Coming up on News Seven at Six an early morning shooting in Rockbridge
County leaves one man dead and his girlfriend in the hospital.
Another man is charged with murder.
And with only six hours left of Christmas shopping... time is up.
In Sports, The Packers win their first divisional title in 23 years the
Bears beat the Eagles but will not be in the playoffs and Virginia and Georgia
have something to prove in the Peach Bowl.
If you've been dreaming of a White Christmas-- your wish may come true.
A cold front passing through tomorrow will likely bring us some scattered
snow showers or at least a few flurries.
GRAPHIC=NEWS-7 AT SIX/SHOOTING MURDER
A Rockbridge County man is dead and his girlfriend is in the hospital after
an early morning shooting.
It happened around 3:30 this morning.
DOUBLE BOXES DENISE/RON
Denise Allen is in the newsroom with more information.
Ron, 24-year-old Christopher Wayne Higgins was killed in the shooting and
his girlfriend Brenda Tomlin is in the hospital.
Police did catch a suspect.
26-year-old Ronald C. Hewitt, Junior, is in custody and charged with murder.
SUPER=03-Rockbridge Co.; :00
(( The shooting happened at Christopher Higgins families' home in Raphine.
Witnesses say the assailant entered the home with a deer rifle and shot
Higgins and Tomlin in their bedroom.
Higgins' stepfather and mother were in the next bedroom.
Family members say Ronald Hewitt allegedly tried to enter their room, but
the couple was able to stop Hewitt by blocking the door.
A five year old child sleeping in another bedroom was not injured and slept
through the entire incident.
Family members say Hewitt is Tomlin's former boyfriend.))
The Waynesboro police and Rockbridge County Sheriff's department
apprehended Hewitt in Waynesboro around noon today.
He's being charged with murder, use of a firearm in comission of a murder.
And Rockbridge County Sheriff Bob Day says additional charges are pending.
double boxes denise/ron
Denise, what is Brenda Tomlin's condition?
Sheriff Day told us Tomlin is in critical but stable condition at the
University of Virginia Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
Also Ron, this is Rockbridge County's first murder in two years the last
murder in the county was in March of 1993.
The week- before- Christmas rush apparantly won't be enough to save retailers
from a disappointing Christmas season.
Officials from some of the largest chain stores say shoppers were keeping a
close eye on their wallets.
They say crunch-time was better than expected but not enough to make up for
the first four weeks of the shopping season.
But you wouldn't know that at area malls.
The hustle and bustle is over.
And if you haven't finished your shopping it's too late.
The malls closed at six tonight.
But the day was a busy one for retailers-- and the store parking lots seem to
indicate there are a lot of procrastinators in Southwest Virginia.
Shoppers say today was the day to pick up the little things.
And the last minute rush didn't seem to dampen the holiday spirit.
IN Q=i always
((HAROLD VANHUSS/SHOPPER: I ALWAYS WAIT TIL THE LAST MINUTE CAUSE IT'S MORE
EXCITING, THE LAST MINUTE.))
((ROGER HANDY/SHOPPER: I'VE GOT THREE BROTHERS THAT BROUGHT ME HERE AND WE
NEVER GET TOGETHER BUT ONCE A YEAR AT CHRISTMAS. WE GET TOGETHER AND COME
SUPER=01-Harold VanHuss/Shopper; :00
SUPER=01-Roger Handy/Shopper; :06
OUT Q=COME SHOPPING
While the stores were crowded, shoppers admit they haven't been buying big
IN Q=did you all
((DID YOU ALL BUY MORE THAN YOU DID LAST YEAR?
BRENDA VANHUSS/SHOPPER: NO, WE BOUGHT A LOT, LOT LESS.))
OUT Q=LOT, LOT LESS
Now retailers are turning their eyes to the day AFTER Christmas--the busiest
return day of the year.
Overall, analysts predict the industry will eek out a one or two percent
gain in sales compared to last year.
GRAPHIC=drinking and driving
During this busy holiday weekend Virginia State Police are reminding
motorists they can use their cellular phones to report suspected drunken
Motorists can dial... Star-3-8-4 which is the same as Star-D-U-I.
The number works throughout the state, except in Northern Virginia.
Motorists are also encouraged to report UN-safe drivers, accidents, disabled
vehicles, and serious crimes.
State Police say callers should be prepared to give the location, direction
of travel, vehicle descriptions and if possible license plate numbers.
Despite being his alma mater, the University of Virginia says it didn't fare
very well in Governor Allen's budget proposal.
U-V-A officials say they asked for about 40-million dollars in new funding
in the 1996-to '98 budget.
George Allen's proposed budget only includes an additional six-point-eight
million dollars for the school.
U-V-A says all of its requests are urgent-- and that the university needs
nearly 20-million dollars for technology.
The dean of U-V-A's medical school is planning to ask the General Assembly
for an additional 10-point four million dollars.
School officials say the state needs to pick up more of the tab for
training medical students-- especially as health care changes threaten to cut
the amount of money university doctors take in.
Roanoke fills a big piece of vacant retail space, and a Martinsville company
hopes targeting NASCAR fans will help its sales move into the fast lane.
Len Besthoff recaps the week's top economic stories in southwest and central
Virginia with the News-7 Business Review.
IN Q=NAT SOT
SUPER=03-Martinsville/File Tape; :48
OUT Q=NAT SOT
Bell Atlantic has reportedly entered into merger talks with Nynex, a
regional phone company in the northeast.
An analyst that follows Bell Atlantic says a deal between the two would have
little impact on its 11-hundred workers in our area.
The space vacated by Woolworth's in downtown Roanoke has a new tenant.
A local merchant has opened Campbell Mart there, the largest retailer to
open downtown in a decade.
Two large employers in our area have changed their names.
B-and-W-Nuclear-Technologies will now call itself Framatome, while I-T-T
Electro-Optical Products Division has shortened its name to I-T-T Night Vision.
Moore's Lumber and Building Supplies will cut 26 jobs next year as it
reorganizes its distribution network.
Some of the workers will will be offered other positions with the company.
Tultex expects to rev up activewear sales by getting more involved with the
The Martinsville activewear company announced Thursday that it's a partner
in a new company that will sell t-shirts and other items associated with auto
Len Besthoff, with the News-7 Business Review.
HARD MUSIC UNDER
Stick around for more NEWS-7 at SIX--
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...
and he's right here in Roanoke-- We'll hear from Kris Kringle himself who is
preparing for a very busy night-- he'll answer some of the most often asked
questions-- right after this break.
kimberly in wx office
Looking forward to that.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere's doing everything it can to cooperate and give
us a White Christmas.
We're continuing to get northwesterly winds-- making it cold enough for
Also, a cold front moving through the region tomorrow promises to bring
some scattered snow showers or flurries.
A holiday forecast Santa would approve of-- coming up a little later on.
We hope you stay with us.
Few will ever see Rita Warren's nativity scene in the Virginia State Capitol
before Wednesday, when she says she'll take it down.
It's NOT even very big.
But the Fairfax woman considers it a victory in her fight for freedom of
speech and religion.
House Speaker Tom Moss-- a Norfolk Democrat-- gave the okay for what's
believed to be the first religous display in the Capitol in modern times.
The fiberglass Christmas figures and Hanukkah cards come with a disclaimer--
that it's a private display.
A spokeswoman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
says the nativity scene opens the Capitol to-- in her words-- "any kind of
She says her group might legally challenge Virginia if someone else is
turned down after Warren's precedent has been set.
No early Christmas present for Virginia Lotto players.
The Lottery Department says no one matched all six numbers correctly to win
the four-point-seven million dollar jackpot.
In case you missed them, last night's Pick Six numbers were four, eight 17,
20, 24 and 41.
Wednesday's Lotto jackpot rises to about six million dollars.
Even though Christmas is just around the corner we had the privilege of
having a very special guest drop by our station today... despite his busy
His name? Santa Claus.
IN Q=That's right...
SUPER=07-Santa Claus; :09
OUT Q=better on that day.
(( That's right... Santa Claus, who is also known as Bob Evans says... make
no mistake... he is the REAL thing.
((SANTA CLAUS: ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT I CAME FROM THE NORTH POLE, MY
FAMILY'S ALWAYS LIVED THERE, MY FATHER WAS SANTA CLAUS BEFORE ME. HE LIVED TO
HE WAS 960 YEARS OLD. I THINK NOW THAT I'M 783.))
Santa says he travels throughout the world spreading good cheer and hope to
I asked Santa how he's able to deliver toys to every child in the world in
one night.. he says it's simple.
((SO I JUST FOLLOW THE SUN ALL THE WAY AROUND. ALL THE WAY AROUND THE WORLD
AND DELIVER THE PRESENTS TO MY FRIENDS EVERYWHERE AND THEN JUST AT DAY BREAK ON
CHRISTMAS DAY I ARRIVE BACK AT THE NORTH POLE, TAKE A LITTLE CAT NAP, MRS.
CLAUS, MY 29 ELVES AND MY REINDEER AND ME.))
Our interview with Santa ended quickly as he prepares for a very busy night.
But he offered this bit of advice for children and adults who have given up
on their dreams.
((ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE. WHAT YOU TO BE AND THAT
YOU CAN BE THE BEST AT THAT IF YOU STAY AT IT. AND ALWAYS HAVE HOPE AND ALWAYS
BELIEVE THERE IS ANOTHER DAY OUT THERE FOR YOU AND THAT YOU CAN DO BETTER ON
dissolve to set
SOFT MUSIC UNDER
Don't go away-- Roy has highlights from the N-F-L and a look at who's
heading home and who's heading to the playoffs.
But first-- it is number one at the box office this weekend-- a review of
Waiting to Exhale-- next on NEWS-7 at SIX.
Earlier in the newscast we showed you INCORRECT lottery numbers--
Again, those numbers are four, eight 17, 20, 24 and 41.
If you're looking for a break after opening gifts and eating, you may want
to take in a movie.
One film reccommended for a girl's night out is "Waiting to Exhale."
The romantic melodrama is the Christmas weekend's number one film.
Movie Critic Sarah Vorhees reports.
SUPER=07-Sarah Vorhees; :00
OUT Q=Sarah Vorhees reporting
Waiting to Exhale is a rambling ensemble piece about four middle-class
women in Phoenix and their struggle to find and keep relationships
All of the women are fiery and hip. Angela Basset is
married with children until one night when her husband tells her he's
leaving her for a white woman.
Whitney Houston is a professional woman in love with a married man.
Lela Rochon is an executive with horrible taste in men.
And Loretta Devine is the only one with the possibility of a decent
relationship, with Gregory Hines.
You don't have to be a man to notice that men don't come off so well
in this movie. Yhey're either drug addicts or self-centered or liars.
But there isn't a single one who isn't realistic. The movie is
directed by Forrest Whitaker, with wit and wisdom, and a wonderful
sense of humor about what it takes to sustain a relationship in the
90's. it's also shockingly sexual...McMillan and Whitaker take some
long overdue pot-shots at the male ego.))
And coming up, Big N-F-L games in Green Bay and Chicago this afternoon
we'll have the Highlights.
And the Roanoke Express received a big holiday present last night breaking
a five game losing streak with a win over the Hampton Road Admirals.
The Green Bay Packers clinched their first N-F-C Central Division title in
23 years with a 24 to 19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
SUPER=03-Green Bay, WI/NBC SPORTS; :
The Cheese heads at home for the final game of the regular season.
And Edgar Bennett warmed up Lambeau field when he scored from 9 yards out
to give the Packers a 7 to nothing lead.
Green Bay added another score in the second quarter when Brett Favre hooks
up with Robert Brooks on the 19 yard touchdown pass to make it 14 to 3.
Pittsburgh came right back Neil O'Donnell going to the air and hitting
Ernie Mills on the 8 yard T-d strike to make it 14 to 10 at the half.
But Favre answered in the third SUPER=30-Green
Bay/=24/Pittsburgh/=19;with this one yard pass to Mark Chmura to make it 21 to
10 and the Packers win it 24 to 19.
The Chicago Bears beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20 to 14 but the Bears will
not be headed to the playoffs because of Atlanta's upset of San Francisco.
SUPER=03-Chicago, IL/FOX SPORTS; :
The Bears did all they could to make the post season.
Early in the first quarter Erik Krammer hits Keith Jennings on this 15
yard touchdown strike to make it 7 to nothing.
Philadelphia would tie the game in the second quarter Charlie Garner takes
the handoff and scores from 18 yards out to make it 7 to 7.
Chicago came right back Krammer SUPER=30-Chicago/=20/Philadelphia/=14
hitting Jennings again this time from one yard out to make it 17 to 7 and the
Bears pull out the 20 to 14 win but they will be home for the post season.
The Falcons upset the 49-ers Cincinnati beats Minnesota and the Redskins
and Panthers are battling in the third quarter.
For those and all of today's scores lets go to the boards.
IN Q=FIRST SCORE
OUT Q=...MIAMI/ST. LOUIS."
When Virginia and Georgia hook up in the Peach Bowl December 30-th both
teams will be trying to finish a season that's had its ups and downs.
SUPER=03-Athens, GA; :
The Bulldogs saw their head coach fired at the end of the regular season
and they too had their share of losses in the closing seconds of games just
IN Q="I think
((RAY GOFF/GEORGIA HEAD COACH: ))
SUPER=01-Ray Goff/Georgia Head Coach; :
OUT Q=.....this year."
Virginia has competed with some of the best teams in the country this
season and the Cavaliers have a lot to play for in the Peach Bowl.
IN Q="I think
((GEORGE WELSH/UVA HEAD COACH: ))
SUPER=01-George Welsh/UVa Head Coach; :
OUT Q=........play for."
Virginia Tech defensive back Antonio Banks has been charged with Assault
Blacksburg Police say Banks was arrested December 12-th in connection with
Despite the charge, Banks will play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New
The Roanoke Express scored early and often last night and ended a five game
losing skid at the Roundhouse with a big win over Hampton Roads.
SUPER=03-Roanoke/Admirals vs. Express;
A rather subdued Saint Nick visited a less than capacity crowd last night
at the Civic Center.
The home team created their own excitement in the first period. Jeff
Jablonski beats the Admiral goaltender 1 on 1 and the Express led 2-nothing.
Then watch Dave Holom find Jason Clarke who slaps the puck home to extend
the lead to 3.
Jablonski gets in the act again. With the assist from Ilya Dubkov, he
finds the net as Roanoke takes command with an early offensive explosion and
cruises to the 9 to 4 win.
The Express will be off for the holiday and return to the ice on the road at
Raleigh December 26-th and the Icecaps will come to the Roundhouse December
SUPER=#C-380; Weather Roll
The holidays are a time for celebration with family and friends.
We at WDBJ-7 have had something special to celebrate this year, our 40th
So we end tonight with a look back at our birthday party, and season's
greetings from the people at your hometown station.
NEWS-7 at 11 is pre-empted tonight, but we'll return at 11 tomorrow night--
Have a Merry Christmas, Goodnight.
IN Q=nat sound
OUT Q=nat sound.