Top Headlines on WHSV.com May 8

By: Kitty Capelle
By: Kitty Capelle

These are the most viewed headlines on WHSV.com for May 8. Stories with available video will have a link in the headline.

School Bus in Flood Waters Raises Concerns

Reporter: Estephany Escobar

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va.---A photo of a school bus making its way through a flooded area raised concerns from neighbors online on Tuesday.

Donna Fridley who witnessed the incident said the picture can be deceiving.

"That was just a picture that was snapped while it was going through water and it seems to be the only one that's getting any attention," said Fridley.

The photo was taken at Estaline Valley road in Augusta Springs, a road flooded by rain.

"[The driver] went through it, it was an empty bus, no one was on it. She was going to the school to get the kids," said Fridley.

In addition, the driver looked at the depth of the water before crossing and informed the school about the situation.

"She wouldn't have put herself or those kids in danger or whatsoever. If she thought it was unsafe, she wouldn't have done it," said Fridley.

Augusta County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent George Earhart said school officials try to help drivers avoid these situations.

"We try to work with our drivers, if they need to reroute and not to go through high waters and so forth," said Earhart.

He said he needs more information before judging a driver's actions.

"Everybody needs their due process so what we will do is share that information with the driver and ask them to come in and give us some explanation and try to explain their side of the story," said Earhart.

However, he said it's a matter he plans to investigate.

"Anytime drivers that we see in anything that is questionable that was dealing with safety with children, we will have to look into it, there is no question about it," said Earhart.

Fridley said she knows the driver did not have other options, but to travel through the high water.

"She had to get the kids home someway or another what is she supposed to do with them just keep them in the bus all night," said Fridley.

6-Year-Old Boy Dies at Va. Day Care Center

Reporter: Virginia AP

DUBLIN, Va. (AP) -- Pulaski County police are investigating the death of a 6-year-old boy who was hurt at a day care center in Dublin.

Sheriff Jim Davis tells media outlets a shelf fell on the boy Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at LewisGale Hospital.

Davis says the boy was a student at Pulaski Elementary School and had gone to day care before school started.

Davis declined to disclose the name of the day care center.

Neighbor Has Mixed Emotions over Reservoir Street Project

Reporter: Jazmin Bailey

A $14 million project that will expand Reservoir Street in Harrisonburg is underway.

To complete the project, the City is attempting to buy 104 pieces of property. Nineteen include buildings that will eventually be demolished.

Dawn Hottinger lives on Reservoir Street and took the city's offer for her home in March. She said it is the only home she has ever known and also the place where her parents died.

"After I signed the papers, I just came home and cried," she said.

When the project is complete, Reservoir Street will have five foot sidewalks on either side. There will also be five lanes for traffic to travel.

Two lanes will take drivers toward Rockingham County and two more will take drivers toward Harrisonburg. There will be center turn lanes at Woodland Drive, Foley Road, Ridgeville Lane, Dogwood Commons and Stonewall Drive.

In its current state, Hottinger said there are major issues with Reservoir Street.

"It's backed up and you have to wait. People are passing you. You can't let your guard down. If you do, you're going to get hurt."

Drew Williams is the Assistant Director of Public Works for Harrisonburg. He said the design of the new street will eliminate those problems.

"You don't have all the traffic concerns we see on some of our other five-lane roads where people are turning in that center lane. It really helps keep traffic moving," Williams said.

Moving is something Hottinger said was not a real choice.

"The way they put it to you, you either sell it or we're going to come in and take it, " she said.

Williams said every offer was fair and based on current market values. "We're paying for the loss of their house that they can use as a down payment," he said.

Although the City made an offer she thought was fair, Hottinger said they forgot about the small things.

"You have to get the electric on at a new place and you have to get water hooked up at a new place. You have to have deposits," Hottinger said.

Hottinger has to move out by July and said letting go will be tough.

"The day that I leave here for good is going to be one of the hardest days of my life. It's going to be hard to say bye."

The next step in the project is to perform asbestos assessments on buildings that will be demolished. Once the demolitions are complete, the City will begin to move utilities.

Williams said that is expected to happen by September 2013. Road construction is set to begin in the summer of 2014.

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