Letters to the Editor for 5/26/08

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This Memorial Day has special significance for me.

My father, Beale Todd of Independence, a World War II veteran, passed away in February at age 84.

As a child I was always aware my father had been in the Navy during the war but I would be much older before mere awareness would be replaced with true appreciation.

At age 19 he entered the Navy and served aboard a destroyer escort engaged in anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic and anti-aircraft warfare in the Mediterranean.

Only later in his life would he openly talk of his war experiences, which included both home sickness and sea sickness.

The last few years of his life was plagued with the forgetfulness of Alzheimer’s. Yet tucked away in the early years of his life, which he never forgot, was this amazing thing he did: he went to war and served his country.

The flag that draped his casket served as a final reminder that this man, who with his wife of 63 years raised three children, was also a man who helped secure freedom for future generations.

He was one of the millions of his generation who fought to preserve freedoms that others of earlier generations had fought to secure.

Over the course of our nation’s history, many have given their lives while standing in that same line of defense. But he was one of the fortunate ones who came home at war’s end.

In the future, others will surely take up the same cause when our freedoms are placed in jeopardy.

He was not the perfect father and with seasickness was likely not the perfect sailor. My father was never decorated for a specific act of heroism, but what he did was heroic because he stood in harm’s way aboard a narrow ship in the middle of the ocean to engage the enemy in battle.

He was but one in an unbroken line of patriots who, for a time in his life, stood for the most noble of causes — the preservation of freedom.

Gary C. Todd





The members of the Galax Police Department believe that children are the future of our community. We realize that the world is a complicated place in which to live and that kids are faced with difficult decisions daily.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is a nationally recognized program designed to help children make decisions concerning life and choices that they have to make on a daily basis.

As Chief of Police, on behalf of the Galax Police Department, I want to express our gratitude to Galax City Council and Galax City Schools for their support of the DARE program. This academic year the police department was able to reintroduce the program into the school curriculum and on May 16, 2008 we celebrated with a DARE graduation ceremony.

I wish to publicly express my gratitude to the following businesses in the City of Galax that made the ceremony a success. Each child was invited to a picnic and received a DARE T-shirt.

Our thanks to Check Into Cash, Oldtown Market, Stuart Drive Mini-Mart, The Galax Smokehouse, Twin County Tire, Wal-Mart, Food City, Magic Mart and Flowers Bakery.

Rick Clark

Chief of Police






The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s most visited park, but it also receives the least federal funding of all parks of comparative size.

The disparity in use versus financial support has been evidenced by staff reductions, decreases in maintenance, campground closures and fewer educational programs.

Unfortunately, prospects of this situation improving in the near future are bleak, with the U. S. government struggling to sustain costs of the anti-terror campaigns, the sub-prime collapse and a slowing economy.

The Blue Ridge Parkway recently asked the public to comment on a general management plan that offers three preliminary alternatives for the future of America’s favorite scenic drive. The deadline is extended to May 31.

Those who treasure the Parkway have an opportunity to make their voices heard, but they also have an obligation to make a difference while they can.

How will our park continue to handle the 20 million visitors it will receive each year? Who will champion the causes of endangered species?

Who will work to remove and reduce litter? Who will strive to protect and enhance the viewsheds and clear the overlooks of overgrown vegetation? Who will provide funds to help preserve the dying hemlocks?

For the past 20 years, the answer to all of these questions and hundreds more has been, Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Friends and other parkway partners rely on those who love the parkway. Friends has funded the 2008 parkways request 100 percent, increased volunteers last year by 39.6 percent and provided $1.2 million of service to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2007 which included 48,276 volunteer hours of service.

Results speak for themselves. Friends provides volunteers and program funding enacting future generations to experience awe-inspiring vistas, to linger on a beautiful weekend drive and to appreciate the simple yet complex nature of a vast ecosystem at work. It is time for the public to become involved!

You can provide the Park Service with feedback on the future of the parkway, but don’t forget to provide partner organizations with funding to ensure the parkway has a future.

Susan Jackson Mills

Executive Director

Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc.





Teachers are often unappreciated for all of the hard work that they do for our children.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise Leona Brown and Lori Huff and the Pre-K program at Hillsville Elementary School.

Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Huff have been wonderful to work with. Learning in the classroom was exciting. My daughter, Abby, always looked forward to going to school.

Everything was always taught in a fun and creative way. Both of these teachers took extra time and effort to make learning a joyful experience.

Something exciting was always going on in Pre-K. Before we finished one activity, another fun project was being started.

They always kept parents informed and encouraged us to be a part of their class. Most of the time, the activities were so fun, the kids didn’t realize how much they were actually learning.

They have laid the foundation for the rest of my daughter’s education.

It is nice to know that there are still wonderful teachers out there who truly care about our children and strive to make a difference.

Mrs. Brown’s and Mrs. Huff’s kindness, compassion, enthusiasm, creativity and excitement for learning were unbelievable.

We were truly blessed to have them as Abby’s first teachers. They have set our standards very high for all future teachers to come.

Carroll County and Hillsville Elementary School should be proud of their awesome Pre-K Program and teachers.

Tabatha Norman






Recently I tried to make a donation of 100 books to the Galax Library.

These books were coming from a sale at the High Point Library in N.C. On short notice, I asked the library to go down and pick out what they wanted.

Then I called back to let them know that the president of the Friends of the High Point Library would be glad to pick them out and that I would deliver them. These books were all current novels and biographies in excellent condition.

My offer was refused.

After pointing out that the shelves in our Galax Library were not full, I was informed that the library does not want them full. A rather strange policy for a library. It seems that they need room for new books, which they purchase at $24 each. I personally waited for over a month for a new book.

My uncle, R. Tyler Price, worked hard on getting a reduced price on the land that our library is built on. Wonder what he is thinking from above?

My spirit of giving and helping the library has truly been crushed.

I have been looking for a “cause” to work on in Galax, and was so excited at the thought of helping our library. I guess our tax dollars will have to fill in.

The Grayson County Library of Independence gladly accepted my donation.

Sarah H. Price



Editor’s note: According to the Galax Public Library, the library does accept donated books if they are not already in the collection and in good condition. Galax already had copies of most current novels and biographies on its shelves. The shelves were not full because the staff had just “weeded out” the collection to make room for new acquisitions.