Local News

  • Outdated state computers delay jobless benefits

    Some unemployed workers in Virginia are eligible for a seven-week extension of benefits, but the Virginia Employment Commission needs a computer programming update before it can distribute checks.

    It’s unclear how many of the more than 100,000 Virginians collecting unemployment checks could be caught in the delay.

    The VEC says extension payments should be made by June 26, after needing almost two months to complete new computer programming.

  • AmeriPumps lays off workers

    HILLSVILLE — AmeriPumps, with about five months of inventory ready to go, has laid off about half the employees at its Hillsville location in the wake of the ongoing recession.

    Partner Don Branscome believes that the company will still get up to full capacity — but only after the economy improves.

    "Construction is going good," he said. "The pump business is not going so good right now because of the economy."

  • Grayson talks twice-a-year taxing plan

    INDEPENDENCE — Citizens could have an opportunity to express their concerns about twice-a-year tax collection during the Grayson Board of Supervisors regular meeting June 11.

    Supervisors tentatively set that date to hold a public hearing regarding the ordinance change that would switch tax collections from once a year — due Dec. 5 — to twice a year — with due dates of Oct. 5 and April 5.

    If approved, citizens would pay the same amount of taxes they do now, but that amount would be split into two equal payments.

  • Federal funds go to first responders

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — First responders in the Twin Counties have received more than $180,000 for emergency equipment through the federal stimulus package.

    Ninth District Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) recently announced that Rural Development has awarded Carroll County $90,000 for new vehicles for the EMS and sheriff's office, as well as $64, s850 to Grayson and $28,875 to Galax.

  • Hammer pleads guilty in triple murder

    INDEPENDENCE — Nearly 16 months to the day after a triple slaying in Grayson County, Frederick Phillip Hammer pleaded guilty on May 22 to five counts capital murder, one count of robbery, one count of breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny while armed with a deadly weapon, one count of grand larceny and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

  • Grayson budget balances with new fees, tax hikes

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson citizens could face increases in four areas come next year, as the county tries to close a $1.8 million gap in the budget.

    Supervisors met Tuesday night to discuss options for addressing a deficit between the county's revenues and expenses.

    The first item supervisors looked into was charging residents for trash pickup.

    Supervisors have proposed a $3 per week charge, that would be assessed to all home owners in the county.

  • Grayson to expand tax relief

    INDEPENDENCE — With Grayson County considering charging for trash collection next year, Commissioner of Revenue Larry Bolt is concerned about citizens on limited incomes.

    Bolt spoke during the board's budget session Tuesday night regarding the 270 residents of Grayson who have the majority of their taxes forgiven through the Tax Relief Program.

    Bolt said of those 270, between 50 and 60 have homes valued at less than $52,000, which equates to about $156 a year in taxes. Through the relief program, those residents have that entire amount forgiven.

  • Company could bring 300 jobs

    A textile company is interested in locating in the area, and 500 applicants turned out for the survey application process last week at the Virginia Employment Commission office in Galax.

    This survey is to see if there is enough interest from the local workforce to start an operation here.

    If the company should decide to locate in the Twin Counties, it would create 300 jobs.

    VEC Director Bill Webb said he doesn't know the specifics at this point, since the company is corresponding with county officials, which are protecting its identity.

  • Carroll, log home maker disagree on contract terms

    HILLSVILLE — Original Log Cabin Homes owner Tom Vesce still plans to open a site for forest products operations in the Carroll Industrial Park, despite what he describes as a less than welcoming atmosphere from county officials.

    When the Carroll County Industrial Developmental Authority accepted bids in 2007 on the property — once known as “the pumpkin patch” for the produce grown there — it initially accepted a bid from the log home company in the amount of $75,000.

  • Berrier to serve 5 years

    HILLSVILLE — In 2007, Carl Anthony "Tony" Berrier committed a string of robberies in Cana in an effort to pay medical bills after his wife was hurt in a car accident.

    Now, he'll spend the rest of his five-year prison term away from his wife.

    Judge Brett Geisler imposed the sentence in Carroll Circuit Court last Wednesday.

    People who know Berrier testified that the incidents at Speedy Cash, Cash to Go and BB&T in Cana were out of character for the hard-working man they know.