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Features

  • 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.

  • AUSTINVILLE — The lack of a fishing license for her Mexican stepfather led to a heartfelt letter to President Obama that became a national Scholastic contest winner.

    Scholastic Book Clubs named Laurel Elementary fifth-grader Desiree Nguyen as one of 200 "very smart and insightful winners" of the "Dear Mr. President” contest, chosen from nearly 15,000 entries from across the United States.

    Fifth grade teacher Anita Dalton gave her students a chance to enter the writing contest for extra credit.

  • MOUTH OF WILSON — Three-year-old Tyler Musick plays in the floor with his Thomas the Tank Engine train set, not realizing that what he did just days before could have saved his dad's vision.

    On March 23, Tyler and his dad Troy were around their home in Mouth of Wilson. The two went across the street, where an old farm truck was parked.

    It was around 6 p.m., and Troy lifted the hood to check an antifreeze hose on the truck.

    When he did, the hose broke free, spraying the liquid in Troy's eyes.

  • Eggs are a timeless and symbolic part of Easter, representing natural and spiritual rebirth and the circle of life.

    They’re also ticking time bombs of bacteria if improperly cooked and can stink up the house if hidden and not found by your kids for weeks.

    Ah, memories...

    This weekend, millions of families will dip eggs in dye, paint colorful designs and apply stickers of bunnies or Spongebob. And, a lot of them will get sick from eating undercooked eggs.

  • HILLSVILLE — Regina Dalton won't let multiple sclerosis get her down — and she's doing what she can for others, too, through a new support group in the Twin Counties.

    "My personal motto is 'I have MS, but MS doesn't have me,'" she explained when talking about what led her to launch the Twin County MS Support Group. "I'm not going to give in to it... I have too much to live for."

    Though her eyesight has worsened and her energy level has dropped, Dalton remains defiant.

  • It has been 30 years since 60-year-old Nancy Lineberry and her 62-year-old husband Roger have rolled a bowling ball, but recently Roger scored a 198 and Nancy a 168 at a game of bowling — on a Nintendo Wii, that is.

    Since the Galax Recreation Center purchased the popular gaming system for the senior lounge, the Lineberrys said they can finally get back to the sports that they used to enjoy when they were younger, like golf, bowling, tennis and baseball.

  • John Nunn of Galax remembers hearing about a drug store located at the old First National Bank in Galax. The owners kept ice in the basement that they chiseled away from the New River in the winter and used it to cool Coca-Colas — back when Coke was made with cocaine.

    In the 1950s, Nunn recalls that Galax had more manufacturers than any other town, and there were more people working here than lived here, he said.

  • Amidst the rejoicing, Tuesday's historic inauguration brought back memories of a long struggle for the black community in Galax.

    Alfreda Robinson and Wilma Kyle remember when they were not allowed to attend prom, couldn't swim in the community pool and had to sit in the balcony during movies at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

    Carrie Robinson recalls having to gather and carry coal to the pot-belly stove that heated the elementary school and having to use outdoor restrooms.

  • The national credit crunch has idled some construction crews around the Twin Counties, according to a count of permits issued by local building officials' offices.

    In Carroll County alone for 2008, new housing starts fell by more than a quarter from the year before.

    From January to mid-December of this year, the number of building permits issued totaled 98, paperwork from the building official's office shows. That same construction category amounted to 169 for 2007.

    That's a decline of 42 percent.

  • It’s just not like the good old days when times were stress-free.

    Kids spent their time on the farm chasing fireflies, playing hide-and-seek, milking cows and riding horses; and at school, kids played jump rope and tag.

    Now all that's left is memories — Pat Robinson's inspiration for pencil drawings of country settings.

  • HILLSVILLE — Eight-year-old Presley Talley's Down syndrome turned out to be a blessing in disguise, after it likely spared him from the worst ravages of leukemia.

    As Presley's family prepares to celebrate the child being declared cancer-free, they are contemplating the role that the genetic abnormality played in saving him from one of the most feared diseases.

    It looked like Presley had been dealt a bad hand from the start.

    At birth in November 2000, he looked normal to his parents, Greg and Theresa Talley — of Hillsville and Woodlawn, respectively.

  • After months of planning, designing, fundraising and overcoming challenges regarding the placement of the veterans monument, Galax City Council approved a resolution Monday to award an architectural and engineering services contract to Doug Williams of Galax, putting the city one step closer to building the Twin County Veterans Memorial.

    In October 2008, council approved the site for the veterans' memorial on the grounds of the Galax Public Library and decided to move forward with securing the services of a consulting engineer.