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Local News

  • Defective chimney cause of fire

    A fire that destroyed four townhouses in the Waterways development near Saunders Point, was caused by a defective chimney.

    The fire started Jan. 27 in the townhouse owned by Larry and Barbara Renner. All the townhouses are vacation homes and the Renners, who live in Winchester, were spending the weekend at the lake. John Jennings, the county's primary fire marshal for investigation, said that investigators' attention was drawn to the townhouse's chimney when they noticed it had holes in it. The holes were not consistent with building collapse.

  • More than statistics

    Sarah Panzau doesn't quote statistics when she makes a presentation on the dangers of drunk driving before high school students.

    "Statistics are something they are not going to remember," she said. "They'll remember me."

    Panzau was 21 when, on Aug. 23, 2003, she chose to get in her car and attempt to drive home drunk. She had a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit.

    That drive ended in an accident, a bad accident. Her car rolled four times and, while she didn't hurt anybody else, her own injuries were devastating.

  • School officials keep close watch on budget cuts

    With the announcement last week of an anticipated $1.4 billion revenue shortfall into Virginia coffers over the next two years, cuts are on the way and Bedford County Schools officials are watching closely.

    The Bedford County School Board is set to vote on its proposed budget at its Feb. 28 meeting, but the shortfall could lead to a need for changes in the proposal even before the board is able to forward its budget on to the Bedford County Board of Supervisors for consideration.

  • Hotel, conference center may be built

    A hotel/conference center is in the works for Bedford.

    Norris Blanks, a developer with homes in Washington, D. C. and Lynchburg, wants to build the facility off Burks Hill Road across from the Welcome Center. It will be on a three acre parcel behind the Citgo station and will overlook U. S. 460. Its entrance will be from Burks Hill Road.

    Blanks said the hotel will probably be a Hampton Inn.

    "It's more of an upscale, midline accommodation," said Blanks. "It's the most popular mid-range hotel."

  • Teen receives juvenile sentence for sex crimes

    A Bedford teen, who pleaded no contest to four counts of aggravated sexual battery will face juvenile penalties for his crime.

    The charges against Joshua Lovell, now 15, stem from incidents that occurred with two young girls, ages 2 and 3, who were under the care of his mother. Direct indictments landed Lovell in Bedford County Circuit Court, rather than Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where he was tried as an adult.

    Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Wes Nance called the victims' parents to the stand.

  • Perriello seeks to take Fifth District seat

    Tom Perriello is hoping to bring the values taught to him at an early age to the service of those in the Fifth District ? values which include "to those whom much is given, much is expected."

    Perriello is set to run as the Democratic candidate against Rep. Virgil Goode, who was first elected to the House from the Fifth District in 1996. He believes the seat, which has been firmly held by Goode ever since, is up for grabs this year.

  • County joins city in giving OK to Oakwood Villas project

    Bedford County's board of supervisors cleared the way for the controversial Oakwood Villas Townhomes project by a 4-3 vote.

    Oakwood Villas is a condominium project which, its developers say, will be aimed at retirees or empty nesters who plan to downsize to a smaller home. The development straddles the Bedford city/county line near Bedford Memorial Hospital. Most of it is in the city but 10 acres of it lies in the county. The land was zoned R-1 (low density residential).

  • Fire burns more than 1,000 acres in Montvale area

    High winds helped fan the flames of numerous fires in Bedford County this weekend.

    For the second time in two years, the Montvale area saw more than 1,000 acres of land involved in a wildland fire that threatened homes in the area and forced evacuations of area residents.

    Doug Eggleston, emergency services director of the Historic Virginia Chapter of the American Red Cross, said he was contacted about 9 a.m. Sunday about the need to set up an evacuation shelter in the Montvale area. He said at that time it was thought that as many as 200 people might need help.

  • Defense asks for mental evaluation

    A mental evaluation will determine whether a man accused of holding a Bedford County woman hostage for more than 36 hours and assaulting her will be competent to stand trial on the charges.

    George Leroy Keaton Jr., 30, of Vinton, is charged with one count of malicious wounding, rape and abduction with the intent to defile and three counts of forcible sodomy in connection with the case. The evaluation was ordered during a hearing in Bedford County General District Court Monday.

  • Staunton River Middle School student works as House page

    Julia Goad, a seventh grader at Staunton River Middle School, is getting a special civics lesson this winter.

    She was selected as a page in the House of Delegates during this year's General Assembly. Her mother, Michele Goad, takes her to Richmond every Sunday and she stays there, in Richmond's Omni Hotel, with the other pages during the week. She comes home Friday evenings.