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Local News

  • New opry concerns raised

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll officials and Mayberry Opry developers crafted a timeline to accept proposals on the possible sale of 91 acres of county-owned land with, but a citizen told the supervisors Monday that they should just send that group packing instead.

    Carroll officials believe they can make a decision about whether — and to whom — to sell parcel of land for economic development purposes near the Interstate 77-U.S. 58 interchange by April, after marketing the property more.

  • Judge pleads guilty in crash

    A judge who hears cases in Grayson and Carroll counties pleaded guilty Friday to a hit-and-run charge fewer than three months after he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge stemming from a separate incident.

    Virginia State Police charged Michael Keith Blankenship, 44, of Wytheville with hit-and-run May 3 after witnesses identified him as the driver who left the scene of a crash about 5:15 p.m. April 27.

  • Grayson Relay for Life raises $50K

    FRIES — Grayson County Relay for Life raised more than $50,000 — falling short of its goal of $60,000.

    But, one of the organizers, Jane Roberts, said money was still coming in and expected that number to rise even further.

    This was the fifth year Grayson County has held its own relay and opened events Aug. 1 with the Survivor’s Lap followed by opening statements from Event Chairperson Judy Porter.

    Porter said all too often people whisper the word cancer or simply refer to it as the “Big C.”

  • Galax residents air grievances over cell towers

    Galax City Council members, US Cellular representatives and city residents argued the health effects of placing a cell tower in a residential area on City View Drive, before Galax City Council approved the idea on Monday with a 4-3 vote.

    Council also approved placing a 150-foot US Cellular tower on the Galax Police Department's firing range off Glendale Road.

  • Motions filed in Galax murder case

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson Circuit Court Judge Brett Geisler ruled on several motions Friday relating to the jury trial for Rafiel Bautista-Perez, who is charged in the fatal stabbing of Jason Smith on Oct. 1, 2007, after an argument erupted amongst a group of friends.

    Around 3 p.m. on Oct. 1, police officers were dispatched to a reported argument at 104 Greenville Road in West Galax. While en route, a second 911 call reported that someone at the house had been stabbed.

  • Utility projects planned

    INDEPENDENCE — A new wastewater system could be in the works for the Fairview community of Grayson County, while an extended water system could be coming near Fries.

    Two meetings were held last week — one at the Fairview Ruritan Building Aug. 4, and the other in Fries Aug. 5 — to pass on information gathered by engineers on the possibilities of both systems.

    The first plan involves placing a new wastewater system in Fairview, while the other would be a new water system in the Stevens Creek community, near Fries.

  • Carroll seeks citizen input

    HILLSVILLE — Citizens can get involved and provide input on the next step in proposed updates to Carroll’s subdivision ordinance.

    This will happen at a joint meeting between the county supervisors and the planning commission.

    The subdivision ordinance sets out the rules and the regulations for new developments in Carroll, in an effort to promote health and public safety.

    So far, County Attorney Jim Cornwell and the planning commission have provided the only input about the document.

  • Fries Fiddlers' Convention kicks off Friday

    FRIES — As summer winds down, musicians and music lovers in Fries are just gearing up for the Twin County area's last fiddlers’ convention of the year.

    The Fries Fiddlers' Convention — an annual old-time and bluegrass competition and festival, always held the third weekend of August — is sponsored by the Fries Volunteer Fire Department.

    The event is scheduled to kick off Friday and continue through Saturday. The convention is held at the Fries Ball Park, located just off Main Street.

  • WCC, Crossroads offer tests for potential prison workers

    INDEPENDENCE — Tutorials are now available online for anyone wishing to obtain a Career Readiness Certificate.

    Individuals hoping to get hired on at the new medium-security prison being built in Grayson are highly encouraged to obtain the certificate prior to applying.

    According to Neal Satterwhite, director of the Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority, those who have the certificate prior to applying will stand out above those without.

  • Hammer faces new murder charge

    INDEPENDENCE — A Grayson County Circuit Court grand jury indicted Frederick Phillip Hammer, 48, of Crumpler, N.C., on a new capital murder charge last Friday.

    According to Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Douglas Vaught, Hammer now faces an additional charge of capital murder — this time for committing more than two murders within three years.

    This brings his total capital murder charges to four.

    “The original charges that go the preliminary hearing on Monday are for murder while committing a robbery,” said Vaught.