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WDBJ 7 news at Noon for 08/08/00
Lay offs at Norfolk Southern are happening earlier than expected. Union leaders say today is their last day.
And another blow to Martinsville as 300 people will lose their jobs when Pulaski Furniture closes its doors in October. We'll have the details.
We've gone from flooding to heating. Temperatures may *feel like* more than 100 degrees today. Drink plenty of water and stay tuned for your forecast.
Good Afternoon, I'm Denise Allen.
Norfolk Southern's furlough of East End Carshop workers is taking effect today.
Jennifer Miele joins us with more information about the layoffs.
Jen, weren't these layoffs scheduled for tomorrow?
Denise, the layoffs were originally scheduled for last Friday, then they were postponed until tomorrow, but the employees are getting their last paychecks today.
Union President Fred Smith says 200 are slated for layoff today. More than 30 have already left the shops to take other jobs.
The company sites a decrease in coal quantity demand as reason for the layoffs, while some employees blame the Conrail merger.
Some analysts say both events are part of a changing railroad.
(///// SOT /////)
[Tape: Geroge Brammer TC;00:23:14]
[IN Q=In the short run]
[SUPER=01-George Brammer/AG Edwards]
((GEORGE BRAMMER/AG EDWARDS: IN THE SHORT RUN, IT MAY CAUSE SOME DOWNSIZING OR LAYOFF, IN THE LONG RUN, THE RAILROAD IS GOING TO BE A PERMANENT PART OF THE TRANSPORTATION BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY.))
[OUT Q=in this country.]
There are 294 people employed at the car shops, 150 of them are carmen. Since 1998, they've been taking part in a rebody program which gave older cars new life.
Much of that work has been moved to shops in Pennsylvania.
Now, it's just over a year ago that Norfolk Southern and Conrail merged.
And the last quarter we've seen an increase in the quantity of coal demanded.
Denise, tonight at 5 we'll take a closer look at the reasons for the layoffs and hear from some of the workers who are being furloughed today.
Almost 300 people will lose their jobs when Pulaski Furniture closes its Martinsville plant this October.
The announcement came this morning.
The Martinsville plant makes curio cabinets and grandfather clocks and will consolidate operations in plants at Ridgeway and Pulaski.
The company president says he hopes to transfer about 80 people to other Pulaski Furniture plants and will hold a job fair for the rest.
We'll have much more on this story coming up on News7 at Five.
Al Gore is preparing at this hour to officially name Joseph Lieberman to the second half of the democratic ticket for president.
Gore says his selection of the Connecticut Senator as his running mate gives a good indication of how his administration would be shaped.
Liberman is considered a moderate. Today's announcement marks the first time in U.S. history a Jew has run for vice president on a major party ticket.
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[SUPER=201-Senator John Breaux/(D) LA;]
((SEN JOHN BREAUX/D-LA: I THINK HE BRINGS MAINSTREAM VALUES. I THINK HE BRINGS A SENSE OF HONESTY AND INTEGRITY. HE BRINGS THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKIN FOR A POLITICIAN WITH POLITICAL COURAGE.))
[OUT Q=political courage]
Republicans are looking for differences between the two such as their differing views on Social Security and school vouchers.
85 workers in Pulaski are among the thousands striking Verizon.
They're on the picket lines this afternoon, in day three of the strike against the communications giant.
The picketers are 4-1-1 operators who say they are tired of forced overtime and the high stress level at work.
They also say the company has forced them to limit the time they spend with each customer, a cutback that has lowered their service standards.
Until an agreement is reached, they'll stay on the picket line.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=There was an offer]
((DAVID LAYMAN/COMM. WORKERS OF AMERICA: THERE WAS AN OFFER MADE BY THE COMPANY. THE UNION ACCEPTED THAT PROPOSAL AND IS TAKING A SERIOUS LOOK AT IT. UNFORTUNATELY, SINCE THE COMPANY DID NOT RESPOND ON SATURDAY TO OUR ISSUES, THE CALL TO GO ON STRIKE WAS MADE.))
[SUPER=01-David Layman/Comm. Workers of America;]
[OUT Q=strike was made.]
Verizon customers are experiencing busy signals when attempting to dial information.
The company recommends that customers use a phone book or the Internet to find a telephone number instead of using 4-1-1.
Verizon is asking its customers to have patience if they have a problem, and check household wiring before calling customer support.
If you're thinking of ordering a new line, hold off. If you need a new line, be prepared to wait longer than usual.
Finally, call the business office on your phone bill, not 411.
Verizon's rival, Adelphia, is using the strike to its advantage.
Crews with Adelphia Business Solutions are digging a 700-mile, 17-million-dollar maze of cable -- so businesses will have high tech Internet service and video transmission.
Tina Tenret has more.
[IN Q=THE STRIKE SPARKS]
[SUPER=01-Jamie Ferguson/Adelphia General Manager; :36 QUICK!]
[OUT Q=Tina Tenret News7 Roanoke]
(( Verizon's strike sparks opportunity for its competitors -- a chance to lure customers away with truly solid service.
(///// SOT /////)
((bite customer service))
Adelphia is bragging their operators are warm and local -- in contrast with Verizon's recorded messages and busy signals.
And Adelphia technicians jump to help Verizon clients when their phone goes dead.
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[IN Q=When anyone goes]
((JAMIE FERGUSON/ADELPHIA GENERAL MANAGER: WHEN ANYONE GOES ON STRIKE THEIR SERVICE LEVEL DIMINISHES.
BUTT BUTT BUTT
WHEN IT DOES, IT MAKES PEOPLE WANT TO LOOK ... USED TO USING.))
[OUT Q=USED TO USING]
One potential pothole -- Ferguson does NOT plan to hire extra technicians to handle the increased demand -- and THAT could leave customers who want to change hanging on the line.
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((TINA TENRET/NEWS7: THESE CREWS HOPE TO FINISH BY NEXT MONTH. THE LINES WILL RUN THROUGH MARTINSVILLE AND BLACKSBURG, THROUGHOUT OUR AREA, AND ULTIMATELY, THROUGHOUT THE NATION. TINA TENRET, NEWS7 ROANOKE))
[OUT Q=Tina Tenret, news7 Roanoke]))
A British forensic team has begun excavating a suspected mass grave in a village just north of Kosovo's capital city of Pristina.
Villagers say that 75 people from their village went missing during last year's crisis in Kosovo.
They are alleged to have been killed by the Serbian army and buried in mass graves.
A British forensic expert at the scene says they estimate that there are 56 bodies buried at this site.
The evidence may be used to prosecute President Slobodan Milosevic and others who have been indicted for war crimes in Kosovo.
An American exchange student was killed and three other Americans seriously injured in a car collision in Australia.
Gina Maree Rosko, 21, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was killed instantly in the crash near Lismore.
The car apparently crossed into the oncoming lane around a curve and crashed into a dump truck.
The driver of the truck was not injured.
The other three students all from Wisconsin are being treated for serious injuries at a The Lismore Base Hospital.
Three suspected car bombers were killed when the explosives they were transporting exploded.
The three separatists were inside the moving vehicle when it exploded and burst into flames yesterday in the city of Bilboa(Bill-bow).
The remains of two men and a woman are being examined in an attempt to identify them.
Police say they are investigating whether the three were activists of the Basque separatist group ETA and whether they were en route to an attack when the car exploded.
The ETA has killed some 800 people since beginning a violent campaign in the late 1960s to carve an independent homeland out of Basque areas in northern Spain and southwest France.
Since a 14 month cease fire ended in December, 17 attacks have been blamed on the ETA.
The owner of Franklin County Speedway faces several charges for throwing a carnival without a permit.
[SUPER=03-Franklin Co./October 1999;]
Whitey Taylor has been served with three misdemeanor warrants, and the sheriff plans to issue two more today.
Each count carries up to a year in jail and a 25-hundred-dollar fine, if Taylor's convicted.
The sheriff says Taylor had been warned that he needed a permit to hold the fair -- but Taylor says he wasn't told until it was too late to file the paperwork.
A trial has begun for a Bedford County man accused of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service.
Jeffrey Randall Breeden is named in a 42- count federal indictment charging him with failure to file a tax return, bank fraud and obstruction.
The government alleges Breeden made a living promoting a scheme to report zero income and avoid paying federal income taxes.
Several of Breeden's clients were subsequently fined by the I-R-S and had liens placed on their property.
The trial is expected to last at least a week.
A bear that was injured in a trap set by Virginia Tech researchers is on the way to recovery.
Doctors say the bear's prognosis is good.
The female black bear was wheeled out of surgery at Tech's vet school yesterday afternoon.
Doctors amputated one of her front paws.
She was caught in a trap in Botetourt County used by Tech researchers and the state game department to monitor bears in the area.
She was injured by dragging the trap several miles.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 2:38:56 - 2:39:02]
[IN Q=We've trapped more]
((MIKE VAUGHAN/TECH BEAR RESEARCHER: WE'VE TRAPPED MORE THAN 1200 BEARS IN SEVEN YEARS AND IN THAT TIME LESS THAN ONE-HALF OF ONE PERCENT ARE INJURED.))
[SUPER=01-Mike Vaughan/Tech Bear Researcher;]
[OUT Q=are injured.]
Tech bear researchers say they're looking into better ways to trap the bears for future studies.
After her paw heals, the bear will be released back into the wild near where she was found.
Veterinarians say she'll be able to walk, climb trees and have cubs.
Dan River Mills and Martha Stewart are joining forces.
The plant will make exclusive bedding products with the Martha Stewart brand name for K-Mart Stores.
Surae Chinn has the story.
[IN Q=Martha Stewart is]
[SUPER=01-Joe Bouknight/Dan River Inc.; :18]
[OUT Q=News 7, Danville.]
((((JOE BOUKNIGHT/DAN RIVER INC.: MARTHA STEWART ENTERPRISE IS HUGE.))
And Dan River Mills is now an integral part of that enterprise. The project is housed in a 300 thousand square foot warehouse in Danville filled with the latest Martha Stewart bedding products.
((JOE BOUKNIGHT/DAN RIVER MILLS: THIS IS THE MARTHA STEWART BEDDING LINE SO OUR PRODUCTS ARE SHEETS, PILLOWCASES, COMFORTERS AND BED SHAMS.))
Six different brand new designs have been developed. Dan River Mills employees have been working on them at various locations including Danville. The thousands of boxes and products of the Martha Stewart line end up in this Danville warehouse.
((SURAE CHINN/REPORTING: SOON THIS ENTIRE WAREHOUSE WILL BE FILLED WITH THE EXCLUSIVE DAN RIVER MILLS AND MARTHA STEWART BRAND PRODUCTS AND THEY WILL ALL BE SHIPPED TO EVERY KMART IN THE COUNTRY))
((JOE BOUKNIGHT/DAN RIVER INC.: WHEN YOU HEAR TEXTILES YOU HEAR A LOT OF NEGATIVES. WE ARE NAILING DOWN LARGE ORDERS AND SHIPPING NEW PRODUCTS.))
The new products created 25 full time jobs and 80 temporary positions.
((JOE BOUKNIGHT/DAN RIVER INC.: IT'S NEAT IT'S EXCITING NEW IDEA. NOT ONLY THING WE ARE WORKING ON BUT THIS IS A HOME RUN. YOU GET YOUR SINGLES AND DOUBLES THIS IS A HOMERUN.))
A homerun that Dan River Mills officials say will help secure a strong future for the company. Surae Chinn, News7, Danville.))
Dan River Mills says its always had a strong relationship with KMart.
Project Lifesaver has protected one Southside man's life.
[SUPER=03-Pittsylvania Co./July 5;]
45 year old David Fitzgerald of Pittsylvania County suffers from dementia. He took a walk Sunday night and ended up missing for about five hours.
Once authorities got word of his disappearance, it took them only half an hour to locate Fitzgerald-- thanks to the device he wears on his wrist called Project Lifesaver.
We interviewed Fitzgerald last month when he first got the device.
A Civil War submarine has been recovered from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
The "H.L. Hunley" was pulled to the surface this morning.
[SUPER=03-Off South Carolina Coast;]
It is the first sub to sink an enemy warship.
The Hunley sank with its crew of nine in 1864 after ramming a torpedo into a Union vessel that was blocking the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina.
Civil War-era cannons will thunder and church bells will ring as the Hunley makes its return to Charleston.
There it will undergo years of restoration work.
Ministers also plan to bless the sub, which contains the remains of its crew.
Researchers are hoping to clear up the mystery of why the sub sank.