The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to $34 million in last night’s (Tuesday) drawing after there was no big winner in last Friday night’s drawing.
    Mega Millions numbers drawn were: 7-14-31-51-54 and the Mega Ball was 35.
    Four players, none from Virginia or North Carolina, won second place prizes of $250,000 apiece.
    Another 14 players won third place prizes of $10,000 apiece.
    Also, 233,442 players picked the money ball to win $2 each.

  • Wal-Mart to buy more local produce

    ROANOKE—Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently announced a program intended to put more locally grown food in its U.S. stores; invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets; and measure how efficiently large suppliers grow and move their products, according to a news release from Virginia Farm Bureau.

The retailer said it plans to double the percentage of locally grown produce it sells to 9 percent. Wal-Mart defines locally grown as produce grown and sold in the same state.

  • Appalachian Power donates to energy bill relief fund

    Appalachian Power Co. announced last week that it is contributing $1 million to a hardship fund designed to help low-income customers pay their electric bills.
    About $500,000 is dedicated to Virginia customers, reported Appalachian, a subsidiary of American Electric Power.
    “To qualify, households “must have made a sincere effort” to pay their electric bill during the past 90 days and must also have an outstanding balance.

  • Proposal to raise stamp prices denied

    The independent Postal Regulatory Commission last Thursday rejected a proposal by the U.S. Postal Service to raise the cost of mailing a letter by 2 cents.
    The postal service pointed out in the request that it lost $3.8 billion last year and could lose as much as $7 billion this year because of the continued decline of mail volume.
    In July, the postal service asked for a rate hike for letters, postcards, periodicals, parcels and other services as one way to raise more revenue and help reduce the deficit.

  • Master Cattleman program to be offered in Southwest Virginia

    Virginia Cooperative Extension will be offering the Virginia Master Cattleman program at three locations in Southwest Virginia this fall.
    The locations are Abingdon, Wytheville, and Blacksburg. This new program will consist of seven sessions that provide essential information for beef producers in the areas of Economics, Genetics, Reproduction, Nutrition, Forages, Herd Health, and Marketing. Participants will receive a certificate as a Virginia Master Cattleman upon successful completion of all seven sessions of the program and a reference manual.

  • Appalachian customers to receive credit on electric bills

    The utility taketh and now must giveth back.
    With interest.
    About 40 percent of Appalachian Power Co.’s residential customers in its Virginia service territory will receive a credit on electric bills the utility began sending Monday. The average credit will be about $11, the company said.
    Many commercial and industrial customers also will receive credits. The average commercial credit will be about $32 and the average industrial amount about $424, Appalachian said.
    Here’s what happened.

  • Med-Fit buys plant, plans expansion

    Med-Fit Systems Inc. has completed the purchase of Nautilus’ commercial manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Independence, which includes a 262,000 square foot plant and a 56-acre campus.
    “Now that we have complete ownership of the facility, we will be better able to utilize and expand the plant’s manufacturing capabilities, said Dean Sbragia, CEO of Southern California-based Med-Fit.

  • Crossroads announces small business workshops

    GALAX — The Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority (BRCEDA) and the Crossroads Small Business Development Center recently announced this fall’s slate of entrepreneur-focused workshops.
    These programs are designed to help current and future small business owners learn how they can get the most out of their businesses, how they can turn their skills, ambitions, and hard work into a profitable and fulfilling venture.

  • Unemployment rate holds steady in July

    Virginia’s unemployment rate held steady in July at the 7.1 percent rate from June, while the Twin Counties continued to see unemployment rates topping 11 percent.
    According to the Virginia Employment Commission,  the steady rate is partly because of a drop in the number of jobless people seeking work.
    The latest state rate was up from 6.9 percent a year earlier. The rates weren’t adjusted for seasonal factors.

  • Libraries begin next chapter with new director

    The Wythe-Grayson Regional Library system welcomed its new director July 1 and will honor her with a reception Aug. 17.
    J. Sara Paulk was appointed as new regional library director by the Wythe-Grayson Regional Library Board of Trustees.
    Paulk comes from Georgia where she served as an assistant director, a head librarian and a reference librarian in three different library systems.
    She also worked in Concord, N.H., and Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Paulk, along with her family, will be living in Grayson County.