A rash of copycat bomb threats reaches new dimensions...
with rumors of a "hit list" for certain students who dare go to school in one district....
even as a suspect in another bomb scare goes to court- -declaring his innocence.
In sports, the Express open talks about the conference finals, Mike Stevens checks in on Craftsman Trucks leader Stacy Compton,
and Roanoke will feel the Wrath once again this season, details in sports.
The radar screen is full of showers again. And temperatures will be a full 20 degress below normal tomorrow.
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[IN Q=I just think everybody...]
((I just think everybody needs to get this rumor started, that all these rumors need to stop.))
[OUT Q=rumors need to stop.]
Rumors of a "hit list" keep more than a hundred students out of one school.
Still more deal with new bomb hoaxes.
And a student charged with a threat yesterday is brought before a judge.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.[Alleghany-Threats]
It's been one week since the school shootings in Colorado.
Students, parents, teachers, administrators are all worried something similar could happen here.
In Covington, fears of a possible "hit list" created major disruptions.
Two students at Alleghany high school today have been suspended and charged with disrupting the education program.
This came at the end of a day where rumors of an Internet "hit list" circulated throughout the school.
Police have been unable to find the list, which supposedly contains names of students who are placing themselves in danger by attending school.
As a result, nearly 100 students were absent from school today. One hundred more left early.
The sheriff and extra deputies were at Alleghany today, and they say it's safe.
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[IN Q=If we can ]
((SHERIFF C.E. SIMPSON/ ALLEGHANY CO.: IF WE CAN SOME WAY STOP THESE RUMORS IF KIDS HEAR SOMETHING THEY SHOULD REPORT IT, BECAUSE WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT AND LET US CHECK IT OUT TO MAKE SURE THERE'S NO BASIS FOR IT. AND AS I SAID BEFORE THERE'S BEEN NO BASIS.))
[SUPER=01-Sheriff C.E. Simpson/Alleghany Co.]
[OUT Q=no basis for it. As I said before, there's been no basis.]
Next week police will be educating the high school students on the penalties of making such threats.
Several school in the area dealt with bomb threats today.
The Noel C. Taylor Learning Center in Roanoke was evacuated because of one. Nothing suspicious turned up.
There was also a bomb scare at Hidden Valley Junior High School in Roanoke County.
The classrooms were evacuated this morning, after a threatening note was found on a bathroom wall.
Officials say after the building was thoroughly checked out, students were allowed back into class.
Parents are upset because their children were not allowed to call home.
Out of order signs were put up on the school pay phones discouraging children from using them.
[SOT tc 10:52]
[IN Q=When she told;]
[OUT Q=it infuriate me.]
School officials say that this was the best way to prevent chaos.
[SOT tc 5:00]
[IN Q=I asked the;]
[SUPER=01-Principal David Blevins]
[OUT Q=needed to go home.]
300 students did go home during the day. The school has called all parents to explain the incident.
A ROANOKE student charged with making a bomb threat YESTERDAY claims his teacher lied.
Jason Woodson says the teacher must not have taken the threat too seriously- -because HE says she took an hour and a half to report what was said.
Whatever it was, prompted officials to evacuate 240 students from one building at Patrick Henry High for about 45 minutes.
Once they returned to class, city school officials say Woodson went back to Spanish Teacher Leslie Cleveland and said: "You're not dead yet?" The 16-year old P-H student emphatically denies saying anything like that.
Woodson is charged with making a bomb threat and disrupting school.
His grandfather posted 3-thousand dollars for the boy's release.
It came out in court today, that Woodson then called Mrs. Cleveland at home last night, demanding to know why she was harassing him.
Judge Joe Clarke refused to revoke bond, based on that, but warned Woodson not to have anything to do with the Commonwealth's witnesses before the trial in June and ordered him to stay away from the school during his 10-day suspension.
With all the concerns over bomb threats, we want to tell you what the potential penalties can be.
[Take GFX page]
If you are 15 and over, it's a class 5 felony. It carries a sentence of one to ten years in prison, and a fine up to 25-hundred dollars.
For anyone 14 or under, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. No jail time, but there is still a fine up to 25-hundred dollars.
In other news tonight, a Danville woman has been charged with killing her husband.
Sharon Robertson was arrested last night for the murder of her husband, Frederick, last week.
The 47- year- old school employee died from a shotgun blast to the chest at the couple's home on Taylor Street.
Sharon Robertson is charged with murder and illegal use of a firearm.
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They try to block a riverfront trail .. and today, they're in court. The story is still ahead on News 7 at 6.
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When John Glenn returned to space last year, experiments designed by a group of local students were flying along.
The shuttle mission was nine days long, but the students of Blue Mountain School have been waiting months to evaluate the results.
[Double Boxes=Keith & Joe/Starlink]
That day has finally arrived, and Joe Dashiell is in Floyd where the students have been taking a closer look at their experiments this afternoon.
Keith, they were hoping to measure the effects of microgravity and extreme temperature changes on ordinary materials, such as photographic film, unpopped popcorn, even soda pop.
((ROLLCUE: They reported some surprising results.))
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[SUPER=01-Myra Leland/Blue Mountain School;]
[OUT Q=to see them so excited]
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[Double Boxes=Keith & Joe/Starlink][NRV-Trail]
The entire New River Trail is now open for use-- including a two- mile stretch in Wythe County that HAS been blocked off to hikers due to legal battles.
Norfolk Southern donated land for the 57- mile trail to the state in 1986.
But several land owners have fought the state, arguing that the rail- right- of- way was supposed to revert back to its previous owners or their heirs when it was no longer needed by the railroad.
A judge was supposed to decide today who actually owns the right- of- way, but the property owners had NOT hired counsel.
So the judge issued a temporary order which opens up the entire trail until the issue is resolved in court.
[IN Q=They're intending]
((FRANCES CHRISLEY: THEY'RE INTENDING TO TAKE THE LAND REGARDLESS OF WHO IT BELONGS TO AND THEY ARE GOING THE EASY WAY OUT, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT WE THINK.))
[OUT Q=we think.]
The trial has been set for June 21st.
Major averages marched in opposite directions on Wall Street today.
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The Dow rose another 113 points, to 10 thousand-832. But NASDAQ went the other way, down 50.
Hundreds more Southside textile workers must now look for new jobs.
This after Pluma, announced Monday it will close its Chatham and Alta Vista sewing plants.
Marya Jones has more.
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[IN Q=Shiela Hammock found out]
[SUPER=01-Shiela Hammock/Pluma Employee; @:]
[SUPER=01-Sherrie Davis/Pluma Employee; @]
[SUPER=01-Shiela Hammock/Pluma Employee; @:]
[OUT Q=Marya Jones, News 7, Chatham]
Shiela Hammock found out she was losing the sewing job she'd held for nine years yesterday, when Pluma told its 330 employees in Chatham and Alta Vista that it was closing down both plants.
((SHIELA HAMMOCK/PLUMA EMPLOYEE: IT MEANS A LOT. I'M A SINGLE PARENT AND THERE ARE A LOT OF SINGLE PARENTS THAT WORK HERE ALSO AND IT'S GOING TO BE HARD ON EVERYBODY. BUT FOR SINGLE PARENTS, THIS IS THEIR ONLY MEANS OF INCOME AND IT'S GOING TO REALLY HURT.)) [1:20:13]
Pluma already closed two plants earlier this year, cutting back its workforce to around 1,200. These employees say that the closings didn't come as a total shock.
((SHERRIE DAVIS/PLUMA EMPLOYEE: I DIDN'T HAVE TO HEAR RUMORS TO SAY THAT WE WERE LEAVING. HONESTLY, I COULD SEE IT. WE'RE NOT SITTING IN A DARK ROOM. WE DON'T HAVE THREAD TO SEW OUR SHIRTS WITH, YOU GOT WHITE MATERIAL AND YOU'RE SEWING IN GREEN OR GREY THREAD. YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS GOING WRONG.))
Pluma officials told the laid off employees yesterday that they could get a shot at the 75 jobs in the Martinsville plant. And many of the laid off workers said they would be afraid to venture back into sewing.
((SHIELA HAMMOCK: I DON'T THINK I'D WANT TO GO BACK IN THIS FIELD.))
Officials said most sewing jobs will move to subcontractors in Mexico and Honduras.
((THE COMPANY PLANS TO CLOSE THE DOORS HERE IN CHATHAM AND ALTA VISTA IN JULY. SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT DAVID GREEN SAYS THE LAYOFFS WERE A LAST RESORT. BUT THE COMPANY HAS BEEN LOSING MONEY FOR OVER A YEAR. AND SENDING JOBS OVERSEAS IS ONE WAY TO CUT COSTS. ))
It's a question that won't go away for many of Virginia's apparel workers.
Marya Jones, News 7, Chatham.
[GRAPHIC=Battling the Bug]
Computer systems may fail.
But that's NOT what worries Virginia's top law enforcer about Y-2-K.
Tonight, Ellen Qualls show us how state police are getting ready .. anticipating the human factor.
[IN Q=While programmers]
[SUPER=01-Col. Wayne Huggins/Virginia State Police; :13]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( While programmers fret over zeroes, and captains of industry hope they've found every suspect chip... Y2K conjures up a completely different vision for Virginia police.
[nat sot party video]
((COL. WAYNE HUGGINS/VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: THE THING I'M MOST CONCERNED ABOUT IS THE PARTYING ASPECT OF THIS. THIS ISN'T EVEN A ONCE IN A LIFETIME SITUATION. THIS IS A ONCE IN EVERY A THOUSAND YEARS SITUATION.))
So 18-hundred Virginia State Troopers will be preparing to deploy to the Y2K hotspots.
They're making sure THEY have the resources to operate if disaster strikes.
[sot 14:45:40 ]
((COL. WAYNE HUGGINS/VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: BUT WE'RE NOT TRYING TO OVERREACT OR LOOK IT LIKE IT'S GOING TO BE SOME MONUMENTAL CRISIS, THE LIKES OF WHICH WE'VE NEVER SEEN. FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO OCCUR.))
Colonel Huggins says the fear factor may be what's most dangerous.
People stockpiling fuel to run their generators are more likely to blow up their houses than be some of the few who survive an apocalyptic New Years Eve.
Gun stockpiles cause a whole new array of police nightmares.
Then, there's the day after...
((COL. WAYNE HUGGINS/VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE CURIOUS. I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE VENTURING OUT AND SEEING WHAT, IF ANYTHING, IS GOING ON.))
The Virginia State Police have been thinking about what the Year 2000 might mean since 1994.
They don't have the answers either.
[nat sot partying]
But they do know it's NOT all about computers.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
Education is becoming the hot- button issue in the race for the Lynchburg- area state senate seat.
Republican incumbent Steve Newman used Forest Middle School as the backdrop for his re- election announcement today.
Newman says he'll continue working to support quality education.
[IN Q=Higher standards]
((SEN. STEVE NEWMAN/R- LYNCHBURG: HIGHER STANDARDS IN EDUCATION, MORE ACCOUNTABILITY AND REASONABLY MORE FUNDING TO PAY FOR THAT ARE ALL IMPORTANT MEASURES TO MOVE FORWARD IF WE'RE GOING TO HAVE BETTER EDUCATION IN THE COMMONWEALTH.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Steve Newman/(R) Lynchburg; :00]
[OUT Q=in the commonwealth.]
But Democrats pointed out today that Newman has the worst rating by the Virginia Education Association of any GOP legislator in central Virginia.
The Roanoke Wrath kicks off another season this weekend, meet the heart of the team today, the Express focus shifts to the renegades,
and Mike Stevens chats with the craftiest truck driver of the season so far, points leader Stacey Compton.
The Roanoke College Maroons have swept the top postseason ODAC softball honors.
Alan Bayse is the conference's coach of the year afterc leading the Maroons to 34 wins and their first ever bid to the NCAA tournment.
Also, Amy Layman has been named player of the year for the second straight season. She hit .399 with 12 doubles and 24 stolen bases. Plus, she led the team in pitching with 18 wins and a zero point 87 earned run average.
Roanoke's premier soccer team, the Wrath opens the season Saturday night at Victory Stadium with one major objective.
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((STEVE HOLT/WRATH PRESIDENT & COACH:))
[SUPER=01-Steve Holt/Wrath President & Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=...years to come"]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co. ; :00]
Rising Stars Sports & Adventure camp hosted the Wrath news conference today. 11 players return from last year's team. Newcomers should add scoring punch.
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[IN Q="last year]
[SUPER=01-Grayson Prillaman/Wrath Midfielder; :00]
[SUPER=01-Dustin Fonder/Wrath Defender; :07]
[OUT Q=...ever been before"]
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck series is enjoying a rare two week break.
One driver who has been doing a lot more than just sight seeing is central Virginia native Stacy Compton.
Mike Stevens has an update on the series' current points leader.
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[IN Q=FIRDT AUDIO]
[SUPER=01-Stacy Compton/Craftsman Truck Points Leader; :22]
[SUPER=01-Randy Tolsma/Compton's Teammate; :59]
[SUPER=01-Joey Arrington/RC Dodge Engine Builder; 1:37]
[OUT Q=...NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
((Through the first five races of the season Compton has been a model of consistency. In fact, he has yet to finish out of the top five. His second place finish at Martinsville in the NAPA 250 on April 17th catapulted him past defending series champ Ron Hornaday to the top of the points chase.
((STACY COMPTON/CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS POINT LEADER:))
Besides Stacy's maturity as a driver three other factors have led to his success this season. First, he now has a teammate in Randy Tolsma.
((RANDY TOLSMA/COMPTON'S TEAMMATE:))
Compton also has switched from Ford to Dodge this year,
And now his motors are being built by one of the greatest names in NASCAR's Chrysler history - Arrington. Buddy's son Joey, who is now 40, is responsible for putting the power in the RC Dodge.))
((JOEY ARRINGTON/RC DODGE ENGINE BUILDER:))
Game one of the Northern Conference finals between Roanoke and Richmond faces off Friday night at the Round House.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/This Morning; :00]
The Express powered through a long practice this morning. The Locker room atmosphere is both intense and relaxed.
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