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Today's Features

  • It takes a lot of practice and a lot of prayer to make sure slow-cooked barbecue comes out just perfect for competition, said a nervous Cody Cline, whose team, Nervous Wreck, will compete in this weekend's Smoke On The Mountain state barbecue competition in downtown Galax.

    Barbecue teams will battle this Friday and Saturday for the handmade banjo trophy and a chance to enter the 2010 “Memphis In May” World Championship in Tennessee.

    With a fitting team name, Cline said he's as worried as always, even after years of competing.

  • They are as different as, say, the next five or six people you’d meet on the street. And yet they have joined forces — and stayed joined for seven years — to promote a common goal.

    That goal is to support and encourage each other in their creative work, and to share the labor and rewards of marketing it.

    They are songwriters and potters, calligraphers and artists; they produce cut-paper art and unique lampshades, turned wooden bowls, and woolen rugs and mats.

  • Professional barbecue teams from all over the country will come to Galax this weekend to compete for the coveted handmade banjo trophy, bragging rights and a chance to take their team to the 2010 “Memphis In May” World Championship in Tennessee.

    Smoke On The Mountain, held each year in downtown Galax, is Virginia's official barbecue competition.

    The event is sponsored by the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Galax Smokehouse restaurant and the City of Galax.

  • The short metal shovels had dug foxholes and trenches on battlefields around the world, but on Memorial Day they turned the earth to create a peaceful place to reflect on veterans' service to their country.

    Called entrenchment tools by the military, the folding shovels have been carried by U.S. soldiers for decades, as much a part of their gear as the rifle, helmet and canteen.

    They were dented, worn and some of them a little rusty. The olive drab paint was chipped.

  • After a short break from the airwaves, beloved radio personality “Aunt Eloise” will join the air staff of Galax radio station WBRF-98.1 FM.

    Fans of the outspoken character — who was heard on North Carolina country station WTQR-FM in the Piedmont/Triad area and Southwest Virginia for 23 years — have been anxiously waiting for the past six months to see where the popular morning show co-host would turn up. She was one half of a long-running, number-one show, and is known for her lovable and down-to-earth character and her straight forward, no-nonsense ways.

  • A senior CIA intelligence analyst and author of a new book on the military history of Iran started developing his research skills in Carroll County schools and his desire to serve while growing up in the Pipers Gap community.

    Steven R. Ward, 51, lived in the Oakland community, played sandlot football at the YMCA in Galax, joined the Boy Scouts and read a lot.

    "I guess I was fortunate my parents always encouraged us to read," he said.

  • For British Columbian Erynn Marshall, Galax is a long way from friends and family, but it's at the heart of the things she loves — music and mountains.

    Marshall, 37, is the new director of the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax. She moved to Galax from Victoria, British Columbia only three weeks ago, bringing her cat and an assortment of instruments.

    It was her first time in Galax, but she's no stranger to the surrounding area or its traditions.

  • Although renovations to transform the former First National Bank in downtown Galax into Chestnut Creek School of the Arts is on time and on budget for now, CCSA Director Chris Shackelford said it is difficult to estimate a completion date due to electrical issues.

    Construction began Jan. 26, and South End Construction of Vinton has 215 days to complete the job from its notice to proceed, which was received Jan. 6. However, Shackelford said since installing an elevator is a big time-consumer, construction may take a little longer than city officials had hoped.

  • FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The average commercial driver on the Dalton Highway, the route to an oil drilling outpost at Prudhoe Bay, doesn't have a radio "handle." Woodlawn native Jack Jessee seems to be the exception, however, since he started appearing on the History Channel's "Ice Road Truckers."

    The drivers know each other and call each other by their first names, he explained. But after his TV appearances, the other truckers saw an opening to give Jessee a hard time.

  • Ruby Linville always wore a smile, and even when she was sick, she reminded everyone how thankful she was for family.

    She told everyone that her grandson Matthew was her “little sunshine” and how much she adored her granddaughter Fiona.

    Even when she was at her weakest, she and husband James, also in ill health, visited nursing homes to pray with patients and sing gospel tunes.