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Local News

  • Panel votes down automatic rights restoration

    RICHMOND — A legislative panel has rejected a proposal that could lead to automatically restoring rights of nonviolent felons after they have completed their sentences.

    Those qualified still must petition the governor to restore their rights.

    The resolution (SJ238) sought a constitutional amendment allowing the General Assembly to decide whether to automatically restore some rights, such as the right to vote, for nonviolent felons who have fully completed their sentences, including probation.

  • State completes investigation of fatal accident

    FRIES — C&B Lumber in Fries has received a citation from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program, after an investigation of an accident resulting in the death of an employee in 2014.

    The citation involved paperwork, and the company was not found to be at fault in the worker’s death.

  • Few children in Va. haven't been vaccinated

    A flurry of measles infections around the country— most linked to the exposure of several dozen people to the virus at Disneyland in California — has made national headlines.

    But Virginia has yet to report a single case this year. One possible reason, according to public health officials: few children in the state are opting out of the school-required vaccine.

    In the 2013-14 school year, 446 kindergartners in Virginia applied for a nonmedical exemption from vaccines, a low number compared with other states.

  • Where's the fire? Siren activity often weather-related

    Galax citizens may have noticed an unusually high rate of activity by the city’s siren lately. So, where’s the fire?

    According to Capt. Mike Ayers of the fire department, often there isn’t one.

  • This week's General Assembly action

    RICHMOND — A Senate committee on Tuesday killed a bill that would prevent police from seizing assets in a criminal case unless a defendant were convicted or entered a plea agreement.

    The measure (HB1287) passed the House of Delegates 92-6 earlier this month and passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee 11-2 last week.

    However, the Senate Finance Committee killed it on Feb. 17, and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said it would be studied by the State Crime Commission.

  • With 2 weeks to go, a look at lawmakers' progress

    RICHMOND — With two weeks left in Virginia’s annual legislative session, lawmakers still have hundreds of bills on table.

    The House and Senate have each completed work on their respective bills and before their Feb. 28 adjournment are now considering bills passed by the other chamber.

    Some prominent issues, including tightening ethics rules for elected officials and keeping intact a prohibition on Medicaid expansion, have largely been resolved. Legislators also are close to agreement on updates to the state budget.

  • Fries rec reboots as community center

    FRIES — In the wake of the Fries Recreation Center Board’s dissolution in December, a new group has worked to continue the town’s recreational and tourism operations under a new umbrella.

    At Fries Town Council’s Feb. 3 meeting, Denny Brooms, chairman of the newly formed Fries Community Center Board, gave the mayor and council members a summary of their activities since January.

  • VSP fields more than 2,200 calls in snowstorm

    RICHMOND - From 4 p.m. Monday through 4 a.m. Tuesday, Virginia State Police troopers and dispatchers statewide fielded 2,231 calls for service statewide, according to a news release.

    During the 12-hour period, Virginia troopers responded to 825 traffic crashes and 620 disabled vehicles. The majority of the crashes involved damaged vehicles only. Due to vehicles losing control on slick roadways, two VSP troopers were struck and injured, the release said. Police also confirm one traffic fatality in Loudon County.

  • State police respond to 34 crashes in weekend snow

    Virginia State Police responded to dozens of wrecks throughout Carroll and Grayson counties over the weekend, when a mixture of ice and snow created hazardous road conditions throughout the Twin Counties.

    First Sgt. Mike Musser reported a total of 34 crashes in Carroll and Grayson in an email to The Gazette on Monday.

    Of the reported wrecks, Musser noted that the most severe crash was not weather-related. On Feb. 13, police responded to a severe crash on U.S 21, a half-mile south of Virginia 654 in Grayson County, at approximately 3:45 p.m.

  • Supervisor: time to give Mitchell a second chance

    HILLSVILLE — It has been 18 years since former Carroll County administrator Billy Mitchell was indicted on federal embezzlement and money laundering charges for a scheme to take more than $400,000 from the county.

    After serving out his prison sentence and returning as an active member of the community, one Carroll supervisor believes Mitchell deserves a second chance at public service.

    Supervisor Bob Martin’s motion to appoint Mitchell to serve on the Carroll Planning Commission was tabled during the Board of Supervisors’ Feb. 9 meeting.