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Local News

  • Vote may not have been legal

    INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County School Board will have to re-elect a chairperson at its February meeting after the procedure used in January was deemed to be unfit according to Virginia state law.

    During the meeting held Jan. 26, two nominations were made for chairperson — former chairwoman Wynn Combs and board member Misty Cassell.

    When called to a vote, each received two from the board members present. Board member Shannon Holdaway was absent.

  • In re-vote, school board picks new chair

    INDEPENDENCE — After a procedure used in January to elect a chairperson for the Grayson County School Board was deemed to be unfit according to Virginia state law, the board held another election on Monday night.

    This time, things turned out differently.

    Misty Cassell will serve as chair of the board for 2009 after receiving three votes to former chairwoman Wynn Combs’ two.

  • Inventor harnesses wind, water

    Christopher Thomas has been making the rounds, trying to generate interest among local economic developers for his portable electricity making devices.

    Thomas and his enthusiastic twin brother Stephen — just about physically indistinguishable from Chris but for a brown ball cap and his other garments on this day — stopped in at the Crossroads Institute last week to visit with the Small Business Development Center's Dallas Garrett, Regional Economic Developer Neal Satterwhite and Carroll County's Bernie Deck.

  • Bank robbery suspect in custody

    The man accused of robbing First Citizens Bank branches in Galax and Roanoke in January and a SunTrust Bank in Bedford County this month is now behind bars.

    William Myrl Smitherman, 19, of Clemmons, N.C., was arrested last Thursday in Forsyth County, N.C., and is being held as a fugitive from justice.

    He was taken into custody by a Forsyth County deputy sheriff after a warrant charging Smitherman with robbery was obtained by Galax Police Detective J.B. Greer.

  • Driver leads police on 3-locality chase

    It took four agencies and nearly 20 minutes to stop a car caught speeding on Virginia 89 last Friday night.

    According to Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan, Brandon Alexander Berzer, 22, of Woodlawn, faces seven charges — including two felonies — in relation to a chase Friday night that spanned Grayson and Carroll Counties and the City of Galax.

    According to Vaughan, Deputy Gene Bowers was running radar on Virginia 89 at the intersection of Fairview Road.

  • Instructors drawn to Galax art school

    More than 80 artisans — some from as far as Raleigh, N.C. — attended the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts instructors' orientation meeting last week to learn the elements of becoming a professional instructor at the art school.

  • Galax tightens budget

    Significant losses in this year's revenue has the City of Galax rethinking its expenditures for the 2008-2009 budget — including holding off on renovating the Galax Farmers' Market, obtaining a city street sweeper and moving forward with water and sewer projects.

    Meals tax revenue was down by 9.59 percent, dropping from $598,522 to this year's $541,098, according to the Nikki Shank, the city's director of finance.

  • Volvo slashes 650 jobs

    DUBLIN — Volvo North America Trucks has announced it is laying off 650 workers at its truck manufacturing plant near Dublin.

    The company will eliminate 40 percent of the plant’s remaining work force, beginning in March and effective by the end of April, according to an announcement issued Tuesday morning.

    “We are reducing our production capacity in alignment with declining demand,” spokesman Jim McNamara said. “These layoffs are considered permanent.”

  • School employee pay cut possible in Grayson

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County Public Schools' employees could face a pay cut if the $1.2 million gap from Governor Tim Kaine’s proposed budget cuts can’t be closed.

    Schools' Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Thomas gave the county school board a budget forecast for the 2009-10 school year during its regular meeting Jan. 26.

    Thomas said drastic measures were being taken to close the gap without cutting personnel or pay. “The budget forecast is not good. The cuts will clearly have a negative impact on our school division.”

  • Galax schools to address bullying

    Galax school officials plan to combat bullying by implementing a prevention program that would discuss the different issues associated with it, said interim superintendent Rebecca Cardwell at the Jan. 13 Galax School Board meeting.

    Cardwell said faculty, staff and parents should not ignore students' opinions on the issue. As a result, students are being surveyed at Galax schools on the types of bullying — gang, racial, physical, verbal, cyberspace — they see.