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Features

  • COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Soon after clogging team Rhythm 'N' Motion stepped down off the Grand Ole Opry stage Oct. 10, they earned an encore appearance by winning the America's Clogging Hall of Fame nationals against about 400 other competitors.

    The repeat champion team features four dancers who first practiced on stages in the Twin Counties — Melissa Pack, Christina Nobili, Dereck Galyean and Kody Hash.

  • HILLSVILLE — As an educator of at-risk students, Lisa Hurst believes she has to be a "risk taker" to get them involved in the learning process.

    Her successes in the Regional Alternative Education Center classroom have led to her being named Carroll County's Teacher of the Year.

    Members of the school board presented the award last Tuesday at their regular November meeting.

    Hurst, who earned a bachelor of arts in English from High Point University in 1986, plans to complete her master's degree work in English education by next May.

  • Firefighters, ranging from fresh recruits to seasoned veterans gathered outside Vaughan-Guynn Funeral Home on Nov. 11 in their crisp blue dress uniforms and white gloves.

    They spoke quietly and huddled tightly amid dozens of fire engines lining the street.

    Each badge bore a black ribbon in remembrance of their lost brother.

    The Galax Volunteer Fire Department came together to pay tribute to one of its oldest and most influential members, Joe Crockett.

  • Joe Crockett, a longtime firefighter and station manager of Galax's WBOB-AM, died on Nov. 8 at the age of 88.

    Joseph Pierce Crockett is remembered as the driving force behind the modern Galax Volunteer Fire Department, to which he dedicated nearly 60 years of his life — 32 of those as chief.

    He was a civic-minded man with a passion for the fire department and the annual “Galax Community Christmas Party” charity event.

    Crockett was in the radio business in Galax for 38 years, during which he served as station manager of WBOB — now WWWJ-AM.

  • FRIES — The Fries Recreation Center has hired its first full-time director in years — but didn’t have to search long to find the man for the job.

    Randy Shinault was recently named the full-time director. Longing to obtain the position one occupied by his mentor, long-time director Sap Jones, Shinault dreamed of the day he might take over the reins.

    At 12-years-old, Shinault began working at the rec center as a pin setter. Since then, he has done everything, from cleaning, mowing grass, umpiring and coaching.

  • Decades have passed since the telegram arrived at the Roberts' home in Woodlawn announcing the death of PFC John Roberts while fighting in Italy.

    His sister, Grace Cole, had the front page of her World War II scrapbook reserved for news about her brother's service.

    The scrapbook remained stored underneath a table in her living room, where the rest of her albums are kept.

    The pages have yellowed over time, the glue has dried out and some of the clippings have come unstuck.

  • Princess Davis, a third-grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School has been named the Galax Wal-Mart store's teacher of the year for 2008, after she was chosen from nominees in the Twin County area.

    Wal-Mart officials presented the award to Davis during a surprise ceremony amongst family, friends, faculty, staff and students of Fairview Elementary. Her daughter and granddaughter even flew in from Atlanta for the event.

    A graduate and dedicated fan of Virginia Tech, Davis has taught third grade a Fairview for 36 years, inspiring more than 700 students.

  • WOODLAWN — A Woodlawn couple set on "helping every dog they can" has unleashed fundraising activities now that the IRS has granted non-profit status to Critters Animal Rescue and Adoption.

    Pam and Doug Scarberry have been organizing their animal rescue for about two years, and had been waiting an agonizingly long time for the federal paperwork to come through.

    They thought about quitting, but then they thought about why an animal rescue is needed.

  • In the Galax Theatre Guild and New River Players' production of the romantic, light-hearted comedy, “I Take This Man,” a woman tricks an amnesiac into thinking he's her loving husband, leading to a hilarious series of events.

    The guild will present the play on Nov. 15 and 22 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

  • FAIRVIEW — The 2nd Annual HOPEfest on Oct. 11 raised more than $14,000 to benefit the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program (ISOP) and Grayson-Carroll Shriners.

    Jennifer and Brandon Davis, of Galax, organized the event, held at the Fairview Ruritan Club.

    The couple's 3-year-old son Evan developed infantile scoliosis at three months of age.

    After spending all but three months of his life in casts and braces, Evan is hopefully done.

  • INDEPENDENCE — A minister known as having a “million friends” and who preached an estimated 6,000 local funerals has died.

    The Rev. Fred E. Jennings, 80, of Baywood, died last Tuesday.

    Jennings was born and raised in Grayson County where he spread the Word of God for more than 50-years.

  • After battling a lawsuit for the past few years regarding the placement of a veterans' monument, the City of Galax can now proceed with plans to help a group of local veterans and volunteers erect the Twin County Veterans Memorial at the Galax Public Library.

    With the suit ending in the city's favor, Galax is moving forward with securing the services of a consulting engineer for technical design and cost estimates for the memorial designed by Todd Price, an artist from Elk Creek.

  • As Halloween looms near, the Galax Downtown Association prepares for the 4th Annual Halloween Monster Bash from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

    The event will feature annual favorites, such as a costume contest for prizes, games, activities, candy, live DJ music by Tyler Carpenter at the Grayson Stage and free hot dogs for the kids.

    In the spirit of a free, safe and fun Halloween for all to enjoy, creepy creatures and frightening figures have appeared in the store windows downtown, giving residents a chance to play the “Monster Hunt” game and enter to win prizes.

  • The new coordinator of the Mount Rogers Powerhouse Clubhouse plans to match the improvements in downtown Galax with positive changes at the facility on Main Street.

    Rick Whisenhunt, the newly named coordinator and local who graduated from Galax High School in 1996, wants to boost visibility of clubhouse members in the community.

    Powerhouse is a daytime-only service center for individuals who need a little extra support in a friendly family atmosphere, he said.

    “The main thing with us is helping people with the extra challenges they face each day.”

  • When Mark Davis and Cody Cline started out in the barbecue catering business as Squealers Authentic BBQ Company more than a year ago, their intentions were to become restaurant owners, serving only the best homemade foods around.

    In fact, Davis, who worked for many years at The Gazette and The Carroll News, quit his newspaper job to make a career out of barbecuing.

    Cline, a full-time mechanic at Hills Trucking, spends 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the grill, perfecting barbecue.

  • Little Ty Dixon seemed like a normal baby, but at age 6 his parents — Angela and Brian Dixon of Galax — found they had been blessed with something special.

    As an infant, Ty sat up and crawled early. But as he grew into a toddler, red flags went up for Angela and Brian.

    Ty didn’t walk until 19 months. And by age 3, when toddlers speak in full sentences, Ty was only saying a couple of words here and there, and potty training became a challenge.

  • Galax City Schools was one of just 26 Virginia school divisions in which all of a locality’s schools met 29 annual performance benchmarks for 2007-2008 toward “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind Act.

    Among 132 school divisions in the commonwealth, Galax City Schools was one of the 17 divisions in which all schools made adequate yearly progress and the division as a whole made progress.

  • Hanging up fliers and decorating cars in red, white and blue, locals are cheering on 11-year-old Alexandra Pyles of Galax and her teammates, who will appear in the next round of competition on the NBC reality show “America’s Got Talent” tomorrow, Tuesday, when the show goes live in Los Angeles at 8 p.m.

    Alexandra left for Los Angeles on Aug. 19.

    She is receiving national and regional recognition. On Aug. 18, she was interviewed by the Winston-Salem Journal and WXII Channel 12 News in Winston-Salem, N.C.

  • On Saturday evening, a program saluting the Round Peak sound will be presented at the Blue Ridge Music Center.

    Paul Brown, a Washington-based newscaster and reporter for National Public Radio, will host the 7 p.m. program.

    Brown is heard most mornings coast-to-coast on NPR’s Morning Edition.

    During his youth Brown came to the Galax area to learn Round Peak music, and he remains an enthusiastic supporter of the sound.

  • The Town of Fries, population 697, is the place where the country music industry really began. Located in a sheltered cove of the beautiful New River, tiny Fries had a major impact upon American music.

    Other places in Grayson and Carroll counties have a rich musical history, but Fries keeps its heritage alive in a picture-perfect setting — and those musical traditions thrive.

    In 1923, loom tender Henry Whitter, an employee of the old Washington Cotton Mill in Fries, became the first singer to record a country record.