What's News Today: August 16, 2016

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(WSLS 10) - Vinton Town Council holds a public hearing tonight about the town's Comprehensive Plan. The town conducted a study earlier this year, looking at establishing an Urban Development area. Some of the issues that will be addressed in the revision to the plan include how to bring people to downtown, future development and traffic.

The Montgomery County School Board holds a public input meeting tonight about school construction. Three projects will be discussed. Expanding Falling Branch Elementary School to get rid of nine mobile units is the first project. Money for the project is available. A new Belview Elementary School will be discussed. Money to complete the project is not yet available, but current funds could be used to buy land and start the design process.

The group New River Valley Rail 2020 will hold a panel discussion tonight with senior law makers. The group wants to get passenger rail service expanded to the region within the next few years. Surveys from last year show a demand for 40,000 trips annually. Tourism could increase by five percent is rail service is expanded.

The Roanoke County Sheriff's Office holds a firearm safety course today. It's a classroom base course talking about storage, malfunctions and responsibilities. Registration for the course is required. Today's class is full, but additional dates are scheduled for September and October.

One of the people tied to the disappearance of the Lyon sisters is expected to enter a plea in court today. Patricia Welch is accused of perjury. Her brother, Leslie Engleking, pleaded no contest in February to perjury in relation to the disappearance of the sisters. He was sentenced to five year, all of which were suspended and one year of probation. Their relative, convicted sex offender Lloyd Welch, faces two counts of first degree murder in the death of Catherine and Sheila Lyon who disappeared in 1975.

The Franklin County man charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty and neglect goes on trial today. Michael Cabbler was charged after five of his horses were found starved and emaciated. Franklin County Animal Control and the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue seized five of his horses after going without food and fresh water for some time, surviving on bark stripped off of trees.

Groundbreaking takes place today on the Virginia National Guard's new headquarters. The new 102,000 square foot facility will be located in Chesterfield County. It will be the workspace for the adjutant general of Virginia, Virginia National Guard joint staff and the Air National Guard staff. The nearly $30 million project is expected to be complete by February of 2018. It's being paid for primarily with money from the federal government.

The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care holds a symposium today on ending youth and family homelessness. The event lets government leaders and community groups share ideas to support homeless families. Topics to be discussed include using data at the community level to drive funding decisions, supporting homeless students, and mentoring.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors could talk about new security technology for schools. COPSync 911 connects schools with police, gives them school diagrams and information, which saves time during emergencies. The program costs about $46,000 which is less than the cost of a school resource officer.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors meets today to talk about the addition of a police department.  The County Administrator will give an update on the conversion analysis including the cost of establishing the department. Earlier this year, the proposal was made as supervisors say people in the county asked for more police coverage. Sheriff Bill Overton is opposed to the idea, saying that the new office would waste taxpayer money, especially when his force is in need of more funding, saying, "If anything, again, we believe that the board needs to invest in the great Sheriff's Office we have and the resources that we need to continue to provide the good service that we're doing."  Voters will ultimately decide if a police force is added.  To get it on November's ballot, a decision must be made by the end of the week.