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Today's Features

  • When Mark Davis and Cody Cline started out in the barbecue catering business as Squealers Authentic BBQ Company more than a year ago, their intentions were to become restaurant owners, serving only the best homemade foods around.

    In fact, Davis, who worked for many years at The Gazette and The Carroll News, quit his newspaper job to make a career out of barbecuing.

    Cline, a full-time mechanic at Hills Trucking, spends 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the grill, perfecting barbecue.

  • Little Ty Dixon seemed like a normal baby, but at age 6 his parents — Angela and Brian Dixon of Galax — found they had been blessed with something special.

    As an infant, Ty sat up and crawled early. But as he grew into a toddler, red flags went up for Angela and Brian.

    Ty didn’t walk until 19 months. And by age 3, when toddlers speak in full sentences, Ty was only saying a couple of words here and there, and potty training became a challenge.

  • Galax City Schools was one of just 26 Virginia school divisions in which all of a locality’s schools met 29 annual performance benchmarks for 2007-2008 toward “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind Act.

    Among 132 school divisions in the commonwealth, Galax City Schools was one of the 17 divisions in which all schools made adequate yearly progress and the division as a whole made progress.

  • Hanging up fliers and decorating cars in red, white and blue, locals are cheering on 11-year-old Alexandra Pyles of Galax and her teammates, who will appear in the next round of competition on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” tomorrow, Tuesday, when the show goes live in Los Angeles at 8 p.m.

    Alexandra left for Los Angeles on Aug. 19.

    She is receiving national and regional recognition. On Aug. 18, she was interviewed by the Winston-Salem Journal and WXII Channel 12 News in Winston-Salem, N.C.

  • The Town of Fries, population 697, is the place where the country music industry really began. Located in a sheltered cove of the beautiful New River, tiny Fries had a major impact upon American music.

    Other places in Grayson and Carroll counties have a rich musical history, but Fries keeps its heritage alive in a picture-perfect setting — and those musical traditions thrive.

    In 1923, loom tender Henry Whitter, an employee of the old Washington Cotton Mill in Fries, became the first singer to record a country record.

  • On Saturday evening, a program saluting the Round Peak sound will be presented at the Blue Ridge Music Center.

    Paul Brown, a Washington-based newscaster and reporter for National Public Radio, will host the 7 p.m. program.

    Brown is heard most mornings coast-to-coast on NPR’s Morning Edition.

    During his youth Brown came to the Galax area to learn Round Peak music, and he remains an enthusiastic supporter of the sound.

  • At age 3, Benjamin Galyean is already reading music, and so is 6-year-old Jesse Dittrich, who has been diagnosed with a form of dyslexia.

    For almost 10 years, Charlotte McPherson, director of the Joybell Ringers at Galax’s First Baptist Church, has taught music to numerous families as siblings and moms come together.

    Her classes range from 2-year-old tots in the Baby Bell class to home-schooled teens and 30-something mothers in Beginner Bells and Joybell Ringers.

  • Where many people see only the things that divide us — race, class, gender, belief — musician Tremayne Blair sees the common spirituality that binds human beings together.

    The Galax-born singer and songwriter is pursuing a dream of spreading that message to the masses — one audience or congregation at a time, if necessary.

    On Aug. 2, Blair will host a concert at Cliffview Church of God in Galax.

  • The fiddlers’ convention brings out the weird in us sometimes, from jam sessions in Port-A-Johns and kazoo parades to naked bathing in Chestnut Creek and flinging flaming instruments — all real traditions of the 73-year-old event’s colorful past.

    One constant of Galax’s annual festival is the freaky and fanciful names musicians give their bands.

    They range from the funny to the obscure to the possibly perverted — if we only understood what they meant.

  • Registration for the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention increased overall for the first time in five years.

    Last year was the fourth year in a row that registrations for the convention declined. Registrations for 2007 were down 130 from the previous year.

    But for the 73rd annual event, overall registrations were 1,817 — up 52 contestants from 2007.

    Officials with the convention’s sponsor, Galax Moose Lodge #733, say the registration numbers have never reflected actual attendance.