Local News

  • Art school bids lower than expected

    With an architect’s estimate of $800,000 to transform the old First National Bank in downtown Galax into Chestnut Creek School of the Arts by next summer, City of Galax officials were pleased that the lowest construction bid they received — from South End Construction Inc. of Roanoke — totaled $661,509.

    City Manager Keith Holland said, after opening the bids on Oct. 30, that the city received interest and bids from nine construction companies.

  • Elk Creek voters pick Sutherland for board

    INDEPENDENCE — Citizens of the Elk Creek District in Grayson County picked Democrat Brenda Sutherland as their new supervisor through a special election on Tuesday, beating two opponents.

    Sutherland received 47.5 percent of the vote, ahead of independent Fred Weatherman with 35 percent and Republican Emil Butler with 17.4 percent.

    “I am excited about serving the wonderful folks from the Elk Creek District and Grayson County as a whole,” Sutherland told The Gazette on Wednesday.

  • McCain carries Twin Counties

    HILLSVILLE — The Democratic president-elect failed to win even one precinct in Carroll or Grayson counties.

    Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) trounced Barack Obama (D-Illinois) in the heavily Republican Carroll County, tracking true with other rural Virginia localities.

    The best vote tally that the next president of the United States could manage in Carroll came from the Hillsville D precinct, where Obama got a total of 121, or 40.33 percent, according to unofficial results from the state Wednesday.

    That’s compared to McCain’s 175 votes, or 58.33 percent.

  • Obama wins Virginia as voters pack polls

    Sen. Barack Obama may not have carried the Twin County region against Sen. John McCain, but he won Virginia's 13 electoral votes Tuesday, capping a remarkable shift in the state's politics.

    Virginia went for a Democratic candidate for the first time since 1964.

    In barely two years, both Republican U.S. senators have been replaced by Democrats, and back-to-back Democrats have been elected governor.

    Obama received 52 percent of the popular vote in Virginia, to McCain's 48 percent.

  • Carroll works to save money

    HILLSVILLE — In the midst of an economic crisis, Carroll County supervisors took a cue from the state by voting to freeze wages until next year.

    In an unrelated financial matter, the county officials also moved to pay off Carroll's part of the landfill closure debt in cooperation with its partners on the Solid Waste Authority.

    Supervisor Tom Littrell, at the county board's Oct. 14 meeting, took notice of the state's delay in implementing raises for government employees.

  • Driver charged in fatality

    HILLSVILLE — A 25-year-old Laurel Fork woman has been charged by indictment in connection with a death in a Sept. 9 traffic accident on Pleasant View Road.

    Bethanie Coulson, 18, was a passenger in a 1997 Toyota 4-Runner that ran off the road, overturned and struck a tree, according to a Virginia State Police accident report by Trooper J.R. Alderman. Coulson was not wearing a seat belt.

  • VDOT cuts put brakes on 58 funding

    Funding for new road projects has been driven off the proverbial cliff during the national economic crisis, crashing hopes for new improvements to U.S. 58 as an economic development tool for Southwestern Virginia.

    Local representatives agree that maintenance on existing roads will come first — new projects like four-laning 58 east of Hillsville and over Lovers Leap Mountain to Stuart will have to wait because the Virginia Department of Transportation's budget will be slashed by up to $2.6 billion over the next six years.

  • Fries transferring mill site to development authority

    FRIES — Town council has taken the final two steps to secure a $700,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

    Council members voted Nov. 4 to transfer the old mill property to the Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority.

    Transferring the land had caused some concern among citizens in Fries, as well as a couple of council members.

    Council Member Frankie Fortner noted during council's meeting in October that it needed to be made clear that if the property were not developed, it would revert back to the town.

  • Fries opposes airport change

    FRIES — Originally in favor of the proposed realignment of the Twin County Regional Airport Commission, the Town of Fries voted Nov. 4 to oppose the change.

    The commission has requested that its membership be changed from six localities, to only the “big three” members — Galax, Carroll and Grayson.

    During council's meeting Nov. 4, Member Nancy Hawks said “there are too many unanswered questions.”

  • Crossroads earns award

    An economic development program from the Crossroads Institute in Galax beat out those from 13 Appalachian states to win the Jerry W. Davis Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

    The $10,000 award for "outstanding accomplishment in entrepreneurial development in the Appalachian Region" was presented Nov. 6 to representatives from Crossroads.

    The Davis Award is sponsored by the University of North Alabama and the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.