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Local News

  • Late blight strikes local tomato crop

    Tomato plants with a fungal disease that's ravaging gardens this year need to be disposed of properly, lest they damage next year's crop, Virginia Cooperative Extension agents warn.

    Gardens in the Twin Counties and throughout the East have experienced a "tremendous loss" of garden tomatoes due to late blight, said Extension agent Kevin Spurlin.

    "Unfortunately, the disease is quite devastating with complete crop losses common," he said. "There are measures that home gardeners need to take soon to limit the infection potential next year."

  • Exit Strategy

    LAMBSBURG — Development at Interstate 77’s Exit 19 got off the starting line first, but Exit 1 has taken the lead as construction work recently began for Love’s truck stop.

    Exit 19, home of the planned Wildwood Commerce Park, had the early advantage, with more than 1,300 acres of land graded in preparation for development by Mike Turman and Don Branscome, But work in Lambsburg revved up quickly last week as footers were poured for Love’s on its 21 acres in southern Carroll.

  • Bank robbery suspect waives right to hearing

    HILLSVILLE — A 50-year-old New Castle man accused of robbing a Hillsville bank has waived his preliminary hearing.

    Richard Donald Hawes faces a charge of robbery after he demanded money from a teller at Grayson National Bank in Hillsville Aug. 6.

    Police traced Hawes to New Castle and arrested him on a warrant at his home there, though the suspect had obscured many of his features behind a cap, large sunglasses and a bandanna and other generic clothing.

  • State seeks input on APCo increases

    In November, the Virginia State Corporation Commission plans to venture out from Richmond again to solicit comments from residents of Southwest Virginia about a proposed rate increase by Appalachian Power Co.

    On Nov. 18, the commission will hold a public hearing in Abingdon. The next day commissioners will convene a hearing in Rocky Mount. Both will begin at 6 p.m.

    The SCC said the hearings will provide residents of Appalachian’s service territory in Southwest Virginia “more convenient locations to offer testimony as public witnesses.”

  • City halts museum mural painting

    Jeff Matthews Museum, located on West Stuart Drive in Galax, saw more 200 visitors just during the week of the Old Fiddlers' Convention, and curator Tony Burcham believes the increase is due to a large, unfinished mural painted on the building and the publicity it's receiving.

    Before the mural, the plain brick building near the Galax Public Library was hardly identifiable.

    Local artists David and Brigette Payseur started the painting last month when they were approached by the museum's board of directors.

  • Hampton resigns, faces 3rd DUI charge

    The former executive director of the Carroll Wellness Center resigned his post several days before being charged with his third count of driving under the influence since December.

    Greg Hampton, who had been with the wellness center for six years, now faces a new charge of DUI, a felony, as well as misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license, stemming from an Aug. 28 incident in Galax, according to court records.

  • Utility rates could rise in Carroll

    HILLSVILLE — When they might otherwise have still been in bed last Saturday morning, five Carroll Public Service Authority members voted to hold separate public hearings in the future on taking a piece of land for the regional water project and raising rates.

    Authority members held a special breakfast meeting at 7 a.m. to consider these topics at Countryside Restaurant, as Gary Larrowe, county administrator and PSA executive director, explained the situations that the Carroll public utilities arm faces.

  • Police bag counterfeit goods at Hillsville flea market

    HILLSVILLE — Shoppers who found incredibly good deals on Gucci bags in the first few hours of the Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show on Friday may well have gone home with a counterfeit, according to the Virginia State Police.

  • Rec roof bids raise questions

    FRIES — Bids to put a new roof on the Town of Fries' Recreation Center may have to be re-advertised after coming in with major discrepancies.

    Fries Town Manager Brian Reed updated town council on the process during its regular meeting Tuesday, noting that bids were accepted earlier that week.

    Reed said the bids were "all over the place," and that there appeared to be a "major discrepancy" in the amounts.

    Five bids were received, with amounts having a difference of more than $200,000.

  • Mural, sign or graphic?

    It's big, it's yellow and it's controversial, but what, exactly, is the large painting on the side of the Jeff Matthews Museum in Galax?

    The city's planning commission set out to determine that on Tuesday and found that the answer, like the painting, is a work in progress.

    Doris Carpenter, who lives across the street from the museum, has disputed the mural from the beginning, calling the painting's wide yellow stripe “unsightly.”

    Others have come to its defense, saying it brings needed attention to the city's museum of local history.