Local News

Big drug bust in SE Roanoke

(from VA State Police) The Star City Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, along with members of the City of Roanoke Violence Suppression Unit executed two narcotics search warrants in Southeast Roanoke today. During this operation Star City Task Force members identified Nathan Shane Dooley of Roanoke, as a narcotics dealer. Special Agents and officers… ... Continue Reading
Rx Partnership helps Virginia’s most vulnerable get needed medicines

Rx Partnership helps Virginia’s most vulnerable get needed medicines

Richmond nonprofit Rx Partnership is celebrating its 20th anniversary by furthering its mission of education. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more on the RX Displays. RxPartnership has helped increase medication access for more than 83-thousand vulnerable Virginians. The Richmond based nonprofit is celebrating its 20th anniversary. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more on a new… ... Continue Reading
Governor says 31 bills bolster Right Help Right Now initiative

Governor says 31 bills bolster Right Help Right Now initiative

MGN

The death of a man experiencing a mental health crisis led to the crafting of one of the 31 bills Governor Youngkin recently signed into law. WFIR’s Ian Price has more.

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UPDATE: Security escort of Roanoke City employee disputed

UPDATE: Security escort of Roanoke City employee disputed

Roanoke City officials have responded to our request for comment concerning an employee being escorted out by security yesterday while being fired. The email said this in part. “Please understand that the City will not comment on any personnel matters, but we can state that no employee working in any department has been escorted by… ... Continue Reading
Virginia ranked 10th best state for working dads

Virginia ranked 10th best state for working dads

Ahead of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, WalletHub released a new report that finds Virginia among the best states for working dads. WFIR’s Alex Torres has more:

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Two men facing charges in Roanoke narcotics operation

Two men facing charges in Roanoke narcotics operation

MGN

A narcotics operation was carried out in Roanoke. State Police say a vehicle was stopped in the 3500 block of Valley View Ave after a short pursuit. Special Agents and Officers seized approximately 934 grams of methamphetamine, 49 grams of heroin/fentanyl, 7 fentanyl pills, 4 firearms, and US Currency from the vehicle. 25-year-old Damarius J’Quan Warrick and 20-year-old Keshawn Wright-Johnson, both of Roanoke, were arrested and face charges including Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felon.

Full Press Release from Virginia State Police — The Star City Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, along with members of the United States Postal Service Inspectors Office, and the City of Roanoke Police Gang Interdiction Unit conducted a narcotics operation in the City of Roanoke.

During the operation, Star City Task Force members identified known gang members which were in possession of distribution amounts of narcotics. Officers attempted a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle which refused to stop. After a short pursuit, the vehicle was stopped in the 3500 block of Valley View Ave, in Roanoke by members of the Virginia State Police Special Operations Division.

Special Agents and Officers seized approximately 934 grams of methamphetamine, 49 grams of heroin/fentanyl, 7 fentanyl pills, 4 firearms and US Currency, which were contained in the vehicle.
Damarius J’Quan Warrick, 25, and Zeleek Keshawn Wright-Johnson, 20, both of Roanoke, Va., were arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin/Fentanyl, Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felon, and Possession of a Firearm, while in possession of Schedule 1-2 narcotics. Warrick and Wright-Johnson are currently being held at the Roanoke Adult Detention Center without bond. Additional charges will be forthcoming after consultation with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

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Carilion in Phase 2 of drone delivery testing

Carilion in Phase 2 of drone delivery testing

Carilion Clinic and a company called Drone Up have entered the second phase of a partnership that could help streamline the delivery of medical supplies to frontline care teams in the Carilion network. Phase two testing wraps up on Saturday.  During Phase 2 teams are assessing ways to streamline the drone delivery process for Carilion Clinic. The drones will launch from the Carilion warehouse on Franklin

Road, pick up packages at the Riverside campus, and deliver them to about 8 locations. Paul Davenport is Vice-President of Emergency Services at Carilion Clinic:

 

 

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Roanoke City employee escorted out by security

Roanoke City employee escorted out by security

We are hearing that a longtime Roanoke City government employee has been escorted out by security today. The source, who spoke anonymously to WFIR, says the woman has worked for decades. It’s unclear at this time the women’s identity or job title. It’s unclear if this is related to the changeover in the City Manager’s office after Interim City Manager Lydia Pettis Patton took over this week.

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Virginia Children’s Theatre presents Legally Blonde Jr.

Virginia Children’s Theatre presents Legally Blonde Jr.

Starting tomorrow, nonprofit Virginia Children’s Theatre is putting on a ‘Junior’ version of a classic Broadway musical. WFIR’s Alex Torres has details:

[Click here for more information and to buy tickets]

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Salem author discusses impact of NBA legend and silhouette

Salem author discusses impact of NBA legend and silhouette

Hall of Fame Lakers guard and NBA logo inspiration – Jerry West – has passed away at age 86. A local author who is known for writing books on NBA players including West discussed his passing, as WFIR’s Ian Price reports.

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Feeding SWVA gears up for Summer Food Services program

Feeding SWVA gears up for Summer Food Services program

Inflation is a likely one culprit – leaving more children in this region “food insecure,” a condition that is often worse during the summer months when school is out. Once again Feeding Southwest Virginia has rolled out its Summer Food Services program. More from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

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Legally Blonde Jr., RSO Pops takes on The Who and the VT Arts Fest

Legally Blonde Jr., RSO Pops takes on The Who and the VT Arts Fest

From the WFIR News room this is your Culture Calendar – With a look at some of the local events coming up this weekend and in the near future. Sponsored by the Roanoke Cultural Endowment:

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Roanoke City hires interim City Manager

Roanoke City hires interim City Manager

(Roanoke City release) Civic leader and educator Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton begins a four-month term as Roanoke’s interim city manager as of Tuesday, June 11. With more than 30 years of municipal government experience, Patton is currently Executive Manager of the Berkley Group, a Virginia-based consulting firm specializing in serving local governments, school systems, and other public agencies.

As the first woman city manager of Portsmouth, Virginia, Patton served as head of more than 17 different departments during her three decades serving the city. As Portsmouth’s city manager, she initiated several neighborhood initiatives, including a citywide property review, the Uptown D2 Planning and Revitalization program, the comprehensive plan, and a significant housing initiative. Patton said she is honored to serve as interim city manager of the Star City.

“With my broad experience in local government, commitment to excellence, tireless dedication, and
willingness to serve others, I look forward to working with Roanoke’s elected leadership, city
employees, citizens, businesses, partners, and stakeholders,” Patton said.

Patton holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master’s degree from the University
of Louisville, and a bachelor’s degree from Kentucky State University. A graduate of the Senior
Executive Institute at the University of Virginia, she also has been an active participant in the
International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the National Forum for Black Public
Administrators.

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Honduran National Sentenced for Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

Honduran National Sentenced for Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

NORFOLK, Va. – A Honduran national was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

According to court documents, early on the morning of June 20, 2023, officers with the Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) responded to a report of an unconscious person in a car and found Delvin Antonio Cruz-Melgar, 25, asleep behind the wheel of a red Dodge that had been involved in a hit-and-run accident with another vehicle about 90 minutes earlier. After observing a meth pipe in plain view, VBPD initiated a probable cause search of the red Dodge and located a second meth pipe, a plastic bag containing 4.57 grams of meth, and a black bag containing 225.44 grams of meth.

During a search of Cruz-Melgar’s person, officers discovered a loaded Walther PPX 9mm handgun in his waistband, as well as $760 in cash. Detectives with the VBPD Special Investigations Unit were called to the scene. The detectives located a stolen Akkar Churchill Model 612 12-gauge shotgun, a digital scale, multiple cellphones, and ammunition in the vehicle.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jason Miyares, Attorney General of Virginia; Craig Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Division; Liana Castano, Field Office Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C.; Derek W. Gordon, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; Paul Neudigate, Chief of Virginia Beach Police; and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr..

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darryl J. Mitchell and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc W. West, an Assistant Attorney General with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results

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VT researchers working on robots for safer construction sites

VT researchers working on robots for safer construction sites

Photo by Lee Friesland for Virginia Tech

With construction season underway, different groups of Virginia Tech students are combining their learned skills to make construction sites a little safer. WFIR’s Alex Torres has more:

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One of 5 GOP primary Senate candidates in Roanoke on Tuesday

One of 5 GOP primary Senate candidates in Roanoke on Tuesday

Eddie Garcia – submitted

Virginia’s junior Democratic US Senator – Tim Kaine – is also a former Governor and the one-time Mayor of Richmond. Five Republicans are on the primary ballot next Tuesday, looking to beat the odds and take him on in the November general election. One is in Roanoke today. More from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

 

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Reminder to call your doctor when necessary

Reminder to call your doctor when necessary

MGN

There is actually a term for those who have an intense fear of doctors – “iatrophobia,” which can prevent them from calling for an appointment when they really should for a persistent pain problem. A surgeon with the Virginia Spine Institute urges people to reach out when they should, as WFIR’s Gene Marrano reports:

 

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Identity of man killed in Roanoke officer-involved shooting revealed

Identity of man killed in Roanoke officer-involved shooting revealed

MGN

The suspect in the recent officer-involved shooting has been identified as 41-year-old Travis Martin, of Roanoke. The situation started when authorities responded to reports of a man shouting threats at police officers outside the Roanoke Police Department. The same man also made a 911 call threatening to kill all Roanoke Police officers. At the intersection of Hershberger Road and Ferncliff Avenue later in the day, the man struck a patrol car multiple times with a weapon and then advanced toward officers with the weapon leading police to shoot him at the intersection. The officers involved are on administrative leave.

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Nonprofit seeks to build 4 miles of trails on Mill Mountain

Roanoke Parks Foundation is working on increasing the trails on Mill Mountain by 30-percent. As WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno reports these trails are economic drivers.

 

Trail lovers will be happy to hear Mill Mountain is getting new trails. As WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno reports 4 miles will be added and could be ready by the end of the year.

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Good Samaritan Hospice opens first freestanding hospice house

Good Samaritan Hospice opens first freestanding hospice house

Good Samaritan Hospice hosted the grand opening of the region’s first freestanding hospice house. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more.

 

Good Samaritan Hospice celebrated the opening of the region’s first freestanding hospice house. As WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno reports the 16 bed facility will offer help to the region’s most vulnerable.

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