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    • Martinsville Daily
      According to Danville Police, on April 21, 2018 at approximately 2:56 am. Danville Police officers were dispatched to the 100 block of Winslow St. in reference to a robbery. A male Danville resident reported an unknown suspect forced entry into his home, assaulted and robbed the victim. The suspect described as being a younger black male, approximately 20 years of age, and approximately 5’8 to 5’10” wearing dark clothing. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot. The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Investigation is ongoing.
       

    • According to figures released by the Virginia Employment Commission, Martinsville's unemployment rate now stands at 5.9 percent, down from 7.6 a year ago. Henry County is at 4.5 percent, down from 5.7. Danville has dropped from 6.3 percent to 5.9. Surrounding counties show Pittsylvania County down from 5.2 percent to 4.2, Franklin County down from 4.4 percent to 3.4, and Patrick County down from 5.1 to 5.0.

    • Ben Cullop announced this week that he is ending his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. Cullop, of Earlysville, was among four Democratic candidates challenging incumbent Congressman Tom Garrett for the 5th District seat. The other three candidates are Leslie Cockburn, Roger Dean Huffstetler and Andrew Sneathern. As of Tuesday afternoon, preliminary Democratic caucus results indicate that Cockburn is carrying a strong lead, followed by Sneathern, Huffstetler and Cullop, in that order.
       

    • A grand jury has indicted a 36-year-old Ringgold suspect on sex crime charges including rape, Pittsylvania County authorities report. Franklin Eugene Dalton was first arrested on Nov. 29 after a sexual assault was reported, Devin Taylor, an investigator with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a news release Thursday evening. At that time, he was charged with one count of rape and one count of forcible sodomy of a child under the age of 13.
       

    • A Winston-Salem man was arrested Thursday in connection with a Virginia man being shot in the ankle by someone he had beaten in a gambling game. Isiah Donaki Osteen, 22, of Woodcote Drive was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury, misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a weapon into a moving vehicle, an arrest warrant says. Osteen is accused of shooting and wounding Bobby Haislip, 46, of Martinsville, Va. on April 11, assaulting Haislip and two other people with a 2004 Hyundai Accent by ramming and colliding with the victims' car on that same day and shooting inside a car with the three people inside it, according to the warrant. Winston-Salem police responded about 3:45 p.m. on a report of a shooting. The victim told officers that he was outside of a local business and asked a man for change for a $100 bill.
       

    • According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Rockingham County authorities are investigating an apparent road rage incident in Reidsville Tuesday.  The victim told sheriff’s deputies that he was driving down US 158 near Strider Mountain Road about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, when he passed a white Honda Civic.  After getting back into his original lane, the victim says the driver of the Honda shot at him, hitting his tire and his car’s back windshield. The second shot, through the windshield also grazed the top of the victim’s head.  He described the shooter as a white male with dark hair. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office or their Crime Stoppers unit.

    • The Henry County Board of Supervisors meet next Tuesday, April 24th at 3 PM. Former Supervisor, Mike Seidle is on the agenda to speak on an undisclosed matter. The upcoming budget is expected to be approved. The Board will also proclaim May 15, 2018 at "National Police Officers Memorial Day" in Henry County. The Board meets at the County Administration Building on Kings Mountain Road. 

    • Average retail gasoline prices in Virginia have risen 5.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.53/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,081 gas outlets in Virginia. This compares with the national average that has increased 5.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.71/g.
      Including the change in gas prices in Virginia during the past week, prices yesterday were 30.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 17.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 17.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 30.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
      According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on April 16 in Virginia have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.23/g in 2017, $1.94/g in 2016, $2.20/g in 2015, $3.48/g in 2014 and $3.44/g in 2013.
      The least expensive places in Martinsville to purchase gas today:
      Kroger, Commonwealth Boulevard, $2.39.
      Exxon, East Church Street, $2.39.
      CITGO, Liberty Street, $2.39.
      "The seasonal surge at gas pumps is in full motion, causing the most dreaded time of year for fearful motorists, especially of what may still be coming," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "With the national average gas price now at its highest since July 26, 2015, I can't immediately allay all fears of a continued spike in gas prices, however, we're likely in the closing innings of the seasonal rise- let's just hope we don't go to extra innings. In the past few years, the average date that gas prices have peaked is mid-May, which is just around the corner, and by all metrics, that could be very close to what we expect this time around. Refinery maintenance has gone well thus far, and gasoline supply has continued to push higher as more refiners conclude their work. With the transition to summer gasoline also wrapping up, the reasons gas prices to rise will shrink."

    • The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued a flash flood watch until midnight tonight and a tornado watch until 11 PM this evening for Martinsville, Henry County, and the surrounding region. 
      At 4:56 PM, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from near Stuart to Dillard, moving northeast at 55 mph with 60 mph wind gusts and quarter size hail. Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees. Locations impacted include Martinsville, Mayodan, Madison, Stuart, and Danbury.
      A tornado watch remains in effect for the warned area. Tornadoes can develop quickly from severe thunderstorms. Although a tornado is not immediately likely, if one is spotted act quickly and move to a place of safety inside a sturdy structure, such as a basement or small interior room.
      Prepare immediately for large hail and damaging winds. For your safety, move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Stay away from windows.
      Heavy Rainfall Possible This Afternoon and Evening
      A strong cold front will approach the area from the west this afternoon and pass across the region tonight. Deep moisture ahead of this boundary will lead to bands of showers and heavier thunderstorms this afternoon and early evening. The potential exists for 1 to 3 inches of rainfall with locally higher totals from the Blue Ridge foothills westward into southeast West Virginia.
      Excessive rainfall may lead to flash flooding in urban areas such as Roanoke and Martinsville, and along creeks, streams and low lying areas.
      You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

    • 70 year-old Donald Ledbetter, Sr., of Franklin County, died Friday. A house on Booker T. Washington Highway, north of Rocky Mount, had been converted into apartments and Ledbetter lived in one. When fire broke out at 4:15 in the morning, everyone escaped, including Ledbetter, but according to reports, the man when back inside for unknown reasons and succumbed to the blaze. The body has been take to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. 

    • There is an increased fire danger this afternoon. Dry weather will persist today with breezy conditions this afternoon. These breezy dry conditions will result in the potential for hard to contain brush fires. With temperatures forecast in the 70's to near 80, the humidity will drop to between 25 and 35 percent. Southwest winds of 8 to 14 mph, and gusts of 15 to 25 mph, will be common this afternoon. Under these conditions, extra caution is advised when handling any potential fire ignition source. Be sure to properly discard all smoking materials. Any dry grass or tree litter that ignites will have the potential to spread quickly.
      Your 3-day forecast calls for sunshine today with a high near 80 and wind gusts up to 24 mph. Tonight, cloudy and 56. Saturday, Partly sunny, a high of 78, wind gusts up to 24 mph. Saturday night a slight chance of showers after 11 pm and 59. Sunday, 100 percent chance of showers along with the possibility of severe thunderstorms and gusty winds after 2 pm. Look for a high of 74. 

    • Area to host Division I Regional Tournament
      For the seventh consecutive year, Hooker Field in Martinsville, Virginia will host the Division I Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament for the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA). The double-elimination tournament will be held May 11th-13th at Hooker Field. This event will determine which team travels to the NCBA World Series in Holly Springs, North Carolina.
      Four college club baseball teams will participate in the tournament. While playoffs are still going on, teams in the past have included Ohio State University, East Carolina University and Virginia Tech. All athletes will stay locally at the Comfort Inn and the Baymont Inn & Suites, which were selected by the NCBA as their host hotels.
      Games for the tournament are scheduled for Friday, May 11 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 at 9 a.m. A tiebreaker game will be played at 12 noon on Sunday, if needed. A rain date has been set for Monday, May 14 in the event of an extended delay in the tournament schedule.
      Admission is $5 for Friday and Sunday, and $10 on Saturday.  Children five and under are free with a paying adult. The Martinsville Community Recreation Association will sell concessions, as fans will not be allowed to bring outside food or beverages into the stadium. All proceeds from ticket sales and concessions will benefit Hooker Field.

    • The Danville Police Department is currently investigating a motor vehicle theft incident that occurred on April 2, 2018 at an area gas station. The reporting party stepped inside the gas station to pay for a fuel purchase leaving the keys in the vehicle. A male subject in a vehicle adjacent to the victims, entered the victim’s car and drove away. The suspect was accompanied by a female who assumed the drivers position in the suspect’s vehicle as they left the scene. The female is described as white, having blonde hair wearing a gray sweatshirt and dark sunglasses. The male is described as white, wearing a blue t shirt, blue jeans and white shoes and had a tattoo on his right arm. The stolen vehicle is a silver Nissan Altima displaying Virginia registration VWE - 7131 at the time of the theft. The suspect vehicle is described as a dark colored Honda 4 door with visible license plates ACA - 1368 but with unknown state identifiers at this time.
      Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to call 911, Danville Crime Stoppers at (434) 793-0000, the Danville Police Department at (434) 799-6508, or via our crime tips line on your computer at crimetips@danvilleva.gov. Information given will remain confidential.

    • Martinsville Police presented to Council, the annual crime report for 2017. For the most part, crime is up. Police Chief Eddie Cassidy blames most of it on drugs. Crime overall is less than it was a decade ago, but there are fewer people that live in the city now than then. The number of calls police respond to has remained about the same over the past 5 years. On average, city police respond to 44 calls a day, slightly less than 2 per hour. 
      According to policeone.com there are 54 officers employed by the city. 20 percent of the time, the caller is reporting suspicious activity, 16 percent of the time it involves animals, 13 percent are due to alarms, 11 percent to disturbances, and 9 percent of the time the caller hangs up. Police follow-up on everyone.

    • City Council doesn’t want to be blindsided by another Dick & Willie walking trail controversy, so they are proposing a change to the zoning ordinance the affects the definition of what is considered an “open space.” Basically, it would put a project like the Dick & Willie expansion at the mercy of the City Manager who would have the authority to deny the plan. Council will meet with the Planning Commission next month before committing. 

    • The upcoming city budget included a 4.64 percent hike in electricity. If approved, the increase will start July 1st. City residents and businesses will be paying more for electricity beginning July 1, if the proposed budget is approved. Rates for sewer and water remain the same and tax rates will remain level. Schools asked for almost $250,000 more than last year, but will get $10,000 less while city employees will get a 2 percent raise. Overall, Martinsville’s budget will increase from $92.7 million to $93.2 million. Council hopes to make the new budget official on May 8th. 

    • If you’re an African American, Asian, or Pacific Islander who bought a Toyota from January 2011 to August 2016 and financed that car with Toyota Motor Credit Company, you might be entitled to a repayment from a $21.9 million settlement fund. It turns out that the US Department of Justice discovered that Toyota Motor Credit Company has been charging some people higher interest rates without regard to their credit scores. The fund was set up in 2016 after an investigation that began in April 2013 found that people of color were charged, on average, $100 to $200 more on their loans. 
       

  • Blog Entries

    • By Martinsville Daily in Bill Wyatt 0
      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
      WHEE, WMVA, WYAT


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