Sheriff’s Office searching for woman missing from Chestnut Grove

A missing person report has been filed with the Lee County Sheriff's Office concerning an assisted living resident who has not been seen since last week.

Officials with Chestnut Grove Assisted Living and Sheriff Gary Parsons said the last sighting of Alison League, 50, was on Thursday, Feb. 16.

A center spokesperson said the Dryden, Virginia facility lets patients leave on their own accord but Alison has been without necessary medication since that time.

Anyone with information on League's whereabouts can contact the Sheriff's Office at (276) 346-7777 or Chestnut Grove at (276) 346-7137 or (276) 870-3965.



Trump reverses surface mining rule, Appalachian Voices not satisfied

President Donald Trump reversed an Obama-era rule last week aimed at blocking coal-mining operations from dumping waste into nearby waterways. House Republicans also passed two bills that would nullify regulations affecting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and hunting activities on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.

The president said signing the bill would “eliminate another terrible job-killing rule saving many thousands of American jobs, especially in the mines," which he's been promising since the start of the election.

Mining companies hailed the action, saying the changes would generate jobs and allow state officials to adopt policies more in line with their own ideological outlook. 

A representative of the group Appalachian Voices and Duffield resident Ron Short said eliminating the regulation would do nothing to bring coal jobs back to the area where he lives.

Trump's action would reverse the stream buffer rule, which the Interior Department estimated would have safeguarded 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests. Surface-ming firms said the rule was too costly.


Washington Post

VDOF project offered free to help protect homes from fire

With wildfire season beginning in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Forestry is taking steps to help people protect their homes.Wildfires in Southwest Virginia burned nearly 200 acres of land last year. 

Black Diamond Resource Conservation and Development Council has started a project called Fire-Wise Fuel Reduction, that's free for eligible homeowners, with a grant from the forestry department. They remove dry brush that they call fuel, which can easily catch fire and spread to your home, clearing a zone of anywhere from 30 to 100 feet around the home, and making sure the gutters and roof are clear of any leaves.

If you live in a woodland area and want to get your home Fire-Wise fuel protected, contact Mandy Worrell from Black Diamond at 276-794-7533 or email .
They are currently serving Virginia residents in Lee, Scott, Wise, Russell, Dickenson, and Buchanan County, and the City of Norton.

Active Bystander Classes being offered by the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps

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WCSO Weekly Activity Report

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office reports the following activities for the period of 02/06/2017 through 02/12/2017.

Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,479 calls for this seven-day period.
Of the total calls received 296 were dispatched to the Sheriff’s Office
Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 7.
Criminal Process for this period: Served 16 Felony Warrants, 33 Misdemeanor Warrants, 5 DUI Arrests.
Civil Process Served: 385 Civil Papers
Traffic Accidents: 8
5 Additional Criminal Investigations were initiated and 16 Cleared by Arrest.
Sheriff’s Office provided 256 man-hours of Court Room Security.
Unlocked Vehicles: 26
Escorted Funerals: 3

The Sheriff’s Office Total Transport for this period: 5
Total Transport Hours: 16.25

2,349 Visitors to Courthouse.

Wise man receives nine years for burglaries

A Wise County man has been sentenced after pleading guilty in December to multiple burglaries in March 2016.

Michael Jason Sluss, 26, was sentenced to 25 years, with 16 suspended, meaning he will serve nine years in prison.

Sluss confessed to breaking into multiple homes in the Flatwoods community in Wise County, stealing more than $200 in items including a gun, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp.

Sluss committed the crimes while still on probation after being given a suspended sentence for a drug possession charge in 2014.


Wise man faces attempted murder charges for stabbing an elderly man

A Wise County grand jury has handed down a five-count indictment against a man accused of stabbing an elderly man in December.

Jermaine Christopher Johnson, 31, of Wise, faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated malicious wounding, attempted burglary, stabbing in attempt to commit a felony and trespassing.

The stabbing occurred on Oct. 24, 2016, at a man’s home on Fincastle Road, outside of Wise, according to a complaint filed by the Wise County Sheriff's Office. The victim heard someone attempting to gain entry. When he confronted the man and was attacked with a handheld garden tool. The man stabbed him between the eyes and said, “I’m going to cut your eyes out,” the complaint states.

The victim was also body slammed to the ground, causing an injury to his back and arm, the complaint states.

A witness who was working in the area told police that he observed the attack and pulled into the driveway to help. At that time, the witness said the man got off the victim, left the property and walked up the road.

Responding deputies searched the area and found a wrecked vehicle, registered in Johnson’s name. Police also said they found his cell phone on the victim’s porch, the complaint states.

Bristol Herald Courier

Virginia DOF enforcing burn ban through April 30th

The 4 p.m. Law is a ban (or restriction) on open air burning before 4 o'clock in the afternoon if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn between 4 p.m and midnight as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times.

The law goes into effect on February 15th each year and runs through April 30th.

The 4 p.m. Law was adopted during the 1940's to reduce the number of wildfires which occurred each spring. During this time of the year, Virginia traditionally has an increased number of fires. During the winter months, winds are usually elevated, the relative humidity is lower and the fuels on the forest floor are extremely dry, having "cured" without having the tree leaves to shade them.

After 4 p.m., winds usually calm down and the relative humidity levels are on the increase, both of which reduce the potential for a debris fire or any outdoor open air fire to escape your control.

Campfires are ALSO considered an open fire.

School board considering future plans for Lee County schools

The Lee County School Board is considering options for the future of Lee County schools. There are three options on the table, all involving new facilities. One option would create three new facilities with fewer transitions for Thomas Walker students, where grades 6-12 would all be located on the same campus. However this would mean higher operational costs.

Another plan offers five new facilities and the same middle and highschool campus configuration but would require the highest capital cost. The last plan involves a countywide high school and more efficient career and technical education programs with the lowest capital and operational costs, but would also mean increased transportation time and no transition reduction.

The Board is still considering the plans and will meet again on March 9th.

Sheriff’s Office seize pills, hand gun, and vehicle in arrest of New York drug trafficker

The Lee County Sheriff's Office has arrested a New York man after a drug operation last Thursday. A press release on Monday said Michael Allen Woods, 59, of Johnson City, New York was charged after the Sheriff's Office received a tip that Woods was coming to Lee County with 330 Oxycodone pills to sell. The street value of the pills is about $6,000.

The Sheriff's Office, the Drug Task Force, and the ATF set up an undercover operation in which Woods sold $1,000 worth of pills to an undercover Drug Agent. Woods was placed under arrest and officers found approximately $2,158 in cash on his person, as well as a 45 caliber hand gun and 185 Oxycodone pills with a street value of $2,700. Officers also seized Woods' vehicle.

During an interview, Woods confessed that he'd been selling Oxycodone for 10 years and had been trafficking pills into Lee County for about a year. He said he brought about 330 pills every month to Lee County. Woods was charged with Distribution of a Schedule II narcotic and possession of a handgun while in possession of a controlled substance. He was held in the Duffield Regional Jail without bond. The case is still under investigation with charges pending.