SALEM – (9:15 a.m.) The right lane of northbound Interstate 81 in Montgomery County at mile marker 120.5 is closed due to an overturned tractor-trailer that has spilled its contents on the roadway. The contents have been identified as frozen food.  Responders are currently working in the area and at this time, they estimate the closure will be in effect until 1 p.m. today.

Drivers should expect delays or seek alternate routes. Congestion of three miles has been reported.

For updates on this I-81 incident, visit

Va. holiday travel volume expected to be highest in a decade

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Travel organization AAA expects the number of Virginians traveling during the Memorial Day weekend to be the highest in a decade.

The organization projects about 1 million Virginia residents will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday period. That would be the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005 and an increase of more than 4 percent from 2014.

More than 952,000 Virginians, or 90 percent, are expected to travel by automobile.

AAA said Wednesday in a news release that the projected increase is prompted in part by declining gas prices. Gas prices in Virginia are at their lowest level for the holiday in five years, leaving residents with more disposable income.

Other factors include a strong employment market and increased consumer optimism.

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Obituary for Shirley Jean Russell

Shirley Jean Russell, age 77 of Pulaski formerly Stafford, Virginia passed away Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in the Lewis Gale Hospital, Pulaski.

Born November 20, 1937 in Staffords Springs, Conn., she was the daughter of the late John Kubacka and Olga Lasko Kubacka. Her husband, William Robert Russell also preceded her in death in 1999.

She is survived by her


Christine Russell-Pulaski, VA.

Cynthia Russell York-Jacksonville, FL

William Russell- Memphis, TN

John Russell-Falls Church, VA

 Six Grandchildren

Funeral services will be held Saturday 2:00 pm, May 23, 2015 in the Bower Funeral Home Chapel, Pulaski.

The family will receive friends Saturday from 1:00 pm until the hour of service.

Burial will be at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, Virginia.

To send online condolences to the family, visit

Bower Funeral Home, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.

Obituary for Phillip Ray Burcham, Sr.

Phillip Ray Burcham, Sr., CWO IV U.S. Navy Retired, age 82 of Pulaski passed away Monday – May 18, 2015 at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Born October 20, 1932 in Stephens City, Virginia he was the son of the late Charlie Burcham & Ethel Silva Burcham. Two sisters; Edith & (Rudy) Edwards, Gerri Monroe and brother; Lee Burcham also preceded him in death.

3113695Ray was a man of family, faith and was a true patriot. He served 23 years in the United States Navy in Aviation Electronics and at Federal Mogul in Blacksburg for 23 years as an Electrical Designer/Engineer.

He was a lifelong member of the V.F.W. Post #1184 – Pulaski, VA. He was a member of the New River Squares for 30 years. He was a scout master, baseball coach and baseball umpire. He was a loving and devoted father and grandfather – he was protective and thoughtful. He was a devoted husband who missed his 60th anniversary by 3 weeks.

Ray will be respected, revered and missed forever.

He is survived by his

Wife of 60 years – Shirley Irene Burcham – Pulaski

Children – Phillip (Debbie) Burcham, Frances Heisler, John Burcham, Clay (Ginny) Burcham, Andrew (Liz) Burcham, Melissa Burcham Hale

19 Grandchildren 10 Great Grandchildren

Brother – Clyde (Dottie) Burcham – Radford

Sister – Bertha (Cody) Jones – Salem

A funeral service will be held 11:00 AM – Thursday,May 21, 2015 in the Bower Funeral Home Chapel, Pulaski with Rev. Bobby Ward (VFW Chaplain) officiating. Interment will follow at the Southwest Virginia Veteran’s Cemetery, Dublin.

The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 pm Wednesday evening at the Bower Funeral Home, Pulaski.

In lieu of flowers, family asks that memorials be sent to the V.F.W. Post #1184,PO Box 2005, Pulaski, VA 24301.

To send online condolences, visit Bower Funeral Home, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.

Wreckage of plane crash found; two people killed

Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

At approximately 12:35 p.m., Tuesday (May 19), a Virginia State Police helicopter spotted the wreckage of the missing plane in a remote area of Smyth County, Va. The crash site is located on the western side of Flat Top Mountain towards the top elevation.

Due to the difficulty of the terrain, it took some time for state police to reach the wreckage by foot. The location is about a half mile from the GPS coordinates provided by the FAA and military for the missing aircraft.

Onboard the helicopter conducting the spotting were a member of the Black Diamond Search and Rescue Council and a Virginia State Police lieutenant.

The missing aircraft left Florida Monday morning (May 18) and was scheduled to land in Mansfield, Ohio, later that same day.

There were no survivors and the debris field is substantial. State police will remain on scene to secure the site until the FAA and NTSB can arrive and begin their crash investigations.

Based on information provided, state police believe there were at least two individuals on board – a pilot and one passenger. Their remains will be transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination, autopsy and positive identification.

The investigation remains ongoing into the cause of the crash.

UPDATE: Still no crashed plane located

Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

Search efforts are continuing for a possible downed plane in Southwest Virginia. The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Richmond was first notified by the military of a possible small, private aircraft crashing in the area of Smyth or Grayson counties. The EOC notified the Virginia State Police and search efforts were immediately underway on the ground and by air.

As of 9:15 p.m. Monday, there are no confirmed reports of any plane or wreckage being found. The area’s dense foliage, rocky terrain, and rugged cliffs have made search efforts by vehicle and foot challenging for search crews. There has been no aircraft distress radio/emergency beacon detected in the region.

During the daylight hours, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) established a command post in Saltville to assist with coordinating Search and Rescue ground teams to conduct grid searches around the GPS coordinates provided by the military. State troopers have also been following up on various tips that have been called in by the public concerning possible sightings. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Conservation Police are also assisting on the ground through the use of ATVs.  In addition, Virginia State Police aviation has been flying the area searching for any signs of smoke, damaged trees, or wreckage – of which none has been found.

During the night, search efforts are continuing. The state police helicopter is using its FLIR capabilities in the darkness. VDEM is coordinating search and rescue teams that specialize in nighttime searches.

Obituary for Sundy Joy Warf

Sundy Joy Warf, age 36 of Dublin passed away Sunday evening May 17, 2015 at the New River Valley Medical Center after a courageous battle with cancer. She won that battle in the way she lived her life and now is with her Lord and Saviour in Glory.

WarfBorn February 25, 1979 in Radford she was the daughter of Robert “Bobby” Arley Warf & Shirley Rickey Warf. Her grandparents; John & Minnie Warf / Boyd & Sally Rickey and sister; Scarlett Lynn Warf preceded her in death.

Sunday was a graduate of Pulaski County High School, Radford University and was a database manager for Center in the Square and the Western Virginia Foundation for Arts & Sciences.

She is survived by her

Parents –         Robert “Bobby” Arley Warf & Shirley Rickey Warf – Dublin

Sisters –                       Robyn Warf Taylor & husband, Dale – Bedford

Angela Leigh Patterson – Dublin

Nephew/Brother –     Ryan Christopher Warf & wife, Shauna – Dublin


Ethan Dale Taylor, Hunter Evan Taylor, Skyler Erica Noel Patterson, Noah Josiah Patterson

Special Great Niece –  Ryleigh Marie Warf

Best Friends

Amber & Dr. Donnie Bunch               Ryan Simpkins

Mary McNeil Baron (and boys)         Whitney Whitacre

A host of special friends, aunts, uncles and cousins

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm – Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the Abundant Life Ministries, Pulaski with Pastor Randall Lawrence officiating. Interment will follow at the Highland Memory Gardens, Dublin.

The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 pm Wednesday evening at the church.

To send your online condolences, visit

Bower Funeral Homes, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.

Tuesday is ‘Opening Night’ at The Marketplace in Pulaski

The Marketplace Logo



Next Tuesday marks the return for another great year of The Marketplace in downtown Pulaski.

Organizers hope this year to build upon the success of last year’s Marketplace.

“Last year’s Marketplace successes exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Peggy White, Executive Director of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, which operates the weekly event for the Town of Pulaski.

Vifl_retro(1)“After gaining national exposure for being featured in Bon Appetit Appalachia magazine as one of Virginia’s destination farmer’s markets, The Marketplace secured a $57,000 USDA Farmer’s Market Promotion grant which has been used to develop a website and television ad campaign, among other advertising.  We really want to showcase and spread the word about the great things Pulaski has to offer. We’re looking forward to another exciting season at The Marketplace,” continued White.

The Marketplace, located at the historic train depot on Washington Avenue in Pulaski, is open from 4 to 8 p.m. beginning next Tuesday (May 19) and continuing through Sept. 8.

Each week, vendors offer area residents and visitors a variety of crafts, food and live music.

Tuesday’s opening night features entertainment from Magic Moments, food from Bo & Weezy’s Fried Chicken and drinks from Bold Rock and West Wind Winery.

The opening night’s Culinary Showcase will feature Food City Chef Anthony Mammarella.

Last but not least, Center Stage Dance students will perform at 5 p.m.

This year you can watch The Patriot and its website for weekly details on what’s happening at The Marketplace. Plus the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce has developed a new website devoted totally to The Marketplace at  You can also find it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as on television commercials.

“Come join The Marketplace family for 16 weeks of live music, local culinary showcases and Virginia craft beers, ciders and wines,” said White. “The farmers and artisans of Pulaski have a lot to offer again this season, so don’t forget to stop by The Marketplace on Tuesday, May 19 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the historic train station in downtown Pulaski.”

(web) Marketplace 5-15 copy


State Police: No signs of reported plane crash

Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

At approximately 2:20 p.m. Monday, the Virginia State Police were notified of a possible plane crashing in either Smyth or Grayson counties. State police immediately dispatched troopers by ground and by air to search for any wreckage. As of 6 p.m., there is still no evidence of a plane crash anywhere in the immediate area.

Search efforts will continue until sundown, at which time state police will reassess the situation.

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