From the Federal Communications Commission: The commission intends to fine WDBJ Television, Inc., Roanoke, Virginia, $325,000 for broadcasting graphic and sexually explicit material during the station’s evening newscast. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigated viewers’ complaints that WDBJ aired a news report that included graphic sexual images taken from an adult film website in the report. This enforcement action would be the highest fine the Commission has ever taken for a single indecent broadcast on one station. “Our action here sends a clear signal that there are severe consequences for TV stations that air sexually explicit images when children are likely to be watching,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
(Continue reading for the rest of the news release and a link to the full FCC finding.)
From the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office: Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle reports that through an investigation by Botetourt County investigators, two individuals were arrested on Wednesday March 18, 2015 for manufacturing methamphetamine. Deputies obtained a search warrant for a residence in the 3200 block of Blue Ridge Blvd. in the Blue Ridge area of Botetourt County. The Virginia State Police Tact Team responded to assist in executing the warrant. Once inside, an active red phosphorous meth cook in progress was discovered. The Virginia State Police Clandestine Lab team assisted the Botetourt County investigators in dismantling the meth lab. Botetourt County Fire and EMS were also on scene throughout the warrant service to assist and also to provide decontamination for the suspects and officers. Two males were arrested, 46 year old Jeffery T. Gish of Blue Ridge and 39 year old Gary D. Meade Jr. of Roanoke. Deputies transported both individuals to the Botetourt County Jail where both are currently being held without bond. Additional charges are pending.
A drum of materials began smoking yesterday inside an auxiliary building at the AkzoNobel plant in Roanoke. The smoke activated the fire alarm and sprinkler systems, and triggered a precautionary evacuation. The incident was contained to a small building on the site, and there were no injuries. The incident appears to have been caused when a single drum of material used to make coatings for kitchen cabinetry exceed the optimum temperature. Roanoke fire crews removed the drum of material from the building. Production was suspended yesterday, but is expected to resume this morning.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a contract worth approximately $17.9 million to Roanoke-based contractor Branch Highways for a project to improve traffic flow, enhance safety and eliminate congestion at Interstate 81’s exit 150 in Botetourt County. The project includes a new northbound ramp and roundabout. Construction on the improvement project is expected to start in late spring 2015. Estimated completion is fall 2017 with remaining incidental work completed by summer 2018. The CTB also awarded a contract worth approximately $38.7-million to Branch Highways to build the Route 460 Southgate Connector in Blacksburg. The Virginia Department of Transportation says the primary purpose of this project is to improve safety and reduce congestion by replacing the existing signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive with a new interchange. Construction on this project is expected to start this spring with the new interchange open to traffic in December 2018 and final completion in December 2019.
A Buchanan woman faces abduction charges in connection with an incident in her home over the weekend. Forty-one-year-old Suzanne Cole Landes is being held without bond in the Botetourt/Craig Regional Jail.
Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle reports deputies got a call just before 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning from a man who said he’d been tied up in a garage in the area of 17th Street in Buchanan. He said he was spending the night with the homeowner when a man entered the bedroom, discharged a firearm and tied him up. He got free and discovered his car was missing. He called 911 and was transported to a hospital. The sheriff says the suspect was an ex-boyfriend of Landes. Forty-year-old Robert C. Huffman faces charges including breaking and entering and abduction with a weapon. Landes was charged with abduction with a weapon and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Read the rest of this story »
From Senator Ralph Smith: Roanoke County, Virginia, March 16, 2015: At a news conference today, Senator Ralph K. Smith (R-Bedford County) announced he will not seek a third term representing the 19th District in the Senate of Virginia. In announcing his decision, Senator Smith endorsed the candidacy of Dave Suetterlein, his Legislative Director and the current Chairman of the Roanoke County Republican Committee, to succeed him in the Senate.
From the Virginia Tech Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering: The family of senior Cameron Smook has generously established the “Cameron Smook Memorial Scholarship.” Contributions can be made to the Cameron Smook Memorial Scholarship, and mailed to:
Gift Accounting (MC0336)
902 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Contributions may also be made online at Virginia Tech’s Giving Page. Please type in: Cameron Smook Memorial Scholarship under the “enter your own” designation, when making your gift on-line.
Cameron Smook fell off a Carnival Cruise lines ship March 8th. His family says Smook was set to graduate in May and had recently accepted a job offer.
From the Bedford Fire Department: Units responded to 511 South Street for multiple reports of an explosion and a house on fire. The first engine arrived at 12:29 a.m. to find heavy fire showing from a two-story wood frame private dwelling. Two occupants were reported missing initially. After a primary and secondary search proved negative they were located at a nearby house. Seven occupants in all were displaced; six adults and one child. A representative from the Red Cross responded and assisted those occupants with housing and other immediate needs. It took twenty minutes to bring the fire under control. Twenty-eight firefighters from the Town of Bedford, Moneta, and Forest operated. No injuries were reported. The fire is thought to be accidental but is being investigated by the Bedford County Fire Marshall’s Office.
From Virginia Tech: With consent from his family, Virginia Tech can now confirm the identity of the 21-year-old student who was reported missing aboard the Carnival cruise ship Glory Sunday morning. The student is Cameron Smook of Glen Allen, Virginia, a senior majoring in mining and minerals engineering in the College of Engineering. The following is a statement from the family of Cameron Smook:
Our son, Cameron Smook, and several of his friends departed from Miami on Saturday, March 7 aboard the Carnival Glory for a Caribbean cruise. On Sunday morning, March 8 we were notified by Carnival Cruise Line officials that Cameron had accidentally fallen overboard during the night and was missing at sea. The United States Coast Guard was notified and began search and rescue efforts. After conducting an extensive air and sea search these efforts were suspended last evening pending further developments. We thank the Coast Guard for their outstanding service and for keeping us informed throughout this ordeal. Cameron, 21 years of age, is a graduate of Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia, and was scheduled to graduate from Virginia Tech this spring with a degree in Mining Engineering. He thoroughly enjoyed his experiences at Virginia Tech, had just accepted an employment offer, and was looking forward to a very bright future. Our family sincerely appreciates your continued prayers and support at this most difficult time. We also request privacy and ask not to be contacted by members of the media. Memorial service details will be shared at a later date.
(Continue reading for a statement from Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands)