Next on News 7-
Just an hour til Christmas Eve and mother nature's brought a gift of sleet, rain and ice- We'll have road conditions and the complete forecast.
A boy is hospitalized after a bomb explodes in Southside.
And one big store is recalling Christmas tree angels.
News 7 is next.
[graphic=N7 at 11]
An icy, winter storm stretches across the Roanoke Valley..bringing holiday travel to a halt at times especially along the interstate..
[graphic=News 7 at 11]
Good evening, I'm Jean Jadhon, tonight's weather is causing plenty of holiday travel headaches.
[Double Boxes=Jean/Eric Microwave]
Eric Earnhart is live in Roanoke County with the icy details.
( ad lib)
(Rollcue: tough to give up those holiday plans.)
[IN Q=The traffic snarl began]
[SUPER=01-Suzanne Fenton/Stranded Traveler; :22]
[SUPER=01-Laura Bullock/VDOT; 1:03]
[OUT Q=their own safety]
((The traffic snarl began about mid-afternoon, as the sleet began falling, and motorists, rushing to get home, or begin holiday trips tried to beat the weather.
Kevin and Suzanne Fenton made it from Blacksburg to Roanoke in time for their holiday flight to Las Vegas... which was cancelled.
They found a flight to Atlanta, where they'll wait.
((SUZANNE FENTON/STRANDED TRAVELER; BETTER THAN WAITING TILL TOMORROW AND THE WEATHER COULD BE WORSE SO WE DECIDED TO TAKE OUR CHANCES AND GO STAND BY IN ATLANTA ))
[OUT Q=in atlanta]
Sitting in the lobby watching television wasn't much comfort...
Roanoke Airport crews did what they could to keep the ice off the planes here, but as the weather deteriorated in other cities, the list of cancelled flights grew.
We did find one person, just of the plane from Florida who didn't seem to mind the winter blast.
[IN Q=I'm not really]
((SEAN HANLON/HOLIDAY TRAVELER; IT'S GREAT, IT'S NOT REALLY THAT COLD))
He'll change his mind once he gets into his rental car.
Falling rain and temperatures began covering bridges with sheets of ice.
Traffic on I-81 came to a standstill in places because of accidents all around the region.
In Radford, a tractor trailer hauling lumber overturned, and another vehicle was hit... one of many wrecks running state troopers ragged.
Meanwhile VDOT crews are doing what they can....
[IN Q=we've got]
((LAURA BULLOCK/VDOT; WE'VE GOT 25 THOUSAND TONS OF CHEMICALS, 37 THOUSAND TONS OF ABRASIVES AND 700 EMPLOYEES WHO ARE JUST ABOUT TO GIVE UP THEIR HOLIDAYS BECAUSE OF THE INCLEMENT WEATHER))
[OUT Q=inclement weather]
But they can't battle the ice forever.... if the temperature drops low enough and the rain keeps falling and the ice keeps building up... Even the vdot crews will be pulled off the road for their own safety.))
[Live= Eric Full/Microwave]
( ad lib)
[Double Boxes=Jean/Eric Microwave]
There were other accidents elsewhere around the region due to the icy conditions..
The southbound lanes of I-81 were blocked earlier at mile marker 195 in Rockbridge County due to an accident.
And in Roanoke County-- this vehicle overturned near the 81-581 interchange.
Several other fender-benders stretched out along the Peters Creek Road bridge over 581-North.
In Danville, there were three accidents involving six cars that wrecked almost simultaneously when the Aiken Bridge iced up.
This vehicle was one of three along Route-460 that slid off the road and landed on its top.
There are no reports of any serious injuries.
[TOSS TO PATRICK]
[TOSS TO JEAN][Nat'l-WX]
Much of the nation is under a deep freeze tonight-
If you're heading to Michigan expect bitter cold temperatures.
For travellers flying to or from Dallas..
it was a day of waiting.
Icy conditions forced flight cancelations and delays- leaving many travellers stranded.
[Super=03-Santa Paula, CA;]
Even California was not spared a cold spell-
Freezing temperatures in the Central Valley destroyed the 90 million dollar lemon crop- That'll mean higher lemon prices.
Farmers are fighting to save Cucumbers in Southern California.
Fire investigators are now looking into whether a space heater caused a deadly New York Apartment fire.
Four people are dead after
[SUPER=03-New York, NY]
fire broke out in the apartments occupied by the family of actor Macaulay Culkin- but the deaths occurred several floors above.
All four bodies were found in the hallways.
[IN Q=They were on]
((RUDOLPH GIULIANI/NEW YORK MAYOR: THEY WERE ON THE TWENTY SEVENTH AND TWENTY NINTH FLOOR, SO THEY DIED FROM SMOKE INHALATION THAT CAME FROM THE FIRE ON THE NINETEENTH FLOOR BECAUSE THEY WERE TRYING TO ESCAPE THEIR APARTMENTS.))
[SUPER=01-Rudolph Giuliani/New York Mayor;]
[OUT Q=THEIR APARTMENTS.]
Four firefighters were also injured.
About 2-hundred firefighters in all battled the four alarm blaze-
The building is 51 stories tall.
A publicist says no one in the McCaulkin family was hurt.
A boy was injured in Martinsville after a bomb he apparently made exploded.
The boy reportedly carried the bomb in a car when it went off--severely injuring his hands and face.
He was taken to the Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and later transferred to a hospital in North Carolina.
There's no word yet on his condition.
[GRAPHIC=Pulaski Co. Shooting]
One man is under arrest and police are questioning two more suspects in connection with the shooting death of 19-year old John Christopher Dean.
Dean was shot several times at the Washington Square Apartments Monday night.
Police say a tenant had an argument with a friend of Dean's earlier that night, and they're fairly sure that's what led to the shooting.
A man from South Carolina has been charged with illegal possession of a handgun in the incident.
Still ahead--a little girl survives a heart transplant and heads home for the holidays..
And, a suspected criminal donates hundreds of bikes to a Christmas charity but can't foot the bill..
More when we return.
[IN Q="O-K everybody...]
[OUT Q=......news 7 sports."]
((O-K everybody lets slide into the sports, Virginia Tech was on the hardwood tonight at the Cassell N-B-A commissioner David Stern sets a deadline for an agreement between the owners and Players Philadelphia wide receiver Irvin Fryar is retiring while Michigan State running back Sedrick Irvin will enter the N-F-L draft.
All that and more tonight on news 7 sports.))
A warning goes out tonight to people who topped their Christmas tree with an electric angel from K-mart.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the ornaments could be a fire hazard.
The Angels are about ten inches high with gowns of white, gold or silver.
The figures have lights attached to each wrist and at the base.
About 132 thousand angel figures were sold and should be taken down and returned to K-Mart stores nationwide.
They went on sale beginning in September.
A Roanoke family got the Christmas present it had been hoping for two days EARLY..
Just 10 days after she underwent heart transplant surgery, little Kayla Griffin will be spending the holidays at home.
Steve Smallshaw reports.
[SUPER=01-Carole Ballew/Transplant Coordinator; :13]
[SUPER=01-Dr. Irving Kron/Lead Transplant Surgeon; :37]
[SUPER=01-April Griffin/Kayla's Mother; :55]
[OUT Q=News7, Charlottesville.]
(( 18- month- old Kayla Griffin stepped out of her hospital room and into the spotlight Wednesday..looking perhaps a little overwhelmed but NOT like a girl who had just undergone heart transplant surgery ten days earlier.
[IN Q=Kayla did]
((CAROLE BALLEW/TRANSPLANT COORDINATOR: KAYLA DID GREAT ONE DAY AFTER SURGERY. SHE WAS SITTING UP IN HER BED WITHOUT THE BREATHING MACHINE, SHE WAS EXTUBATED AND YOU WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE KNOWN THAT ANYTHING HAD HAPPENED.))
[OUT Q=had happened.]
Kayla's progress has amazed her doctors, who say most ADULT transplant recipients require several weeks of hospital recovery.
But having already beaten the odds by first getting a new heart.. Kayla is ready to make the most of it.
[IN Q=She's physically]
((DR. IRVING KRON/LEAD TRANSPLANT SURGEON: SHE'S PHYSICALLY STRONG OTHER THAN HER HEART, SO SHE SHOULD DO EXTREMELY WELL, AND THE HEART WAS A VERY HEALTHY ONE FOR HER, BUT MOST OF IT IS JUST THE FACT SHE'S JUST GOT GOING AND IS MOVING ALONG DOING GREAT. AND WE COULDN'T BE MORE HAPPY ABOUT IT, NICE TIME OF YEAR FOR THIS TOO, ISN'T IT?))
[OUT Q=isn't it?]
Kayla's parents agree.
[IN Q=My wish finally]
((APRIL GRIFFIN/KAYLA'S MOTHER: MY WISH FINALLY CAME TRUE. I MEAN, I AM SO HAPPY.. THIS IS MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT. I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE A LONG TIME BEFORE SHE WAS GOING TO GET A HEART, BUT I'M SO GLAD SHE GOT A HEART AND I'M HAPPY AND I KNOW DOWN ALONG THE ROAD SHE'LL BE HAPPY TOO.))
[OUT Q=be happy too.]
That road to recovery started in front of the U-V-A Medical Center..
[natsot car honk]
..and for little Kayla, it will end at home.
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Charlottesville.))
Jody Pendleton might have meant well.
But his plan to donate bikes to needy kids...went bust.
Two weeks ago he donated 340-bicycles to the Bikes or Bust charity event.
The problem is: he apparently bought the bikes using two bogus checks at Wal Mart.
At the time, the 22-year-old man was out on bond, after he was indicted for bank fraud and money laundering.
Now he's back in jail.
And U.S. Attorney Tom Eckert said paying with rubber checks was a clear violation of that bond...
Even if donating bikes to under-privileged kids was a nice idea.
[IN Q=I DON'T THINK]
((ECKERT: I DON'T THINK THAT REALLY MATTERS. THE POINT IS THAT THE CHECKS ARE BAD. THE REASON HE DID IT OR THE MOTIVATION IS REALLY IRRELEVANT.))
[SUPER=01-Tom Eckert/U.S. Attorney;]
Slam Duncan, the D-J in charge of the charity was unavailable for comment today.
Wal-Mart will not say if it's going to try to get the bikes back.
[GRAPHIC=Merchants' Tax (Mont. Co.)]
Officials at Shelor Automotive think they're having to pay too much in local taxes.
So, they're suing Montgomery County.
Teresa Hamilton has more.
[IN Q=The selection]
[SUPER=01-Larry Shelor/Company President; :44 Quick!!!]
[SUPER=01-Bobby Parker/Montgomery Co. Spokesman; 1:16 Quick!!!]
[OUT Q=Hamilton, NEWS 7, C'burg.]
((The selection of vehicles along the Shelor Motor mile in Christiansburg is generally hard to beat.
But the company's inventory is temporarily on the decline.
So far, more than a thousand vehicles have been moved out.
Perhaps you've heard the reason over the airwaves.
[TAKE RADIO AD 9:37:09]
[IN Q=The clock]
((RADIO SPOT:THE CLOCK IS TICKING, JANUARY FIRST IS COMING VERY QUICKLY WE REALIZE WE HAVE TO REDUCE OUR WHOLE INVENTORY OR PAY THE MERCHANTS TAX! ))
[OUT Q=merchants' tax.]
The Merchants' Tax is a tax Montgomery County levies against businesses' unsold merchandise-- which is why Shelor's Automotive is trying to unload much of its inventory by the end of the year.
The vehicles moved have been taken to Shelor lots in neighboring counties that either don't have the Merchants' tax or have a lower tax rate.
[IN Q=A lot]
((LARRY SHELOR/COMPANY PRESIDENT: A LOT OF TIMES YOU TRY TO MAKE UP REASONS FOR SALES, IF YOU WILL, LIKE PRESIDENT'S DAY BUT THIS WAS JUST A NATURAL STORY. ))
[OUT Q=natural story.]
Shelor says he mainly objects to the county's tax rate-- which he says is simply too high and unfair to larger businesses.
Out of roughly a thousand businesses in the county-- Shelor says he pays up to 30- percent of the amount collected.
A county spokesman says the percentage paid is lower-- and believes Shelor will still have to make payments to Montgomery County regardless of where his inventory is located.
[IN Q=You would]
((BOBBY PARKER/MONTGOMERY CO. SPOKESMAN:YOU WOULD OWE PROPERTY TAXES ON CARS YOU OWN AND REGISTER IN THIS COUNTY, AS WOULD I, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE CAR IS PARKED. ))
[OUT Q=is parked.]
Last year, the company REFUSED to pay the FULL amount of its assessed tax and now has an outstanding bill of 280-thousand dollars.
Shelor says he offered to pay a portion of the bill if the county would agree to eventually phase out the tax.
But the county said NO.
[IN Q=It's a ]
((LARRY SHELOR/COMPANY PRESIDENT:IT'S A BIG DEAL AND EVENTUALLY IT WILL PUT US OUT OF BUSINESS, EVEN AS LARGE AND AS SUCCESSFUL AS WE'VE BEEN. ))
[OUT Q=we've been.]
This is one dispute that likely won't be settled anytime soon.
Shelor has filed a lawsuit against the county and a hearing is set for February.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Christiansburg.))
Still to come on News 7...
Patrick Evans will be along with a complete holiday weather forecast.
And, we'll tell you how a group of Roanoke volunteers plans to repair area homes for free.
More when we return.
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[GRAPHIC=Stepping Down (John Stroud)]
The president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce is resigning.
John Stroud announced this morning he's stepping down after heading the group for seven years.
Under Stroud's leadership, the chamber doubled in size.
Stroud says he'll probably go after a job in the private sector.
No word on a successor.
Roanoke volunteers are offering to repair homes for free.
They've started their own chapter of the national group called Christmas in April.
In the spring they will give Mary Hale a new roof, rewire her electricity and redo her plumbing.
The program helps low-income, elderly or disabled residents.
[IN Q=We are finding]
((WE ARE FINDING ... COMING OUT AND HELPING.))
[SUPER=01-Rev. Todd Meyers/Project Leader;]
[OUT Q=coming out and helping]
Volunteers include Roanoke's mayor.
They say if they round up enough help and donations, they can rebuild a house in just a weekend.
So far, they expect donations from the Home Depot and United Parcel Service.
[SUPER=330-Mixed Sleet &/Freezing Rain/26-30/Wintry Mix/Tapering Off/30-32;]
[SUPER=331-Ice, Sleet/Freezing Rain/28-30/Wintry Mix/Ending/30-34;]
[SUPER=332-Winter Weather Advisory/Sleet & Ice/23-27/Snow Showers/1'' to 2''/27-30;]
[SUPER=333-Sleet & Snow/1'' to 2''/25-28/Snow Showers/Cloudy/30-32;]
[SUPER=334-Heavy Snow Warning/1'' to 3''/20-24/Snow Ending/3'' to 5''/26-30;]
The Hokies were back at the Cassell tonight while the Tech Football teams leaves for Nashville and the Music City Bowl.
Irvin Fryar is hanging up his cleats and Sedrick Irvin is entering the N-F-L draft.
But first out Extra Point.
[SUPER=75-Charlotte, NC; :]
Panther defensive end Kevin Greene returned to practice this week after a one game suspension for shoving his position coach Kevin Steele.
[IN Q="I was...]
[SUPER=74-Kevin Greene/Panther Defensive End; :]
[OUT Q=....its over."]
[SUPER=75-Spartanburg, NC/This Summer; :]
Greene also said Sunday's game against Indianapolis could be his last. He said he hasn't decided but adds he's not looking forward to the future.
Now, Here's todays numbers.
[WIPE TO MOTION]
[SUPER=0098-j/Virginia Tech/85//Coastal Carolina/65///j/Connecticut#1/102//Fairfield/67///;]
[SUPER=0098-j/Maryland#5/132//North Texas/57////Kansas#13/37//St. Louis/44/2//;]
[SUPER=0098-j/Iowa#21/87//Coppin St./73////Oklahoma#23/58/j/N.C. State/62///;]
[OUT Q=...LAST GAME."]
The word came yesterday from N-B-A commissioner David Stern. Stern says he will recommend canceling the N-B-A season unless an agreement to end the six month old lockout is reached by January seventh.
That's the day the league's board of governors is scheduled to meet.
Deputy commissioner Russ Granik says the league's labor relations committee will make a report to the governors at that meeting.
There's been no reaction yet from the players union and no talks are scheduled.
If the season is lost it will be the first time a major professional sports league in North America lost an entire season of competition for any reason.
The weather didn't slow the Virginia Tech Hokies last night as they hosted Coastal Carolina at the Cassell.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/Virginia Tech vs Coastal Carolina; :]
A hand full of faithful fans showed up last night at the Cassell.
Early in the second half, the Hokies set the tone as Roland Roberts gets the steal and goes coast to coast for the jam and 50 to 33 lead.
Tech also did lots of passing to the inside here Dennis Mims gets and gives quickly to Alvaro Tor who jams it home stretching Tech's lead to 24.
Tech continued to dominate in the second half as Mims gets the quick look underneath with the dunk and the foul making it 67 to 35.
Roberts would get another special delivery
[SUPER=33-Virginia Tech/85/Coastal Carolina/65/;]
in the lane as the Hokies used fast ball movement getting the dunk and Tech beats Coastal Carolina 85 to 65.
Roberts led the Hokies with a game high 23 points and Tech ups its record to 4 and 4 on the season.
One of the N-F-L's top receivers with numbers that might land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is leaving the game.
Philadelphia wide receiver Irving Fryar announced his retirement yesterday.
The 36 year old Fryar has spent 15 years in the league. His 781 catches rank him seventh on the N-F-L's all time list.
Fryar is ranked 13-th in Career touchdowns with 77.
[IN Q="I STRUGGLED...]
[SUPER=01-Irvan Fryar/Announces Retirement; :]
[OUT Q=...my shoulders."]
With 53 receiving yards in his final game, Fryar would become only the 8-th player in N-F-L history to reach 12-thousand yards.
Virginia Tech is all set for Alabama in the Music City Bowl. More later on mornin'.
And coming up, Michigan State running back Sedrick Irvin is turning pro.
And Virginia Tech says Alabama, the Hokies opponent in the Music City Bowl, will be no pushover in the December 29-th bowl game.
[GRAPHIC=musci city bowl]
For the first time in almost 20 years, Virginia Tech and Alabama will meet this time in The inaugural Music City Bowl.
Frank Beamer played against the Crimson Tide three decades ago and the renewel of this rivalry has special meaning for him and defensive back Loren Johnson.
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=01-Keion Carpenter/2nd Team Big East Safety; :16]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/52-19 in Last Six Seasons; :45]
[SUPER=01-Loren Johnson/First Team Big East Cornerback; 1:14]
[SUPER=04-Cavaliers vs. Hokies; 1:30]
[OUT Q=...News 7 sports"]
((Frank Beamer Has tasted Sugar and Orange post season sweetness. And while the first ever Music City Bowl is just beginning to make a name for itself, there is no other team more rich in tradition than Tech's opponent in this game.
Beamer has influenced Loren on and off the field. He has served as a guest speaker numerous times for Christian groups like Roanoke's Straight Street. and while the senior was a first team all big east selection, Virginia tech can be even more proud of the person this player has become. His character is often revealed around the holidays.
The four year starter is working through a knee injury sustained against Virginia but should be near full speed for the Music City Bowl, in Blacksburg, Steve Mason, news7 sports.))
That's it for sports. Have a great day everybody.
Michigan State running back Sedrick Irvin is leaving college for the Pros.
Irvin said today he's skipping his senior year to enter the N-F-L draft.
Irvin rushed for 1-thousand 167 yards this season the third straight year he gained over a thousand yards.
He told the Lansing Journal that it will be a dream come true playing in the N-F-L.
Green Bay Rookie linebacker Jude Waddy has been suspended by the N-F-L for a positive steroid test.
Waddy says the test results are inaccurate. He says he has no idea how that happened.
Waddy was placed on the active roster with 9 year veteran tight end Scott Galbreath.
Also today, The Packers made Earl Dotson the league's highest paid right tackle.
Dotson has agreed to a four year 14 million dollar deal that includes a four million dollar bonus.
One Iowa teenager has come up with a unique way of spreading Christmas cheer...
[Super=X5052 (loads FX)]
[Super=X5045 (starts FX)]
Mike Day decided to dress up as a dancing Christmas light display. He says he's become quite an attraction in his hometown.
[IN Q=People honking]
((PEOPLE HONKING. HAD A COUPLE OF CARS WITH GIRLS COME BY AND TAKE PICTURES AND ALL THAT GOOD STUFF. PEOPLE TURN OFF THEIR LIGHTS AND WAVE. ONE BEER BOTTLE, BUT I FIGURE I AM DOING ALL RIGHT))
[OUT Q=doing all right]
Day was able to light up with the help of his family who plugged in a dozen strings of lights to a power strip they taped to his back.
[Super=X5043 (clears FX)]
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