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Local News

  • Smith: School plans depend on federal funds

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll Supervisors’ Chairman David Hutchins asked twice at a Jan. 12 meeting to be sure: construction plans for three schools will go ahead only if federal stimulus package monies are made available to the county.

  • Neighbors reject Spirit Harbor plans

    INDEPENDENCE — Developers are hoping to bring a 252-site Christian-based senior recreational park to Mouth of Wilson, but neighbors aren’t being very welcoming.

    The land in Grayson County is zoned Rural Farm, and a mobile home park is permitted under a special use permit.

    Spirit Harbor LLC approached the Grayson Planning Commission asking for a special use permit to be granted for the proposed park on 148 acres off Fox Wood Lane.

    Citizens packed the house Tuesday night to speak in opposition of the development.

  • Forensics lab says paint matches

    INDEPENDENCE — Reports from the state forensics lab have been filed with the Grayson Circuit Court, and it appears paint taken from a hand truck found near a murder suspect's campsite matches that of a gun safe found at the scene of a 2008 triple homicide at a Christmas tree farm in Mouth of Wilson.

    According to documents filed Jan. 5 in the Frederick P. Hammer case, “it is considered unlikely that the paint in item [debris from hand truck] originated from any source other than the source represented by item [paint scraping bottom of safe].”

  • GVFD begins 'Deanna Project'

    The Galax Volunteer Fire Department is starting the “Deanna Project” in response to the Jan. 12 mobile home fire that killed a family of three, including 4-year-old Deanna Lafferty.

    The goal of the GVFD is to visit every mobile home in its coverage area and offer to install a smoke detector at homes that do not have one. If one is already installed, department members will install new batteries and check its operation.

  • Local schools brace for state budget cuts

    It's a challenging year when school division superintendents talk about losing $1.9 million from state funds as being the best case scenario, but that's the situation that Carroll County finds itself in as work continues on fiscal year 2009-2010 budget, according to figures provided by Superintendent Greg Smith.

    Should Gov. Tim Kaine's so-called "stop-loss" funding idea fail, then the Carroll school system could see its funding from the state drop by another $550,000.

  • Chief responds to Mexican gang report

    Despite a recent article in The Washington Times that pinpoints Galax as being highly concentrated with Mexican drug cartels and gangs, drug arrests were down for 2008 in the city.

    The Justice Department was the source of information for the article — “Obama faces Mexican drug wars” — that many local residents read and became concerned about.

    There are reasons why Galax, despite low drug and violent crime arrests compared to other cities, is making national headlines about Mexican drug cartels, said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

  • School water option chosen

    INDEPENDENCE — Residents of Grange Hollow Road will have to wait until bids are received to see if they will be included in the new water system from the Town of Troutdale to the new school being built in the western end of Grayson County.

  • Carroll approves fire truck purchase

    HILLSVILLE — Getting a new engine for the Hillsville Fire Department was something of an emergency in itself, based on the Jan. 12 discussion initiated by Carroll's emergency services coordinator.

    Joe Roma asked the county board of supervisors to take emergency steps to resolve the mechanical problems with two fire department trucks. This need was further aggravated by a broken-down pump on the department's ladder truck.

  • Grayson advertises top job

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County will begin advertising for the position of county administrator Feb. 1.

    The board of supervisors voted unanimously during its regular meeting earlier this month to begin looking for a replacement for retiring County Administrator Bill Ring.

    Last summer, the board hired Mitch Smith as assistant county administrator. “The playing field is level and Mitch will have to apply just like everyone else and compete with the candidates,” Ring said.

  • Gun show bill passes senate committee

    RICHMOND — A Senate committee on Monday endorsed legislation that would require criminal background checks for nearly all firearms purchased at gun shows like the annual Labor Day event in Hillsville, advancing a bill advocated by families and survivors of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.