FEBRUARY 26, 2013













Learning the hard way

Young drivers and passengers know the facts, hear tragic stories and compete in lively safety contests. But teens riding without seat belts still die in crashes.

NS scraps 140 jobs at city’s rail yard
The plan to eliminate the “hump yard” will reduce Norfolk Southern’s regional work force by about 7 percent.
By Jeff Sturgeon 381-1661

Derailing 140 jobs, Norfolk Southern Corp. is ending regional rail car sorting at its Roanoke “hump yard,” an operation that railroad experts estimate is about 100 years old. The railroad said the changes announced Monday will bring greater efficiency by phasing out a poorly laidout facility in a non-prime location. The plan will trim about 7 percent of the company’s regional work force of 1,870 by eliminating train carmen, who inspect and repair rail cars; train crews, who conduct switching operations in the yard; and track maintenance personnel. The company said the workers could apply for other positions at NS. The hump will stay open for the benefit of local train customers, but its days as a regional railroad pivot point will end during the next several days, the railroad said. Somewhat fewer trains will pass

After installing a sign promoting traffic safety in the front of Staunton River High School, senior Brandon Settles and fellow students, all members of the teen advocacy group Youth Of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, sign the post to show their commitment to safety.

REBECCA BARNETT | The Roanoke Times

By Jeff Sturgeon 381-1661

Teachings on transportation safety begin in the wee stages of elementary education, when kindergarten teachers first present the concept of being safe. Tie your shoelaces, they tell THIRD OF students. Wear THREE PARTS your bike helmet and buckle your Sunday: Seat belts seat belt. It’s in often skipped on Virginia’s Stanrural Va. roads dards of LearnMonday: Va. is one ing. of 18 states without Schools a primary seat belt repeat the meslaw; Christiansburg sage about seat makes belts a cause belts as students advance. It’s covOnline: Visit ered again ing driver educato leave your tion, underlined comments, watch in teen-safety video, read previous contests at high coverage and vote in schools and may today’s poll. be reinforced at home by parents. By the time they’re teenagers, many are on their way to a lifelong habit of buckling up. However, young people riding without seat belts continue to perish in crashes. Liberty High School in Bedford County, which has an award-winning teen traffic safety club, lost two students in traffic crashes during a seat belt-awareness

U.S. census planning to drop use of term ‘Negro’
The word will be replaced with the more modern labels “black” or “African-American.”
By Hope Yen Associated Press

Ron Long holds a picture of his daughter Hannah at his home in Bedford County. Hannah, 15, was killed in an October crash in Franklin County. Despite award-winning efforts by Liberty High School to promote teen traffic safety, Hannah had not heeded the message to buckle up the night the Cadillac she was riding in slammed into a tree.

KYLE GREEN | The Roanoke Times

campaign in October. Neither Hannah Long nor Allen Dickenson, who died a week apart, was buckled in. “There’s no way they couldn’t have heard some of the messages,” said Mary King, who directs the statewide teen organization Yovaso, Youth Of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, which is sponsored by the Virginia State Police Association. Recent deaths, she said, are “kind of

fuel for us to keep going” on the campaign for seat belts and sobriety, compliance with speed limits and an end to distracted driving. Long’s father, 53-year-old Ron Long, speaks to students about the consequences of his daughter’s decision to go socializing with friends and not wear a seat belt. “I’d like to not see anybody ever get hurt like this again,” Long said.

WASHINGTON — After more than a century, the U.S. Census Bureau is dropping its use of the word “Negro” to describe black Americans in surveys. Instead of the term that came into use during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, census forms will use the more modern labels “black” or “African-American.” The change will take effect next year when the Census Bureau distributes its annual American Community Survey to more than 3.5 million U.S. households, Nicholas Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch, said in an interview. He pointed to months of public feedback and census research that concluded few black Americans still identify with being Negro and many view the term as “offensive and outdated.” “This is a reflection of changing times, changing vocabularies and changing understandings of what race means in this country,” said Matthew Snipp, a sociology professor at Stanford University,


Former surgeon general took high-profile stances
C. Everett Koop, who raised the profile of the nation’s surgeon general by speaking frankly about AIDS and the dangers of smoking, has died in New Hampshire. He was 96. PAGE 10

Crucial seconds on a local highway bridge
Danny Crouse decided on a career change five years ago. Now, he has been chosen Salem’s police officer of the year. PAGE 8

Teamwork needed on judge vacancies
State legislators from Western Virginia must join together and ask Gov. Bob McDonnell to fill judicial vacancies. PAGE 13


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