en Carroll bus drivers, aides seek benefits <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="91" height="85" /><p> HILLSVILLE &mdash; The Carroll County Board of Supervisors recently heard comments on behalf of school bus drivers and special needs aides with no benefits.</p> <p> Linda Montgomery, a bus driver with Carroll County Public Schools, told the board that benefits were not included in newer contracts for bus drivers. &ldquo;We receive no benefits at all, even though we have the same responsibilities as all other driver who are full-time.&rdquo;</p> Wellness Center adds equipment for diabetics <img src="" alt="CWC Rehab Program Manager Carrie Phipps (left) with client Deborah Quesenberry. " title="CWC Rehab Program Manager Carrie Phipps (left) with client Deborah Quesenberry. " align="left" hspace="6" width="105" height="85" /><p> HILLSVILLE &ndash; The Carroll Wellness Center has new diabetes and chronic disease rehab program equipment that it acquired through a Twin County Community Foundation grant this past year.</p> <p> The center in Hillsville has added two additional Sci-Fit Recumbent Steppers and a Sci-Fit Pro 2.</p> Shooting suspect in custody <img src="" alt="John Ford Gilliam " title="John Ford Gilliam " align="left" hspace="6" width="63" height="85" /><p> <em>Staff Reports</em></p> <p> FRIES &mdash; A suspect is in custody following a shooting Saturday night near Fenders Curve in Grayson County.</p> <p> John Ford Gilliam, 47, of Woodlawn, was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony, after officers say he was involved in a confrontation that resulted in a man being shot in the arm.</p> BBQ competition will heat up this weekend <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="58" height="85" /><p> <em>Staff Report</em></p> <p> The Twin County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Galax are firing up the grill as they place the final touches on the 14th Annual Smoke on the Mountain State BBQ Competition, to be held Friday and Saturday in downtown Galax.</p> <p> This year&rsquo;s event will feature street vendors of all stripes, including commercial and service representatives, as well as local craft and food vendors.</p> Police warn of scam claiming to help fallen officers’ families <p> <em>Staff Report</em></p> <p> A phone scam has been targeting Twin County residents in an attempt to coax them into donating funds that are reputed to help officers killed in the line of duty.</p> <p> Police have received reports this week that members of the community have been receiving calls from the National Police and Troopers Association (NPTA), and the caller states that the organization is in the middle of a fund drive to collect money for the families of fallen officers.</p> APCo announces $40M Galax project <img src="" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="65" height="85" /><p> <em>Staff Report</em></p> <p> Appalachian Power will host an open house next month to seek public input on proposed electric upgrades in Galax.</p> <p> The $40 million Glendale Area Improvements Project, announced last week, is designed to strengthen the transmission system in Carroll and Wythe counties. The improvements will reduce the likelihood of power outages during high demand periods, APCo said in a news release.</p> Mayor selection raises questions <img src="" alt="C.M. Mitchell (left) and Willie Greene are sworn in at the July 9 meeting, before the appointments of mayor and vice mayor." title="C.M. Mitchell (left) and Willie Greene are sworn in at the July 9 meeting, before the appointments of mayor and vice mayor." align="left" hspace="6" width="68" height="85" /><p> Willie Greene refused to accept a nomination for reappointment as Galax&rsquo;s vice mayor at Monday night&rsquo;s Galax City Council meeting, after he was earlier nominated to serve as mayor.</p> <p> Questions arose over voting procedure, and Mayor C.M. Mitchell &mdash; who was reappointed &mdash; said later he had intended to support Greene if he was nominated as mayor.</p> <p> Council members choose the city&rsquo;s mayor and vice mayor from among themselves.</p> <p> Greene has been on council since 1994, and vice mayor since 2000.</p> Citizens speak out against rising utility rates <p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; Citizens at a public hearing last month expressed concerns about the Town of Independence&rsquo;s water and sewer rate increases, which took effect July 1.</p> <p> Independence Town Council increased charges for water by 22 percent and sewer by 50 percent.</p> <p> During the public hearing, two citizens signed up to speak.</p> <p> The first, Evelyn Hughes, asked council why the rates were going up so much.</p>