As depot restoration continues, Boones Mill looks to Richmond to help attract more railfan visitors

Depot restoration Facebook photo

Depot restoration Facebook photo

Boones Mill officials hope the General Assembly will add their town to Virginia’s Rail Heritage Region in the upcoming session as work continues to restore the former rail depot.  Boones Mill officials say including the town would help attract some of the region’s railfan visitors to their depot once it is restored. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here for the Boones Mill Depot Restoration Facebook page

 

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Another bitter Medicaid battle looms in Richmond

General-AssemblyGovernor McAuliffe will once again attempt to tie Medicaid expansion to the state budget, setting the stage for another likely bitter and partisan General Assembly session. Last year’s battle nearly shut down state government until Republicans regained control of the Senate. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Expert says police bribery case is unusual, local officers selected for larger task forces are usually the best

WFIR-LOGO-1A Salem police officer has pleaded guilty to a federal bribery count occurring as a member of the Drug Enforcement Agency regional task force. Kevin Moore admits trading sexual favors to female drug suspects in return for promises of leniency.  A criminal justice expert says it’s not unusual for local law enforcement agencies to share officers with state and federal agencies, and the ones selected are usually the best. As a result, such corruption cases, while always possible, are relatively infrequent. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Franklin Co. Sheriff Asks for Help in Solving Vandalism Cases

Franklin-County-UpdateFrom the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office:  On December 8, 2014 in the evening hours, through the early morning hours of December 9, 2014, a rash of vandalisms made its way around Franklin County. Items vandalized include road and street signs, Dudley Elementary School sign, subdivision signs, vehicles, and a residence. Damage is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. The vandalisms stretched from the Penhook area all the way to the Moneta area of the county. Water’s Edge subdivision, Brooks Mill Rd (Rt. 834), Powell’s Store Rd., Timber Ridge Rd., Scruggs Rd., Water Front subdivision, and the Board Walk subdivision, as well as other side roads and streets along the way were affected.

(Continue reading for the rest of the news release.)

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Gasoline for less than $2 a gallon; Salem station is first in VA to break the barrier

Google Maps photo

Google Maps photo

A Salem gas station appears to be the first in Virginia to break the $2 barrier. Over the weekend, the GB station at 4th and Union in Salem lowered its cash price to $1.99 a gallon. Gas Buddy, which tracks pump prices across the nation, says GB is the first station anywhere in Virginia to go under two dollars. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here to see GasBuddy.com’s lowest-priced stations in Virginia.

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Salem Police detective suspended without pay for two months; circumstances not public

SalemSalem Police say one of its detectives has been suspended without pay since October 10th as they await the results of an FBI investigation. The officer has been assigned for the past five years to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Police are not releasing the officer’s name or any further details. Here is the full Salem Police Statement:

A Salem Police Department Detective has been suspended without pay since October 10, pending the outcome of a federal investigation by the FBI. At the conclusion of this officer’s court proceedings, he or she would be subject to an internal review which could affect that status. The officer in question has been assigned to the Federal DEA Task Force for the past five years, working out of the agency’s Roanoke office. While this is a federal investigation, it is also a personnel matter for Salem PD and at this time the department is not at liberty to release or confirm the employee’s name.  Any further information would need to come from the FBI.

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Roanoke’s normal DMV wait is about five minutes longer than statewide average

DMVDepartment of Motor Vehicles statistics show the typical wait time at the Roanoke customer service center is about five minutes longer than the statewide average.  In Roanoke, the average wait is 26 minutes, 25 seconds, and as WFIR’s Evan Jones reports, the numbers can vary greatly from one DMV office to another.

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DMV says the longest average wait times typically occur in the first and last weeks of each month, on any Saturday, and during the lunch hour.

Click here to see average wait times at every DMV Customer Service Center

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Pipeline developers cite local economic benefits

MtnValley-Logo-HzDevelopers of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline say the project would generate thousands of jobs in Virginia — and increase the property tax revenues in Roanoke, Franklin and Montgomery Counties by at least $1.5 million each. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here for the full economic benefit report.

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Salem’s new police chief: no immediate need for major changes

Tim Guthrie

Tim Guthrie

Salem’s new police chief sees no immediate need for major changes, but he’s open to ideas.  Tim Guthrie will need no introduction to Salem or its police department; he’s been a member of the force for 33 years, and yesterday, he was named chief. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Falling gas prices are welcome, but the trend can’t last forever

Gas-Prices1Average nationwide gas prices have fallen each day for more than two months, but experts say while the trend is welcome, it can’t last forever. That’s because at some price point, producers will have less incentive to drill for oil and operate wells, those needing more expensive methods to produce oil. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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