Letters to the Editor for 5/19/08

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I am responding to the April 18 story “Grayson’s teacher recruiting goes international.”

First, I have to ask a few question about the information presented. Why was the school board informed of Mr. Newman’s trip to the Philippines after the fact?

Does Mr. Newman think the problem with recruitment could possibly be the inadequate pay scale for Grayson County teachers?

Grayson County is the lowest paid school system in the area. So why should highly-qualified teachers come to Grayson County to work?

I take offense to the implication that local and state job fairs do not attract highly qualified and prepared applicants, but the Philippines do.

If Mr. Newman would have attended one of the job fairs he was scheduled for, he would have seen how prepared those students were.

This in-state college has one of the top educational programs in the country. It would seem imperative that Grayson County would participate in local job fairs within Virginia at least.

Recently, a local graduate applied for a position in Grayson. The applicant has a master’s degree in education and an undergraduate degree in science.

The applicant received a nice rejection letter stating that the position was filled by a more qualified applicant. This applicant has accepted a position at a neighboring county for more money.

Grayson County missed the opportunity to hire a qualified applicant to fill one of those difficult to fill positions.

I hope that Mr. Newman did not travel to the Philippines to hire teachers that were desperate for jobs outside their own country.

I hope he has considered the cultural differences between Grayson County and the Philippines. Many Americans are in need of jobs and support from our local government. This really seems like a slap in the face to local residents.

By not attending state job fairs, the administrators of Grayson County are not looking hard enough to fill positions.

We also wonder why college graduates don’t return to our area. I don’t believe saving money to travel to the Philippines is an adequate excuse for not attending in-state job fairs.

Cathy Blevins





I’m writing to let your community know just how lucky you are to have a true artist in your area.

To make a long story short, I needed to find a shoe repair shop that offers quality workmanship. I could not find one in Wytheville where I live, and the shops that my daughter could find in Richmond where she currently lives were outrageously expensive.

I called the Red Wing shoe store in Wytheville and asked for help. The gentleman there gave me the phone number for the Rite Way Shoe Store in Galax.

On Saturday morning, I made the drive to Galax to show Mr. Phipps the work that needed to be done on a leather tote bag and a Coach purse.

Mr. Phipps had the exceptional work done in less than 1 1/2 hours and charged only $3.50! In this day and time, that is considered amazing.

This man deserves recognition for his expertise in craftsmanship, his honesty, and for his obvious commitment to helping others.

The Galax area should embrace this man and let him know what an asset he is.

Thank you, Mr. Weldon “Slim” Phipps.

Rita K. Huddle





This letter is to commend and thank the owners and personnel of the Hardware Company Restaurant in Hillsville.

Their abundant generosity and contribution to the community is evident by the number of [fundraising] pancake breakfasts they have allowed to be held in their restaurant.

Each organization gets every penny after the cost of the food that is used.

The membership of the Experiment Aircraft Association Chapter 1426 wishes to publicly thank them for allowing us to do our very first pancake breakfast at the restaurant.

The purpose was to earn money for the Emily Metz Gile Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Gile was a WWII Service Pilot and the fund was created to honor her service.

Money from this fund is used to send a youngster to NASA’s Aviation Challenge in Huntsville, Ala. We now have enough money to achieve this goal.

One lucky youngster will be chosen to participate in a week-long camp experience this summer. His/her tuition of approximately $900 plus transportation, if needed, will be paid from some of the money earned on May 10.

We salute you, Hardware Company owners and personnel, for your dedication to helping the community. You now have a part in changing the life of a youngster!

Shirley Steele

Secretary, EAA Chapter 1426