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Features

  • Galax’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration is always a time for the black community to rejoice, remember a painful past and look forward to a brighter future.

    But this year — maybe more so than any time since the passing of Civil Rights laws of the 1960s — was a time to lift every voice and sing about the fulfillment of King’s dream of equality for all races.

  • Galax High School performing arts students are back on top of their game this year with a performance of “The Diviners,” a play by Jim Leonard Jr.

    “The Diviners” is a tribute to the Great Depression, small towns and the blessings of life. In the play, C.C. Showers abandons his career as a minister during the Great Depression and stumbles into the small Indiana town of Zion to look for work — only to find that the town has been without a preacher for 10 years.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County School System will be represented in a national education program with NASA.

    Grayson Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Thomas said Daniel Brown, a high school chemistry teacher, was selected to participate in the recently unveiled NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project (ESTCP).

    The project awards more than 40 fellowships each year to educators contributing to the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the project's Web site.

  • It's every parent's worst nightmare — losing a child.

    Ella Ruth Stoneman lived that nightmare last Monday morning when officers came to her work to tell her that her daughter, Amy Stoneman, 28, had been killed in a fire.

    The accident also took the life of Ella Ruth's granddaughter, 4-year-old Deanna Lafferty, and the little girl's father, Larry Stephen Lafferty, 39.

    "She loved to work and she loved her kids," Ella said of her daughter.

  • INDEPENDENCE — You could say that Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan has been tested right from the start.

    Just 40 minutes into his first day as sheriff in Grayson, he participated in a drug bust.

    It was a positive beginning, one of those things that went a long way toward showing Vaughan was the right man for the job.

    But, nothing could have prepared the law enforcement veteran for what came next.

  • HILLSVILLE — It's been many a mile since the Carroll Wellness Center opened almost five years ago, and the non-profit fitness facility remains in step with the community's needs.

    Members have put 1 million miles behind them on the 10 treadmills in those years, for example, said Executive Director Greg Hampton.

    In just the first year, exercisers climbed 29,400 stories on the wellness center's step-mill alone — that's roughly equal to 288 Empire State Buildings.

  • Measuring 10 feet long and cruising with an unmistakable roar, monster is an apt description for the pro-street bike known as "The Dragon."

    Built in Carroll County in the steel garage of Super V Custom, with its Ultima-powered 127-cubic-inch displacement 140-horsepower engine, reptilian scales and eyes and crocodile skin covered seat, The Dragon isn't just a theme bike — it's a dream chopper for Mark Mabry of Max Meadows.

  • A roast of Galax Superintendent Sam Cook, who retired in December and will return to his hometown in Franklin County, turned into a fitting farewell at a Galax schools faculty and staff dinner on Jan. 5, as Cook's friends delivered their heartfelt thanks and appreciation for his 13 years of serving the school system.

    School faculty, city staff, friends and even some students were there to say goodbye to Cook and look back on the successes, memories and famous sayings Cook will leave behind.

  • LAUREL FORK — The owners of Olde Mill stand ready to drive a their idea to make the Carroll County sporting staple into a golf resort community.

    Opened in 1972, the designs always called for creating a golfing community along the course that encompasses 800 acres, including a 54-acre lake, according to Hagen Giles, Olde Mill's general manager.

  • Hillcrest Baptist Church in Galax is providing grocery relief through Angel Food Ministries to everyone bogged down by the rising costs of groceries and other bills during these tough economic times.

    People from all income levels gather at Hillcrest Baptist each month — some waiting an hour before the door opens to pick up their supply of food.

  • The City of Galax, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, will hold a “How to Apply” workshop for businesses located in the city's recently expanded enterprise zones on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Crossroads Institute.

  • Dear Santa,

    I want a pencil holder and a Hana Montana Guitar I have been a good girl I have 2 Brothers Ethan and Danyon they are good too we want a real puppy.

    Love,

    Mychaela Paschall

    age 7

    Dear Santa,

    I want a Hana Montana Guitar a real puppy I have been good I have 2 Brothers + 2 sisters they are good to

    Stephinie Lawon

    age 6

    Ms. Martin’s Fourth Graders

    Fairview Elementary

    Dear Santa,

  • LAUREL FORK — The Laurel Fork community library may be the first that measured its books in pounds.

    That's because an early summer move drove home the weightiness of its collection. Organizer Annetta Stanley estimated the books would tip the scales at more than 5,000 pounds.

    That's about 3,000 books total.

    A Laurel Fork native who lived in North Carolina until her return to the area about nine years ago, Stanley actually Freecycled her way into creating a community library.

  • Conservationists cringed two years ago when the state considered building a prison along the New River in the Cox’s Chapel community of Grayson County.

    Now they can celebrate the fact that the riverfront property has been protected from future development.

  • Chestnut Creek School of the Arts is accepting reservations through Friday for area artisans wishing to participate in instructor orientation.

    All area musicians, artists and crafts people are invited to participate on Jan. 22 from 5-9 p.m. at Crossroads Institute on East Stuart Drive in Galax.

  • The three lead dancers in the upcoming fairy tale production “The Nutcracker” may all still be in high school, but their talent as experienced dancers would make the audience think otherwise.

    Performances of “The Nutcracker” by the Conservatory of Dance & Theatre will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at Galax High School.

    To Taylor Edwards, Tino Sauter and Beth Galyean, “The Nutcracker” is more than just a dance recital. It is part of their way of life.

  • As Charles and Ruth Frangos walk through their home, Charles reaches over to turn on the light switch embraced by a squirrel cover and points out a squirrelly museum of figurines.

    In a collection worth thousands of dollars, taxidermy squirrels deck the walls, crystal figurines stack the shelves of a curio cabinet, squirrel pictures adorn the walls of the kitchen and more than 300 stuffed, ceramic, porcelain and plastic squirrels cram the two six-foot bookshelves in the living room.

  • The Rooftop of Virginia Craft Shop in downtown Galax was stuffed wall to wall on Monday with handmade items like quilts, baby clothes, toys and dolls, crocheted items, Christmas ornaments, homemade soaps, hand-carved decoys, furniture, pottery, jams, pickles, CDs and books — illustrating the diverse talents of local artisans.

    With a little bit of everything to offer, the only thing missing was shoppers.

  • INDEPENDENCE — North Carolina has one, as do most states in America — but not Virginia.

    A Grayson County woman hopes to change that with her composition.

    For nearly 60 years, Virginia's state song was “Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginny.”

    Today, the song's title of official state song has been taken away and a contest to find a new song has been suspended.

  • Instructor Linda Donnell teaches “Shakespeare for Children” at the Conservatory of Dance & Theatre in downtown Galax. For an hour each week for a month, children ages 8 to 12 learn the many aspects of Shakespearean theatre. In the interactive class, they learned dances of the Elizabethan Era, about sonnets, received voice training and played theatre games.

    A dancer and actor, Donnell has trained in Shakespeare, acting, voice, movement and mime under British Professor Emeritus James Dodding, along with her many other achievements and education.