Martinsville plans more tornado warning sirens
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) - Martinsville plans to install eight additional tornado warning sirens across the city.
The city also will replace one of its two existing sirens. Emergency management coordinator Bob Phillips tells the Martinsville Bulletin that the existing sirens can't be heard citywide.
Phillips says the sirens will be used only for tornado warnings. He says it would confuse residents if the sirens were activated for other emergencies.
A grant of about $190,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 75 percent of the project's cost. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will pay some of the city's 25 percent match. Phillips says the city will pay the remaining cost.
Spotsylvania may expand mural to add diversity
SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (AP) - A mural depicting Spotsylvania County's history could be expanded following criticism that it lacks diversity.
The county's Board of Supervisors is scheduled to decide Tuesday whether to add six panels depicting prominent local African-Americans and Native Americans.
The mural is located in the meeting room at the county's main government building.
A subcommittee of the Historic Preservation Commission proposed expanding the mural. The commission endorsed the proposal last month.
Subcommittee member Roger Braxton tells The Free Lance-Star that people need to see a representation of everyone in the county in its public buildings.
The late Sidney King painted the mural for the county in 1989.
Tazewell Co. approves agreement for new trail
TAZEWELL, Va. (AP) - Tazewell County has agreed to allow the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority to operate the county's portion of a new trail system.
The county Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding with the authority last week for the Spearhead Trail.
Supervisor Mike Hymes tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the county will build the trail.
The Spearhead Trail will be open to all-terrain vehicles, bikes, horses, hikers and others. It's an initiative of the regional authority.
The first section opened in Wise County in 2013. Plans call for the trail to be extended through seven Southwest Virginia counties and potentially link with West Virginia's Hatfield-McCoy Trail system.
Norfolk takes ownership of century-old theater
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The city of Norfolk has taken ownership of a century-old theater.
Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim tells The Virginian-Pilot that acquiring the Wells Theatre is a natural step. He says the city already spends about $145,000 per year on the theater for maintenance and utilities.
Craver Investment Corp. in Durham, N.C., had owned the venue since 1935. The real estate holding company sold it to the Virginia Stage Company, which then gave it to the city.
A local couple donated the sale price to the stage company.
G. Rhodes Craver says the theater is a historic landmark that should be preserved. He says he wanted Norfolk and the Virginia Stage Company to have it.
Jake and Otto Wells built the Beaux-Arts-style theater and opened it in 1913.
Parents of Va. inmate who has cancer seek clemency
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Richmond-area couple says their imprisoned son has terminal cancer and they want to bring him home.
Brenda Kirby and Charles Davis have requested a medical clemency release for their son, 35-year-old Jason Scott Davis. He is serving a two-year, one-month sentence at Powhatan Correctional Center.
Brenda Kirby tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that her 6-foot-1-inch tall son weighs just 90 pounds and is bedridden. She says he wants to be with his parents.
Only the governor can grant medical clemency for a state inmate.
A spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Brian Coy, tells the newspaper that the secretary of the commonwealth's office received the clemency request last week. The office will evaluate the request and make a recommendation to the governor.
CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS
Vols invited to historic Va. site cleanup April 5
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Civil War Trust is seeking volunteers from across Virginia to help clean and restore 16 battlefield sites in the state.
The spring cleaning is part of Park Day, a nationwide effort on April 5 that includes approximately 100 sites in 26 states. Besides general maintenance, volunteers will paint signs, plant trees and rake leaves.
In Virginia, volunteers are sought at Appomattox Court House, Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Cold Harbor, Petersburg National Park and the Wilderness, among others. In exchange for their labors, volunteers will receive T-shirts and hear from local historians.
Last year, nearly 8,000 volunteers donated their time at 105 U.S. historic sites.
Virginia volunteers are encouraged to check in a local Civil War sites to learn about the day and joining in.
Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project: www.yadapp.com
Students to spend spring break helping Va. park
MILLBORO, Va. (AP) - Students from four universities are spending their spring break doing volunteer work at Douthat State Park.
Ten students from Christopher Newport University volunteered at the park last week. This week, 45 students from Illinois State and about a dozen students from Ohio State will work on trail maintenance, paint facilities, clean cabins and get campgrounds ready to open.
Next week, 10 to 12 students from the University of Wisconsin will volunteer at the park.
Assistant park manager and volunteer coordinator Debbie Coffin says the students will spend a total of about 1,600 hours doing volunteer work.
Women focus of Virginia AIDs campaign
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Women are the focus of a new statewide AIDS public health campaign.
The Virginia Department of Health says the Virginia Greater Than AIDS campaign will reach out to women through conversations and personal stories. It will include public health messages on television, radio, billboards, public transportation, websites and social networking sites.
The department's most recent surveillance data indicates that 6,600 women in Virginia have HIV. By the end of 2013, 48 percent of these cases progressed to an AIDS diagnoses.
Interim state Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa J. Levine says in a news release that HIV and AIDS are taking a toll on the lives of women and their families.
Virginia Greater Than AIDS: www.greaterthan.org/virginia .
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