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Features

  • HILLSVILLE — Runners and walkers alike participated in the inaugural Deputy Curtis Bartlett Memorial Scholarship 5K on June 3 through downtown Hillsville.

    The event was held in memory of Bartlett, a member of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department who was killed in a line-of-duty vehicle crash on March 9.

    The event raised more than $7,000 towards a fund that will award scholarships to Galax and Carroll County seniors who plan to pursue a future in law enforcement.

  • Editor’s note: This article by Annette Spence first appeared in “The Call,” the online publication for the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. It is reprinted with permission.

    HILLSVILLE — When the letters started coming from the jail, the Rev. Ronnie Collins was amazed by the artwork decorating the envelopes and pages. The first was a sketch of Jesus.

    As more and more mail arrived from the inmates, the drawings became elaborate, including scripture or professions of faith.

  • A Pizza Hut waitress in Galax got a very helpful surprise recently thanks to members of Galax’s First Baptist Church: an $1,800 tip.

    On June 4, Danielle Walls was informed by her manager, Chip Fender, that the church had ordered 45 pizzas, and she was to help deliver them.

    “I didn’t have anything to do with the setup of that,” chuckled Fender, recounting his part in the moment.

  • Larry Thompson IV always waves when he sees Galax Police cars, and lately the 7-year-old had an even better idea of how to thank local “policemans” for their service.

    Last week, Larry came up with a plan and enlisted his aunt for a very important mission: Operation Taco Tuesday (on Saturday) — feeding police officers at the Galax Police Department.

  • For many years, anytime someone had a question about Galax’s past, the first thing they’d hear was, “Go ask John Nunn.”

    Galax’s unofficial historian and a deeply engaged citizen, Nunn offered plenty of facts and lore up from his encyclopedic knowledge for anyone who’d ask.

  • By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

    HILLSVILLE – Jimmy Alderman of Woodlawn has been legally blind since his birth in 1961 and spent a lot of his life in a blur.

    Now Alderman has an opportunity to read a newspaper, look at his laptop computer and drive safely after he discovered eSight electronic glasses.

  • By D.T. CLARK, Staff

    HILLSVILLE – Alexandra Largen, daughter of Melissa and Nathan Largen, is a young woman with far to go and a whole lot of folks cheering her on.

    That cheering section includes many friends and mentors, and most enthusiastically, her parents, sisters and grandmother. A place she will visit very soon is Bucharest, the capitol city of Romania, a country of the European Union located in southeastern Europe.

  • HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County Courthouse drama “Thunder in the Hills” returns to the historic courthouse during April.

    This play, which was a sellout for multiple performances in 2012 and 2014, tells the story of the tragic shooting that occurred in the courtroom on March 14, 1912 and of the consequences of the shooting.

    Local playwright Frank Levering wrote the play in 2012 for the centennial commemoration of the event.

    Many of the cast members from the past play will reprise their roles for this year’s performances.

  • Motorists and pedestrians in downtown Galax on Monday afternoon were given a chance to see a brief art installation on the former Carter Bank & Trust lot at Center and Main by Rob Ponce, a local artist and food service worker.

    Included were a silver mannequin, a handmade posterboard with a peace symbol and “respétame” (Mexican Spanish for “respect me”), a tattered American flag and Ponce himself, sitting crosslegged and meditating.

  • HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County Agricultural Fair took home a blue ribbon of its own in January when it was named the best small fair in the state by the Virginia Association of Fairs.

    The award was given at the association’s conference at the Homestead in Hot Springs.

    “We were very thrilled about it,” said Teresa Sharp, the county’s web developer/farmers’ market operations technician.

  • Like many students before him at Galax High School, Travis Newman had heard the stories from upperclassmen about Judy King.

    He was warned about the strict red-haired English and U.S. History teacher, a tough-as-nails educator who didn’t suffer foolishness and demanded only the best from her class.

    Newman recalls entering her English classroom with dread, “but I learned quickly that what people hated about her classes was that she cared — and she expected her students to care, as well. This was not a class that you could breeze through.”

  • Nearly a quarter-million more people visited the New River Trail State Park in 2016 than the previous year, and visitation at Grayson Highlands State Park was up by nearly 32,000 people last year.

    Virginia’s state parks set record attendance in 2016, with more than 10 million visitors, a 12 percent increase over 2015.

    Virginia State Parks, managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, hosted more than 1 million overnight visitors in cabins and campgrounds in 2016, an increase of nearly 3 percent over 2015.

  • Members of the Galax Volunteer Fire Department visited Mrs. Isom’s class at Galax Elementary School on Jan. 26 for a fire safety talk.

    Students learned about smoke alarms and exactly what to do if their smoke alarm goes off inside their home. Students were instructed to “get out and stay out” if the alarm goes off.

    “When they get out of the house, go to your family meeting spot, which may be the mailbox, a big tree in the yard, the swing set, or whatever works for their family,” said Fire Capt. Mike Ayers.

  • The annual multi-church celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was held at McMillian Ministries on Sunday, with music and talks on the theme, “I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear,” as said by King himself.

    McMillian Ministries’ Pastor Sue Greene presided over the service with her characteristic verve and openheartedness.

  • The lights are dim, the music low and tranquil with a meditative, Eastern flavor, and the instructor – yoga teacher and local potter Donna Ellis – is thoughtfully presenting lessons with her back turned to the qigong class, making it easier to mimic her motions as she slowly moves through a series of poses.

    “Now, this time,” says Ellis, addressing the class, “we want to position our arms like we’re holding a big, invisible ball of energy, and move it around in a circle.”

  • The Galax Volunteer Fire Department’s HQ was host to the Community Food Fund box packing on Dec. 15, as community members volunteered to load up boxes with donated goods and groceries for 550 families in need in the area.

    Capt. Mike Ayers, who kept track, said that the packing occurred in record time this year: 1,100 boxes in one hour and two minutes, down from last year’s one hour and 13 minutes.

  • By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

    HILLSVILLE – More than 200 volunteers showed up last Thursday night to pack boxes of food to be distributed to less fortunate families in Carroll County.

    The group first had to sort the hundreds of cans of food and other items, placing them in different bins to be placed in the boxes that came down a conveyor belt.

    The Carroll Christmas Fund is held each year to solicit funds to pay for the food boxes.

  • By SARA BLANKENSHIP & LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

    HILLSVILLE – Students at Carroll County High School helped to make Christmas a little brighter for children in need.

    Through a collaboration with the Carroll Christmas Fund, students set up donation boxes throughout the county’s schools to collect donated toys.

  • Galax Parks & Recreation Director Dave Nelson, who will retire on Dec. 31, recently took a few minutes to discuss his career and what he’s loved about the job.

    “Thirty-seven years and one month is what’ll it’ll be,” said Nelson. “I came here as the sports and athletic coordinator in 1979. The director at that time was Richard Black.”

  • A weekend of holiday festivities is ahead, with Christmas parades, tree lightings, music and visits from St. Nick.

    Hillsville

    The Town of Hillsville will celebrate the Christmas season with its annual tree lighting and Christmas parade on Dec. 3.

    The festivities will start at 5 p.m. with stocking stuffing along North Main Street. The first 300 children to check in at town hall will receive a free stocking to get stuffed by local merchants and those set up along the street. Stocking stuffing will last until 6 p.m.