.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Features

  • INDEPENDENCE — Last year, the Independence VFW and Ladies Auxiliary lent a helping hand to Santa and to their neighbors by purchasing and distributing toys for more than 400 local families at Christmas.
    This year, Santa will have even more helpers.
    Members of the Independence Police Department, Independence Volunteer Fire Department and town council have teamed up to form “Independence Cares,” an organization that will hold a coat and toy drive for local children during the Christmas season.

  • Oakland Elementary School’s kindergarten classes are raising funds to send 75 gift stockings to an adopted soldier’s unit this Christmas.
    Operation “Santa Soldier” Stockings not only involves students in putting together gifts for American soldiers for the holidays, but also establishes a bond between the adopted unit and students through a pen pal program. Students will write to the soldiers and hear back about their travels overseas.

  • ATLANTA, Ga. — Like the undead creatures he has played on “The Walking Dead,” actor PJ McDonnell just keeps coming back.
    The native of Grayson County has shambled his way through three episodes of the mega-popular zombie survival TV series in the past two years. Two gunshots to the head and a decapitation by sword weren’t enough to keep him down.

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff

    After readying the equipment and flipping off the lights, three members of Lambsburg-based paranormal team Operation Spiritseekers marched into the basement of a Galax restaurant.
    Their trip down the steep stairs lead into a dark basement, where Rachel McDonald placed several pieces of electronic equipment and sensors, a flashlight and a ball  — all devices that a spirit could use to communicate with the living — in a cluster on the basement floor. Standing back, she spoke into the blackness.

  • HILLSVILLE — What has it taken for a zombie nurse named Ingaborg Twitch to become a recognizable local figure in a world full of creeps?
    The short answer is blood, sweat and urine.
    While the sweat is real enough, the blood is fake and the urine belongs to those who get particularly shocked by Lesley Catron and the scare troupe Reeking Havok.
    Fright fame might seem like just an apparition for many haunted house spooks, but Hillsville hosts a real local “scare-lebrity.”

  • Author Joe Tennis has collected dozens of ghost stories from throughout Southwest Virginia and Tennessee for his latest book — tales of spectres, witches, phantom trains and an apocalyptic cyclone.
    Earlier this year, Tennis held listeners in his thrall at a discussion of these supernatural stories at the Crossroads Institute in Galax. It was part of an ongoing series to teach locals about the area’s heritage.
    A native of Virginia Beach who lives in Bristol, Tennis, 44, is a columnist for the Bristol Herald Courier. He has also written for Virginia Living.

  • Just as it does during fires or floods, Twin County E-911’s law enforcement and emergency services community  responded quickly when one of its own found himself in need.
    Emergency dispatcher Matthew Chappell’s colleagues and friends are working to raise money to buy a wheelchair and cover medical bills after a lengthy hospitalization.

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff

    Forty years ago, Twin County Regional Hospital opened its doors for the first time to begin a new effort of community-oriented healthcare.
    Today, through its many changes, the staff hopes to continue serving the community through a growing affiliation with Duke LifePoint.

  • Oakland Elementary School celebrated their annual Festival of Culture on Oct. 17. Students and their families were invited to a potluck dinner featuring dishes from different cultures, followed by an evening of fun games and entertainment.

  • CANA — St. Paul’s beloved librarian will continue to have an impact on the school and the community where she taught and touched the lives of students for 37 years.
    Joyce Slate had enough time in her career to make a generational impact on St. Paul students and on their sons and daughters, as she encouraged reading, sponsored the yearbook, documented the school year with her camera, took children on field trips and threw fundraising events to be able to afford those trips.

  • FRIES — The Fries Volunteer Fire Department hosted a ranch rodeo and horse show on Oct. 11 and 12 at the Providence School grounds, featuring plenty of competitions and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

    Competitors from every skill level galloped into the ring, from stick ponies to racing steeds.

  • A holiday tradition will come full circle in the City of Galax this year as the annual Community Christmas Chest project is passed back into the charge of the Galax Volunteer Fire Department.
    Over the past 30 years, the fundraising project that puts together food boxes for the needy at Christmas, has been tended by the Galax Y’s Men Club, which has fostered a strong increase in community support. This year, the club has decided to give the project back to the organization that originally oversaw it.

  • INDEPENDENCE — Planning is underway and registration is open for one of the most unique events in Grayson County, perhaps even in the country — the 31st Annual Mountain Foliage Festival and Grand Privy Race.

  • This year, the Galax Downtown Association (GDA) will still host the city’s annual Halloween celebration, but the merchants’ organization members will make it a community event instead of trying to do it all themselves.

  • Twin County homeowners may want to keep a vacuum handy this fall in case the most recent insect invader wants to take refuge somewhere cozy.
    Virginia researchers studying the kudzu bug have mostly confined their work to the effect of the rapidly spreading insect on row crops, according to Virginia Extension Service and Virginia Tech entomologist Ames Herbert.

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff

    It’s official: The Galax Smokehouse has become a popular hangout for many people in the community — perhaps even those who are no longer with us.
    Restaurant co-owner and operator Dan Milby confirmed that the downtown Galax business will be featured this weekend on a new episode of “My Ghost Story: Caught on Camera,” a paranormal series on the Biography Channel.

  • Two winners were chosen to transform themselves through personal training, and The Gazette is following their progress. With less than a month to go, Travis Haynes has nearly reached the end of his 12-week journey, while Treva Osborne has been medically cleared to begin a transformation of her very own.

  • Three happy babies flashed their winning smiles and dimples on Friday, when they took first, second and third place in voting for The Gazette’s 2013 Beautiful Baby Photo Contest.
    This contest is an annual effort to raise funds to support The Gazette’s Newspapers in Education program, which helps to provide newspapers to local schools for educational purposes.

  • When the mail arrives for soldiers stationed overseas, the contents of the mailbag can make or break the mood at camp that day.
    A letter from husbands, wives, parents, children or even a stranger is all it takes to give a soldier that important connection to the home they are fighting for, along with the means to escape their surroundings for a minute or two.

  • HILLSVILLE — Hookah Hook-up owner Ayman Anwar’s vision for his second Main Street business isn’t hazy at all — he says it’s all about the atmosphere.
    The idea to open the smoking lounge next door to his Italian restaurant, Juliano’s, is unique in the Twin Counties, he said. But, he believes a unique attraction is something the town could benefit from.