Across Virginia

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(VA ABC photo)

Virginia ABC officials will host a grand opening ceremony in downtown Roanoke on Campbell Avenue Monday at noon – in the same location that once housed a state-run liquor store for more than 30 years until the early 80’s. The new ABC store even features the original terrazzo flooring.

(from Roanoke PD 1:30pm) Roanoke Police Officer involved in officer-involved shooting on Stratford Park Drive SW, Virginia State Police handling investigation. On January 25, 2023 at approximately 7:19 a.m., Roanoke Police were notified by the City of Roanoke E-911 Dispatch Center of a disorder in the 3700 block of Stratford Park Drive SW. An officer responded to the scene and located an adult male outside on a sidewalk in the area. The officer attempted to speak with the man, who appeared to be agitated. The man grew more aggressive, made several threats to “kill” the officer, and ignored the officer’s attempts at de-escalation. The male subject produced a knife and began moving towards the officer, who continued attempts to verbally deescalate the situation while backing away from the male subject.

As the man continued advancing towards the officer, the officer fired one shot from his service weapon, striking the male subject. Roanoke Fire-EMS transported the man to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment. No Roanoke Police Officers were injured during this incident.

In accordance with department policy, Virginia State Police were notified and will be investigating this incident. The officer involved will be placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Virginia State Police will be releasing further updates.

EARLIER UPDATE: One person is hospitalized following an officer involved shooting this morning at Leehy Manor apartments along Stratford Park drive in Southwest Roanoke. An officer was attempting to de-escalate the situation when the person pulled out a knife. The suspect’s injuries are not life threatening.

Previous: There are reports of a heavy police presence this morning at Leehy Manor apartments along Stratford Park drive in Southwest Roanoke. Police have not confirmed what is going on. Several social media posts indicate police had to resolve a domestic situation. Roanoke City School Buses have been unable to continue routes near the scene.

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Hunter Tyson had the option to pass, drive or shoot on Clemson’s final play. Tyson chose to follow coach Brad Brownell’s main instruction in the time out with the Tigers down by two: “If you’re open, shoot it.”

Tyson did, making a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go to lift the 19th-ranked Tigers to a dramatic, 51-50 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Tyson had missed five of his previous six from behind the arc. Yet, Brownell called his number.

“They stayed confident, drew up a play for me and I shot it pretty well,” Tyson said.

Did you have any doubts it wouldn’t go in?

“No,” Tyson said with a smile.

PJ Hall had 20 points and eight rebounds while Tyson finished with 12 points and nine boards as Clemson (16-4, 8-1 ACC) continued its surprise run atop the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“I just felt like he was going to make a play today,” Brownell said of Tyson, who had five straight double-doubles in ACC play earlier this season.

Tyson’s play helped the Tigers bounce back from their first league loss after returning to the Top 25, at Wake Forest 87-77, on Tuesday.

Brownell acknowledged it was not an “aesthetically pleasing” game — both teams shot under 39% and combined to go 9 of 40 on 3s — but his players kept up their rugged defense to keep within reach after the Hokies rallied from five down to lead in the final three minutes.

Virginia Tech was still up 50-48 on Grant Basile’s foul shot before Tyson’s big moment.

The Hokies had a final chance, but Hunter Cattoor’s 3 was off the mark and Tyson came up with the ball, holding it high as time ran out.

The sold-out crowd erupted as it had moments before as Tyson’s shot went through.

Brownell said the game was important to show Clemson, which came in averaging nearly 76 points a game, can win in different styles. “This is when you have a good team,” he said.

Clemson, which trailed 33-26 early in the second half, had regained momentum after Hall’s three-point play built a 44-39 lead with less than eight minutes left over the cold-shooting Hokies, who were in the midst of a 1-for-16 run from the field. But Michael Collins Jr.’s 3 and Basile’s inside shot tied things at 44 to set up the final stretch.

Basile, who led the Hokies with 13 points, missed the second of two foul shots with 21.5 seconds to hold a 50-48 edge.

For Virginia Tech, coach Mike Young said there’s plenty of time to regain its footing.

“You turn the page and move on with the hand we’ve been dealt,” he said.


Virginia Tech: The Hokies were way off target throughout the second half, finishing the period with only six field goals on 25% shooting. From long range, they were worse as they went just 2 of 11 behind the arc.

Clemson: The Tigers need injured junior point guard Chase Hunter back in a hurry. Without him there this week, Clemson fell at Wake Forest and was in a tight one throughout with the Hokies.


Brownell was unsure when his two injured players, Alex Hemenway and Hunter, might return. Hemenway, a senior who’s perhaps the team’s most reliable 3-point shooter, has missed the past eight game. Hunter has missed the last two. Brownell said both are expected back at some point this season, although he couldn’t pinpoint when.


Virginia Tech returns home to play Duke on Monday night.

Clemson hosts Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Legislation that would give inmates in Virginia prisons free phone calls and email access and reduce the costs of food and other commissary items in local jails won approval Friday from a Democrat-led Senate committee. The bills are expected to face longer odds in the Republican-controlled state House.

Inmate advocates who support a bill sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Boysko to allow prison inmates access to free communications said the costs for inmates to keep in touch with their loved ones can reach hundreds of dollars a month and often put the families of inmates in debt. They also said that keeping in touch with family members during incarceration is an important benefit that helps inmates stay connected with a support system that makes it easier for them to reenter society after they complete their sentences.

“It will allow for fathers to have a constant contact with their children, (so) that when they’re released or their time is up from prison, that will add a smoother transition for them to welcome back into the home, back into their community,” Richard Walker, a formerly incarcerated convicted felon, told the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee.

A separate bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Morrissey would eliminate or cap fees charged to inmates in local and regional jails, including fees charged for snacks, hygiene products and other items inmates buy in jail commissaries. The bill, which calls for pricing goods sold in commissaries at a maximum of 10% above typical market rates for such items, faces strong oppositions from sheriffs, who run the jails and say the fees are used to pay for rehabilitative, educational and recreational programs for inmates.

“I’m trying to be reasonable and fair, but I also don’t want to see the value of the programs that we have go away because we lack funding,” said Henrico County Sheriff Alisa Gregory.

Morrissey said the costs for inmate communications vary widely among jails around the state, with some relatively low, but others with what he called “exorbitant” prices. He cited one jail he said charges $14.30 for a 15-minute phone call and another that charges 53 cents for every email.

“The gouging of prisoners — it’s not the way we operate in a decent society,” Morrissey said after the hearing.


It was not immediately clear how much the state would have to pay to make up for the revenue that would be lost if communications fees are eliminated and fees for commissary items are reduced. Both bills were referred to the Finance & Appropriations Committee. If approved, the bills would then go to the full Senate for a vote.

The bills are expected to face a more difficult time in the House of Delegates, where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority. A similar jail fees bill proposed by Democratic Del. Irene Shin was rejected by a House subcommittee on Thursday.

This morning at 3:25 a.m., Roanoke Fire-EMS was dispatched for reports of a structure fire on the 1300 block of Purcell Ave NE. First arriving units found flames showing from the roof where one civilian was also trapped. Fire-EMS personnel rescued the trapped civilian,  evacuated four additional occupants, and brought the fire under control within 30 minutes.One civilian was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No injuries to Fire-EMS personnel were reported. Four residents were displaced. An investigation determined the cause of the fire was accidental electrical. Damages to the structure and its contents are estimated to be $30,000.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Amazon Web Services plans to invest $35 billion in new data centers in Virginia under a deal with the state, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Friday.

Millions of dollars in incentives to close the deal still require legislative approval, but General Assembly leaders in both parties expressed support in a news release issued by Youngkin’s office.

Still, data centers have become a politically volatile topic, particularly in northern Virginia, where the structures are increasingly common and where neighbors are voicing noise and environmental concerns.

Data centers house the computer servers and hardware required to support modern internet use, and demand continues to increase. But the data centers require high-powered fans and extensive cooling capacity that can generate noise. They also consume huge amounts of electricity that can require construction of high-voltage transmission lines to support them.

Bills proposed in the legislature this year would increase regulate where centers could be located.

The governor’s office said the locations of the data centers, to be built by 2040, will be determined at a later date. But tech companies prefer northern Virginia because it is close to the historical backbone of the internet, and proximity to those connection points provides nanoseconds of advantage that are of importance to tech companies that rely on the servers to support financial transactions, gaming technology and other time-sensitive applications.

Bill Wright, a Prince William County resident who opposed a massive data center expansion recently approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors over considerable community opposition, said Friday’s announcement shows that “the influence of big tech money has become intoxicating to our politicians.”

He said that he does not object to data centers in and of themselves and hopes that the state will place them in areas that don’t harm the environment, and in rural areas where jobs are needed. But he expressed skepticism that the state is willing to stand up to tech companies that want the centers in northern Virginia.

“Northern Virginia is being overwhelmed by these things,” Wright said. “We may as well start calling ourselves the Commonwealth of Amazon.”

Suzanne Clark, a spokeswoman the the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, said Amazon Web Services is exploring several site locations “in collaboration with the Commonwealth” but did not specify any sites.

Northern Virginia has been a tech hub since the formation of the internet, and now hosts more data centers than the next five largest U.S. markets combined, according to the Northern Virginia Technology Council. They have also proven to be a cash cow for local governments that embrace them — data centers now provide for more than 30 percent of the general fund budget of Loudoun County, a suburb of the nation’s capital with more than 400,000 residents.

Another data center opponent, Elena Schlossberg with the Coalition to Protect Prince William County, expressed dismay that Youngkin felt emboldened to announce a data center deal in a year when state and local officials are all on the election ballot in Virginia — and as community concern over data centers is growing.

“That is just mind-boggling that he does not see that communities are uniting” in opposition to data centers, she said.

In a tweet, Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said $35 billion represents the largest capital investment in Virginia history. In terms of jobs, the governor’s office said it is expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs across the state. That pales in comparison to the 25,000 jobs associated with Amazon’s decision in 2018 to build a second headquarters in Arlington County.

The deal calls for Amazon to receive incentives from a new Mega Data Center Incentive Program, as well as a grant of up to $140 million for workforce development site improvements and other costs. Both will require legislative approval.

The exact amount of the grant under the incentive program will depend on how many jobs are created, according to the enabling legislation under consideration by the General Assembly. It will also include temporary exemptions from a sales and use tax levied on data centers in Virginia.

State Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, is sponsoring legislation that would restrict the placement of data centers near natural or historic resources. Petersen said Virginia risks being overwhelmed by data centers if protections aren’t put in place.

“In my opinion, the data centers are short-term financial gains with long-term environmental consequences. Industrial buildings with no actual workers are not the economy of the future,” he said. “In fact, they may well be obsolete in a decade. Meanwhile, we are losing valuable farmland and historic sites.”

An Amazon Web Services spokesman declined to comment on the record over how many data centers are planned and Amazon’s preferences for where to locate them.

Elijah Campbell

Update: Elijah Campbell has been found safe this evening in Bristol, TN. There are no other details to provide at this time


Previous:Roanoke County Police are searching for a 17 year-old with autism in the Mt. Pleasant area of the County. Police say Elijah Campbell has been missing since approximately 2:00 a.m. Elijah was last seen near his residence off of Rutrough Road, wearing a gray t-shirt and black shorts.

Elijah is described as a black male, approximately 5’4″, 105 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. He also has a cast on his leg. Elijah is part of the police department’s Project Lifesaver program and has wandered off before. Officers are unable to locate him through the tracking device at this time.

Anyone with information about Elijah is asked to call the Emergency Communications Center at (540) 562-3265.

If you are raising a family in Virginia, a new study suggests the commonwealth is somewhere near the middle of the best states to do so. The personal finance site Wallet Hub examined 51 publicly-available data sets, looking at factors that include median annual family income, housing affordability and unemployment rates, and it ranks Virginia 21st among the 50 states for raising a family. According to their rankings, Virginia compares well against most states for health and safety, education and child care, but not as well in other areas like affordability and family fun. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

Click here to see the full WalletHub report.

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