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Lane Closures Planned On I-81

  • Written by submitted

More lane closures have been scheduled on the Interstate 81 truck climbing lane project in Rockbridge County.

All northbound lanes of Interstate 81 will be closed for nighttime bridge work at mile marker 199 to 201 on Friday, April 25, from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m., Saturday. 

All northbound traffic will be detoured off the interstate at the off-ramp of exit 200 (Fairfield area) and back onto I-81 via the on-ramp at exit 200.

Also scheduled are right and center lane closures between mile markers 195 and 201 northbound on Monday, April 21 through the morning of Friday, April 25. These nightly closures run from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.


All work is weather permitting.

Columbia Gas To Replace Odorization Equipment

  • Written by submitted

Beginning on Monday, April 21, Columbia Gas of Virginia will start the process of replacing the odorization injection equipment and storage tank at our facilities along Valley Pike.


The process requires several days of work and will include a specialized environmental team on site in case the construction activity uncovers residual odorant in the construction site from last year’s odorant spill. Also, they will be equipped to immediately address any release of odorant during the disconnection of existing piping and the removal of the old storage tank.


The odorization equipment is used to inject the non-toxic odorant called “Mercaptan” which gives natural gas the rotten eggs odor as part of Columbia Gas of Virginia’s commitment to public safety. Columbia Gas of Virginia has communicated with the emergency responders in Lexington and Rockbridge County about the pending work.


            Should you ever smell a strong odor similar to “Rotten Eggs,” Columbia Gas of Virginia recommends you take the following actions:


·        Immediately leave the area

·        From a safe location away from the odor, call 911 and Columbia Gas of Virginia at 800.544.5606.

·        Warn others to stay away from the area

·        Leave windows and doors in their current position

·        Avoid open flames or anything that could spark ignition - including cell phones, lights, garage doors or other power equipment.

·        Do not attempt to operate pipeline valve or try to correct the leak.

·        When emergency personnel arrive explain the situation to them.


Slagle Supporters Pack Council Meeting

  • Written by Ed Smith


Supporters of former Buena Vista Police Chief Darrell Slagle packed Thursday's City Council meeting to vent their anger and express puzzlement over Slagle's recent abrupt retirement.

“We have a right to know why [the police chief suddenly left the department last month],” said Nannie Johnson. “My understanding is that Darrell would like to come back. “He's a good man. Whoever is responsible for this should lay off and let him do his job.”

“My wish,” said Mar Vita Flint, “and from the turnout tonight, I think you should direct the city manager to rescind the retirement of Darrell Slagle.”

After numerous others voiced similar sentiments, Slagle himself made an appearance, to thunderous applause from the audience. He thanked everyone for their support, but said he felt it would “not be in my best interest” to withdraw his retirement announcement.

Asked if he would be willing to return to his job, Slagle said, “There would have to be stipulations.”

Asked if he was forced from his job, he answered, “I was not fired. I retired because I felt like I had no alternative.” He said he'd been in communication with City Manager Jay Scudder in recent weeks, but that the city manager indicated he wants to “move forward with someone from the outside.”

- - -

Slagle's retirement wasn't the only item of interest at Thursday's City Council meeting. Scudder unveiled a proposed budget for next year that would raise the real estate tax rate by 7 cents to $1.14 per $100 assessed value. A rate at this level would equal the highest rate in the city's history.

The tax hike would help pay for implementation of a paid rescue squad service, an upgrade to the 911 radio system and a $100,000 increase in funding for the schools.

City Council accepted the resignation of Council member Lewis Plogger and made plans to fill the seat on a temporary basis, until a special election can be held on Nov. 4. Interested candidates for the interim appointment must write a letter of interest and fill out an application form that can be found on the city's Web site. Candidates will be interviewed by Council at the May 1 meeting, and the appointment will be made at the May 15 meeting.

For more details on Thursday's City Council meeting, see the April 23 print edition of The News-Gazette.


Glasgow Firefighters Honored For 2013 Rescue

  • Written by submitted

Glasgow-firefightersAt Monday's meeting of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors, nine members of the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department were presented with a plaque from the U.S. Marine Corps. The Glasgow firemen were honored for the roles they played in rescuing a Marine from a 200-foot ravine in the James River Face Wilderness area during a training exercise last fall. “It was a team effort from all involved,” stated Fire Chief John Hill. “The terrain and darkness made it a very difficult task and it's not very often we get to rescue a Marine, but we are happy to do whatever it takes -no matter the person or place.”

Craig Bryant (left), director of the county's fire and emergency medical services, holds the plaque while addressing the supervisors about the actions of the firemen, who are (from left) Ricky Taylor , Jason Duff, John Hill, Patrick Stump,Chris Rogers, Dylan Clark and Luis Catalan.


Lost Hikers Located

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Approximately 25 area fire and rescue workers, mostly volunteers, spent the better part of Wednesday night searching for four Washington and Lee University students who decided to take an evening hike through the Devils Marbleyard area in Arnolds Valley.

All four students were eventually found with no injuries.

“It was very fortunate that we had cell phone service to help us out,” Rockbridge emergency management coordinator Robert Foresman who said volunteers from both the Glasgow fire department and rescue squad and the Natural Bridge Fire Department were called out shortly after 9 p.m. for search and rescue operations.  Two hikers were found at the base of the Belfast Trail.  However, the other two hikers had crossed several ridges, Foresman said, and were not located until after 4 a.m. in the Little Hell Gate Creek area.

“Hypothermia was a concern because temperatures dropped below freezing last night,” Foresman said.  He noted one hiker was wearing only a t-shirt and shorts.

Two firefighters were treated at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital for a knee injury and general illness.  Foresman estimated that the billable cost for a comparable 10-hour search and rescue operation would equate to several thousand dollars.