Up next on News 7 at Six... if you just paid your car tax, Governor Gilmore says don't forget you have a refund coming...
And we'll tell you how to test your computer for the year 2000....
In sports, Mike Stevens was in downtown Roanoke this morning for the Festival Run Dale Earnhardt Junior wins at Dover Downs.
And we'll check in with some high school tennis as the Spring Jubilee continued in the Valley today.
Isolated thunderstorms are dying off--
But the heat is on again tomorrow, and the thunderstorms make their return as well
Details coming up.
The largest tax cut in Virginia's history was signed into law days ago.
But today, Governor Jim Gilmore re-created the moment, just for fun.
Ellen Qualls reports.
[IN Q=First came]
[SUPER=01-Ryan Buckland/Richmond Resident; :16]
[SUPER=01-Eileen Darby/Petersburg Resident; :45]
[SUPER=01-George Aguirre/Colonial Heights Resident; :54]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( First came the Harleys.
Well first came the cotton candy and the hot sun.
[RIDING IN CAR]
And then the man whose "no car tax" slogan made him governor.
Poll numbers two weeks ago showed most Virginians didn't know the tax cut bill had passed.
((RYAN BUCKLAND/RICHMOND RESIDENT: HE MADE THIS BILL AND IT SAID NO CAR TAX.))
The Governor says the partial refund you'll get later this year is yours to spend how you see fit-- a Republican cornerstone.
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: AMERICA IS THE BASTION OF A REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT FROM WHICH FREE PEOPLE AND FREEDOM FLOWS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.))
On this occassion, it was the ink flowing through the pen that brought the biggest cheer.
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: AND THAT IS THAT. yay!))
((EILEEN DARBY/PETERSBURG RESIDENT: I HAVE A '92 HONDA. AND THE FIRST YEAR I GOT IT, I PAID OVER FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS IN TAXES. SO I'M SO HAPPY. laughs))
((GEORGE AGUIRRE/COLONIAL HEIGHTS RESIDENT: I HAD FIVE CARS. I HAD FOUR KIDS IN SCHOOL AND THEY ALL HAD A CAR. I GOT TIRED OF PAYING TAXES.))
Democrats rode in on their now trademark yellow school bus-- with a call for the Governor to move beyond the car tax pledge to governing.
((DEL. BARNIE DAY/D-PATRICK CO.: LET ME PAINT A PICTURE FOR YOU. WE HAVE OVERBUILT PRISON BEDS IN VIRGINIA BY 3,600. WE'RE TRYING TO IMPORT CONVICTS INTO THIS STATE TO PAY THE OVERHEAD. AT THE SAME TIME, WE'RE SENDING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF VIRGINIA'S CHILDREN TO SCHOOLS IN TRAILERS. SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE.))
[sot standup 12:59:15 ]
((THE REALITY IS THAT WHAT GOT THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR IS STILL ONLY A TWO YEAR PHASE-OUT OF THE CAR TAX. ONLY UP TO 27-POINT-5 PERCENT.))
So Jim Gilmore calls this a great day for taxpayers.
He'll need another one in two years.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
The 36-hundred bed surplus in Virginia's prisons is starting to fill up.
With out-of-state convicts that is.
Today, the first 150 Delaware prisoners arrived at Greensville Correctional Center.
Delaware will pay 60-dollars a day for Virginia to house 300 prisoners because its own prisons are overcrowded.
The House of Representatives this week approved a resolution aimed at helping the investigation into campaign fundraising.
It was a non-binding measure, telling President Clinton to force people who fled the country to return and testify before congressional committees looking into the scandal.
[take pinnacle board # 1000]
The Republican-sponsored resolution was approved 342 to 69.
[take pinnacle board # 1001]
Democrats Virgil Goode and Rick Boucher joined Bob Goodlatte in support of the bill.
Goode said he voted for it in part to make sure Congress gets to the bottom of the controversy over the sale of missile technology to China.
Many Americans had last Monday off as a holiday.
But, today is the actual Memorial Day.
It's also, in the world of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, "Jefferson Davis Memorial Day."
To commemorate it, the Virginia Division heard Davis's final speech to the U-S Senate re-enacted.
[IN Q=How happened]
((RON FURQUERON/"JEFFERSON DAVIS": HOW HAPPENED IT THAT AMONG THE ITEMS OF ARRAIGNMENT AGAINST GEORGE THE THIRD WAS THAT HE ENDORSED TO DO JUST WHAT THE NORTH HAS BEEN ENDEAVORING OF LATE TODAY. TO STIR UP INSURRECTION AMONG OUR SLAVES.
HAD THE DECLARATION ANNOUNCED THAT THE NEGROES WERE FREE AND EQUAL, HOW WAS THE PRINCE TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR RISING UP INSURRECTION AMONG THEM?))
[SUPER=01-Ron Furqueron/"Jefferson Davis"]
[OUT Q=among them.]
Memorial services for the president of the Confederacy were held around the nation.
But, only Virginia's was held at the State Capitol where Davis was inaugurated.
Winning tonight's 22- million dollar Lotto jackpot could buy you 146 houses, 733 luxury cars, or almost 85-hundred hours of tuition at a Virginia college.
Those statistics are courtesy of the folks at the Virginia Lottery-- who find competing with Powerball a tough sell sometimes.
[IN Q=We've got]
((PENNY KYLE/VIRGINIA LOTTERY DIRECTOR: WE'VE GOT LOTS OF FOLKS OUT THERE WHO A WEEK AGO WERE DRIVING TO WASHINGTON D.C., OR MARYLAND, OR KENTUCKY TO BUT TICKETS FOR A 195-MILLION DOLLAR POWERBALL JACKPOT. AND IT'S KINDA HO-HUM. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE SAYING WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST 22 MILLION. SO THAT'S A DIFFICULTY. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT IN OUR BUSINESS THEY CALL JACKPOT FATIGUE.))
[SUPER=01-Penny Kyle/Virginia Lottery Director; ]
[OUT Q=jackpot fatigue.]
The Lottery reminds you that the odds of winning Lotto are one in 7-point-1 million.
The odds of winning Powerball are one in 80-million.
Tonight's jackpot is the first to top 20- million since last August.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Straight ahead on News 7-- C-S-X and Norfolk Southern head to Washington hoping for the green light to takeover Conrail.
And, members of a local group are giving an old Roanoke house a much needed facelift.
We'll have more on those stories in a few minutes--
But, first let's check in with Andrew Freiden in the weather center.
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[MUSIC UP FULL]
[SUPER=82-4.47''/plus 0.73''/30.22''/plus 14.04'';]
[SUPER=83-Down 0.79 foot/Down 0.57 foot;Lake levels][Train-Preview]
[ANCHOR TAG!!! ANCHOR TAG!!!]
It's the biggest merger in railroad history.
And it's entering its final phase.
Norfolk Southern and C-S-X head to Washington next week, trying to win federal approval for their deal to jointly take over Conrail.
Scott Goldberg has details of the deal, and what it means for Roanoke -- the city that built itself around the railroad.
[IN Q=It began as]
[SUPER=04-File Tape; :01]
[SUPER=10-Bill Bates/Norfolk Southern/March 1997; :31]
[OUT Q=SGO, News 7 Roanoke.]
((It began as a bidding war between two Virginia railroads long before merger mania started rolling through the American marketplace.
Norfolk Southern and C-S-X both wanted to buy Conrail, because the Philadelphia railroad controls virtually all tracks in the Northeast United States.
Whoever married Conrail would dominate rail traffic east of Kansas City.
The Virginia railroads went to court to fight for the right to merge.
And after a long legal battle, they struck a deal:
Both railroads would take a piece of Conrail.
[SOT from 97-97]
[IN Q=WE HAVE]
((BILL BALES/N-S SENIOR V-P: WE HAVE, WE BELIEVE, ELIMINATED MOST OF THE MAJOR OPPOSITION TO THIS PLAN AND WE THINK THAT THE OVERALL PLAN WILL OFFER A TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY FOR COMPETITIVE BALANCE IN THE EAST THAT HAS NOT EXISTED FOR MANY YEARS.))
[OUT Q=for many years.]
The way the merger was proposed, Norfolk Southern would pay six billion dollars and get 60-percent of Conrail's assets.
CSX pays four billion dollars and gets 40 percent.
At first, unions tried to derail the merger, saying it would cost more than the 2000 jobs Norfolk Southern estimated.
And they said the job loss would be heavy in Roanoke, the city that built itself around the railroad.
But N-S says Roanoke will remain a regional hub and can expect to see 180-jobs CREATED here -- none taken away.
((SCOTT GODLBERG/REPORTER: NORFOLK SOUTHERN STILL HAS TO SATISFY REGULATORS, PROVING THE MERGER WILL PROMOTE COMPETITION, ENSURE SAFETY AND BE AS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AS POSSIBLE.
THAT HAPPENS IN WASHINGTON, WHERE THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD -- A SMALL FEDERAL AGENCY -- WILL DECIDE IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS WHETHER OR NOT TO APPROVE THE BIGGEST MERGER IN RAILROAD HISTORY. SCOTT GOLDBERG, NEWS-7, ROANOKE.))
Be sure to watch News-7 in the coming week for complete coverage of the Norfolk-Southern merger.
A Roanoke civic organization has adopted its first park--with promises of cleaning up the park's image.
Members of Kiwanis of Roanoke are fixing up the lower level of Washington Park.
They've spent 500-dollars to plant dogwoods -- and still hope to landscape the hillside.
Some have heard stories of the park -- back when it was called Dreamland, and Royal Gardens.
[IN Q=It's near Gainesboro]
((VIRGINIA WOLFE/KIWANIS OF ROANOKE: IT'S NEAR GAINESBORO AND GAINESBORO IS THE OLDEST COMMUNITY IN ROANOKE CITY.))
[SUPER=01-Virginia Wolfe/Kiwanis of Roanoke;]
[OUT Q=in Roanoke City]
Volunteers plan to restore the rundown caretaker's house, to showcase local African-American history.
Kiwanis is the newest group to pitch in.
Frederica Monk started cleaning this park two years ago -- when it was too rundown to hold her church picnic.
[IN Q=The park]
((FREDERICA MONK/PROJECT MANAGER: THE PARK NEEDS BETTER LIGHTING THEY NEED ANOTHER PAVILION, MAYBE A PATH TO GO THROUGH SO PEOPLE CAN DO SOME WALKING.))
[SUPER=01-Frederica Monk/Project Manager;]
[OUT Q=some walking]
Monk says there is a 10-thousand-dollar budget available to restore Washington Park.
Worried the millenium bug might bite your computer?
There's an easy way to find out.
And there's a surprise verdict in an on-line pornography trial.
More in today's webwatch.
[IN Q=NSTL Online is]
NSTL Online is currently offering a test that will check your computer's compatibility with the year 2000.
The YMark2000 test is a free, very small download.
Put it on a floppy and then re-start your computer in MS-DOS mode.
Extract and run the test program and it tells you if your computer will automatically make the transition from 1999 to 2000, if not, it tells you if you can manually switch your computer date when the time comes.
A German court has convicted the former head of Compuserve in Germany for helping distribute pornography through the on-line service... even AFTER the prosecution asked that Felix Somm be found not guilty, saying it was technically impossible to block the images.
Analysts say it could halt the growth of online services in that country.
The official Saturday Night Live website is offering a tribute to the late Phil Hartman.
The site includes a guestbook, and streaming video of the former castmember in some of his best-remembered roles, including Presidents Reagan and Clinton.
You'll need either Realplayer or Netshow to watch.
For links to these sites, click on WebWatch, on the WDBJ home page at WDBJ7-dot-com.))
Up next--some local children learned some basics about the environment today at a nature fair.
And, these pooches were pounding the pavement today, along with their owners--to raise money for the SPCA.
More when the news continues.
Some pet owners gave their dogs marching orders today.
About 150 people met on a street corner with their pets in tow -- then walked two miles to raise money for the S-P-C-A.
They reined in five-thousand-dollars.
Many found their pets at the shelter and now want to help save other animals.
[IN Q=A lot of people]
((SANDY OBENSHAIN/SPCA: A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK WE ONLY GET MUTTS. THIS IS A PUREBRED REGISTERED POMERANIAN. WHEN SHE CAME INTO THE SHELTER SHE HAD A VERY BAD SKIN PROBLEM. SHE WAS PRACTICALLY BALD. SHE COULDN'T BE PUT UP FOR ADOPTION BECAUSE OF THE CONDITION OF HER SKIN.))
[OUT Q=OF HER SKIN]
The SPCA nursed "Snuggles" back to health and found her a home.
It still needs money to build an updated shelter -- with running room, grooming space, and ventilation.
That project will cost about 800-thousand-dollars.
The SPCA runs on membership and donations alone.
Children flocked to downtown Roanoke today in search of something green.
They found it at the Nature Fair -- a new event this year.
They listened to puppets who told them not to litter -- then fished metal cans from a pile of junk.
They recycled scraps into handmade treasures -- and animal masks representing peace.
[IN Q=Over there]
((SHEPHERD MCALLISTER: OVER THERE I LEARNED THIS ANIMAL MEANS PEACE IN CHINA.))
[OUT Q=peace in China]
They also created colorful butterflies to wear as rings.
Children who transplanted tomatos could take them home, along with a marigold plant to keep the bugs away.
And in their wake -- visitors left pictures of how they think the world should look.
Environmental non-profit organizations hope to make the Nature Fair an annual event.
And coming up, The Spring Jubilee continues throughout the valley we'll check in with some Tennis Geoff Bodine led second round qualifying at Dover Downs.
And a hot day in downtown Roanoke this morning as the runners took off in the Festival Run.
"Mr. Humiture" made an unwanted appearance at this morning's annual Festival Run in downtown Roanoke.
Mike Stevens and photographer Greg Moore tell us which runners were able to beat the humidity and some other adversity.
[IN Q=FIRST AUDIO]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/Festival Run; :00]
[SUPER=01-Ben Cooke/Men's 5K Winner; :41]
[SUPER=01-Steve Crowder/Men's 10K Winner; :59]
[SUPER=01-Roxann Polo/Women's 5K Winner; 1:16]
[SUPER=01-Beth Howell/Women's 10K Winner; 1:40]
[OUT Q=...NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
(( A sea of soon to be soaked runners packed the pavement on Jefferson Street for the early morning jaunt that would send four runners to medal stand and the rest in search of some dry clothes.
But leave it to a Duke to duck the sweaty conditions. JMU junior Ben Cooke, a former Floyd County thinclad from Check checked out on the 5K field.
He rolled past Victory stadium with a comfortable lead after running a 4 minute and 38 second first mile.
Cooke wins his first festival title in 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
((BEN COOKE/5K MENS WINNER:))
Fincastle's Steve Crowder, a former runner at Roanoke College won the men's 10K title for his first ever Festival win.
((STEVE CROWDER/MENS 10K WINNER:))
On the lady's side Tech graduate assistant track and cross country coach Roxann Polo became another first time Festival winner by taking the 5k in just over 19 minutes.
((ROXANN POLO/WOMEN'S 5K WINNER:))
Polo's win was especially satisfying for 10k women's winner Beth Howell. The two runners have both overcome nagging injuries in the past year by training, running and occasionally whining together.
Howell shaved nearly 2 and half minutes off her time from last year.
((BETH HOWELL/WOMEN'S 10K WINNER:))
American Electric Power, AEP, once again sponsored the Festival Run with the help of 300 volunteers.
Mike Stevens News 7 Sports.))[S-Tennis]
Two area teams vied for state titles in tennis this morning.
Radford High school was seeking the Group A Boys championship, while the Blacksburg Girls played for the Double A title.
The Bobcats were playing J.I Burton at Riversedge in Roanoke.
The level of play heated up as the match wore on; in the end Radford beat J.I. Burton 5 to 4 for the state championship.
In Salem, Fort Defiance and Blacksburg battled it out for the trophy.
Fort Defiance ran away with the match notching a 5 to 4 victory and the state championship.
Dale Earnhardt Junior survived a spin out on pit road to win the MBNA Plantium 200 Busch race at Dover Downs.
[SUPER=03-Dover DE/TNN SPORTS; :]
Earnhardt made up the lost laps quickly when he returned to the track he would lead the final 25 laps of the race taking the checkered flag on the busch circuit for the second time this year.
[IN Q="This AC....]
[SUPER=01-Dale Earnhardt, Jr./MBNA Plantium 200 Winner; :]
[OUT Q=...fast car."]
Bobby Hillin was second followed by Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett and Mike McLaughlin.
Geoff Bodine led second round qualifying for tomorrow's MBNA 400 at Dover Downs.
Bodine turned a speed of 153 point 807 for the 26-th starting position.
Here's the final lineup of the 43 car field.
[WIPE TO CHRYON]
[SUPER=0107-26. Geoff Bodine/153.807/27. Rich Bickle//28. Kyle Petty//29. Brett Bodine//30. David Green//;]
[SUPER=0107-31. Kenny Wallace//32. Derrike Cope//33. Dave Marcis//34. Dale Earnhardt//35. Gary Bradberry//;]
[SUPER=0107-36. Bobby Labonte//37. Jeff Burton//38. Bobby Hamilton//39. Chad Little//40. Randy LaJoie//;]
[SUPER=0107-41. Steve Grissom//42. Kevin Lepage//43. Darrell Waltrip//;]
[OUT Q=....last driver."]
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[SUPER=X5001;][SUPER=334-Turning/Clear/56-60/Partly Sunny/Late Day Storms/83-86;]