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Columns

  • '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.

  • Putting ICE on it

    Illegal aliens that commit crimes shouldn't be able to slip through the dragnet with the advent of the Secure Communities initiative.
    Law enforcement officials everywhere — even Arizona — have no doubt hailed the announcement of the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort.
    A new database launched by ICE will streamline the process of identifying criminal aliens involved in police investigations.

  • A generous gesture

    After a long search for a site to create a visitors' center for Galax, the city has been given the perfect building in a surprise move by a philanthropic downtown property owner.

    Johnny Parsons has provided the ideal spot for a visitors' center in his donation of his former law office at the corner of East Grayson Street and Rex Lane.

  • Covering Costs

    While many residents of the Twin Counties are living paycheck to paycheck, it appears local governments are, as well.

    Grayson County was forced to borrow $1.6 million to cover the bills for the month of October, but not because of a budgetary problem.

    County officials are adamant that the problem lies in the shortfall in cash flow, something that is common during the months leading up to the tax deadline of Dec. 5.

  • More than green

    Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company has become more environmentally conscious and has found more benefits in its practices than just protecting the environment.

    The Galax and Elkin, N.C.-based company that is the largest manufacturer of wooden adult bedroom furniture became certified in the program called Enhancing Furniture's Environmental Culture.

    The program requires all employees to work together towards their “go-green” goal. The company has found that it’s crucial to set an example to be a good steward of the environment, for obvious reasons.

  • The Road Ahead

    For much longer than six years, the Glendale Road improvement project has languished on the state's six-year plan, so it's encouraging to hear that it could start as "soon" as 2011.

    It's also a wise decision on the city's part to consider a scaled-back $1.2 million version of the original $10.6 million plan, which would free up several million dollars to tackle some other road projects.

    Closing and relocating the aggravating "slip lane" intersection near Subway is still in the plan, which should make many drivers —and their sore necks — happy.

  • Drive Defensively

    It’s good to know that Virginia Department of Transportation officials are troubleshooting safety problems with Carroll County roads.

    The problem in question has been on the 2,200-foot, steep incline on U.S. 58 in Woodlawn that’s known for hydroplaning accidents during thunderstorms.

    It wasn’t just isolated incidents — 14 such accidents happened on that stretch of road in a two-year period.

    Just imagine driving along westbound in a rainstorm and the tires slip, and in a split second the vehicle goes down an embankment.

  • Happy shopping

    If you're one of those people who feels better after indulging in some retail therapy, then you should know that you're shopping practices can help others, too.

    By visiting SWVTC Cottage Crafts at the Southwest Virginia Farmers' Market in Hillsville, you will support vocational pursuits at the training center.

    The booth set up in the retail building at the farmers' market is the logical extension of the Southwest Virginia Training Center's handicrafts and gifts made by those who live there.

  • Time to upgrade yourself

    There's a lot of talk about how to make our area more attractive and marketable for new employers. Local leaders talk about upgrading utilities, Internet service, infrastructure and power to accommodate a new industry.

    But our greatest resource is our workforce, and it's in need of an upgrade, too, after years of being trained to work in the textile and furniture industries.

  • Dixie Youth tournaments a success

    It is with great pride that I write this letter on behalf of the Grayson County Recreation Park’s policy board.

    Nearly 18 months ago, our board successfully bid to the Virginia State Dixie Youth Association for the honor of hosting not one, but two state tournaments simultaneously in Grayson County.

    These tournaments had never been hosted in Grayson or Southwest Virginia, and winning the bid was an honor within itself.