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Readers' Hotline 8/18/14

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Back to basics?
I read the Hotline calls concerning the Galax school system and then read the article touting the state-of-the-art STEM lab at Carroll County High School. I also noticed in the spring that Grayson County High School had numerous graduates that obtained their associate’s degree from the community college at the same time they received high school diplomas. What I have seen from Galax is curriculum classes being cut. A prime example is the French course that students are now told they have to get online. Teachers in the high school are leaving and not being replaced as class sizes grow and threaten to burst at the seams. Who is holding the superintendent accountable? At a time when school systems should be offering more advanced and unique studies in order to compete in a global market, Galax seems to be backing off with only basic courses and solving scheduling problems by routing kids to the Internet and online courses. There is a new member on the Galax School Board and that he is a former educator, so hopefully he will be proactive and involved in our school system.
Editor’s note: We contacted Galax Schools Superintendent Bill Sturgill about this call. This was his response:
“As superintendent of Galax City Public Schools, I appreciate the opportunity to address the Hotline comment in today’s Gazette.
“I read the articles detailing the accomplishments of Carroll and Grayson county schools and applaud them on their recent achievements. I appreciate the input from the caller and welcome the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of Galax City Schools.
“I am held accountable by the Galax City School Board, Galax City Council, teachers, staff, parents and citizens of Galax, and the parents of the 350 students who elect to attend Galax City Public Schools as nonresident students.
“Galax schools offer 31 different advanced placement courses, 29 college credit courses and four technical classes for dual credit.
“Galax schools provide an opportunity for students to attend the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School, with 21 students attending for the 2014-2015 school year. Students may also earn an associate’s degree while finishing high school, with the avenue for this degree provided jointly through Wytheville Community College.
“Galax schools have established award-winning art, music, choir, theater and band programs offered to students from elementary through high school. We have a marching band that has over 80 students involved, a yearly theater production and showcases for art and choir throughout the year at all three schools.
“Galax schools provide students many opportunities to complete academic courses online, as the state now requires all students to complete at least one online course to earn a high school diploma.
“For 2014-2015, all three Galax schools have met all academic state standards in English, math, social studies and science and are fully accredited by the state, recognizing Galax City Schools as a top tier academic system in Virginia.
“Galax High School has a 93 percent on-time graduation rate, far exceeding the 85 percent benchmark required by the state.
“In the last 10 years, we have sent students to Harvard, the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Radford, Emory & Henry, Mary Washington, Liberty, George Mason, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, James Madison, North Carolina and William and Mary, just to list a few.
“Our division is led by one of the most exceptional administrative and teaching staffs in the Virginia. As measured by the State Department of Education, 100 percent of our administrators and teachers are certified as being fully qualified to lead and teach in their designated areas.
“We are supported by an engaged and involved appointed school board that serves students, parents and citizens in a true civic role, as they are compensated a mere $150 per year for their time and commitment.
“Galax High School is recognized as having one of the most outstanding coaching staffs in Virginia, as evident by the numerous state championships and overall success of all sports programs as recognized by the Virginia High School League.
“For 2014-2015, competitive cheer and swim teams have been added to continue to grow our athletic programs and enhance extra-curricular opportunities for our students.”

Please televise
Why can’t Channel 3 [Comcast’s public access channel in the Galax area] televise the fiddlers’ convention? It’s only once a year. Galax is supposedly attracting tourists these days and they can’t afford a one-week video stream to cover the fiddlers’ convention? Are we still in 1930? Go, you forward thinkers and thanks for what you have done so far. It’s exemplary.

Drive to Dublin
This is a message for anyone out there who enjoys going to a really nice pool. I have tried Grayson County several times. Tried to talk to people about what is going on, but no one seems to listen. I found a really nice pool in Dublin. It’s about 45 minutes from Galax. It’s called Randolph Park and it is awesome. They have food, drinks, lots of chairs and tables and it’s a really good environment. You don’t have anyone who is not friendly. The lifeguards are super. You have another option if you are not satisfied with Grayson County’s pool. I was very disappointed this year in Grayson County.

Get a life
For the one calling and complaining about the Fries Fire Department, do you not have a life? It seems like all you do is watch the fire department. What kind of person complains about the fire department helping people out? Instead of sitting there writing down the date it happened, you should have been helping them. Shame on you. As far as furniture being hauled, why didn’t you just stop and ask them what it was for? If it concerns you that bad and you want to know, just stop and ask them. I’m sure they would tell you. Really, you need to get a life. All you want to do is sit around and call and complain. The way you sound in the Hotline, you sure are jealous of the ones on the fire department. Please stop stalking the Fries Fire Department. Since you have so much free time on your hands, why don’t you go help them out or help your community in some way. I’m sure they would greatly appreciate it.
Editor’s note: No more calls will be published about this matter.

Cemetery cop
To “Showing Respect,” this man that approached you sounds mentally ill or willfully ignorant. Sounds like he wants to be a cop over the cemetery. If he approaches you again with anything other than an apology, you should call the police. I’m thankful for your late husband’s service to this country that gives people the freedom to be as kind or apparently as stupid as they choose. He should be ashamed and apologize. To the person paying attention, if it were not for the hour a day at work that I hear Fox News, I wouldn’t know what is going on in our nation and would probably think everything was fine. But, I also grasp the chaos in the world wasn’t happening six years ago. Russia wasn’t bullying other countries and no one blamed Israel for defending itself against the Hamas terrorist organization. So, don’t blame your family. They are in the bubble that has been created for everyone to blame Bush, global warming, aliens and everything but the man in charge for the past six years. Second Timothy chapter 4 and Second Thessalonians chapter 2 tells how people will have the truth right in front of them but will believe the lie.

Wrong party
I’d like to know what is going on with these Grayson County Supervisors. We’ve got four so-called Republicans. [One of the four] might as well switch to the Democrat party. He’s not fit to be a Republican. Him and that woman, it don’t matter what it is, they vote together against the others. Talking about the mud bog, I saw a piece in The Gazette the other day. I sure would like to know what is going on. We don’t need all this devil’s mess in the back doors anymore. The one supervisor said to let them do whatever they want to do and let the sheriff’s department handle it. That is not right. The sheriff’s department has all they can handle. Please pray for these people around Fries and Grayson County. These supervisors just don’t care what happens anymore. Please pray for our churches and nation as a whole.

Twilight zone
Anyone who would believe anything Fox News tells or says must have their head in a twilight zone.

$33 billion investment
With all the talk about President Obama — both pros and cons — I wonder what people think about him sending $33 billion dollars to Africa to help promote trade there and give those people jobs with our economy as far down the drain as it already is.

A real disability
I’m calling in regard to the hypocrites. Yes, a lot of people complain about Social Security and stuff and about people getting on disability. I have worked since I was 15 years old and it only took me less than six months to get on disability because I had cancer. The people complaining about it must have been signed up and couldn’t get it. They treat people fairly and right. I know taxpayers pay it and if I could work — I will be 51 in November — and I could still work, I would work.

Unnecessary school supplies
Carroll County releases new back-to-school lists in summer for each individual school. All you have to do is go online, click on the school, find your grade and download. Upon going to the school — namely, an elementary school — the teacher gave us a list that was her own list of items that she wanted students to bring. All unnecessary items. All these items included not only the things on the list as donations, but also other items that weren’t even on the list. The reason for the upgrade was to make things cheaper for parents, but when you have teachers doing this, it is not cheaper on parents.

Singling out mopeds
Talk about getting rid of mopeds on highways over 35 miles an hour, that is very unfair. I don’t have one, but all the tractors, farm tractors, machinery, slow trucks, people driving in the passing lane and holding traffic up from Hillsville to Galax, horses in the road — are we going to stop all of it? Stop people from riding bicycles? Are you going to stop it all? Go ahead, but don’t just pick on mopeds. Other countries have been riding those things for 50-75 years and they know how to ride and people know how to drive where they are. The biggest problem here is the people driving. That truck driver should have blown his horn to let that guy know he was going to pass him.

A right to the road
I’m calling in reference to the moped driver that was killed and hit by a log truck. I am very sorry this happened, but did the moped driver have signal on when the truck was passing? And, you didn’t tell the age of the man, either. I drive a truck and a car and I drive a scooter. I watch my mirrors to see people around me because people do not watch out for us, just like motorcycles. We had to pay to tag our mopeds and we have as much right to drive on the road as anybody else does and people on the roads that are speed limit 35, when I am in my car or truck and doing the speed limit of 35, they pass me like I am doing 10 miles an hour. So, they should look at everything else instead of throwing off on people who ride mopeds or scooters. It is just not right to do anybody that way.

Who says?
This is for the person talking about survivor benefits. You must not be retired and living on Social Security. Most women do not draw between $500-$600. Could you imagine living on that for a month? Without drawing survivor benefits, they could hardly buy their medicine and their food, much less power bill and necessities. You need to rethink your comment. Also, people not deserving disability — my mom deserved it but she didn’t have the right doctor to help her. Who are you to say they don’t deserve it?

Nice gesture
I went through Bojangle’s to get a breakfast biscuit and when I got up to the window to pay, the employee at the window said my meal had already been paid for by a lady that was in front of me. I would just like to say thank you to the lady driving the little white truck with the black stripes. I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and I shall pay it forward.

Who read it?
This is a question to the editor and I would sure appreciate an editor’s comment. Is it true or false? Did they pass the Obamacare bill without knowing what was in it? Bottom line, they did not know what was in that bill. You can say both sides passed that bill, but that bill was passed not knowing what was in it. Do you think that is proper government. I am sitting here watching stories now about the immigration plans going right by Congress, doing everything on his own. Do people agree with that? Because, majority does rule in America, does it not? Let’s ask your readers in the paper. Let’s have a vote about it. Are bills being passed without knowing what is in them? Yes or no?
Editor’s note: The Affordable Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House and Senate was 906 pages long. We’ll leave it to you to decide whether every member of the House and Senate read its contents. It passed the House and Senate with no Republicans voting in favor.

Here to stay
This is in response to what is going on in Israel. Let me put it in plain terms. Everybody seems to be confused. It’s like me coming over to The Gazette office with my family and y’all will let us spend the night out in your parking lot in our tent. Tomorrow comes and we decide not to leave. Not only are we not going to leave from our area that you let us spend the night in, we are taking over the land that area is on. That’s what the Palestinians are doing. Look it up for yourself. It’s not their land. As you see, Israel is definitely letting them know it.

Smartest ever?
Why doesn’t your biased paper print this? Where are all the jobs in this country for the people that are here now? A 40-hour week is down to a 32-hour week. There is not even work for people that are here now. Are people morons that are saying making these people legal is going to help this country? Somebody explain to me. Especially your paper, because it is a Democratic-pushed publication. Where are people going to work? Another thing, the people that are here now — what does the word “illegal” mean? Is everybody stupid or am I the smartest human being to ever walk this earth?