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Columns

  • Grow your own future

    The Twin Counties have seen first-hand the loss of domestic industry. First textiles declined and then the furniture plants closed, putting more than 1,000 out of work in Galax, Carroll and Grayson.

    It would be unfortunate to see another local industry go the way of the factories, but there's been a steady downward trend in another traditional Twin County pursuit — farming.

    Even so, agricultural commodities and forest products are still worth millions of dollars to the economy.

  • Children should experience the outdoors

    Louv’s “The Last Child in the Woods” has become a much talked about standard for concerns about the disconnect our children are experiencing with the outdoors.

    Long before this book, many of us were already lamenting the competition provided by video games, the computer world and just plain old television; and challenges of the urban landscape and attendant fears.

    This is a rallying cry to follow some of Louv’s sage advice and get our kids outdoors — now.

  • On Being Old...

    I turn 84 in July. I have yet to discover much that I like about being 83.

    My friend, the Rev. Hal Eaton, another ancient warrior, says that he isn’t afraid of dying; it’s just being old that he doesn’t like.

    Me too.

    One of the several reasons I came to Galax 25 years ago was because my quick scan of the obituary page made it possible for me to believe that any area resident, who died before making 80, was a quitter.

  • Keep housing project going

    Building a new home is a daunting and costly endeavor for anyone, but for those living on low or moderate incomes, it’s a dream that is almost never realized.

    But, through Mount Rogers, Mountain Shelter, the City of Galax and USDA Rural Development, that dream came true for more than a dozen first-time homeowners. Thanks to a generous gift of 14 acres from the city, the partners were able to find homes for those living on fixed incomes, handicapped citizens and those living in costly rental properties or dilapidated trailers.

  • Dream big, work hard

    It was exciting last week to see designs and plans for two projects in Galax — the further beautification of the downtown district and the veterans’ memorial planned at the Galax Public Library.

    Artist Todd Price’s renderings of the granite monument to soldiers present and past was awe-inspiring. If organizers can raise the $300,000 they need, it will be a respectful and reverent testament to their service.

  • No alternatives at Carroll exits

    Sure there are alternative ways to treat wastewater, Carroll County Public Service Authority members learned in a workshop last Wednesday.

    But there’s another consideration — are those processes viable?

    Authority members had called on experts to share information on handling sewage some other way than building a plant, treating the effluent and discharging the clean water back into the stream.

    Four consultants showed up and talked about onsite treatment, or allowing the soil to filter water, compact package plants, drip irrigation and so forth.

  • Honoring a hometown hero

    This Memorial Day, the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter in downtown Galax will honor a native of the city and a true hero.

    The chapter will dedicate a special memorial to Sgt. Major Charles Morris, who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest honor for military bravery — in November 1967 for his effort to save his fellow soldiers pinned down by enemy fire.

  • A safe and sensible solution

    People shocked by the fatal December 2007 accident involving a propane explosion in Fries quickly started asking “why?”

    As in: Why didn’t a propane tank in the busy business district of Fries surrounded by some kind of barrier, to protect the tank from a vehicle accidentally rolling down the incline above it?

  • Aircraft ban won't fly

    Independence Town Council should have done more research into the alleged effects of pesticide spraying before considering an ordinance creating a “no-fly zone” over the town, which indirectly prohibits such spraying. The code would ban aircraft from flying under 1,000 feet above the town.

    Legally, it appears that the town has the right to do it, but is that decision based on fact or fear?

  • Don't let state go to the dogs

    Proposed state legislation on companion animal breeders would make more work for animal control officers, but it seems like a simple and common sense way to address the problems that the Humane Society of the United States documented at Virginia operations that kept animals in less-than-healthy conditions.

    Animal control officers around the state would be responsible for regular inspections of breeding facilities.