https://www.independencedeclaration.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en Volunteers plan for Parkway clean-up https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/volunteers-plan-parkway-clean <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/parkway_shutdown_pics_1.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> As the federal shutdown continues, volunteers from Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway are gearing up for maintenance work on the national park as soon as government reopens.<br /> Last week, Audrey Pearson, executive director of the Friends group, said the organization and its partners had asked that volunteers refrain from working on the parkway during the shutdown, even though they are not federal employees.<br /> Snow enters guilty plea https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/snow-enters-guilty-plea <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/jessica_snow_0_1.jpeg" alt="Jessica Snow" title="Jessica Snow" align="left" hspace="6" width="53" height="85" /><p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; Jessica Kincaid Snow, a former teacher for the Galax City Public Schools system, will serve six months after submitting a guilty plea to five charges involving inappropriate relationships with two minor students.<br /> Snow, 33, appeared in Grayson County Circuit Court for a hearing last Thursday.<br /> Alleghany makes arrests in B&E https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/alleghany-makes-arrests-be <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/screen_shot_2019-01-22_at_12.50.29_pm.png" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <strong>By Larry Chambers<br /> Staff</strong><br /> <br /> SPARTA, N.C. &ndash; Quick action by deputies from the Alleghany County Sheriff&rsquo;s Department recently foiled an alleged breaking and entering in progress.<br /> Sheriff Bryan Maines said that deputies received information at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 2 that a breaking and entering was in progress at 88 Dewitt Road in the Glade Valley community.<br /> County approves upgrade, sale of guns https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/county-approves-upgrade-sale-guns <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/grayson_sheriffs_dept._badge_3.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; A request from the Grayson County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office to approve the replacement and sale of duty weapons was approved by the Grayson County Board of Supervisors during their January meeting.<br /> The board approved the action item after tabling the request in December; citing questions about the timing of the request, and how often weaponry should be replaced. Sheriff Richard Vaughan attended the board&rsquo;s January meeting to address the board.<br /> Superintendent announces plans for 2019 budget https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/superintendent-announces-plans-2019-budget <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/gcsb_meeting.jpg" alt="The Grayson County School Board re-elected officers at its meeting last Monday night. Fred Weatherman was re-elected vice-chairman and Diane Haynes, chairman." title="The Grayson County School Board re-elected officers at its meeting last Monday night. Fred Weatherman was re-elected vice-chairman and Diane Haynes, chairman." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> <strong>By Larry Chambers<br /> Staff</strong><br /> <br /> INDEPENDENCE &ndash; Division Superintendent Kelly Wilmore told the Grayson County School Board at its Jan. 14 meeting he was &ldquo;working on numbers&rdquo; to give teachers and service personnel a raise in the 2019-2020 school budget.<br /> Wilmore said that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam supported increased wages for teachers and has included a five percent increase in his budget.<br /> &ldquo;The governor has promised there will be more funds for teachers,&rdquo; Wilmore said.<br /> Bill proposes $15/hr minimum wage https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/bill-proposes-15hr-minimum-wage <p> <strong>Capital News Service<br /> </strong><br /> RICHMOND &mdash; After dozens of women rallied at the Capitol on the opening day of the 2019 General Assembly session, a legislative committee passed one of their key priorities &mdash; a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Virginia.<br /> SB 1200 would take effect July 1, initially raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, then to $13 an hour in 2020 and $15 an hour in 2021. The bill, which passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on a 6-4 vote, has advanced to the full Senate for a vote.<br /> Fun and games https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/fun-and-games <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/photo_jan_10_5_12_08_pm.jpg" alt="Jessica Bowers (right) laughs as Rebecca Bennett (standing) reads out a clue for their card game." title="Jessica Bowers (right) laughs as Rebecca Bennett (standing) reads out a clue for their card game." align="left" hspace="6" width="64" height="85" /><p> Teens and tweens gathered in the conference room for a game night at the Grayson County Public Library last Thursday. Local youths were invited to join in for an evening of fun games and snacks.<br /> Final plans approved for Town Park https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/final-plans-approved-town-park <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/plans_for_the_town_park.jpg" alt="A conceptual rendering of the Independence Town Park renovations" title="A conceptual rendering of the Independence Town Park renovations" align="left" hspace="6" width="143" height="85" /><p> INDEPENDENCE &mdash; The Independence Town Council, at their Jan. 9 meeting, approved the final draft of a conceptual plan for the development of the Independence Town Park.<br />