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Happy New Year. What kind of year will this be? Check back in another 364 days and we’ll tell you. Meanwhile, here are 19 questions, the answers to which will help shape what kind of year 2019 will be.

For Smyth County, the year began with an ongoing controversy regarding the public library, included a major new industry coming to the community, and ended with one of the biggest snowstorms in a decade, unseasonably warm temperatures and lots of rain, capping a year of ups and downs.


Nearly 90 percent of 500 people who live along Interstate 81 in Virginia said in a poll that they favor investing $2 billion to improve the corridor, and a majority said they’d like to see a toll placed on freight trucks to pay for it.


ABINGDON, Va. — Gambling bills, the state budget, the opioid crisis and funding education were the topics touched on by Southwest Virginia lawmakers during a legislative breakfast Dec. 3 in Abingdon.

As of press time, the midterm election results had not yet come in, but regardless of who emerged victorious on Wednesday morning, the election helped answer some key questions on what’s on voters’ minds. Here’s how to interpret the results.


For a few seconds last week, it appeared as if a bipartisan compromise was wiggling its way through the Virginia General Assembly. But the moment passed quickly and the usual unseemly squabbling is once again ascendant. The brief accord dealt with a most unlikely topic: the divisive battle over redistricting for the House of Delegates and a plan proposed by Republican Del. Chris Jones of Suffolk that had the public backing of four Democratic delegates and one Democratic senator. “We agreed that we have a legislative solution,” Jones said.

For more than 131 years, the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute has striven to care for the mentally ill. Today, the Marion hospital is a 179-bed state psychiatric institute operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). Those facts prove frustrating to local police officers and perhaps even more so to officers from the state’s communities that border Tennessee and Kentucky as they drive by the institute transporting individuals in the midst of a mental health crisis.