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Local News

  • General Assembly Update: Feb. 10

    Virginia petroleum dealers support gas tax increase
    As Virginia legislators struggle to agree on a fix for the state’s chronic transportation funding problems, a trade association for petroleum dealers is taking a stand in the debate.
    It wants the General Assembly to raise the gasoline tax.

  • Carroll faces challenging budget year

    HILLSVILLE — Reduction in real estate values after reassessment and the resulting decrease in tax revenues will create challenges for Carroll County officials for fiscal year 2013-2014, they discussed at a budget committee meeting Tuesday.
    The recent reassessment reflected a drop in Carroll real estate values of nearly $277.7 million, County Administrator Gary Larrowe noted in the preliminary budget talks on Feb. 5. That could cause tax revenue to decrease as much as $1.65 million.

  • Mcdonnell's transportation plan hits pothole in Senate

    RICHMOND — Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation funding plan hit a pothole in the Capitol on Tuesday, failing to win support in the politically divided state Senate.
    McDonnell’s plan and two Republican-sponsored alternatives were defeated in the Senate, hours after the House of Delegates narrowly approved a revised version of the governor’s bill. The House bill will be sent to the Senate, where McDonnell and his allies have their work cut out for them trying to keep the legislation alive.

  • Gun show compromise rejected

    RICHMOND — A Senator’s attempt to reach a compromise on gun show background checks was shot down by a Senate committee, taking fire from members in both parties.
    By a vote of 11-3, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed Sen. John Edwards’ last-ditch effort to settle a long-running debate over the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows private sellers at gun shows to sell firearms without a criminal records check on the buyer.

  • Welfare drug testing bill defeated, and other General Assembly action

    RICHMOND — On a party line vote, the Virginia Senate has killed legislation that would require local social services agencies to screen welfare recipients for possible drug use and subject some to drug tests.
    Senate Bill 721 is sponsored by Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson County).
    The bill died on a 20-19 vote, with all of the Senate’s Democrats opposing it. One Republican senator was not present for the vote in the evenly split Senate.

  • Galax firefighters get grant for gear, air packs

    By SHAINA STOCKTON
    Staff

    Imagine the anticipation and nervousness that Galax Fire Chief David Hankley felt when he first saw the e-mail from FEMA in his inbox.
    After a month of hard work put into writing a grant that would help assist the department in getting replacements for outdated equipment, it call came down to one click of the mouse.

  • $14.3 million in budgets for Grayson prison

    Key committees in the General Assembly have advanced proposed revisions to Virginia’s two-year budget that include opening a mothballed state prison in Grayson County.
    The original request called for opening the prison by 2014, but a House of Delegates committee wants it to be operational later this year.
    Republican-controlled budget committees from the Senate and House of Delegates produced plans on Feb. 3 that build upon Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments to the state’s two-year, $86.5 billion budget.

  • Health officials say well water should be boiled after flood

    One precaution that homeowners who experienced flooding may need to take is boiling their well water before drinking, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
    State officials have urged residents with wells and septic systems to take precautions following last week’s heavy rains that caused high water and flooding in some Southwest Virginia communities, according to a news release.

  • Dogs' deaths spark call for shelter improvements

    By SHAINA STOCKTON
    Staff

    On Jan. 24, the Twin County Humane Society posted a message on its Facebook page that shocked and outraged members of the community and led to a petition to oust the regional animal shelter’s director.
    “Sadness and frustration is on our minds tonight. We desperately need the members of our community to step up and demand change at our shelter,” the heartfelt letter began.

  • Carroll wants to control animal population

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll County will consider trying to nip the stray animal population in the bud through the 2014 budget, supervisors discussed at their meeting Jan. 14.
    Providing funds for a spay and neuter program could help save the locality money later, from the animal control officer not having to take so many animals to the shelter, Supervisor Bob Martin explained after the meeting.
    Right now, Carroll spends a lot of money on animal control response, but little on prevention, he noted.