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Local News



 Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Updated 5/26/15 @ 2:45 pm


Larson named new CEO for Danville Regional Medical Center:
(Danville, Va.) -- Alan Larson has been named the Virginia market president and the new CEO of Danville Regional Medical Center, effective Aug. 1. Larson will also have regional oversight of both DRMC and Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County while leading the daily operations of DRMC.
      Larson joins LifePoint from TD HealthCare, a healthcare consulting and interim leadership organization that Larson founded and has led as CEO since 2006. He replaces Jerry Dooley, who has served as interim market president and CEO of DRMC since November 2014. Memorial Hospital CEO Michael Ehrat will report to Larson and continue leading the Martinsville and Henry County facility.
     Victor Giovanetti, chief operating officer of LifePoint Health’s Eastern Group of hospitals, said the company was “thorough and deliberate” in its efforts to “find the right leader” for the local hospital and that “Alan stood out as the strongest candidate.” He cited Larson’s leadership experience within both the hospital and health system settings.
      Prior to TD HealthCare, Larson served as senior vice president of Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a five-hospital system, and as CEO of the system’s Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus from 2003-2006. He previously served in leadership roles at hospitals within Community Health Systems, NetCare Health Systems Inc., and HealthTrust Inc. systems. In addition, Larson was one of eight founders of a start-up ambulatory care company in Nashville, TN.


Kittens die in early-morning fire:
(Danville, Va.) -- A family of three escaped a pre-dawn blaze Tuesday morning, but some of their pets weren't as fortunate. Three engines, a ladder truck and a battalion and safety officer responded to the call shortly before 5:00 from the 12-hundred block of Paxton Street. Crews found heavy fire showing from the front of the house. All of the occupants were out of the home, and the fire was under control within 20 minutes. Several animals were rescued from the burning building, but some kittens on the upper floor did not survive. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Memorial Day accident claims life of Bedford man:
(Salem, Va.) -- Charges are pending in a fatal crash in Franklin County.
      Virginia State Police Trooper S. A. Richardson is investigating the two-vehicle accident that happened on Route 122 and Route 636 in Franklin County.
      A Hyundai Sonata was northbound on Route 122 and was making a left turn onto Route 636 when it was struck by a southbound Dodge Ram.
      The 2013 Hyundai was driven by 29-year-old Tiffany M. McGuire of Hardy, Va.  Elmer Cecil Johnson Jr., 64, was a passenger in the Sonata and died at the scene.  Both driver and passenger were wearing seatbelts.
      The 2011 Dodge Ram was driven by 32-year-old Charles A. Hunt, also of Hardy. Hunt was not injured.
     Charges are pending. The accident remains under investigation. 

Danville boy competing in Scripps Spelling Bee:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 12-year-old from Danville is in the nation’s capital this week to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
     Caleb D. Adams is a seventh grader at Westwood Middle School and is sponsored by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Danville.
     According to his profile, Adams likes computers, gaming, swimming and reading. He serves as vice president of Westwood’s National Junior Honor Society and also spends time volunteering at God’s Storehouse and the Danville Area Humane Society.
    Caleb’s favorite subject is math and he hopes to one day attend MIT and study engineering.
    He is one of 265 participants in this year’s national spelling bee, which gets underway Wednesday and concludes with finals on Thursday.

Supervisors to tour poultry operations:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Pittsylvania County leaders are ready to take the next step to try and recruit a full-fledged poultry operation to the area.    
     Board members have been invited to tour a feedmill and hatchery in Jetersville next week and a processing plant in Glen Allen, Va.
      A study released earlier this year suggests Pittsylvania County is an "excellent fit" for the poultry industry. It says a full-fledged poultry complex – including a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant -- could have an economic impact of $476 million and bring 1,200 jobs to the county. 
     The study listed several possible sites, including the former Burlington Textile plant site in Hurt, the Ringgold East Industrial site, the Cherrystone Industrial Park and the Berry Hill Mega Park.

High-speed chase ends with shooting:
(Roanoke, Va.) -- Virginia State Police say a man shot at the end of a high-speed pursuit on Interstate 81 in Roanoke suffered serious injuries and was taken to an area hospital.
     According to a press release, the chase started in Botetourt County just before 3:00 Monday afternoon when the car refused to stop. The car headed south before the driver ran off the right side of the highway and wrecked in Roanoke County. The suspect got out of a car with a gun and refused to drop the weapon. That’s when a Virginia State Trooper shot the suspect. The man’s name and condition were not available.
     State Police reported major backups along Interstate 81 North and South, as well as Interstate 581.

Danville man shot twice at motel:
(Danville, Va.) -- A 34-year old Danville man was shot twice at the Innkeeper Motel on the Piney Forest Road early Monday morning.
      Captain Timothy Jones says the call came in at 4:45 a.m. Officers responded and found a man suffering from two gunshot wounds to his lower extremities.  He was taken to Danville Regional Medical Center with what police described as “non life-threatening injuries.”
     Investigators and crime scene units were still at the scene at mid-day.


Unattended cooking sparks blaze on Arnett Blvd:
(Danville, Va.) -- Someone left the stove on Sunday night at a house in the 400 block of Arnett Boulevard and the resulting fire left the home unlivable.
      Danville Fire Battalion Chief Chris Key says the call came in just before 9:30 from a single-story house. Firefighters put out the kitchen fire quickly, but there was extensive damage in the kitchen, and heat and smoke damage throughout the rest of the home.
     No one was home and no one was hurt.


Council delays budget vote amid compression concerns:
(Danville, Va.) --
Danville City Council is delaying action on the budget and capital improvements plan for the next fiscal year because of continued concerns over pay compression for some city employees.
     About 50 police officers and firefighters filled Council Chambers last week, asking for help dealing with compensation policies they say have failed to address inequities for long-term, public safety employees.  Last year, the city implemented a pay for performance system for salary and wage hikes. Each employee undergoes a performance evaluation. Salary and wage increases are based on the evaluation. Some employees last year were eligible for one-time adjustments for pay compression. Rather than a second round of separate pay compression increases, this year’s proposed budget includes larger than normal pay-for-performance increases to address residual disparities.
     Mayor Sherman Saunders was among those on Council who opted to put the budget on hold while this was worked out. City Manager Joe King admits inequities remain in the current system, but he says broader fixes are neither affordable nor sustainable.

House fire caused by child playing with matches:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Fire Department arrived on the scene of a house fire at 435 Norwood Drive at 6:25 Friday afternoon. Crews from engine 5 reported heavy smoke pouring from the basement windows as well as other windows in the house. As crews entered the house they found heavy smoke throughout the first floor and basement.
     Crews also found a large fire in a basement room. The fire was extinguished while other crews searched the home. All occupants were out of the house. One cat was found inside the residence. The cat was brought outside but could not be revived.
     A basement room suffered heavy fire damage. The rest of the house sustained smoke and heat damage. The home is not livable in its present condition. Two adults and six children were displaced. The Red Cross responded and is assisting the family.
     Firefighters remained on scene for three hours and thirty minutes. During this time companies checked for hidden fire, removed smoke, investigated the fire, and helped occupants retrieve items.
      The fire marshal determined the blaze was started by a young child playing with matches.
     The Danville Fire Department responded with 22 firefighters, four engines, one ladder truck, and three support vehicles. The DFD received support from the Danville Life Saving Crew, Danville Utilities, and the Red Cross.

Martinsville man dies in lawnmower accident:
(Martinsville, Va.) – A Martinsville man was killed after he was trapped under a riding lawnmower Friday afternoon.
     The Martinsville/Henry County Communications Center received a call of an accident involving a riding lawn mower at 175 Westbrook Lane about 2:45 p.m. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office responded and found that 71-year-old James Leon Eanes was operating a riding mower that went over an embankment, trapping him underneath.
      Neighbors performed CPR while being receiving instructions from the Martinsville/Henry County Communications Center until the Henry County Department of Public Safety arrived and attempted life saving measures.
     Eanes was pronounced dead at the scene. 
     The Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia is scheduled to perform an examination.
 
Charges pending in fatal tractor accident:
(Halifax County, Va.) -- Virginia State Police say charges are pending in a Halifax County accident that claimed the life of a South Boston man.
      Trooper G.K. Brandes is investigating the May 8 crash, which happened at 5:38 p.m., on Route 58, near its intersection with Route 881.
    According to Bandes, a 2003 Dodge Caravan was eastbound on Route 58 when it rear-ended a 1980 Massey-Ferguson 231 farm tractor that was traveling in the right, eastbound lane. The tractor was forced off the right side of the road and overturned. 60-year-old Bernard L. Carrington of South Boston was taken to Duke Medical Center in Durham, where he died a week later.
      The driver of the Caravan, 80-year-old Clifton J. Sanford of Chatham, was not injured in the crash. He was wearing a seat belt.
      The cause of the crash remains under investigation but Trooper Brandes says charges are pending.
 
Tobacco Commission awards grants for local research projects:
(Danville, Va.) -- Two projects on the Southside are receiving nearly $3 million in grant money from Virginia’s Tobacco Commission.      
     Del. Danny Marshall serves on the commission and says IRFlex -- which received a $2 million Research and Development grant in 2010 -- is getting another $1.5 million for its work at the Dan River Business Development Center. The company has installed a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Danville, to produce and market fiber-optic devices designed to protect aircraft from shoulder-fired missile attacks.      
     The second grant totals $1.2 million and was awarded to a company called Synergy, which plans to use its Polymer Processing Lab to manufacture biodegradable plastic food containers to replace metal cans and glass jars at a cheaper cost.      
     Synergy’s research will be done at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville. 

Halifax County leaders pushing for mega-industrial announcement:
(South Boston, Va.) -- The Tobacco Commission yesterday gave approval to a four-million dollar request to modify the former Daystrom site in Halifax County for a manufacturing prospect called “Project Roy.”
     According to the application, the company could bring up to 1,000 manufacturing jobs and a $60 million capital investment. Halifax is said to be on the company’s short list of preferred locations.
     This follows a vote last week by the Commission’s Southside Economic Development Subcommittee, approving a separate $1 million award to expand and modify what’s now called the Southern Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Karastan to expand factory in Eden:
(Eden, N.C.) -- 105 new jobs will open up in Rockingham County with the expansion of Karastan Rug manufacturing in Eden.  The existing plant on Henry Street has been in operation since 1928 and currently employs 170 people.  The expansion will include $8 million in new equipment and the beginning of a new product line, which will include carpeting specifically for the airline industry.  The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $765,000.


Fire at Blue Ridge Fiberboard:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 250 Celotex Drive at the Blue Ridge Fiberboard plant at 2:34 Thursday afternoon. Crews arrived within minutes and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the asphalt boiler room building. Plant personnel were already fighting the fire and a crew from the Lynn Street fire station pulled an attack line and quickly knocked down the flames from outside the structure. The building and contents sustained heavy fire damage.
     The Danville Fire Department responded with 3 engines, a ladder truck, two command units, a safety officer and one fire marshal. The Danville Life Saving Crew and Danville Police Department assisted on scene.
      Nineteen fire personnel were on the scene for two hours and 14 minutes.
      No injuries were reported.

Tobacco Commission awards grants for local research projects:
(Danville, Va.) -- Two projects on the Southside are receiving nearly $3 million in grant money from Virginia’s Tobacco Commission.      
     Del. Danny Marshall serves on the commission and says IRFlex -- which received a $2 million Research and Development grant in 2010 -- is getting another $1.5 million for its work at the Dan River Business Development Center. The company has installed a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Danville, to produce and market fiber-optic devices designed to protect aircraft from shoulder-fired missile attacks.      
     The second grant totals $1.2 million and was awarded to a company called Synergy, which plans to use its Polymer Processing Lab to manufacture biodegradable plastic food containers to replace metal cans and glass jars at a cheaper cost.      
     Synergy’s research will be done at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville. 

Help Wanted scams increase:
(Danville, Va.) -- The Danville Police Department is warning citizens in the Dan River Region to be aware of a recent increase in Help Wanted – Employment scams. Some area residents have reported contact with fraudulent employment offers after responding to ads in local publications, or from on-line sources. These offers are usually for sales or marketing positions and after a flurry of emails, texts or letters, usually end in one of several ways. The unsuspecting victim may be asked to send money to “process their application,” bank information may be requested to “verify credit,” or the victim may receive a check to deposit that includes a list of instructions on what to do with the funds.
     In the event you are contacted after answering an advertisement and you feel there are concerns, take the time to VERIFY the potential employer and their status with the Better Business Bureau of their locality. The local Economic Development Office or Chamber of Commerce can sometimes provide information on businesses in their areas


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