A natural gas leak is causing evacuations this afternoon in parts of downtown Lynchburg. City Hall is among the buildings evacuated, and police tell us it is closed for the rest of the day. The city’s Department of Emergency Services asks people to avoid the downtown area until further notice. Several downtown streets are closed to all vehicle and foot traffic.
Advocates fighting to keep Virginia’s training centers open are continuing their push for a slow-down in the state’s plan to close most of its residential facilities for people with disabilities. CVTC in Madison Heights is one of four set to close in the next six year, as part of an agreement the state reached with the Justice department to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Last month, eight of Virginia’s House of Representatives members sent a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, urging him to put the brakes on the process. On Monday, families, support organizations, and legislators are set to meet in Richmond to explore ways to keep the centers open.
Time is running out for some tenants at Lynchburg’s largest low-income apartment building. The Virginian has operated in that capacity since the 1980′s…but it is set to close at the end of the month. About half of the residents have found new homes, but about 40 are still looking. The Lynchburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority – which oversees Section 8 housing, has been reaching out to area landlords for help. LRHA Executive Director Dawn Fagan says the department is working with other community organizations … The main problem is that there aren’t enough affordable housing units in the city. The residents have vouchers to subsidize their rent; the apartments can be anywhere in the region. The target end date is Aug. 31.
Officials say two boats collided in the Roanoke River Channel on Smith Mountain Lake Thursday evening. Sources say least four people were involved with one was seriously injured and transported to a hospital. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tells media outlets that this crash is the second of the boating season on the lake. The first occurred in May when two boats collided near Bernard’s Landing in Moneta. One person died in that crash. This crash is under investigation.
The Campbell County man charged with murder earlier this month has been found guilty of aggravated malicious wounding against another woman. Investigators say Jeffrey Wright hit a woman over the head with a liquor bottle last year. Wright was indicted earlier this month on charges of second-degree murder and unlawful disposal of a body in the disappearance of Wendy Beadles Francis. She was last seen in June 2012.
A Bedford County man will represent the United States in a global athletic event. 36 year old, Jamey Parks is part of the USA Paracanoe National Team. Parks, an above-the-knee amputee leaves for Russia today to compete in the International Canoe Federation’s Sprint World Championships in Moscow next week. Parks lost his left leg, after being hit by a vehicle in 1999. With the help of a prosthetic, Parks told the Jack Murphy show that he’s able to train and compete in Olympic-style sports; he’s been a part of teams that have won gold and two silver medals in the past. The competition takes place August 6th-10th.
The region’s three Congressmen are jointly asking the U.S. Postal Service to reconsider its announced decision to close its Roanoke Processing and Distribution Center. In a letter to the U.S. Postmaster General, Bob Goodlatte, Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt say moving those operations to Greensboro will not help reduce the Postal Services’ ongoing budget deficits because many customers will ship instead through private competitors. Lynchburg’s processing center has already closed, its operations sent to Roanoke.
Two people were taken to Lynchburg General Hospital after a multi vehicle crash Thursday afternoon on Fort Avenue. Police say two separate wrecks merged to become one wreck involving four cars. Investigators believe each rear-ending collision was caused by drivers following too close; those drivers will be charged.
Investigators are looking into a potential case of elder abuse in Bedford County. WSET reports, a 74-year-old woman had two wounds that appeared to be burns when she was taken to the Bedford Memorial Hospital emergency room on July 25, where she was also found to have bed sore on her back; and was wearing an unsanitary adult diaper. According to the report, she had been living with family members. No word on whether charges have been filed yet this morning.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A defense lawyer is attacking the credibility of the key witness in the corruption trial of Virginia’s former governor and his wife. Attorney William Burck zeroed in Friday on inconsistencies in what Jonnie Williams told investigators in several interviews about his association with former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. He also questioned Williams about his stock dealings and whether he was worried that they could be illegal. Williams is testifying under immunity. The McDonnells are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans in exchange for helping the former Star Scientific CEO promote his products.