WBTM News
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Goodyear announces more than 50 layoffs in Danville:
(Danville, Va.) -- Goodyear is cutting about 55 jobs at its plant in Danville.
     Laura Singleton, communications manager with Goodyear Danville, says "approximately 55" workers will be affected by the layoffs. All are hourly employees and are being notified of the decision. The job cuts will be in place by the first of October.
     Singleton told this newsroom the cuts will be spread throughout all segments of the truck tire plant and will not be concentrated in a particular division. She said the workers will be eligible for payments outlined in an agreement with the United Steelworkers and possibly for state unemployment benefits.    
     She said the decision was necessary, adding that Goodyear is "not producing volume for volume's sake, but in response to customer demand." She said the goal is to remain competitive by selling the tires that are manufactured.
     Goodyear is Danville's largest employer, with more than 2,300 workers.
 

Danville remembers 9/11:
(Danville, Va.) -- 11 years after the worst attack on American soil, more than 100 attended a ceremony of remembrance outside the Danville courthouse Tuesday.
      Police, fire and rescue workers were joined by city officials and veterans in a ceremony that included bagpipes and the brass quintet from George Washington High School.
     Danville Delegate Danny Marshall delivered the keynote address. He said "the greatest tragedy of 9/11... were the more than 3,000 families who lost loved ones who will never come home." Marshall added that "those victims who died on 9/11 got up that morning and went to work like usual," not knowing they would never return home. He said "they were innocent people just going about their daily lives, lives that were cut short by the terrorists."
     Marshall said the day started out just like any other but will be remembered as a time that changed our lives and ended America's sense of security.
     In the aftermath of the tragedy, seven firefighters from Danville traveled to the Marine Company One Fire Department in New York to offer assistance.
     Danville Fire Chief David Eagle said friendships were forged through this tragedy that continue to this day.
     In April, local firefighters received a piece of steel from the Twin Towers which Eagle plans to erect as a permanent memorial outside the new fire station.
     Eagle said the piece of steel "can be a memorial to tell the story, to help us to never forget the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were lost that day; to remember and never forget the 343 firefighters who made that ultimate sacrifice trying to help other people.


Danville Sheriff's Deputy receives state-wide honor:
(Danville, Va.) --
She could have looked the other way---but an off-duty Danville Sheriff's Deputy took action last year.   In the process, Sergeant Sharon Wilson helped take down an international crime ring.   Last night, the 16-year veteran of the City Sheriff’s Department was honored as Deputy of the Year by the Virginia Sheriff’s Association.
         It happened last summer while Wilson worked her part-time job at Sam's Club.   She noticed something fishy when nine men came in---one of whom tried to set up an account.   Instead of ignoring her instincts, she called police.   Turns out the men were involved in a major crime ring.
          Nine people were arrested and charged with credit card forgery. Further investigation revealed they had been printing bogus credit cards and using them to make large purchases in Danville and in other locations, including other states.

Officials with the Dominion Foundation present a $45,000 check to the Southern Virginia Higher Education center

SVHEC gets $45,000 grant:
(South Boston, Va.) --
The Dominion Foundation has awarded the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston a $45,000 grant for workforce development.
         Spokesperson Hope Gayle says the money will buy a welding simulator to train students in a nationally certified welding training program coming to the Center. The Virginia Technical Institute in Altavista will provide instruction and will help set up instructional space.
          The program is in response to the demand for skilled workers regional businesses and industries are experiencing. Gayles says they'll announce the start-up of welding training classes in the coming months.


Two charged with pair of purse snatchings:
(Martinsville, Va.) --
A man and a woman from Martinsville are being held without bond in connection to two purse snatchings that happened Saturday. 
         The Henry County Sheriff’s Office says the first happened around 8:40 p.m. in the parking lot of El Parral in Martinsville. Investigators say 26-year-old Lane Arnold (pictured, left) grabbed a women’s purse, and drove off. The victim was holding her purse as Arnold drove off in a car, and was dragged alongside the car. The victim suffered bruises and abrasions to her arms and back.
          The second robbery happened less than thirty minutes later at the Virginia Avenue Food Lion in Bassett. Investigators say Arnold snatched a woman’s purse, and drove off. The woman wasn’t hurt...but she was able to get the license plate number on the car.
         Arnold and 25-year-old Stephanie Arnold
(pictured, right) have been arrested and each charged with two counts of robbery and one count of malicious wounding.  The purses in both incidents were recovered. Everything in the purses was recovered, other than money.


Nearly 300 scholarship recipients are honored by Danville Community College
(Richard Davis photo)

Danville Community College honors scholarship recipients:
(Danville, Va.) --
Nearly 300 scholarship recipients at Danville Community College are getting a total of 700-thousand dollars in this academic year.  Their 13th annual ceremony to honor the students had to be moved off-campus last night--- because a record number of students are getting aid.   They met at the Institute.   School President Doctor Carlyle Ramsey says scholarship amounts are more than double a year ago.  This comes after DCC launched their "Power of One" scholarship campaign.

Fatal fire probe in South Boston:
(South Boston, Va.) --
South Boston Police and Virginia State Police are investigating a Sunday morning apartment fire that claimed the life of a 34-year-old man. Lawrence Miller lived at the Tangleywylde Drive Apartments.   He died after a kitchen fire caused approximately $60,000 damage to the unit.  The fire likely started in the kitchen of an downstairs apartment, but the exact cause remains undetermined.  An autopsy is scheduled.

Volunteers return from Louisiana:
(Danville, Va.) -- It's back to work on the home front for God's Pit Crew.
    Crew Chief Randy Johnson says they've just returned from Louisiana, where volunteers distributed pallets of bottled water and toiletries to the victims of Hurricane Isaac.
    Johnson says many of the families whose homes were left underwater were just beginning to get over the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.
     And while they were able to help, Johnson says he wishes they could've done more. Their efforts were hampered by fuel costs and equipment breakdowns. Even so, volunteers delivered 6 tractor trailers loaded with more than 210,000 pounds of relief supplies. More than 1,000 families were assisted and 461 vehicles passed through the distribution line on Labor Day.
   Volunteers worked all day Tuesday cutting trees and removing debris from a church in St. Bernard's Parish so the church could open as a distribution center Wednesday morning.
     Johnson says work will begin immediately to ramp up the food distribution effort in Danville, where God's Pit Crew offers supplies through its own warehouse and in conjunction with God's Storehouse.
     The organization is in immediate need of bottled water and cash donations to offset the costs of the trip.

Uranium Mining workship this week in Chatham:
(Chatham, Va.) --
The Uranium Mining debate returns to Chatham this week when a mining and wastewater engineer headlines a forum.   Val Green will lead a workshop titled, "Local and Site-Specific Factors: Uranium Mining and Milling at Coles Hill." 
          The workshop is sponsored by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League through a grant from the Western Mining Action Network.  Admission is free. It'll be held Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Foundation in Chatham.

     Virginia-Uranium-Incorporated is asking the state for permission to mine and mill the Coles Hill site in Pittsylvania County, home to an estimated $7 billion dollars worth of uranium.  The company says the operation will be safe and will bring much-needed jobs and revenue to Southside Virginia.

Congress back in session:
(Washington, D.C.) -- It's back to work for Congress this week, with a big budget deadline looming at the end of the month...and a local lawmaker does NOT sound confident that they'll have a new budget in place by then.  
     Fifth District Congressman Robert Hurt says the Senate has offered a six-month temporary spending bill to finance the day-to-day operations of the federal government.  But Hurt prefers a full-year budget. 
     The annual appropriations process on Capitol Hill collapsed about midway through the campaign season. There's also the prospect of automatic spending cuts that will kick in at the end of the year is no deal is reached.
Be sure to check out Showcase Magazine (available in several locations around Danville) to read Jack Garrett's monthly article.

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