The holiday rush and freezing rain are creating big troubles tonight. Complete coverage just ahead on News 7.
And there's a happy holiday story ... a little girl heads home from the hospital, with a new heart beating inside.
In sports, Virginia Tech's men's basketball team is in action tonight at the Cassell Irvin Fryar is hanging up his cleets.
And Michigan State running back Sedrick Irvin is entering the N-F-L draft.
The threat for heavy ice accumulation shifts to the north and east, and Roanoke has been REMOVED from the winter storm warning. The conditions outside should slowly improve, I'll have details.
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Planning on heading anywhere tonight?
Icy winter weather makes for dangerous driving ..
It ties up traffic .. and there's more to come.
Good evening, I'm Jean Jadhon. Keith has the night off.[I-81]
We have a lot to tell you tonight, and Patrick Evans will have the latest storm warnings shortly.
But we'll start with a warning from Virginia State Police.
[TAKE GFX MAP 1-81/Radford]
Accidents have blocked Interstate 81 at two points in our region.
A tractor-trailer wreck has closed the southbound lanes at mile marker 107 near Radford. Traffic is being diverted through the city of Radford.
[NEXT GFX MAP 1-81/Rockbridge]
Another accident involving tractor trailers has the southbound lanes blocked at mile marker 195 in Rockbridge County, north of Lexington. State police urge you to avoid both stretches of I-81.
Serious accidents and fender-benders too numerous to count have tied up traffic across the region.
Several cars along Interstate-81 and 581 have slid off the roads, some turning over.
Rescue crews needed the "Jaws of Life" to remove at least one person from this overturned car at the 581-81 interchange.
It was the same along Peters Creek Road on the bridge crossing I-581.
It was apparently difficult for vehicles to stop, as they slid into one another.
Meanwhile, in Danville the Aiken Bridge was iced over, resulting in three accidents involving six cars within yards of one another.
No serious injuries have been reported in any of the accidents.
There's more of this to come, but we learned within the hour that some areas may catch a break. Let's go to Patrick Evans for the latest.
[Patrick at chroma wall]
[Weather computer GFX]
But we'll still have to wait a while before the worst is over.
The ice presents a tough challenge for drivers and for V-DOT.
Eric Earnhart is keeping track of the situation in Roanoke County.
[Double Boxes=Jean & Eric/Microwave]
( ad lib)
(Rollcue: take a chance on the highway)
[IN Q=the pre-holiday]
[SUPER=03-Montgomery Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Laura Bullock/VDOT; :33 (QUICK!)]
[OUT Q=stick a little better]
The pre-holiday blast presented many motorists with a dilemma... abandon holiday travel plans, or hit the road as soon as possible... many apparently chose the road... that along with people trying to beat the storm led to bumper to bumper traffic on the way out of Blacksburg.
Traffic on I-81 North backed up on Christiansburg mountain.
And all these cars have to share the road with VDOT trucks... working to get chemicals and abrasives on the pavement as quickly as possible.
[IN Q=the abrasive stuff]
((LAURA BULLOCK/VDOT; The abrasive stuff, if you have to pass))
[OUT Q=to pass a snow plow]
Ice is one of the toughest opponents V-DOT has... Scraping it makes it worse... and in below freezing temparatures, chemicals can bounce or blow off... VDOT is experimenting with a new proceedure... wetting road chemicals down with liquid calcium chloride before spreading.
[IN Q=this will do a couple]
((LAURA BULLOCK/VDOT; THIS WILL DO A COUPLE OF THINGS... STICK A LITTLE BETTER))
[OUT Q=stick a little better]
( ad lib)
That's the good news, the bad news is they're still in the testing phase... the liquid has to be stored in large tanks, and those tanks haven't been completely installed yet... so VDOT doesn't have enough liquid chemical to use in this storm....
They hope to be ready for the next one.
[Double Boxes=Jean & Eric/Microwave]
In other news, Santa Claus can skip one Roanoke family's house Thursday night.. they already have the greatest Christmas gift they could have hoped for.
Steve Smallshaw has the story of a little girl who has defied all the medical odds and will spend the holidays at home.
[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?]
[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 TIMEBEFORE 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 the U-V-A Medical Center..
[natsot car honk]
..and for little Kayla, it will end at home.
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Charlottesville.))
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Why is one of the area's biggest auto dealers suing the county? Still ahead on News 7, the answer is on your radio.
Next, how would you like your home repaired for free? Learn about a group that's gearing up to help out.
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Help is one the way for homeowners who can not afford to make their own repairs.
Local volunteers have created Roanoke's own branch of a national group, Christmas in April.
Tina Tenret introduces us to the first Roanoke woman who will be helped.
[IN Q=Mary Hale will]
[SUPER=01-Rev. Todd Meyer/Project Leader; :28]
[SUPER=01-Mary Hale/Homeowner; 1:02 QUICK!]
[OUT Q=Tina Tenret News7 Roanoke]
(( Mary Hale will show you why she needs help.
Her bathroom ceiling leaks so badly, the paint and plaster's fallen off the walls.
The cellar pipes are encrusted with rust and asbestos -- frequently they freeze.
Hale survives on social security and disability checks -- she pays at least a couple hundred dollars a month just for heat.
But volunteers have offered to repair Hale's home.
[IN Q=Every weekend in April]
((EVERY WEEKEND IN APRIL YOU JUST HAVE 80 TO 100 WORKERS COME AND IF YOU CAN IMAGINE PEOPLE HANGING OFF THE ROOF HERE, AND JUST DOING EVERYTHING IN A WEEKEND. WE COULD RENOVATE THIS HOUSE IN A WEEKEND WITH ENOUGH VOLUNTEER SUPPORT))
[OUT Q=VOLUNTEER SUPPORT]
Christmas in April is a national program now in Roanoke.
Next April, local volunteers including the mayor will rebuild homes for elderly, disabled or low-income residents.
They'll fix Hale's roof and porch, for example, and insulate her house so she's warm.
[IN Q=I think it's wonderful]
((I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL. GOD'S BEEN GOOD TO EVERYBODY, ESPECIALLY ME.))
[OUT Q=especially me]
Hale's neighbors are already asking for the same help -- they say this program could transform Roanoke.
It all depends on volunteers and donated materials.
Tina Tenret News7 Roanoke.))
It looks like one man who donated 340-bikes to the Bikes or Bust campaign could NOT afford to be in the giving spirit.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/Earlier This Month;]
Jody Pendleton brought the bikes to Tanglewood Mall two weeks ago...
After he allegedly paid for them with bogus checks.
At the time, the 22-year old was free on bond.
In September he was indicted for bank fraud and money laundering.
Now he's back in jail.
And before his case goes to trial in February, Pendleton will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
[IN Q=the judge]
((ECKERT: THE JUDGE WAS CONCERNED MR. PENDLETON COULDN'T DETERMINE FACT FROM FICTION IN HIS PERSONAL LIFE AND THUS HE FELT THERE WAS REASONABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE HE POSSIBLY COULDN'T BE COMPETENT TO STAND TRIAL.))
[SUPER=01-Tom Eckert/U.S. Attorney;]
[OUT Q=stand trial]
There's no word tonight on what will happen to the bikes Pendleton donated.
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Authorities have made an arrest in a fatal shooting in Pulaski.
They're questioning two other suspects, in the murder 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 pretty 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.
[GRAPHIC=Stepping Down (John Stroud)]
The president of this area's largest business organization is stepping down.
John Stroud announced this morning he's resigning from the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.
He's been president for seven years.
Under Stroud's leadership, the chamber doubled in size.
Stroud said he'll probably go after a job in the private sector.
No word on a successor.
Wall Street is roaring toward the holidays.
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The Dow jumped more than 157 points, reaching 92-02. And it's new record territory for NASDAQ, up more than 51.
[GRAPHIC=Merchants' Tax (Mont. Co.)]
Chances are you've heard it on the radio...
Ads by Shelor Automotive taking aim at Montgomery County's Merchants' tax.
We sent Teresa Hamilton to find out what it's all about.
[IN Q=The selection]
[SUPER=01-Larry Shelor/Company President; :44 Quick!!!]
[SUPER=01-Bobby Parker/Montgomery Co. Spokesman; 1:16 Quick!!!]
[SUPER=@Teresa2; 1:25 ]
[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 it's 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 payment 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.
And coming up, The Hokies are headed to Nashville and the Music City Bowl The Tech basketball teams returns to the hardwood tonight.
And veteran N-F-L reciever Irvin Fryar announced his retirement today.
[GRAPHIC=musci city bowl]
The inaugural Music City Bowl is the first meeting between Virginia Tech and Alabama in almost 20 years.
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.))
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 hs gained over a thousand yards.
He told the Lansing Journal that it will bve a dream come true playing in the N-F-L.
One of the N-F-L's top receivers is leaving the game.
Philadelphia wide receiver Irving Fryar announced his retirement today.
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.
The Roanoke Express has postponed tonight's game with Huntington. The Icebreakers got stuck in the mountains of Charleston on their way to Roanoke.
No make up date has been set but the Express will return to the Roundhouse on Saturday against Chesapeake.
Face off Saturday night is 7-thirty.
If you want to check the Hokies in action tonights game against Coast Carolina is still on at the Cassell.
Tech returns to the Hardwood with a 3 and 4 record and tip off for the game is 7-oclock.
We'll have the highlights tonight at 11.
It's day 177 of the N-B-A lockout and no new talks
have been planned.
N-B-A commissioner David Stern says he's ready to ask the league's board of governors for permission to cancel the season if there's no labor talks within the next several days.
Meantime, Kevin Willis of the Toronto Raptors is calling for fellow N-B-A players to vote by secret ballot on the owners latest proposal. He thinks the majority would vote for it just to start playing ball again.
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