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Local News

  • 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.

  • APCo customers set new all-time peak demand

    Appalachian Power customers set an unofficial all-time peak demand of electricity usage during last week’s Arctic blast.
    Cold weather across the company’s service area helped push electricity consumption to 8,410 megawatts at 8 a.m. last Tuesday. The previous record of 8,308 megawatts was set on Jan. 16, 2009.

  • Bill would require more testing for older drivers in Virginia

    RICHMOND — A Virginia state senator has filed a bill that would require older Virginia drivers to test more often to renew their licenses.
    The bill would lower the age to 75 from 80 for mandatory in-person license renewal with a vision test, and require anyone 75 or older to renew every five years rather than the current eight-year mandate.
    It would provide for a course in crash prevention for older drivers and make that course an option in levying sentences for driving offenses.

  • Bids received for Exit 1 water improvements

    HILLSVILLE – Bids have been received by the Carroll County Public Service Authority (PSA), which will allow future growth at the  Exit 1 interchange on Interstate 77.
    Eight companies submitted base and additive bids for the project, which were opened by the authority Dec. 17. The additive bid was for the addition of pump station/tank monitoring and control equipment.
    Eastern Tank & Utility Service Inc. of Princeton, W.Va., submitted the apparent low bid of $720,394 and additive bid of $47,000.

  • Sen. Carrico files school prayer bill

    RICHMOND — A state senator who has waded into religious freedom issues in past legislation wants to add language protecting students’ expressions of faith while in school, according to the text of Senate Bill No. 236.
    Sen. Bill Carrico, a former state trooper who serves District 40 in the Virginia Senate, previously sought to overturn a Virginia State Police administrative order telling its chaplains to deliver non-denominational prayers at official events while still in the House of Delegates.