No 611 excursions this year: VMT

The iconic 611 steam engine will not lead any passenger excursions this year — that word over the weekend from the Virginia Museum of Transportation. But the museum is not ruling out a return in 2019. The VMT says 611 remains in working order, and there will be special events this year to allow you to see it.  WLNI’s Evan Jones has more:
06-18 611 Excursions Wrap-WLNI

News release: ROANOKE, Va. (June 16, 2018) – The Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc. announced new community events today for its iconic 611 Class J locomotive and plans to continue working to explore new opportunities for 611. 611 will not be operating public excursions in 2018, but will be participating in special events. “We are very pleased to announce that we are engaged in substantive conversations about exciting potential 2019 excursions and special appearances for 611. We will continue to seek opportunities for the public to experience a pivotal piece of American history firsthand, under steam”, according to Virginia Museum of Transportation FORWARD 611 Committee Chairman, Trey Davis.

Despite the changes, annual maintenance to keep the famed locomotive operational is ongoing and expected to be finished later this summer at the North Carolina Transportation Museum (NCTM) in Spencer, NC. Upon completion, the 611 will be put back into service.
“We’re working hard to ensure the public continues to have opportunities to engage with 611 and are planning unique events to provide opportunities to experience 611 under steam in 2018,” said VMT Board President Will Harris. “The Virginia Museum of Transportation and NCTM are both planning special events with the locomotive in Roanoke and Spencer NC, respectively. In addition, 611 is slated to again be the highlight of Roanoke’s Big Lick Train Tug on September 29, 2018.”
As is the case for all mainline steam locomotives, PTC (Positive Train Control) is very likely to be a central issue in determining where and how 611 may operate in 2019 and beyond. The FORWARD 611 team at VMT has been studying potential solutions and participating in discussions with other mainline steam operators.

Mass shooting at NJ art festival; one suspect dead

(From CNN) Witnesses told CNN affiliate WPVI the shooting happened around 2:45 a.m. at the Art All Night-Trenton festival at the Roebling Wire Works Building on the south side of the city. “All of a sudden, my brother goes to me, ‘You hear that gunfire?,” said a witness. ” I go, ‘It sounds like fireworks. said the witness to the sounds of gunshots and the chaos afterwards. “He said, “No, that’s gunfire.’ Next thing you know, we turn around and everybody’s running down the street. All hell broke loose,” said the witness. Initial reports says 20 people were wounded. “I saw two police officers escort a guy that got shot in the leg. They bandaged him up and whisked him away before the ambulance came here. It was pretty gnarly,” said a local resident.Police are questioning witnesses to determine if more suspects could be at large, WPVI reported. The dead suspect was a 33-year-old man, police told the station.
Before it was canceled, the festival had been scheduled to run from 3 p.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday. It featured more than 1,500 works of art, live murals and graffiti, dozens of musical performances and a film festival. The event is in its 12th year. “We’re still processing much of this and we don’t have many answers at this time, but please know that our staff, our volunteers, our artists and musicians all seem to be healthy and accounted for. Our sincere, heartfelt sympathies are with those who were injured,” festival organizers said on Facebook.

Corey Stewart, Republican candidate, shares the latest in the run for U.S. Senate

Stewart Campaign photo

Catch Stewart’s full interview on The Morning Line here:

Corey Stewart interview (081518)

Goodlatte, Warner differ sharply on DOJ report

Virginia Senator Mark Warner says the Justice Department Inspector General’s report released yesterday should lead Republicans to stop trying to claim FBI bias against President Trump’s campaign two years ago. But Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte says it demonstrates what he calls a shocking contrast in the ways the FBI investigated that campaign and that of Hillary Clinton — and that difference, he says, requires its own separate investigation. WLNI’s Evan Jones has the story:

06-15 Warner-Goodlatte Wrap-WLNI-WEB

NOVA school board considers change to gender-neutral dress code

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) – A Virginia school board has heard proposals to change the schools dress code to gender-neutral language and adopt a more inclusive sex education curriculum.  WTTG-TV reports Fairfax County School Board members heard the proposals Thursday. A special panel appointed by the board and made up of teachers and administrators designed the proposed sex education curriculum. Supporters say it’s more inclusive of LGBTQ and transgender students. Critics say it would promote transgender issues and contraceptives instead of abstinence. Many critics sent emails to the board asking members to reject the changes as phrases such as “sex assigned at birth” are ideological. Board member Ryan McElveen proposed changing the dress code to prohibit clothing exposing “private areas” or excessive amounts skin. It currently calls for clothing that doesn’t expose cleavage.

Lawn mower blamed for starting house fire that kills dog

Photo: Forest VFD

A lawn mower is believed responsible for starting a fire that heavily damaged a home yesterday in the Huddleston area of Bedford County. The blaze started in the garage area of the home on Amos Bridge Road and spread to other portions before firefighters gained control. A couple is displaced, and their dog died in the fire.





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