Matching grants leverage parks improvements in Roanoke County

Roanoke-CountyA matching grant program that’s been around since 1994 in Roanoke County has led to numerous improvements at local parks – with residents doing their share. WFIR’s Gene Marrano explains:

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Bomb threat disrupts Roanoke County elementary school

Roonoke County SchoolsRoanoke County school officials say a bomb threat disrupted  classes today at Burlington Elementary School, but a police search turned up nothing suspicious. The latest message: Burlington Elementary has been cleared by the Roanoke County Police Department.  Students have returned to the building.  Dismissal will take place as scheduled with an increased police presence.  We thank the Roanoke Co. Police Dept. for their prompt response.  We continue to investigate this incident.

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Police hope surveillance photo helps nab Papa John’s attempted robbery suspect

Papa John's SuspectFrom Roanoke City Police: On April 23, 2016 at 1:13 a.m. Roanoke Police responded to a report of an attempted robbery at the Papa John’s in the 4500 block of Williamson Road NW. The suspect, seen in the attached photo, had already left the scene on foot before officers arrived. A Papa John’s employee told officers the suspect walked into the business and demanded money from the cash register.  The employee said the suspect displayed a large knife. The suspect left the store without obtaining any money or property. He’s described as being between 5’8″ to 5’10” and weighing approximately 160 lbs. Anyone with information can call our tipline at 540-344-8500.  Calls can be anonymous.  You can also send an anonymous text message to CRIMES [274637]. Please start your text message with the keyword RoanokePD: to ensure that it’s properly sent.

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RVSPCA holds new event this weekend

rvspca logoAn “un-marathon” this weekend will raise money for the Roanoke Valley SPCA. WFIR’s Starr Anderson has the details.

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Vinton man charged with animal cruelty after dog is found dead: “not likely of natural causes”

Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson

From Vinton Police: Vinton, VA – On April 25, 2016 at 4:28 PM, officers of the Vinton Police Department were called to a private residence located in the 600 block of South Maple Street, in reference to a “wellbeing check.” Family members reported having difficulty contacting the resident of the home, Mr. Gary Edward Thompson, age 45, and were concerned for his health and safety. Through their interaction with Mr. Thompson, at his home, Vinton officers discovered a deceased German Sheppard on the front lawn of the home. An examination of the dog at the scene indicated the dog did not likely die of natural causes. On April 26, 2016 the body of the animal was transported to the Lynchburg Regional Animal Health Laboratory for a necropsy examination so as to confirm the manner and cause of death. Mr. Thompson was subsequently arrested and charged with violation of 3.2-6570 (F) of the Code of Virginia and transported by officers of the Vinton Police Department to the Roanoke County–Salem Jail.

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Update on yesterday’s house fire in Roanoke County

Roanoke-County

UPDATE from Roanoke County Fire & Rescue: April 28, 2016 (ROANOKE COUNTY)—Fire investigators determined the house fire started in the garage but the damage is too extensive to determine what specifically sparked the fire. The fire is believed to be accidental in nature and damage estimates are $250,000. The house is a total loss as well as two vehicles.A couple and their two dogs are displaced and staying with family. On a secondary search of the home, firefighters were able to rescue the two dogs. They were found on two different floors, covered in soot and scared. Paramedics cleaned them off and they should be okay. The injured firefighter is doing good.

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From Roanoke County Fire & Rescue: April 27, 2016 (ROANOKE COUNTY)— Roanoke County Fire & Rescue was dispatched to the 1900 block of Springmill Road at 4:08 p.m. for a reported structure fire. When crews first arrived on scene they found a two-story house with flames coming from the front and side of the home. Soon after arrival, flames burned through the roof and the roof began to partially collapse forcing firefighters to fight the flames from outside the structure. Firefighters from the Fort Lewis and Masons Cove stations as well as Salem units worked for more than 30 minutes to get the flames knocked down. The siding of the next door house melted as a result of the flames. The homeowner called 911 when she saw flames in her garage. She reported that two dogs were in the house. Firefighters were able to rescue the two dogs and paramedics provided care to them on scene. One firefighter was transported for what is believed to be a minor injury. Fire investigators are on scene working to determine what sparked the fire.

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Supreme Court hears former Governor McDonnell’s case

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in the appeal of former Governor Bob McDonnell and The High Court is expected to make a decision on the case in June. WFIR’s Ian Price has details:

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Virginia Republicans to elect more than a quarter of state delegates Saturday to national convention

WFIR-campaign-2016The Republican Party of Virginia holds its state convention Saturday, and at stake are some of delegates who will help the GOP select its presidential nominee. The state party will elect 13 of Virginia’s 49 delegates. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

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Broadband Authority’s director explains their role

Frank Smith-Broadband Authority

Frank Smith-Broadband Authority

There’s been some grumbling about the new Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority – concerning the “government” getting into the high speed internet business. The Authority’s president and CEO wants to clarify their mission as WFIR’s Gene Marrano reports:

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Virginia state senator travels to Syria, praises Assad

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The official Syrian news agency says a conservative Virginia state senator is touring the war-torn country and meeting with officials from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Loudoun County Republican Sen. Dick Black arrived in Syria on Tuesday for a three-day visit. President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials have repeatedly said Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule the country, but Black has praised Assad, saying he has protected Christians in Syria and fought against terrorist groups. The Syrian Arab News Agency erroneously reported that Black is a U.S. senator. Black is a state representative who has no role in official U.S. foreign policy. The outspoken socially conservative senator sent a letter praising Assad in 2014 that was posted on the Syrian president’s Facebook page.

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