Evan Jones

Governor McDonnell is proposing changes in the way teacher pay is determined — something already in the works in the the Roanoke Valley. Roanoke City Schools are preparing a “Pay for Performance” model in which pay is tied to annual evaluations. And as Evan Jones reports, Botetourt County is developing a different model called “Career Ladders”.

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Roanoke Police say they have charged a city resident with setting fire to a vacant home overnight near Tazewell Avenue and 8th Street SE. Police say the officer who first spotted the fire then saw a man “acting suspiciously” and soon determined he was responsible for starting the fire. Police say 35-year-old William Gregory Hartwell is charged with arson and resisting arrest.

The early-morning fire destroyed a two-story house near the corner of Tazewell Avenue and 8th Street southeast.  Flames were coming through the roof when firefighters got there around 2:00 a.m.  Officials say the building was vacant–and a total loss.

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Governor McDonnell says state public education funding would increase slightly under his budget proposal for the coming year. Area school superintendents say that’s a good start, but they could also use something else: more flexibility to use the money provided. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars this year to comply with new state regulations covering abortion providers, but they say they will comply and remain open. The new rules took effect in the last 10 days. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

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Peace activists will soon be back in front of the Roanoke City Market Building — but their vigils cannot extend around to the outside dining areas. The city says in a news release that the Plowshare Peace and Justice Center will be permitted to resume its monthly assemblies under the Market Building’s canopy along Campbell Avenue.  More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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State officials agree it didn’t make much sense: registering a boat at one state office then going to another to register its trailer. That is the big reason for a change that’s coming January 23rd, one allowing you to register both a boat and its trailer in on place at one time. You will now also be able to pick up hunting and fishing licenses at DMV offices. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Three members of Roanoke City Council will seek re-election this year, and they will run as a team. Anita Price, Court Rosen and Sherman Lea appeared together yesterday for the announcement, and they say Roanoke has benefited in many ways from a council that has worked well together. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Roanoke Democrats choose their candidates for the May municipal election in a firehouse primary next month at William Fleming High School.

Image courtesy: Donkey-Hotey

Virginia Republicans are reconsidering whether to require voters to sign a loyalty oath in the March 6th presidential primary. They’ll revisit the matter later this month, and a local political expert thinks the party is wise to do so. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

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Chief Chris Perkins

The final numbers are not yet out, but 2011 appears ready to go down as the latest of several recent years to see reduced violent crime in Roanoke City.  Through November, homicides in the city were down more than 11%  from the year before and aggravated assaults were down more than 17%.  More on the numbers from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Christopher Lee Saunders

Roanoke Police are investigating their first murder case of the new year, and they are looking for a suspect.  Police say they are seeking 24-year old Christopher Lee Saunders of Roanoke for the murder of 56-year-old Jeffrey Hairston. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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(Continue reading for the full Roanoke Police news release)

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