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Category Archive : Virginia

Danville Fire Department Acts Fast To Suppress Kick Back Jack’s Fryer Fire

On March 29th, at 1:21 a.m., the Danville Fire Department received a call for a fire alarm at Kick Back Jack’s, located at 140 Crown Drive.  Upon arrival Engine 2 and Ladder 1 found smoke coming from a vent on the roof.  Engine 2 forced entry by breaking a glass door near the front of the building. As they entered the building they found smoke coming from the kitchen.  Engine 2 continued to investigate and found a small fire near the deep fryer.  Engine 2’s crew used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames.  There was no structural damage to the building or extension past the range hood but the kitchen appliances sustained moderate damage.  Upon further investigation, it was found the fire protection systems, located above the fryer, had actuated and suppressed the fire, preventing the spread of the fire prior to fire department personnel arriving on scene.  The suppression system was not enough to fully extinguish the fire but allowed enough time for the fire department to intervene.  There were no injuries and the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s office.  Please direct questions to the Danville Fire Marshal’s office.

This is a friendly reminder by the Danville Fire Department for business owners to perform scheduled, routine maintenance on all fire suppression equipment and for residents to check your fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors.

The fire department responded with three engines, a Ladder, one support vehicle, and a command vehicle.  The Danville Life Saving Crew responded to support the DFD with an ambulance and a response vehicle.

William C Smotherman – Battalion Chief, DFD


Police Make Arrest in Woodberry Hills Elementary School Arson In Danville, Virginia

The Danville Police Department has arrested and charged David Avery Meyer, 20, following an arson that occurred at Woodberry Hills Elementary School over the weekend.

On Saturday, March 25, the Danville Police Department was called to assist the Danville Fire Department with an arson investigation at the elementary school, where the kitchen was set on fire. Click here for the fire department’s press release regarding the fire.

A Danville Utilities worker initially spotted Meyer in the woods nearby the school, where he had set a stump on fire. The utility worker and members of Danville Fire Department’s Engine 6 engaged with Meyer until police arrived. He was detained by police without incident.

Meyer has been charged with:

Burning or Destroying a Building by Fire
Careless Damage of Property by Fire
Trespass on Church or School Property

Meyer is currently in the Danville City Jail.


Danville City manager submits proposed budget

City Manager Ken Larking tonight submitted to the City Council a proposed budget that includes $8 million in new revenue anticipated from state-collected gaming taxes and a $4.1 million local supplement from Caesars Virginia, which will open a temporary casino this year.

The gaming tax revenue, as proposed, will pay for several activities, including economic development initiatives, new positions for Danville Public Schools, maintaining low school classroom sizes, lease and debt payments for the new police headquarters, removal of blight, and continuation of the gang prevention program.

The local supplement will be used for general governmental operations, the cost of which is increasing due to inflation and rising personnel costs, including health care and salaries and wages.

The budget includes no increase in real estate, meals, and lodging tax rates. Minor utility rate adjustments are proposed. The rate adjustments are from a biennial rate study. For the average residential customer, their monthly utility bill will go up $1.50.

A monthly sanitation fee increase of $1 from $16.50 to $17.50 is proposed because of rising costs of service. The fee change is the first since 2005.

Other fee increases are proposed for parks and recreation rentals, zoning verification letters, and the fire marshal’s office. These fees capture revenue from the customers who are using these services and reduce the subsidies that the general taxpayer provides.

The total proposed budget for the next fiscal year is nearly $322.7 million for operations, capital improvements, and debt service. This total is a 13 percent increase, or $37 million more than the current fiscal year’s budget of $285.7 million.

The proposed budget is a working draft for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The City Council will hold public hearings prior to adopting a budget. Final adoption must take place no later than June 30.

Budget documents are available for review at

Revenue forecasts

Larking told the City Council that revenue forecasts are favorable as compared to last year. Those increases include:

  • $12.1 million in casino gaming and supplemental revenue.
  • $1.37 million in meals taxes.
  • $1.17 million in business licenses.
  • $506,420 million in personal property taxes.
  • $437,950 in sales taxes. 
  • $442,150 in hotel/motel taxes
  • $200,000 in current and delinquent real estate tax collections.

Expenditure highlights

The guiding principles for development of the proposed budget include a focus on the City Council-identified priority areas of economic and community development, education, and public safety.

For economic and community development, the proposed budget includes money for improvements to the Danville Regional Airport; various economic development grant programs; already-approved economic development incentives and investments in sites and buildings; phase one of a splash pad for Ballou Park Recreation Center; neighborhood revitalization efforts; Riverwalk Trail improvements; tourism marketing; and continuation of the youth Experience Works Internship Program.

For education, the proposed budget includes an increase of $2.55 million for school operations, which will be used for three new behavioral specialist positions and salary increases. These funds will help Danville Public Schools maintain low classroom sizes, which is necessary to improve student achievement.

For public safety, the proposed budget includes funds to continue implementation of the federal comprehensive gang model; expand the video surveillance program; and continue community engagement efforts, including dedicated youth engagement officers for the Police Department.

The proposed budget provides funds for rising health care costs, continues the pay-for-performance system for employee raises; funds a full year of the cost to implement the state’s minimum wage; and sets aside money for implementation of recommendations from a pay study, which was initiated earlier this year and is nearly complete.

As proposed, four new positions will be created, and eight existing positions will be reclassified.

The proposed budget reflects an additional $19.9 million for utilities operations, which includes electric, gas, water treatment, wastewater treatment and broadband services. The increase includes $10 million in power supply costs, driven in part by servicing large customers such as Aerofarms and Tyson Foods. Those companies are expected to be a full production in the next fiscal year.


Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Hires Stuart J. Turille, Jr. As New County Administrator

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) is pleased to announce the appointment
of Stuart J. Turille, Jr. (“Turille”), as its new County Administrator. Turille, a native of Lynchburg,
Virginia, has experience in both the private and public sectors and has served in local government
management in North Carolina and Virginia for over twenty years. He will replace David M.
Smitherman, who was terminated by the Board in January of 2022. Longtime County Attorney,
J. Vaden Hunt, Esq., has been capably serving as Interim County Administrator since September
of 2022. At its Business Meeting on March 21, 2023, the Board approved an Employment
Agreement with Turille.

Board Chair, Darrell Dalton, said: “We are glad to have found an experienced local government
manager to serve as our County Administrator. The Board has met with Stuart several times and
is confident that his character and experience will be a good fit for us and the community. The
Board looks forward to working with Stuart to address the challenges we are facing and to help us
further improve Pittsylvania County for the benefit of all its residents.”

The Board conducted a national search for the new County Administrator, assisted by The Berkley
Group, of Bridgewater, Virginia. The Berkley Group received applications and conducted initial
interviews with the most qualified candidates. It then assisted with selecting finalists for
interviews with the Board.

Turille received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, has a Master of Arts in
International Affairs from George Washington University, and a Master of Public Administration
from the Askew School at Florida State University. He spent almost ten years in the private sector
as a management and financial analyst, including nearly four years with the World Bank as an
economic analyst. Turille started his public sector career in 2002 in Broward County, Florida, as
a Budget and Management Analyst. In 2005, he became the Management Assistant to the Town
Manager of Matthews, North Carolina. Subsequently, Turille served as Town Administrator of
St. Paul’s, North Carolina, as Town Manager of North Topsail Beach, North Carolina, as Deputy
County Administrator of Essex County, Virginia, and as City Manager of Petersburg, Virginia.

Turille shared these thoughts about his appointment: “It is a privilege to serve the Board, citizens,
and employees of Pittsylvania County, continuing my career as a local government manager. The
County has a rural agricultural history and beauty worth protecting, combined with clear economic
and cultural potential, which is what my family and I have sought. I will start with where we are
today, seek to understand our past, and work with the Board and you to link it to the future. Where
we are going, we will go together, as one community. I am eager to begin work with the Board to
implement its vision for the County and to address both the challenges and opportunities identified.
I appreciate the confidence that the Board has shown in me. As a native of Lynchburg, this
opportunity is a homecoming of sorts. My family and I are at work already to purchase a home in
the County and become a part of the community.”

Turille will assume his County Administrator duties on April 1, 2023.


Watch This: Miracle House Of Hope Breaks Bad On Star News Charles Roark In Martinsville, Virginia

Charles Roark of Star News went up to a lady panhandling on behalf of the group calling itself the Miracle House of Hope from Charlotte, North Carolina. They aren’t based in Martinsville, but came there to raise money in the street. When the lady led Mr. Roark to her boss he got a bit angry and broke bad on him.

Roark quoted the following: “South Carolina’s secretary of state has issued a warning to residents about a Charlotte-based organization that claims to help homeless drug addicts. In March 2019, Miracle House of Hope Ministries was banned from soliciting contributions in South Carolina after the organization failed to register as a charity. Secretary of State Mark Hammond also said the organization didn’t file annual financial reports as required under the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act. State officials said solicitors with the organization collect cash donations by approaching drivers at busy traffic intersections and handing out flyers. Since Miracle House of Hope Ministries refuses to file financial reports, state officials said it’s unknown where the cash donations go or how they are used.”

Caesars Virginia Hiring Event In Danville March 23-24, 2023 (Plus Online Application)

Caesars Virginia is holding a hiring event March 23-24 at the Averett University North Campus at Frank Campbell Stadium. Full-time and part-time positions are available for table games dealers, cocktail servers, bartenders, and many more positions with on-the-spot offers. They also have an online application you can find with this link.

Juvenile Charged with First Degree Murder in Danville, Virginia

The Danville Police Department has charged a 13-year-old juvenile with the murder of that juvenile’s 4-year-old sibling following an incident that occurred in August 2022 in the City of Danville.

A first degree murder charge was brought following further investigation stemming from the juvenile’s confession earlier this week about suffocating the victim. The juvenile was arrested in another jurisdiction.

In August 2022, investigators and crime scene responded to the scene of a residence where a 4-year-old child was found in a room without a pulse and not breathing. The child was transported to SOVAH Health in Danville before being airlifted to another medical facility, and later died.

The juvenile will be transferred to W.W. Moore Detention Center pending trial.


Project Imagine honors latest class of graduates in Danville, Virginia

Five teenagers were honored last week for completing life skills training and goal-setting exercises through Project Imagine. The program steers youths away from gang activity, and instead focusing on goals such as having no contact with law enforcement, improving their grades, completing school, and becoming employed.

Graduating from the program were Dre Campbell, Daequan Smith, Daeshaun Smith, Amarvion Thompson, and Tywon Wosley. 

Robert David, youth services and gang violence prevention coordinator for the City of Danville, commended the youths for taking this step.

“When you came to Project Imagine, you became warriors because you stepped into an arena that your friends did not want to,” David said, speaking to the graduating kids. “It doesn’t matter what they (friends) say to you because you are the warriors. They are haters. They are not even in the game. You made the decision, ‘I am going to get my grades up,’ ‘I am going to stay off the streets,’ or ‘I am going to do whatever I got to do to be successful.’ You are the warriors.”

David said the Project Imagine staff will serve as a support system for them from now on.

“We tag the phrase ‘your new aunts and uncles’,” David said. “What that means is we create a support system to help you navigate. That is what we do. We are serious about our relationships with the youth and helping them move from one level to the next.”

Curtis Artis, assistant coordinator, thanked the graduates and their parents for trusting the Project Imagine process and what the program has to offer.

“We are raising strong children to be good men,” he said. “Each of you has a strength that people say is a weakness. We are going to show you how to take that strength and turn it into a positive. Watch what the results will be.”

Deputy City Manager Earl Reynolds encouraged the kids to not cling to the past, and to turn their regrets for past actions into something positive.

“Today, you can see, acknowledge, and understand what you did wrong,” Reynolds said. “If you fail, then never give up. ‘F.A.I.L.’ means ‘first attempt at learning.’ Failure is not ‘F.A.I.L.’ ‘End’ is not ‘the end.’ ‘E.N.D.’ is ‘effort never dies.’ If you get ‘no’ as an answer, remember that ‘N.O.’ is ‘next opportunity.’”

Since the program’s inception, 16 classes, totaling 90 teens, have graduated.

Project Imagine started in 2018 to create a positive “image” in the youth’s mind so that he or she can “imagine” a life without gangs or crime. Initially, the program consisted of a nine-week paid work experience and mentoring while on the job with a partnering agency. 

The focus now is developing and maintaining those relationships as each teen progresses in meeting their goals, such as finishing school and becoming employed. A Project Imagine outreach worker is assigned to mentor each teen in the program for a minimum of one year.

David says Project Imagine provides opportunities for the kids, who in turn have the responsibility of taking advantage of it.

As part of the program, the participants receive strength-based assessments using the Casey Life Skills and Clifton Strengths tools that aim to set youth on their way toward developing healthy, productive lives. 

The teens in Project Imagine are chosen from referrals from the police department, courts, schools, and parents.

Project Imagine has received national recognition. In 2020, David was named a winner of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award by the National Gang Crime Research Center. The award recognizes his accomplishments in gang prevention and intervention.

The program also received the President’s Award from the Virginia Municipal League in October 2019.