Next on News 7 -
Roanoke backs down - the city won't go to court so it can build a park.
And a national honor for a local man who saved someone from a burning car.
In sports, a sports agent violates NCAA rules buying Florida State football players plane tickets, Tech's men's basketball team picks up a win....
And UVA gets ready for the December 30th MICRON PC-Dot-Com Bowl. Steve Mason has more on the preparations.
Clouds and cooler weather, even some wet snow as a possibility, all in our forecast the week before Christmas...
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Roanoke will not go to court to seize a controversial piece of land.
City Council voted late this afternoon to dismiss its case against a landowner who wouldn't sell for the price the city wanted to pay.
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Scott Goldberg was at the council meeting today and has more tonight from our newsroom.
[Live= Scott Full/Microwave]
Jean in the end- there just wasn't the support on city council to go through a condemnation process . to win the right to build a park.
The disputed land is at the corner of Franklin Road and Elm Avenue in Southwest Roanoke.
The city wants to build what it's calling a gateway to downtown there.
It would be a park and perhaps include some upscale housing.
But landowner Herbert George wanted twice the 123-thousand dollars the city offered.
The city was going to take him to court to try to seize the property.
But today council voted to change its strategy.
[IN Q=if we can]
((JIM TROUT/CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: IF WE CAN BUY IT AT A REASONABLE PRICE . TO BUILD UPSCALE CONDOS.))
[SUPER=01-Jim Trout/Roanoke City Council;]
[OUT Q=BUILD UPSCALE CONDOS]
[Live= Scott Full/Microwave]
So what's a reasonable price?
Trout wouldn't speculate.
Today's action means the city changed its mind about letting the court decide what's a fair market value.
It also means the city decided that a condemnation proceeding - usually reserved for new roads or big developments -- wouldn't be the best avenue to take for building a park.
[Double Boxes=Jean and Scott/Newsroom]
Acting City Manager Jim Ritchie says Roanoke should be A-O-K when it's time for Y-2-K.
Ritchie talked about the city's state of y-2-K readiness at today's council meeting.
He said all city computers and equipment have been tested and retested ...
And he's sure that at least the 9-1-1 system will work without glitches.
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[IN Q=while we]
((JIM RITCHIE/ACTING CITY MANAGER: WHILE WE EXPECT SOME MINOR GLITCHES IN OTHER SYSTEMS ... WE DO NOT EXPECT MAJOR GLITCHES RELATED TO Y-2-K.))
[SUPER=01-Jim Ritchie/Acting City Manager;]
[OUT Q=related to y-2-k]
Ritchie said -- just in case there's a problem -- city staffers will work all day and night on New Year's Eve.
And he urged residents to stock up on supplies -- as if you're preparing for a winter storm.
A Campbell County man is being recognized for his heroic actions that saved a man's life last year.
42-year old Victor Shelton of Rustburg was among the first on the scene of this car accident on Route 460 near Lynchburg in September of 1998.
Charles Miles' pickup had crashed and caught fire, but Shelton helped pull Miles out of the burning wreckage.
For that Shelton is one of 20 people from across the country to receive the Carnegie Hero Medal.
He gets a bronze medal and 3-thousand dollars.
Vermont's Supreme Court ruled today that same sex couples are constitutionally guaranteed the same benefits and protections that heterosexual couples have.
The first-of-its kind in the nation ruling leaves it up to Vermont's legislature whether to allow same sex marriages, or just establish a domestic partnership statute.
Governor Jim Gilmore says he sees NO immediate impact on Virginia.
[IN Q=Well I haven't]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: WELL I HAVEN'T READ THE VERMONT RULING. NOR WAS I AWARE OF IT UNTIL YOU JUST MENTIONED IT. BUT I WOULD THINK THAT WOULD BE AGAINST THE PUBLIC POLICY AND LAW OF THE COMMONWEALTH. I WOULD NOT FORESEE US RECOGNIZING IT IN THAT SAME WAY.))
[OUT Q=that same way.]
Abingdon Delegate Joe Johnson sponsored a bill which became state law in 1997.
It says "any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia."
Virginia law already prohibited same sex marriages.
But the Virginia chapter of the A-C-L-U says there's nothing in Virginia's CONSTITUTION which specifically prohibits such a union.
But, the A-C-L-U says it is unlikely that Virginia's conservative courts or lawmakers are likely to find, agree with or act on that interpretation any time soon.
The Virginia Tech football team was not on the field today but in the hospital- brightening the holiday for those who may not be able to be with their loved ones.
The team visited the sick, both young and old, this morning at Montgomery Regional hospital.
When the players arrived they were met by a crowd waiting to welcome them inside.
Players, like Shayne Graham, say they've probably signed more autographs over the past few weeks than ever before.
[IN Q=The older]
((SHAYNE GRAHAM/VIRGINIA TECH KICKER: THE OLDER GUYS HAVE GOTTEN USED TO IT BECAUSE WE'VE HAD A LITTLE BIT OF ATTENTION BUT I'M SURE FOR THESE FRESHMEN ITS A NEW EXPERIENCE, COMING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL AND SUDDENLY THEY'RE SIGNING A MILLION AUTOGRAPHS IN TWO WEEKS AND IT'S GOT TO BE UNIQUE FOR THEM.))
[SUPER=01-Shayne Graham/Virginia Tech Kicker; :00]
[OUT Q=for them.]
The team not only signed autographs for the sick but also for the hospital's employees and their families.
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Still ahead - we'll tell you how one local man is leaving his community's mark on Christmas mail from across the country.
The sounds of Africa and Cuba are helping some folks shape up in a local fitness center.
We'll have the story.
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Despite the Christmas rush, the holiday spirit is thriving in at least ONE local post office this year.
Steve Smallshaw introduces us to a man who's helping his town live up to its seasonal name.
[IN Q=Being the postmaster]
[SUPER=03-Appomattox Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Rick Elkins/Evergreen Postmaster; :30]
[OUT Q=News7, Evergreen.]
(( Being the postmaster in one of Virginia's smallest communities does not exactly qualify as a high- pressure job.
But for a few weeks each year, the village of Evergreen helps put Appomattox County on the map.
((I NEED SOME STAMPS PLEASE. CHRISTMAS OR OTHERWISE? CHRISTMAS..))
There's no mail delivery in Evergreen, just 112 post office boxes.
But every December, the volume of mail here triples.. as Christmas cards arrive from all over the country.. their senders looking for that little extra holiday touch.
((RICK ELKINS/POSTMASTER: THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER IS RIGHT MUCH OF A RUSH BECAUSE THAT'S THREE STROKES PER ENVELOPE AND THAT ADDS UP DURING THE DAY.. AND THE CONSTANT INTERRUPTIONS OF THE NORMAL DAY TO DAY BUSINESS YOU HAVE TO WANT TO DO IT FOR IT TO HAPPEN.))
[OUT Q=to happen.]
Each card and letter that comes through Elkins's one- man, one- room operation gets his own personal stamp.. a Season's Greetings on one side, a green Christmas tree and the much sought- after Evergreen postmark on the other.
((It's really no surprise Elkins took over the post office here in Evergreen when you consider that his father was the captain of a Coast Guard ship called the Evergreen, they sang the Barbra Streisand song "Evergreen" at Elkins' wedding, and his first day on the job here back in 1993 was of course.. Christmas Day.))
[OUT Q=Christmas Day.]
Subsequent Christmases have been busy ones.. the days are long and visions of green trees may swim in his head.. but for Elkins, it's all worth it.
((ELKINS: KNOWING THAT YOU'VE SATISFIED THE CUSTOMER, THAT'S WHAT MY JOB IS AS A POSTMASTER OR MANAGER, IS TO PROVIDE THE SERVICE AND IF I CAN SEND THE CUSTOMERS AWAY FROM HERE WITH A POSITIVE REGARD FOR THE POSTAL SERVICE, I'VE DONE MY JOB FOR THE DAY.))
[OUT Q=for the day.]
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Evergreen.))
The Governor says it's a first for Virginia, on the first day of a new millennium.
Jim and Roxane Gilmore are inviting all Virginians to come tour the newly restored Executive Mansion on New Year's Day.
It's an opportunity to see the painstaking restoration to what mansion experts believe to be the house's original condition... with some modern upgrades.
And it's a chance to chat with the First Family.
[IN Q=We don't]
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: WE DON'T KNOW IF ANYONE'S GONNA SHOW UP OR NOT. ROXANE GILMORE: WE HOPE THEY DO. GOV. GILMORE: ANYBODY THAT COMES, WE'RE GOING TO INVITE THEM IN TO LOOK HERE AT THE PUBLIC AREAS. IF THEY DON'T COME THERE'S ALWAYS FOOTBALL. laugh))
[SOT 14:02:23 ]
((ROXANE GILMORE/FIRST LADY OF VIRGINIA: THEY SPARED NO ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND CUT NO CORNERS, WHICH IS WHAT WE WANTED. I THINK, UNDER THE TIME CONSTRAINT THAT THEY WERE WORKING UNDER TO GET US BACK IN, AFTER BEING OUT FOR SIX MONTHS, THERE COULD VERY WELL HAVE BEEN AN ATTEMPT TO RUSH THINGS THROUGH, BUT WE DID NOT FIND THAT TO BE THE CASE.))
[SUPER=01-Roxane Gilmore/First Lady of Virginia; :14]
[OUT Q=be the case.]
The New Year's Day open house will run from two to six in the afternoon.
Some new members of the YMCA Wellness Center are following the beat of an African drummer.
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The Y is offering Afro-Centric dance classes to members at its Northwest Roanoke location.
The Center is also offering personal fitness programs geared toward residents living in Public Housing.
The YMCA reports that population has higher health risks due to sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition and lack of education.
Those problems can lead to hypertension, stress and diabetes.
The news is mixed on Wall Street today -
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The Dow lost 113 points. But Nasdaq climbed 31.
[ AE/ATT/Bank of America/Bell/Columbia]
[Dana/Dimon/Dominion Resources/First Union/First VA]
[General Electric/Kroger/Norfolk Southern/Optical Cable/Philip Morris]
[Roanoke Electric Steel/SunTrust/Trigon/Wachovia/Walmart]
There's one very hot spot at the mall this time of year, where people line up and pay big bucks for that special touch.
News7 reporter Tina Tenret and photographer Greg Moore wrapped up this story, showing how a talented group of ladies can make your Christmas gifts shimmer.
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[IN Q=Happy Holidays]
[SUPER=01-Robin Journell/Gift Wrapper; :44]
[SUPER=01-Robin Bailey/Gift Wrapper; :53]
[OUT Q=new bow]
Coming up in sports, Steve Mason joins us from the UVA Bowl Media Day and
a sports agent violates NCAA rules by buying Florida State football players airline tickets.
The seven and four Virginia Cavaliers returned to practice yesterday to begin preparing for the December 30th Micron PC-Dot-Com Bowl against Illinois.
And Steve Mason says you wouldn't believe how much has changed in a month.
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[SUPER=01-Travis Griffith/UVA Senior Captain; 12 QUICK!]
[SUPER=01-George Welsh/UVA Head Coach; :28]
[super=01-Noel LaMontagne/Senior Offensive Tackle; :57]
[super=01-Dick Mathias/UVA Athletic Ticket MGR; 1:21]
[OUT Q=News 7 Sports]
Some familiar names are appearing in connection with a probe concerning Florida State, Virginia Tech's opponent in the Sugar Bowl.
The investigation, is now focused on a Houston based Sports agent.
The on going probe by the Florida State University Police and the Florida Department of Business Regulation has found that Agent Carl Poston the Third's company may have arranged tickets for three Seminole players.
The Houston Chronicle reported, flights had been booked for star receiver Peter Warrick, receivers Laveranues Coles and Ron Dugans.
Only Coles took the flight. He was withheld from the season opener because using the ticket meant he had violated NCAA rules.
Warrick and Dugans say they were unaware of the tickets.
The agent who allegedly bought the tickets faces a fine and possible prison term for breaking Florida laws and possible penalties from the NCAA.
The President of NASCAR has been diagnosed with cancer.
Bill France Junior, who is 66, would not disclose what type of cancer he has, but he says it is treatable.
France has been in charge of the National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing since 1972.
In 1997, he had a mild heart attack while NASCAR was in Japan for one of its exhibition races.
Back in February, France turned over some of his day-to-day responsibilities to Mike Helton, the man on the right of your screen.
France's son Brian also is actively involved in NASCAR.
The Virginia Tech's basketball team picked up win today in Puerto Rico.
The Hokies beat Illinois State 79 to 71 in the first round of the San Juan Shootout.
Roland Roberts and Brian Chase led Tech with 14 points. This was Chase's first appearance for Tech. The a 5-10 point guard from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., committed to the Hokies last fall, but failed to meet the NCAA's minimum requirements for eligibility.
Chase worked on these requirements at Hargrave Academy this fall and enrolled at Tech for the second semester.
The Hokies are now five and three.
UVA and Virginia Tech meet on the hardwood tonight in women's hoops.
The Hokies are tied for 25th in the USA Today/ESPN poll and 28th in the AP.
When the Hokies enter U-Hall tonight they'll be facing a Cavalier team without junior guard Erin Stovall.
UVA Coach Debbie Ryan says Stovall has taken a personal leave of absence from the team. Her return is uncertain.
Stovall is a two year starter and second on the team in scoring this season averaging nearly 14 points a game.
The Cavs are four and four this season coming off a 86-65 loss of ODU.
Tech is coming off a 70-61 loss to 20th ranked Duke.
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Parents in Goshen are fed up with their children riding on school buses for an hour and a half to get to school.
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Back in 1984, Goshen Elementary school shut its doors.
Ever since, students have had to be bused to Fairfield.
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Parents plan on voicing their concerns tonight as they select a new Rockbridge County Superintendent at the school board meeting.
Tonight on News 7 at 11 - we'll tell you what they have to say - and what parents are doing to bring a new elementary school to Goshen.
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