A secret letter may clear the way for a convicted drug ring in Bland Correctional Center...the details just ahead
on News 7 at 6.
And help on the horizon for laid-off workers in Henry County.
In sports, Virginia Tech is in the Big Easy, UVA awaits its date with Illinois in the Micron PC Dot Com Bowl.
And Marshall remains undefeated, as the Herd thunders to a victory over BYU in the Motor City Bowl.
Cold, unsettled weather will stick around for 2 days-- we may see some very light snow tonight and tomorrow night.
Details coming up.
News 7 at 6 is next.
[SUPER=#4054; News 7 at Six Headline Banner]
[GRAPHIC=Fulcher New Trial?]
The family that was convicted of selling drugs and laundering money in Bland Prison may get new trials.
That's because a federal drug agent has written an emotional letter changing his trial testimony. [Double Boxes
Tina Tenret has more on today's court hearing.
Tonya, Don Lincoln's letter may get the Fulcher family new trials -- but it's also made the government angry.
Lincoln is a federal drug agent and prosecutors won this case based on his testimony.
Now -- he says maybe he was wrong.
[IN Q=It's awesome]
[SUPER=01-David Baugh/Defense Attorney;]
[OUT Q=passed onto him by David Fulcher]
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's awesome]
((IT'S AWESOME. WHENEVER SOMEONE FEELS THAT STRONGLY, TO RISK HIS CAREER. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE WHISTLE BLOWER.))
[OUT Q=ultimate whistleblower]
Don Lincoln of the Drug Enforcement Agency says it may be his fault Fulcher and his family are in trouble.
He says maybe he led the Fulchers to think he would protect them.
In a six-page letter to the judge he writes:
I talked to Michael Fulcher for the first time since 1997 two weeks ago. He was begging me to do the right thing and write to you to explain what had happened... Your honor, I can't help but feel that I was used in this case, and that much of the initial cooperation provided by Mr. Fulcher was based on my word to him.
[IN Q=I guess I graduated]
((I GUESS I GRADUATED FROM DOING INMATES AND PEOPLE ON THE STREETS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.))
[OUT Q=ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS]
From the get-go Mike Fulcher -- a regular rat for the DEA -- insisted he sold drugs only to bust guards and inmates -- and get out of prison early.
Lincoln still says he never gave Fulcher express permission.
And prosecutors say Lincoln wrote the letter either because he's too chummy with his informants, or because Fulcher's got dirt on him.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I think]
((I THINK AGENT LINCOLN CANDIDLY ADMITTED HE HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE CASE OTHER THAN WHAT WAS PASSED ONTO HIM BY DAVID FULCHER.))
[OUT Q=by David Fulcher]))
Now in his letter Lincoln says this whole investigation doesn't pass the smell test.
He says he cannot understand why the Fulchers are the focus of this case when they were willing to cooperate from the beginning -- he thinks other families got off easy.
He calls this "a gross miscarriage of justice."
Q & A:
Tonya: So, Tina what's the judge going to do?
Henry County's been hit hard by textile layoffs.
So today it tried to soften the blow for workers.
It offered no-interest loans and free legal advice but not many reached out to grab the county's helping hand.
Scott Goldberg's at the County administration building where tonight was much lighter than expected.
(rollcue... sign up for those programs.)
[SUPER=01-Bruce Keffer/Former Tultex Worker; :16 - QUICK!!!]
[SUPER=01-Tim Hall/Henry Co. Spokesman; :38 (super his second bite) ]
[SUPER=01-Dennis Green/Former Tultex Worker; :58]
[OUT Q=their taxes there too.]
Virginia is home to the world's largest naval fleet, the Central Intelligence Agency, and several monuments to democracy.
But state officials say there's NO specific threat of terrorism this week.
[IN Q=There is]
((GARY ARONHOLT/VIRGINIA PUBLIC SAFETY SECRETARY: THERE IS NO INTELLIGENCE OF WHICH I'VE BEEN APPRISED OF WHICH INDICATES VIRGINIA IS A TARGET. SO THE ANSWER IS NO. HAS IT ELEVATED MY CONCERN? I DON'T THINK MY CONCERN COULD HAVE BEEN ELEVATED ANY MORE THAN IT ALREADY WAS.))
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: AS YOU KNOW, I CHAIR A NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORISM, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, AND DOMESTIC RESPONSE. AND I THINK WE'RE READY IN VIRGINIA FOR Y2K. WE THINK THE COMPUTER SITUATION IS ALRIGHT. OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT PEOPLE ARE PREPARED. AND WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE THAT THERE'S A SPECIFIC THREAT AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA.))
[SUPER=@Gilmore; :19 ]
[OUT Q=of Virginia.]
The Governor's commission released the first of three annual reports on national terrorism preparedness this month.
It warns that the U-S may be too focused on nerve gas and biological weapons... and NOT focused enough on conventional terrorist devices like bombs.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Will the Y2K bug bite our area?
The Hill City prepares for any possibility.
The latest coming up.
And it's not trouble but celebration that one popular resort is planning to handle on the big night.
We'll tell you what the Homestead has in store.
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[SUPER=83-Down 0.65 foot/Down 0.69 foot;]
[SUPER=84-Down 14.0 feet/Voluntary Conservation]
Prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.. that's been the motto of emergency officials in Lynchburg the past several months.
And today they announced they're ready for whatever Y2K might throw at them.
Steve Smallshaw reports.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's hard to]
[SUPER=01-JoAnn Brown-Martin/Lynchburg Communications Dir.; 18]
[SUPER=01-Larry Jackson/AEP Spokesman; 1:08]
[OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.]
It's hard to go anywhere these days and not be reminded that the year 2000 is just around the corner.. but Y2K has been in the minds of Lynchburg officials for months.
The police, power companies, the Red Cross and public works have all been working together to prepare for a possible millennium bug bite.
((JOANN BROWN-MARTIN/LYNCHBURG COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: EVEN THOUGH WE CAN'T GIVE 100 PERCENT GUARANTEES, I THINK CITIZENS CAN BE REALLY CONFIDENT IN THAT WE'VE DONE PROBABLY EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO BE READY.))
[OUT Q=to be ready.]
That includes getting emergency shelters ready, putting extra cops on the streets and keeping many city staff on the clock over the holiday weekend.
Authorities say they don't expect any problems, but it never hurts to be prepared.
((Many officials, in particular those who provide local utilities like electricity and telephone service, say if there are any interruptions on New Year's Day, they more likely will be caused by everyday occurrences than Y2K. To that end, officials say people shouldn't panic and fear the worst if the power goes out or their phone isn't working on January 1st.))
[OUT Q=January 1st.]
A-E-P says ice, snow and squirrels pose a bigger threat than any computer chip.
((LARRY JACKSON/AEP SPOKESMAN: I THINK THE CHANCES OF THERE BEING AN OUTAGE THIS WEEKEND ARE PRETTY DARN GOOD. THE CHANCES OF IT BEING A VERY, VERY LARGE OUTAGE OR IN ANY WAY ASSOCIATED WITH Y2K, PRETTY SLIM.))
[OUT Q=pretty slim.]
Even with extra operators on duty, residents are asked NOT to call 9-1-1 at the stroke of midnight.
City officials have promised to keep the public informed of any problems.. or lack thereof.
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Lynchburg.))
[GRAPHIC=Monty Co. Fatal]
State police are trying to find the family of a passenger who was killed in a traffic accident in Montgomery County last night.
The passenger was riding with 22-year-old Patrick Curtis Boody (Boo-tie), who also died of his injuries.
State police say he crossed the center line on Route 8 and hit a pickup truck head on.
Authorities are witholding information about the van's passenger until the family can be notified.
Public housing in Roanoke is going through some changes.
Out with the old -- the first of 33 buildings from Lincoln Terrace bit the dust today.
And in with the new -- the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority plans to rebuild some houses and renovate others over the next four years.
Their goal is to tear down the social and physical barriers that isolate housing projects and create a neighborhood.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=some of]
((ED MURRAY/ DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES: SOME OF THE BUILDINGS YOU SEE HERE JUST SEEM TO BE OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND WHEN WE'RE FINISHED THIS WILL LOOK LIKE A NEIGHBORHOOD WITH EACH APARTMENT FACING THE STREET WITH AN IDENTIFIABLE ADDRESS.))
[SUPER=01-Ed Murray/Director of Facilities]
The new housing plan will have various kinds of buildings to serve people with different needs and will be a stepping stone to eventual ownership.
The Housing Authority is trying to change the function of public housing and help people get on their feet to become more self sufficient.
The 41 million dollar project is partially funded by a federal grant and should be finished by July 2-thousand-3.
A mixed Monday on Wall Street.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
The Dow lost 15 points.
But Nasdaq climbed 6.
[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]
A Lynchburg youth center still needs help solving its own Y2K problem.
The Jubilee Family Development Center has until January 1st to pay off a 200- thousand dollar bank loan that paid for construction of the facility.
Jubilee officials announced today they'd received a 10- thousand dollar donation from Tri Tech Laboratories in Lynchburg.
That still leaves the center about 50- thousand dollars short of its goal.
Officials hope to raise the money this week.
While many local governments and businesses are looking toward New Year's Eve with anxiety, a landmark resort in western Virginia is looking forward to the holiday with anticipation.
Joe Dashiell and photographer Dennis Brown visited the Homestead this afternoon.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Still wearing its Christmas finery]
[SUPER=03-Hot Springs; :00]
[SUPER=01-Jay Inge/Roanoke Resident; :12]
[SUPER=01-Mary Sanders/Marketing Director; :37]
[SUPER=01-Albert Schnarwyler/Executive Chef; :58]
[OUT Q=JD News 7 Hot Springs]
((Still wearing its Christmas finery, the Homestead will be dressed to the nines when it greets the year 2000, a gracious host to many families who have made visits to the Bath County resort a holilday tradition.
[IN Q=We've come up here]
((JAY INGE: WE'VE COME UP HERE AS A FAMILY FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND I THINK THAT'S A SPECIAL THING FOR US. IT'S A TRADITION THAT WE COME BACK EACH AND EVERY YEAR AND HAVE A SPECIAL TIME.))
[OUT Q=and have a special time.]
The resort has had plenty of experience with that since it first opened its doors in 1766.
In 1999, Y2K anxiety hasn't cost the Homestead its holiday business.
The resort was operating near capacity at Christmas, and is sold out New Year's Eve.
[IN Q=We have a lot of folks ]
((MARY SANDERS: WE HAVE A LOT OF FOLKS WHO HAVE BEEN COMING HERE FOR YEARS. THEY KNOW THAT THIS IS A VERY QUIET AND SAFE AND WONDERFUL PLACE TO BE FOR THE SWITCHOVER IN 2000.))
[OUT Q=switchover to 2000.]
That's not to say it's accomplished with ease.
Just ask Executive Chef Albert Schnarwyler.
He and his staff must plan ahead and put in extra hours to make the holiday experience a special one.
[IN Q=We estimate]
((ALBERT SCHNARWYLER: WE ESTIMATE IT WILL PROBABLY 28 TO 30- THOUSAND MEALS FOR THE WHOLE PERIOD... BREAKFAST LUNCH AND DINNER. IT'S A WHOLE LOT OF WORK AND A LOT OF FUN.))
[OUT Q=a lot of work and a lot of fun.]
After checking computers and essential systems, Homestead officials believe they're ready for Y2K, and confident there will be a thousand other reasons that will make this New Year's Eve a memorable occasion.
Joe Dashiell News 7 Hot Springs.))
Coming up, UVA is in Miami for the Micron PC-Dot Com Bowl. Steve Mason has more on the Cavaliers history in South Florida.
And Tech will finish preparing for its national championship run in New Orleans.
The Hokies arrived in the Big Easy today. We'll have more after the break.
[TAPE#=SP-52 tc 1:03:56]
Virginia Tech isn't the only team in the region that's had a storied season.
Marshall may end up in college football's top 10 when the end of the season polls come out.
The Thundering Herd finished up 13 and oh today with a victory over BYU in the third annual Motor City Bowl.
The Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, was the cite of the battle.
Marshall gets lucky early as this Chad Pennington pass is intercepted by BYU's Jared Lee, but Lee fumbles and the Herd gets the ball back.
Pennington hits his mark the next time around as Doug Chapman makes the grab and cruises the next 30 yards for the only touchdown of the first half.
The second half was all Marshall. The Herd comes away with the 21-3 victory.
This is a great win for 11th ranked Marshall. The Herd just moved up to Division I-A status in '97.
Marshall has played in the Motor City Bowl all three years, winning the last two.
[TAPE#=SP-46 tc 1:36:53]
The hunt for a national title has landed the Virginia Tech Hokies in New Orleans.
[SUPER=03-New Orleans, LA;]
Tech arrived in the "Big Easy" earlier today.
The Sugar Bowl is the biggest game in the Hokies' football history.
They are the underdogs, but that's nothing new.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=we've always]
[SUPER=01-Corey Moore/Va. Tech All American; :02]
[super=01-Frank Beamer/Va. Tech Head Coach; :18]
[OUT Q=beat this team]
Florida State arrives tomorrow.
News 7 Sports will start live reports from New Orleans Sunday.
The Cavaliers are in South Florida for the Micron PC-Dot Com bowl.
Steve Mason says UVA's millennium holiday bowl trip is being made to familiar ground.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=03-Fort Lauderdale, FL; :00]
[SUPER=01-Dan Ellis/UVA Quarterback; :17]
[SUPER=04-1994 Carquest Bowl; :25]
[SUPER=04-1996 Carquest Bowl; :43]
[SUPER=01-Thomas Jones/1,798 Yards Rushing This Season; 1:06]
[SUPER=01-George Welsh/UVa Head Coach]
[OUT Q=news 7 sports"]
((The Cavaliers are hoping the sunny, warm weather of the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area can erase the cold receptions they've received in the past. Two beatings from a pair of Big East beasts have these Cavaliers looking forward to the Big Ten's Fighting Illini.
In 1994, the Cavs fell to Boston College 31-13 in the Carquest Bowl. The Cavs had the early momentum with a bruising touchdown run by Jerrod Washington. But it was a tale of two halves as Eagles quarterback Glen Foley outscored UVa 14-nothing after intermission. After a two year break, Virginia was back in the Carquest to face Miami. NFL bound Tiki Barber was injured early and then freshman Thomas Jones got the call, finishing with 67 yards a touchdown and a costly fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Many of this year's Wahoos remember that game.
The Cavaliers come into the MicronPC.com Bowl rising a three game winning streak, a run Illinois has matched. Steve Mason, News 7 sports.
[TAPE#=SP-51 tc 1:23:42]
The Roanoke Express has lost one of its scoring threats for six to eight weeks.
Leading scorer Kris Cantu broke a bone in his left ankle during last night's four to three shootout win over Huntington.
Cantu has 16 goals and nine assists this season.
Right Winger Joe Murphy is expected back for tonight's game against Hampton Roads in Norfolk. He's missed four games with a concussion.
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This holiday season more shoppers than ever chose the internet over malls for shopping.
But did the net live up to all the hype?
[VO-NAT 99-48 26:55]
Noteworthy music in Roanoke is just one company that had it's holiday internet debut this year.
How did it go? And are consumers pleased with their purchases, now that the excitement's dying down?
[graphic=N7 at 11]
Find out on News 7 at 11.
(Weekday 6 only)
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