Coming up on NEWS 7--
Fire damages several classrooms at a Roanoke County high school.
Now the cleanup's underway over Christmas break.
Also today--'tis the season for returns and bargain shopping.
We'll check in at the mall on this day after Christmas.
In sports, Jim Donnan is introduced as Georgia's football coach late this
afternoon, The Hokies arrive in New Orleans, we will take you there,
and in less than a half hour, Powell Valley superman Thomas Jones will
announce where hie is going to play his college football.
Folks around the region who spent time outside noticed the arctic air in
place. Plan on temperatures running below normal all this week.
Workers will spend the rest of the holiday break cleaning up after a fire
this morning at a Roanoke County high school.
The fire damaged several classrooms at Northside High School.
Investigators say an electrical short caused the blaze.
The school's principal discovered the fire around 8:30 this morning.
It started in a supply closet in one of the classrooms on the first floor.
Fire Marshall Don Gillespie says a faulty relay switch controlling a
dusk-to-dawn light started the fire.
IN Q=we had fire
((BATTALION CHIEF STEVE POFF/ROANOKE COUNTY FIRE DEPT.: WE HAD FIRE DAMAGE TO
ONE CLASSROOM AND SMOKE DAMAGE TO TWO OTHERS AND WE HAVE SMOKE THROUGHOUT THE
HALLWAYS ON THE FIRST LEVEL.))
SUPER=01-Steve Poff/Roanoke Co. Fire Dept.;
OUT Q=FIRST LEVEL
The fire smoldered several hours before it was discovered.
It caused about 12-thousand dollars in damage.
Officials say the affected classrooms will be cleaned and students will be
able to return to the school next week as scheduled.
It will be at least another day before fire investigators can get inside the
rubble of the old Lukens building in downtown Lynchburg.
Steve Smallshaw reports the loss of another historic landmark has left its
owner and the city in shock.
IN Q=One by one
SUPER=03-Lynchburg/May, 1987; :00
SUPER=04-September 26th; :09 (QUICK!)
SUPER=01-Ann Hatfield/Riverviews, Inc.; :42
SUPER=01-Larry Halstead/Lukens Building Owner; :1:05
OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.
(( One by one, Lynchburg's historic downtown buildings are disappearing.
Eight years ago, a massive fire destroyed a Jefferson Street warehouse.
In September, an old railroad terminal fell victim to another blaze.
And on Christmas Day, the eight- story Lukens building on Commerce Street
was the latest to fall.
IN Q=I would like
((ANN HATFIELD/RIVERVIEWS, INC.: I WOULD LIKE TO SEE PART OF THIS STRUCTURE
SAVED AS A MEMORIAL TO BURNING WAREHOUSES IN LYNCHBURG. THERE SEEM TO HAVE BEEN
A LOT OF THEM.))
OUT Q=lot of them.
Just this past January, Ann Hatfield led us on a tour of the Lukens
building, outlining her plans for turning the structure into the area's first
With funding finally behind them, they were going to make an offer on the
building within the next few days.
IN Q=I'll just say
((HATFIELD: I'LL JUST SAY WE DIDN'T MOVE FAST ENOUGH. I JUST COULDN'T SEEM TO
CONVINCE PEOPLE THAT THERE WAS ANY URGENCY TO THIS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I
WAS TOLD WAS "THE BUILDING'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE."))
OUT Q=not going anywhere.
Hatfield's shock was shared by the building's owner, Larry Halstead, who got
his first glimpse of the damage from his car this afternoon.
Halstead says he's not sure what his next move will be.
IN Q=Let me try
((LARRY HALSTEAD/LUKENS BUILDING OWNER: LET ME TRY TO GET MY ACT TOGETHER, I'VE
BEEN UP ALL NIGHT AND I'M NOT IN TOO GOOD SHAPE. Reporter: Was it a big shock?
HALSTEAD: YEAH, I GUESS SO, IT WAS A FOUR AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR BUILDING.))
OUT Q=million dollar building.
IN Q=Fire investigators
((Fire investigators hope Halstead will be able to answer some of their
questions about the state of the building, including claims that the sprinkler
system had been turned off at the time of the fire. Steve Smallshaw, News7,
OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.))
The New Year is looking bright, for a change, at the Radford Arsenal, as
commercial industry looks to take up residence on site.
Tracy Altizer reports.
IN Q=At one time
SUPER=01-Dick Best/Project Manager;:26
OUT Q=Altizer, News 7.
(( At one time, the powder plant, as it's known, was the largest industrial
employer in the New River Valley.
But the end of the Cold War meant the Army no longer needed as much of the
tank propellant it makes.
Now, after several years of cuts layoffs, workers will soon return to the
plant to work for New River Energetics, a subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems,
which operates the arsenal.
Instead of making gunpowder for war, they'll be making it for sport.
((DICK BEST/PROJECT MANAGER: IT COVERS ALL THE SPORTING, SHOOTING, RIFLE,
PISTOL, SHOTGUN, HUNTING, CLAY TARGET, SKEET TRAP. ))
A government program called ARMS is providing millions of dollars to help
Alliant close its operations in New Jersey and open N-R-E at the arsenal.
The company will employ up to 150 people. It's already taking applications,
and expects to begin the hiring process this Spring.
((WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT HAVE HAD PREVIOUS EXPLOSIVE PROPELLANT
EXPERIENCE. THEY WILL GO THROUGH AN ASSESSMENT WHERE THEY GET AN OPPORTUNITY
TO LOOK AT US AND WE GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT THEM. ))
ARMS is an initiative to encourage industries to make use of idle space at
N-R-E is the first commercial venture at the Radford Arsenal.
((I THINK THIS WILL BE JUST KIND OF A STEPPINGSTONE FOR FUTURE COMPANIES,
COMMERCIAL COMPANIES TO COME ON THE ARSENAL. ))
Although it won't be up and running for about a year, New River Energetics
may already be proving itself to be a successful catalyst.
The arsenal has received its first commercial order to produce propellant
for automobile airbags.
And in January officials say they expect a major announcement of another
commercial company planning to move its operations here. Tracy Altizer, News
Roanoke Regional Airport saw fewer passengers coming through the gates in
There was a 12 percent drop in the number of people using the Airport this
year compared to 1994.
However, airport officials say the statistics may be deceiving.
They say the decrease is due to higher ticket prices at the counters.
IN Q=This year we're
((JACQUELINE SCHUK/ROANOKE REGIONAL AIRPORT OFFICIAL: THIS YEAR WE'RE DOWN
ABOUT 12 PERCENT OVER 1994 BUT 1994 WAS UP 15 PERCENT OVER 1993. SO WHAT WE'RE
SEEING IS A REFLECTION OF INCREASED AIRFARES OVER 1994.))
SUPER=01-Jacqueline Schuk/Roanoke Regional Airport Official;
OUT Q=airfares over 1994.
However, despite the decrease in passengers they say the mail order business
has been GOOD business for the airport.
IN Q=Our cargo is up
((OUR CARGO IS UP THIS YEAR 31 PERCENT. IT WAS UP A YEAR AGO 29 PERCENT AND ITS
BEEN IN THE DOUBLE DIGITS THE LAST 5 OR 6 YEARS IN TERMS OF INCREASES. AND
WHAT WE SEE IS A NUMBER OF CATALOG BUSINESS HERE IN THE REGION.))
OUT Q=here in the region.
Officials say more than half a million passengers went through the Roanoke
Regional Airport in 1995.
HARD MUSIC UNDER
Still to come on News 7 at 6--the shopping malls were silent yesterday but
the rush is back on today.
We'll see what bargain hunters are finding on this day after Christmas.
and a little later--residents find there IS strength in numbers.
We'll tell you about a group working together to make their neighborhood a
better place to live.
First though let's welcome Robin Reed back from his holiday vacation.
Toss to Robin
SUPER=#C-380; Weather Roll
If economists are right it's going to be a very blue Christmas season for
the nation's retailers.
The official figures aren't in but preliminary reports show mediocre sales
through the month of December.
So did the same hold true for shoppers in central and southwest Virginia?
Scott Prince is at Valley View Mall. Scott how did retailers in our area
fare this holiday season?
(roll cue: "...last chance to bolster sales.")
IN Q=Instead of taking bags
SUPER=07-Lorie Compiths :07;
SUPER=07-Don Reid :16;
OUT Q=January 13th
(questions: Connie: This is always expected to be a pretty big day--How big of
a crowd was out there out today? )
Tonight we begin a look back at the top business stories in our area this
Len Besthoff begins a three-part weekday edition of the News-7 Business
Review with the top economic news from January through April.
IN Q=Nat Sot
SUPER=03-Pittsylvania Co./February; :37
OUT Q=Nat Sot
The Roanoke Valley began the year with a big business bonanza.
Arkay Packaging announced plans to build a 17-million-dollar cosmetics
packaging plant in Botetourt County, and to eventually create 190 manufacturing
That same week the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath company said it would move into
the old Grove Worldwide plant in Salem and hire 300 workers, but the project
has been put on hold.
Later that month though the Carilion Health System, announced a massive
restructuring; the region's largest employer is still determining how many
cutbacks that will mean.
Appalachian Power also said it was restructuring.
The utility expects its reductions will have a small job impact.
Pittsylvania County got some good news when Tokaidenko of Japan said it
would convert the old Sara Lee Knitwear plant into an automotive parts factory
and hire 100 people.
But Acadia Polymers, an auto industry supplier in Iron Gate, laid off 150
workers as it reduced its product line.
Fleetwood Homes in Franklin County moved in the other direction, announcing
construction of a second plant and plans to hire 200 people.
Ericsson of Lynchburg brought word of 400 new HIGH-TECH hires as part of a
multi-million-dollar expansion by the communications company.
Around the same time, financial help from Governor Allen helped create 200
new jobs in southwest Virginia, at Wolverine Gasket in Blacksburg and Summit
Dimension Products in Smythe County.
April brought the reopening of the historic Hotel Roanoke, a
41-million-dollar project many hope will boost Roanoke's downtown market area.
Also in April, an Ericsson spinoff named XTAL announced plans to build a new
plant and hire up to 100 people in Lynchburg.
And Danville tobacco giant Dibrell Brothers merged with Monk Austin of North
Carolina, forming a new company called Dimon.
Len Besthoff, with the News-7 Business Review year-end edition.
And in Clifton Forge, CFW Communications opened a new directory assistance
center in March with 135 operators.
Later in the year the workers began a union organizing campaign, and last
week by a narrow margin they voted to approve union representation.
After taking the day off for the holiday yesterday, the stock market
finished higher in light trading today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12 points.
NASDAQ was also up, two and a half points.
A Danville grass-roots group says it's proof people CAN make a difference.
The Westmoreland Neighborhood Organization is a volunteer group that's
brought pride and safety back to its community.
Teresa Hamilton has the story.
IN Q=Good morning
SUPER=01-Shirley Coles/Organization President; :33
SUPER=01-Bernice Bryant/Organization Vice President; :55
OUT Q=Hamilton, News 7, Danville.
((GOOD MORNING, HOW ARE YOU. ))
OUT Q=how are you.
The Westmoreland Neighborhood Organization is about more than just sprucing
up a community.
IN Q=We just
((WE JUST THOUGHT WE'D COME BY AND LET YOU KNOW WE'RE THINKING ABOUT YOU AND
MISTER DOBY HERE AT CHRISTMAS TIME. ))
OUT Q=here at Christmas time.
For Shirley Coles and Bernice Bryant concern for one's neighbor is what the
organization is all about.
When they're not checking up on the sick and the elderly they're busy making
the neighborhood a safer place to live for the group's 600- members.
At one time, the area used to be Danville's most prominent black
((SHIRLEY COLES/ORGANIZATION PRESIDENT: CRIME WAS REALLY RUNNING RAMPANT IN
THIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND WE FELT SOMETHING NEEDED TO BE DONE, ELDERLY PEOPLE WERE
AFRAID TO COME OUT AT NIGHT TO GO TO CHURCH. ))
OUT Q=to church.
But that's no longer the case, at least, in the eyes of Bernice Bryant.
The area's now patrolled by police and crime watch signs are a familiar
IN Q=A lot
((BERNICE BRYANT/ORGANIZATION VICE PRESIDENT: A LOT OF THEM HAVE SAID THEY
FEEL FREE TO COME OUT NOW, THEY REALLY ENJOY THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THEY'RE NOT
AFRAID TO GO THE STORE TO COME OUT ON THEIR PORCHES. ))
OUT Q= their porches.
The Westmoreland Neighborhood Organization has made significant progress
over the past two years.
But they're not about to slow down. The organization meets once a month
to work on different projects.
Shirley Coles would like to see a neighborhood recreation center for both
young and old.
Teresa Hamilton, News 7, Danville.))
The Holiday Hoops tourney is in full swing, we will have a few highlights,
The NFL coach of the year is chosen,
as is the second, new head football coach at Georgia. We will hear from Jim
Tomas Jones, the State's number 1 high school football prospect, announced
from a news conference at the Ramada Inn in Duffield, that he will attend the
university of Virginia.
The record setting tailback led Powell Valley to its second straight state
championship this year. He gained over 3-thousand yards and scored 49
touchdowns this season alone.
He rushed for over 7-thousand yards in his Career, which is second behind
Terry Kirby who also attended U-V-A. Jones will be Tiki Barber's predecessor.
The Virginia Tech Hokies left for New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl today.
SUPER=03-Roanoke/This Morning; :00
The players and coaches loaded up and departed from the Roanoke Regional
Airport around 9:30 this morning.
IN Q=there;s a lot of
((FRANK BEAMER/VA TECH HEAD COACH: THERE'S A LOT OF EXCITEMENT. EAGER TO GET
DOWN TO WARMER WEATHER. WE'VE GOT A WORKOUT SCHEDULED FOR THIS AFTERNOON, BUT
I THINK THIS FOOTBALL TEAM, LIKE IT'S BEEN ALL YEAR, KNOWS WE'RE GOING DOWN
THERE FOR A PURPOSE.))
SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Va. Tech Head Coach;
OUT Q=for a purpose"
SUPER=03-New Orleans, LA/Today; :00
Beamer and his players unloaded in New Orleans to find not a media barage,
but some good old fashion Bourbon street hospitality there to greet them. Sugar
Bowl officials were also on hand. The Hokies play the Texas Longhorns in the
The Philadelphia Eagles' ROOKIE head coach has been named N-F-L coach of the
Under Rhodes the Eagles have been flying high--posting a 10 and 6 record
Philadelphia owner Jeff Lurie actively sought former Cowboy coach Jimmy
Johnson and former Eagle coach Dick Vermeil before signing Rhodes for the job.
The freshman coach received 24 votes from the nationwide panel of sports
Kansas City's Marty Schottenheimer and Carolina's Dom Capers tied for second
in the balloting.
GRAPHIC=News 7 sports
Jim Donnan was introduced today as the second new head football coach at
Georgia in just eight days!
Donnan guided Marshall to a 64 and 21 record during his six year tenure
at Division 1-double A power Marshall. marshall was the national championship
runner up this year and won the title back in 1992.
At the news conference today, Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley
introduced the Bulldogs second and final head coach, who has a lot to be
IN Q=You Know...
((JIM DONNAN/GEORGIA HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: ))
SUPER=01-Jim Donnan/Georgia Head Football Coach; :00
OUT Q=...about that"
GRAPHIC=High School Hoops
The Nations Bank Holiday Hoops basketball tournament is underway over at
the Salem Civic Center. In the 3:45 game; Riverside beat Franklin County 67 to
56. William Byrd Patrick Henry made the highlight reel in their 2 pm tip off.
SUPER=03-Salem/Terriers vs. Patriots; :00
Patriot guard Brian Jackson take matters into his own hands and make the
nice drive. His lean in shot finds the bottom of the net for patrick Henry.
PH can also pass. Ronnie Casey dishes to Brooks berry who gives to Colbey
Leftwich for the basket, but the Terriers would then go on their run.
Byrd's Michael Berry makes the pass to Kevin Stump who gets the roll and the
hoops for the Terriers.
SUPER=34-William Byrd/=71/Patrick Henry/=54;
Chris Childress scored a game high 23. He steals the pass and goes coast to
coast for the slam and William Byrd beats Patrick henry 71 to 54.
The Baltimore Orioles found an after Christmas bargain today.
This afternoon the Orioles acquired All-Star pitcher David Wells from the
The 32 year old lefty is expected to be in the Bird's starting rotation.
The Reds get outfielders Curtis Goodwin and Trovin Valdez in return.
Wells was 16-8 last season.
For most of us the Christmas season means giving and receiving gifts and
eating too much.
But not everyone has that luxury.
Local shelters are serving up meals and providing beds for those who are
homeless this holiday season.
Shelter officials say they've seen the normal influx of holiday visitors--
as well as those who are just coming in out of the cold.
We'll have more on that story-- plus all the day's news, weather, and
sports at 11.
Thanks for watching and have a good night.
And that is News 7 at 6.