Tag Archives: NBC-29

Remnants of Hurricane Bill to bring tornado, flash flood threat to Shenandoah Valley

WeatherBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a weather alert for the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of Virginia as remnants of Hurricane Bill head east. Gusty winds, isolated tornadoes, and flash flooding is possible Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning.

 For more weather information in the Valley, check NBC-29 and WHSV TV-3.
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Augusta County under winter storm warning

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Snow 11

It’s a messy winter weather morning. From WHSV TV-3:

**The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning until 7:00pm today. This is due to a wintry mix and accumulating snow. Travel difficulties are expected.**

Precipitation transitions to all snow this morning. Snow showers continue through the afternoon. Moderate to heavy snow between is expected at least through early afternoon. Snow showers will become lighter and slowly taper later this afternoon. Forecast amounts look to range from 5″-8″ with locally higher amounts. Southeastern Augusta County could see slightly lower accumulations as more sleet may mix in there. Travel will be hampered today. Stay with the First Alert Storm Team for the latest. Temperatures will fall through the 30s and eventually into the 20s this afternoon.

Slushy wet areas tonight will turn into slick spots/ice as temperatures fall to the single digits by early Friday morning. Wind chill values will be below 0° Friday morning. Skies will gradually clear tonight.

Most schools are closed in the Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta County area. Heavy rain overnight turned into sleet during the early morning hours with the temperature hovering right around freezing, with snow beginning to mix in a little after 9am. For complete closings and weather updates check WHSV TV-3 and NBC-29.

Stay safe out there….

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Winter snowstorm could cause travel problems this weekend

By Lynn R. Mitchell

WxRisk 7Weather map from WxRisk.com

DT at WxRisk.com and others are putting out warnings about wintry weather heading to the East Coast this weekend. We’re talking significant snow as well as sleet and ice. The mixed bad of goodies will hit someone but let’s hope the Shenandoah Valley has only snow.

Here’s the Sunday update from DT at WxRisk.com:

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Augusta County’s Dennis Burnett passes away – updated with obit, memorial service

Dennis Burnett

Dennis Burnett (1964-2014)

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Dennis Burnett, the sunny, all-smiles, friendly and outgoing executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, a position he took over on September 1, 2013, and former Economic Director for Augusta County, Virginia, has passed away from a brain aneurysm. He was 49.

As news of his passing spread through the community on Tuesday, there was a shock to all who knew the gregarious man who worked at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave before taking on the economic issues of the area.

In August he was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Manufacturing Development Commission.

A fixture at Augusta County supervisor meetings and throughout the economic and tourism community, it’s hard to come to the realization that we will no longer see Dennis, reading glasses jauntily propped on top of his head, smiling and laughing at events in the area. What a loss.

Friends are leaving condolences and remembrances on his Facebook page. While all are poignant and touching, one written by Deona Landes Houff stood out:

At 4:30 p.m. today I realized I’d never had lunch. I had been too pre-occupied with Dennis. He was such a supporter when I published eightyone, and I know many a business person can say the same about Dennis’ help with their endeavors. What an amazing man. I have funny memories, too. Don’t we all?

When I got home from work, I headed to the basement and dug out the old eightyones. I first interviewed Dennis in 2000 for a story on the airport. Gerald Garber’s thoughts at the time: “Dennis reminds me of a wind-up toy that has a extra strong spring. It’s just a breath of fresh air to have someone that exuberant in their job. He just doesn’t give up. I think it’s easier to say yes to him than to say no.”

I also interviewed Dennis in 2005 when he left the airport for Colgan. I headlined that little story “Hot Air.” Ha! Get it? The first line was “Dennis Burnett can talk. Ask anyone who’s ever met him. Heck, ask him.”

Elsewhere in the piece, he shared these words of wisdom: “The impossible just takes a little longer.”

And here’s the last paragraph of that story:

“Does he like his new job? ‘I ab-so-lute-ly love it,’ he declares. When accused of loving everything, he cops to it. ‘I do love everything. I’d have a good time in a shoe box.’ ”

Dennis, to you tonight, I raise my a glass and eat a good supper, extra salty with tears. And worry not. I’ll have dessert. We all love you. We are better, as a community and as individuals, for having known you. Thanks, Dennis. For everything.

Our thoughts and prayers go to his family as they try to make some sense of this unexpected loss. As arrangements are announced, they will be posted here.

MORE ABOUT DENNIS in the articles Cherish sunsets, friends, and memories … ‘the moment might be gone too soon.’ and Remembering Dennis Burnett 1964-2014.

UPDATE #1: Among the dozens and dozens of comments left on Dennis’ Facebook page — all touching and remembering a man who radiated warmth and kindness, was this one from Tara Todd, photojournalist and reporter with NBC-29. Her retelling of Dennis’ anecdote about the “dash” in our lifelines really hit home for me:

I am so sad tonight… like so many of us who knew Dennis Burnett.

I got to know Dennis over years of interviews. A sharp dresser, always with a smile, boundless positive energy and for nearly a decade still offering to carry my tripod. Dennis was the kind of person that you just felt better being around.

I’ll never forget something Dennis told me. He said when you look at a headstone it always has a person’s birthdate, a dash, and then the day they died. He said the part that matters is the dash.

Dennis, your dash was entirely too short, but it was impressive!!! I will miss you!

“The part that matters is the dash.” What a reminder to make your dash count….

UPDATE #2: Valley Partnership director dies unexpectedly by Laura Peters at the News Leader.

UPDATE #3: From reporter Laura Peters: “His family has established a memorial fund with the Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation in his name. Burnett attended BRCC and was a member of the foundation’s board of directors. Contributions may be made to the Dennis Burnett Fund, c/o BRCC Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 80, Weyers Cave, Va., 24486.”

UPDATE #4: Political reporter Bob Stuart has a wonderful article about Dennis’ professional side in the News-Virginian (Local residents mourn loss of economic development leader) and how he brought badly-needed jobs to Augusta County. Talking with local leaders, Stuart included this from Supervisor David Karaffa:

There are stories about Burnett’s commitment to people. Beverley Manor District Supervisor David Karaffa said he first came to know Burnett when he was running for a supervisors seat in 2011.

Burnett introduced himself and “would answer my questions.” Once elected to the board Karaffa said he would bombard Burnett with questions. “I had a million questions. He would come over to my house after hours and go over something with me even if it wasn’t in my district,’’ he said.

UPDATE #5: Shenandoah Valley Partnership director dies at 49 by Sean Cudahy and Tara Todd, NBC-29.

UPDATE #6: Honored to have WHSV AM 550 use my post in their tribute of Dennis: Dennis Burnett Remembered.

UPDATE #7: Valley Economic Development Leader Dies, WHSV  TV-3

UPDATE #8: Chris Graham at Augusta Free Press has an endearing remembrance of Dennis that taps into the exuberant man whom we were lucky to have known (see Dennis Burnett: A bright light extinguished too soon): “Dennis Burnett cannot be gone. He would be a bright light on a star in the sky; he could serve as a source of energy power for a small town. People like that don’t die; they don’t even fade away.”

UPDATE #9: Staunton News Leader Editorial: Grief for a gifted man that began: “Dennis Burnett was gifted. Positive, solutions-oriented, generous and gregarious, he shared those gifts with this community in economic leadership roles that helped us survive the recession and recover.”

UPDATE #10: Obituary for Dennis….

Dennis O. Burnett

Dennis Owen Burnett, 49, of Staunton passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Born Nov. 9, 1964 in Waynesboro, he is the son of Vernon M. Burnett and the late Mary (Mills) Burnett. On Nov. 7, 1987, he married the love of his life, Cynthia (Quick) Burnett. The two shared a blessed union of 26 years together.

Dennis was a graduate of Fort Defiance High School. Following high school, he attended Blue Ridge Community College and currently served on the Board of Directors of the BRCC Educational Foundation. He was currently serving as Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley Partnership. Being an active member of the community, Dennis was involved with the Greater Augusta United Way, Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Staunton-Augusta, International Economic Developers Council, Virginia Economic Developers Association, Virginia Agricultural Directors Association, and the Virginia Manufacturing Development Commission.

In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patsy Painter; father-in-law, Harry A. Quick III; nephew, Christopher Norene.

In addition to his loving wife and father, survivors include his sisters, Denise F. Brugler and husband, Tom, and Sandy Skillman Rooney and husband, Mike; brothers, Larry A. Skillman and Michael J. Skillman; mother-in-law, Charlotte Quick Hodge; brother-in-law, Jeremy Quick and wife, Teresa; sister-in-law, Brenda Norene and husband, Kevin; as well as a number of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and extended family.

A private service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, for family only at the Waynesboro Chapel of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes, 618 W. Main St. A public memorial service for friends, colleagues, and the community will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences/Mary Baldwin College, 100 Baldwin Boulevard, Fishersville, VA.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make memorial contributions to the Dennis Burnett Fund, c/o BRCC Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 80, Weyers Cave, Va., 24486 or a charity of your choice.

Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting http://www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com.

UPDATE #11: Bob Stuart, political reporter with the News-Virginian, covered the memorial service (see Hundreds remember economic development leader Burnett).

UPDATE #12: Laura Peters with the News Leader also covered the memorial service (see Hundreds mourn Burnett’s death).


Cross-posted at SWAC Girl

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Cab driving Jesse Matthew and Morgan Harrington

Hannah Graham UVa missing girl 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

There may be more connections between Jesse Matthew and Va Tech student Morgan Harrington who was murdered five years ago while in Charlottesville. He was a cab driver and she was reportedly seen getting into a cab that night and then disappeared (see Details Emerge about Matthew on Night of Harrington Disappearance).

Morgan’s dad commented on the latest development in the missing Hannah Graham case as well as his daughter:

Dan Harrington, Morgan’s father, released a statement Thursday, saying,”This is what we hoped for, that more pieces of the puzzle would come together. It’s exciting, it’s encouraging to hear but it’s still sad for us too. It will hopefully open up more doors for us [as investigators build their case].”

If you have a tip, you can call 434-295-3851 or email it to CPDtips@charlottesville.org.


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Prescribed burn at Big Meadows

Shenandoah National Park logo 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

A controlled burn went as planned Thursday at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park (see Controlled Burn Executed in Shenandoah National Park by reporter Jenna Dagenhart at NBC-29):

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Virginia U.S. Senate debate tonight

??????????By Lynn R. Mitchell

Tonight, at 7:00 p.m. the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce debate will air throughout Virginia. Watch live as Ed Gillespie outlines his his agenda for economic growth and holds Senator Mark Warner accountable for his record.

The debate will be broadcast live on the following stations:

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Jesse Matthew arrested in Galveston, TX, in case of missing UVa student Hannah Graham – Updated

Hannah Graham UVa missing girl 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

I was on the phone with my Texas sister last night who was in Houston, about an hour from Galveston. I had texted that Jesse Matthew, 32, had been captured in Galveston, a location that was surprising to most and something I knew she would be interested in hearing. She had kept up on the case of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, 18, from her home in Austin. A former newspaper journalist, my sister started finding more details through the local media and passed it along.

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Jesse Matthew arrested, suspect in disappearance of Hannah Graham

By Lynn R. Mitchell

From NBC-29 at 7:00 p.m.:

BREAKING: Police tell NBC29’s Henry Graff that they have arrested Jesse Matthew, man charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection to the Hannah Graham case. They say he was not arrested in VA. Press conference to start any minute now.

Watch on NBC29 or here: http://www.nbc29.com/category/175730/live-stream-landing-page

Press conference is set to begin at any moment. Police have not revealed where Matthew was arrested.

UPDATE #1: Suspect in Hannah Graham Disappearance Arrested from NBC-29

UPDATE #2: At 7:25 we’re still waiting for the press conference.

Update #3: Press conference underway. Jesse Matthew caught in Galveston, Texas.

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2,000 volunteers turn out to search for Hannah Graham — UPDATED

Hannah Graham UVa missing girl 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

[See the latest updates at the bottom.]

It’s been a week since 18-year-old Hannah Graham, a second year student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, disappeared in the wee hours of Saturday, September 13. She has been the subject of exhaustive police investigations, news coverage, and searches as the area has joined together hoping to have a positive ending.

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UVa student Hannah Graham missing — UPDATED

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Hannah Graham UVa missing girl 1

Looking at the freckled, smiling face of 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, I can only imagine the anguish her parents are feeling since she disappeared from sight in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Social media is spreading the news as police search and University officials warn students.

From ABC-7 (see 18-year-old U.Va. student Hannah Graham reported missing, community concerned):

Charlottesville police said their search had found no trace of the 18-year-old Graham, a 2013 graduate of West Potomac High School in the Fairfax County portion of Alexandria.

In her statement, [U.Va. President] Sullivan said the U.Va. community was “united in our deep concern” for Graham.

According to U.Va. officials, Graham is 5-foot-11 with blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. She was last seen wearing a black crop top with mesh cut outs.

Anyone with information on Graham’s whereabouts was asked by the university to contact the Charlottesville Police Department at 434-970-3280.

Please spread the word and pray for the safety of this young lady.

UPDATE #1 — 9/16/2014 at 9:00 a.m.: NBC-29 out of Charlottesville is doing a good job of keeping this story front-and-center to keep viewers aware and alert of the situation (see Police search for missing UVa student).

UPDATE #2 — Roanoke Times (see Missing UVa student’s last text said she was lost).

UPDATE #3  at 10:30 a.m. — NBC-29 (see Search for missing UVa student continues). Police report, “Graham had been drinking heavily and was last seen at 12:15 a.m. Saturday at a party in the area of 14th, 15th, and Wertland streets. Graham talked with her friends via text messages around 1:30 Saturday morning but then her phone cut off and there were no more pings. Graham’s text messages that night have been described as normal. Her last message said she was lost in the area of 14th and Wertland.”

UPDATE #4 at 1:00 p.m. — Reporter Parker Slaybaugh with WVIR TV-8 in Richmond passed along this BREAKING NEWS: “Police Sources just told me ALL searches for missing UVA student Hannah Graham have been temporarily put on HOLD. Officials say 60 plus tips have come in and those tips are ‘shifting the search in another direction.’ Police are meeting right now to decide where to go from here. Police do say that Hannah Graham is still missing.”

UPDATE #5 AT 4:45 p.m. — The FBI has now joined in the search for missing UVa student Hannah Graham. The search site has shifted to the area around O’Brady’s Irish Pub near campus where she was seen on surveillance video. Her family has released a statement to the community. See Hannah Graham’s family releases statement, police refocus search.

Saturday, 9/20/2014 — It’s been a week since Hannah Graham disappeared. I have started a new page with the latest updated information (see 2,000 volunteers turn out to search for Hannah Graham).

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Unaccompanied Child Immigrants in Verona, Virginia

David KaraffaBy David Karaffa
Supervisor, Beverley Manor District, Augusta County

I was informed last Friday that there were Unaccompanied Child Immigrants (UCI) at the Shenandoah Juvenile Detention Center in Verona. Like most others, I had read the newspapers and heard the news reports about these children, but now they were here in my district. I called the detention center and set up an appointment to meet some of these children.

I arrived at the Juvenile Detention Center Monday morning at 8 am. I had the opportunity to meet five illegal immigrant children, look into their welfare, and hear their stories. It was a heart-breaking experience.

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