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Features

  • Most every Friday night, the sounds of the mountains ride the radio airwaves down the backroads of Virginia and North Carolina, from the Blue Ridge Mountains down to the Piedmont.

    For a decade, that traditional string music has been broadcast from Galax on WBRF-98.1 FM, which sends out 100,000 watts of old-time and bluegrass music from the stage of the historic Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

    The powerhouse radio station, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, will celebrate a decade of promoting and presenting the traditional string music that Galax is known for.

  • HILLSVILLE — A big goal of the Regional Community Support Center is to maintain the smile on peoples' faces.

    The support center's base of operations at the Southwestern Virginia Training Center provides assistance to people from 17 counties with intellectual disabilities.

    The dental program has left a big impression on many, as clients travel from as far as Lee County for checkups, cleanings, extractions — basic dental services, said dental director Roger Kiser.

  • HILLSVILLE — Carroll County farmers have found fertile ground in partnerships with Virginia Produce and Food City, and that's strengthening the local agricultural sector.

    Farmers who supply these fall crops to the grocery chain with locations in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky know they will make enough to be in the black at the end of the growing season, said Moir Beamer of Virginia Produce.

  • WHITETOP — Family and friends of a late and legendary fiddler and instrument maker are gearing up for the event that bears his name, the 2009 Albert Hash Memorial Festival in Whitetop this weekend.

    The festival enters its third year at Mount Rogers Combined School (MRCS) in Whitetop, and honors the life of one of Grayson's finest musicians and luthiers, born in 1917 in Rugby.

  • Watch the Chestnut Creek Ramblers of Galax perform "Little Maggie" on Aug. 8 at the 74th Annual Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention.

  • A good song gets feet flying on the dance boards at the 74th Annual Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention.

  • Organizers said the convention on Aug. 14-15 went well, with good weather and attendance. They thanked everyone involved, including sponsors and those in attendance who made the convention a success.

    Winners included:

    YOUTH

    Old-time Fiddle

    1. Kali Taylor

    2. Timothy Hale

    3. Kitty Amaral

    4. Abby Hensley

    5. MacKenzie Maitland

    Bluegrass Fiddle

    1. Marlon Dean

    2. Laurel Brooke

    3. Sarah Bobbitt

    Mandolin

    1. Adam McPeak

    2. Lula Furtado

  • Wayne C. Henderson has a festival that bears his name each fall in Grayson County, and he is known throughout the musical world as a master musician and instrument maker from the small community of Rugby.

    This Thursday, Henderson will be able to add another accomplishment to his career when a documentary film showcasing him premieres at the Rex Theater in Galax.

    “From Wood to Singing Guitar” is an Appalshop documentary film showing Henderson, a skilled craftsman and respected musician by his teenage years.

  • HILLSVILLE — The Carroll County Fair will once again feature fun for the whole family, but at a new venue — for the first time, the event will be held at the new fairgrounds at the Southwest Virginia Farmers' Market.

    The fair will display farming activities, games, a beauty pageant, music, food, amusements and much more.

    The fair schedule includes:

    • Wednesday — preview night with no admission charge.

  • Registration for the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention has increased for the second year in a row, rising from 1,817 last year to 1,905.

    Until 2008, the convention had been experiencing a five-year slump.

    The upward trend is encouraging to the Galax Moose Lodge #733, organizers of the 74-year-old event.

    A total of 88 more contestants signed up, compared to an increase of 52 contestants last year.

    Registrations for 2007 were down 130 from the previous year.

  • Though local Kevin Fore never got to meet local old-time music legend Kyle Creed, who passed away in 1982, the banjo player forever changed Fore's life.

    To Fore, Creed was his hero and he would have given anything to meet him. In fact, Creed is the reason Fore got interested in the banjo and the reason he started hand-making some of his own instruments using the Kyle Creed method.

  • The North Carolina Council, in honor of Hosteling International's 75th anniversary in the United States and 100th year worldwide, recognized local Alex Koji of Galax at the Rex Theater on June 7 with music from the Kitchen Band, and friends and visitors from all over the country.

    They also declared June 7, 2009 as Alex Koji Day.

    Hosteling International has nearly 4,000 hostels in more than 60 countries worldwide, including more than 100 hostels here in the United States. Alex and his wife Lois have operated the Blue Ridge Hostel near Galax for 22 years.

  • HILLSVILLE — Organ donors save lives, as in the case of Michael Henry, who donated a kidney to his father, Bob.

    Hillsville resident and businessman Bob Henry saw the quality of life deteriorate as his health declined, starting with a bout of cancer that affected his kidney.

    In 2005, he had half the kidney removed, which took care of the cancer problem. But after that, Henry’s kidney functions diminished.

    That led to dialysis, and he underwent surgery on his arm to prepare him for receiving the treatments. A lump over his elbow still looks purple.

  • It was one of the most important events of Tino Sauter's life, and he was about to miss it.

    On Jan. 17, Tino, his dad Bob and brother Jaisen — all of Galax — headed to Charlotte, N.C., where the 15-year-old ballet dancer was to audition for the prestigious Joffrey Ballet of New York City.

    But when their car broke down a mile away from the audition venue and only a few minutes before he was to perform, Tino thought he would never make it.

    “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was going to miss it,” he thought.

  • Katherine Stone was known as the “flag lady of Mount Dora.”

    That's the name people gave her when she lived in Florida, after many years of adorning her yard with thousands of American flags and her front porch with red, white and blue for Independence Day and any other patriotic holiday.

    Now, they've brought their tradition to their new home on Calhoun Street in downtown Galax.

  • Guy Russell gave his first pint of blood 52 years ago, when his uncle suffered injuries from a car accident.

    Soon after, the Galax resident made a wonderful habit and legacy of donating blood.

    When Russell worked at a local factory, he recalls that his boss would come to each person and ask them to give blood for the American Red Cross — all on the company’s time.

  • It made perfect sense that this year's pet show at the Galax Public Library was dedicated to the late Dr. Don Fincher, a beloved Galax veterinarian who passed away last month.

    Fincher, as you'd expect, loved animals and caring for their well-being. He also loved books, making the site of the pet show the ideal venue.

    The critter competition was once an annual feature of the library's summer reading program, but it hadn't been held for a few years. Children's librarian Carlene Poole brought it back to coincide with the last summer program under her direction.

  • INDEPENDENCE — The Confederate statue that guarded the south lawn of the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence for nearly a century has been taken down — but only temporarily.

    Erected in 1911, the statue has never before been removed.

    Just before noon on July 7, a crane removed the statue from its perch for the first time.

    For the past three years, the Historic 1908 Courthouse Foundation has been raising money to restore the statue.

  • Ask Derrick Davis anything about tea, and he can tell you all about it — the flavors, the health benefits, the quality, the history and the traditions.

    Davis, co-owner of the family-owned and -operated Stringbean Coffee Shop and Shamrock Tea Room in downtown Galax, will host a series of tea cupping/tasting classes this summer to share his knowledge of the thousands of tea varieties.

    “Tea is fun and enjoyable, and cupping is a way for people to get to know what they like to make the best purchase,” said Davis.

  • It takes a lot of practice and a lot of prayer to make sure slow-cooked barbecue comes out just perfect for competition, said a nervous Cody Cline, whose team, Nervous Wreck, will compete in this weekend's Smoke On The Mountain state barbecue competition in downtown Galax.

    Barbecue teams will battle this Friday and Saturday for the handmade banjo trophy and a chance to enter the 2010 “Memphis In May” World Championship in Tennessee.

    With a fitting team name, Cline said he's as worried as always, even after years of competing.