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Features

  • Grayson County leaders took a pie in the face for the United Way cause during the agency’s annual campaign celebration.

    Dishes of whipped cream soared and splattered into the faces of Grayson County leaders during the county’s United Way Campaign Celebration in early December.

  • A local couple put in countless hours of hard work to make Christmas more special for a less fortunate family this year.

    For two months, John and Dorothy Frost, both in their 80s and without any children of their own, collected and shelled walnuts to sell in the area. After completing the daunting task, the couple was able to raise about $600 and decided they wanted to provide Christmas presents for some local children.

  • Chad Tate of Fries has used his artistic talents to bring a piece of “Star Wars” from a “galaxy far, far away” to Twin County Cinema III in Galax.

    Tate built a 7-foot-tall scale model of an Imperial AT-AT (All-Terrain Armored Transport) from the original “Star Wars” films to celebrate the opening of the seventh film in the franchise, “The Force Awakens,” which opens this week.

  • An episode of the syndicated talk show “Dr. Phil” featuring a Galax woman is set to air today, Wednesday.

    Christy Adams won a contest to appear on the show, after donating to a cause that helps abuse victims.

    Adams, a West Virginia native, Galax resident and local author, describes the need to address and end domestic violence as “something that’s just really close to my heart.”

  • WOODLAWN – Blue Ridge Fellowship Church will host a Christmas celebration on Friday and Saturday in conjunction with its ongoing Christmas light display.

    The lights and Bethlehem Village are in their second year, but have grown significantly and the church hopes to continue to expand the display off Glendale Road in the future.

  • Staff Report

    Sara Morrison Ward, one of Galax’s past but most well-known and loved music teachers, turns 100 today.

    In her eventful life, Ward also has been a composer, Peace Corps volunteer, novelist, poet and choir director.

    Born on Dec. 9, 1915 in Barnet, Vt., one of three children, to Paul Knight Morrison and Ethel Merrill Morrison, her extraordinary musical ability won Ward a State of Vermont Scholarship to the University of Michigan.

  •  

    Localities celebrated the holiday season last weekend with a series of festive parades. Fire and rescue agencies, churches, bands and antique vehicles were just a few of the features of this year’s lineups in Galax on Dec. 4 and in Hillsville, Independence and Fries on Dec. 5. Gazette photos by Sara Blankenship, Shaina Stockton and Shannon Watkins.

    Click HERE to view the slideshow

  • Staff Reports

    Christmas festivities abound this weekend in the Twin Counties, and much of the holiday cheer continues throughout the month.

    Dec. 4 will be a busy day for holiday activities in Galax, with a Christmas parade, the grand opening of a new woodworking studio and a First Friday event with live music and specials in downtown shops.

    The annual Galax Christmas Parade will be held Friday evening at 7, preceded by a tree-lighting ceremony in front of the police station on North Main Street.

  • The results of the ninth annual United Way Celebrity Bagging Challenge are in, and judges have confirmed that Galax and Independence were the top Food City stores in gathering donations for United Way Southwest Virginia this year.

    According to Ashley Bartee of United Way SWVA, the top three highest revenue-generating stores out of the eight participating venues for 2015 (which includes all event and pre-event dollars raised) are Galax in first place, Independence in second and Tazewell in third.

  • When William Bottomley’s Christmas light display outgrew his home, he moved his thousands of twinkling bulbs, trees and Santas to a fire station.

    When it outgrew the fire station, he took over an entire park.

    This year, Bottomley’s annual synchronized musical light show, featuring nearly 100,000 LED bulbs, moved to Felts Park in Galax. The show opened on Thanksgiving night and runs through Jan. 1.

  • The High Country Light Show will bring Christmas cheer to Felts Park in Galax beginning Thanksgiving night.

    The lights will be on display through Jan. 2, from 6-11 p.m. nightly.

    The synchronized musical light show, featuring nearly 100,000 LED lights, is privately owned by William Bottomley.

    Thousands of visitors, including many from Galax and the Twin Counties, made the drive to Glade Valley, N.C., each year to view the lights at Christmas. Bottomley hosted the lights there for the past decade.

  • HILLSVILLE – A first grade class at Oakland Elementary is asking for the help of social media to bring a country musician to Carroll County.

    Teacher Amy Gordon and her students are asking Luke Bryan, a popular and award-winning country music artist, to come and read to her class if they get a specific response on social media. “We are asking for 1,000 likes and 1,000 shares,” said Gordon.

  • Staff Report

    INDEPENDENCE — When Tamara Furr and her husband left for a weekend of seclusion in the Virginia mountains, the last thing they expected was to take home a $1 million souvenir.

    But, the odds were apparently in their favor when Furr purchased a ticket for the Virginia Lottery Scratcher game Green at Food City in Independence.

    According to a news release from the grocery chain, Furr discovered her win in the passenger seat while her husband was driving away from the store.

  • Carroll County’s Oakland Elementary School hosted an event to honor local veterans on Nov. 11. It included a free lunch in the cafeteria with kids and a brief musical program presented by the students. The veterans also presented the library with a new book and demonstrated proper flag-folding.

  • Once again, the most anticipated competition of the year is underway. Not the Superbowl, not the World Series, not the Boston Marathon – the United Way Celebrity Bagging Challenge.

    For the eighth year in a row, local celebs will engage in a battle royale to see which Food City can raise the most money for United Way of Southwest Virginia.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Each year about this time, people’s thoughts turn to turkey dinner with all the trimmings. We look forward to a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner where we eat too much and spend time visiting with family and friends.

  • HILLSVILLE – Saturday’s Veterans Day parade in Hillsville will have a special guest as grand marshal — Carl Anderson, 93, of Galax, is one of only four living veterans from D-Day, the turning point of World War II.

    Anderson was drafted and spent three years in the service from 1942-1945. He saw action in several locations including Normandy, the Rhineland, Central Europe and Northern France.

    Entering the War

  • “My dad never, ever talked about it,” said Louise Bartlett, born in the Twin Counties but residing now in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, daughter of World War II U.S. Navy veteran Roy Alderman. “He was very gentle and easygoing, despite having gone through all that.”

  • HILLSVILLE – The 2nd annual Boo Ridge Halloween Spooktacular Trail of Terror Run/Walk drew a large crowd of goblins, superheroes, princesses and farm animals despite the rainy weather.

    The event was held as a fundraiser for the Carroll County Special Olympics (CCSO) on Oct. 10 at Hillsville Elementary School. Participants competed in the Little Goblin Fun Run, the Monster Mile and the Trail of Terror 5K, as well as costume contests in several different categories. All proceeds went to the CCSO for its yearly activities and events.

  • The Galax Downtown Association will once again host the Galax Downtown Safe Halloween Bash.

    As in years past, local businesses, churches and organizations will gather in the center of downtown to play games and give treats to fun-loving kids of all ages.

    Costume contests, free hotdogs and drinks for the children, ghoulishly fun music, pumpkin carving and more activities are planned for Saturday.