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Columns

  • Don't let political burnout keep you from staying informed

    It has been eight months since the events of last year’s presidential election, and probably even longer since most of us have made it through a quiet morning of checking emails and reading news articles without seeing something questionable related to our nation’s politics.

    There’s no doubt, no matter which side you take in the argument, that our nation is divided right now; and those who are not still angry towards either the left or right side (or both sides) may have fallen into a bit of a slump when it comes to staying informed.

  • An unpopular move that saved lives

    Four years ago, Galax made a move that was so unpopular that many residents wrote letters and called city officials begging them not to pass such an unfair ordinance.

    From the public outcry, you’d have thought city council banned bacon or legalized kicking puppies.

    No, Galax lowered speed limits on some roads.

    In 2013, the Galax City Council, based on Police Chief Rick Clark’s recommendation, lowered the speed limit on a section of Stuart Drive from 45 mph to 35 mph.

  • At last, Virginia addresses backlog of untested rape kits

    More than 3,000 rape kits — some up to 25 years old — are finally being tested in Virginia in an effort to determine if any of the cases can be solved even at so late a date.

    Attorney General Mark Herring announced earlier this month that a $2 million federal grant will pay for testing nearly 1,250 kits that were collected from 2014 to 2016, but were never sent to a lab for analysis.

  • Attention to government should start at local level

    In the past year, the subject of politics has been at the forefront of almost everyone’s minds… or at least, it is certainly a topic people can’t seem to get enough of.

    But in spite of this growing trend, there is still a strong sense of disconnect in attention spans for local politics.

  • AHCA would lower healthcare costs

    By Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem)

    This month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act to repeal Obamacare and start a health care reform process to return power to the states, drive down costs, and offer options to American families.

  • TCRH embraces new mission for future

    Since 1973, Twin County Regional Healthcare has proudly served the healthcare needs of people throughout the Twin County area and surrounding communities. As part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, we are building upon this legacy and strengthening our hospital for the future.

    We are fortunate that Duke LifePoint shares our commitment to improving the overall health and wellbeing of our communities, and ensuring that people here have access to quality care close to home.

  • The high cost of fighting crime

    We all want law and order, safe neighborhoods and criminals taken off the streets. It’s one of the main things we expect our local governments to provide.

    But what many don’t know is the high cost of safety, especially in terms of incarceration.

    This was brought into focus last week at a Carroll Board of Supervisors’ budget meeting, when it was revealed that the county’s cost of keeping prisoners at the New River Valley Regional Jail would increase by $400,000 next fiscal year.

  • Slow drivers keep right, or else

    The next time you’re driving down a highway in Virginia, late for an appointment, and you find traffic knotted behind somebody dawdling in the passing lane, ask yourself how much that inconvenience is worth.

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe thought left-lane squatters should face a fine of $100 if they won’t move into the travel lanes; the initial legislative proposal from Del. Israel O’Quinn (who represents Galax and Grayson County) called for fines of $250.

  • Keep up the fight for training center's future

    Ever since its closing was announced five years ago, everyone from parents and county leaders to advocacy groups and state legislators have been fighting to prevent the closing of the Southwestern Virginia Training Center in 2018.

    This valiant effort continues, even after years of discouraging results and their pleas falling on mostly deaf ears in Richmond.

  • Reflecting on WCC’s past year

    Dr. Dean Sprinkle is president of Wytheville Community College

    With the start of a new year, it’s timely to reflect on the prior year at Wytheville Community College. I have had the privilege of serving as WCC’s president for the past year and a half, and I have been overwhelmed and humbled by how the college faculty, staff, students and communities have welcomed me and my wife, Janie.