What's News Today: April 28, 2016

By Patrick McKee - Anchor

(WSLS 10) - One of the men charged in the shooting death of a Danville man receives his sentence today. In March, a jury found Jibri Pettus guilty of first degree murder in the death of Bennie Sigmon. Pettus could be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Prior to the start of the trial, the judge accepted guilty pleas from Pettus for various burglary charges he faced in connection with the shooting. Sigmon was shot when he came outside to confront four people who appeared to be trying to break into a home across the street.

VDOT holds a public hearing today in Botetourt County to talk about proposed safety improvements to part of Route 220. The stretch of highway runs between Iron Gate and the James River bridge near Eagle Rock. Safety upgrades proposed include reducing curves, widening shoulders and adding turn lanes. The open house format meeting takes place starting at 5 p.m. at Eagle Rock Elementary School.

Roanoke County holds another round of focus groups tonight. County leaders will use the comments received to shape the future of Roanoke County's budget and priorities. Sessions tonight begin and seven with economic development and transportation being discussed.

Roanoke City Council holds a public hearing tonight at 7 p.m. about the city's budget for next year. The $281 million budget maintains the current level of core services. The budget contains $80 million for the school system, which is an increase of $2.6 million.

Virginia's Blue Ridge Hospitality Association hosts a candidate forum today at noon. Six candidates running for Roanoke City Council will face off before next Tuesday's election.

The Roanoke County School Board will discuss its laptop program at its meeting tonight. The laptops used in the 8th grade pilot program are now six years old and need to be replaced. The school board also wants to expand the program, so that seventh grade student also have access to a computer both at school and at home. The board is expected to vote tonight to spend $1.1 million to buy 2,200 laptops.

The Amherst County School Board meets tonight to discuss the future of Pleasant View Elementary School. A citizen group will make a presentation about saving the school from closing. The superintendent made the recommendation to close last month, citing a steady decline in enrollment and more than one million dollars in repairs that need to be made. The school has seven teachers with fewer than sixty students attending.

Virginia Tech graduate students will participate in a Shark Tank style event today. The students will pitch biotech start-up companies to a panel of local business people. The students developed their companies on patents owned by Virginia Tech.

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