Today's News

  • Readers' Hotline 3/21/11


  • School construction will require more than bonds


  • Carroll schools face budgeting challenges

    HILLSVILLE — Carroll schools finances for 2012 seem likely to feel pressure from all sides, school board members heard in the first presentation of the full budget proposal last Tuesday.
    Superintendent Greg Smith ticked off many challenges the staff faced when working up the proposal for the school board:
    First, there's a 9.4 percent increase for employees' health insurance and an increase in Virginia Retirement System rates.
    Then, Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are coming to a halt.

  • Sweet to serve three years


    INDEPENDENCE — A Galax man will serve three years and be on probation for 20 years following a sentencing hearing in Grayson County Circuit Court on March 9.
    Fred Lee Sweet, 68, was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual battery during his trial on June 17, 2010. The offenses occurred in April 2007 and involved a girl who was five years old at the time.
    Sweet was registered with the Virginia Statewide Sex Offender Registry on March 1.

  • Hammer must pay murder victim's family $14.9 million


  • Fire destroys greenhouse


    A greenhouse at Childs Farms was destroyed Friday when a trash fire spread, according to David Young of the Hillsville Fire Department. Three other greenhouses had damage, too. The fire department responded at 1:30 p.m and kept the fire from spreading into the woods. No one was hurt.

  • Grayson school budget approved

    INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County School Board on March 14 approved a proposed $21 million budget for 2011-12.
    The amount includes a request for $5.56 million in local funds — nearly $1.4 million above the $4.18 million the school system received from Grayson this year.
    Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Thomas noted that the request is on par with local funding for Grayson schools in 2006-07.
    The additional money addresses a $154,000 state shortfall and eight critical needs, including:

  • Let post office adapt to survive

    The United States Postal Service is careening toward insolvency, with projections showing it finishing another year spending far more than it earns.
    A report issued this month by the Government Accountability Office revealed the postal service posted a net loss of $329 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
    It's on pace to lose $6.4 billion through September, barely has $1 billion in cash reserves and plans to borrow billions more this year from the U.S. Treasury, pushing its debt level to the maximum allowed by law — $15 billion.

  • A real threat to virtual school

    It's ironic that, while Virginia serves as a technology hub, the General Assembly may be sending the state's one virtual school offline due to a funding decision made this year, an official with the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy believes.
    Chris Braunlich, vice president of the think tank, posted a blog on the group's website arguing that the decision will impact not only the virtual school hosted by Carroll County, but also any rural division that wants to offer more educational opportunities to its students.

  • Drugs driving crime in Galax

    Galax has experienced marked increases in reported crimes since 2008, including a 17 percent increase in “Part A” crimes — property crimes, crimes of violence, gambling, prostitution, extortion and narcotics, Galax Police Chief Rick Clark told city council during his annual report on March 14.
    “Part B” crimes — crimes that are generally considered nuisance crimes or quality of life issues — were down by 13 percent.