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Columns

  • Work together to fix Grayson schools

    Earl Cherry Jr. of Elk Creek is a Grayson County native who is working toward a master’s degree in history and an M.Ed. in education curriculum and instruction at Virginia Tech. His goal is a career as a high school teacher and administrator. His family was voted Virginia Tech’s “Family of the Year” for 2015. Cherry adapted this letter from his remarks to the Grayson School Board April 16.

    It has come to my attention recently that Mrs. Brandi Ray’s job [as Grayson County High School principal] is in jeopardy.

  • Superintendent explains school budget situation

    Kevin Chalfant is superintendent of Grayson County schools

    As superintendent of Grayson County Public Schools, my focus is on providing the best possible education for our students.

  • School board should take county's offer

    You hear a lot this time of year about the stress students are being put through as they take state tests; about the anxiety and sleepless nights as they worry about their future.

    This year, in Grayson County, the teachers and staff are the ones concerned about their fates as the school system tries to find a way to balance a budget while faced with a funding shortfall.

  • Clearing up the First Amendment

    There is often confusion about what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution actually protects.

    Among other protections, it prohibits the government from making laws that infringe on freedom of speech or freedom of the press. The government can’t tell you what to say or not say, nor can it tell a newspaper what to publish.

    However, this does not apply to a private company or group, nor to an online forum or a reader comments section. It only applies if the government is doing the prohibiting.

  • Coyote killing program a waste of money

    Editor’s note: This week’s guest editorial is by Kathy Dowell of Galax, who has been an outspoken critic of Grayson County’s coyote bounty program, and a “killing contest” that rewards the hunter who turns in the most dead coyotes. After the program recently ran out of its first $5,000 allocation, county supervisors put $5,000 more into it. With that money gone now, too, one supervisor has donated his own money to the fund and the county is asking citizens to donate prize money, too.

  • Rescue squads working to improve

    In areas across the commonwealth, volunteer rescue agencies are struggling against the perfect storm: a rise in calls for service and a fall in recruitment.

    Due to financial strains and federal regulations, it’s even harder now than it was several years ago for rescue squads to find volunteers. Though people are willing to sign up, some just don’t have the money or the time to complete the necessary training for certification.

  • Tragedy takes emotional toll on first responders

    Editor’s note: On March 5, a Galax fire claimed the lives of three children, one at the scene and two who passed away later. Police and firefighters made valiant attempts to rescue the children, without any protective gear, but were overcome by flames and smoke. We share the sentiment expressed in Rick Clark’s moving statement, and commend them for their bravery and sacrifice. We wish them well as they cope with the aftermath of this tragedy.

    By Rick Clark, chief of the Galax Police Department

  • Commission nomination controversial

    You have to wonder what Pine Creek District Supervisor Bob Martin was thinking when he nominated Billy Mitchell to serve on the Planning Commission last month.

    Mitchell, a former county administrator, was convicted 17 years ago for embezzling more than $400,000 from the Carroll and served time in federal prison.

    Martin has gone on record with his belief that Mitchell has been paying his dues and deserves a second chance.

  • Vaccinate for everyone's sake

    Doing everything you can to avoid spreading disease is among the most basic requirements of membership in a civil society. It has been for millennia.

    Trying to prevent the transmission of pathogens explains the laws in Leviticus, the development of modern sewer systems and the use of quarantine to stem epidemics.

    Throughout history, a person’s duty to prevent the spread of disease to his neighbors has been so fundamental that it has been largely uncontroversial. Then came modern America, which is in the middle of an entirely preventable measles outbreak.

  • State taking crimes against animals seriously

    Last week, The Gazette published yet another heartbreaking story from someone whose family pet fell prey to an unknown suspect who thought nothing about bringing harm to another living being.

    Daisy Mae, a boxer/lab mix, was on her owners’ property while they were at work when someone came into the yard, aimed a gun at her heart and pulled the trigger, killing her.