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Local News

  • Drained

    To hear the list of emergencies that the Wood’s River Chapter of the Red Cross responded to since mid-December, it’s been a disastrous month.

    It started with the blizzard that fell on Southwest Virginia Dec. 18, followed by one thing after another for the emergency aid agency that covers the City of Galax and Grayson, Carroll and Wythe counties, said Director Joan Isom. The emergencies ranged from winter weather to a hostage situation at the Wytheville Post Office to a mass displacement of people from apartments in Hillsville to a rash of single-family home fires.

  • Carrico: speed up interstates, slow down APCo

    RICHMOND — While introducing legislation that would slow down Appalachian Power Co.'s ability to increase its rates, Del. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson County) is also sponsoring a bill that would increase speeds on Virginia's highways.

    Along with other legislation being offered this year, Carrico is sponsoring HB856, which would increase the general speed limit on highways where it is presently 65 mph to 70.

    Carrico told The Gazette that he was approached by the newly elected governor's policy team to bring the issue before the General Assembly.

  • House of Delegates rejects Kaine's tax hike proposal

    RICHMOND — No member of the House of Delegates voted Jan. 21 to support former Gov. Tim Kaine's proposal to increase the state income tax and effectively eliminate the personal property tax on vehicles.

    But that didn't stop lawmakers from staging 40 minutes of partisan theater before killing the legislation, the opening round in a fierce fight over fixing a $4.2 billion state budget shortfall.

  • Project would transform firehouse

    FRIES — A farmers' market is first on the list of items that will occupy the old fire hall in Fries once the new $1.2 million 10,000-squre foot facility is completed later this year.

    Ground was broken in December 2009 for the 12-bay building that will be located on the eastern end of the town.

  • Oakland named 'Blue Ribbon School'

    Both its "high performing" reading and math test scores and its big gains earned Oakland Elementary School its recent national academic recognition, says the Carroll County Public Schools director of school improvement.

    The Carroll County School Board held its Jan. 12 meeting at Oakland to honor the school for its achievement in 2009.

  • 2010 off to a soggy start

    With the Galax Water Plant reporting 2.3 inches of rain falling on Jan. 24, the Twin Counties escaped even wetter conditions in other parts of Southwest and Southside Virginia.

    Parts of Carroll County, particularly Fancy Gap, got soaked by even more rain than the rest of the Twin Counties.

  • Power to the People

    Some local elderly people are having to decide between paying for electricity, mortgages, medicine or food to survive one of the harshest winters in years, after receiving astronomical electric bills in December from Appalachian Power Co.

    During a town hall meeting at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax last Wednesday, 138 Galax, Grayson and Carroll residents asked APCo how they and others — especially those living paycheck to paycheck — are going to pay their December 2009 electric bills.

  • Nautilus extends closing deadline

    INDEPENDENCE — Nautilus employees have now been told that the plant could shut down in mid-February if a buyer is not found.

    The company provided employees the federally mandated 60-day notice of possible closure last October. The original date of Dec. 18 was extended as the company continued to seek a buyer for its commercial division — including the plant in Independence.

    Last Wednesday, a letter was given to all employees updating them on the process.

  • Sounding the alarm

    HILLSVILLE — Improving Carroll County’s fire and rescue services would benefit from elected officials actually listening to the volunteers, two members of the Emergency Services Board believe.

    ESB Chairwoman Debbie Brady Goad and member Markel Cochran have studied the volunteer emergency services issues since their appointments, but are taken aback by the changes imposed by the Carroll supervisors in January.

  • Papershapers

    HILLSVILLE — Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq get a regular care package containing greetings from Hillsville with love.

    The return address is "From Our Hearts."

    A senior activities group, crafters known as the Papershakers, at the Carroll Wellness Center becomes a miniature greeting card factory when they meet in the aerobics room every month.

    The group, facilitated by Stampin' Up! crafting demonstrator Karen "Kavi" Coulson, started out making cards with their own hands for their personal use.