Top Headlines March 14

By: Kitty Capelle
By: Kitty Capelle

These are the most popular headlines on for March 14.

Va Police Continue Search for Missing Woman after Car Found


BACK CREEK, Va. (AP) -- Virginia State Police are continuing its efforts to find a missing Rockingham County woman after her car was found on the side of a Bath County road.

Officials say the vehicle found Monday near Back Creek on Route 39 belongs to 62-year-old Harriet C. Cobb. She was last seen by her family on Saturday afternoon.

Evidence at the scene indicates no signs of foul play.

Authorities say they've spent the last few days following up leads and searching the area for Cobb by ground and air.


How Likely are Sinkholes to Appear in the Valley?


HARRISONBURG -- Dr. Eric Pyle, a James Madison University geology professor, said sinkholes happen quite often and quite simply.

"Rain water is a little bit acidic. As it goes through the soil, it gets a little more acidic," he said.

In a demonstration, Dr. Pyle put watered down acid onto the surface of limestone. In just a short time, the rock showed signs of breaking down.

"Limestone doesn't bend, so any stress causes lots of fractures and cracks. That's a pathway for the acidic water to get into the rock. Where it's dissolved enough, it creates a cavity or a void. Where that's close to the surface, if it's large enough, it's like a bridge collapsing. If you remove everything underneath it, the weight of everything above simply falls in."

In Pennsylvania, a sewer line burst in two places and created a 30 foot wide sinkhole. Dr. Pyle said it was another main cause.

"As you increase the flow rate, that's more acid going past rock that dissolves very easily."

Limestone is prevalent in most of the Valley.

"As humans spread out into more and more areas, they're going places where people haven't lived or build houses, or visited frequently, and that simply allows the intersection of people and a natural phenomenon, which unfortunately has disastrous consequences."

Dr. Pyle said he wouldn't worry about anything too much. He said most of the caverns in Luray and Grottoes were formed in a similar way. He said the surface doesn't always collapse when rock is removed.


Teachers Get First Raise in Nearly Five Years


WAYNESBORO -- Members of the Waynesboro School Board unanimously voted to give school employees their first raise in nearly five years. Some teachers said it's long overdue.

Paula Sherrill has taught French class at Waynesboro High School for 31 years. She said she's very happy to see the 3 percent raise pass, even though she feels it's not quite enough.

“Should it be more? Well yeah, obviously we all feel like we work so diligently. Everyone in society will tell you that teachers don't make really what they should be earning. But we all very realistically understand that,” she said.

Even though that sentiment is understood, Waynesboro lost several teachers to nearby school systems which pay a better wage. That's why school board members felt showing they cared was important.

Mary Kane, a long time third grade teacher at Berkeley Glenn Elementary, said it's been difficult.

“I'm committed to this community. This is where I raised my family. This is actually the school that our children went to. For me, Waynesboro is where I wanted to be. If I were at a different place in my career, I can assure you I would be looking at other options,” she said.

Waynesboro schools used to be known as a place teachers wanted to be with high pay and a great location near big universities. School board members have a long way to go if they want to reclaim that appeal.

“We've fallen behind to probably the lowest paid school system in the area,” said Sherrill.

Kane said she wished the raise was a little more.

“Three percent is something that almost was standard before five or six years ago. To me, five percent would have been nice,” she said.

While three percent might not be the best raise, it's better than nothing. School board members hope the raise will help ensure Waynesboro teachers stay with the school system.

The raise is possible because of cuts to the supply and maintenance budgets. Four full time positions will be eliminated through attrition.






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