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Local News

  • Bill cracks down on texting behind the wheel

    RICHMOND — Legislation that would strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for texting while driving has been sent to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.
    By a vote of 28-12, the state Senate recently passed House Bill 1907, which already had been passed by the House of Delegates. The bill would allow police to stop drivers for using a “handheld personal communications device” to send or view text messages and e-mails.

  • Cohabitation ban repealed

    RICHMOND — Unmarried couples living together may soon be doing so legally under a measure that passed the General Assembly.
    The House voted 62-25 in favor of repealing the law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. Virginia code says doing so is punishable by a $500 fine for a first offense and up to a year in jail for subsequent infractions.
    The U.S. Supreme Court has deemed the law unconstitutional, and prosecutors haven’t used it for years, said Del. Scott Surovell, a Fairfax County Democrat.

  • Making filing less taxing

    With tax season now in full swing, many Americans will seek professional help to file their federal and state returns. But sometimes that professional help can take a chunk out of a taxpayer’s wallet.
    AARP annually offers a free solution for low- to moderate-income taxpayers through its nonprofit Tax-Aide program.
    District coordinator Carol Sheahan has been helping area AARP tax preparation sites for about 13 years. She became involved with Tax-Aide when she found an ad for a volunteer opportunity to prepare taxes for seniors.

  • Memorial organizers seek help

    HILLSVILLE — The monument being built at the Galax Public Library honors all Twin County veterans, including those from Hillsville and Carroll County, project organizers say.
    Gary Lowe and Frank Plichta of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 245 brought that message to Hillsville Town Council’s Feb. 25 meeting.

  • General Assembly passes sweeping roads legislation

    Landmark News Service and Staff Reports

    RICHMOND — The 2013 General Assembly achieved something on Feb. 23 that has eluded Virginia legislators for more than a quarter-century: a deal on a sweeping revenue package to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for state road needs.
    In so doing, they delivered a potential legacy-shaping victory to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who swung for the fences going into his last full legislative session in office by pitching a broad plan to revamp how Virginia funds its transportation system.

  • Grayson prison to open this fall

    INDEPENDENCE — It’s finally official.
    A long-dormant state prison in Grayson County is set to open in October, after the Virginia General Assembly approved a revised $87.4 billion spending plan that includes a total of $18 million to open the River North Correctional Center near Independence.
    The General Assembly adjourned its 2013 session in Richmond on Feb. 23 and both the Senate and House of Delegates approved a budget that included the prison money.

  • Collecting taxes could help county balance budget

    HILLSVILLE — Making budget is the reason behind wanting a real estate delinquent tax list from the treasurer, Carroll County supervisors said at their Feb. 11 meeting.
    The supervisors first discussed delinquent real estate taxes in January, but the intent isn’t to cause hard feelings between county officials, Supervisor Sam Dickson stressed at the February meeting.

  • Town manager busy in first month on job

    HILLSVILLE — The message that the new town manager wants to send is that Hillsville remains open for business, as officials make plans to build up commerce and activity.
    Travis Jackson began working as the town manager Feb. 1, and quickly found lots to do.
    Even as budget planning for the 2013-2014 fiscal year has been ramping up, Jackson began working with not only other Hillsville officials, but also Carroll County representatives in order to build on past successes and try new things with the goal of benefiting both town and county citizens.

  • Windmill ban too close to zoning for some

    HILLSVILLE — Some residents of the Sulphur Springs District are of two minds: they don’t want windmills, but they also won’t support zoning to keep them out, according to a discussion at the Carroll supervisors’ February meeting.
    That’s making the way to address the windmill issue complicated, county officials discussed after Chairman David Hutchins shared with fellow supervisors the feedback he has received from citizens.

  • Garbage fee, tax increase unpopular but profitable

    INDEPENDENCE—Grayson County’s financial situation continues to improve, as the county once again saw its ending year fund balance grow over the year before.
    Deanna Cox of Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates provided the county board of supervisors with the 2012 audit report earlier this month and pointed out that the county is continuing its “financial rehealing” process.