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Local News

  • Fire cause determined at Briarleigh Court

    HILLSVILLE — Fire investigators have narrowed down the cause of the destructive Jan. 9 blaze at Briarleigh Court apartments as much as they can.

    Two weeks of investigation ruled out any electrical or heating device as a cause of the early morning fire that destroyed or heavily damaged 10 apartments and forced 37 people out of their homes.

    "It was an accident, of course," said Joe Roma, Carroll's director of emergency services. "It was started with an open flame — we can't determine if it was a candle or a cigarette."

  • Bill would protect, expand parkway

    To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, members of the U.S. Congress from Virginia and North Carolina have joined together to introduce legislation authorizing the National Park Service to acquire up to 50,000 acres of additional land surrounding the historic roadway.

    The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the Twin Counties, will celebrate its anniversary in September.

    Sponsors in the U.S. Senate include Jim Webb (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC)

  • Police target deer

    On almost any given night, 50 deer at one time stand tall, graze the grass and leap through the Galax High School football field, said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

    While it is quite a sight to behold, the deer have became a nuisance in Galax, causing car accidents and munching residents' yards, vegetable gardens and flower beds.

    Three years ago, Galax City Council advised the police department to look at the deer nuisance as an animal control police issue.

    Since then, the police department has shot and killed more than 200 deer.

  • 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.