What's News Today: July 1, 2019

Here's a look at some of the stories we'll be following today.


Here's a look at some of the stories we'll be following today as they make headlines across the country and Southwest Virginia.

Treetop Quest holds a ribbon cutting for a new attraction at Explore Park.  The first phase of development features an obstacle court with four skill levels and zip-lines.  More elements will be added in the future.  The attraction is expected to draw 25,000 visitors a year.

The State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will begin accepting applications today for the Beehive Distribution Program.  The General Assembly approved $125,000 to give free beehive equipment to Virginians.  You must be at least 18 years old, register as a beekeeper and are required to keep the hives in Virginia.  

Anne Marie Green will take over as the President of the Council of Community Services.  Green comes from Roanoke County, where she served as Director of Human Resources for the county.  The council helps organizations and individuals with planning, information and referral services to improve the quality of life in local communities.  Green replace Daniel Merenda who retired after 12 years with the organization.

The City of Roanoke is conducting a survey about the effectiveness of its E-911 services.  The city strongly encourages anyone who has been helped by the center to give feedback as it looks at ways to improve services.  The survey is up through the 14th. 

The age to buy tobacco and other nicotine products increases in the Commonwealth.  The legal age is now 21, up from 18.  Lawmakers made the change in an effort to stop teens from vaping.

Gas gets more expensive along the Interstate 81 corridor.  The money will pay for improvements to the highway.  Gas prices are expected to increase about 7.5 cents.  

Fines double starting today for using a handheld device in a highway work zone.  That means no texting, calling, emailing or checking GPS.  

Virginia's move-over law in now more strict.  If you see a vehicle stopped on the side of the road with red, blue or amber lights, like police cars, fire trucks or tow trucks, you have to move over or slow down.  If you don't, you could be charged with reckless driving and face a $250 fine.

New child car seat laws are now in effect.  Children must remain rear facing until age two.  The old law allowed them to turn around at age one.  The law does allow for medical waivers.  The fine for a first offense is $50.  It goes up to $500 for the second.

You'll start seeing signs and ads for happy hour specials.  Prior law did not allow restaurants to advertise the information.  The change allows for the information on signs, websites and social media.

Drivers whose license was suspended due to unpaid court costs can now get their license back.  The DMV sent letters to those affected, outlining the steps to be taken.  The new law waives the reinstatement fee and prohibits courts from suspending licenses in the future.

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