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Evan Jones

Image: Lynchburg City

The third and final phase of rehabilitation work is set to begin Tuesday on the Midtown Parking Deck in downtown Lynchburg. It will involve closing the access road off Main Street and temporary closures of ramps to upper levels. City officials say they’ll make every effort to maintain as much parking as possible on each level during that time.

NEWS RELEASE: Rehabilitation work is continuing on the Midtown Parking Deck in Downtown Lynchburg. Work has been completed on Phase One, and work on Phase Two is ending. Work on Phase Three (deck levels A & B) is expected to begin on Tuesday, August 13. As always, this work is weather permitting.

Phase Three is expected to take several weeks. The final phase will consist of closing the alley way (access road) off Main Street and the ramps to levels B, C and D of the deck for a short period of time to allow for the waterproofing of these areas and the curing time necessary to the process. Every effort is being made to reduce the amount of time for this process and to lessen the impact to users of the deck.

This project will consist of structural and safety repairs that include repairs to the concrete, cracks, joints, railings and steel columns, as wells as deck resurfacing/coating, masonry repairs and re-striping. The repairs will be conducted in stages and will require blocking a number of spaces as work progresses on each level.

Efforts will be made to maintain as much parking as possible within each level along with access to that level; however, access will be limited when work is being performed on the deck ramps.  Parking Management is working to find alternate parking options for permit holders should it become necessary to relocate vehicles.

The City apologizes for any inconvenience.  Updates will be made available throughout the project.

A former Bedford County Sheriff’s Deputy – who was a school resource officer at Liberty High School – entered a guilty plea today to an inappropriate relationship with a student.  Daniel Clark was charged with inappropriate text messages and conversations with a teenage girl. The judge kept any sentencing under advisement until November 2021. In the meantime, the plea agreement calls no contact with the girl or her family, and Clark must submit proof of professional counseling services.

The organization that brought the Veterans Day parade back to Lynchburg after an 80-year absence says it will not conduct a similar parade this year. The Lynchburg Area Veterans Council says it has changed its mission to focus more on providing direct help to individual veterans – especially when it comes to housing – and it must concentrate its efforts and resources now on meeting that need.

NEWS RELEASE:   [The Lynchburg Area Veterans Council] has recently changed its mission focus in an effort to provide more help directly to individual veterans, especially in the area of housing.  There are a number of homeless veterans in the Lynchburg area, and this number is likely to increase over the next two or three years as incarcerated veterans are released with no home to go to, i.e., no home plan.  Because of this serious need in our area, and due to limited time and resources, LAVC will not be conducting a Veterans Day Parade this year.  We are proud that we were able to have the parade for the last two years, especially because this was the first Veterans Day Parade in the Lynchburg area since 1938.  We thank our great sponsors who helped make the parade possible, and ask that they continue to partner with us as we now emphasize veteran housing.

Established in 2014, the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council, a 501c3 nonprofit publicly supported charity, provides services and resources for veterans and veterans’ organizations, with the help of local businesses, civic groups, and individuals.  Together, we support the needs of local veterans, in Lynchburg and the surrounding counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell.  LAVC is an all-volunteer group with no paid staff.  The veteran groups that partner with LAVC are:  American Legion Post 16, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 196, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1607, Desmond T. Doss Post 12179 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the World Wars Piedmont Chapter, and Detachment # 759 Marine Corps League.

The sole purpose of our program is to support our area veterans, so classically stated by President Lincoln, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

Our Council believes that every service member, veteran, and their family members should know and understand the benefits to which they are entitled, and we seek to foster relationships within the community and our veterans groups for the common good of our community.

Democrats in Virginia are pointing to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton as reasons to pass new gun laws in the state. Virginia Tech Professor Bob Denton says this comes just as a few swing districts could determine which party controls the General Assembly next year — and he says those districts generally have growing numbers of voters who identify as Democrats. WLNI’s Evan Jones has more:

08-07 Guns-Campaign Wrap-WLNI-WEB

Lynchburg Police say the person who broke into Jo Jo Pizza on Lakeside Drive over the weekend appears to be a white male, and he may have injured himself before escaping with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police have released store surveillance video that you can see below, and they ask anyone who can help identify or locate the suspect to contact them.

NEWS RELEASE:  The Lynchburg Police Department is investigating a burglary from Jo Jo Pizza that occurred last weekend. On August 4, 2019, at 10:37 a.m., officers responded to 1400 Lakeside Drive for a report of breaking and entering. An unknown offender or offenders were able to escape with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect appears to be a white male who sustained an injury during the incident that may have required medical attention.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. Davis at 434-455-6166, or Crime Stoppers at (888)798-5900. Enter a tip online at or use the P3 app on a mobile device.

Photo: Appalachian Power

A popular fishing spot just below the Leesville Dam is now closed over safety concerns surrounding its structural soundness. Officials say waters have undercut the Tailrace Fishing Access, so it is now closed until further notice. The river launch area just downstream of the catwalk will remain open, as will the parking lot and restrooms there.

NEWS RELEASE: The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and Appalachian Power have closed the Leesville Dam Tailrace Fishing Access along the Staunton River in Campbell County. The Leesville Fishing Area is located on the north side of the river below the dam and provided access for bank fishing only within the tailwater of the Dam. Leesville Dam is the lower dam of the two-reservoir Smith Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project operated by Appalachian Power in southwestern Virginia.

Due to age and water undercutting the platforms, structural damage has occurred resulting in a public safety concern. It was originally closed but partially reopened in July. However, after further assessment, it has been determined it is no longer safe for public access. The Leesville tailrace fishing area is very popular with anglers and provides much-needed bank access to the Staunton River. Anglers routinely catch Walleye, Saugeye and Striped Bass during the spring spawning runs and some remain in the pool year-round. Smallmouth Bass, Roanoke/Rock Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Redbreast Sunfish, Flathead Catfish, and Channel Catfish are also routinely caught at this site. Anglers will still be able to launch canoes and kayaks from the launch area located downstream of the catwalk. The parking lot and restrooms will also remain open.

State Police say two people were killed and two others were hurt, when an SUV ran off a roadway a few miles southwest of Farmville, overturned several times, and ejected them. It happened last week on Five Forks Road. Police identify the victims as the driver, 61-year-old Willie Paterson of Farmville, and 38-year-old Catrisa Paterson of Pamplin. Two others were sent for hospital treatment.

NEWS RELEASE: Virginia State Police Senior Trooper J.T. Farris is investigating a single-vehicle fatal crash in Prince Edward County. The crash occurred July 31, 2019 at 6:37 p.m. on Route 658, east of Route 650. A 1999 Ford Explorer was traveling along Route 658 when it first ran off the right side of the road, crossed over the roadway and then ran off the left side of the road. The vehicle overturned several times ejecting both the driver and passenger.

The driver, Willie K. Paterson Jr., 61, of Farmville, Va., died at the scene. The passenger, Catrisa L. Paterson, 38, of Pamplin, Va., was transported to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, where she died later that same night. A 2-year-old male passenger was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries. He was not secured in a child safety seat. A 17-year-old male passenger was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The 17-year-old was wearing a seat belt. Neither of the deceased was wearing a seat belt.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

State Police have released the name of the motorcyclist killed on the US 29 bypass Sunday afternoon in Amherst County. He is 61-year-old Paul Zavilla, Junior of Appomattox. Police say he ran into the rear of a tractor trailer while heading north. Zavailla was pronounced dead at the scene.

NEWS RELEASE: Virginia State Police is investigating a two-vehicle crash in Amherst County. The crash occurred Sunday (Aug. 4) at 4:56 p.m. on the Route 29 Bypass near the Route 210 on-ramp. A 2001 Suzuki VL 1500 motorcycle was traveling north in the right lane on the Route 29 Bypass. According to witnesses, as the motorcycle was attempting to merge into the left lane, it rear-ended a tractor-trailer traveling ahead of it in the right, northbound lane.

The motorcyclist, Paul L. Zavilla Jr., 61, of Appomattox, Va., died at the scene. He was wearing a helmet. The tractor-trailer driver was not injured in the crash.

The Virginia State Police Appomattox Division’s Crash Reconstruction Team and the state police Motor Carrier Safety Team responded to the scene to assist with the ongoing investigation.

Descendants of Rockbridge County’s first settler are gathering this weekend in the Lexington area to mark a moment that marks not just family history but that of the county as well. John McDowell moved there in 1742, part of the great migration southward through the Shenandoah Valley and eventually to Cumberland Gap. Life was anything but easy then for the settlers — including John McDowell, who did not live long after coming to Virginia. More from WLNI’s Evan Jones:

08-06 McDowell Reunion Wrap-WLNI-WEB

Lynchburg city crews will perform what is called “minor repair work” at the College Lake Dam this week, and that means Lakeside Drive will be closed between Moormans Road and Old Forest Road starting Tuesday. City officials expect Lakeside to reopen next Monday.

NEWS RELEASE: Beginning Tuesday, August 6, a portion of Lakeside Drive (between Moormans Road and Old Forest Road) will be temporarily closed to allow crews from the Department of Water Resources to perform minor repair work on the College Lake Dam.  It is anticipated that this portion of Lakeside Drive will reopen by Monday, August 12. A detour route will be in place, and motorists are asked to obey all signage and use caution while traveling near the work zone. Emergency vehicles will not have access to the closed road during this time and must use the detour route.