Top Headlines March 25

By: Kitty Capelle
By: Kitty Capelle

These are the most popular headlines on WHSV.com. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

UPDATE: VDOT Says Valley Roads are Mostly Clear

 

 

HARRISONBURG-- (12:30 p.m.) A representative from VDOT reports road conditions in the area are mostly clear. Some areas are still dealing with minor conditions on the roads, meaning there are still parts of roads with ice or snow on them, but for the most part the snow is off the roads.

In the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro, city officials said the roads are also mostly clear. Crews are still on standby in case any issues arise. They will also be salting to prevent slippery conditions.

"We've been preparing since Friday. It's just something we've been in the habit of doing whenever they call for snow. Plows and spreaders are put on and everyone is put on standby," said Alton Marston of the Harrisonburg Public Works Dept.

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STAUNTON-- VDOT is asking drivers to use caution when on the roads on Tuesday morning, and only drive if necessary.

More information from VDOT:

STAUNTON – (4:30 a.m.) Most roads in the Shenandoah Valley are in moderate condition on Monday morning. Virginia Department of Transportation crews continue to work clearing and treating roadways. Motorists are advised not to travel unless necessary. Use caution and allow extra driving time when traveling.

Motorists should continue to use caution particularly roads in higher elevations and on bridges and overpasses.

Here are the road conditions as of 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning, March 25.

Interstate 64 – Moderate conditions in Alleghany County. Minor conditions in Rockbridge and Augusta counties.

Interstate 66 – Moderate conditions in Warren County.

Interstate 81 – Moderate conditions in Shenandoah County. Minor conditions in Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham and Frederick counties.

Primary Roads- Moderate conditions in Highland, Bath, Alleghany, Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren and Page counties. Minor conditions in Rockbridge, and Clarke counties.

Secondary Roads – Moderate conditions in Highland, Bath, Alleghany, Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren and Page counties. Minor conditions in Clarke county.

For winter weather road conditions go the www.511Virginia.org, look to the left side of the page and click on the “Road Conditions” bar. A map will appear with color coded roads. Right above the map is a link reading: “Click here for a list of road conditions, including secondary roads”. Click on this link, then in the drop-down box click on the desired county or Virginia statewide. A text box of road conditions will appear.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org. For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads.

VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and You Tube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT webpage is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

Road condition definitions:
Severe – drifting or partially blocked road. Snow tires or chains are necessary.
Moderate – snow or ice on major portions of the roadway. Snow tires or chains are advisable.
Minor – bare pavement except for isolated spots of snow, ice or slush. Driving with caution is recommended.

 

People in the Valley Discuss Gay Marriage

 

HARRISONBURG --On Tuesday and Wednesday, Prop 8 and the Defense Against Marriage Act, or D.O.M.A., will be brought to the Supreme Court. Political Scientist Dr. David McQuilkin said, he doesn't how broad the supreme court could interpret California's Prop 8.

"The general sense is going to make it a fairly narrow response. If they rule against California, it will only pertain to California," said Marshall.

D.O.M.A. Is a federal act that prohibits certain civil rights for same sex couples who want to get married. Dr. McQuilkin said, the Supreme Court is split and it's hard to predict what will happen.

"Where are we going to go from here, it's anybody's guess. My suspicion is, if the court does rule on unconstitutionality the decision will be very narrow. I don't think it will cover every instance, but I think it will cover the first major step in saying that same sex marriage is legitimate," said McQuilkin.

We took this issue to our WHSV Facebook page. We received many responses.

Mark Raymond wrote, "God allows people to make choices. He never took free will away. Why should we? People should be able to do whatever they want so long nobody is hurt."

Tonya Hodge wrote, "It's not gay rights. It's equal rights."

Others agree.

"I think that the generation, the younger generation, is a little bit more open minded and willing to give everyone the equal rights we all enjoy," said Erica Demson.

"I think it's fair that, when you have two people who are sure that they wanna spend the rest of their lives with someone, it's not the courts decision to determine if gender plays a factor in that," said Jack Knetemann.

We tried to reach out to other people who have an opposing opinion but they didn't want to comment on the matter. We want to know your thoughts on the issue. Log onto Facebook and search WHSV, like our page and leave a comment.

 

Neighbor Alerts VDOT about Potential Sinkhole

 

A neighbor contacted the Virginia Department of Transportation about a potential sinkhole on Saturday.

Mike Feichtinger said he saw it when he was walking with his dogs by the Endless Caverns in New Market.

"I was right there looking at this and my foot got in it and it became an 8 inch by 8 inch square hole," said Feichtinger.

He said he has heard of other sinkholes before.

"I had the big sinkhole in Florida on my mind. My first thought was boy I don't wanna be in the basement here," said Feichtinger.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, sinkholes form typically in areas with rocks such as, limestone and dolomite. The area does not have external surface drainage, making it easier for water to stay inside when it rains, according to USGS.

Feichtinger who has lived close to the caverns for years said he was not surprised to see something like this.

"We're in that corner where there's a lot of open space underneath us," said Feichtinger.

He called VDOT to make sure it could not be of any harm for cars or for people.

"I was just concerned of where it was and if it extended underneath the roadway that someone could get hurt," said Feichtinger.

Staunton District Communications Manager Sandy Myers said crews determined it was just a hole. However, sinkholes are not unheard of in the area.

"We can see them frequently sometimes we will see a couple a week. Sometimes it will be a while before we see them. Again it depends but they're very common in this area," said Myers.

She said sinkholes can usually be seen on road shoulders, in slopes next to the road and even the interstate.

"We generally see them when we're in a period where you have a lot of dry weather in an extended period of time and maybe getting some rain or you can see them in a period where you're getting a lot of moisture," said Myers.

Sinkholes can usually start as a small depression and develop with time, according to Myers.

She said neighbors can contact VDOT's help line, if they believe there is anything abnormal with the roads.

If there is a sinkhole, VDOT crews will dig up to get to the bottom of the hole and cover it up with dirt, boulders and rock. However, if the sinkhole went into the pavement, crews will have to repave the road after getting done with the repairs. 

 

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