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Features

  • FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The average commercial driver on the Dalton Highway, the route to an oil drilling outpost at Prudhoe Bay, doesn't have a radio "handle." Woodlawn native Jack Jessee seems to be the exception, however, since he started appearing on the History Channel's "Ice Road Truckers."

    The drivers know each other and call each other by their first names, he explained. But after his TV appearances, the other truckers saw an opening to give Jessee a hard time.

  • Ruby Linville always wore a smile, and even when she was sick, she reminded everyone how thankful she was for family.

    She told everyone that her grandson Matthew was her “little sunshine” and how much she adored her granddaughter Fiona.

    Even when she was at her weakest, she and husband James, also in ill health, visited nursing homes to pray with patients and sing gospel tunes.

  • Muscle cars, space ships, army tanks, aircraft and more — all in miniature but none shy of detail — that’s what you’ll see at D&J Hobby Center’s annual Hobby Show.

    This celebration of miniature masterpieces is Saturday at the Galax Public Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    The public is welcome to come by and look and admission is free, said Darrell Burris, owner of D&J Hobby Center at 106 Nuckolls Curve Road in Galax, who has organized the show for the past 11 years.

  • It was a teary-eyed moment for Debbie Ogle, realizing that her 18-year-old daughter Emily is all grown up, as she arrived at the Galax High School prom in a long black dress with her date Jordan Stevens of Carroll County High School.

    Emily, who has Down Syndrome, has always dreamed of a true fairy tale story of going to prom in a horse and carriage — and Debbie dreamed of seeing that happen.

    With the help of Twin County United Way Director Celeste Amburn and many others, both of their dreams came true.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Teachers, families, friends and administration joined together May 7 to honor Amy Phillips as Grayson County's second division-wide teacher of the year.

    “Today we are not only here to honor single individuals, but also to recognize an entire profession,” said Grayson Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Thomas. “Our teachers make extraordinary contributions to the community and our youth. We owe our teachers our thanks, our praise and our support.”

  • HILLSVILLE — Families going through an economic rough patch may have a garden spot waiting as part of the Gardens Growing Families efforts.

    The community garden project will assist those in need in two ways — it will provide land for people who want to grow their own food and it will raise vegetables to stock food banks, according to the Rev. Lawrence Childs of First Baptist Church of Hillsville.

  • It seemed like an endless project, but the wait is finally over and students, faculty and staff of Galax High School can now enjoy a like-new renovated school, with bright painted hallways and classrooms and new tinted energy-efficient windows.

    Galax City Council and Galax School Board members celebrated the long-awaited completion of the GHS renovation last Thursday during a dedication ceremony.

    A new plaque in the school recognizes school board and city council members who approved and saw through the construction process.

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    The 8th Annual Galax Leaf & String Festival will continue to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the region by showcasing local musicians, artisans and authors on Friday and Saturday in downtown Galax.

    And this year, with a banner presentation being held and a tribute to The Crooked Road featuring regional musicians, Leaf & String is being designated a partner of the state's heritage music trail.

  • HILLSVILLE — When Mark Shockley tends his fields in spring, he's in for a day of grueling, backbreaking fun.

    He calls it "fun," but the truth is what Shockley does to prepare for planting takes a lot of love and labor.

    It hardly felt like spring last Monday as the wind swept over the five acres that Shockley farms with his antique tools, and where he puts on “Old Timey Day” to demonstrate the old-fashion ways after harvest in the fall.

  • Chestnut Creek School of the Arts officially began Phase II of its long-range plans with the opening of Oldtown Pottery co-op in downtown Galax on April 1.

    Phase I is well underway with the successful completion of a variety of classes in diverse genres of art, crafts and music.

    Volunteers, board members and staff for CCSA and co-op members have been working for months to prepare membership guidelines, policies, leases and particularly renovations to the pottery studio building.

  • All 18-year-old Emily Ogle can think about is making her princess fairy tale come true for her and mom Debbie Ogle, who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer.

    Emily has it all planned out, as she fantasizes about dressing up in an ball gown and riding with her date through town in a horse-drawn carriage on the way to prom on Saturday.

    “I wanted to be like Cinderella,” said Emily, a junior at Galax High School. “It's just a wonderful time of life.”

  • The fight is the easy part, says Cesar Llamas, as the 145-pound mixed martial arts fighter grapples his training partner to the mat inside of the cage, preparing for his big title fight Saturday in North Carolina.

    It's easy for Llamas because he’s at Elite Combat Martial Arts in Galax five days a week, hardcore training, conditioning, learning every fight scenario and brawling for hours in preparation for his title shot for Carolina Fighting Promotions in Wilmington, N.C.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Three years ago, Parker Carico was diagnosed with autism and had a vocabulary of five to 10 clear words.

    Now — after a team effort between home and school — Parker can speak more than 300 words and use some full sentences.

    Parker is a kindergarten student at Independence Elementary.

    This past fall, the school system helped implement a program with Dr. Chris Layne, director of the Lake Norman Counseling and Autism Center.

  • Mixed martial artist Cesar Llamas of Galax brought home the title last Saturday, putting his 5-0 opponent in a submission hold in the second round, during a competition sponsored by Carolina Fight Promotions in Wilmington, N.C.

    This is the fourth fight for Llamas, who has trained at Elite Combat Martial Arts in Galax for three years and now has a 4-0 record. The muay thai fighter describes his style as “vale tudo,” which is Brazilian for “anything goes.”

  • HILLSVILLE — The community and the Southwestern Virginia Training Center strengthen each other.

    That was the message at the training center's volunteer reception dinner April 23, as officials recognized the special efforts of a handful of community members and thanked the residents for their work for the good of the community.

  • Looking for a house a few blocks from Palm Beach in sunny Florida?

    Susannah Pushkin, whose grandparents were originally from Baywood, is hoping someone will agree to trade her a home in Galax in exchange for her 1,358-square-foot house in Lantana, Fl.

    Pushkin is the owner of a two-story, 100-year-old farmhouse in the Baywood community of Grayson County, and is looking for something to do with the property. In order to begin working on the place, she needs a home back in Galax.

  • When the show's over, actors Randy Carico and Art Pemberton might have an identity crisis.

    The pair stars in the Galax Theatre Guild and New River Players production of the popular laugh-out-loud comedy “Greater Tuna,” opening later this month at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

    Carico, of Pinnacle, N.C., and Pemberton, of Galax, portray all of the 20 eccentric characters — of both genders and various ages — in the town of Tuna, Tex.

    They quickly change personas and costumes throughout the production.

  • The little speckled dog with the black face sits obediently by his owner's feet, never daring to get up and even resisting the primal urge in every canine to run after a thrown ball or chase little tykes around the room.

    It's this kind and gentle demeanor that made Hampton's trainer suggest that he become a therapy dog.

    Now, the 2-year-old heeler/springer spaniel mix is certified and qualified to put people at ease and spread good will.

  • The $661,509 renovation of Chestnut Creek School of the Arts seems to be running on budget and on schedule as South End Construction transforms the former First National Bank in downtown Galax, into the art school, with completion expected no later than the first week in August.

    “The inside job helps out quite a bit during this time of year,” said City Manager Keith Holland. “There hasn't been much of a weather delay.”

  • When the Korean War ended more than 50 years ago, the enemy never returned or accounted for more than 8,000 American servicemen.

    Since that time, DNA matching has been perfected and more and more remains are being recovered in North Korea.

    The government is obligated to return those remains to their families, and Harold Davis — a 78-year-old combat veteran of the Korean War — is working with the U.S. military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to ensure all those soldiers' remains are sent home.