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Features

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff
    Charity Shupe of Woodlawn is checking her mailbox every day for letters and Christmas cards from the community, following a recent request that she posted online on behalf of her father, Charlie Alderman.
    “Please read this... A lot of my [Facebook] friends are aware of my father’s situation... I am not asking for money or handouts, however I would love nothing more than to make this Christmas special [for him],” Charity posted on a public Facebook page earlier this month.

  • CANA — The Feeding America site in Cana supplies thousands of pounds of food to people in distressed areas, as fundraising continues to supply the local match to pay for 10 months of the service.
    Skills USA clubs at Carroll County High School threw a barbecue meal fundraiser on Oct. 30 go toward the $5,000 needed to secure the program.
    Fundraiser organizers presented a check for the $3,000 raised at the Feeding America mobile pantry at St. Paul on Nov. 19 to the Southwestern Virginia organization’s John Shoulders.

  • When nine-year-old Dylan Bedwell was asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, he gave his family a surprising answer.
    He didn’t ask for toys, games, clothes or money. Instead, he wanted to do something special for others.
    Bedwell, who turned 10 on Nov. 19, is asking friends and family to skip getting him presents this year, and instead make a donation of food and/or other basic necessities to The Galax Hope House during his birthday party this Saturday.

  • For her senior project, Galax High School student Bentley Cornett has enlisted the help of her youth group at Baywood Wesleyan Church to collect over-the-counter medication for patients in El Salvador.
    Cornett and her group, a pantomime team called “Silent Praise,” will perform skits at the high school on Nov. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. Medicine will be collected at the door for admission.

  • By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff

    Missionary Doug Donithan scrolled through the collection of photos that he’s taken over the years in Tacloban, his home city in the Philippines where he has served for over 20 years.
    Photos flashed across the screen of smiling children playing in and around modest but immaculately tidy homes; quaint street markets filled with busy customers; worship sessions in two different rental buildings that served the group as churches; and fisherman launching their boats into the crystal clear water.

  • With holiday supplies already covering the store shelves, Galax individuals, families, churches and groups are working to make Christmas a reality for needy kids around the world by filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.
    Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, is ramping up as Galax residents prepare to collect more than 850 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week (Nov. 18-25), according to a news release.

  • Two winners were chosen to transform themselves through personal training, and The Gazette is following their progress. Travis Haynes has completed his 12-week journey, while Treva Osborne is still undergoing a transformation to improve her overall health.

  • 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.