A former Roanoke school resource officer at the heart of a controversy this year returns to his job today.
After ten years at Patrick Henry, Butch Lewis was reassigned to traffic duty in June after talking to a reporter about school safety.
He was recently given his job back pending a task force review.
(///// SOT at :17 /////)
((BUTCH LEWIS/PH SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER: HOPEFULLY, THE TASK FORCE WILL MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WON'T CHANGE THE S-R-O PROGRAM. I'M HOPING THEY'LL LOOK AT THE PROGRAM AS IT IS NOW AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE.))
[SUPER=01-Butch Lewis/School Resource Officer;]
[OUT Q=and nothing will change.]
Teachers at Patrick Henry gathered for a faculty meeting yesterday after a district-wide address by the school superintendent.
In light of recent concerns about school safety, Wayne Harris outlined plans to maintain what he called a "wholesome learning environment".
Teachers say most of their problems with students are minor.
(///// SOT at :20 /////)
[IN Q=I've never had any issues...]
((KATHLEEN DUNCAN/PATRICK HENRY TEACHER: I'VE NEVER HAD ANY ISSUES IN MY CLASSROOM. I THINK IT'S JUST BY VIRTUE OF HAVING 17-HUNDRED STUDENTS ON A CAMPUS, THERE'S GONNA BE THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE. BUT I'VE NEVER FELT UNSAFE.))
[SUPER=01-Kathleen Duncan/Patrick Henry Teacher; ]
[OUT Q=I've never felt unsafe.]
There are three school resource officers at Patrick Henry.
Despite trying times, students in Henry County are making the grade.
At a teacher assembly yesterday morning, the school system announced 80-percent of its schools are fully accredited.
Administrators consider that quite an achievement when the state average is just 65-percent.
Teachers consider the news to be bittersweet since the school system will soon close five schools including several that are doing so well.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's going to be tough]
((GENELL BROWN/TEACHER: IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH TO LET GO OF THE BUILDING ITSELF BUT YOU HAVE TO STEP OUT AND LOOK AT IT'S JUST A BUILDING AND NO MATTER WHAT ROOF THEY PUT US UNDER WE'RE GOING TO DO THE BEST JOB WE CAN.))
[SUPER=01-Genell Brown/Teacher; :02]
[OUT Q=job we can]
The Superintendent also unveiled a new logo for the school system.
It reads "Henry County schools, ahead of the learning curve."
The flag resembles the curve of a racetrack to symbolize that area's rich history for racing.
Some officers with the Lynchburg police department hope public awareness will help bring an end to what they say is a growing problem.
The officers, who held a press conference yesterday evening, want the city to increase the pay for police officers.
They say since two- thousand one, about a third of the department's sworn personnel have left.
The officers say the city doesn't pay enough to recruit and retain veteran officers.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=OFFICERS ARE LEAVING]
((OFFICERS ARE LEAVING AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE FIGURES AND CRUNCH THE NUMBERS THEY'RE ACTUALLY LEAVING EACH YEAR AT A HIGHER RATE, THE RATE AT WHICH OFFICERS ARE LEAVING IS INCREASING EACH YEAR... AND THERE HAS TO BE SOME TYPE OF STOP GAP MEASURE BEFORE THINGS BECOME DANGEROUS.))
[SUPER=01-Ryan Zuidema/Lynchburg Police Officer; ]
[OUT Q=BECOME DANGEROUS.]
The officers say they're working overtime to keep the department going while they try to fill about 20- vacancies.
Next week, the city manager and city council will meet for a retreat and the officers hope the two will decide to increase the department's rate of pay in the near future.
Nearly a year after the Washington- area sniper shootings, authorities in West Virginia are worried they may have a copycat on their hands.
[SUPER=03-Kanawha Co., WV;]
The shootings around Charleston are similar to last fall's sniper attacks.
All three victims were shot at night, outside convenience stores, and with the same caliber weapon.
Now federal authorities and Washington area police are joining the investigation.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=All these agencies]
((DAVE TUCKER/KANAWHA CO. SHERIFF: ALL THESE AGENCIES COMING TOGETHER AND WE'RE MARCHING TO ONE BEAT, TO BRING THIS INDIVIDUAL IN. ))
[SUPER=01-Dave Tucker/Kanawha County Sheriff;]
[OUT Q=bring this individual in.]
Police say they're looking for a white male who was spotted in a dark- colored or maroon Ford pickup truck.
The shootings have made residents worry about where the gunman may strike next.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It makes you]
((DELORES GOODWIN/AREA RESIDENT:IT MAKES YOU WORRY CAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW, YOU MIGHT BE OUT TO GAS OR ANYTHING AND THEY COULD JUST SHOOT YOU. ))
[SUPER=01-Delores Goodwin/Area Resident;]
[OUT Q=just shoot you.]
Authorities are advising people to be aware of their surroundings.
Investigators looking into last week's massive power outage say a low-tech system of phones may have played a role in the blackout.
They say warnings of trouble in the power grid came too late, or not at all.
Meanwhile, there's more information about the energy company in Ohio at the center of the blackout investigation.
After walking through the facility, Ohio Congressman Steven LaTourette says a generator shutdown at the FirstEnergy plant probably wasn't the cause of the outage.
But he says it "may be a piece of the puzzle".
Roanoke's public swimming pools are closing sooner than expected.
The Washington Park and Fallon Park pools usually stay open until Labor Day.
But not this year.
Both pools will close for the season this Sunday.
City officials say it's hard to find enough lifeguards because most of them are back in school.
And the number of people who use the pools on that holiday weekend has been pretty low.
In business news, an offer made by Goodyear over the weekend is in the hands of the union representing many of its workers.
[VO-NAT 03-22 1:41:08]
The proposal was made Sunday afternoon as both sides spent much of the weekend talking and exchanging ideas.
Union employees have been working under the terms of their old contract, which expired in April.
More than two- thousand employees are affected at the plant in Danville. Union officials say they will strike if necessary.
Stocks built on good earnings news from several companies including Lowes.
And, The Home Depot is set to release its earnings today.
Alexis Christoforous has that story and more in this morning's Marketwatch.
[SUPER=01-Alexis Christoforous/Reporting; :00]
[OUT Q=in New York.]
((Stocks experienced a power surge on Wall Street thanks to good news from some big retailers...
the dow climbed more than 90 points to the highest level in about 14 months.
and the nasdaq sprinted 37 points to a one month high.
The blackout fallout continues with the blame game.. Ohio based First Energy saw its stock tumble more than 9 percent...investigators are looking into whether the the nation's fourth largest public utility may have triggered last week's massive blackout. ... Merrill Lynch also downgraded shares of First Energy.
On the flipside shares of a company called Beacon Power surged more than 142 percent. Beacon Power which trades on the nasdaq could benefit from last week's blackout - it designs and develops energy storage systems that could be used in the eventual rebuilding of the power grids.
Big Blue is handing out pink slips - IBM fired 500 workers in Vermont - it's part of an effort to turn its business around as it struggles with steep industry declines. IBM is forcing another three-thousand workers to take a week off without pay next month.
Yesterday it was Lowe's today, its rival Home Depot reports earnings. Lowe's reported a 27 percent jump in second quarter profits thanks to a big jump in the number of home improvement projects.
TRACK ALL THE PRE MARKET ACTION AT CBS.MW.COM... I'M AC IN NY.))
(tape tosses to stocks)
[GRAPHIC=CA Recall Vote]
The road to what'll likely be the most- watched election this fall is getting a bit smoother.
The justice department has signed off on the October seventh election to recall California Governor Gray Davis.
Department officials were looking into questions of whether the voting rights of minorities would be upheld.
However, there's a chance the election COULD still be delayed.
A federal judge says he'll rule by tomorrow on whether to postpone the race, because several counties use the old punch- card voting machines.
A California judge says he doesn't want to turn the preliminary hearing for Scott Peterson into what he calls a "reality T-V show."
The judge is banning cameras from the courtroom for the hearing scheduled for September ninth, which will determine whether the case goes to trial.
Peterson is facing two murder charges for the deaths of his wife Laci and the couple's unborn baby.
He has pleaded innocent to the charges.
Charges against Radford photographer Robert Shell have been dropped, at least for now.
Shell was facing sexual charges in connection with the death of his model and assistant, Marion Franklin.
Franklin was found dead in Shell's studio June Third of an apparent drug overdose.
But yesterday, prosecutors filed a motion to drop the charges while they wait for an autopsy report.
Then they'll also decide whether to charge Shell with homicide.
Meanwhile, Shell says he's innocent and ready to put the matter behind him.
[IN Q=i know]
((ROBERT SHELL/PHOTOGRAPHER: I KNOW THERE'S NO REAL CASE AGAINST ME BECAUSE I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING, IT'S JUST A QUESTION OF ESTABLISHING THAT NOW IN COURT.))
[OUT Q=now in court]
Shell was released on bond and is under house arrest.
His attorney is working to have that order dropped as well.
A Roanoke City Councilman dreams of taking Roanoke on a ride "Back to the Future."
Bev Fitzpatrick is trying to bring back Roanoke's old trolley system as a tourist attraction.
His plan would run restored trolleys between the transportation museum downtown, Crystal Spring and the top of Mill Mountain.
Fitzpatrick and the Commonwealth Coach and Trolley museum are talking about the idea with city council.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=We have a trolley]
((BEV FITZPATRICK/ROANOKE CITY COUNCIL; WE HAVE A TROLLEY .... HAVE THEM RUNNING, AS OPPOSED TO SITTING STILL, IF WE COULD.))
[SUPER=01-Bev Fitzpatrick/Roanoke City Council;]
[OUT Q=if we could.]
Fitzpatrick says he's looking into state and federal grants to help get the project on track.
(Kimberly tosses to bump)
In business news, The Dow closed on a high note yesterday.
Stan Case has more in today's business brief.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Stan Case/Reporting; :]
[OUT Q=I'm Stan Case.]
((STOCKS JUMPED TO HIGHER CLOSE MONDAY.
A RALLY IN THE CHIP SECTOR AND RETAIL STRENGTH SENT THE DOW TO ITS HIGHEST CLOSE IN ALMOST 14 MONTHS.
THE DOW ENDED ITS DAY UP 90 POINTS...AND THE NASDAQ GAINED 37.
LOWE'S REPORTS A 28-PERCENT JUMP IN PROFITS FOR ITS SECOND QUARTER.
THE NATION'S SECOND LARGEST HOME IMPROVEMENT RETAILER POSTED EARNINGS OF 75-CENTS A SHARE.
THAT'S UP FROM 59-CENTS A SHARE A YEAR EARLIER.
LOWE'S SAYS INCREASED ADVERTISING AND SUMMER WEATHER HELPED BOOST EARNINGS FOR THE QUARTER.
LOWE'S OPENED 24 NEW STORES DURING THE PERIOD.
THE COMPANY EXPECTS SALES TO BE UP 16-PERCENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR.
TOYS-R-US REPORTS A LOSS OF FIVE-CENTS A SHARE FOR ITS SECOND QUARTER...THAT'S IN LINE WITH ANALYSTS EXPECTATIONS.
THE FIVE-CENT LOSS IS AN IMPROVEMENT FROM A DEFICIT OF EIGHT-CENTS PER SHARE A YEAR AGO.
THE COMPANY'S BABIES-R-US POSTED A 13-PERCENT JUMP IN TOTAL SALES....BUT THE FLAGSHIP TOY DIVISION REPORTED A TWO-POINT-FOUR PERCENT DROP IN SAME STORE SALES.
I-B-M IS CUTTING SIX-HUNDRED JOBS IN ITS CHIP-MAKING DIVISION.
THE COMPANY SAYS THE DIVISION LOST MONEY DURING THE SECOND QUARTER BECAUSE OF A WEAK TECH DEMAND.
THE DOWN-SIZING REPRESENTS LESS THAN TWO-TENTHS OF A PERCENT OF THE COMPANY'S WORKFORCE.
I-B-M IS ALSO ASKING THREE-THOUSAND MEMBERS OF ITS EXECUTIVES AND SUPPORT STAFF TO TAKE A WEEK OF UNPAID VACATION DURING THE THIRD QUARTER.
WITH THE BUSINESS BRIEF, I'M STAN CASE.))
[TAPE TOSS TO STOCKS]
Roanoke's financial shape is good, but one city council member wonders if it comes at a cost.
Year end revenues for the 2003 fiscal year exceeded expectations by about 3-MILLION dollars.
Real estate and property tax collections were up.
But the BIGGEST chunk of the extra income came from NOT filling vacant city jobs.
Councilman Bill Bestpitch says the savings could come at a price to citizens.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=That creates extra work]
((BILL BESTPITCH: THAT CREATES EXTRA WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT REMAIN AND I'M CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY. POLICE, FIRE, EMS, WHERE WE SEEM TO HAVE A HARD TIME FILLING THE SLOTS THAT WE HAVE.))
[OUT Q=that we have.]
City Council has to authorize spending of the excess 3-million dollars.
The school board is entitled to a half-million dollar share of the money.
Despite major budget cuts and other obstacles, the majority of Henry County school students are making the grade on the state's S-O-L's.
But as Justin McLeod discovered the true test maybe just around the corner.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=03-Henry Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Genell Brown/Teacher; :13]
[SUPER=01-Sharon Dodson/Henry Co. School Superintendent; :36]
[SUPER=01-Clay Watlington/Director of Facilities; 1:13]
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Henry Co.]
((((NAT SOUND OF CHEERING))
There's something to cheer about here in Henry County, 80-percent of the county's schools are now fully accredited.
The state average is just 65-percent.
[IN Q=It's no big secret]
((GENELL BROWN/TEACHER: IT'S NO BIG SECRET. YOU JUST GO IN EVERYDAY AND DO THE BEST JOB YOU CAN DO AND I THINK IT'S EVIDENCE HERE IN HENRY COUNTY THAT EVERYONE IS TRYING TO DO THAT.))
[OUT Q=to do that]
If that's true, some may wonder why the school system is then closing the very schools that are doing so well.
Figsboro and Fieldale Elementaries for example have both been fully accredited for several straight years.
Both will soon close.
[IN Q=It's important to]
((SHARON DODSON/SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WE TEST THE STUDENTS, NOT THE BRICKS AND MORTAR, THOSE STUDENTS WILL STILL EXIST.))
[OUT Q=still exist]
That was the message Monday morning at an assembly for teachers and staff.
The superintendent told the crowd that despite the future closing of five schools, Henry County will continue to be ahead of the learning curve.
[IN Q=Consolidation is still]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: CONSOLIDATION IS STILL A YEAR AWAY BUT STUDENTS WILL FEEL THE EFFECTS WHEN THEY RETURN TO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK. CONSTRUCTION AT MANY OF THE SCHOOLS LIKE HERE AT CARVER MIDDLE SCHOOL IS ALREADY UNDERWAY.))
[OUT Q=is already underway]
((NAT SOUND IF YOU HAVE IT OF CONSTRUCTION))
Similar construction will take place at several other schools throughout the year.
[IN Q=We will do this]
((CLAY WATLINGTON/DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES: WE WILL DO THIS IN PHASES AND WE WILL TRY TO DO IT IN PHASES THAT ARE AT LEAST DISRUPTIVE TO EDUCATION.))
[OUT Q=to education]
An education that will soon undergo major changes but one many hope will continue on the path to success. (SHOT AT 11:37:45)
Justin McLeod, News 7, Henry County. ))