The Winter Weather is making life difficult for traveling in our area.
Mixed precipitation is blamed for many fender benders this afternoon.
and a fire in a New York City high rise building is blamed for four deaths.
Sleet, snow, and freezing rain continue to fall across the region, and overnight travel will be worse than conditions were this afternoon. I'll have all the important weather details as we remain under a Winter Storm Warning.
Today on health check --
An eighteen month old heart transplant patient from Roanoke is coming home for the holidays.
And in Houston, Texas two families share 13 beds in one hospital.
[SUPER=#4063; Headline Banner]
Winter Weather hits the News 7 viewing area. We may get a white Christmas, but it may not be what we wanted.
Mixed precipitation has already made things difficult for some travelers.
Let's go over to Patrick Evans and see just how bad it is going to get out there.
[ANCHOR=Patrick in the WX Center]
Five Day Forecast
Patrick tosses back
The storm couldn't have hit at a worse time, just as people prepared to hit the highway for the holidays.
[Double boxes=Jean/Eric Microwave]
Eric Earnhart is live in Roanoke County where he's keeping track of road conditions... Eric?
[LIVE Eric full]
[IN Q=we've got 25 thousand]
[SUPER=01-Laura Bullock/VDOT ; :00]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co.; :10; ]
[SUPER=03-Montgomery Co.; :25]
[OUT Q=off the road]
((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]
Just a short time later... the ice began falling, and VDOT crews hit the road.... trying to get a layer of chemicals on the pavement as quickly as possible...
Ice on the road wasn't the only problem for vehicles though... as north bound traffic slowed to a crawl in Montgomery County, backing up on Christiansburg Mountain, some motorist found themselves icing up as they went.
If you do end up traveling in these conditions over the holidays... VDOT says watch for warning signs... literally.
[IN Q=watch for]
((LAURA BULLOCK/VDOT; WATCH FOR ANY DROPS OF WATER FREEZING UP ON ROAD SIGNS... GET OFF THE ROAD))
[OUT Q=off the road]))
[Take Eric full]
The mix of rain and sleet has made driving treacherous on Interstate 81.
State police say the road is blocked, southbound, at mile marker 107 near Radford by a tractor-trailer wreck. Traffic is expected to remain stopped for at least an hour.
Another accident involving tractor trailers has the southbound lanes blocked at mile marker 195 in Rockbridge County.
Ice covered bridges are blamed for pile-ups and fender-benders along Interstate 81.
One vehicle flipped over near the 81-581 interchange.
There were no serious injuries, but rescue personnel had to use the "Jaws of Life" to cut passengers out of the car.
And on Peters Creek Road, more motorists were caught by surprise by the treacherous conditions.
Five eastbound vehicles wrecked after sliding on the bridge over 581-North.
In Danville, there were three accidents involving six cars that wrecked almost simultaneously when the Aiken Bridge iced up.
No one was injured there.
State police say there have been dozens of accidents that they haven't had a chance to respond to yet.
Meanwhile, the weather has forced two colleges to alter their schedules. E-C-P-I and Dominion College have both can
celled night classes tonight.[5-Cold-Wx]
It's not just this area dealing with a bout of winter weather.
Drew Levinson takes a look at the deep freeze around the nation.
[SUPER=01-Drew Levinson/CBS News;]
((THE WINTER BLAST IS BEING FELT IN TWO-THIRDS OF THE COUNTRY.
IN MUCH OF THE MIDWEST TEMPERATURES ARE IN THE TEENS OR BELOW WITH THE
WINDCHILL MAKING IT FEEL MUCH COLDER THAN THAT.
It's freezing, I left my gloves at home.
IN DETROIT-FOR THESE ATTENDANTS-JUST TRYING TO GET THE MONEY FROM
THE METERS WAS QUITE A CHORE.
IN THE NORTHEAST-EVERYONE IS BUNDLED UP.
"No, no, no, I don't like it."
THE FRIGID TEMEPERATURES HAVE ALSO GRIPPED MOST OF THE SOUTH-ICY
ROADS HAVE CAUSED HUNDREDS OF ACCIDENTS.
"It was like a magnet to the telephone poll and I hit it."
TWO PEOPLE DIED IN A PAIR OF WRECKS IN AUSTIN TEXAS-IN ALL 58
VEHICLES WERE INVOLVED.
IN DALLAS THE FIRST STOP FOR DEPARTING PLANES IS THE DE-ICING
TRAVELING THROUGH THE AIRPORT DURING THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY CAN
CAUSE ENOUGH HEADACHES-THE WEATHER DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS ARE ONLY
ADDING TO THE MISERY. DELTA AND AMERICAN AIRLINES SAY HALF THEIR FLIGHTS
FROM DALLAS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED.
LOS ANGELES IS NOT IMMUNE TO THE EXTREME TEMPERURES EITHER.
SHELTERS THERE AS WELL AS MANY OTHER CITIES ARE NEAR CAPACITY.
AND IN FRESNO HELICOPTERS ARE HOVERING OVER THE CITRIS CROPS TO
KEEP THE AIR CIRCULATIONG AND KEEP THE FRUIT FROM FREEZING.
DREW LEVINSON/CBS NEWS Winter weather watches remain up in dozens of states.
It was a long time in coming-but Winter is officially here and most of the country knows it.
Drew Levinson, CBS News, Detroit. ))
A bus full of people on the way to celebrate the holiday crashed in South Africa-
[SUPER=03-Near Lainsburg, S. Africa;]
23 people are dead. Another 19 were hurt in the crash- seven are in critical condition.
The bus hit a truck carrying fertilizer near the town of Lainsburg-
((MY EXPERIENCE HAS PROBLABLY BEEN THE WORST THE TYPE OF INJURIES SUSTANED BY THE PEOPLE WHO SUVIVED THE ACCIDENT IS HORRENDOUS.))
[SUPER=01-Dr. Wayne Smith/Laingsburg Hospital;]
[OUT Q=is horrendous.]
Most of the passengers on the bus were sleeping at the time of the accident.
Four of the dead were children.
No word on what caused the accident.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Next on News 7, a local man is accused of writing bad checks to help charity.
and a high rise fire that started in actor McCauley Culkin's apartment in New York leaves four people dead.
A local girl who received a heart transplant is home for the holidays. On today's Health Check, we'll see how Kayla Griffin is doing.
Stay with us, there's more News 7 to come.
Four people are dead after fire tore through two apartments in a New York City high-rise.
[SUPER=03-New York, NY]
The 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.
((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.
Recent court papaers say the three apartments where the fire started were occupied by the family of Macauley Culkin.
Prosecutors say Jody Pendleton's heart might've been in the right place.
But his money wasn't.
Two weeks ago he donated 340-bicycles to the Bikes or Bust charity event.
The problem is: he apparently bought the bikes at Wal Mart ... using two bogus checks.
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 underpriveleged 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 RESAON 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.
Our region's largest business organization is saying good-bye to its leader.
John Stroud announced today he's stepping down as president of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.
It's a position he's held for seven years.
Stroud said the challenge for whoever replaces him will be finding a way to bring high-paying jobs to this part of the state.
[IN Q=we're really]
((STROUD: WE'RE REALLY NOT A HIGH GROWTH AREA LIKE NORTHERN VIRGINIA, WHICH HAS AN EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH INCOME LEVEL. WE REALLY NEED TO WORK ON PRODUCING QUALITY JOBS THAT WILL PAY HIGHER WAGES IN OUR OWN REGION.))
[SUPER=01-John Stroud/Outgoing Chamber President;]
[OUT Q=OWN REGION]
Stroud said he'll probably get a job in the private sector.
The chamber doesn't have a timeline for naming his successor.
[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;]
[health music under]
The Express gets an unexpected night off. Roy Stanley will have that and all the sports in today's two minute ticker.
Next on health check -- Multiple births are on the rise because of increased use of fertility treatments.
and five thousand volunteers hope their work will someday defeat the AIDS Virus.
[IN Q=it's seems the only answer...]
((IT SEEMS THE ONLY ANSWER SCIENCE HAS BEEN ABLE TO COME UP WITH SO FAR IS THAT AIDS SHOULD BE A CHRONIC, MANAGEABLE ILLNESS. I'M HER TO SAY THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE.))
[OUT Q=THAT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE.]
[GRAPHIC=Heading Home ]
Just nine days after she underwent heart transplant surgery, an 18- month- old Roanoke girl is home tonight and will spend Christmas with her family.
Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center say they're amazed at the progress little Kayla Griffin has made since her operation on December 13th.
Kayla was feeling well enough for her to be discharged from U-V-A today.. much to the delight of her parents.
[IN Q=Friends are so]
((APRIL GRIFFIN/KAYLA'S MOTHER: FRIENDS ARE SO EXCITED AND I'M EXCITED.. EVERYTHING, IT'S GOING TO BE A FUN CHRISTMAS, A HAPPY CHRISTMAS.))
((DR. IRVING KRON/LEAD TRANSPLANT SURGEON: WE'RE JUST DELIGHTED. KAYLA HAS JUST DONE FANTASTIC.. AS YOU KNOW SHE WAS TERRIBLY SICK AHEAD OF TIME AND THEN THIS MIRACLE CAME UP, A HEART SHOWED UP FOR HER PRETTY MUCH AT THE END OF THE LINE FOR HER, AND SHE'S JUST DONE GREAT.))
[SUPER=01-April Griffin/Kayla's Mother; :00]
[SUPER=01-Dr. Irving Kron/Lead Transplant Surgeon; :11]
[OUT Q=just done great.]
Doctors will continue to monitor Kayla's progress on a weekly basis.
They say prospects for her long- term recovery appear excellent.
The condition of the world's only living octuplets, remains the same -- eight babies in critical condition, but holding their own in intensive care.
[SUPER=04-Home Video; ]
In the same intensive care unit..there is another set of siblings waging the same fight -- six babies born to another Houston family six weeks ago, five survived.
The fertility drug treatment used to conceive the Collins children is the same technique used for the Chuckwu octuplets.
It's a hormone cocktail that can be effective but risky.
[SOT tc 10:48:39]
[IN Q=Jeremiah and Noah]
((CHRIS COLLINS/MOTHER: JEREMIAH AND NOAH REALLY ARE DOING PRETTY GOOD, OUR BOYS, ONE DAY THEY COULD BE FINE AND THE NEXT DAY THEY COULD HAVE SOME KIND OF INFECTION.))
[SUPER=01-Chris Collins/Mother; ]
[OUT Q=kind of infection.]
The Collins quintuplets also have a 17 month old brother conceived using fertility drugs.
Some fertility specialists say multiple births are not miracles
but mistakes that jeopardize the health of mother and child, and blame
doctors for allowing so many.
But doctors say couples who have spent years and thousands of dollars trying to conceive will sometimes ignore the risks.
Another round of testing began yesterday for a possible AIDS vaccine.
[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
For the next three years, doctors will monitor the test subjects to determine the vaccine's effectiveness.
Participants must be sexually active gay men and heterosexual women who are H-I-V negative.
All patients will be provided with counseling on safe sex and how to avoid HIV. But the study's principal investigator says the trial depends on some of them exposing themselves through high risk sex.
[IN Q=None the less]
[SUPER=01-Dr. Michael Marmor/NYU School of Medicine;]
[OUT Q=down their guard.]
Five thousand people volunteered for the study. Two-thirds received the vaccine. The rest got a placebo.
Bad weather ices the Express.
With that and more, here's Roy Stanley.[S5-VMI]
[TAPE#=SP-23 tc 1:42:25]
[GRAPHIC=two minute ticker]
Thanks Jean and Tonya and welcome to the two minute ticker.
Last night in Charlottesville, V-M-I went up against the Virginia Cavaliers of the A-C-C.
[SUPER=03-Charlottesville/VMI vs UVA;]
THe UVA pep band tries to provide their squad with a little inspiration for this monumental task.
THe 'Hoos Chris Williams gets the defensive rebound, makes the long pass to Willie Dersch for the easy two.
The Keydetts come right back, Andre Quarles takes a drive then dishes to Matt Matheny the former Cave Springer sinks the three.
VMI on the move again, Jason Bell on the fast break makes the pass to Quarles and the Keydetts take a 15-10 lead.
Donald Hand plays the theif in the backcourt and drives to the hoop for the score and things weren't looking up for Bellairs' Keydetts.
The Cavaleirs come on strong at the end and sink the Keydets for the 20th straight time 82-to-64.
Tonight in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech hosts Coastal Carolina. The Hokies are 3 and 4 and tip off is 7 oclock we'll have highlights tonight at 11.
The Georgia Bulldogs are 8 and 3 coming into the Peach Bowl. Steve Mason says credit a Mr. Carter for the success. While Quincy did not spend time in the oval office like the other Georgian with the same last name, he certainly has Virginia's respect.
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=01-Tim Spruill/UVa Defensive Back; :09]
[SUPER=03-Baton Rouge, LA/Bulldogs vs. Tigers; :16]
[SUPER=01-Quincy Carter/Georgia Quarterback; :36]
[SUPER=01-Adrian Burnim/UVa Senior Defensive Back; 1:03]
[OUT Q=...news 7 sports"]
((Georgia coach Jim Donnan has molded freshman Quincy Carter into one of the SEC's most feared weapons.
This season, he broke the Georgia freshman passing record by amassing 2 thousand, 484 yards. He's dangerously versatile also, catching as well as throwing on his way to producing over 251 yards of offense a contest. Add certain incentives to this game and UVa has it's hands full.
Carter registered 12 touchdowns during the regular season. Steve Mason, news 7 sports.))
No Hockey at the Roundhouse tonight. The game with Huntington has been postponed. The Icebreakers are stuck in the mountains around Charleston.
No make up date has been set.
More sports coming up at six Jean will be back in a moment.
A holiday mystery that lasted almost half a centruy has been solved in Peoria, Illinois.
The mystery was: who sent Ed Clinch
[SUPER=03-Peoria, IL/December 1996;]
a coconut every Christmas until 1996?
Clinch used to boast he was too smart to fall for a practical joke.
At least that was until 1948, when a coconut began showing up at his house around Christmas.
For the next 48 years, a coconut would show up delivered by skydivers, marching bands, marines and even Santa Claus.
Clinch died in 1997. He never figured out who delivered the presents.
Now his niece reveals it was her mother and father.
[SOT 14:43:27 CBS ]
[IN Q=The only reason]
[SUPER=01-Theresa Schaub/Clinch's Niece;]
[OUT Q=it was time.]
Clinch always thought it was some old Army buddies.