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Public Safety

  • Local school buses require safety retrofit

    The Virginia Department of Education has notified the Commonwealth’s 132 school divisions that as many as 4,000 school buses may need retrofitting to install a safety device that prevents the parking brake from accidentally disengaging.

    School officials said that a total of 23 buses in Galax, Carroll and Grayson need retrofitting for the brake interlock.

  • Crime rate falling in Galax

    While the city had two homicides in 2016 — the first in several years — the Galax Police Department saw an overall decrease of 26 percent in total crimes reported last year, according to an annual report from Chief Rick Clark.

    Clark made his presentation at the Feb. 27 Galax City Council meeting. He said that last year, there were a total of 978 offenses, as opposed to 1,330 offenses in 2015.

  • Lead found in Fries water

    Staff Report

    FRIES ― The Town of Fries alerted residents this month that a recent test of the water system found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes and buildings.

    Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger.

    According to a news release from the town, lead was detected in water samples collected during a routine sampling in 2015 and again during special sampling in July.

  • Victim in double shooting dies; suspect caught

    Staff Reports

    A man wanted for shooting two people in Grayson County on Sunday morning was caught early Monday morning in North Carolina, after wrecking his car during a police chase.

    One of the shooting victims, Karen Cates, died.

  • Double shooting in Fairview; suspect at large

    UPDATE:

    The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a double shooting in Fairview, which occurred Sunday morning.

    Authorities have not released the names of anyone shot, or their conditions.

    Law enforcement has identified the shooting suspect as Greyling Dwayne “Beany” Davis, 52, of Fries Road in Galax.

  • Courthouse threat linked to inmate

    INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police and special investigators responded to the Grayson County Courthouse on Wednesday, when the Circuit Court Clerk’s office received a threatening letter that also contained an unknown substance.

    The investigation has centered around an inmate at the state prison in Grayson as a suspect.

    According to a news release from Sheriff Richard Vaughan, members of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the courthouse at 10:40 a.m. on March 16.

  • 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

    By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

    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.