Some Roanoke families were forced out of their apartments by fire.
And it's a new year, and the start of another legislative session for state
You'd never know from the weather right now, but a Winter Storm Watch is
posted, effective tonight and tomorrow as a gulf storm system prepares to bring
a wintry mix of precipitation to the Valley. I'll have all the latest
information on the storm coming up momentarily.
Stay with us, News 7 at Noon is next.
GRAPHIC=general assembly 97
At this hour, the 19-97 General Assembly is coming to order.
It's the odd year short session.
But there are still plenty of contentious issues to keep lawmakers busy.
Double Boxes=Melanie and Ellen/Starlink;
Ellen Qualls is at the state capitol.
What can we expect today?
Melanie, 19-97 will be about what to do with a quarter million dollar
surplus that's just a tiny fraction of a 35 BILLION dollar budget agreed on
And how that money's doled out will be a microcosm of what priorities the
legislature and the governor want to set this year.
IN Q=it's an election year
SUPER=07-Del. Allen Dudley; :18
OUT Q=theme of this session
( ad lib)
Double Boxes=Melanie and Ellen/Starlink
Q&A: So the Governor delivers the State of the Commonwealth speech tonight at
That's right. And we'll be back here bringing it to you live from 7 to 8.
Brace yourself, wintry weather returns to the region today with a vengeance.
Melanie, despite the sunny skies out there right now, changes are
forthcoming in the forecast, starting late this afternoon.
For that reason, the N-W-S has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire
region. We're looking at snow, sleet, and even some freezing rain in all of
the counties you see shaded in blue. Anywhere from 2 to 4 inches are possible,
but with the sleet mentioned in the forecast, accumulation totals are hard to
figure, as it accumulates differently from snow.
I would take precautions in case of power outages in the overnight hours,
and for tomorrow as well, especially to the East and South of the Roanoke Metro
The first woman to be nominated as Secretary of State is testifying today
before the Senate foreign relations committee as her confirmation process gets
Madeleine Albright is expected to face little resistance, although she'll
likely get a wide range of questions.
Albright served four years as a U-N Ambassador.
The House ethics committee will meet today to start considering punishment
for Newt Gingrich.
The Georgia Republican won a second term as House Speaker yesterday despite
his admission that he violated ethics rules.
((TO WHATEVER DEGREE AND IN ANY WAY THAT I BROUGHT CONTROVERSY OR INAPPROPRIATE
ATTENTION, I APOLOGIZE. IT IS MY INTENTION TO DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO WORK WITH
EVERY MEMBER OF THIS CONGRESS."))
SUPER=01-Rep. Newt Gingrich/House Speaker;
OUT Q=of this Congress.
He is the first G-O-P member in sixty-eight years to win back to back terms
The so-called right to die debate is before the Supreme Court today.
The Justices are hearing arguments on whether the terminally ill have a
constitutional right to end their lives with the help of a doctor.
The demonstrators and court spectators began gathering early
One woman waiting to get inside called it the biggest case
since Roe versus Wade legalizing abortion.
Roanoke County fire fighters spent more than two hours battling a blaze at
the Bent Creek Apartment complex yesterday.
Flames spread across the rooftop of building G.
No one was injured in the fire, but tens of thousands of dollars in damage
This morning, investigators returned to the scene... hoping to figure out
what sparked the blaze.
Six of the apartments were torn up by the flames.
Those residents are still waiting to recover their personal belongings.
IN Q=We're not
((RANDY SPENCE/FIRE INVESTIGATOR: WE'RE NOT ALLOWING ANYONE INTO THOSE SIX.
IT'S STILL TOO DANGEROUS-- TOO MANY MANY THINGS WRONG ON THE SIDE OF IT. SO
ONCE WE GET IN THERE THIS MORNING, WE'LL EVALUATE THE SITUATION AND MAYBE AT
SOME POINT TODAY WE CAN LET THEM GET SOME OF THEIR NECESSITIES.))
SUPER=01-Randy Spence/Fire Investigator;
Residents of the OTHER six apartments in the building WERE allowed to
recover their valuables this morning.
They said despite last night's adverse conditions, fire fighters tried to
save a number of the tenants' personal belongings.
IN Q=I was
((ROXANNE BABST/BENT CREEK RESIDENT: I WAS IMPRESSED THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY
POSSIBLY COULD. THEY COVERED UP FURNITURE WITH PLASTIC AND DID EVERYTHING THEY
COULD TO KEEP STUFF FROM BEING TOO DAMAGED. ))
SUPER=01-Roxanne Babst/Bent Creek Resident;
OUT Q=too damaged
The American Red Cross is helping many of the residents find shelter over
the next few days.
There may be some major developments in the murder investigation of a six-
year- old Colorado beauty queen.
Two newspapers today are reporting that Boulder Police found a PRACTICE
ransom note in the home of (jahn-bu-NAY') JonBenet Ramsey.
The Little Miss Colorado was found strangled in her basement December 26th,
about eight hours after her mother found a ransom note.
Earlier reports said the note was written on paper taken from a legal pad
found in the Ramsey home.
The Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post report the partial note was from
that same pad.
The state of Arkansas is preparing to carry out a triple execution tonight.
The three convicted murders are scheduled to be executed one after the other
beginning at 8 o'clock.
It will be the state's second triple execution in 2 and a half years.
Arkansas is the only state to have executed three people in one night since
the death penalty was reinstated in 19-76.
Local supporters were on Capital Hill yesterday to see Virgil Goode take his
seat in the 105th U.S. Congress yesterday.
The Fifth district Democrat was sworn in-- to the House seat from which L.F.
But the real "doings" had already gone on in the Longworth office building,
where supporters from Franklin County to Charlottesville gathered to share in
IN Q=Well naturally
((WILLIAM HELMS/GOODE SUPPORTER: WELL NATURALLY I ... IN THE FUTURE.))
((CONGRESSMAN VIRGIL GOODE/D-5TH DISTRICT: THIS MORNING... FIFTH DISTRICT.))
SUPER=01-William Helm/Goode Supporter; :00
OUT Q=Fifth district.
Democrat Goode voted against Newt Gingrich for speaker.
TAPE#net (edit of 596-42)
It's been three years, but a Franklin County woman is now regretting giving
away her pet.
Phyllis Mason handed her dog over to Valery Green... who was recently
charged with animal neglect.
Mason says at the time, she had no idea Green was running a kennel.
Now that the criminal allegations have surfaced, she's fearful of the dog's
safety... and wants it back.
IN Q=When I gave
((PHYLLIS MASON: WHEN I GAVE UP MY DOG, I GAVE UP MY RIGHTS TO THAT DOG. BUT IT
DOESN'T GIVE UP MY RIGHT AS AN OWNER TO THAT DOG FOR ONE TIME IN HIS LIFE... TO
STOP CARING ABOUT THAT ANIMAL. ))
OUT Q=that animal
A few days ago, the breeder checked herself into a local hospital and left
about a hundred animals in the care of a neighbor.
The animals could be taken away from Green after a court hearing next week.
An afternoon of doing laundry turned into a memorable one at a Roanoke
A car smashed through the wall of the Fabricare Laundry and Dry Cleaning
Center on Franklin Road.
68- year- old Arthur Wilson says his brakes failed, and he had no choice
but to turn into the laundromat.
Wilson's wife suffered minor injuries.
Authorities say charges are pending an inspection of Wilson's car.
Keno will not be joining other Virginia Lottery games.
Officials say they have NO plans to push for it this year.
But the lottery's director has a warning for lawmakers: without new games,
the Lottery has "maxed out" its earning potential.
IN Q=What I have
((PENELOPE KYLE/VA. LOTTERY DIRECTOR: WE WILL TRY TO PRODUCE...THIS IS IT.))
SUPER=01-Penelope Kyle/Virginia Lottery Director;
OUT Q=this is it.
A keno proposal in last year's legislative session drew immediate fire.
Keno games can be played every few minutes, all day long, on video terminals
in restaurants, stores, and gas stations.
College tuition in Virginia is among the highest in the nation, but that may
change this year.
State Senator John Edwards of Roanoke wants to cut tuition ten percent a
year for the next four years.
The state used to pick up 70 percent of a students tuition costs, but since
19-90, that has dropped to 50 percent.
The higher cost makes it harder for schools to compete with other states.
IN Q=Virginia's in the
((CHARLES DOWNS, VIRGINIA WESTERN PRESIDENT; VIRGINIA'S IN THE VERY TOP 5
PERCENT OF TUITIONS WHERE NORTH CAROLINA, FOR EXAMPLE IS IN THE BOTTOM 5-10
PERCENT IN TUITION. SO IT WOULD MAKE VIRGINIA MUCH MORE COMPETITIVE FROM THE
ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW.))
SUPER=01-Charles Downs/Virginia Western President;
OUT Q=economic point of view
Edwards says he's already getting positive feedback from other lawmakers.
The elderly are being overlooked when it comes to getting drugs that can
prevent repeat heart attacks.
Beta blockers increase survival by 20 to 40 percent when given to patients
after a heart attack.
But a study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" finds that
only 21 percent of people over 65 who need the drugs are actually getting them.
The authors say misinformation about side effects may keep many elderly from
receiving prescriptions for the drug.
A judge has ordered the Greenbrier to pay nearly a quarter- million- dollars
in a sex and age discrimination lawsuit.
SUPER=03-West Virginia/File Tape;
USE FILE CUED FROM 95-83, 93-100
Barbara Sweetwood worked in accounts receivable at the White Sulphur Springs
resort for nearly 27 years when she was fired.
Her attorney says the Greenbrier refused to offer Sweetwood a transfer as it
did with male employees.
The Greenbrier says the ruling is without merit and will be appealed.
It adds Sweetwood refused to adapt to new technology and she was offered an
alternative position, but refused.
The possibility of PAID emergency rescue squads is raising some eyebrows in
SUPER=04-File Tape; :00
Like many counties, Amherst suffers from a shortage of volunteers during the
day Monday through Friday.
Supervisors yesterday got some input on how to solve the problem.
Campbell County administrator David Laurell (lo-RELL) says first a public
safety director should be hired.
IN Q=I think before
((DAVID LAURELL/CAMPBELL CO. ADMINISTRATOR: I THINK BEFORE YOU CONSIDER THE
PROBLEM OF DAYTIME HELP, YOU NEED TO GET SOMEBODY TO COME IN, LOOK AT WHAT YOU
HAVE, AND MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS, WORK WITH THE VOLUNTEER GROUPS, FIND OUT WHAT
IT IS WE CAN DO TO ENHANCE THOSE TYPES OF ACTIVITIES TO THE BEST POSSIBLE
SUPER=01-David Laurell/Campbell Co. Administrator; :00
OUT Q=best possible level.
A rescue squad spokesman says the county should try to recruit and retain
volunteers before spending money on paid medical personnel.
GRAPHIC=American Red Cross
Some Roanoke Red Cross workers made their way to the west coast to help with
the delivery of relief supplies to flood victims.
Reba Thomas and Fred Dooley left for San Francisco yesterday.
Both are logistics specialists, planning the best way to get people and
supplies from one place to another.
That's a difficult job right now, with many roads in Washington state and
Oregon covered by mud and water.
Dooley says they'll get help to the people who need it, even if it means
traveling by boat or helicopter.
SUPER=301-37/24/Var. 3mph/30.25f/74/1907/ 1/1878;
SUPER=330-Snow & Sleet/Developing/24-28/Snow, Sleet/Freezing Rain/34-38;
SUPER=331-Snow & Sleet/Developing/24-28/Snow, Sleet/ Freezing Rain/34-38;
SUPER=332-Snow & Sleet/2" to 4"/22-26/Snow, Sleet/Freezing Rain/34-38;
SUPER=333-Snow & Sleet/Developing/24-28/Snow & Sleet/Ending/32-36;
SUPER=334-Snow & Sleet/2" to 4"/22-26/Snow, Sleet/Freezing Rain/34-38;
A major restructuring could have a minor impact on Trigon's Roanoke
The Commonwealth's largest health insurer employs more than 700 people
About 40 positions at the Roanoke office will be cut immediately.
A few dozen more could go NEXT year.
The move comes a month before Trigon is expected to complete its conversion
to a for- profit stock company.
In all the restructuring plan calls for Trigon to cut 276 jobs systemwide.
The bulk of the reductions will be at its headquarters in Richmond.
TAPE#=net (edit of BB97-3)
Defending Two-"A" state champion Liberty took on the Martinsville Bulldogs.
SUPER=03-Martinsville/Minutemen vs. Bulldogs; :00
Watch Dave Walker snaps the bottom of the net with the three pointer from
The Minutemen's main man, Peanut Arrington would answer that call with this
trey from deep in the corner late in
the 4th period.
The dogs go to Jason Wells. He nails the shot on the break away.
Chaine Preston quiets the run with this shot and Liberty wins on the road
TAPE#=net (edit of BB97-1)
In other action, James Monroe topped Covington 83-59. In Blue Ridge District
action, Salem beat Alleghany 85-65.
SUPER=03-Roanoke Co./Indians vs. Vikings; :00
In Roanoke County, Northside was looking for its second win of the season,
but Blacksburg stood in the way.
The Indians Phillip Klaus was strong all night knocking down a team high 17
points including this short hook in the paint.
But the Viking guards were too strong. Xavier Lee was the go
to guy. Lee scored a game high 23 on the evening to lead the Northside attack.
And the Vikings improve to two and seven on the season and two and two in
the Blue Ridge with a 55-52 win over Blacksburg.
TAPE#=net (edit of FB96-3)
The Panthers can expect a wind chill of zero when they go to Green Bay this
weekend to play the packers on the frozen tundra.
SUPER=03-Charlotte, NC; :00
The team went the entire regular season and into the playoffs this season
without a single loss at Erickson Stadium.
The cats have a tremendous amount of respect for the Packers and their
IN Q=I think
((DOM CAPERS/PANTHERS HEAD COACH: WELL, I THINK WHAT WE'VE DONE ALL YEAR IS
WE'VE RESPONDED TO WHATEVER THE CHALLENGE IS. WE KNOW THAT GREEN BAY HAS AN
OUTSTANDING FOOTBALL TEAM, AND ANYTIME YOU WIN 17 IN A ROW, AND WHAT IS IT,
LIKE 27 OUT OF 28 AT HOME, I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S ANY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE THAT
HAS MORE OF A HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE.))
SUPER=01-Dom Capers/Panthers Head Coach; :00
OUT Q=...home field advantage"
The Packers are not taking the Panthers lightly.
Green Bay does feel Carolina's newness to the league could be advantageous
IN Q="We see
((MIKE HOLGREM/PACKERS HEAD COACH: WE SEE THEM ON FILM, BUT NO-- WE'RE NEW TO
ONE ANOTHER, SO WE DO WHAT WE ALWAYS DO, LOOK AT FILM AND PREPARE THAT WAY.
YEAH, IT'S TOUGHER TO GAUGE THAN IF WE WERE PLAYING THE BEARS OR THE LIONS, AND
FOR THEM, TOO. BECAUSE THAT FAMILIARITY ISN'T THERE.))
SUPER=01-Mike Holgrem/Packers Head Coach; :00
OUT Q=...familiarity isn't there"