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Local News

  • 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.

  • The Brandon Billings Case: Year by Year

    Few crimes have captivated the Twin County community more than the unsolved killing of Kyle Brandon Billings in 2002.
    The teen’s death sparked 11 years of rumors and conspiracy theories among those speculating about the case and more than a decade of false leads and dead ends as police strove to solve it.
    The case remains unsolved, but on Jan. 10, authorities in Grayson County announced they had the first solid, actionable evidence yet.

  • Electric bills could rise by $4 per month in May

    Appalachian Power Company is seeking a rate increase in connection with two requests to make improvements to transmission lines and infrastructure.
    One of the requests could mean a monthly increase of about $4 for an average residential customer’s bill, beginning in May.
    The other proposal would allow the power company to make improvements to 36 miles of transmission line between its Cloverdale substation in Botetourt County and a point in Rockbridge County where it connects with a line owned by Dominion Virginia Power.

  • How healthy is area's healthcare?

    By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff

    The Community Advisory Groups of Carroll, Grayson and Galax held a joint meeting at Twin County Regional Hospital on Jan. 9 to discuss topics for a community health needs assessment.
    This assessment is Twin County Regional Healthcare’s newest project, which has been taken on in an effort to pinpoint health concerns in the community. Over the next three years, the hospital will partner with research group Stratasan to collect data and form a plan.