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Local News

  • Citizens oppose Galax tax, rate increases

    Reducing the city's budget gap from nearly $2 million to $550,000 by raising taxes and rates had a handful of city residents and restaurant owners speaking out during Monday's budget hearing.

    They told Galax City Council that they feared tax increases, especially the 1 percent meals tax hike, could do more harm than good.

  • Carroll rejects Log Cabin Homes' site plan

    HILLSVILLE — The Carroll Industrial Development Authority rejected Log Cabin Homes owner Tom Vesce's submitted site plan last Thursday, but county officials said they would work with the company on a second attempt.

    Vesce had raised objections in local newspapers to his treatment at the hands of county officials after they declined to attend a ribbon cutting at a site in the industrial park his company obtained last year.

  • No bailout for Carroll pool this summer

    HILLSVILLE — Opening up the pool this year would drain too much revenue from the county, members of Carroll’s finance committee discussed last Wednesday.

    The committee, which includes Supervisors’ Chairman David Hutchins and Supervisor Wes Hurst and county staff, decided to recommend the pool remain closed this year.

    The committee members met to consider concerns raised by citizen Jamie Waters, who spoke at a public hearing for the 2009-2010 budget, as well as a petition against the pool closing that gathered more than 150 signatures.

  • Burglars to serve prison time

    ABINGDON — Four burglars who tried to raid a Dugspur home in August 2008, only to be discovered by the homeowner, all received prison time in federal court in Abingdon last Tuesday.

    The four men charged after trying to break into the home of David Branscome in Dugspur last Aug. 26 include three brothers from Mount Airy, N.C. — Christopher Ryan Music, 21; James Russell Music, 20; and William Lloyd Music, 24 — and Corey Keith Smith, 20, also of Mount Airy.

  • Independence dentist faces drug charges

    INDEPENDENCE — A two-month investigation by the Bureau of Drug Enforcement Services (DES) of the Virginia State Police has resulted in charges against an Independence dentist.

    Sgt. Mike Conroy of Virginia State Police said that Dr. Gordon J. Miniclier, who operates a dental office at 150 W. Main St., was arrested June 4.

    Conroy said special DES agents executed search warrants at Minclier’s office and his home at 1690 Rim Rock Road.

  • Outdated state computers delay jobless benefits

    Some unemployed workers in Virginia are eligible for a seven-week extension of benefits, but the Virginia Employment Commission needs a computer programming update before it can distribute checks.

    It’s unclear how many of the more than 100,000 Virginians collecting unemployment checks could be caught in the delay.

    The VEC says extension payments should be made by June 26, after needing almost two months to complete new computer programming.

  • AmeriPumps lays off workers

    HILLSVILLE — AmeriPumps, with about five months of inventory ready to go, has laid off about half the employees at its Hillsville location in the wake of the ongoing recession.

    Partner Don Branscome believes that the company will still get up to full capacity — but only after the economy improves.

    "Construction is going good," he said. "The pump business is not going so good right now because of the economy."

  • Grayson talks twice-a-year taxing plan

    INDEPENDENCE — Citizens could have an opportunity to express their concerns about twice-a-year tax collection during the Grayson Board of Supervisors regular meeting June 11.

    Supervisors tentatively set that date to hold a public hearing regarding the ordinance change that would switch tax collections from once a year — due Dec. 5 — to twice a year — with due dates of Oct. 5 and April 5.

    If approved, citizens would pay the same amount of taxes they do now, but that amount would be split into two equal payments.

  • Federal funds go to first responders

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — First responders in the Twin Counties have received more than $180,000 for emergency equipment through the federal stimulus package.

    Ninth District Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) recently announced that Rural Development has awarded Carroll County $90,000 for new vehicles for the EMS and sheriff's office, as well as $64, s850 to Grayson and $28,875 to Galax.

  • Hammer pleads guilty in triple murder

    INDEPENDENCE — Nearly 16 months to the day after a triple slaying in Grayson County, Frederick Phillip Hammer pleaded guilty on May 22 to five counts capital murder, one count of robbery, one count of breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny while armed with a deadly weapon, one count of grand larceny and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.