Local News

  • Police facing cuts

    A nearly $30,000 drop in this year's fiscal budget at the Galax Police Department could mean leaving positions unfilled, cutting programs or even cutting staff — a last resort — if state budget cuts continue to reduce aid to the department, said Galax Police Chief Rick Clark.

  • Nelson sentenced for picking up teen on MySpace

    ROANOKE — He was 38. She was 15.

    Their relationship started in cyberspace but quickly turned physical.

    Dewey Edward Nelson, a Hillsville man who used the name "Jolly Rancha" on MySpace, was held up by federal prosecutors Thursday as a warning about the dangers of the online world.

    "Take this issue seriously," Tim Heaphy, U.S. attorney for the Western

    District of Virginia, urged parents in a press conference held immediately after a federal court hearing in which Nelson was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

  • Honey Money

    Grant money has been awarded to help offset recent losses to area beekeepers and help expand local hives.

    Bernie Bradley of Elk Creek, president of the Mountain Empire Beekeepers Association, said $125,000 in Virginia Tobacco Commission grant money has been awarded to assist Southwest Virginia Region beekeepers.

    Last year, the commission gave the association $24,000, but Bradley said that money was gone in 10 days.

  • 'Predator' to remain in custody

    HILLSVILLE — A 33-year-old Galax man has been named a "sexually violent predator" and must remain in the custody of the state for treatment, even after being released from prison — a first for the Carroll courts, officials say.

    John McLees of the state Attorney General's Office represented the commonwealth in seeking a civil commitment order against Author K. Smith, following criminal charges and penalties in Carroll Circuit Court.

  • City of Galax creating artists' residence

    A house on Oldtown Street behind Robert's Citgo, originally slated to be the Galax Visitors' Center, will instead become a part of the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts' downtown campus, if approved by Galax City Council.

    At their Jan. 25 meeting, council members heard from Galax City Manager Keith Barker about plans to turn over the 107 W. Oldtown St. building to CCSA to be used as a residence for out-of-town class instructors or artists whose classes span more than one day, along with meeting rooms, offices and storage, as requested by Theresa Lazo, chair of CCSA.

  • Animal Rescue closing

    ELK CREEK — Five years ago, an animal rescue was born in Grayson County, driven by the philosophy that every life is precious and that kindness to animals helps build a better world for everyone.

    Earlier this week, the rescue was forced to close after costs associated with running it became too much for the director.

    Sue Cantrell and Laurie Merry started "Ear"resistible Animal Rescue to address the issues of animal abuse and overpopulation in Grayson and surrounding communities.

  • Utility project funded

    After receiving six bids, Galax City Council at its Jan. 18 meeting awarded a contract to Ramey Inc. of North Carolina to replace sewer lines on Shaw Street and Stanley Drive.

    Ramey placed a bid of $747,578.

    The project will include replacing more than 4,000 linear feet of existing 12- and 8-inch pipe that are decades old, replacing and installing 35 manholes and other miscellaneous work.

  • Grayson hires financial forecaster

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County leaders continue to implement changes to help safeguard the county during financial hard times.

    County Administrator Jonathan Sweet told The Gazette on Monday that the county entered into an agreement for financial services with the firm Robinson, Farmer, Cox to provide the county with a financial forecasting instrument.

    The instrument, he said, will be used for evaluation of financial health, budgeting, strategic planning, capital outlay and the appropriate setting of tax levies and fees.

  • Committee shoots down gun show background checks

    RICHMOND — A perennial effort in the Virginia General Assembly to close the so-called “gun-show loophole” was shot down in a House of Delegates subcommittee last week.

    The bill would have required prospective buyers to undergo an instant criminal background check before buying a firearm from a private seller at a gun show, like the annual Labor Day event in Hillsville.

    Such checks are now required only when the gun is being sold by a licensed dealer.

  • Business advisory council forms

    The origin of Carroll's Business Advisory Council stems from the fact that half of all new jobs come from successful local companies that grow and hire new workers.

    The advisory council — facilitated by Bernie Deck, Carroll's business development specialist — will work to create conditions that help local companies become successful and undergo such expansions.

    One way to do that is to assemble on a regular basis knowledgeable business representatives and have them brainstorm about opportunities, challenges and ways to address them.