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Columns

  • Review: Go ahead — laugh in church

    Two days after seeing the Galax Theatre Guild's production of “Smoke on the Mountain,” I am still laughing.

    Ginger Correll and Carolyn Davis have done a remarkable job of directing this ensemble of actors so that the audience can laugh with complete abandon. The Sanders Family, Preacher Oglethorpe, as well as the members of the congregation are so genuine and funny you never feel they are mocking the people they are portraying. Instead, they just inspire guilt‑free happiness and uncontrollable laughter.

  • Old money discovered anew

    Ten years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation was on a reckless spending spree, delaying payments on completed projects in order to start new ones. More than 160 projects had to be canceled to restore financial sanity.
    A new audit initiated by Gov. Bob McDonnell revealed last month that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction.
    Today’s VDOT is paralyzed by bureaucratic rules intended to improve accountability that instead have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars sitting unused in more than 25 separate financial accounts.

  • Elderly denied local care

    I am stunned to learn that the General Assembly voted in April to shut down the geriatric unit at Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute in Marion.
    In fiscal year 2009 the unit had operational costs of roughly $1.3 million and revenue of approximately $2.5 million. It is not losing money. Why must it be closed?

  • Religious freedom is under attack

    As an American and a follower of Jesus, I am shocked and embarrassed by the ongoing attacks on freedom of religion in our country.
    Our forefathers were committed to making this a country where freedom of religion was guaranteed, so much so that it is covered the first sentence in the First Amendment to our Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    Clearly it was their intention to be sure that in America everyone had the freedom to worship as they chose.

  • Protect Parkway Vistas

    Millions of recreational travelers drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway annually, spending roughly $300 in gateway communities like Galax, Carroll and Grayson on each trip.

  • Face facts, tell story of shootout

    If it's true that for decades that Carroll County people just didn't talk about the 1912 courthouse shootout, maybe it's time for that taboo to change.
    One fact is inescapable as we approach the 100th anniversary: Ignoring the effects of the melee and bloodshed that arose from Floyd Allen announcing that he would defy a court-imposed jail sentence sure hasn't made this bit of Carroll's past go away.
    Perhaps, in a way, it should be embraced.

  • A celebration of song, service

    People often refer to the Twin Counties' collective pool of talent as a "family" of musicians, and at no time is that description more apt than when one of their own is in need.
    You see it all the time, when performers volunteer their time to play for benefits for those in bad health or who have lost their homes.

  • Convention defined by rich past, bright future

    In three-quarters of a century, the annual Old Fiddlers’ Convention has grown into a weeklong event that draws thousands of tourists from all over the country to Galax.
    It has become an American institution; a means of preserving and promoting bluegrass and old-time music.
    The Galax Moose Lodge works hard every year to put on the event and it’s a beloved part of summer for music fans and people who use the event as an enormous family or class reunion.

  • Get involved with planning process

    Citizens may not realize it, but they can act now and have an impact on Carroll County’s future.
    This impact will reach 20 years into the future, as that’s the duration of the period covered by the new comprehensive plan.
    People have trickled out in dribs and drabs to related countywide and community meetings held around Carroll that started last winter. Eight, 10, 30 folks at a time showed up to speak on a variety of planning issues.

  • 'Miracle' worker

    Teachers are known for dipping into their wallets and purses to pay for supplies for their classes. If construction paper or paintbrushes aren't in the school budget, they gladly sacrifice for the good of their students.
    But this year, the needs in the financially struggling Grayson County school system required more than some spare change — it brought about a change in the way the community looks at funding education.