thought older..]
((MARY COX, VOTER: I THOUGHT OF OLDER PEOPLE, OLDER THAN I AM- WILL THEY KNOW HOW TO DO IT? BUT IT IS VERY SIMPLE. DON'T WORRY.))
[OUTQ=.. don't worry.]
While there may be no need to worry about the new voting system - some are disappointed by voter apathy.
[IN Q=Most of voters..]
((KERRI THORNTON, WASENA PRECINCT: MOST OF THE VOTERS THAT HAVE COME IN HAVE BEEN VERY SURPRISED THERE HASN'T BEEN A BIGGER TURNOUT, PEOPLE HAD SEEMED REALLY EXCITED. THEY'RE DISAPPOINTED MORE VOTERS AREN'T OUT TODAY.))
[OUTQ=.. out today.]))
[LIVE=Rachel /FULL Microwave]
If you haven't voted in today's primary it is not too late.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith-Shannon & Rachel /Microwave;]
Polls are open until seven tonight and all registered voters are welcomed to cast their ballot.
News 7 will bring you Virginia's primary returns as they come in tonight.
[TAKE WDBJ WEB FS]
And for continuously-updated results, you can go to our web site at wdbj7-dot-com.
Former Police Chief Wesley Terry is off the hook in Radford.
He was indicted in October for stealing a knife during the search of a house on Calhoun street.
This morning the special prosecutor told the judge he was ready to drop the charges.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=The chief retrieved]
((FRED KING/SPECIAL PROSECUTOR; THE CHIEF RETRIEVED THIS LARGE MARINE, COMBAT-TYPE KNIFE FROM THE HOUSE WHEN HE LEFT. THE CHIEF MAINTAINS WHEN HE LEFT HE TOLD ANOTHER YOUNG PERSON IN THE HOUSE, "TELL YOUR BUDDY HE CAN COME BY THE DEPARTMENT AND GET HIS KNIFE BACK."))
[SUPER=01-Fred King/Special Prosecutor]
[OUT Q=his knife back.]
To further complicate the case, the student offered to drop his claim against Chief Terry, if the Chief would drop a pot possession charge against his friend.
The deal approved today, requires the ex-chief to sign a release designed to prevent him from suing the city.
The government wants to try Richard Burrow in Abingdon.
Citing "extensive media coverage," the prosecution proposes to summon jurors from Big Stone Gap, a community that borders Kentucky.
The government presented a searing attack on Burrow's lawyers for presenting "false information" to the media.
The government points out the "local media have the fewest outlets" in Big Stone Gap.
It also cites "the economic impact of the D-Day Memorial on local communities" as a reason to move the case. Burrow is charged with fraud in funding raising for the Memorial.
[TAPE#=57:28 on 03-53]
The battle in Richmond over taxes is heating up and getting personal.
Yesterday tax supporters rallied around the governor, today tax opponents took shots at him.
[DOUBLE BOXES=SHannon & Meghan/Starlink;]
For more, we're joined by Richmond Bureau Chief Meghan Muldoon.
Shannon, it is an emotional debate for both sides
[LIVE= Meghan /FULL State Starlink]
but today anti-tax advocates went after Governor Warner, describing him as a liar and his tax plan as shifty and irresponsible.
[***ROLLED FROM STARLINK***]
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=ANTI-TAX GROUPS HAVE THREE WORDS]
[SUPER=01-Charlie Jarvis/United Seniors Assoc.; :16]
[SUPER=01-Del. Bob McDonnell/(R) Virginia Beach; :52]
[SUPER=01-Del. Vivian Watts/(D) Annandale; 1:09]
[OUT Q=1200 people in the Commonwealth.]
(( Anti-tax groups have three words to say about Governor Warner's tax reform package.
((ROXIE RAINES KORNEGAY/SOUTHERN COALITION OF BLACK REPUBLICAN ADVOCATES: THIS PLAN STINKS.))
Holding up signs that read "Mark Warner Lied" anti-tax advocates claim that tax increases are unnecessary and harmful.
((CHARLIE JARVIS/UNITED SENIORS ASSOCIATION: IT'S ELEMENTARY ECONOMICS. IF YOU RAISE TAXES AT A TIME WHEN THE ECONOMY IS RECOVERING, YOU'RE GOING TO CRUSH DOWN ON THE ECONOMY AND WE NEED TO TELL MARK WARNER GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF VIRGINIA'S ECONOMY AND LET IT GROW.))
Both sides of the issue are gearing up for an expected vote later this week in the Senate Finance Commitee on competing tax plans.
The House has so far defeated all the tax increase proposals
But they did approve a tax cut, voting to permanently repeal the inheritance tax on large estates.
Supporters of the bill argue it is necessary to keep Virginia a business-friendly state.
But opponents say the expensive measure will benefit only a small number of Virginians.
[IN Q=this is one of the taxes that is]
[OUT Q=to the children.]
[IN Q=speaking to the concept of the American dream]
[OUT Q=1200 people in the Commonwealth.]))
[LIVE= Meghan /FULL Starlink]
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve an even larger tax package than the governors.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Shannon & Meghan /Starlink;]
But, Shannon, ultimately the size or outcome of any tax plan will not be decided until the very last days of the session.
The Roanoke Valley's a step closer to a regional water authority.
Still ahead on News 7, whos rates will go up and whos will go down.
And friends and family go in search of a missing man in the New River Valley.
Roanoke city residents will pay about a dollar fifty more per month.
Roanoke County residents will pay about 50 cents less, as the new regional authority begins to equalize water and sewer rates.
The water authority board will have the final say on the new charges before it takes over the two water systems in July.
But today, members of the board of supervisors and city council endorsed a plan to equalize county and city rates over six years.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's just another step]
((RICHARD FLORA/SUPERVISORS CHAIRMAN: IT'S JUST ANOTHER STEP IN THE MOVEMENT THAT WE STARTED A YEAR OR SO AGO. I THINK IT'S SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE YOU CAN TELL THE MOMENTUM'S STILL THERE.))
((RALPH SMITH/ROANOKE MAYOR: I THINK WE HAVE TWO GOOD SYSTEMS COMING TOGETHER AND IT'S GOING TO BE IN THE VALLEY'S BEST INTERESTS AS THEY LOOK AFTER OUR WATER AND SEWER NEEDS FOR THE FUTURE.))
[SUPER=01-Richard Flora/Roanoke Co. Supervisors Chairman; :00]
[SUPER=01-Ralph Smith/Roanoke Mayor; :12]
[OUT Q=water and sewer needs for the future.]
When rates are equalized in 2010, city customers using five thousand gallons a month will pay about nine dollars more than they do now.
County customers will pay two dollars 85 cents less for their water and sewer service.
Authorities in Patrick County are searching for two suspects in a double murder.
26-year-old Justin Manning and his wife 23-year-old Virginia Manning are both wanted in connection with last month's murder of Kenneth and Deanna Williams.
The two were found shot to death inside their mobile home on Cherry Creek Road in Meadows of Dan.
Authorities say the suspects could be driving a blue, 1987 Dodge pick up stolen from the property.
A Lynchburg man faces a lengthy prison term after pleading guilty to second degree murder today.
37-year-old Gerald Wayne Hubbard was charged with gunning down 16-year-old Ronrico (ron-REE-koh) Robinson in July of 2002.
Hubbard told police he killed Robinson because the teen had sold him 600 dollars worth of tainted cocaine.
He was due to stand trial tomorrow but accepted a plea to a lesser charge today.
Prosecutor Ed Lustig (LUSS-tig) says the victim's mother could not physically endure a jury trial.
Hubbard could get up to 48 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.
The female pastor who clubbed her neighbor and fellow minister can't seem to leave the man's wife alone.
Fifty-one year old Judy Lynn Brown remained on bond after she was convicted of breaking into her neighbor's home and attacking him with a crow bar.
The prosecutor said she wanted to get rid of Ted Smart... to have TOBY Smart to herself.
Prosecutor Fred King wants the judge to lock her up, citing a message Judy Brown left on Toby Smart's cell phone: In it she declares her love for Toby "in every way," saying she tried to work up the courage to go back to the Smart's home.
Police are investigating the disappearance of a Pulaski County man.
Howard Bowers, Junior has been missing for more than a week.
The 30-year-old was last seen at work at Volvo Logistics in Dublin.
With help from police, friends and family began a search near the plant this morning.
They found a box of cigarettes and some money, but aren't sure if the items belonged to Bowers.
Police are questioning some of Bowers's acquaintances, but so far, do NOT suspect any foul play.
25 new jobs are headed to Altavista as an Ohio plastics company decides to expand.
Rage Corporation, a custom injection molding business, will spend two million dollars locating in part of the old Lane Furniture company.
Altavista competed successfully against sites in Ohio for the new plant.
Some modest gains on Wall Street today.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW rose 39 points.
NASDAQ gained 15.
Maestro David Wiley has re-enlisted with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.
The 37-year old conductor has led the Roanoke Symphony since 1996.
The R-S-O announced today that Wiley signed a 3-year contract extension.
He continues to conduct the Long Island Philharmonic at the same time.
Fix-up plans are in the works for Rocky Mount.
Town officials say they want to make the same type of improvements to uptown Rocky Mount, as they did a few years ago downtown.
Some of the improvements include removing overhead power lines, and adding new benches, crosswalks and lamp posts.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=everybody is]
((MARK NEWBILL/ROCKY MOUNT MAYOR: EVERYBODY IS SO EXCITED ABOUT DOWNTOWN, PARTICULARLY THROUGH THE XMAS SEASON, AND HAVE THE WREATHS AROUND THE LAMPOSTS AND THE LIGHTS AND EVERYTHING, AND JUST THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE YEAR, JUST LOOKS GREAT. AND WE WANT TO TRY AND DO THE SAME THING UPTOWN THAT WE'VE DONE DOWNTOWN.))
[SUPER=01-Mark Newbill/Rocky Mount Mayor;]
[OUT Q=we've done downtown]
Newbill says most of the funding for the project will come from a one-million dollar federal grant.
He says work could begin as early as next Spring.
Coming up on the Big 7 a 75 foot shot rips rope for little Mt. Olive.
Miami's top recruit turns himself into police.
And Travis Wells checks in from Daytona as Speedweeks 2004 rolls on at the World Center of Racing.
After a rare silent Monday at Daytona, the World Center of Racing roared back to life today with two practice sessions for the Nextel Cup cars.
Travis Wells checks in from the track tonight with more on the domination of the Fords, so far.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=FIRST AUDIO]
[SUPER=03-Daytona Beach, FL; :00]
[SUPER=01-Elliott Sadler/Starts Second in Daytona 500; :22]
[SUPER=01-Robert Yates/Robert Yates Racing Owner; :42]
[SUPER=01-Greg Biffle/Daytona 500 Pole Sitter; :54]
[SUPER=01-Len Wood/Wood Brothers Team Owner; 1:16]
[SUPER=01-Ricky Rudd/Motorcraft Ford Driver; 1:24 quick]
[OUT Q=....NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
The University of Miami's top football recruit gave himself up today.
Willie Williams turned himself in Broward County today on an arrest warrant that says he violated probation in a 2002 burglary case.
[SUPER=03-Fort Lauderdale, FL; :00]
on an arrest warrant that says he violated probation in a 2002 burglary case.
Williams was charged yesterday with misdemeanor criminal
mischief, misdemeanor battery and felony malicious damage to fire
extinguishers. All of those charges stem from a recruiting trip to
rival Florida during Super Bowl weekend.
Redskins fans got more than they bargained for last night when Joe Gibbs flew to Florida to court free agent Mark Brunell.
Gibbs, who is a diabetic became somewhat ill on his flight - and Brunell ended up taking him to the hospital.
Gibbs was back at work this morning saying he's fine, and that a switch in medication caused the scare.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Joe Gibbs/Redskins Head Coach;:00]
[OUT Q=...precautionary thing."]
[VO NAT CON'T]
And Gibbs says he plans to continue criss-crossing the country right up until the NFL draft in April to find the best free agents he can find.
The ACC hardwood heats up tonight on Your Hometown Station.
[go to acc pinnacle 12999]
Tonight at nine - North Carolina travels to Georgia Tech to take on the Yellow Jackets.
You can catch the Heels and Jackets tonight at 9 - right here on Your Hometown Station WDBJ-7.
[wipe to eng#]
[WIPE TO ENG#!!!!!]
[SUPER=03-Mt. Olive, NC/Last Night; :00]
It may not have been Carolina and Ga. Tech, but Mt. Olive and Pheiffer provided some fireworks last night.
Marcus West heaved in a 75 foot shot at the buzzer to lift Mount Olive to a 108-105 victory over Pfeiffer in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's game.
The loss was the first of the year for Pfeiffer, which was the lone remaining unbeaten Division II team in the nation.