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Category Archive : Danville

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.


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.


Danville Police, Virginia State Police to Partner Again for Operation Bold Blue Line

The Danville Police Department and Virginia State Police will once again partner for traffic enforcement and safety from March 12-24. This will be the second time both agencies have partnered together since Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Operation Bold Blue Line in 2022.

During the two-week period there will be a heavier-than-normal police presence in the City of Danville with marked police vehicles. 

This partnership with the Virginia State Police is part of the state’s initiatives supporting local law enforcement in efforts to reduce crime and save lives across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The partnership will be a focused effort using data-driven analysis to guide enforcement efforts through the holiday season with the goal of reducing traffic crashes and injuries through enforcement and additional focused efforts to reduce violent crime in the community. Some of the locations identified include: 

•    Nor Dan Drive

•    Halifax Rd.

•    South Boston Rd.

•    Riverside Drive

•    Central Boulevard

•    Franklin Turnpike

•    Craghead Street

•    Memorial Drive

•    Mountain View Drive

•    South Main Street

•    West Main Street

•    Mount Cross Road

The Danville Police Department reminds everyone that this is a planned, proactive operation.


Plan Danville Ribbon Cutting Storefront Ceremony Held On Tuesday

Plan Danville is a community planning process to develop the comprehensive plan: a 20-year policy document reviewed every five years and acts as a guide for land use development, zoning, and prioritization for future development. On Tuesday there was a ribbon cutting storefront ceremony for it with video provided by River City TV. You can see the video recording from their Facebook page post on it you can find here.

Official release:

Plan Danville’ storefront now officially open

With the goal of hearing the voices of all residents, business owners and visitors in Danville, local leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday for the “Plan Danville” storefront at 206 North Union St. 

The storefront will serve as the central hub for holding conversations about how and where change will occur in the city over the next couple of decades.

“We want everyone involved,” Mayor Alonzo Jones said at the ceremony. “The next time we have this conversation (about planning Danville’s future), we will not have to hear someone say, ‘I wasn’t involved.’ Everyone can be involved.”

“Plan Danville” is a community planning process to develop the comprehensive plan: a 20-year policy document that is reviewed every five years and acts as a guide for land use development, zoning, and prioritization for future development. 

A team of community ambassadors will serve as local grassroots organizers. The team consists of Reese Luck-Brimmer, Felice McWilliams, James Reynolds, Roshay Richardson, Amyia Totten, and Sonya Wolen. They will lead small conversations at the storefront and in neighborhoods over the next several months. 

“Our city is undergoing a remarkable resurgence,” Jones said. “Nearly 4,000 jobs have been announced in the region since 2018. Those numbers include the resort casino under construction. We are confident that more jobs are on the way. More than ever, change is coming. So, this is the time for a plan like this.”

City Manager Ken Larking thanked the members of the City Council for their support of the “Plan Danville” planning process.

“What I am excited about this plan is that we are putting it into overdrive.” Larking said. “We know there is a lot of change in our community that we are experiencing now. We know there is a lot of change to come. So, we want to make sure that we did the very best we could when it comes to a comprehensive plan.”

He added, “When we make a plan, and execute that plan, then we can really dictate what our community looks like over 10 to 20 years.”

Larking cited the redevelopment in the River District as an example.

“About 10 to 15 years ago, the community started talking about what it could do to improve its downtown,” he said. “There was a plan that was made in about 2010. Here we are years later, and if you think about what our River District looked like then, and what it looks like now, then you can see how carefully designing a plan with community input, and executing on that plan, can make a true difference.”

Public investment of $52 million in the River District has resulted in $310 million of private investment.

“That is outstanding for a decade of work,” Larking said. “What we are trying to do is replicate that throughout the city. This comprehensive plan will touch every neighborhood and every business area of the community.”

Larking said resources that were not available before will now be available to implement change for a better Danville for everyone.

He also talked about the community engagement that will take place as part of the process.

“Unlike anything we’ve ever done before, we’ve never had community ambassadors that will be out in the community and going to the hardest to reach people to make sure their voices are heard,” Larking said.

Larking thanked the Danville Regional Foundation for providing a grant to assist in the community outreach effort.

Diana Schwartz, executive director of the River District Association, talked about the history of the storefront and its renovation. North Union Street has been central to entrepreneurship in Danville, first as part of a tobacco history and heritage, and later as the center of black entrepreneurship in the city.

The 206 and 208 North Union Street buildings were constructed in the early 1900s. In the past, these properties have contained tobacco warehouses, furniture stores, a lunch and billiards parlor, a cobbler’s shop, a boxing gym, and an art gallery.

In need of rehabilitation, Danville in 2018 secured $150,000 in a preservation campaign in which Danville competed against many larger cities. The buildings were renovated and now serve as office space, with the River District Association being the primary tenant.