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Local News

  • House panel disarms bevy of anti-gun bills

    RICHMOND — The House of Delegates panel widely known as the graveyard of gun-control bills consigned a slew of them to oblivion on Jan. 16.
    The Republican-controlled subcommittee of the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee tabled a series of gun-control measures, meaning they are unlikely to be revived.
    The hours-long session delighted pro-gun forces, arrayed on one side of the room wearing “Guns Save Lives” stickers, and infuriated gun-control advocates on the opposite side wearing “Background Checks Save Lives” stickers.

  • Historical Society could preserve Allen House

    HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County Historical Society and an heir to the Sidna Allen home report progress in talks to preserve the historic Queen Anne-style home in Fancy Gap.
    While still negotiating on the exact language, the parties hope to have good news to share soon, according to Bill Webb, a board member with the historical society.
    Bonnie Wood, one of two heirs of Bert and Marlene Widener, said that the legal work continues, but did not want to comment further until after an agreement is sealed.

  • 'Beerfest' OK, but name hard to swallow

    By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff
    The name of a proposed festival in Galax left a bad taste in a Galax City Council member’s mouth, who worried that “Beerfest” would invite the wrong sort of crowd.
    A discussion about the city’s 2014 festival and street closure calendar led to a debate during council’s Jan 13 meeting, when members received a request from the Galax Downtown Association (GDA) for a craft beer festival.

  • Unemployed Virginians losing jobless benefits

    Nearly 10,000 unemployed Virginians lost their jobless benefits at year’s end as a result of the recent federal budget compromise.
    The issue is likely to resurface as the first skirmish of 2014 in the partisan wars in Washington.

  • Billings murder suspect serving federal prison sentence

    Chad Allen Reeves could have to wait until his federal sentence is served before standing trial for murder in the 2002 shooting death of Brandon Billings.
    Reeves, 33, from Fries, is serving 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

  • Citizens sound off on zoning repeal

    INDEPENDENCE — A four-hour Grayson Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 9 was highlighted by citizens’ comments regarding the board’s 3-2 vote to repeal the county’s zoning ordinance last month.
    The meeting featured a huge crowd and 30 speakers, with the majority opposed to the zoning repeal.
    One set of supervisors and citizens believes the law has cost the county jobs and investments by potential employers, while others argue that zoning protects the county’s natural resources and is a necessary tool to guide future development.

  • Fire damages Fairview business

    Several fire departments collaborated to fight a large structure fire off of Skyline Highway/U.S. 58 south of Galax on Saturday.

  • Zoning repeal plan advances in Grayson

    INDEPENDENCE — Despite the counsel of the Grayson County Planning Commission and many citizens, Grayson County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to continue the process of repealing the county’s zoning ordinance at its monthly meeting last Thursday night.
    In another motion, the board directed staff to investigate the possibility of seeking special legislation in the General Assembly to allow the county to place the issue of zoning to a referendum vote.

  • Billings' death a cold case no more

    INDEPENDENCE — After 11 years of investigating, law enforcement agencies have narrowed down the evidence enough to indict two suspects in connection with the 2002 death of Galax High School student Brandon Billings.

  • Parents still want answers in son's homicide

    INDEPENDENCE — Indictments in an 11-year-old unsolved murder case has the possibility of bringing closure to Brandon Billings’ family, but mother Sherry Billings knows that nothing will ever bring back what she lost.
    Sherry delivered a tearful statement at a press conference on Monday afternoon, sharing her feelings and thoughts on the case and its recent developments.