After more than a decade as school superintendent, Wayne Harris charts a different course.
And, security might top your shopping list the next time you hit the mall.
Caught on tape at Valley View: a robber being caught himself.
Tonight on News 7 sports - the March Madness schedule for later this week.
Steve Mason with a report on the women's madness at Tech,
and Warren Sapp changes Bays officially heading from Tampa to Oakland.
I always say, if it's going to be this cold, we might as well set a record. And that seems very likely tomorrow morning.
News 7 is next.
[IN Q=It came to me]
((IT CAME TO ME THAT IS WAS TIME FOR ME TO LET THE NEXT SUPERINTENDENT CARRY THE EDUCATIONAL BANNER FOR ROANOKE'S CHILDREN.))
[OUT Q=educational banner for Roanoke's children.]
Wayne Harris says he's taken the Roanoke City Schools as far as he can...
After eleven years at the helm, the superintendent says he's stepping down.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.
And I'm Shannon Young.
Speculation about Harris' future with the school system ended with today's announcement.
Harris will step down as superintendent at the end of June, and remain on paid leave through December.
[***NEWS 7 @ 6 IN MONITOR***]
[TOSS ACROSS=Keith-Shannon & JoeD /BAM;]
Joe Dashiell covered Harris' selection eleven years ago, and attended the new conference today.
Keith and Shannon, Harris says he wasn't forced out, wasn't reacting to recent controversies,
[LIVE= JoeD /FULL BAM]
but decided back in December he had accomplsihed what he could, and was ready to move on.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I am pleased]
[SUPER=01-Wayne Harris/Roanoke City School Superintendent; :00]
[SUPER=01-Kathy Stockburger/School Board Member; :49]
[OUT Q=i think we're on the right track.]
[IN Q=I am pleased because the majority]
((WAYNE HARRIS: I AM PLEASED BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED IN ROANOKE CITY SCHOOLS HAS BEEN WONDERFULLY GOOD.))
[OUT Q=has been wonderfully good.]
Harris acknowledged there have been bumps in the road, but said he is proud of the school system's accomplishments... such as rising test scores and student achievement, a 50 percent reduction in the dropout rate, significant improvement in teacher salaries.
[IN Q=Superintendents have been described]
((WAYNE HARRIS: SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE HARDEST JOB IN AMERICA. I SAY AFTER FIREMEN AND POLICEMEN MAYBE, BUT WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT I'VE BEEN HERE LONGER THAN MOST BIG CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS, IT'S BEEN AN AWFULLY GOOD TENURE FOR ME AND IT'S JUST TIME. ))
[OUT Q=and it's just time.]
School board members described the renegotiation of Harris' contract as a mutual agreement in the best interests of the school system.
[IN Q=I think in some ways]
((I THINK IN SOME WAYS WE WANT TO CREATE A FRESH START SO I THINK THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE STEP AND I APPLAUD DR. HARRIS FOR ALL OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS. AND I THINK WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK.))
[OUT Q=think we're on the right track.] ))
[LIVE= JoeD /FULL BAM]
Harris waived his interest in an early retirement plan that would have paid him 20 percent of his salary for working 20 days a year for the next five years.
[TOSS ACROSS=KEith-Shannon & JOeD /BAM;]
Keith and Shannon, the school board will appoint an interim superintendent while members search for a permanent replacement.
The Republican candidate for mayor of Roanoke says she's "relieved" Harris is stepping down.
Alice Hincker today responded to this morning's announcement saying she never thought it would happen.
Hincker, who has openly criticized the city school board for its handling of school violence reports, says the most she'd hoped for was that Harris would take some leave.
(///// SOT at :17 /////)
[SOT 46:50 - 47:06]
[IN Q=I view it as an opportunity...]
((ALICE HINCKER/R-CANDIDATE FOR ROANOKE MAYOR: I VIEW IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ROANOKE CITY SCHOOLS TO HAVE A NEW BEGINNING TO DECIDE WHAT DIRECTION WE WANT TO GO IN AND TO BE SUPPORTIVE BEHIND OUT SCHOOL BOARD AND TO GET US THERE.))
[SUPER=01-Alice Hincker/(R) Candidate for Roanoke Mayor;]
[OUT Q=school board and to get us there.]
Hincker says she hopes Harris' successor is chosen from outside the school board and that the new administration focuses on accountability.
Heavy smoke from a brush fire caused a chain reaction crash on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County this afternoon.
Only one lane is open on northbound I-81 near milemarker 124.
The crash happened around 3:30 and involved three tractor trailers and two cars.
State police say it appears no one was seriously injured but several people were taken to the hospital.
Troopers say heavy smoke from a fire slowed traffic on 81.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=AN ASPHALT]
((SHAWN CAUDELL: AN ASPHALT TRUCK LOADED WITH HOT ASPHALT HAD LOST PART OF IT'S LOAD AND STARTED THE BRUSH FIRE))
[SUPER=01-Trooper Shawn Caudell/State Police]
[OUT Q= THE BRUSH FIRE.]
They say one driver didn't slow down soon enough and caused the crash.
The brush fire is now out.
State police hope to have the interstate back open in another hour.
You can get off at exit 118 and get on 460 to avoid the accident all together.
Hundreds of local employees are learning whether they'll need to start shopping for a new job.
Employees at the Home Shopping Network's Salem fulfillment center were scheduled to meet with company officials at six o'clock.
The billion dollar company has been looking for a new location both in and out of Virginia for months now.
A spokesman says the Salem facility no longer meets the company's growing needs.
Ardien (Ar-di-en) Kadriu (Kad- drio') has worked at the fulfillment center for five years, but says rumors of lay- offs have forced him to move on.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I don't like to be]
((ARDIEN KADRIU/HOME SHOPPING NETWORK EMPLOYEE: I DON'T LIKE TO BE WITHOUT A JOB SO I ALREADY FOUND A JOB AND THIS WEEK WILL ACTUALLY BE MY LAST WEEK HERE.))
[SUPER=01-Ardien Kadriu/Home Shopping Network Employee;]
[OUT Q=my last week here]
About 350 people are employed at the Salem facility.
The company stopped communicating with local economic leaders two weeks ago who say they have worked together to try and keep the company in the region.
A Roanoke police dog is being called a hero, after tracking down a suspect in armed robbery.
The incident happened just before Noon inside the parking lot of Valley View Mall.
Myranda Stephens has the details.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Dan Reichel/Robbery Victim; :11]
[SUPER=01-J. D. Dickinson/Roanoke Police Department; :28]
[OUT Q=MS, NEWS 7, ROANOKE.]
((Dan and Irene Reichel had just pulled up to Belk parking lot at Valley View mall, when a man walked up to them, demanding money.
((DAN REICHEL/ROBBERY VICTIM: AND THE NEXT THING I KNEW I TURNED TO MY WIFE AND THERE'S THIS MAN WITH A GREEN STOCKING CAP OVER HIS FACE ASKING FOR THE MONEY))
The Reichel's say he stole about about 200 dollars, but didn't get far.
Apparently the man tried to rob several other people just moments earlier, and one of them called police.
((J.D. DICKINSON/ROANOKE CITY POLICE: DOG FARGO, EXCELLENT CANINE PROVIDED BY THE CITY WAS ABLE TO APPREHEND HIM, HOLD HIM DOWN, UNTIL WE FINALLY CAUGHT UP TO HIM 12))
The suspect, 24-year-old Anthony Wilder, Junior of Roanoke was taken to the hospital after being bitten in the thigh.
Officers recovered a small semi-automatic handgun and the 200-dollars he allegedly stole from the Reichels.
He's charged with robbery and use with a firearm in commission of felony.
((REPORTER: A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE MALL SAYS IT'S BEEN YEARS SINCE ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAS HAPPENED. THEY SAY WHILE SECURITY WILL REMAIN ON ALERT, THEY ADVISE SHOPPERS TO DO THE SAME. MYRANDA STEPHENS, NEWS 7, ROANOKE. )) ))
Still ahead on News 7, legislators take a break from the budget negotiations in Richmond.
But they're still getting an earful back home.
And a few weeks ago, they were average citizens Central and Southwest Virginia.
Now they're citizen-soldiers, training to fight overseas.
Our boys are getting ready for combat in the Middle East most likely in Iraq, possibly Afghanistan.
National Guard units of the 116th Infantry are now in their third week of training at Fort Bragg.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=They're in the]
[SUPER=03-Ft. Bragg, NC]
[SUPER=01-Staff Sgt. Doug Moore/Soldier from Roanoke; ]
[SUPER=01-Staff Sgt. Randy Albert/Soldier from Buchanan; QUICK]
[SUPER=01-Spec. Mike Felts/Soldier from Hillsville; ]
[SUPER=01-Jacob Hawkins/Soldier from Roanoke]
[SUPER=01-Spec. David Bushnell/Soldier from Roanoke]
[SUPER=01-Spec. Dale Wilson/Soldier from Wytheville ]
[OUT Q=I get back.]
(( They're in the Army now. Full time for the next 18 months.
Staff Sergeant Doug Moore leads a platoon of what was "A" Company, a descendant of the legendary Company "A" of "Bedford boys" that led the assault on Omaha Beach in World War II.
Only... it's been re-flagged "C" Company... getting ready to go overseas once again.
[22:23:10 SSgt Moore]
((WE'RE REAL EXCITED ABOUT GOING. WE DON'T KNOW WHERE WE'RE GOING, BUT WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IT.))
After all, Sergeant Moore explains, these men are infantry. And infantrymen are all about going somewhere to fight.
A few of them are seasoned soldiers.
[22:08:10 SSGt Randy Albert/Buchanan]
((I THINK IT'S A GREAT EXPERIENCE.))
The rest of these men have been through basic training, spent one weekend a month in the armory back home, then two weeks on active duty. But that's it.
Now they'll be put to the test.
They get to call home occasionally. Fort Bragg is not that far away, about 200 miles. But it might as well be in Baghdad, considering how much of the sights they'll see.
This is the home of the 82nd Airborne, but our boys won't associate much with paratroopers.
The only break they get from training is the set of pull ups they're required to do on the way into the mess hall.
((CHOW'S PRETTY GOOD, GET PLENTY OF IT, THREE A DAY. BARRACKS ARE PRETTY OLD.))
The Army wouldn't let us inside the mess hall or the barracks.
((FROM THE OUTSIDE, THESE WORLD WAR II-ERA BARRACKS WOULD HAVE SEEMED VERY FAMILIAR TO THE A COMPANY SOLDIERS WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT CAMP BLANDING IN FLORIDA MORE THAN 60 YEARS AGO.))
Guidon Jacob Hawkins just graduated from the Roanoke Police Academy.
He equates the 9/11 attacks with the war in Iraq.
((I MEAN I BELIEVE WHAT WE'RE DOING IS RIGHT. SOMEBODY CAME AND ATTACKED OUR COUNTRY. WE CAN'T JUST LET THAT SLIDE.))
Though it's a deadly serious mission, the troops seem to have a good time getting ready for it.
((I STILL JOINED FOR A REASON, TO "SERVE & PROTECT," AND THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO DO.))
Dale Wilson has been married a month. He admits he jokes about the danger ahead to keep from dwelling on it.
((MY GOAL IS TO WALK ON THE PLANE AND WALK OFF IT WHEN I GET BACK.))
Where that plane will take him is still up in the air.
Where there's a will, there's a way...
Governor Mark Warner says he believes the General Assembly will come up with a budget, it's just a matter of compromise.
This morning he visited Roanoke to hear how the state's budget impasse is affecting local lawmakers, sheriffs and citizens.
Many administrators say they're frustrated and can't do their job.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=This has been done...]
((PAULA BURDETTE, HENRY CO. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: THIS HAS BEEN DONE TWICE IN THE HISTORY OF VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
HOW DO WE NOT RECOGNIZE THIS MASSIVE FAILURE ON THEIR PART TO DO WHAT THEY'RE ELECTED TO DO?))
[INQ= We're happy with...]
((DEL. MORGAN GRIFFITH: WE'RE HAPPY WITH THE BUDGET WE'VE PROPOSED. WE'RE NOT THE ONES JAMMING IT UP- THE SENATE COULD VOTE FOR OUR BUDGET TOMORROW AND EVERY LOCALITY IN THE STATE WOULD RECEIVE ADDITIONAL MONEY.))
[SUPER=01-Paula Burdette/Henry Co. Board of Supervisors; :00]
[OUT Q=... ADDITIONAL MONEY.]
The General Assembly has recessed until Wednesday.
Currently the Senate wants to raise sales tax a penny, while the House opposes any tax increases and has proposed a referendum so voters can decide on the issue.
Tax and fee increases could be on the way for Radford residents.
The city's proposed 41-million dollar budget includes a 3-cent hike in the real estate tax.
It also calls for a 10-cent increase in monthly sewer rates and a 2-dollar hike in monthly trash pickup.
Radford is just the latest in a string of New River Valley communities looking to raise more money.
Blacksburg is proposing several fee increases including a two percent hike in the lodging tax and Montgomery County is asking for a 5-cent increase in its real estate tax.
Terrorism fears sent the stock market lower.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW fell 122 points and closed at a new low for the year.
NASDAQ lost 31.
House Democrats are trying to have the last word on the G-O-P eavesdropping scandal.
31 current and former legislators are now suing the Republican Party of Virginia, its former executive director Ed Matricardi and former Speaker Vance Wilkins.
The suit accuses the Republican officials of wanton and malicious behavior for listening in and recording two Democratic conference calls.
Democrats are asking for statutory and punitive damages.
House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith says the suit is "politically motivated."
Controversial plans for a new sewer project in Blacksburg could hit a snag tonight in Montgomery County.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on whether Blacksburg's plan for a 12-mile sewer line through Toms Creek complies with the comprehensive plan.
About 3-miles of the line would run though the county.
The Planning Commission already recommended the request be denied.
The board meets tonight at 7:15 at the county government center.
Coming up tonight on the Big 7 - the NCAA March Madness schedule is set for late this week.
Warren Sapp assesses his new situation -
and Steve Mason checks in from Blacksburg where Penn State and Virginia Tech fired their final shots before tomorrow night's NCAA date in round of 32.
[GRAPHIC=WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR]
The Virginia Tech women are one win away from the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
Tomorrow night - the Hokies host number one seed Penn State in a seven o'clock tip-off.
Steve Mason talked with both sides this afternoon.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=FIRST AUDIO]
[SUPER=01-Kelly Mazzante/Averages 20 Points a Game for Penn State; :28]
[SUPER=01-Kerri Gardin/VT Sophomore Guard; :40]
[SUPER=01-Rene Portland/Penn State Head Coach; :54]
[SUPER=01-Bonnie Henrickson/Virginia Tech Head Coach; 1:17]
[OUT Q=...NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
[GRAPHIC=men's final four]
And after a wild and woolly weekend of March Madness on men's side - we now have a couple of days to catch our collective breath.
[GO TO PINNACLE THURSDAY NIGHT]
Thursday night the chaos will resume here on WDBJ-7 just after 7 as the U-Conn Huskies take on the Vanderbilt Commodores.
The night cap on Thursday will feature a game in which you better keep your guard up - as Wake Forest takes on St. Joes.
[GO TO FRIDAY PINNACLE]
Then Friday fans will get a chance to see perhaps the most exciting team in the tournament - Alabama Birmingham. The Blazers takes on Kansas in the early games and that will be followed by Duke and Illinois.
It's March Madness right here on WDBJ-7.
Warren Sapp, the mouthpiece and at times the heart and soul of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - joined the Raiders over the weekend.
He gets seven year - $36 million dollar contract for making the move.
Today he gave all who would listen a dose of reality - saying the Raiders are no worse than any other team right now.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Warren Sapp/New Raiders Defensive Tackle; :00]
[OUT Q=...WHAT WE HAVE."]