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Features

  • A total of 22 teams competed on July 19-20 in Galax at the 9th Annual Smoke on the Mounatin BBQ Championship. Barbecue teams from all over — from local contenders to nationally known celebrity cooks — gathered for the city's first dual contest, featuring both the traditional Memphis Barbecue Network competition and, for the first time in Galax, a Kansas City Barbecue Society contest. Below are the winners in each category. Watch The Gazette on Wednesday for photos and coverage of the event.

  • FRIES — Blue Cat on the New has reeled in the contract for a pilot program to increase accessibility on the New River Trail State Park.
    Only this outfitter, with locations in Fries and Draper, has received permission from the state to host tours of portions of the popular trail using golf carts.
    Business owner Donnie Turner’s application was accepted last winter when the state park system sought proposals.
    The tours out of the Fries location can stretch to about 2.5 hours and extend as far as Byllesby Dam and the Gambetta area.

  • HILLSVILLE — A new idea to raise money to “flush out cancer” continues to float around the community.
    A group of Galax-Carroll Relay for Life participants, Team Lifesavers, have been stealthily placing their plumbing-related fundraising tool in some high-traffic locations.
    “Our team is made up of teenagers who are working in memory of those lost to cancer or in honor of those who have survived or are fighting now,” the accompanying documentation says. “Please help us by supporting our effort to ‘Flush Out Cancer.”

  • The 9th Annual Smoke on the Mountain barbecue championship will offer a dual competition for participants this year. In addition to scoring points in the traditional Memphis BBQ Network competition, vendors can also place in the Kansas City BBQ Society contest.
    Smoke on the Mountain, the official state barbecue cook-off, is held in downtown Galax each year in July. This year's event is July 19-20. The smell of authentic barbecue prepared by award-winning vendors is enough to draw in thousands of people each year for the two-day event.

  • The winners of the Personal Training Transformation Challenge have been announced, and the two selected from more than a dozen entries soon will begin a 12-week personal training session through the Twin County Wellness Center of Twin County Regional Healthcare.
    The winners were chosen in two separate categories: personal training and medical rehabilitation. Travis Haynes was chosen to receive the personal training challenge, and Treva Osborne was picked for the medical rehabilitation challenge.

  • INDEPENDENCE — One thing’s for sure – when it’s time for a baby to be born, it’s going to happen when it’s time, whether it’s in a hospital or in the back of a rescue squad ambulance.
    This was the case early June 6 when the Independence Volunteer Rescue Squad was en route to Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax with a maternity patient.
    The squad was dispatched to the residence of Jessica Billings on Old Bridle Creek. They loaded her onto the ambulance at 2:10 a.m.

  • Local churches are uniting to bring a four-night youth event back to Galax on July 21-24, this year with a focus on extreme sports and skateboarding.

  • Fourth of July celebrations are abundant this Thursday, with parades, fireworks, music and more in multiple locations. Here’s a guide to the Fourth festivities in Independence, Galax, Hillsville, Fries, Lambsburg and Ivanhoe

    Independence
    The Town of Independence will offer a full day of events.
    The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with the annual parade, which will start at the intersection of U.S. 58 and U.S. 21 at the 1908 Courthouse and end at the Food City parking lot at the Guynn Shopping Center.

  • The annual Galax Firemen’s Carnival begins its festivities on June 24 and continues through June 29 at Felts Park in Galax.
    Normally held on the week of July 4, the carnival was pushed back this year due to scheduling conflicts, according to the fire department. “Normally, when a carnival is booked, it is from a previous year with a city or town. We have recently been carnival shopping and these dates are what we got,” department officials explained on the GVFD’s Facebook page.

  • WALES, United Kingdom — The team that won a competition to highlight the importance of a copperworks in the Industrial Revolution drew its focus from Jared Bowers, a Carroll County native and 2001 graduate of Carroll County High School.
     Bowers is a doctoral candidate at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.

  • Dozens of swimmers participated in an attempt at breaking the record for the world’s largest swim lesson on June 18 at the Galax Recreation Center’s indoor pool.
    Beginning at 11 a.m., aquatics coordinator Trace Lumpkin led a class of 32 into the water for their lesson at the same time as other participating instructors in more than 700 locations around the world.
    The current Guinness World Record is held by Team WLSL (USA), which tallied 19,322 participants in 235 locations throughout the world on June 14, 2011.

  • The annual Galax Firemen’s Carnival begins its festivities on June 24 and continues through June 29 at Felts Park in Galax.
    Normally held on the week of July 4, the carnival was pushed back this year due to scheduling conflicts, according to the fire department. “Normally, when a carnival is booked, it is from a previous year with a city or town. We have recently been carnival shopping and these dates are what we got,” department officials explained on the GVFD’s Facebook page.

  • Cruisin’ and Groovin’ in Galax begins this Friday at 5 p.m. in downtown Galax.
    This is the first of three Cruisin’ and Groovin’ classic car cruise-in events planned in Galax this year, with two others scheduled for July 12 and Aug. 16.
    Streets will close and car registration will begin at 4 p.m. The cruising event begins at 5 p.m., with music by The Attractions beginning at 6 p.m.

  • HILLSVILLE — Members of the Grover King VFW Post 1115 and Ladies Auxiliary held a special ceremony on Flag Day to honor a beautiful symbol of the United States’ national pride, according to organizer Don Dobbins.
    The Stars and Stripes is the fourth-oldest banner in the world, older than even the flags of Great Britain and France.
    “Their countries might be older than ours, but our flag is older than theirs,” he said.

  • Twin County Wellness Center has partnered with The Gazette to offer 2 people each a free, 12-week personal training session!

  • In January, Vatress Williams of Woodlawn handed the Carroll Chapter of Project Linus over to Sarah Melton of Independence.

    Williams had served Project Linus for about five years and got the chapter to supply 4,030 blankets to children in the area.

  • HILLSVILLE — Lilias Turman, 90, reported to the Grover King Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1115 at 5 a.m. on May 15 to help cook breakfast for the many law enforcement representatives that attended the Peace Officers Memorial Day observance.
    It’s for actions like this in a busy schedule of helping her community that Turman’s sisters in the VFW ladies’ auxiliary recognized her as volunteer of the year in Loyalty Day activities.

  • Luke Hampton, an Alleghany County wrestler paralyzed after his spine was injured during a match, is now running his own business and training young grapplers. On Sunday, a free concert in Sparta, N.C., will benefit Alleghany Special Olympics in honor of Hampton.

  • Beginning on May 21, the Galax Recreation Center is offering a new exercise program designed to improve the health of current and former breast cancer patients.
    Leading the class is cancer exercise specialist Renee Stoneman, a fitness guru who is dedicated to improving and maintaining cancer patients’ health.

  • WHITETOP — Grayson Highlands State Park is a beautiful place to visit, hike, camp or just get away from your regular routine. Just be sure to keep your eye to the sky for fast changing weather conditions and always go prepared.
    After my many visits there, I always had a lingering disappointment in the back of my mind every time I was about to make my way down the long winding road out of the park – I still had yet to see the infamous wild ponies that inhabit the balds of the mountain top, which I had heard so many stories about.