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    • Martinsville Daily

      Sunday's Headlines

      By Martinsville Daily, in News,

      A late-night fire destroyed a mobile home Saturday at 180 Lambeth Drive about 11:40 PM. Firefighters found fire coming from beneath the trailer and smoke and flames coming from inside. Although the fire was brought under control, the trailer was deemed a total loss. The structure was being renovated and vacant at the time. An electrical short was determined to be the cause. There were no injuries.
      It was the second extra-innings game in as many nights between Martinsville and Peninsula, but Saturday night the Pilots got the best of the Mustangs, 4-2 in 11 innings. Martinsville is 17 and 20 on the season with 14 games left and 8 home dates. They are off today, play the Owls at Forest on Monday and will play again at Hooker Field on Wednesday. 
      The last game before the All-Star break will be today as the National play the Mets. Gametime 1:10 PM on WMVA-AM1450.

    • Saturday's Headlines

      By Martinsville Daily, in News,

      In your weather - High pressure over the region will allow for generally dry weather with seasonable temperatures through the weekend. Increasing heat and humidity is expected to return along with better chances of showers and storms ahead of the next cold front for early next week. Today’s high will be 89, tomorrow 90, Monday and Tuesday 91, 88 on Wednesday, 86 Thursday and 84 on Friday. There is a 20 percent chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. 30 percent chance Monday. 50 percent chance Tuesday, and a 40 percent chance Wednesday. 
      The last time 26-year-old Tykese Tinsley was seen alive, he was stepping into a black van driven by an acquaintance outside of a Martinsville convenience store on the afternoon of June 25, according to search warrants filed in Pittsylvania Circuit Court. Four days later, the Martinsville man’s body would be found lying next to a small cemetery in Axton.  Identified as a homicide by the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke, a search warrant filed July 3 said Tinsley had been shot three times in the head. Records show the acquaintance to be involved with Tinsely during his last hours, but the person has not been charged and has not been identified as a person of interest. 
      With the passage of new state legislation, Virginia public schools will be required to incorporate mental health education into ninth and 10th grade health classes. The state law — passed unanimously by the House of Delegates and the Senate in March — calls for physical and health education to have standards that “recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health and the relationship of physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes and behavior that promote health, well-being, and human dignity.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia’s suicide rates have risen about 17 percent since 1999. Nationally, there has been a 25-percent increase.
      Franklin County authorities seized meth, pills and arrested two people as part of a drug investigation Wednesday. As part of the investigation, members of the Franklin County Patrol and Narcotics Units went to a home in the 700 block of Doe Run Road in Rocky Mount, where they seized 20.5 grams of meth as well as pills. While at the home, they arrested James Smith, 53, and Jennifer Dillon, 37. Both are from Glade Hill, Virginia. Smith is charged with possession with the intent to distribute a schedule I or II controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. Dillon faces the same charges, as well as one count of possession of narcotics inside of a jail facility. The Sheriff's Office says this an ongoing investigation and additional charges may be pending.
      The weekend trip to a portion of the North Carolina coast is going to be impacted by construction on a major highway. WITN-TV in Greenville reports the N.C. Department of Transportation says U.S. 17 north of Maysville in Jones County will be closed in both directions from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Sunday. The department says the closure will impact heavy beach traffic that uses N.C. Highway 58 to Emerald Isle and involves an eight-mile detour onto back roads. NCDOT says the work is necessary to move traffic onto the new U.S. 17 Bypass and to work on the intersection with N.C. 58. 
      If you’ve bought drugs from illegal online pharmacies, you may have plenty of reasons to worry—but a warning letter from the FDA shouldn’t be one of them. The FDA sends nasty letters to illegal pharmacies, not typically to customers. Which means if you receive a letter from the “FDA,” someone’s trying to scam you. The FDA warned today that any “warning letters” consumers might receive are bogus. To be clear, they don’t want you buying things from illegal pharmacies (like prescription drugs for which you don’t have a prescription), but they’re also “concerned that these fake warning letters are linked to an international extortion scam” and if you get one, they want to hear about it. 
      Martinsville beat Peninsula last night in a 12-inning slugfest - 18 to 17. The two teams play each other again tonight at Hooker Field. Gametime is 7:15 PM. Martinsville is 17 and 19 on the season. There are 15 games left in the season with 9 homes dates scheduled.
      Nationals at the Mets today - 4:10 PM, WMVA-AM1450 .

    • Friday's Headlines

      By Martinsville Daily, in News,

      Virginia may allow 3,000 new slots-like betting machines at a horse race track and off-track betting parlors around the state. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia Racing Commission recently published draft regulations. The machines let people bet on past horse races without knowing which horse they are betting on. Virginia lawmakers legalized historic horse race gambling during this year’s legislative session as a way to help reopen Colonial Downs. The shuttered horse track outside of Richmond was recently purchased by a Chicago-based company. The racing commissions draft rules would allow up to 700 machines at the track, with the rest at various off-track betting parlors. One of those parlors is located at the Dutch Inn in Collinsville.
      The South Boston Town Council has delayed any action on a cigarette tax for three months as it considers other options for raising the salaries of the town’s lowest paid employees. The action followed complaints by tobacco-related businesses and industry representatives. Critics charge that the proposed cigarette tax, reduced to 10 cents from the initial 25 cent-per-pack levy, is unfair and will hurt the local economy. They say a similar tax in Martinsville has resulted in the closing of three businesses, with others choosing to locate outside the city limits to void the additional levy. The tax was suggested by the town manager in an effort to fund pay hikes for employees making less than $40,000 a year.
      A pharmacist has pleaded guilty to failing to account for and pay employment taxes. 61 year-old Jerry R. Harper, Jr. owned and operated Family Discount Pharmacy in Stanleytown with locations in Stuart, Rocky Mount, Chatham, and Brosville. Documents show that from 1998 - 2014, accrued employment tax liabilities of more than $5 million was withheld from employees' wages, but weren’t paid to the IRS. In over 15 years, Harper only filed one employment tax return with the IRS. He's set to be sentenced in October and faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
      In your weather - High pressure will continue to build over the region from the north this afternoon and remain in place through much of the upcoming weekend. This should allow for generally drier weather with seasonable temperatures. Increasing heat and humidity is expected to return along with better chances of showers and storms ahead of the next cold front for early next week. Look for a high of 86 today and tomorrow. 91 on Sunday, and around 90 Monday through Wednesday. There is a 20 percent chance of rain Sunday and Sunday night, 40 percent Monday, 50 percent Monday night, 40 percent Tuesday and Tuesday night and 30 percent Wednesday and Wednesday night. 
      Martinsville dropped both ends of a doubleheader against Wilson Thursday, 3-0 and 6-4. They play first place Peninsula tonight and tomorrow at Hooker Field. Game time is 7:15 PM both nights. Martinsville is 16 and 19 on the season. There are 16 games left in the season with 10 homes dates scheduled.
      Music Night at Spencer-Penn Centre is Friday, July 13.  Doors open at 5pm.  Open MIC is at 5:30, bring your instrument and join the group.  At 6:20 Lucky City Bluegrass will take the stage.  Two Young Two Old will be on at 7:40.  There will be special performances by The Old Dominion Cloggers.  It’s sure to be a great night of music and dancing.  Dust off your dancing shoes, grab a friend and come hungry, we will have the AC on.  Concessions will be available. A $4 donation is requested for admission.  Call the Centre for more information, 276-957-5757.

    • Thursday's Headlines

      By Martinsville Daily, in News,

      In your weather - High pressure will build across the region from the north this afternoon and remain in place through much of the upcoming weekend. This should allow for drier weather under seasonable temperatures the next few days. Increasing heat and humidity should return along with better chances of showers and storms ahead of the next cold front for early next week. The forecast calls for 86 today and tomorrow, 87 on Saturday, 90 to 91 Sunday through Wednesday. Next chance of rain will be a slight one on Sunday increasing to 50 percent by Monday night.
      Starting July 31, smoking will no longer be allowed in public housing nationwide. This ban was announced in November 2016 from U.S. Housing and Urban Development but Public Housing Agencies were given until July 31 to abide by the new rule. The policy states that no smoking will be allowed within 25 feet of any public housing or inside the building. In addition to this policy, each housing agency can create more smoke free areas if they want. HUD said that smoking can cause the maintenance costs to increase, so this smoke-free rule will help reduce damage tied to smoking as well as lower the risk of accidental fires. The rule was originally announced in 2016, at which time at least 600 of HUD's more than 3,100 Public Housing agencies already had smoke-free policies in place.
      On Wednesday, the Henry County Planning Commission voted to recommend the rezoning of a 103-acre property in the Blackberry District from Industrial to Agricultural. At its next meeting, the Henry County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approve the rezoning request. The applicant, Jessica Collins, hopes to create an educational non-profit wildlife sanctuary called “Collins Wolf and Wildlife Sanctuary” on the property, which is located on the west side of Mary Hunter Drive just south of Moses Moore Drive in the Blackberry District. 
      A Florida man is now being investigated for murder after a police chase through Carroll County. After a police chase on Saturday, Hillsville police arrested 49-year-old Orange City, Florida resident Matthew A. Barber. He is charged with DWI, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, hit and run, reckless driving, disregarding police commands, vandalism, and obstruction of justice. On Tuesday, while jailed, Barber made statements to the corrections staff that he may have harmed someone in Orange City. Hillsville Police asked officers in Florida to check it out. When officers arrived at the address Barber gave, they knocked on the door with no response. They forced their way inside and found a dead woman in the hallway. Police say there were "obvious signs" of foul play. No one else was in the home. Police have identified the victim as 58-year-old Orange City resident Hilda G. Bailey. A medical examiner will determine her cause of death. Police believe this was not a random act. Barber is being held in Virginia without bond. 
      Around 1:23 AM on Wednesday deputies from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office responded to a suspicious person outside of I.H. Food Mart in Reidsville.  When officers arrived, they found Nicholas William Rogers inside the business and took him into custody.  He is being held in the Rockingham County Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond.

      Nearly three dozen people in Martinsville are still homeless after a recent apartment complex fire. The apartment complex on East Church Street caught fire on June 30th, and it doesn't look like residents will be able to come back any time soon. The fire caused more than $600,000 worth of damage to several units, leaving more than 30 people without homes. Piedmont Community Services, which helps people who have behavioral health issues, uses the building to house its clients. The director says they're all staying at a local hotel right now but plan on rebuilding the apartments once the insurance company clears it.
      Two men in jail because of their involvement with a teen prostitution ring in Eden will soon be free. Donnie Ray Carter, 58, and Everett Ferris Jr., 70, accepted new plea deals that gave them lesser charges and reduced sentences. Both the prosecution and defense explained in Rockingham County Superior Court that the deals were based on charges in line with the actual crimes the men committed and not what they were initially charged with by former District Attorney Craig Blitzer, who resigned in March 2017 amid a State Bureau of Investigation probe. He later pleaded guilty to failure to discharge the duties of his office. Carter, Ferris and two other men were accused of paying $5 to $20 to Teresa Vanover in exchange for sexual acts with her daughters. Vanover told police she forced her older daughter, 15 at the time, to allow the acts to be performed on her by the four men for money to buy crack cocaine and to pay her husband's medical expenses. Eventually, the oldest daughter refused to participate and Vanover said she began to use her younger daughter, then 13. The older daughter alerted police to the abuse in September 2015. Since then, Vanover, Carter, Ferris and Thomas "Tommy" Woodall have been serving sentences based on a variety of charges. A fifth person — Mickey Dale Snow — has maintained his innocence and is awaiting trial.
      A young Callaway man charged with capital murder dodged the prospect of the death penalty Tuesday by striking a plea agreement with prosecutors in Franklin County. The unexpected move came at what was docketed to be a pre-trial motions hearing in the case of Aaron Seth Dean, who was indicted just two months ago in the fatal shooting last August of 18-year-old Allyn Gray Riddle. Dean’s jury trial was set to begin July 19, and his attorneys, Carolyn Furrow and David Furrow, had recently filed one motion seeking funds for an expert investigator and another motion requesting a continuance. At Tuesday’s hearing, however, Dean alongside his counsel instead entered eight straight guilty pleas — primarily to a reduced count of first-degree murder, but also to charges of armed burglary, entering a house while armed to commit murder, robbery, entering a building to commit assault, use of a firearm in a felony, larceny of a firearm, and use of a sawed-off shotgun in a crime. Dean, who will turn 21 next month, avoids the possibility of being put to death by the state. But he has no agreement on his sentencing and he now faces up to five life terms plus an additional 43 years behind bars.
      Virginia Delegate Charles Poindexter said on Tuesday that he expects insurance premiums to increase for local residents. Speaking at the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Post-Legislative Luncheon, Poindexter said he believes hospitals affected by a new tax will pass those costs on to consumers. The planned hospital tax was put in place to help fund Virginia’s portion of the costs for Medicaid expansion. Poindexter said he voted against the legislation, which he said “adds 18- to 64-year-old healthy, childless adults, no children in the home, based on income,” whereas in the past, Medicaid in Virginia served those, in health care, “who were very, very poor.”

    • A long spell of hot, humid weather had the ocean off the southeastern North Carolina coast feeling more like bathwater. The National Weather Service said the water was 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) at Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach on Friday. That's the warmest the water has been since measurements were first taken in 2004. National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Pfaff says that the record water temperature was caused by the hot, humid air over the region which never allowed temperatures to dip much. Locally, for your week upcoming look for a high of 86 Monday, 90 on Tuesday, 88 Wednesday, 85 Thursday, back to 88 on Friday and near 90 on Saturday. There is a slight chance for rain Wednesday night and Thursday, otherwise it will be a sunny week. 
      Authorities say a Virginia man choked to death after swallowing an apparent bag of cocaine during a police raid. News outlets report 52-year-old William Tucker of Waynesboro died Friday. Police say a drug task force and a Waynesboro police SWAT team arrived at a Waynesboro home Friday morning for a drug investigation. When they entered, police say they found Tucker forcing a bag filled with white powder into his mouth. Police say Tucker lost consciousness while resisting attempts to remove the bag. He was declared dead at a hospital. Police are continuing their investigation.
      Martinsville beat Edenton last night 7-5. They don’t play again until Wednesday against High Point and aren’t back home at Hooker Field until Friday, July 13th. At the All-Star break, Martinsville finds themselves at 500 with a record of 15 and 15. 6 games out of first. There are 18 games left in the 48 game season. 

    • The Henry County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a robbery that occurred in the area of Old Chatham Rd. and Green Hill Dr., Martinsville, Virginia on June 6, 2018 at 6:31pm.  An unknown black male subject appearing to be in his late twenties flagged down a citizen/victim, stating his vehicle was out of gas.  The victim gave the unknown male a ride to the Daytona Mart at 1960 Old Chatham Rd. and purchased gas.  When the victim and the unknown male returned to the broke down vehicle and put the gas in it, the unknown male produced a handgun and demanded the victim’s wallet, keys and cell phone. After robbing the victim of the items the unknown male left the area in a blue Ford vehicle.
      The suspect is described as a black male, late twenties, 5’0”-5’8” tall, wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt.  The suspect was driving a blue Ford SUV or van with a license plate containing the number 76 in it.
      As a matter of personal safety, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office encourages the public to contact Law Enforcement or 9-1-1 anytime they encounter citizens in distress before trying to assist in the matter.

    • A cold front arrived Friday afternoon bringing with it a thunderstorm, rain, and cloudy skies. Today we’ll enjoy a much cooler 77 degrees, but it won’t last long. Sunday will creep back up to 82. Monday we’ll have a high of 88, 90 on Tuesday and Wednesday and 91 Thursday and Friday. There is a chance of showers today, and after today the chance doesn’t return again until Wednesday. 
      A late Friday night fire damaged a home in southern Danville, officials report. The Danville Fire Department responded to 614 Franklin St. shortly before 11 p.m. to find heavy smoking coming from the single-story home, according to a news release. Crews were able to to put out the fire in about 10 minutes. The blaze caused moderate damage to the home. Two adults living in the house are staying with family. There were no injures. The cause remains under investigation, but appears to be accidental, the fire department reported.
      Latest number from the Virginia Employment Commission have Henry County still at 3.8 percent unemployment. Martinsville’s rate increased from 5.0 to 5.1 percent. Job figures show there are over 1,400 jobs currently available in the Martinsville and Henry County area. 
      No one was injured after a World War II-era plane ran off the runway at Smith Mountain Lake Airport on Thursday. Police were called about 4:45 p.m. after smoke billowed up above Buccaneer Road in Moneta, according to Tom Lovegrove, president of the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. The plane’s pilot and owner, Daniel Allen Haug, of Culpeper, was trying to land and ran off the right side of the runway, according to Sgt. Rick Garletts of the Virginia State Police. The historic T-6 plane was damaged, Lovegrove said. Photos on social media showed the yellow, single-engine plane sticking out of a copse of trees. It was not the first time Haug has crashed. Last year, Haug and a passenger were sent to the hospital after Haug’s yellow T-6 crashed in Culpeper, according to media reports at the time.
      Nestle in Danville is facing state fines following an incident in January in which an employee got an arm caught in a machine. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry fined Nestle $187,060 in June after a two-and-a-half-month inspection at the plant at 201 Airside Drive. According to the June 5 citation from the state, an employee’s arm was caught in a machine when the worker tried to clear material from around the conveyor. The state issued seven citations with fines totaling $187,060, with five deemed “serious” and another two “repeat-serious.”
      Virginia State police have identified the driver killed in a single-vehicle wreck on U.S. 58 Friday afternoon as 61-year-old Charlie Lewis Coleman of Danville. Police say Coleman was westbound when his 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck ran off the left side of the roadway, traveled into the grassy median, then crossed the eastbound lanes of the South Boston Road before crashing into a brick pillar in the driveway of Milam Equipment Sales in Sutherlin. Ringgold Fire Chief Mile Neal said Coleman was the only occupant of the vehicle and died at the scene. It’s not known why he lost control of the pickup. State Police say Coleman was not wearing his seat belt.
      Mazda is recalling nearly 270,000 vehicles with Takata airbags that have the potential to explode. Chemicals used to inflate the air bags can deteriorate in some conditions, causing them to deploy with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister that can result in flying shrapnel. The potentially deadly defect can be found in passenger-side airbags on certain 2003-2008 Mazda6, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 and 2004 MPV vehicles nationwide. It also involves 2005-2006 MPV models in certain states. Over the last several years, about 50 million air bag inflators have been recalled in the U.S., with 22 deaths and more than 180 injuries linked to the defect. Takata has since been bought by Chinese-owned U.S. mobility safety company Key Safety System.
      The game between Martinsville and Edenton was postponed last night due to the storms that were moving through the area. The Mustangs will take their 15 and 16 record to Edenton tonight. Martinsville is on the road for an extended 7-game road trip. They won’t play at Hooker Field again until Friday, July 13th. 

    • Scattered showers and thunderstorms will accompany a cold front moving south through the region later today and tonight. Locally heavy rain could produced localized flooding. Look for a high of 88 today, only 79 Saturday and 82 on Sunday.  The heat wave returns next week with a high near 87 Monday, 91 Tuesday, and 94 Wednesday and Thursday. 
      Virginia's honey bees had a rough winter. The Daily Progress reports that the state lost 60 percent of its colonies last winter. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says that's double the average rate for the last decade. Officials say there's no single cause for the decrease, but habitat loss, pests, diseases and pesticides are all factors in the decline. The state agriculture department is encouraging Virginians to become beekeepers and plant pollinator gardens.

    • We reported 61 year-old Terry Lee Booker has been arrested for breaking into the Forest Hills Presbyterian, Shiloh Baptist, and Church of Christ in Axton. Now police say he was on federal probation for a homicide / murder for hire in South Carolina. His address is only listed as Mulberry Road in Martinsville. Police say Booker is also involved in a motorcycle gang and told them he broke into the churches because he was bored. He’s now bored in the Martinsville City Jail. 

    • The National Weather Service is calling for a high of 90 today. Tomorrow it should top out at 87. Saturday and Sunday will be between 81 and 82 degrees. Then the hot temperatures return with 87 on Monday, 92 on Tuesday and 93 on Wednesday. So… you might want to keep the folding funeral home fans nearby. 
      The Bedford County Sheriff's Office is searching for a missing two-year-old boy from Rosewood Lane in Huddleston. The 911 call came in Thursday morning around 8:30 a.m. According to deputies, the child has long brown hair, blue eyes and is wearing dinosaur pajama pants and a yellow shirt. The family is from Texas and is renting a house at Smith Mountain Lake.
      The Danville Police Department is investigating a body found behind an apartment complex on Clement Avenue. Officers responded to the area of Clement Avenue at about 7 a.m. where police found an unidentified man dead behind Wendy's Apartments. There were “no visible wounds,” according to Danville Police Department Maj. Chris Wiles. “Right now, we’re working on identifying him,” Wiles said. As of 8:30 a.m., police had not moved the body.
      An early morning fire leveled a home in Pittsylvania County. Units from Riverbend, Mt. Cross Tunstall, Bachelor’s Hall, Brosville and Cascade all responded just before midnight to 461 Washburn Drive, which is off the Vandola Road. The home was fully involved when the first units arrived and had spread to the power lines and the woods behind the house. State Police were called to the fire. It is being reported that investigators are calling it a “crime scene.”
      Danville Police responded to a stabbing call in the 300 block of Old Riverside Drive just after 10:00 Wednesday night. Officers found a 32-year-old Danville man suffering from stab wounds to both his arms and upper chest area. The victim was transported to SOVAH Health’s Emergency Department for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.  After further investigation, Danville Police charged Asiania Monique Morris, 20, of Lynchburg with malicious wounding. Morris was arrested and is currently in the Danville City Jail under no bond.
      It can start with a couple of traffic tickets. Unable to pay the tickets right away, a driver becomes saddled with late fees, fines and court costs. Soon, the driver may be taken off the road indefinitely. More than 40 states allow the suspension of driver's licenses for people with unpaid criminal or traffic court debt. But now, advocates across the country are pushing to change that, arguing that such laws are unconstitutional because they unfairly punish poor people and violate due process by not giving drivers notice or an opportunity to show they cannot afford to pay the fees. Lawsuits have been filed in at least five states over the past two years. In Virginia, nearly a million people currently have suspended driver's licenses at least in part because of unpaid court debt, according to the Legal Aid Justice Center, a nonprofit that is challenging the practice in a federal lawsuit. Millions of drivers nationwide have lost licenses because of such laws. In a study released in September, the justice center estimated that 4.2 million people then had suspended or revoked licenses for unpaid court debt in five states alone: Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas. Lawsuits are pending in North Carolina, Montana and Michigan, in addition to Virginia and Tennessee. In California, legislation enacted last year prohibits state courts from suspending driver's licenses simply because of unpaid traffic fines.
      Across the land, the scanners are going dark. Several law enforcement agencies in Virginia have moved recently to encrypt the messages they send over the radio, leaving dead air for listeners of police scanners — long the source of information for the news media and titillation for thrill-seekers. On Monday, police in Richmond and surrounding Henrico and Chesterfield counties encoded their radio signals. Virginia Beach has proposed a nearly $5 million encryption project. And soon, police and firefighters in Roanoke County and Salem will encrypt radio traffic, both as part of a shift to new technology and as a reflection of trends nationwide. Law enforcement agencies in Nevada, Ohio, Iowa and elsewhere have already encoded channels. Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers struck down a bill that would have banned departments from encrypting radio signals. The move toward encryption is setting up a debate over who should control the flow of information, and when.
      A Pittsylvania County man is being held in jail on abduction and weapon charges after 13-hour manhunt Wednesday, authorities report. At about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, members of the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call in the 12000 block of Rockford School Road in Gretna of a woman being held at gunpoint, Devin Taylor, an investigator with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a news release. The caller was a family member, Taylor reported. Deputies arrived to find what Taylor described as a frightened woman inside. The suspect, identified as Randy Wade Francis, ran from the home when authorities got there and had a handgun. Following a 13-hour manhunt that also involved the Halifax County K-9 team and the Virginia State Police aviation unit, Francis was arrested. Taylor did not disclose where the suspect was found. Francis, charged with one count of abduction and one count of brandishing a firearm, is being held in the Pittsylvania County Jail without bond. 
      Martinsville drops back to 500 with a 5-3 loss to High Point last night. The Mustangs take their 15 and 15 record back to first Peninsula tonight. Martinsville is on the road for an extended 7-game road trip. They won’t play at Hooker Field again until Friday, July 13th. 

    • A new study suggests that drinking coffee may boost your chances for a longer life. The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that coffee drinkers had a 10 to 15 percent lower chance of death over 10 years than those who don't drink coffee. The study included nearly 500,000 people between the ages of 38 and 73 in England, Scotland and Wales. And the benefits of coffee don't seem to be limited by the type of coffee you drink or how much you consume daily. The longevity boost was seen with both caffeinated and decaf coffee and both instant and ground varieties, while any differences based on the amount consumed deemed minimal. The researchers aren't exactly sure why drinking coffee might boost longevity, although lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, pointed out to The Associated Press that coffee is rich in antioxidants. Other studies have found that coffee may help fight inflammation and affect how the body uses insulin, possibly reducing the chance of diabetes.
      A Martinsville man has been arrested and charged in connection with three recent church break-ins. Terry Lee Booker, 61, of Mulberry Road, Martinsville, was charged with breaking and entering, destruction of property and petit larceny in an incident at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church on June 3 or June 4, said Lt. Sandy Hines of the Martinsville Police Department. The church is at 725 Beechnut Lane, Martinsville. Hines said Booker was charged in Pittsylvania County with a total of two counts of breaking and entering and two counts of destruction of property in connection with a June 14 incident at Shiloh Baptist Church at 13602 Martinsville Hwy, Cascade, and a June 14 incident at the Church of Christ at 1840 Plantation Drive, Axton. In the break-in in early June at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, less than $200 was taken, Hines said. He said there was a second break-in at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church on June 11, but nothing was missing. No one was charged in that case, Hines said.
      Authorities seized meth and cash during a drug operation in the parking lot of the Food Lion in Floyd. On June 25, members of the Floyd County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the Virginia State Police, officers detained multiple people in a vehicle in the parking lot. Chantelle Greenwood, 20, of Christiansburg, was arrested on outstanding warrants from multiple jurisdictions. Additional charges are pending.
      John Hale, owner of the now-closed Brewed Awakening coffee shop on Craghead Street, was indicted in Danville Circuit Court on a felony charge of fraudulent conversion/property removal on June 25. He was arrested on June 26, court records show. Hale, and his wife Bonnie, also owe the property management company of the business, Wilkins & Co., $2,493. Wilkins & Co. were awarded a default judgment in Danville General District Court on March 9 for the amount. A second warrant in debt, filed by Wilkins & Co., is scheduled to be heard in Danville General District Court on July 17. The couple closed Brewed Awakening on Jan. 28th. Previously Hale operated a Coffee Shop for a number of years in Druid Hills in Martinsville. 
      Independence day will get up to 91 and then a little relief - come Thursday. Highs of 88 expected Thursday, back to 90 on Friday, but only 82 on Saturday and 83 on Sunday. 

    • A heat index value of 101 is expected this afternoon. Real temperature will reach 94. Independence day will get up to 91 and then a little relief - come Thursday. Highs of 88 expected Thursday, back to 90 on Friday, but only 82 on Saturday and 83 on Sunday. 
      A body found June 27 near a burned car may be that of a missing West Virginia 76-year-old man, according to the Henry County Sheriff's Office. Shortly after authorities arrived at the scene last week, deputies learned that the burned Mercury car was from West Virginia and that the registered owner was listed as a missing person in West Virginia. John Wesley Buscher, 76, of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, was believed to be driving the Mercury, West Virginia State Police told the Sheriff's Office. Through further investigation, investigators obtained video footage of Buscher entering a convenience store in Bassett to pay for gas at about 11:27 p.m. on June 16. About 15 minutes later, the Sheriff's Office said the video shows a car like Buscher’s going down River Road, but the car never comes out. The approximate 15-minute time difference is the approximate drive time from the convenience store to that point on River Road. The Sheriff's Office said that no other vehicles were seen in this proximity for hours. While the cause of the fire remains undetermined, the Sheriff's Office said it is possible, based on the scene and tire tracks, that Buscher drove around behind a house at the end of River Road and could not drive back up an embankment he had driven down. Furthermore, it's likely that heat from the exhaust system under the car set leaves on fire resulting in the car fire. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is still trying to determine a positive identification and the cause of death, but in the preliminary autopsy, there were no signs of induced trauma to the body. Identification of the body will have to be done by DNA testing. Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crime Stoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crime Stoppers Program offers rewards up to $2,500 for information related to crime. The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.
      A Danville man wanted for kidnapping and strangulation charges is behind bars in North Carolina. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 50-year-old Douglas Ray Scearce, of Beech Avenue, in connection with an incident that happened at a home on East Stadium Drive in Eden, North Carolina. Investigators have been looking for him since June 22 and say Evans was arrested Monday and placed in the Rockingham County Jail.
      Gov. Ralph Northam was in Pittsylvania County Monday to announce a new broadband initiative designed to expand service to rural Virginia. Local leaders gathered at the Laurel Grove Volunteer Fire Department as Northam announced the appointment of a director and chief deputy for the initiative. Evan Feinman will spearhead the effort. Feinman, who now serves as executive director of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, will serve as as chief broadband advisor. Courtney Dozier, chief deputy with the Department of Housing and Community Development, was named chief deputy for the broadband initiative. Northam said the state has quadrupled the amount of money committed to improving rural broadband to $8 million, while the Tobacco Commission has committed $11 million to the project. The governor said he expects to see a major expansion in broadband availability by the time his four-year term ends.
      Andy Parker, from Henry County, led a “die-in” by laying on the floor of the Berglund Center in Roanoke with dozens of others protesting the upcoming performance on July 17th by Ted Nugent. Parker said he was doing it for his daughter, Alison, who was shot on live TV while reporting for WDBJ7 in Roanoke. Nugent was investigated by the Secret Service after threatening former President Barack Obama. He’s threatened other prominent Democrats and called for their deaths. Nugent responded by suggesting Parker “suck on a stage prop.” The venue is owned by the City of Roanoke and Parker is asking the public to boycott the facility, do not purchase a vehicle from Berglund Automotive (the center’s sponsor) and Roanoke find another entertainment management company besides Global Spectrum. The center seats over 2,000 people and a Berglund Center representative said they were not expecting more than a few hundred to the show. 

    • A Martinsville apartment building was destroyed by fire Saturday night, but all of the residents were able to get out safely. Firefighters were called to the Piedmont Community Services apartment complex on East Church Street about 8 p.m. The first units found heavy smoke and flames in the building. They were able to bring the fire under control but the building was a total loss. All of the occupants were out of the building when firefighters arrived; however, several were treated for minor injuries. The fire’s cause remains under investigation. The complex served as home for residents seeking housing as a result of substance abuse problems, disabilities or mental health issues.
      A 15-year-old South Boston girl is recovering after she was shot over the weekend. South Boston Police and Halifax County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in the 1800 block of Spring Avenue and found the teenager suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. She was taken to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, where she was treated and released. Police say they were called to “a residence that had been shot into” just after 11:00 Saturday night. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting. Police are offering a reward for information related to the incident.
      Appalachian Power customers should be expecting a refund soon. The State Commission made the ruling back in April that kicks in on July 1st. No word on how much or how little the refund might be but whatever it is, you should see it by the end of the month. 
      The National Weather Service says heat index values will be from 100 to 105 degrees each afternoon on Monday and Tuesday and 95 to 100 each afternoon Wednesday through Friday. The forecast calls for a sunny and hot week with real temperatures of 94 Monday, 93 Tuesday, 91 Wednesday, and around 90 on Thursday and Friday. This weekend there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms and cooler temperatures with highs 83 to 86. 
      Virginia State Police are investigating a crash in Nelson County that occured Saturday at about 4 p.m., and killed a Fancy Gap man. The single-vehicle crash occurred on the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 5.4 miles south of Route 814. A 2005 Toyota 4Runner that was traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway when it first ran off the right side of the highway. The vehicle swerved back to the left, crossed over the highway, ran off the left side of the road and struck several trees.The driver, Douglas O. Reid, 65, of Fancy Gap, died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to a Virginia State Police spokeswoman. Trooper T.M. Skehan is the investigating officer.
      With the Fourth of July around the corner, it is important to keep safety in mind while using fireworks. Lieutenant Haynes with the Martinsville Fire Department reminds everyone to think before you light that firework and make sure that everyone around the area is safe and is in a safe place in case it falls over. Remember, sparklers burn at 1200 degrees and can cause severe burns, and the ones working the fireworks should remain sober. Alcohol only increases the chance of someone getting hurt. 

    • Pittsylvania County authorities say the man whose body was found in an open field in Axton Friday was murdered, but they aren’t saying how he died. On Saturday evening, investigators identified the man as 26-year-old Tykese Draeshawn Tinsley of Collinsville. Police said that Tinsley had been reported missing by family members earlier this week. Tinsley’s body was found in an open field in Axton Friday morning and the investigation is now being carried as a homicide. Pittsylvania County investigator Devin Taylor said the state medical examiner has determined that Tinsley was murdered; however, he declined to release the cause of death Saturday night.
      Sheriff’s deputies and EMS personnel were dispatched to the 1500 block of Oak Hill Road about 9:00 Friday morning after a caller phoned 911 after spotting what appeared to be a body in an open field. When deputies arrived, they found Tinsley dead. They spent the day Friday collecting evidence and talking to neighbors. Anyone with information on the homicide is asked to call the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.

    • Fire broke out at the Downtown East Apartment around 8:00 PM Saturday night. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but firefighters say it started on the third floor. There were minor injuries, but no fatalities in the incident. There are 30 units in the complex and it appears and although the fire was primarily on the third floor, we’re hearing that it is likely the building will be condemned and considered a total loss. The occupants of the Apartments are located there through Piedmont Community Services, next door. This is not the first time the building has caught fire. 

    • Police say a body was found in an open field in Axton Friday morning. The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from someone in the 1500 block of Oak Hill Road. The caller said they saw what appeared to be a dead body in a field. When deputies and emergency responders arrived, they found a man dead in the field. The sheriff’s office reported his race was unknown. “It is unknown at this point in the investigation what the cause and manner of death may have been,” Devin Taylor, an investigator with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a news release. Investigators searched the area and talked with neighbors in the community, Taylor reported. The body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke.

    • The Martinsville Electric Department is asking its electric customers to conserve power on Friday, June 29; Monday, July 2; and Tuesday, July 3 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. as temperatures are expected to rise into the 90s.
      A peak alert does not mean there is a shortage, but rather it means that demand for electricity across the regional power grid that serves Martinsville may be at its highest point of the year.
      “Since electricity must be produced on demand, during peak demand periods, additional generation is required, which drives up energy costs,” noted City Electric Director Durwin Joyce. “Peak alerts are not often called, but when they are we ask that every resident and business take them seriously and do their part to conserve power. Every small action counts, and the cumulative effect becomes substantial and can save the City considerable costs since peak-demand power is often very expensive.” 
      To help, just take simple conservation steps such as shutting off lights when not needed; unplugging small appliances and electric chargers (especially those with small lights); raising the thermostat a degree or two; closing curtains, drapes and blinds; doing laundry, running the dishwasher and other household chores requiring electricity during hours other than the peak hours; and turning off televisions, computers, radios, and other electronic devices when not being used.

    • The Henry County Sheriff’s Office has not yet identified the body found near a burning car in Fieldale Wednesday night, but they think it could be that of a missing person from outside the area. Police say they are working with another jurisdiction based on the vehicle registration they found in the vehicle.
      The remains have been taken to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke for an autopsy and to determine the cause of death. Police say they body may have been there several days and the fire may not necessarily be related to the death.
      No other information was released, but more is expected to be forthcoming once the body has been identified and family has been notified.

    • Henry County is sending inmates to other jails because its jail is full. There are 175 inmates in a jail that was designed to house 67. The county is spending around a million dollars a year to keep 100 or so inmates in other jurisdiction’s jails. The Board of Supervisors are planning a new jail at the former Dupont site that will hold up to 400 inmates - which means it could house all of the inmates from Henry County and charge other localities to house theirs. An application to borrow $53 million dollars will be filed soon. The total cost of the project is estimated at $75 million.

  • Blog Entries

    • By Martinsville Daily in Bill Wyatt 1
      Our network programming for radio and television has been provided to us almost exclusively by means of C-band transmission. The transmissions originate from orbiting satellites at very low power, therefore, it takes a very large dish to receive these small signals for re-transmission. Over the past ten years, interference has become more prevalent at our satellite farm on Chatham Heights Road. Now it has reached the level where many of our receivers no longer are able to provide reliable service. For those of you interested in a more technical explanation, here is one source. 
      The source article points out the "services in large areas covering intercontinental and global communications provide a wide range of services for distance learning, telemedicine, universal access, disaster recovery, national security, air navigation and safety, e-government. We have been able to determine the interference we are receiving is sporadic (not constant), and very strong. The spurious emission splatters across almost the entire C-band spectrum, rendering filters useless. We have not been able to determine the source of this interference, despite concerted efforts to do so. We have been able to determine the signature produced would indicate it is a ground-to-ground transmission and not listed in any databases confirming its use. I have talked with a number of experts in this field and the consensus is we are likely the victim of some government use, be it national security or the like. Regardless, there is no viable solution to our problem, at least not one that restores reliable C-band reception.
      Fortunately, we have been able to restore most of our network programming services with an IP solution. In some instances, an IP solution doesn't exist, and in those cases we have had to provide alternate programming. thisTV Network provides no alternative to C-band at this time, and the interference has rendered this source no longer viable during daytime hours. For whatever reason, the interference only occurs during the daylight hours. Our C-band reception is unaffected during the overnight hours. 
      Until a solution is found, our programming of thisTV Network will be limited to midnight to 6 AM. Should the interference become present during the overnight hours, we will be left with no recourse, but to discontinue thisTV Network.   
      Bill Wyatt
    • By Martinsville Daily in Bill Wyatt 1
      This morning around 10 AM our audio line that feeds the transmitter at Koehler from our studios went dead. You may recall we experienced some damage during storms last month causing the top portion of a utility pole to break off and fall to the ground. This same pole feeds our transmitter building. The pole was replaced today, and apparently, the workers did not reconnect the line. We reported the problem and CenturyLink has indicated they would have someone out within 24 hours. Given their word, WHEE should return to the airwaves sometime tomorrow.

      New utility pole

      What used to be our smooth and level entrance way

      Partial damage from last month's storms

      The broken utility pole that was replaced