Home Depot throws in the towel. Just ahead on News 7, find out why .. and what nearby residents say now.
A lot of people have been holding off on holiday shopping. We'll take you to the mall.
And five young gospel singers have a date at the White House.
In sports, VMI gets ready to tackle Virginia on the basketball court, the UVA-Tech game gets a new date and
Steve Mason checks in with a look back at UVA's history in the Peach Bowl.
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are all a part of our forecast heading into Christmas, which could cause significant trouble for Holiday travelers. I'll have a complete update on that and the entire forecast.
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The strongest winter weather of the season is heading our way, just in time for the busy holiday travel days.
Patrick Evans is here to help you prepare for what's coming.
[Patrick-Chroma wall & Weather computer GFX]
[Tosses back to Jean]
The controversy that sparked fireworks between Roanoke County supervisors and county residents looks like it's over.
Home Depot nailed the case closed today, saying it will NOT build a new store in Cave Spring Corner.
[Double Boxes=Jean and Scott/Microwave]
Scott Goldberg is at the controversial piece of land tonight with details.
[Live= Scott Full/Microwave]
Jean, in the end, Home Depot decided -- upon further review -- it would cost the company too much money to build a new store on this land.
This, after a three-month ordeal that saw a livid group of citizens sue the county supervisors, trying to stop the home-improvement store from building a new shop at cave Spring Corner.
[SUPER=01-Suzanne Seth/Home Depot Opponent;]
[SUPER=01-Elmer Hodge/Roanoke Co. Administrator;]
Suzanne Seth knows Home Depot's reason for not building a new store in her nieghborhood is: the hilly terrain at Cave Spring Corner would cost too much to develop.
But she'd like to think her citizens group of 700-people had something to do with the company's decision.
[IN Q=i know a lot]
((SUZANNE: I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WROTE...DID PUT PRESSURE ON THEM.))
[OUT Q=ON THEM]
The disputed land near 419 and Brambleton will stay zoned for residential use only, now that Home Depot's not coming here...
A decision the County Administrator called "disappointing."
[IN Q=this was]
((HODGE: THIS WAS GOING TO BE MONEY FOR THE COUNTY AND SCHOOLS, SECONDLY WE PUT A LOT OF WORK INTO IT, THRID, IT WOULD HAVE DEVELOPED THE SITE AS A MASTER PLAN -- SOMETHING WE NEED TO DO.))
[OUT Q=TO DO]
Hodge said the county will work closely with neighbors on any future plans for developing the corner.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Seth's citizen group will most likely ask a judge to dismiss a lawsuit against the county supervisors -- a suit that charged chairman Bob Johnson with casting an illegal vote when he voted to let Home Depot move in.
((SUZANNE: WE'LL PROBABLY END UP PULLING THE LAWSUIT AT THIS POINT BECASUE IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE -- IT WAS JUST TO STOP HOME DEPOT FROM COMING IN.))
[OUT Q=from coming in]
[Live= Scott Full/Microwave]
Home Depot is going to reimburse Roanoke County 275-thousand dollars.
That's what it paid for two pieces of property next to this site.
[Double Boxes=Jean and Scott/Microwave]
((JEAN QUESTION: What are the chances of the county voting again to rezone the land for a different business to move in?))
Even with today's decision, there will soon be more major home centers looking for your business in the Roanoke area.
Lowe's is building a new center along route 220, between 419 and the Wal-Mart plaza.
We were not able to get a scheduled opening date from corporate headquarters in North Carolina today.
But in an appearance here last March, Lowe's chief executive officer said plans called for it to open in the first few months of 19-99.
Two local murder suspects are now in custody, a long way from home. Thomas Akers and Timothy Martin were arrested on the Saint Regis Indian Reservation this morning, not far from the Canadian border in New York state.
Tribal police found them in the Mercury Tracer police were looking for. It belonged to the murder victim, Wesley Smith of Roanoke.
He was found beaten to death in a Franklin County field over the weekend. Akers and Martin both face capital murder charges when they're returned.
One man is hospitalized, another in police custody following a stabbing this afternoon in Lynchburg.
Just after two, police were called to this rooming house in the 1-thousand block of Rivermont Avenue.
That's where 40-year old Michael Lessard (la-SARD) had been stabbed once in the left abdomen.
He's listed in serious condition at Lynchburg General Hospital.
Police arrested 67-year old Ray Lane Junior at the scene.
He's charged with malicous wounding.
A man who served as a probation officer for nine years pleaded guilty today to sex charges in Pittsylvania County.
Patrick Gould will spend six years in jail for sexually abusing one of his probationers over a two year period.
The victim says she now plans to pursue a civil lawsuit against Gould.
[IN Q= I've been through]
((BRENDA PREVETTE: I'VE BEEN THROUGH ALL THIS HURT AND HUMILIATION AND I DESERVE TO GET THE LAWUIT AGAINST HIM.))
((JOHN GREENBACKER/SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: THE COMMONWEALTH WAS MORTIFIED BY THIS MAN'S ACTIONS, DEEPLY DISTRESSED BY IT.))
[SUPER=01-John Greenbacker/Special Prosecutor;]
[OUT Q=distressed by it.]
Gould told the court his behavior was "unprofessional and unacceptable."
The judge continued Gould's bond until January 4th and ordered him to report to the Sheriff on that day to be taken to prison.
It's a midnight deadline.
But gas station owners have known it was coming for ten years.
Amazingly, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality estimates one third of all the gas stations in the state will be breaking federal law tomorrow.
Ellen Qualls reports.
[IN Q=NAT SOUND "Removing and]
[SUPER=01-Dave Axselle/Axselle's Auto Service; :14]
[SUPER=01-Andy Hagelin/Virginia Dept. of Environ. Quality; :32]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(([nat sound of backhoe]
Removing and replacing old or leaking underground fuel storage tanks is expensive business.
Axselle's Auto Service took the hit in 1993, but has sympathy for others.
((DAVE AXSELLE/AXSELLE'S AUTO SERVICE: I'M SURE THERE'S A LOT OF SMALL MA AND PA BUSINESSES THAT DON'T MAKE A LIVING ON GAS BUT OFFER A SERVICE TO PEOPLE AND THEY'RE GONNA BE KNOCKED OUT AND THEY'RE NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO AFFORD 50 OR 60-THOUSAND DOLLARS TO BE IN COMPLIANCE. AND THAT'S BAD.))
In fact, a lot of the locally-owned, mostly rural stations have NOT done it. [sot 14:42:47]
((ANDY HAGELIN/VIRGINIA DEPT. OF ENVIRON. QUALITY: WE ESTIMATE LIKE EPA DOES THAT ABOUT A THIRD OF THE TANKS THAT ARE CURRENTLY OPERATING DO NOT MEET ALL THE REQUIREMENTS. IN VIRGINIA, THAT'S ABOUT FIVE OR SIX THOUSAND TANKS.))
Some simply waited too long.
[sot 14:43:53 ]
((ANDY HAGELIN/VIRGINIA DEPT. OF ENVIRON. QUALITY: CONTRACTORS ARE GETTING DIFFICULT TO FIND THAT CAN RESPOND WITHIN THREE MONTHS OR SIX MONTHS. SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL BACKED UP. SOME CONTRACTORS ARE COMING IN FROM OUTSIDE OF THE STATE TOO BECAUSE THERE'S THAT KIND OF DEMAND.))
[sot STANDUP 15:23:47]
((LEGALLY SPEAKING, THE ONE THIRD OF ALL VIRGINIA'S GAS STATIONS THAT ARE NON-COMPLIANT SHOULD SHUT DOWN. IF THEY'RE SELLING GAS BEYOND THE DEADLINE, THEY COULD FACE FEDERAL FINES OF UP TO 25-THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY.))
((ANDY HAGELINE: WE DON'T INTEND TO LET ANYONE OFF FOR NOT COMPLYING.))
So the advantage goes to the big chains-- who may now see their small time competition closed down.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
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Some local gospel singers perform at the White House, and they're younger than you might expect. That story is still ahead on News 7.
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Today's cold snap is just what many local storeowners want for Christmas.
That's because this season's warmth has cost them lots of money.
[Double Boxes=Jean & Tina/Microwave]
Tina Tenret talked to both shoppers and merchants at Roanoke's Valley View mall.
Jean, analysts say weather is one of the most important factors that affects Christmas sales -- and so far they say, profits have been very weak.
But merchants here at Valley View say things are looking up.
(Rollcue: are looking up)
[IN Q=Susie Amos is having]
[SUPER=01-Ken Gassman/Retail Analyst;]
[OUT Q=Santa's sleigh]
Susie Amos is having trouble picking out a coat for her son, and it's NOT because of the selection.
[IN Q=It's hard]
((SUSIE AMOS/SHOPPER: IT'S HARD TO GO IN AND TRY ON ... BECAUSE IT DOES NOT))
[OUT Q=BECAUSE IT DOES NOT]
Stores are trying to get shoppers into the Christmas spirit, creating snow and ice inside since it's not coming down.
But retail analysts say those heavy sweaters and coats are stuck on the shelves.
[IN Q=National catalogs]
((KEN GASSMAN/RETAIL ANALYST: NATIONAL CATALOGS LIKE LANDS END .... LIQUIDATIONS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY))
[OUT Q=January and February]
Big department stores admit their sales were down but the recent cold has warmed up the cash registers.
[IN Q=The effect]
((KAREN PILLIS/HECHT'S: THE EFFECT OF THE WARM WEATHER ... PHENOMENAL.))
One good sign for the economy -- people are spending money on big ticket items like digital TV's and D-V-D players.
And some last minute shoppers say no matter what the weather's like, they will fill Santa's sleigh.
Now both analysts and storeowners expect a shopping explosion after Christmas --
when both prices and temperatures are supposed to drop.
Investors sent mixed signals to Wall Street today.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
A strong day for the Dow, rising more than 55 points to 90-44. But NASDAQ slipped 17 points from yesterday's record high.
[ AE /ATT/Bank of America/Bell/Columbia;]
[Crestar/Dana/Dimon/Dominion Resources/First Union;]
[First Virginia/General Electric/Kroger/Norfolk Southern/Optical Cable]
[phillip morris/roanoke electric steel/trigon/wachovia/walmart]
You've heard of the Jackson-5, but how about the Dodson 5?
The Dodson 5 is a gospel group from Martinsville made up of five young cousins.
Today, the boys are in Washington D-C performing at the White House.
Christy Hubley introduces us to them.
[IN Q=(nats of singing)]
[SUPER=01-Kasey Lucas/Dodson 5; :28]
[SUPER=01-Ken Lucas/Personal Manager; :55]
[SUPER=01-Scotty Lucas/Dodson 5; 1:13]
[SUPER=01-Jason Dodson/Dodson 5; 1:27]
[OUT Q=CH, News 7, Martinsville.]
The sweet gospel harmonies of the Dodson 5 fill the sanctuary of the Shiloh Way of the Cross church in Martinsville where the boys practice.
The group is made up of five young cousins.
There's 12-year old Stuart, 13-year old Scotty, 14-year old Jason, 14-year old Daniel and 15-year old Kasey.
They choose to sing gospel music because of its messages of a higher power.
[IN Q=Gospel music. That's really]
((KASEY LUCAS: GOSPEL MUSIC. THAT'S REALLY WHAT THE WORLD NEED TODAY. I MEAN YOU KNOW YOU GOT ALL THIS OTHER KIND OF MUSIC RIGHT NOW THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU NEED. GOSPEL MUSIC. IT SPREADS A MESSAGE. IT TELLS EVERYBODY WHAT THE TRUTH IS. THAT'S WHY WE SING THAT.))
[OUT Q=we sing that.]
The Dodson 5 began singing together at family functions about 7-years ago.
Now they perform at churches-- and have even made several national appearances.
[IN Q=They've sung on the]
((KEN LUCAS/PERSONAL MANAGER: THEY'VE SUNG ON THE JENNY JONES SHOW, THE BOBBY JONES SHOW, THEY'VE SUNG AT PARAMOUNT'S KINGS DOMINION. THEY DID A GOSPEL WORKSHOP IN PHILADELPHIA.))
[OUT Q=workshop in Philadelphia.]
And now the Dodson 5 will sing at the White House.
They've been invited by the President's Social Office to sing at a holiday reception.
[IN Q=It's going to be a ]
((SCOTTY LUCAS: IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD EXPERIENCE JUST TO GO DOWN THERE AND SING AT THE WHITE HOUSE. And meet the President maybe? UH HUH, MAYBE.))
[OUT Q=uh huh, maybe.]
They're have been no promises that the boys will get to meet the president.
They'll just be happy if their audience is moved by their music.
[IN Q=I hope that they will]
((JASON DODSON: I HOPE THAT THEY WILL BE BLESSED BY THE WORDS AND THAT WE WILL TOUCH SOMEONE'S HEART.))
[OUT Q=touch someone's heart.]
The Dodson 5 has aspirations to record their soulful sounds and make it big.
They say it will happen if it is God's will.
Christy Hubley, News 7, Martinsville.))
Coming up in sports, a look back at Peach Bowls past,
And UVA and Tech coaches, players and fans will all be happy with a schedule change that moves the in-state rivalry to October.
The details in sports.
[TAPE#=SP-22 tc 1:43:25]
UVA and Tech will meet on the gridiron earlier next season.
Next year's contest will be on October second, instead of traditional regular-season finale.
The in-state match-up has been the last game of the season for each team in eight of the last nine seasons.
UVA won this year 36-to-32.
Maryland will replace the Hokies as UVA's last game.
December 31st, the Cavaliers will make their third Peach Bowl appearance in 15 years. Steve Mason takes us back to 1995, the most recent Wahoo Atlanta invasion.
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=03-Atlanta, GA/1995 Peach Bowl; :00]
[SUPER=01-Adrian Burnim/UVa Senior Defensive Back; :23]
[SUPER=01-George Welsh/UVa Head Coach; :54]
[SUPER=01-Walt Derey/1995 UVa Tight End; 1:20]
[OUT Q=news 7 sports"]
((The 95 Peach Bowl pregame festiveties were much like the first several minutes of the game
fireworks! Virginia opened with two interceptions, one from the handy work of linebacker Skeet Jones. But it was freshman Adrian Burnim's head hunting hit that put the defensive stamp on the Bulldogs.
Offensively, Tiki Barber earned the offensive player of the game award. But 150 pound reciever Demetrious petey Allen had the games biggest impact. First, he hauled in a 82 yard Mike Groh touchdown pass that gave the Cavs their largest lead, 24-6, in the second quarter. His encore came just after a huge scare.
Then tight end Walt Derey, who now lives in Roanoke with his wife Meagan, remembers that play well, after all, it was his only fumble of the entire season.
Georgia returned the fumble for a touchdown and tied the game at 27 all with 53 seconds left. But an unsportsmanlike penalty enabled Allen to field the ensuing kickoff from the UVa 17. His 83 yard TD return erased the Georgia threat and eased another players nerves.))
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Finally, the latest on that million-dollar phone bill we first showed you last night at 11.
That's right. Bell Atlantic billed All Seasons Lawn and Garden in Christiansburg one million, 71 thousand, 6 hundred-79 dollars...for one month.
We can tell you tonight that owner Donna Martin won't have to mail in the million. Bell Atlantic told her today they'll credit next month's bill.
And it will be a hefty credit. Donna's corrected bill is for 191-43.
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