Page News and Courier

Unemployment dips below 5 percent in Page County for first time in 7 years

LURAY — Unemployment numbers released for Page County by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are the lowest they have been in nearly a decade. For April 2016, the most recent numbers available, Page County had a 4.8 percent unemployment rate. March's rate was 6.8 percent. There are a number of factors for the decrease in unemployment — though seasonal, tourism-related jobs have been cited as the number-one cause.

Page County allocates TOT funds among tourism-related events, efforts

LURAY ― With the county's Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue projected to reach an all-time high in fiscal 2017, supervisors saw funding requests climb to new heights last Tuesday, with more than two dozen groups vying for the lodging tax dollars. The Page County Board of Supervisors spent the better part of last week's three-hour meeting mulling over requests totaling nearly $920,000 ― about $220,000 more than the $700,000 projected to be generated in the coming fiscal year through the county's TOT. The “lodging tax” represents 5 percent of the total amount paid for room, cabin and campground rentals outside of a town limit in Page County.

Stanley mayor to step down after 24 years

STANLEY — To quote a music icon, the times, they are a-changin'. Changing in Stanley, at least. Mayor Doug Purdham will not seek reelection, ending his 24-year run. Mike Knight — a four-term council member first appointed to fill a vacancy in 1998 — and Mike Uram — a council member since 2015 who previously ran for mayor in 2012 — have both submitted the necessary paperwork to run for mayor. The deadline for candidates to file for the November ballot was 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 14.

Public hearing for Luray budget set for June 13

LURAY — The town's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year increases spending by more than $480,000, or 5.08 percent, from the current spending plan. The increase reflects funds allocated for the reconstruction of the West Main Street Bridge. A public hearing Monday June 13 is open to town residents to address the proposed budget. After the public hearing, the council will vote on the budget at a later date, with it going into effect Friday, July 1. No rates are increasing for the 2017 fiscal year.

FBI still searching for information 20 years after SNP double-murder

LURAY ― Two decades after the violent slaying of two female hikers in the Shenandoah National Park, the Richmond Division of the FBI is seeking new tips to solve a cold case. Last Wednesday, which marked 20 years since the unsolved killings, the FBI released updated posters asking for help solving the double homicide. On May 19, 1996, Julianne “Julie” Williams, 24, of St. Cloud, Minn., and Laura “Lollie” Winans, 26, of Unity, Maine, entered the park for a five-day hike with their golden retriever,“Taj.”

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