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Features

  • Like most parents, Carrie Phipps — a mother of three and director of the Wellness Center in Galax — has begun to notice how technology has replaced the kind of active play children once knew, the sharp decline in physical activity and the lack of children's fitness programs.

    "There's not a lot offered in the area for this population, except for sports," said Phipps. "And with a lot of sports, heavier kids cannot participate."

  • It was a political prank worthy of The Joker himself.

    On Monday, motorists in Galax were startled, befuddled and — if they know their Batman comics and movies — maybe amused by a group of phony political campaigners handing out literature near Twin County Cinema III.

    Three well-dressed teens held balloons and signs that read “Take Back Gotham City — Vote Harvey Dent.”

    No, you haven’t missed Dent’s bid for president, and he’s not running for state office or city council.

  • That aroma in downtown Galax on Saturday wasn’t just the mouthwatering scent of smoked pork and tangy barbecue sauce.

    For a local team of cooks, it was the sweet smell of a long-sought victory.

    The Nervous Wreck Cooking Crew of Galax won first prize in the “Anything But” category at the 4th Annual Smoke On The Mountain State Barbecue Championship on Saturday.

    Team leaders Mark Davis and Cody Cline beat experienced, world-champion teams with their tender, juicy beef brisket.

  • Never let it be said that the folks who put on the Smoke On The Mountain state barbecue cookoff don’t go out of their way to help those who participate in the event.

    On Tuesday, when word reached the event’s volunteer coordinator, Carlene Poole, that the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile had gotten into a beef with police, she mustered the courage to ride to the rescue.

    Poole said she heard through a friend that the iconic vehicle had a run-in with police on its way to an appearance at the barbecue contest, which starts Friday in downtown Galax.

  • As a team of three Galax High School students stood anxiously on stage in a hotel conference room in Reston with several other competing school teams, recent high school graduate Drew Bobbitt said he was in shock as the GHS team was announced for first place in the state Future Business Leaders of America competition.

    "After we won, I called my parents, and I was so excited I was shaking talking to them," said Bobbitt. "I wasn't expecting to win. I was just along for the enjoyment."

  • With only one proposal on the table, Carroll officials are still marketing 91 acres owned by the county — and a partner in the venture to build the 600-seat Mayberry Opry music venue says he welcomes competition.

    Marshall Lineberry of Weststar Investments met with reporters — and Carroll Supervisors’ Chairman Sam Dickson, as it turned out — at the Crossroads Institute last Thursday to discuss the status of the Mayberry Opry project, after the county supervisors and the Industrial Development Authority members decided to market the land again.

  • A free party that's fun for all ages, Galax's new summer concert series “Groovin' On Grayson” will offer a chance to enjoy live outdoor music with friends — and the possibility of making new ones.

    While Galax is rich in its bluegrass and old-time musical heritage, the Galax Downtown Association wants to book local musicians that perform other genres — rock, rhythm and blues, beach, country, swing and jazz.

  • Job losses and plant closings have made it difficult for Twin County United Way to raise money for its annual campaign, but the non-profit organization still managed to raise 87 percent of its goal of $220,000 during its 2007 campaign, which recently concluded.

    TCUW raised a total of $192,000 to fund its partner agencies.

    "Job loss has affected everything," said Kim Rosenbaum, executive director of TCUW. "The ones that have been givers throughout the years are now the ones who need help."

  • Two couples in Galax are first-time homeowners, thanks to a partnership between local and federal agencies that provides new houses for people who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

    Jean and Rodney Howard and Donald and Beth Caldwell recently moved into new homes in the Knob Hill subdivision in Galax.

    The community started in 1995 and has grown to include more than a dozen homes for low- to moderate-income families.

  • The Whitetop Mountain Band from Grayson County recently was signed by Mountain Roads Recording, a record company in Bristol, Tenn.

    The traveling family band hails from the high mountains of Grayson.

    In a press release, the company said “Whitetop is a region rich in the old-time music tradition; this band has deep roots in mountain music. The members have done much to preserve the Whitetop region’s style of old-time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style.”

  • INDEPENDENCE — The legend says Caty Sage was taken from her home in Elk Creek in 1792 and found 50 years later living with an American Indian tribe in Kansas.

    A story that was once written primarily for adults has now been translated into a children’s book by Ellie Kirby.

    Kirby is from Mouth of Wilson and is well known for her prints of illustrations from her children’s book, “Under the Snowball Tree,” and now her newest book, “The Legend of Caty Sage.”

  • Brightly colored steel benches, planters, banners, entry arches and flower boxes are just some of the potentially inexpensive design concepts that could transition the dark, unattractive downtown alleyways into vivid, lively corridors for Galax visitors.

    A few months ago, the state awarded Galax a Community Development Block Grant to make improvements to storefronts.

  • CVFallout.com will rock the youth ministry at Cliffview Church of God with a series of concerts beginning today, Friday.

    The jams kick off with all-girl Christian band Ilia appearing with Galax’s own Shadow of Eternity, starting at 8 p.m.

    Organizer Rob Swiger wanted to raise excitement levels and reach youth through the music, he explained to The Gazette in an e-mail. The opportunities to minister through Christian rock are better than ever.

  • HILLSVILLE — In the midst of treatment for a brain tumor, Emily Beamer's spirit remains untouched.

    In fact, Emily — in typical fashion — inspires good morale among her family members by staying positive and strong, says mother Malinda.

    The recent graduate from Fancy Gap Elementary and rising Woodlawn sixth grader keeps on smiling, despite being diagnosed with pineoblastoma in March.

    "Emily's always smiling, she's always bright and positive," Malinda said. "She's always been that way."

  • ELK CREEK — Nestled in the woods of Elk Creek is a 40-acre farm that offers anyone the opportunity to walk with and learn about goats.

    Paul and Mary Cottenier spent their lives in the hustle and bustle just outside Tampa, Fla. After retiring, the couple began looking for a calmer place to settle down.

    With family in Boone, N.C., the couple first looked for places there. After having no luck, they began looking in the mountains of Virginia.

  • The Blue Ridge Music Center launched its 2008 summer concert series on Saturday. This season, visitors from all over the world will have a chance to hear and learn about many types of Blue Ridge music and to meet people associated with it from this region.

    The visitor center and interpretive museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After Memorial Day weekend it will be open daily. There will be music at the music center daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • For many high school students, finding the right college or career path — or just filling out a financial aid form — can be overwhelming.

    But now, the Virginia Community College System provides high schools with career coaches to help students make future plans. Wytheville Community College offers the career coaches program throughout the area, including at Galax High School.

    Career coaches are on hand most school days.

  • What's Happening

    Monday, Jan. 28

    Rooftop of Virginia CAP Board of Directors meet, Rooftop of Virginia CAP, Main Street, Galax, noon.

    Red Cross Bloodmobile, 11 a.m., Hillsville VFW Post 1115.

    Tuesday, Jan. 29

    Indoor archery practice, Tuesday and Thursday, New River Wildlife building, 7107 Riverside Drive, 6:30 p.m., $3. (276) 744-7158.

    Make Me Warm story hour and Mother Goose, 10:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Galax Public Library. 236-5319, ext. 201 or carlene@wiredog.com.

    Wednesday, Jan. 30

  • What's Happening

    Friday, Jan. 25

    Red Cross blood drive, Independence VFW Post 7726, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donors are entered to win a 42-inch HDTV and a donation to the military support center will be made for each donor who signs in.

    Pinto bean supper and auction rescheduled for Friday at Fries Middle School, 3 to 7 p.m. (276) 744-2542.

    Saturday, Jan. 26

    Hospice volunteer training, session II, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mountain Valley Hospice, Mount Airy, N.C., office. (336) 789-2922 or (888) 789-2922.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Two Grayson County farms that guard the scenic view and water quality along five miles of the New River will be forever protected in their natural state, thanks to conservation easements donated by their owners in 2007.

    Grayson County was one of the region’s leaders in land conservation in 2007 with nearly 1,392 acres protected, according to the New River Land Trust.