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Today's Features

  • INDEPENDENCE — Three years ago, Parker Carico was diagnosed with autism and had a vocabulary of five to 10 clear words.

    Now — after a team effort between home and school — Parker can speak more than 300 words and use some full sentences.

    Parker is a kindergarten student at Independence Elementary.

    This past fall, the school system helped implement a program with Dr. Chris Layne, director of the Lake Norman Counseling and Autism Center.

  • Mixed martial artist Cesar Llamas of Galax brought home the title last Saturday, putting his 5-0 opponent in a submission hold in the second round, during a competition sponsored by Carolina Fight Promotions in Wilmington, N.C.

    This is the fourth fight for Llamas, who has trained at Elite Combat Martial Arts in Galax for three years and now has a 4-0 record. The muay thai fighter describes his style as “vale tudo,” which is Brazilian for “anything goes.”

  • HILLSVILLE — The community and the Southwestern Virginia Training Center strengthen each other.

    That was the message at the training center's volunteer reception dinner April 23, as officials recognized the special efforts of a handful of community members and thanked the residents for their work for the good of the community.

  • Looking for a house a few blocks from Palm Beach in sunny Florida?

    Susannah Pushkin, whose grandparents were originally from Baywood, is hoping someone will agree to trade her a home in Galax in exchange for her 1,358-square-foot house in Lantana, Fl.

    Pushkin is the owner of a two-story, 100-year-old farmhouse in the Baywood community of Grayson County, and is looking for something to do with the property. In order to begin working on the place, she needs a home back in Galax.

  • When the show's over, actors Randy Carico and Art Pemberton might have an identity crisis.

    The pair stars in the Galax Theatre Guild and New River Players production of the popular laugh-out-loud comedy “Greater Tuna,” opening later this month at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

    Carico, of Pinnacle, N.C., and Pemberton, of Galax, portray all of the 20 eccentric characters — of both genders and various ages — in the town of Tuna, Tex.

    They quickly change personas and costumes throughout the production.

  • The little speckled dog with the black face sits obediently by his owner's feet, never daring to get up and even resisting the primal urge in every canine to run after a thrown ball or chase little tykes around the room.

    It's this kind and gentle demeanor that made Hampton's trainer suggest that he become a therapy dog.

    Now, the 2-year-old heeler/springer spaniel mix is certified and qualified to put people at ease and spread good will.

  • The $661,509 renovation of Chestnut Creek School of the Arts seems to be running on budget and on schedule as South End Construction transforms the former First National Bank in downtown Galax, into the art school, with completion expected no later than the first week in August.

    “The inside job helps out quite a bit during this time of year,” said City Manager Keith Holland. “There hasn't been much of a weather delay.”

  • When the Korean War ended more than 50 years ago, the enemy never returned or accounted for more than 8,000 American servicemen.

    Since that time, DNA matching has been perfected and more and more remains are being recovered in North Korea.

    The government is obligated to return those remains to their families, and Harold Davis — a 78-year-old combat veteran of the Korean War — is working with the U.S. military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to ensure all those soldiers' remains are sent home.

  • AUSTINVILLE — The lack of a fishing license for her Mexican stepfather led to a heartfelt letter to President Obama that became a national Scholastic contest winner.

    Scholastic Book Clubs named Laurel Elementary fifth-grader Desiree Nguyen as one of 200 "very smart and insightful winners" of the "Dear Mr. President” contest, chosen from nearly 15,000 entries from across the United States.

    Fifth grade teacher Anita Dalton gave her students a chance to enter the writing contest for extra credit.

  • MOUTH OF WILSON — Three-year-old Tyler Musick plays in the floor with his Thomas the Tank Engine train set, not realizing that what he did just days before could have saved his dad's vision.

    On March 23, Tyler and his dad Troy were around their home in Mouth of Wilson. The two went across the street, where an old farm truck was parked.

    It was around 6 p.m., and Troy lifted the hood to check an antifreeze hose on the truck.

    When he did, the hose broke free, spraying the liquid in Troy's eyes.