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Local News

  • Fries man charged with 2nd-degree murder

    FRIES — A 22-year-old man is charged with second-degree murder in a death caused by a drug overdose.

    Daniel Laymond Ferguson, of 340 Grayson Street in Fries, was indicted by a Grayson County grand jury April 24 for the murder charge and one count of distributing a Schedule II drug.

    An indictment is a formal charge, not a finding of guilt.

  • Galax council approves school budget, city projects

    Galax City Council adopted the $13 million 2009-2010 budget for Galax schools during Monday's meeting, which included a small increase in local funding.

    A public hearing on the proposed spending plan was held April 13, but council heard no comments.

    The school board requested city funding in the amount of $3.96 million, an increase of $125,000 from the current year's budget. The increase is mostly for debt service for the renovation of Galax High School.

  • Barriers prevent propane explosion

    A possible disaster was avoided April 25, after a car plowed over heavy metal barriers buried in about two feet of concrete protecting two large propane tanks.

    One of the tanks was moved by the front of the car, but no gas leaked.

    The incident occurred behind Wal-Mart in Galax about 8 p.m.

    Galax police said a 1998 Ford Taurus, driven by Christopher Jordan Walker, 19, of Hillsville, was traveling at an estimated 45 mph when he lost control in the parking lot near the lube and tire department. Walker was not injured.

  • VDOT begins layoffs

    RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation began notifying wage employees Tuesday of layoffs that are aimed at closing a $2.6 billion budget shortfall over the next six years.

    So Tuesday and Wednesday, Hillsville Residency Administrator Bob Beasley gave the notifications from Richmond to the four 1,500-hour wage employees locally that will have their positions eliminated by June 6 at the latest.

    One of the affected employees has worked for the Hillsville residency office for 15 years.

    "It's a tough day," Beasley said.

  • Health problem caused fatal crash

    HILLSVILLE — A former commercial truck driver's seizure behind the wheel apparently resulted in a fatal head-on collision between two tractor-trailers on Interstate 77 in Carroll County on Feb. 17.

    Following the investigation of the accident that left the driver of the other truck dead, Virginia State Police charged Brian Scott Grubbs, 39, of Anderson, S.C., with involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving.

    Grubbs appeared with his attorney, Nathan Lyons, in Carroll County General District Court on Tuesday to answer the charges.

  • Schools prep for swine flu outbreak

    Though no cases of the swine flu have been reported in Southwest Virginia, at this point Galax schools are taking a proactive position to prevent any cases of the disease, Superintendent Bill Sturgill told The Gazette on Friday.

    Administrators of the school division met Thursday to discuss the swine flu, using the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Education's health plan. “It was a discussion of what do we do now and to prepare in terms of precautionary measures,” Sturgill said.

  • County administrator to head PSA

    HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County supervisors added responsibilities for water and sewer projects and operations to the county administrator's duties after a joint closed meeting Monday between the county board and the Public Service Authority.

    The board and the authority members emerged from an unusual joint closed session at the supervisors' regular April meeting and ended the interim appointment of Assistant County Administrator Ronald Newman as director of the PSA.

  • Police search for car, passenger in I-77 trucker shooting case

    WYTHEVILLE — Virginia State Police are seeking an older model Plymouth car and its two or three occupants that allegedly took shots at three tractor-trailers on Interstate 77 in southern Carroll County on the morning of April 16.

    Anyone who has information about a brown or gold early 1990s model Plymouth Acclaim should contact the state police's Wytheville office at (276) 228-3131, said Sgt. Mike Conroy.

  • Police file murder charge in missing person case

    UPDATED APRIL 23:

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll authorities filed a first-degree murder charge against a Cana man less than one day after a citizen found a body in Lambsburg on April 16.

    Sheriff Warren Manning announced late on April 17 that deputies charged Chad James Hall of Cana with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and obstruction of justice.

  • Grayson could put felons to work

    INDEPENDENCE — With the expansion of the New River Valley Regional Jail, costs per year have escalated more than $700,000 for Grayson County prisoners in the upcoming budget year.

    Grayson leaders are looking at ways to cut that amount, and invited Kevin Belcher, assistant county administrator in Giles, to their regular meeting last Thursday to talk about a new possibility.