Truck driver dies in crash on I-77 in Carroll County

7-3-15 I77 Carroll County Crash I7-3-15 I77 Carroll County CrashBy Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

At 8:06 a.m. Friday (July 3), Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper D.A. Phipps was called to the scene of a fatal crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 77. The crash occurred near the 22 mile marker in Carroll County.

A tractor-trailer pulling double trailers was traveling north on I-77 when the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle as it came through a curve. The tractor-trailer ran off the left side of the highway, went through the median, and overturned across the southbound lanes of I-77. When the tractor-trailer entered the southbound lanes, the second trailer struck a 2014 Chevrolet Aveo.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Randall O. Page, 36, of Charlotte, N.C., died at the scene.

The driver of the Aveo, a 22-year-old Ohio woman, was transported to Wythe Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The cause of the crash remains ongoing.

The southbound lanes of I-77 will remain closed for at least the next hours due to the extensive cleanup of the tractor-trailer and its load. VDOT is assisting with detours for southbound traffic.

Obituary for Williams “Billy” Earl Conner

William (Billy) Earl Conner, 72, died peacefully at LewisGale Hospital on July 1, 2015.  He was born July 7, 1942 in Pilot, Virginia but lived most of his life in Pulaski.  He was the first of five children born to Marshall Vernon and Oweeda Gearheart Conner.  ConnerWilliamHe attended Pulaski High School and later received many certifications and licenses in water filtration management from various local community colleges.  Billy was a retired employee of the Town of Pulaski with 30 years of service.  Prior to accepting employment with the town he was employed by Burlington Industries for many years.  He was an avid bowler and instrumental in getting several current league bowlers started in the sport as children.  He was an accomplished painter, wood craftsman and gardener.  He was never afraid to try his hand at anything and usually mastered it.

Billy was preceded in death by his father, Marshall V. Conner, his brother David V. Conner and his grandson Darrin Matthew Conner.  He is survived by his wife, Margaret Sue Conner; sons, Jeffrey T. Conner and Matthew T. Conner and wife Sandy; and daughters, Tami G. Conner and Wendy B. Roope and husband Charlie.  He leaves to cherish his memory grandsons Christopher J. Conner, Brandon M. Conner, Robert (Andy) Millirons and his wife Teresa, Larry (Chaz) Roope, Zachary T. Roope, Dustin (Alex) Roope and Dylan T. Conner.  He also leaves behind great grand-children, Nicholas R. Conner, Logan Rice, Keyton Warden, Brooke A. Millirons and Gavin M. Conner.  He is also survived by his mother, Oweeda G. Conner; brother, Tony D. Conner and wife Sabrina; sisters, Brenda J. Pickett and husband Larry and Thelma G. Ratcliffe and husband Doug.  He also leaves a host of nephews, nieces and many family members and friends.

His funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 5 at Trinity Lutheran Church on 5th Street in Pulaski with Rev. Terrie Sternberg officiating.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.

The Conner family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford Va.

Obituary for Mary Louise Dickerson

Mary Louise Dickerson, 82 of Draper, passed away Wednesday, July 1 at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. She was born Oct. 27, 1932 in Delton, Va.

She is preceded in death by her husband Johnny W. Dickerson, her father Eugene Viers, her mother Mary Jarrells Viers, her brothers Herman Viers and Edward Viers, and her sister Margaret Viers Hicks.

She is survived by daughter Regina Dickerson Morris (Ricky), of Shiloh; son, Keith Dickerson (Linda), of Dublin; and son Johnny W. Dickerson Jr. (Jenny), of Dublin; grandchildren Tara Morris Bird (Erik), Tyler Morris, Kristin Dickerson, Korey Dickerson, Brady Dickerson, and Taylor Dickerson; great-granddaughter Oakley Bird.  She is survived by her sister Elizabeth Viers McCambridge of Hiwassee, brother John Viers (Mildred) of Hiwassee, sister Linda Viers Atkins (Gilbert) of Hiwassee.  She is survived by brothers-in-law Robert Dickerson (Vera) of Roanoke, Dan Dickerson of Roanoke, and Mike Dickerson of Dublin, and also the many nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends that she cherished.

Louise and her husband Johnny together started Electroplate-Rite Corporation in 1966, while continuing to work nights and weekends until they could pursue the business full-time.  She later became the “boss” to correct Johnny when he was wrong, full-time secretary and treasurer.

Louise or “T, Weezy, Beatty, Clooney” (some of her many nicknames) loved her family and friends.  If it was possible she would do anything she could for them.  She loved her entire family with a passion and loved when everyone would get together. Louise had a love for traveling and was ready to go on a moment’s notice.

She loved the Lord and her church family at Hiwassee Pentecostal Holiness Church, was a member for many years and served as a deacon.  She enjoyed baking and decorating cakes for all occasions.  Her specialty was wedding cakes, which she did until her health would no longer allow.  Louise loved quilt making by hand, getting together with relatives and friends to work on quilts.  She belonged to the quilt making club “The Cheerful Ladies Club” of Hiwassee.  In the past several years, she became very fond of the Senior Center in Pulaski.  She thoroughly enjoyed her friends there and the activities she attended.

Louise will be dearly missed. We are heartbroken and saddened by her loss, but we know that she is pain free and home with the Lord.

The family would like to thank everyone for the prayers, visits and cards.  We would also like to thank the Wythe County Rescue Squad and the doctors, nurses and staff at Roanoke Memorial Hospital ICU who took care of her the past two weeks.

Funeral services will be held Monday, July 6 at 11 a.m. at Stevens Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Bobby Lewis and Rev. Don Scott officiating.  Burial will follow in the O’Dell Cemetery, Hiwassee.  The family will receive friends and relatives Sunday from 5-7 p.m. at Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski. Flowers are welcome or send contributions to Hiwassee Pentecostal Holiness Church, 2464 Bethel Church Road, Hiwassee, VA  24347.


Obituary for Kimberly Fawn Frazier

Kimberly Fawn Frazier, age 44 of Draper passed away Thursday, July 02, 2015 at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Born April 24, 1971 in Pulaski she was the daughter of Thomas Lloyd Frazier & Minerva Gaye Lyons Frazier.

Frazier001Her grandparents; Loyd & Helen Frazier, Raymond Early Lyons, Sr. & Sarah Lucy Nester Lyons, uncle; Garry F. Frazier, aunt; Charlotte Lyons Ellis and uncle; HB Haynes also preceded her in death.

Kimberly was a graduate of Pulaski County High School and graduated from Radford University in 1997 where she was a member of Phi Beta Lambda. She worked in banking for 17 years, most recently employed with Wall & Associates – Pulaski. She was a member and treasurer at the Memorial Christian Church, Draper.

She is survived by her


Thomas Lloyd Frazier & Minerva “Gaye” Lyons Frazier – Draper


Ronnie Lee & Teresa Frazier – Abingdon

 Emmy Lou Frazier – Dublin

Raymond Early Lyons, Jr. & wife, Brenda – Christiansburg
Janice Haynes – Christiansburg

Isaac Lyons & wife, Joyce – Pulaski

“Like an Uncle”- Billy Joe Long-Pulaski

Special Friend

Stephanie Miller – Pulaski

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm – Sunday , July 5, 2015 at the Memorial Christian Church, Draper with Rev. Bobby Osbourne officiating.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm until service time at the church.

To send the family your online condolences, visit

Bower Funeral Chapels, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the Frazier family.


Bulletin: Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb to run for president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb is running for president, joining a field of Democrats challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton for the nomination.

Webb says in a message on his website that the nation “needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us.”

Webb was the first Democrat to form an exploratory committee, announcing his interest in a presidential campaign last November.

A Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, Webb was elected to the Senate in 2006 and served one term.

Webb has made frequent trips to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. But he faces long odds in a field dominated by Clinton that also includes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.


In memoriam: Jim Weaver, retired director of athletics

Jim Weaver

Jim Weaver

From Virginia Tech

Jim Weaver, whose vision and leadership as the director of athletics catapulted Virginia Tech in the Big East Conference and later the Atlantic Coast Conference, passed away at his Blacksburg home Wednesday night at the age of 70.

Weaver served as the director of athletics at Virginia Tech for more than 16 years from 1997-2013 before announcing in November of 2013 that he was retiring at the end of the calendar year because of health reasons. In 2004, Weaver had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

His decision to retire ended a career as an athletics administrator that spanned more than three decades.

“Jim Weaver made a tremendous impact upon our institution, and we are deeply saddened to hear of his passing,” Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands said. “He was dedicated to making our athletics enterprise among the best in the country, while always being true to the principles and values of this university. We will always be inspired by his legacy.”

Weaver, a 1967 graduate of Penn State who played football for legendary coach Joe Paterno, came to Tech in 1997 after serving as the athletics director at Western Michigan for two years and at UNLV three years prior to that. He inherited a difficult situation at Virginia Tech, as the university was trying to get into a conference for all sports. Virginia Tech found itself in the Big East for football, the Colonial Athletic Association for wrestling and the Atlantic 10 for all other sports.

Under his leadership, though, the school got into the Big East for all sports (except wrestling, which was in the Eastern Wrestling League) starting with the 2000-2001 season. His ability to get the department on solid financial footing, his emphasis on facilities and his strong oversight in the areas of NCAA compliance set the groundwork for the school’s invitation into the ACC for all sports starting in 2004.

Virginia Tech won 16 ACC team championships during his tenure, and it has added four more since Whit Babcok replaced Weaver beginning in February of last year.

“I just saw Jim Weaver last night at our sons’ baseball game, and we had a nice conversation,” Babcock said. “I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news of his passing.

“Jim was a terrific man and a dedicated father to his four sons and husband to wife, Traci. He was also a tremendous leader, and I’m forever appreciative of the situation he left me here. This department was in great shape because of his leadership, and he was always so willing to help me. He is certainly going to be missed by all of us, and we offer our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Traci, their son, Craig, and the rest of the family during this difficult time.”

Weaver’s biggest impact at Virginia Tech came in his emphasis on facilities. The department committed nearly $200 million toward facilities during his time as the athletics director.

Weaver spearheaded the building of the south end zone at Lane Stadium( and later the expansion of the west side of the stadium. He also oversaw the building of the Hahn Hurst Basketball Practice Center, the new football locker room, the new baseball hitting facility and many other projects and renovations. At the end of his tenure, he got approval for the new indoor practice facility, a project that was completed just a few weeks ago.

“I greatly appreciate what Jim Weaver meant to Virginia Tech, and what he meant to me personally,” Tech football coach Frank Beamer said. “He was a former player and coach who understood those challenges as he served as athletics director. I respected that he was always organized, straightforward and was never afraid to make the tough decisions.

“When Jim took the job, he pledged to greatly upgrade our facilities, and that’s exactly what he did, and we’re all the better because of it. Virginia Tech Athletics made tremendous strides during his tenure, and much of the credit goes directly to Jim due to his vision and leadership. My wife, Cheryl, and I send our prayers and deepest sympathies to Traci, Craig and Jim’s extended family and friends.”

Weaver also hired some outstanding coaches – in many cases, taking an outside-the-box approach. He hired a local high school coach in Kevin Dresser to oversee the wrestling program, and his hires of Dave Cianelli (track and field), Jim Thompson (men’s tennis), Ned Skinner (swimming and diving) and Pete Hughes (baseball), who left two years ago to take the Oklahoma job, have brought unprecedented successes to those respective sports. He also promoted Chugger Adair from assistant coach to the women’s soccer head coaching position after Kelly Cagle resigned in 2010 for family reasons. Adair has guided the program to three Sweet 16 appearances in his time as the head coach, including a College Cup appearance in 2013.

Other achievements of Weaver’s included the addition of high-profile opponents to the Hokies’ football schedules (USC, Nebraska, LSU, Texas A&M) and the spearheading of the “Battle at Bristol” in which Virginia Tech and Tennessee are going to play at Bristol Motor Speedway during the 2016 season. The game could break the single-game all-time college football attendance mark, as the speedway seats an estimated 150,000 fans.

In addition, Weaver expanded the department’s auxiliary units, such as strength and conditioning, sports medicine and marketing; he added women’s golf to the list of varsity sports at Virginia Tech; and he fought for a larger staff in Virginia Tech’s Student-Athlete Academic Support Services. When he started, the staff essentially consisted of a few people. Now, it consists of 10 full-timers, and that staff has played a huge role in Virginia Tech’s impressive rise in graduation rates among student-athletes.

Weaver’s accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed nationally. In 2009, he won the prestigious John L. Toner Award presented by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. The award is given each year to a director of athletics who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. He also was named the athletics director of the year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in May of 2014.

Weaver leaves behind wife, Traci, and four sons – Josh, Paul, Cole and Craig. Funeral arrangements will be released at a later date.

Man bitten by shark on NC Outer Banks is 7th this summer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A shark bit a 68-year-old man several times Wednesday in waist-deep water off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, officials said, the seventh in a record-breaking year of shark attacks for the state’s coastal waters.

A spokeswoman at the Greenville, North Carolina, hospital where he was taken said Wednesday night that the man, Andrew Costello, was in fair condition.

He suffered wounds to his ribcage, lower leg, hip and both hands as he tried to fight off the animal, said Justin Gibbs, the director of emergency services in Hyde County. The attack happened around noon on a beach on Ocracoke Island, right in front of a lifeguard tower, he said.

“He was pulled under by the shark,” said Gibbs, who said witnesses reported the animal was about 7 feet long.

He was swimming in waist-deep water with his adult son about 30 feet offshore, the National Park Service said in a news release. There were no other swimmers injured.

Costello was the former editor-in-chief of the Boston Herald, the newspaper reported early Thursday.

Costello’s niece, Freya Solray, told the newspaper Costello’s wife and sons were with him at the hospital, where he was “doing well.”

Costello is the seventh person attacked along the North Carolina coast in three weeks, the most in one year in the 80 years for which the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File keeps records. The highest previous total was five attacks in 2010. Three of the 52 confirmed shark attacks between 1935 and 2014 were deadly, according to the database.

Most of this year’s attacks happened in shallow water. The injuries ranged widely: An 8-year-old boy had only minor wounds to his heel and ankle, while at least two others have required amputation. Another person attacked Saturday had initially been considered at critical risk of dying.

Shark experts say the recent spate of attacks along on the coast of the Carolinas is due to so many more people getting in the water. Americans made 2.2 billion visits to beaches in 2010, up from 2 billion in 2001, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimate.

The record-breaking numbers of shark bites might be related to an unseasonably hot June that rapidly raised ocean temperatures off North Carolina and prompted fish to migrate north earlier than usual, said Chuck Bangley, a shark researcher at East Carolina University.

“So when you have more marine life in general in the water and then more people heading to the beach than usual, then you’ve got a potential recipe for accidents to happen,” Bangley said.

Roger Rulifson, a distinguished professor of biology and senior scientist at East Carolina University, said recently that there have been reports of small bait fish coming closer to shore this summer, which attracts sharks. There have also been reports of larger numbers of sea turtles along the coast, which sharks also like to eat, he said.

Lynette Holman, 44, of Boone, said she was on the beach with her husband and 10-year-old son when she noticed a commotion about 50 yards down the beach. She saw a man walking through knee-deep water and then people rushing to help him out of the surf. There was no panic or screaming, and the nearest lifeguard on duty told her she thought the man might have been having heart trouble. Then Holman saw a gash above his knee.

“The skin was pulled away. It was an open-wound gash,” said Holman, a journalism professor at Appalachian State University.

Laura Irish Hefty of New Hope, Pennsylvania, said she was about 100 yards away when she saw a crowd gathering. She said her husband, David, saw blood on both of the man’s legs.

Costello was treated on the beach for about 20 minutes until he was stabilized and carried off the sand and beyond the dunes to a road, Hefty said. A helicopter flew him to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, about 85 miles away.

Swimmers were back in the water within a couple of hours, Hefty said.

“Nobody seems to be that scared,” she said.

Plane crash lands in Carroll County

Twin County Airport Crash Landing July 1 2015

By Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

At 5:07 p.m., Wednesday (July 1), Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. M.G. Musser responded to a plane crash at the Twin County Airport in Hillsville, Va. A 1979 Piper Cherokee Warrior was attempting to land when it made a crash landing approximately 200 to 300 feet short of the airport’s runway.

The pilot, Roger L. Kempfer, 70, of Riner, Va., and an adult male passenger were both transported by ambulance to Galax Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The FAA and NTSB have been notified. The cause of the crash landing remains under investigation.


Officials: Students’ gender identity determines restroom use

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says in a court filing that transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

The department says in a statement of interest filed Monday that failure to do so amounts to sex discrimination under Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972. The document is in response to a federal lawsuit filed against the Gloucester County School Board by a 16-year-old transgender student who wants to be allowed to use the boys’ restroom.

The lawsuit says Gavin Grimm used the communal restrooms without incident until the board adopted a policy in December requiring transgender students to use a private facility.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order allowing Grimm to use the boys’ restrooms

Obituary for Claude Lefler Jr.

Claude Lefler Jr., 85, a lifetime resident of Pulaski and Draper, VA. passed away on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at home. Jr. was a longtime active member of Memorial Christian Church in Draper where he served in many ways. He was a former board member and was best known for his involvement in the Church Prayer Breakfast. Claude loved fishing and was a great fisherman. He worked at Coleman’s Furniture and Pulaski Furniture Company retiring with 42 years of service. He served in the U.S. Army in the 560th artillery battalion stationed in Louisiana and Germany during the Korean War. He was born on December 2, 1929 and was the son of the late Claude William Lefler and Ina Davis Lefler of Draper. He was also preceded in death by his wife of sixty-three years, Alice Lucille Lawson Lefler. Also preceding him are four brothers, Dennis, Damon, Raymond, and James Lefler. Two sisters, Beatrice Lefler Gravely and Helen Lefler Frazier.

He is survived by his three sisters, Margaret Huff, Barren Springs, Marie Dehart, Pulaski, and Beulah Shinault, Bedford. Also surviving to cherish his memory are numerous nieces and nephews, his church family and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 3, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. from the Memorial Christian Church, Draper with the Rev. Bobby Osborne and brother Elwood Dishon officiating. Burial will follow in the Church Cemetery with the Hillsville V.F.W. Post 1115 conducting military graveside rites. Visitation will be held Thursday from the church where the family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m..

Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski.