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Local News

  • Arrest rumors refuted

    INDEPENDENCE — Despite several rumors that spread on Wednesday — that a person of interest had been named in the 2002 murder of Brandon Billings — Grayson Commonwealth Attorney Douglas Vaught said that was not the case.

    “The investigation into the Brandon Billings murder is continuing, although no persons of interest have been identified. Both the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Grayson Sheriff’s Office continue to extend their support to the Billings family,” said Vaught in a press release Wednesday.

  • Texting while driving gets thumbs down

    A popular anti-cell phone bumper sticker says: “Shut up and drive!”

    If you own the sticker, stop reading because what follows will drive you nuts.

    Just more than a third of Virginia drivers surveyed admit they have sent text messages while driving, making this the sixth most active state for the controversial habit, according to a national survey released Tuesday.

    Nationally, 28 percent of those surveyed acknowledged they have typed with the keypads of tiny cell phones while heading down the road.

  • Without funds, free medical clinic in jeopardy

    A clinic that provides free health care to people in need is facing a dire prognosis — without a transfusion of funds in the next month, it may have to close its doors.

    The Free Medical Clinic of the Twin Counties has been serving the community for years, and recently moved into its first permanent home on Oldtown Street in downtown Galax.

    A recent fundraiser brought in $700, but clinic Executive Director Dina Slusher says $15,000 is needed before July 1 to keep the facility open.

  • Opry is sole proposal

    HILLSVILLE — All proposals for developing 91 acres of Carroll-owned land near the Interstate 77-U.S. 58 interchange were due in the county administrator’s office last Thursday at 5 p.m.

    When asked by The Gazette how many proposals they had received after the deadline, county officials pointed to a sole white, sealed cardboard package sitting on a desk.

  • Motorcyclist dies in Saturday accident

    HILLSVILLE -- A motorcyclist from Hillsville died in a Saturday morning accident on Virginia 100 near Sylvatus.

    Dickie Lee Edmonds, 40, was traveling north bound on 100 at about 10 a.m. when, according to a Virginia State Police accident report, he tried to pass another vehicle by swinging his 2006 Harley-Davidson motorcycle onto the right shoulder, said Trooper K.D. Blackburn. This was a spot shoulder there was wider than normal, but the motorcycle went off the side of the road.

  • Kaine's tax plan faces roadblocks in General Assembly

    RICHMOND — Minutes after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine unveiled a plan on May 12 for an almost $860 million tax increase to help transportation, House Republican leaders declared it all but dead.

    "I don't see anything positive in the plan that could make it something that could be considered," said House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-Salem). "It's all tax, tax, tax."

    So begins the latest chapter in the state's six-year quest for money to build new roads and improve existing ones.

  • City offers to help pet owners

    As part of a new strategy to reduce the population of strays, Galax is offering the city's pet owners the opportunity to receive a reimbursement check that will cover a portion of the cost to sterilize their cat or dog.

    The city will reimburse the pet owner $50 — or 50 percent, whichever is less — to spay or neuter a cat or dog they own or are adopting.

    "The hope is to see fewer stray animals," said Assistant City Manager Keith Barker. "Sometimes we don't do something because of cost savings, but just because it's the better thing to do."

  • PSA balks at fees

    HILLSVILLE — The Carroll Public Service Authority will dedicate a special meeting May 27 at 7 p.m. to discussing possible utility rate adjustments and new fees.

    Authority members had a follow-up discussion at their regular May meeting on Director Ray Hill’s idea to include new revenue-generating fees. All they decided was that they need to talk about the matter further.

  • Pedestrian struck, injured near parkway

    A pedestrian was injured in an accident May 25 on Virginia 945 in Carroll County, about a third of a mile north of its intersection with Virginia 608.

    A Virginia State Police report by Trooper S.M. Cochran identified the injured man as Warren Clyde Meredith from Fancy Gap.

    The accident happened shortly after 10 p.m., when Meredith was struck by a 1992 Ford Explorer, driven by Amy D. Cooper.

    No charges have been placed.

    No other information was available from the report.

  • Judge escapes DUI conviction

    A Wytheville judge accused of driving under the influence pleaded guilty last Tuesday in Smyth County General District Court to a reduced charge of reckless driving.

    Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Michael Keith Blankenship, 44, of Wytheville also pleaded guilty to refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test. He was fined $100 and his license was suspended for one year, according to the court clerk’s office.