Public Safety

  • Police warn of scammers claiming to be from IRS

    An IRS scam has been circulating in the Twin Counties area, and local police warn residents to use caution.

    Galax resident Karen Clark notified The Gazette that she received two phone calls last week from a Washington, D.C. phone number. The calls are a recording that state the individual is being sued by the IRS and they need to return the call to prevent being taken to jail. Clark called the number back only to be put on hold by the person who answered and was then disconnected.

  • Sheriff cautioned school of potential danger


    INDEPENDENCE — A 2012 incident in Grayson County schools still causes concern for many parents, and a letter obtained by a citizens’ group shows those concerns were shared by the sheriff’s office, as well.

    The situation involved a Grayson County High School student who allegedly made a “homicidal threat” to another student and was reportedly seen with a knife at school, according to a letter from Sheriff Richard Vaughan to Grayson Schools Superintendent Kevin Chalfant on Nov. 8, 2012.

  • Health district issues rabies alert

    The Mount Rogers Health District has recently tested four potentially rabid animals.

    The district refused to disclose from which localities the animals were tested in order to “protect the privacy of the individuals involved and because there is no public health reason to do so.”

    The health district includes Carroll, Grayson, Wythe, Smyth, Bland and Washington counties and the cities of Galax and Bristol.

  • Police in Va. could be required to wear cameras

    RICHMOND — Just as one state legislator pulled back his bill to require that police wear body cameras, a second lawmaker said he doesn’t want to wait and will introduce his own legislation.

    Del. Joe Lindsey (D-Norfolk) told a House subcommittee on Jan. 29 that they should table his body camera bill because a study group is planning to review the issue. Others suggested it would be too expensive.

  • School bus-related traffic violations rise

    HILLSVILLE — Virginia State Police charged six motorists in Hillsville last week for passing stopped school buses in Carroll County.

    Several buses in the county’s fleet are equipped with camera systems that record the entire routes daily. As a result of the camera systems, motorists who pass stopped school buses are also recorded, and the state police actively uses the recordings to charge and prosecute motorists who violate those laws.

  • Hospital takes steps to contain spread of flu virus

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2014-2015 flu season is well underway and flu activity is widespread or active in at least 43 states, with elevated activity in the south.

    In the interests of protecting patients and healthcare workers, Twin County Regional Hospital has announced temporary visitation guidelines to contain the spread of the flu virus in its facilities.

    These guidelines, which will begin immediately and remain in effect until the peak flu season passes, include:

  • Ebola unlikely, but local agencies prepared

    As a meme going around Facebook proclaims, more people have been dumped by pop star Taylor Swift than have caught the Ebola virus in the U.S.

    On a more sober note, Ebola, worldwide, has caused slightly more than 4,500 deaths from 1976 to mid-October this year out of more than 7,000 reported cases — most of them in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). By contrast, the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919 infected 500 million people across the globe and killed at least 50 million of them in that time frame alone, according to the CDC.

  • Governor sets up Ebola 'command group'

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Commonwealth is taking additional steps to strengthen the level of preparedness for the Ebola virus by mobilizing a statewide unified command group. This group is responsible for coordinating resources and personnel.

  • Two people exposed to rabies in Grayson

    The Mount Rogers Health District reports there have been six confirmed cases of rabies in the Twin County area this year, through Sept. 28.

    That includes an incident last week, in which two Grayson County residents were exposed to a single rabid stray cat.

    The cat was captured, tested for rabies and the Grayson County Health Department received lab confirmation of rabies Sept. 23, according to a statement from the health district.

  • Rabies cases reported in Grayson

    INDEPENDENCE — The Mount Rogers Health District reports that two local residents are receiving treatment for rabies following exposure to a rabid cat.

    The Grayson County Health Department received lab confirmation of rabies Sept. 23, according to a statement from the health district.

    Grayson County Animal Control has been notified that there are other cats in this stray population, and residents of the area are being contacted to determine whether anyone else was exposed.