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Local News

  • Tree removal part of U.S. 58 project

    Drivers have seen, and Gazette Hotline callers have noted, the removal of pine trees along the Reserve Boulevard section of U.S. 58 in Galax, and many are asking what’s going on.

    As it happens, the question was answered at a Galax City Council meeting story way back in June of last year: the tree removal is part of the overall U.S. 58/Reserve Boulevard safety improvement project that the city is working to complete with assistance from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

  • Ordinance will allow patrons to pig out

    Barbecue lovers will still be able to get a free taste at the annual state championship in Galax, after city council passed an ordinance exempting the locality and non-profits from a state code that could have prohibited giving away food.

    Ron Passmore — co-owner of The Galax Smokehouse and one of the coordinators of Smoke on the Mountain, the Virginia State BBQ Championship held every year in mid-July — presented the food service ordinance to Galax City Council at the May 23 meeting.

  • Independence laundromat damaged in fire

    Staff Report

    INDEPENDENCE — Kirk’s Laundromat in Independence recently sustained heavy damage as the result of a structure fire, according to the Independence Volunteer Fire Department.

    According to a report, the department was dispatched to the laundromat at 5:11 p.m. on May 30. When Engine 82 arrived on scene, firefighters saw heavy smoke billowing from the structure.

    Firefighter Kevin Newman, Second Lt. Brandon Thompson and the team set to work dousing the flames.

  • Federal child abuse charges could go to trial before homicide

    Staff Reports

    New federal child sexual abuse charges against double homicide suspect Richard Denny Nofsinger Jr. mean that the Galax man potentially faces two trials — in U.S. District Court for the abuse charges and in Carroll County Circuit Court for the killings of a mother and her infant daughter.

    Sources close to the case say it could be quite a while before either case go to trial, but prosecution for the federal charges could take place before the suspect goes to court on the state murder charges.

  • Grand jury indicts prisoners

    By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

    INDEPENDENCE – Several prisoners serving sentences in state prisons across Virginia have been indicted by a Grayson County Circuit Court grand jury.

    The incidents occurred when the prisoners were held at River North Correctional Center in Independence. Some are now at other prisons.

    The grand jury met April 22 and several indictments were sealed until arrests could be made. An indictment is a formal charge, not a determination of guilt.

  • State police handled 18 accidents over holiday weekend

    The Virginia State Police had a relatively safe and quiet Memorial Day holiday weekend, both in the Twin Counties and throughout the state. In our area, only one accident resulted in minor injuries and overall, state traffic fatality numbers were down.

    According to First Sgt. Michael Musser with the state police office in Galax, the Twin County area saw 18 total accidents from Friday through Monday evening. One of those accidents resulted in minor injuries. “Traffic was heavy as usual for Memorial Day and, fortunately, we had no major accidents,” Musser said.

  • State initiative will map broadband access

    Staff Report

    Virginia has launched a new statewide initiative to better understand which areas have the largest gaps in broadband coverage.

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently announced the initiative at a ceremony to sign House Bill 912, which makes it easier to put telecommunications infrastructure in the rights-of-way for state-maintained roads.

    The new initiative, RUOnlineVA, provides a platform for Virginia residents and businesses to notify the Commonwealth whether they have access to broadband internet connections.

  • Veteran enters fray to challenge Griffith

    Derek Kitts – a Roanoke native, decorated U.S. Army veteran, Southern Baptist, husband and father – has thrown his hat in the ring to represent the 9th Congressional District as a Democrat who is both pro-gun and pro-choice.

    Kitts did three tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan, garnering two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

  • Carroll company meets goals earlier than expected

    Staff Report

    WOODLAWN — A Carroll County company has met its investment goal more than 18 months early and exceeded its hiring goal, after receiving a Virginia Tobacco Commission grant.

    The state money received by Thomas Automation Management (TAM) came with requirements that it meet certain capital and employment targets by October 2017. According to a company news release on Friday, it met those goals in March.

  • Principals' group opposes restroom policies

    The Grayson County School Board’s recent adoption of a policy regulating transgender students’ restroom use has caused some controversy among people on both sides of the issue, and raised questions among those unfamiliar with transgender issues.

    According to the American Psychological Association, “transgender” is an umbrella term that “incorporates differences in gender identity, wherein one’s assigned biological sex doesn’t match their felt identity.”