http://www.galaxgazette.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en Jones found guilty of murder http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/jones-found-guilty-murder <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/matt_jones_mug_new_0.jpg" alt="A jury recommended that Matthew Steven Jones serve life in prison for the first-degree murder of Desia Rae George in 2013, and pay a $100,000 fine." title="A jury recommended that Matthew Steven Jones serve life in prison for the first-degree murder of Desia Rae George in 2013, and pay a $100,000 fine." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <a href="http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/jones-murder-trial-day-one"><strong>READ ABOUT DAY ONE OF THE TRIAL HERE<br /> </strong></a></p> <p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; Matthew Steven Jones, 36, was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison by a jury of his peers in Grayson County Circuit Court on Friday evening.</p> <p> Jones was charged in the 2013 death of his girlfriend, Desia Rae George, 33. She was missing for about a month last spring, before her body was found in a creek by a roadside in Grayson County.</p> Jones Murder Trial: DAY ONE http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/jones-murder-trial-day-one <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/desia_rae_george_with_glasses.jpg" alt="Desia Rae George" title="Desia Rae George" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; April 15, 2013, was the last time Desia Rae George of Fries was seen alive.</p> <p> What happened to her remains a mystery, but testimony at the murder trial of her boyfriend, Matthew Steven Jones, 36, shed light on his activities that day.</p> <p> Witnesses testified on Wednesday that the defendant spent April 15 buying crack cocaine, arguing with George over money and telling her children that she had left home before packing them up and sending them to their grandparents.</p> Charity, business team up to feed 300 http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/charity-business-team-feed-300 <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/turkeyboxes.jpg" alt="Local charity God’s Storehouse and Community Kitchen says it has reached its goal this year of 300 turkey boxes for needy families in the area, due to help from Hanks &amp; Associates of Galax. From left are Cheryl Davis, Nancy Westmoreland, Susie Hale and Ed Hanks, all of Hanks &amp; Associates; Becky McClendon, God’s Storehouse Community Kitchen; and Jackie Vaughn, Hanks &amp; Associates." title="Local charity God’s Storehouse and Community Kitchen says it has reached its goal this year of 300 turkey boxes for needy families in the area, due to help from Hanks &amp; Associates of Galax. From left are Cheryl Davis, Nancy Westmoreland, Susie Hale and Ed Hanks, all of Hanks &amp; Associates; Becky McClendon, God’s Storehouse Community Kitchen; and Jackie Vaughn, Hanks &amp; Associates." align="left" hspace="6" width="99" height="85" /><p> In business, as in entertainment, a turkey is usually a failure &mdash; or at least something so awful nobody wants to touch it.</p> <p> Once you add a charity to the mix, however, it&rsquo;s a success story.</p> <p> Hanks &amp; Associates (Ameriprise of Galax) helped out with the food drive for God&rsquo;s Storehouse Community Kitchen again this year; their effort went towards the Kitchen&rsquo;s turkey dinner boxes for needy families over Thanksgiving.</p> Pa. man arrested on drug charges http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/pa-man-arrested-drug-charges <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/daniel_joe_nelson_jr.jpg" alt="Daniel Joe Nelson was arrested in Carroll County on a fugitive warrant." title="Daniel Joe Nelson was arrested in Carroll County on a fugitive warrant." align="left" hspace="6" width="52" height="85" /><p> Members of the Carroll County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office captured a wanted man from Pennsylvania in Fancy Gap on Monday.</p> <p> On Nov. 17, deputies arrested Daniel Joe Nelson Jr., 25, on a fugitive warrant from Pennsylvania. He was found on Turner Spur Road in Fancy Gap.</p> <p> &ldquo;He had an address here in Fancy Gap as one of his addresses. He had several other addresses listed in other places, as well,&rdquo; Gardner said, noting that he wasn&rsquo;t sure where Nelson was really from.</p> Grayson schools left with $500K deficit http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/grayson-schools-left-500k-deficit <p> INDEPENDENCE &ndash; Dropping enrollment numbers in Grayson County have left the school system with a more than $500,000 deficit for the current budget, although the number was once roughly $1.1 million.</p> <p> Division Superintendent Kevin Chalfant updated the school board on the gap during the regular school board meeting this month and pointed out that while the number was once $1.1 million, the actual amount the division needs to cut is closer to $700,000.</p> Welcome to Hampton Valley http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/welcome-hampton-valley <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/hamptonsigntightcymk.jpg" alt="Hampton Hedges shows off the imposing monument-like sign he is building along U.S. 58 just west of Beech Grove Lane. It lets passersby know they are going through Hampton Valley – what the area was called before it was called Baywood. He plans to landscape around the sign." title="Hampton Hedges shows off the imposing monument-like sign he is building along U.S. 58 just west of Beech Grove Lane. It lets passersby know they are going through Hampton Valley – what the area was called before it was called Baywood. He plans to landscape around the sign." align="left" hspace="6" width="127" height="85" /><p> <strong>By DON RICHESON, Staff</strong></p> <p> It&rsquo;s not unusual for Grayson County folks to go to great lengths to preserve their rich Appalachian heritage, and Grayson&rsquo;s Baywood community offers a good example of this.</p> <p> One man there is building a monument-like sign that announces the name the community had before officials decided to rename it, a name change many never embraced because it ignores the family who originally settled the area &ndash; the Hamptons.</p> Police using Facebook to find fugitives http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/police-using-facebook-find-fugitives <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/kevin_babcock.jpg" alt="Kevin Babcock" title="Kevin Babcock" align="left" hspace="6" width="69" height="85" /><p> HILLSVILLE &mdash; Local authorities are partnering with the community through social media to locate and apprehend criminals on a number of offenses, ranging from failure to appear in court to violent criminal acts.</p> Thieves take bait, steal ATV with tracking device http://www.galaxgazette.com/content/thieves-take-bait-steal-atv-tracking-device <img src="http://www.galaxgazette.com/sites/www.galaxgazette.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/atv_theft_map.jpg" alt="The green arrow in this Google map shows the house in Ashe County, N.C., where Grayson County officers located a stolen “bait” ATV. The vehicle has a GPS tracking device, which sends out alerts if it is started or moves." title="The green arrow in this Google map shows the house in Ashe County, N.C., where Grayson County officers located a stolen “bait” ATV. The vehicle has a GPS tracking device, which sends out alerts if it is started or moves." align="left" hspace="6" width="151" height="85" /><p> <strong>By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff</strong></p> <p> WHITETOP &mdash; Two men have been arrested after they allegedly took an all-terrain vehicle that was being used as bait by the Grayson County Sheriff&rsquo;s Department.</p> <p> Sheriff Richard Vaughan said after several ATVs were stolen in the western end of Grayson County in the spring, his officers came up with a plan to catch the thieves. Suspects in those cases were arrested and are still in custody, but officers kept the bait ATV in the field.</p>