Local News

  • Carroll puppy mill owner charged

    HILLSVILLE — Even as a bill to regulate puppy mills continues to make progress in the Virginia General Assembly, Carroll County officials charged a Hillsville dog breeder with multiple counts of animal cruelty and neglect.

    Charges against Lanzie Carroll Horton Jr., also known as “Junior,” came Thursday as the result of covert video taken by animal advocates at Horton's Pups in Hillsville, one of the so-called “puppy mills.”

    Additionally, an employee for Horton’s Pups was charged by warrant on Friday.

  • Evidence collected at crime scene, murder suspect's home

    INDEPENDENCE — The man charged with three counts of capital murder at a Grayson County tree farm last month has drawn scrutiny from police in other cases.

    According to Pennsylvania court documents, Frederick Phillip Hammer, 48, previously served prison time after being convicted of killing an off-duty Philadelphia police officer in 1978. Six years later, a judge ordered a new trial at which Hammer was acquitted of charges.

  • Vaughan-Bassett launches new furniture line

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Vaughan-Bassett Furniture announced Monday that it will produce a new line of furniture created by noted designer Alexander Julian.

    The announcement about the casegoods collection named “Authentically American” was made at a Monday news conference at Vaughan-Bassett’s Las Vegas Showroom.

    "Our partnership is a unique collaboration between an American design icon and the largest manufacturer of wooden adult bedroom furniture in the United States," said Vaughan-Bassett president and chief executive officer Wyatt Bassett.

  • Galax applies for $1 million grant

    The City of Galax has applied for the Southern Rivers Water Quality Grant in hopes of being approved by the General Assembly to receive a $1 million grant — the maximum amount offered — to make improvements to a Galax and Carroll County sewer line, the Mill Creek interceptor.

    The grant is part of the Southern Rivers Watershed Enhancement Program. The General Assembly has allocated $17 million to improve water quality in non-Chesapeake Bay watersheds.

  • General Assembly merges puppy mill bills

    RICHMOND — Competing bills before the Virginia General Assembly to regulate so-called puppy mills have been leashed together.

    The Humane Society of the United States last year launched a probe of large commercial dog breeding operations in Virginia.

    The action was taken after an operation in Bland County, known as Dogwood Kennels, caught fire last March, killing nearly 200 dogs on the premises.

    Animal advocates visited breeding operations to secretly take video of conditions that the dogs were being kept in.

  • Grand jury to hear Bautista-Perez murder case

    Witnesses said that an argument amongst friends provoked Rafiel Bautista-Perez to fatally stab Jason Smith on Oct. 1, 2007, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing in Galax General District Court on Monday.

    At 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.

  • Galax man dies in crash

    A Galax man died at the scene of a Jan. 23 wreck in North Carolina, after a tractor-trailer’s brakes failed and struck his pickup head-on.

    Glenn Roy Shumate, 68, of Forest Lane in Galax, died instantly, according to a N.C. Highway Patrol report.

    The accident occurred around 4:30 p.m. in the sharp “Snowbird Curve” on N.C. 89, just south of the Virginia state line — the scene of numerous past accidents.

  • Judge grants Payne's bond appeal

    HILLSVILLE — A 26-year-old Hillsville woman got a new $20,000 bond last Wednesday after an appeal, based on the belief that her home electronic monitoring equipment malfunctioned.

    Amanda Payne faces charges of allegedly acting as an accomplice in the Nov. 13, 2007 fatal double shooting at 268 Frog Spur Road in Fancy Gap that left George Adam Fulton, 19, and Dustin Bond, 17, dead.

    Payne is charged with two counts of conspiring to commit murder and two counts of first-degree murder as a principal in the second degree.

  • Propane tank barriers may be required

    Local regulations are in the works involving safety of propane tanks, as Twin County officials try to prevent explosive accidents such as the one that killed two Fries women on Dec. 10.

    Iva Martin, 78, and daughter Mary Kay Leonard, 52, died as the result of burns they received after a vehicle rolled into a propane tank, causing a leak.

    A clothes dryer's pilot light in the Fries laundromat ignited the gas, and the explosion injured another three people.

  • N.C. man charged in triple homicide

    INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County officials secured three capital murder warrants Sunday charging a Crumpler, N.C., man in a triple homicide at a Mouth of Wilson tree farm last Thursday morning.

    Frederick Phillip Hammer, 48, was questioned around midnight the day of the shootings on Jan. 24, at his home in Ashe County, N.C.