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Features

  • The prospects are good for digging into an interesting hobby at Laurel Hill Gem Mines.

    That’s where Gladesboro resident Robert Dale Bowman hopes that sharing his unique pastime with others will pan out.

    The mountains of Carroll County are far removed from the Yukon of the Gold Rush days. But Bowman hopes to impart some nuggets — of insight, not necessarily of gold — about searching for precious metals and minerals.

  • Friends Jacquie Roberts, Alison Bolen and Stephannie Dees share a common goal: to feed every hungry child in the Galax community.

    Roberts was touched by the story about Backpack Buddies she saw a few months ago on the “Today Show,” as it showed how communities are coming together to help battle hunger in children.

    That’s when she called Bolen, a member of Galax Presbyterian Church, who immediately spread the word.

  • A Dugspur woman was known for six months as "No Nails" as she trudged and climbed the 2,178 miles of the Appalachian Trail — despite her bad back, hurt ankle and fear of heights — and recently returned home triumphant.

    Following the tradition of trail hikers, Cathy Shouse adopted a colorful nickname to go by while slogging from Springer Mountain in Georgia through the Mid-Atlantic and New England to Katahdin, the trail's northern terminus in Maine.

  • Joe Wilson has spent much of his life preserving the legendary music of America's past, and this week the nation returns the favor.

    The folklorist, who lives in Fries, is set to receive the “Living Legend” award today, Friday, from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

  • Tanya Gonyo was just seven months old when her grandfather Kyle Creed, a local old-time music legend, passed away in 1982.

    But when Gonyo, now 27, of Richmond, stepped into the Stringbean Coffee Shop on Sept. 12 and saw hundreds of old pictures and banjos her grandfather made, the overwhelming feeling brought tears to her eyes as she realized what his banjo playing and instrument making has inspired.

  • BAYWOOD ee* Students at Baywood Elementary showed their pride to be citizens of America during a Constitution Day program held at the school last Thursday.

    The program was hosted by Mrs. Fleming's third-grade class and had been performed for the school's Parent Teacher Organization earlier that week.

    The celebration was part of a national day that celebrates the birth of the United States' government. It was on Sept. 17, 1787, that the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created.

  • 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.