Local News

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated 2/28/17 @ 4:07 am

Pittsylvania Co. woman dies in crash:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) -- A Dry Fork woman died in a single-vehicle accident on U.S. 58 Sunday.
    Virginia State Police say 25-year-old Brittany Alyse Brideson of Dry Fork was westbound in a 2008 Nissan Rogue when the car ran off the left side of the road and overturned. Brideson was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car.
      The accident happened at 2:40 Sunday morning on U.S. 58, three-tenths of a mile east of U.S. 855 in Pittsylvania County.
     Virginia State Police are continuing to investigate the crash. 
State employees to get pay raises in new budget:
(Richmond, Va. (AP) -- Virginia state employees will be getting raises, some of them quite hefty, under a budget plan headed to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's desk.
     The GOP-controlled General Assembly on Saturday passed a state spending plan that includes significant pay increases for state police and other law enforcement officers, as well as a 3 percent across-the-board raises for state employees and the state's share of a 2 percent raises for teachers. The budget does not include tax increases.
     The state had to scrap planned raises last year because of lower-than-expected tax revenues, but those revenues have increased in recent months. Lawmakers said they made employee compensation and funding mental health care a priority this year.
     McAuliffe, a Democrat, has said he's generally happy with the budget lawmakers came up with.
Virginia lawmakers wrap up session focused on budget:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Virginia lawmakers have finished their work for the 2017 legislative session, a six week sprint that saw bipartisan cooperation on some issues like treating opioid addiction, but plenty of squabbles on social issues like abortion and gun issues.
    The General Assembly adjourned Saturday after lawmakers gave final approval to the budget bill, the biggest task of this year's session. Lawmakers agreed to fund raises for state employees, with extra money for state troopers and other law enforcement officials.
    Lawmakers also moved quickly to do Virginia's part in establishing an independent oversight authority for the beleaguered Washington-area Metro system. They also grappled with how best to dispose of the leftover waste product that comes from burning coal.

Danville Police investigate double shooting:
(Danville, Va.) – Danville Police are investigating a drive-by shooting that sent two people to the hospital.
     Police were called to the 100 block of Swanson Street just before 6 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report that someone had been shot. They found two shooting victims. One was struck in the hip area and the other in the lower legs. Both victims were transported to the emergency room and are expected to survive.
       Investigators say the shots came from a silver, 2000-2005 Chevy Tahoe occupied by three black males. Police say the victims were sitting on the porch of a home when shots rang out.
     Anyone with information is asked to contact the Danville Police Department.

Quick police work leads to arrests & recovery of stolen guns:
(Danville, Va.) – Members of the Danville Police Departments' Special Investigations Division and Virginia State Police Task Force agents observed suspicious activity involving multiple persons Thursday evening. The group was in the 200 block of West James St. on the porch of an abandoned building. The officers also saw a violation of a public alcohol ordinance and approached the group. As they talked to the group they learned that one of them, a juvenile, had an outstanding detention order. He was taken into custody and searched subsequent to the arrest. He was found to be carrying a pistol which was determined to be a stolen firearm.
      A female was checked and she was wanted by Campbell County. She had a concealed handgun and was arrested.
     A second male was also carrying a stolen handgun and was arrested.
     A third male was sitting on a stolen handgun. He was arrested and marijuana was seized from his person.
     $531.00 in U.S. Currency was seized during the investigation.
     The vacant residence had gang graffiti sprayed painted on the walls and a rifle was found inside along with boxes of ammunition in several calibers matching the weapons recovered from the suspects.
     The investigation led to the service of two search warrants at nearby residences. During the searches, a fourth stolen firearm was recovered. Suspected marijuana and cocaine was seized along with scales, and $479.00 in U.S. Currency. A surveillance system was placed in a manner to alert the occupants to law enforcement's approach and was also seized. A fully loaded magazine fitting one of the weapons seized from a suspect at the abandoned house was found inside the residence.
     Two people were arrested on drug and firearm charges at the first residence that was searched.
     During the course of the investigation it was learned that the individuals were armed in anticipation of a gang-related confrontation.
      The initial observation stop led to the arrest of four people who were charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor.

German supermarket chain to begin hiring in Virginia:
(Fredricksburg, Va.) – A German-based company that is building a major supermarket in Danville is about to begin hiring in Virginia.
         Lidl (Lee-dell), the German no-frills supermarket chain, is set to begin hiring in Virginia for some of its first stores in the U.S. The chain announced Thursday that it would begin hiring 800 store associates for locations in 12 Virginia cities.
      Spokesman Will Harwood says the hires will take place over the next four months in 12 Virginia localities, including Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Hampton, Norfolk, Richmond and Virginia Beach. A Danville store is currently under construction.
      The company says wages for associate positions will start at $12 an hour plus health benefits and a 401k retirement plan with matching contributions.

Medical emergency precedes traffic fatality:
(Pittsylvania County, Va.) – Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal crash in Pittsylvania County.
      60-year-old Robert Louis Williams of Lawrenceville was driving a 2003 Ford Ranger south on U.S. 29, near Va. 1032, Wednesday afternoon when troopers believe he suffered a medical emergency.
       The vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway and came to rest in the median about 5:30 p.m.
      Williams was wearing his seat belt and was transported to Danville Regional Medical Center, where he died.
      State Police are still investigating the crash.

Martinsville tops state for opioid overdoses:
(Martinsville, Va.) – The opioid epidemic has hit Southside Virginia.
     Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn held a press conference Thursday morning to discuss the problem and his department’s response to the rising number of opioid and heroin overdoses in the region.
     In November, the Martinsville-Henry County area ranked seventh in the state for opioid and heroin overdoses per capita. In December, the area rose to fourth. As of this week, the area was ranked as the worst region in the state for overdoses.
    Dunn said an Opioid Task Force has been established and noted that tips from the community have led to more than 70 drug-related arrests and indictments since November. More arrests are anticipated.

Intermodal industrial park moves forward:
(Hurt, Va.) -- Leaders from Pittsylvania County, the towns of Hurt and Altavista, and the city of Danville, along with the Southern Virginia Multimodal Park have signed a letter of intent to create the Staunton River Regional Industrial Facility Authority. 
      Developers are forming an industrial park development company, located along the U.S. Highway 29 corridor in Southside Virginia. The groups recently held a signing ceremony in a show of regional unity. 
      The SVMP is the latest of the Samet Corporation’s industrial parks, and is served by industrial capacity water and sewer. The project is currently being studied and promoted for an intermodal facility due to the park’s direct rail and highway access.

Gas main leak repaired:
(Danville, Va.) – Public works crews made quick work of a gas main leak Thursday afternoon.
      The leak near Mulberry Road and Arnett Boulevard affected 50 customers in the neighborhood, who were without gas service for several while repairs were made.
       Customers who need assistance in lighting their pilot lights should call the emergency number for Danville Utility’s gas division. The number is 799-5284.

Sartomer names new manager for Chatham operation:
(Chatham, Va.) -- Sartomer Americas has named and Nick Ferraco as manager of its plant in Chatham, Va. In his new role, Ferraco will oversee all production operations and activities at the local plant, which manufactures specialty chemicals. His promotion is effective immediately.
     Ferraco got his start with parent company Arkema in the Developing Engineer program in 2005. After leaving in 2007, Ferraco returned in 2013 as the Operations Manager for the Chatham plant. He also served as a Production Superintendent with Total Petrochemicals Inc., where he was responsible for safety, production, maintenance, and engineering. Ferraco worked as a Process Engineer.
     Ferraco has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Lafayette College, and he anticipates a June 2017 graduation from the MBA program at Averett University.        
      Sartomer is a premier global supplier of specialty chemicals and has been in operation for more than 55 years.

New transmission line planned for Henry Co. industrial park:
(Ridgeway, Va.) – Plans for a major transmission line to service an industrial park in Henry County are moving forward.
      Appalachian Power says the project will boost efforts by developers of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.
      Plans call for the addition of five miles of 138-kilovolt line south of Martinsville to connect an existing transmission line. The new line will provide enough electricity to meet the requirements of advanced manufacturers.
      Construction will begin as soon as a company commits to building in the industrial park and should be completed in about 18 months. Appalachian began a preliminary study of the line in September.
Virginia Senate passes anti-sanctuary cities bill:
(Richmond, Va.) (AP) -- Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have approved legislation banning localities from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
      The Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to approve the measure after a contentious debate about what kind of message it would send.
     Republicans said the bill is needed to show that Virginia respects the rule of law and undocumented immigrants are not entitled to special privileges in sanctuary cities. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to veto the bill, saying it stokes fear among the state's immigrant communities.
     Since President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month to strip funding from sanctuary cities, states across the country have taken action, with some moving to limit such communities and others adding protections for immigrants.

Lawsuit claims 2 prosecutors conspired to hire each other's wives:
(Raleigh, N.C.) (AP) -- A whistleblower lawsuit accuses two North Carolina district attorneys of conspiring to hire each other's wives and allow them to collect salaries for little work.
     The Greensboro News and Record reports the State Bureau of Investigation last summer began looking into Wallace Bradsher, the district attorney for Person and Caswell counties, and Rockingham County District Attorney Craig Blitzer.
     Debra Halbrook, who tipped the SBI off to the alleged scheme, said Bradsher fired her when he thought she was assisting the investigation.
     Halbrook's lawsuit alleges Bradsher hired his wife, Pam, as a legal assistant when he was elected in 2011 and promoted her to investigator in 2014. It also says Blitzer, who was first elected in 2014, hired his wife, Cindy, as a legal assistant. Shortly afterward, the women swapped jobs.

Local tourism effort receives state grant:
(Danville, Va.) --  Danville’s tourism effort is getting a boost from the state. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that the Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce will receive a matching grant of $25,000 as part of a statewide effort to leverage local tourism dollars. In all, $772,000 is being distributed across Virginia.
     The matching grants will be awarded to 62 local tourism initiatives as part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Marketing Leverage Program. The grants are designed to help local tourism groups attract more visitors by leveraging local dollars through a match of the state grant funds.

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