Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Man indicted in child pornography case

A Christiansburg man has been indicted on 207 counts of possessing child pornography.

Phillip James Wyatt, 57, was indicted by a grand jury that met in late April. He was arrested Friday and is being held in the Montgomery County Jail.

Christiansburg Detective Derek Altizer said police received a tip last year about the contents of Wyatt's computer. A search warrant was executed March 29, 2006, and the contents of the computer were searched, Altizer said.

More than 207 files cited in the indictments were found, but in some cases it was difficult to determine whether the subjects shown were minors, Altizer said. But he added that the people in the 207 files cited in the indictment are clearly under 18.

According to court documents, names on some of the photos include "baby incest," "illegal preteen underage" and "kid son and mom."

Each charge is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison if Wyatt is convicted.

-- Shawna Morrison

Drillfield event planned to thank community

Hokies United, the Virginia Tech student organization that has planned several events since the April 16 shootings on campus, will hold an event tonight to thank the community for its support.

The event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the Drillfield. It will feature live entertainment, including a cappella and step dancing performances. Virginia Tech announcer Bill Roth will be on hand, and the Marching Virginians will perform.

The event is free and open to the public, and free ice cream will be available.

The group also announced that Hokies United Memorial T-shirts will go on sale Saturday. They'll be available at the University Bookstore on campus and at Volume II and Tech bookstores off campus. The shirts can also be purchased on the Hokies United Web site at hokiesunited.org.vt.edu.

The shirts cost $5, and proceeds will go to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which was created to honor the victims of the shootings.

-- Greg Esposito

Governor's School students win awards

PULASKI -- Six students from the Southwest Virginia Governor's School brought back awards from the Virginia State Science Fair last month at George Mason University.

The science and math magnet high school's board got the news at its meeting Tuesday.

One of the awards was a first place in zoology, going to Josh McCann from Giles High School, for a project gauging the effects of certain conditions on sheep during gestation.

Other winners were Beth Van Schoyck, Christiansburg High, second in behavioral and social sciences; Jenna Boyer, Rural Retreat High, third in medicine and health; Tara Lawson, Pulaski County High, honorable mention in zoology; Lara Nichols, Pulaski County High, first place special award from the Virginia Chapter of American Water Works Association; and Wyatt Hall, Giles High, second from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

The state fair had 310 exhibits, 15 of which were from the Governor's School, said Sherry Pugh, a faculty member.

Eighteen students have been accepted to present papers May 23 to 25 at the Virginia Junior Academy of Science at James Madison University: Paige Kauffelt, McCann, Emily Heim and Hall, from Giles High; Bonnie Pohlig, Josh Simpkins, Donnie Brooks, Timothy Meadors, Joey Hester and Austen Meredith, from Pulaski High; Preston Harrington, Kelsey Kennan, Meghan Hottel and Christina Yang, from Christiansburg High; Kent Williams and Erika Patel, Wytheville; Moses Nester, Galax; and Jenna Boyer, Rural Retreat.

-- Paul Dellinger

Bidders hear briefing on new Fairlawn school

PULASKI -- Six construction companies sent representatives to a pre-bid conference Tuesday for a briefing on a new Pulaski County elementary school to be built in Fairlawn.

The name will continue to be the Riverlawn School. The new building will be a 600-student, 30-classroom, two-story school.

The Pulaski County School Board is scheduled to open bids on the project at 2 p.m. May 17.

The new school will use geothermal energy for heating and air conditioning. Although more expensive initially, the geothermal process is expected to pay for itself in savings in a few years.

"We hope to have good success with the drilling," said J.D. Price, the project architect with OWPR Architects and Engineers of Blacksburg.

The new school near the intersection of Peppers Ferry and Viscoe roads is the latest step in the board's "Building Futures" program, which has seen an addition at Critzer Elementary, a renovation at Snowville Elementary and the opening of a new Pulaski Elementary School replacing three smaller schools.

Because the new Riverlawn School will replace only one school, Price said, students can move into it whenever it is ready. One contractor representative suggested it could be finished as early as July 2008. "That would be nice," Superintendent Don Stowers said.

The substantial completion date is September 2008.

-- Paul Dellinger

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