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Local News

  • Grayson budget balances with new fees, tax hikes

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson citizens could face increases in four areas come next year, as the county tries to close a $1.8 million gap in the budget.

    Supervisors met Tuesday night to discuss options for addressing a deficit between the county's revenues and expenses.

    The first item supervisors looked into was charging residents for trash pickup.

    Supervisors have proposed a $3 per week charge, that would be assessed to all home owners in the county.

  • Grayson to expand tax relief

    INDEPENDENCE — With Grayson County considering charging for trash collection next year, Commissioner of Revenue Larry Bolt is concerned about citizens on limited incomes.

    Bolt spoke during the board's budget session Tuesday night regarding the 270 residents of Grayson who have the majority of their taxes forgiven through the Tax Relief Program.

    Bolt said of those 270, between 50 and 60 have homes valued at less than $52,000, which equates to about $156 a year in taxes. Through the relief program, those residents have that entire amount forgiven.

  • Company could bring 300 jobs

    A textile company is interested in locating in the area, and 500 applicants turned out for the survey application process last week at the Virginia Employment Commission office in Galax.

    This survey is to see if there is enough interest from the local workforce to start an operation here.

    If the company should decide to locate in the Twin Counties, it would create 300 jobs.

    VEC Director Bill Webb said he doesn't know the specifics at this point, since the company is corresponding with county officials, which are protecting its identity.

  • Carroll, log home maker disagree on contract terms

    HILLSVILLE — Original Log Cabin Homes owner Tom Vesce still plans to open a site for forest products operations in the Carroll Industrial Park, despite what he describes as a less than welcoming atmosphere from county officials.

    When the Carroll County Industrial Developmental Authority accepted bids in 2007 on the property — once known as “the pumpkin patch” for the produce grown there — it initially accepted a bid from the log home company in the amount of $75,000.

  • Berrier to serve 5 years

    HILLSVILLE — In 2007, Carl Anthony "Tony" Berrier committed a string of robberies in Cana in an effort to pay medical bills after his wife was hurt in a car accident.

    Now, he'll spend the rest of his five-year prison term away from his wife.

    Judge Brett Geisler imposed the sentence in Carroll Circuit Court last Wednesday.

    People who know Berrier testified that the incidents at Speedy Cash, Cash to Go and BB&T in Cana were out of character for the hard-working man they know.

  • Bank robbery suspect back in VA

    A suspect in the robberies of three banks in Southwest Virginia — including one in Galax — is back in the state after being transferred from a jail in North Carolina.

    William Myrl Smitherman, 19, of Lewisville, N.C., is accused of robbing First Citizens Bank in Galax. He is also a suspect in connection with bank robberies in Roanoke City and Bedford County Virginia.

    Smitherman was returned to Virginia last Wednesday and formally charged for the Jan. 2 Galax robbery.

  • Supervisors debate 620 truck restriction

    HILLSVILLE — The effort to keep tractor-trailers from getting stuck on Lambsburg Mountain hit a roadblock in May when Carroll supervisors learned it would apply to dump trucks, too.

    Tractor-trailers are simply too long to make it through the doubleback curves on Virginia 620 near the base of the mountain, as Virginia Department of Transportation's Bob Beasley and the Virginia State Police First Sgt. Mike Musser have said.

  • Cooper, Hawks plead guilty

    HILLSVILLE — Two people entered pleas in Carroll County Circuit Court on May 21 to charges stemming from a 2008 vehicle vs. pedestrian incident on dead-end Spring Branch Road that left one with severe injuries.

    James Charles Hawks, 37, of Hillsville was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated malicious wounding in the incident where a Ford Explorer hit Warren Clyde Meredith on the road in front of his home.

    Driver Amy D. Cooper, 36, of Hillsville was charged with aggravated malicious wounding after the incident.

  • Taxes, fees going up in Galax

    When Galax City Council began work sessions last month for the 2009-2010 budget, the city had a spending plan that required more than $2 million from reserves to balance, but proposed tax hikes and rate increases would close the gap to $550,000.

    “This shortfall was the result of a slump in the city’s economy and declining tax revenues, since many larger industries started closing in the early 2000s, and tax rates that had not kept up with inflation or need for capital improvements and maintenance,” said City Manager Keith Holland.

  • Sweet ready to meet Grayson's challenges

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County will welcome only its third county administrator in history on June 1, as Jonathan Sweet returns home.

    Sweet moved to Grayson County in 1994, finishing his junior and senior year at GCHS. After graduating high school, he went to Radford University, where he majored in communications, with a minor in economics.