Project Faith spruces up Grandin Village

project faithFor a 15th year students, staff and parents from Faith Christian School gave back to the community with a day of service. More from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

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Salem’s new Learning on the Lawn program begins

LearningOnTheLawn-LogoSalem has a new program called Learning on the Lawn. WFIR’s Starr Anderson has more details on the initiative that’s part of the city’s downtown revitalization plan:

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April 30: Grow Your Plate & Seasonal Cooking – Nancy Maurelli
May 28: Home Brewing Techniques – Blue Ridge Home Brewing & Hydroponics
June 11: Coffee Brewing Methods & The History of Coffee – Red Rooster Coffee
June 25: Locavore Living & Outdoor Cooking – Bruce Ingram
August: Tailgating Tactics – Outdoor Grilling Tips (Date TBA)

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Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs name head coach

Sam Ftorek photoHere’s the press release from the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs: The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs are pleased to announce that Sam Ftorek has been named as the first-ever head coach of the organization. After concluding a magnificent 17-year playing career during the 2014-15 season, Ftorek made the transition to coaching and guided the Kalamazoo Wings to the ECHL playoffs this season as assistant coach. “We are ecstatic to have Sam join the Rail Yard Dawgs. We had a number of applicants for this position and it was important for us to hire someone who not only had great knowledge of the game, but also the ability to teach and grow our players, and most importantly, the desire to be an ambassador to the Roanoke community,” said Dawgs Vice President Mickey Gray. Sam was a great fit in every single category and he is going to be a great addition to this organization and community.” “My family and I are excited to be a part of the organization that is bringing hockey back to Roanoke,” said Ftorek. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch and learn from many great hockey minds and I’m really looking forward to starting this next stage of my career with a first-class organization that is taking the necessary steps to secure instant success on and off the ice.” When he was a player, Ftorek was known as a skilled forward, who for the betterment of his team reinvented himself as a solid and prolific scoring defenseman. During the 2013-14 season, at the age of 39, Ftorek led all ECHL defensemen in scoring with 47 points (13 goals, 34 assists). For his efforts, Ftorek was named to the ECHL’s First-Team. In total, Ftorek played in 1,097 career games as a player, including an ECHL record 837 contests. In his career, Ftorek has always been viewed as a leader including being one of the team captains in each of his six seasons with the Wings.” Coming from an excellent pedigree, Ftorek is the son of Robbie Ftorek, who played eight seasons in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings (2), Quebec Nordiques (3) and the New York Rangers (3). Robbie Ftorek also possesses an impressive coaching resume with 23 years experience, 10 of which were in the NHL. Ftorek, his wife, Misty, along with their three children will be moving to Roanoke in the near future.

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Poll director: winter Virginia poll results mirror current partisan divide over felons’ rights executive action

State-NewsThe partisan divide over Governor McAuliffe’s recent executive action restoring felons’ rights comes as no surprise to the Director of Polling at Christopher Newport University. The question now is what do Virginians think of the way it was accomplished. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Open Studios Tour returns this weekend

WFIR-arts-and-cultureFor the 16th year local artists will open their working studios and homes to the public this weekend. WFIR’s Gene Marrano has more on Open Studios of Roanoke:

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Hear more below on Open Studios:

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Middle school principal takes over at William Byrd High School

Vinton-WFIRFrom Roanoke County Public Schools: VINTON – The Roanoke County School Board has named Tammy Newcomb as the new principal at William Byrd High School (WBHS), effective July 1. Newcomb replaces Dr. Richard Turner who will retire at the end of the current school year.

Newcomb began her tenure at Roanoke County Public Schools in 1991 as a teacher at WBMS where she taught English and Math for 12 years. In 2003, she was named the assistant principal at W.E. Cundiff Elementary School.  Two years later, Newcomb became the principal at Green Valley Elementary School.  In 2011, Newcomb returned to WBMS as principal, where she continues to serve today.

Newcomb, a graduate of William Byrd High School, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Radford University and a Masters Degree from Virginia Tech.  She is endorsed in administration and supervision by the VDOE.

“Tammy has shown outstanding leadership at William Byrd Middle School,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Killough.  “I’m very pleased she will continue to be a leader in the William Byrd community and will carry on the Terrier tradition,” Dr. Killough said.

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Former assistant principal takes the lead job at Northside High School

Roonoke County SchoolsFrom Roanoke County Public Schools: ROANOKE – The Roanoke County School Board has named Dominick McKee as the new principal at Northside High School, effective July 1.  McKee previously served as assistant principal at NHS from 2009-2014.

McKee is a 2002 graduate of Radford University with a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Human Development.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Radford University.  He currently is seeking his doctorate from American University and he is endorsed in administration and supervision by the VDOE.

McKee first joined Roanoke County Public Schools in 2002 as a counselor at Hidden Valley High School.  In 2007, he became an assistant principal at Hidden Valley Middle School.  He moved to Northside High School as an assistant principal in 2009.  In 2014, he moved to central office as the supervisor of human resources.

“Dominick has the respect of the entire staff at Northside, and I know he will be an outstanding leader and principal, just as he was an outstanding assistant principal before coming to central office,” said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Killough.  “I’m very pleased he will be returning to Northside and I’m confident he will continue the Viking pride,” Dr. Killough said.

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State high court to consider case related to redistricting

State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The Virginia Supreme Court will consider whether current and former state senators need to provide records related to a redistricting lawsuit. Redistricting advocates have sought lawmakers’ communications with outside consultants related to the 2011 redistricting. The lawmakers have refused and a lower court judge has ruled the lawmakers are in contempt. The Daily Press reports the high court’s decision to take the case was announced Wednesday. The decision means the issue will skip the Virginia Court of Appeals. Virginia’s 2011 redistricting effort has come under fire from critics who say the lines were unfairly drawn to favor incumbents, and outside groups have challenged the current district boundaries in both state and federal court.

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Slain Blacksburg teen’s dad, stepmom arrested on domestic abuse charges

wfir-defaultWYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP) – Authorities say the father and stepmother of a slain Virginia teenager have been arrested after a domestic violence incident. Wytheville Police Chief Ricky Arnold said Thursday that David Madison Lovell and Terri Surratt Lovell have been arrested and charged with unlawful wounding against each other. Arnold declined to provide further details about the incident. David Lovell’s daughter, Nicole Lovell, was found dead in January. Two former Virginia Tech students have been charged in connection with the girl’s slaying. Karen Akers, clerk of the Wythe Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, said they’re being held at the New River Valley Regional Jail. Akers said a $10,000 bond has been set for David Lovell. A bond hearing hasn’t yet been held for Terri Lovell. Their attorneys didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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Matching grants leverage parks improvements in Roanoke County

Roanoke-CountyA matching grant program that’s been around since 1994 in Roanoke County has led to numerous improvements at local parks – with residents doing their share. WFIR’s Gene Marrano explains:

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