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Today's News

  • Hammer faces new murder charge

    INDEPENDENCE — A Grayson County Circuit Court grand jury indicted Frederick Phillip Hammer, 48, of Crumpler, N.C., on a new capital murder charge last Friday.

    According to Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Douglas Vaught, Hammer now faces an additional charge of capital murder — this time for committing more than two murders within three years.

    This brings his total capital murder charges to four.

    “The original charges that go the preliminary hearing on Monday are for murder while committing a robbery,” said Vaught.

  • Carroll prison study group meets

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll's first prison study committee meeting on Monday posed the questions that the group will have to answer in its work.

    Carroll Supervisor Andy Jackson suggested the idea to form a committee to study the pros and cons of trying to bring a state prison to the county, similar to what Grayson did to attract the prison that's under construction outside of Independence.

  • Carroll Relay for Life raises $81,000

    HILLSVILLE — When participants in the Carroll-Galax Relay for Life circled the track at Tommy Thompson Field at Carroll County High School on Friday and Saturday, they raised $1,000 an hour to add to the money that will go toward cancer research and programs, organizers said.

    Robin Minter, the community manager for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, said the $12,000 raised in the 12-hour relay put the event close to its overall goal of $85,000.

  • String Stranglers & Cobbler Gobblers

    The fiddlers’ convention brings out the weird in us sometimes, from jam sessions in Port-A-Johns and kazoo parades to naked bathing in Chestnut Creek and flinging flaming instruments — all real traditions of the 73-year-old event’s colorful past.

    One constant of Galax’s annual festival is the freaky and fanciful names musicians give their bands.

    They range from the funny to the obscure to the possibly perverted — if we only understood what they meant.

  • Help yourself to water

    In an age where people are looking for alternative ways of doing things, the self-help program seems like an inexpensive and practical way to get smaller water projects done in Carroll County.

    The cost of everything is shooting through the roof, not the least of which is construction-related efforts.

    The rise in gas prices makes it more expensive to run equipment and ship materials on any construction work, but Carroll County Public Service Authority and community members have apparently found a way around that by using the self-help program for Happy Hollow Road.

  • Convention making a comeback?

    Registration for the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention increased overall for the first time in five years.

    Last year was the fourth year in a row that registrations for the convention declined. Registrations for 2007 were down 130 from the previous year.

    But for the 73rd annual event, overall registrations were 1,817 — up 52 contestants from 2007.

    Officials with the convention’s sponsor, Galax Moose Lodge #733, say the registration numbers have never reflected actual attendance.

  • Cell tower granted another extension

    FRIES — The battle for permanent authority for U.S. Cellular to operate a tower in Fries will continue for at least another six months.

    According to Dick Gibson — the attorney representing U.S. Cellular in the case — the Federal Communications Commission reissued a Special Temporary Authorization regarding the cell tower in Fries on July 18.

    The temporary authority will now expire Jan. 29, 2009.

  • Citizens help themselves to water

    People on Happy Hollow Road haven’t been happy about what’s been coming out of their wells, and they’re fixin’ to do something about it.

    Residents of the Sulphur Springs District road will become the first in Carroll County to help install public water under the self-help program, with construction tentatively scheduled to start Sept. 15.

    Volunteers will operate the shovels at the jobsite and install the pipes, with the Carroll Public Service Authority supplying the equipment needed, an equipment operator and supervision.

  • Police intervene as street gangs target youth

    When Galax Police Chief Rick Clark took his position eight years ago, he never imagined he would be holding a town hall meeting resulting from an outbreak of street gangs.

    But after street gang evidence, such as graffiti tagging, arose nearly four years ago on Grant and Givens streets, gang activity has escalated to the point of making it into the school system, a concerned Clark told listeners at a special gang symposium Thursday.

    Then, members begun to readily admit that they were a part of a gang.

  • Hundreds attend prison job meeting

    INDEPENDENCE — Hundreds of people showed up for a meeting Tuesday with Virginia Department of Corrections officials and representatives from surrounding colleges to learn how to become qualified to work at the new state prison set to open outside Independence in July 2010.

    Jo Ann Monk lost her job at Vaughan Furniture last March — just three days shy of working there 31 years.

    “It’s hard to be back out here looking for a job,” she said.