Archives for September 2015

Remaining Huddle House Employees Concerned About Job Security

Earlier this week, we told you about the sudden closing of several central and south Virginia Huddle House locations that surprised employees and customers alike. Franchises in Blackstone, Farmville, and Appomattox remain shuttered, and workers at other locations are concerned. Employees at the Dinwiddie Huddle House were paid in cash last week rather than receiving the usual check, and that location now only accepts cash. Some employees of the closed locations are still waiting on a paycheck or two. The franchise’s owner filed for bankruptcy and is expected in court next week.

Piney Beach Residents Recognized for Community Clean-up

Piney Beach residents in Dinwiddie County recently recognized some of their own for efforts in keeping the area clean. The work paid off–literally–with a $500 grant in June from Keep Virginia Beautiful, an organization that works to keep highways and neighborhoods clean throughout the state. Residents of Piney Beach have watched their rural community develop into a somewhat urbanized, commercial and industrial business area, which has brought more people, more traffic, and more trash. Dinwiddie Public Works also provided educational materials on the effects of littering.

State Legislators to Tackle Background Checks for Gun Buyers

Several state Democratic legislators have unveiled a petition containing more than 28,000 signatures supporting expanded background checks for gun buyers in Virginia, and they plan to introduce legislation in 2016 General Assembly that would require universal background checks for all gun purchasers, including through private sales. Del. Patrick Hope organized the petition drive but knows the bill will face an uphill battle. Since the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, lawmakers have actually loosened gun regulations in the state, including lifting handgun purchase limits and expanding areas where concealed-carry weapons are allowed.

Petersburg Police Investigating Murder Outside Grocery Store

Police are investigating a shooting death at a Petersburg grocery store, and they say the whole thing was caught on surveillance video. Officers responded to Shortt’s Grocery Harding and Mistletoe streets around 11am Tuesday where they found 27-year-old Lawrence Johnson shot to death just outside the front door. It’s the third murder reported on Harding Street since April of last year. Police consider the neighborhood one of the most dangerous in the city.

Pamplin Continues to Rally Behind Train Depot Restoration

Pamplin residents continue to rally around restoration efforts for the town’s train depot, which sits across Main Street from a row of vacant buildings. Renovations have come in phases as the town raises money. Most recently, the floors of the freight room were sanded and sealed for about $9,000 that was gathered through a number of small fundraisers. The next project on the list is to refinish a set of benches reminiscient of the building’s 1920s roots.

Dinwiddie Residents Get Update on Stony Creek Contamination

Dinwiddie residents got an update earlier this week on Stony Creek, which was contaminated by what is being called very diluted corn syrup. The problem was first noticed in July, though no one knows how long the substance had been flowing into the creek. Some improvement has occurred over the past couple weeks, according to water tests performed by the Department of Environmental Quality, though no time table for full recovery has been given. The department did say that several species of fish have been killed off completely due to the spill.

South Boston Man Pleads Guilty to Eluding Police

A South Boston man pleaded guilty in Halifax County Circuit Court to five counts of eluding police. 31-year-old Jerald Randolph was clocked at over 100 miles-per-hour during a high-speed chase along Philpott Road in Riverdale on April 18 after he fled from a traffic stop in Leggett’s Bottom. The chase ended after Randolph avoided spike strips but hit two cars and a tractor-trailer. The plea deal states that Randolph will not be charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer or excessive speeding but is convicted of severeal other offenses.

Funeral Services Held for Slain WDBJ Photojournalist

Funeral services were held yesterday for 27-year-old WDBJ-TV photojournalist Adam Ward, who died last week in a Moneta shooting. More than 500 mourners packed the massive First Baptist Church in Roanoke for the 90-minute ceremony that focused on celebrating Ward’s life and love of all things Virginia Tech. Many more waited outside the church, some holding signs of support. Ward was buried at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in a private ceremony.

Shortage of Beds Led to Dinwiddie Mental Health Escapee

A follow-up on an escapee earlier this week: a 21-year-old VMI cadet was being driven three hours away to Petersburg for a mental evaluation due to a shortage of bed space at rural mental health centers. He was recaptured and is now receiving treatment. That shortage means patients have to travel longer distances for treatment, putting both them and the deputies who chaperone them at greater risk. Sometimes, those patients are forced into jails just to get a bed. The Virginia Sheriffs Association estimates that nearly 3,000 inmates should actually be in mental health facilities that lack bed space.

Petersburg Waste Company Fined for “Waste Landslide”

A Petersburg waste management company is being fined by the state for what is being called a waste landslide. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality fined Container First Services nearly $46,000 for the May 4 incident, even though the shifting material was contained on the landfill’s property and never posed a safety hazard to the public. Company officials say wet weather added unexpected weight to the pile and that they have spent nearly $1 million correcting issues that contributed to the slide.