Evan Jones

Roanoke Comm. Garden Association Photo

There is now a third “community garden” up and running in Roanoke — common spaces for people and organizations to grow produce.  There’s been one for several years in Southeast, another in Hurt Park and, as of yesterday, a community garden near the Ram House along Campbell Avenue. WFIR’s Evan Jones reports on this growing concept.

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Click here for the Roanoke Community Garden Association web page.

 

The Roanoke region is now “Virginia’s Blue Ridge” — at least for tourism purposes. As WFIR’s Evan Jones reports, the idea is to make people think of Roanoke when they think Blue Ridge and increase tourism as a result.

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(Continue reading for the full news release.) Continue reading

As Earth Day approaches, there are two upcoming area events designed to keep computers and other electronic equipment from heading to landfills.

It starts with a computer recycling event Friday afternoon from 4:00 to 7:00 at Salem City Hall. The city is working with ITT Technical Institute to refurbish as many computers as possible for placement with low-income families. Click here for full information.

There is another event Saturday from 9:00 to 3:00 at the  Roanoke Civic Center. It covers a long list of electronics and kitchen items. Click here for full information.  More on this event from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Advance Auto Parts is providing a $125,000 boost to Virginia Western Community College and to its students who benefit from a tuitition-free education. The Community College Access Program provides two years at Virginia Western — with all covered expenses paid — to Roanoke City, Salem and Franklin County students who meet the guidelines. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Botetourt County residents face tax increases next year: seven cents in the real estate tax rate and eight cents on personal property. Supervisors hold a public hearing on the proposal tonight at 7:00 pm at Lord Botetourt High School. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Adoption of a final budget is scheduled for April 25. Click here for Botetourt County’s budget web site.

Heather Hodges

A Franklin County woman has been missing for more than a week now despite many efforts to find her. 22-year-old Heather Hodges is the mother of a two-year-old girl, and she has not been seen since April 9th. The latest from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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(Continue reading for the full Franklin County Sheriff’s Office news release)

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Roanoke City Council has four weeks to decide on a final budget for the next fiscal year. City Manager Chris Morrill and his staff presented the spending plan yesterday. It calls for a 3% pay hike for city employees, which would be their first in four years. It also would provide retired Roanoke  city workers a 1 1/2% hike in their pensions. The $252,757,000 proposal does not include any increase in city tax rates. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Click here for a look at the proposed FY2013 Roanoke City Budget.

 

State lawmakers return to Richmond Tuesday to vote on a new Virginia budget, but approval still appears uncertain in the evenly-divided State Senate. One of the biggest issues is state funding to offset tolls in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads — tolls to pay for new transportation projects in those regions. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Virginia Tech marks a dark moment in its history today, one that is anything but forgotten five years later. The Day of Remembrance is designed to honor the 32 people shot to death this day in 2007  and provide support to those who remain affected by the tragedy. Most of the current students were not on campus then, but some now play a role in determining how Virginia Tech remembers this day. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here for Virginia Tech Day of Remembrance information

As firefighters continue battle thousands of acres of Virginia wildfires, some portions of the region’s national forests are closed to all public uses until further notice. Large fires can unleash unexpected dangers like sending rocks down hillsides, and civilian traffic can also get in the way of firefighting equipment.

Click here for a link to full information on closed areas of the Jefferson and George Washington National Forests.