Ice, snow, freezing rain -- there's a bit of everything in the U-S on this Christmas Eve.
And Martsinville teenager is injured by a pipe bomb.
Depending on where you live, it's been a morning of either freezing rain, or snow showers.
A changing forecast is now promising a white Christmas for much of the region.
Stay tuned for the holiday forecast.
News 7 at noon is next.
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Winter weather is delaying Christmas travel plans for some folks, but V-Dot reports only minor patches of ice on most roads.
[Double Boxes=Melanie and Tina/Microwave]
Tina Tenret is on Bent Mountain-- one of the harder hit areas.
Tina what's the situation this afternoon.
( ad lib)
(Rollcue:are fairly safe)
[SUPER=01-David Martin/Airline Passenger;]
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[Double Boxes=KIMBERLY and Tina/Microwave]
[DOUBLE BOXES=Kimberly and Tina/Microwave]
(Tina tosses to Kimberly in CK)
(toss back to Melanie)
In many parts of the U-S today folks aren't dreaming about a White Christmas.
[SUPER=03-Providence, RI; :00]
They're experiencing it.
Several inches of snow dropped across the Northeast overnight and forecaster predict another several inches by this evening.
[SUPER=03-Charlotte, NC; :10]
But that same system brought a messy combination of freezing rain and ice to the southern U-S , snapping tree limbs and damaging power lines, and wreaking roadway havoc.
[SUPER=03-Fresno, CA; :18]
Even out West, it's clearly winter.
California orange growers are working to save their trees from sub-freezing temperatures.
Crop damage is estimated at more than a-half billion dollars.
[SUPER=03-Lake Mille Lacs, MN; :28]
But some are thrilled with the arctic air, like resort owners in central Minnesota, where ice fishing is big busines
[SUPER=03-New York, NY; :34]
And in New York, a light snowfall covers the statue of Liberty this Christmas eve, making the beacon of hope even more beautiful.
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[SUPER=03-Old Bridge, NJ]
Today's travel has taken a major turn for the worse for 22 people aboard a tour bus in New Jersey, not far from New York City.
There is little information in at this point, but these pictures just in show the bus is overturned and a major rescue effort is underway.
We'll pass along more as it becomes available.
A pipe bomb explosion yesterday sent a Martinsville teen to a North Carolina hospital.
18-year old Brushawn Sniblett suffered injuries to his hands and face.
Sniblett was in the back seat of this car when the homemade bomb exploded.
There were two other people in the vehicle at the time-- but they were not injured.
One of them drove the car to the Martinsville Hospital-- and the hospital called 911.
Police won't say if Sniblett made the bomb or if he was planning to plant it somewhere.
Two men are recovering after being wounded in a Danville shooting.
24-year old Jarris Dixon and 18-year old Charlie Luck are in stable condition today.
Both men told police they were approached by a man who asked for change and then shot them.
It happened on Paxton Street just after 9 last night.
Dixon was shot in the head.
Luck was shot in the arm and abdomen.
Police say they do not have a suspect.
Remembering the reason for the season, the birth place of Christ was the site of celebration today.
[SUPER=03-Bethlehem, West Bank;]
[OUT Q=(nats of marching band)]
In the streets of Bethlehem, marching bands played Christmas carols as locals, pilgrims and tourists watched.
Not too may tourists are visiting this year because of recent violence in the Middle East.
But Bethlehem locals are hoping that there will be a big bash next year when pilgrims and tourists are expected to descend in droves to celebrate the millenium of Christ's birth.
From the White House, a Christmas message from the President and First lady.
((BILL CLINTON:WE WANT TO WISH ALL OF YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.
AS WE GATHER AROUND OUR CHRISTMAS TREES, LET'S TAKE THE TIME TO GIVE
THANKS FOR THE BLESSINGS OF THE YEAR JUST PASSED. REJOICE IN OUR
CHILDREN. ENJOY THE COMPANY OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS."
Hillary CLINTON: "FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY NEW
YEAR AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL. " ))
[OUT Q=GOD BLESS YOU ALL.]
President Clinton got in a little last minute shopping yesterday at the Peace Corps store in Washington.
As the year draws to a close, what began as unprintable gossip in January later developed into the top news story of the year according to the annual Associated Press poll of American newspaper editors and broadcast executives.
[stock file of Monica---.]
The sex scandal between the President and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky seldom left the front page and lead to the unprecedented impeachment of a twice-elected President.
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State health officials are investigating the first case of rabies in a human in more than four decades.
More on that is still ahead on News-7 at Noon.
And the round- the - world balloon attempt is nearing the halfway point, and a BIG hurdle.
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A fight over taxes is brewing in Montgomery County.
Officials at Shelor Automotive are suing the county because they think they have to pay too much in local taxes.
Teresa Hamilton has more.
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[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]
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((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.))
The Virginia Department of health is reporting the first case of rabies in a human in 45 years.
The infected patient is an inmate from Nottoway Correctional Center and is being treated at a hospital there.
An investigation in underway to determine how the inmate contracted the disease.
Rabies is very rare in humans.
Rabid animals usually include raccoons, skunks, foxes, cats and bats.
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The little Roanoke girl with a new heart will celebrate Christmas at home.
That story is still ahead on News-7 at Noon.
And we'll take you to Christmas celebrations around the world.
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When Santa makes his rounds tonight, he should be on the lookout for a large balloon approaching the northwestern United States or southwestern Canada.
[SUPER=03-Over the Sea of Japan; ]
The three crew members hoping to make the first non-stop round the world balloon flight are now floating over the pacific, nearing the half way mark of their trip.
(( RICHARD BRASON:NORMALLY YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE PACIFIC WAS GOING TO BE OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE, THE MOST FRIGHTENING PART OF THE JOURNEY. OBVIOUSLY WE'VE HAD SO MANY DIPLOMATIC PROBLEMS TO DATE THAT THE PACIFIC SEEMS ALMOST FRIENDLY BY CONTRAST." ))
[OUT Q=by contrast.]
British Tycoon Richard Branson was referring to their troubles with Iraq, Libya and China.
The trio hopes to hit U-S airspace tomorrow, somewhere over Washington state.
Just more than a week after she underwent heart transplant surgery, an 18- month- old Roanoke girl is home 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.
On Wall Street at Noon, the Dow was UP 39 points.
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Still ahead in the newscast, carolers around the world warm up for the Christmas holiday.
While closer to home, the Hokies deck the halls of Cassell Coliseum-- courtesy of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
We'll have highlights coming up, when News 7 at Noon continues.
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N-B-A players are getting coal in their stockings from 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 has lost an entire season of competition.
The nasty weather didn't stop the Hokies from trouncing Coastal Carolina at the Cassell.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/Tech vs Coastal Carolina; :]
A handful of faithful fans showed up last night to catch the holiday action.
Early in the second half, the Hokies set the tone as Roland Roberts gets the steal and goes coast to coast for the slam dunk and the 17 point lead.
Tech also did lots of passing to the inside. Here Dennis Mims gets and gives quickly to Alvaro Tor who puts it in- stretching Tech's lead to 24.
The Hokies continued to dominate in the second half. Mims gets the quick look underneath with the dunk and the foul making it 67 to 35.
Roberts would get another present
[SUPER=33-Virginia Tech/85/Coastal Carolina/65/;]
in the lane as the Hokies used fast ball movement to get the jam and the 85 to 65 win.
Roberts led the Hokies with 23 points and Tech evens up it's record at 4 and 4.
[GRAPHIC=Music City Bowl]
They're not joining in any reindeer games, but the Hokies are packing up the sleigh and heading to Nashville for the inaugural Music City Bowl.
Tech's opponent is no stranger to head coach Frank Beamer, who played against the Alabama Crimson Tide three decades ago.
[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.))
Every year more and more people around the world celebrate Christmas, even though their religious beliefs differ from what is a Christian celebration.
The total number of Christians in Japan amounts to less than one percent of the population, still many celebrate the holiday, even exchanging gifts.
[SUPER=03-Hong Kong; :45-1:04]
Hong Kong has also has a tradition of celebrating Christmas, from its years as a British colony.
In Hong Kong's harbor, the spirit of Christmas is kept lit by huge neon decorations.
In Great Britian it's a Christmas tradition.
[OUT Q= (5 SECONDS NATS)]
This is the 80th Christmas Eve Festival at King's College in Cambridge.
It's also the 70th year since it was first broadcast by the B-B-C.
The first carol service at Kings was held just weeks after the end of the Great War at the suggestion of the then Dean of King's, Eric Milner White.
He wanted it to be the start of a process that would heal the wounds of war - an aim which the College says remains valid today.