Brad grose-Walnut Avenue bridge

Vinton Mayor Brad Grose drives his Ford Maverick over the new Walnut Avenue bridge

Vinton officials cut the ribbon on the new Walnut Avenue bridge this morning as they wrapped up a year-long project … Mayor Brad Grose had the honor of driving the first car across the new bridge – his vintage 1971 Ford Maverick … Grose says the new bridge is safer. Sidewalks and bike lanes from the Walnut Avenue bridge will be extended to downtown Vinton and the new Glade Creek Greenway will extend from the other side of the bridge towards Roanoke. WFIR’s Gene Marrano spoke to Mayor Grose:

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Local substance counselor likes hydrocodone reclassification

Health-NewsThe Drug Enforcement Administration has reclassified hydrocodone combination drugs as a schedule 2 medication … A substance abuse counselor at the Mount Regis Center in Salem says that is a good step. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more:

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Governor, lawmakers announce Va. budget cuts

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers are announcing cuts to state agencies, universities, and local governments to help fill a projected budget gap and preserve Virginia’s AAA bond rating. The governor and Republican lawmakers said at a Capitol news conference Monday that they have agreed to cuts of $192 million to state agencies, $90 million for higher education, and $60 million for aide to local governments over the next two years. The budget plan won’t affect K-12 spending and will not include any increase in fees or taxes. McAuliffe praised GOP lawmakers for their willingness to work with him to address a projected $882 million shortfall over the biennium, saying the bipartisan approach was needed “to send a signal to Wall Street” and preserve the state’s sterling bond rating.

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UVA student missing; not seen or heard from since early Saturday morning

Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham

From the University of Virginia: The Charlottesville Police Department is investigating a missing person incident involving a University of Virginia student, Hannah Elizabeth Graham. Hannah is a white female and 18 years old. She is approximately 5’11″ tall with a skinny build. She has blue eyes, light brown hair and has freckles. She was last seen wearing a black crop top with mesh cut outs. The last contact she had with friends was via text message at 1:20 a.m. on September 13, 2014. Anyone with information regarding Hannah is asked to contact the Charlottesville Police Department at 434-970-3280 or Crimestoppers at 434-977-4000.

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Salem VA Medical Center holds Town Hall Meeting today for veterans to present questions, concerns

Veterans Affairs SealThe Salem VA Medical Center holds a town hall meeting later today for veterans — and anyone else — to offer feedback and suggestions for the center’s operations. As WFIR’s Evan Jones, reports, the VA is conducting similar meetings at every facility in the country.

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Day one for Botetourt County’s first Fire-EMS Chief

Jeff Beckner

Jeff Beckner

Today is the first day on the job for Botetourt County’s first-ever Chief of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more on the appointment of Jeff Beckner.

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Va. gov to release details on budget cut agreement

 

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is set to release details on budget cuts for the next two years. McAuliffe and leaders of the General Assembly are scheduled to attend a news conference on the agreement Monday. McAuliffe announced the agreement Saturday after appearing at the annual meeting of the Virginia Governmental Employees Association. McAuliffe has said officials are projecting a revenue shortfall of nearly $2.4 billion over a three-year period. State agencies have until Friday to submit plans to cut spending by 5 percent in the first year and 7 percent in the second year.

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Virginia income tax dependence cited in report

standard-poors-logoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A report by the investment rating agency Standard & Poor’s says the income gap is undermining budgets in Virginia and other states. The S&P report released Monday says Virginia is among the 10 states most reliant on income tax revenues. It concludes that income inequality is contributing to slower economic growth in the U.S. and as a result, states are facing rising tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets. The report says that average annual state revenue growth fell to 5 percent, from 10 percent, from 1980 to 2011. At the same time, the top 1 percent of earners doubled their share of total income. Virginia saw average annual tax revenue growth has slowed to around 3.6 percent per year since 2000.

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Board suspends Roanoke Co. physician’s license

Steven Collins

Steven Collins

 

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The state Board of Medicine has suspended the license of a Roanoke County physician charged with possessing child pornography. The board entered an order last week suspending the license of Dr. Steven Collins. The board found that Collins presented a “substantial danger” to public health or safety. The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/ZjBpKt) reports federal authorities found images of child porn on a computer at Collins’ private practice in August when they arrived to investigate another matter. Collins has been terminated as medical director of the Roanoke Treatment Center, a methadone clinic.

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VA tax collections up slightly in August; longer-term picture not yet clear

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia tax collections increased slightly in August.  Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Friday that general fund revenues were up 1.7 percent from August of 2013. He says that’s an encouraging sign, but cautions that August is not a significant month for revenue collections. The governor says September collections will complete the first quarter of the fiscal year and provide a better picture of revenue growth. Last month’s increase was driven by the individual income tax and the state sales tax. Payroll withholding taxes make up nearly two-thirds of general fund revenues, and they increased by 1.7 percent.  The sales tax accounts for nearly one-fifth of the general fund. It increased by 4.5 percent.

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