Today's Opinions

  • Outgoing clinic director looks back

    June 15 was my last day as executive director of The Free Clinic of the Twin Counties. I began my position in 2006, when it was still called Baptist Medical Clinic of Galax, Inc.
    We were a clinic “without walls,” which meant we basically referred patients to doctors’ offices. We had no equipment or supplies, only 32 patients, and an annual income of $32,000.
    My job was to build community awareness, lead the clinic to open a physical location and then manage the day to day activities.

  • Brief encounter made an impression

    This past Monday, I had the distinct privilege to meet a true Southern Gentleman, Mr. John B. Vaughan.
    I do minor volunteer work at the emergency room at Twin County Regional Hospital a few days a week. I transferred Mr. Vaughan from the ER to his room on the floor. We had a very pleasant conversation.
    He saw my volunteer ID and asked why I did it. I said, half jokingly, that it kept off the streets and that there were some bad people out there.
    He smiled and said there were a lot more good people out there too. I said yes there were and wished him well.

  • South made Hillsville a better place to live

    For his 18 years as Hillsville town manager, Larry South clearly enjoyed working for his community.
    While South took his responsibilities seriously, he also engaged in them with characteristic good cheer — an attitude that will be missed when he departs the office this week.
    Willing to laugh at himself and shag in the imported beach sand at a downtown cruise-in when the occasion arose, South nonetheless delivered on many programs and policies during his unusually long term as the town’s chief administrator.

  • Where does America go from here?

    The White House, news media, classified information leaked, a sacred thing called marriage, who is really in touch and a lack of trust in the powers-that-be.
    If it’s not bad enough that this country is deep in debt, unemployment around [8] percent, funding cuts everywhere but Congress, fear that a big war looms from the Middle East and this fallback to praising dead presidents.

  • What kind of leader can calm the waters?

    It takes a statesman to lead in a positive manner and at the same time withstand the combative tone that’s overtaken our public discussions in this country lately.
    The Twin Counties seemed somewhat harbored from the turbulence that’s shaken national politics ever since the great recession was recognized in 2008.
    The levee that held back the torrent of anger, bitterness and resentment seemed to fail last fall with the general election.

  • Parkway upkeep suspended after fatal mowing accident

    Throughout my 40 years with the National Park Service, I have been grateful for mutual support provided by staff, visitors, and community members aligned with a common interest, such as the events held to celebrate the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th anniversary in 2010.
    As superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I request your support and understanding of reasons for the unkempt appearance of the parkway.
    Earlier this spring, the Blue Ridge Parkway family suffered a tragic loss as a mowing accident took the life of employee Dana Bruce.

  • Theft from grave is heartbreaking

    I am writing this letter with intentions of helping someone understand how brokenhearted a father is when I go to visit my daughter’s grave and I find that her flowers and a very personal item that was handmade by a good friend just for her grave is stolen.
    It’s hard enough grieving over the loss of my precious daughter, and the pain of some heartless person stealing from her grave only adds to my grief.
    I may not see who you are but I do know that my Heavenly Father sees all and he will take care of your actions somehow.

  • Why are gas prices higher in Galax?

    On June 6, I was in Salem and Roanoke where I became aware of gas prices at $3.19 and $3.12 per gallon.
    Why are prices in Galax and Independence, at the least, 20 cents per gallon higher?
    Retailers cannot “cry” that it’s transportation costs, surely.
    The mayor of Galax should be insisting that service station owners reduce prices. There are people who live on fixed income that have to pay rent, mortgage, buy groceries and visit medical facilities for health care.
    Everyone who can should write to the mayor.