• HoustonFest’s 2019 lineup includes Shenandoah, Dailey & Vincent and EmiSunshine, as well as many returning favorites, new faces and the popular Youth Stage.

    HoustonFest will be held in Galax’s Felts Park on June 7-8.

    Dailey & Vincent (Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, backed by their band) are five-time Grammy award winners individually, three-time Grammy nominees collectively, four-time DOVE Award winners and winners of 35 IBMA awards altogether, including three-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year and three-time Vocal Group of the Year awards.

  • TROUTDALE — Local author Deborah T. Clark will hold a reading for her new book, “Friend, Foe, or Family,” at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by a signing at Chapters Book Shop at 5 p.m.

    Clark has won numerous literary honors, including first place prizes for fiction at Wytheville’s Chautauqua Writing Contest and the Sherwood Anderson Prize for Creative Writing.

    The Grayson County resident is a part-time reporter for The Gazette and The Declaration and a former teacher.

  • Young ministers of the Sky View Academy let their commitment of creating a solid foundation for youth flourish this past week by donating an array of useful items to the Tri-Area Pregnancy Center in Galax, to be dispersed to new parents and children in the Twin Counties.

    The academy, a ministry of Sky View Missionary Baptist Church in Fancy Gap, is comprised of children and members of the congregation with the collective mission of providing local children with a solid foundation to thrive physically, mentally and spiritually.

  • Capital News Service

    RICHMOND — Irish eyes are smiling in Virginia.

    The commonwealth is home to about 790,000 people with Irish heritage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is about 9.5 percent of the state’s total population.

    The percentage of residents with Irish ancestry ranges from 2.6 percent in Petersburg to 16.5 percent in Rappahannock County.

  • Staff Report

    RICHMOND – Virginia State Parks are partnering with the national organization Park Rx America to help more people enjoy the outdoors.

    The nonprofit Park Rx America works with doctors to prescribe nature to patients as part of routine healthcare.

  • SOUTH KOREA — In his training courses with the U.S. Air Force, James Sizemore’s peers were mostly between 18 and 26 years old.

    While he shared their eagerness to serve, the former Twin Counties resident stood out from his fellow trainees in one very noticeable way — he was about twice their age.

    After a previous stint in the military and a civilian career in aviation, Sizemore found himself beginning a new chapter in his life at age 50, as a member of the D.C. Air National Guard.

  • Dumpling, the feral fowl that lived in the wooded area next to Long John Silver’s of Galax and enjoyed dining on their corn and hushpuppies, now dines off a menu of berries and other treats at her new home.

    Heather Nichols of Woodlawn has adopted the chicken, who she says is adjusting well to a life of (very pampered) captivity.

    According to Nichols, she saw a post in a local Facebook message group that said someone needed to come get Dumpling, as the chicken was named by the fast food workers who temporarily adopted her.

  • The 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration was held at McMillian Ministries church on South Main Street on Sunday, with singing, prayers, praise and testimony, in addition to the words of guest speaker Chief DeWitt Cooper of the Galax Police Department.

    The opening prayer was conducted by Sister Hilda Tucker, with the conclusion delivered by Evangelist Gloria Richardson.

  • Patrons of the Galax Long John Silver’s know chicken is on the menu — but one fowl outside is dining off of it.

    Dumpling, as the chicken was named by restaurant employees, eats a diet supplemented by the restaurant staff, who give her corn and hushpuppies, according to manager Joey West, who laughs a little when describing the bird. The rest of the time, Dumpling can be found scratching grubs at the edge of the woods.

    The chicken showed up around the time heavy snow hit Galax last month and has stayed ever since, West said.

  • FRIES — On Joe Vaughan’s last day as a bus driver, the staff of Fries School staff, Grayson County school system personnel and county board members celebrated his 55-year career.

    On Nov. 30, Vaughan was presented with a certificate and cake from Sandra Anders, director of transportation; an envelope from Susie Funk, assistant superintendent of instruction; and a walking stick to use during his retirement from Fries Principal John Alexander.

  • Fancy Gap Pre-K


    I would like the black dinosaur from Wal-Mart. I would also like a dragon. Can I pet your reindeer?


    What do you tell your reindeer to do? I want a yoyo and a stuffed animal mouse. Thank you Santa!


    Santa can I have a motorcycle with no training wheels and some Legos? Thank you so much. Your reindeer are cool!


    I would like a bike and clothes for Christmas. How do your reindeer fly?


  • INDEPENDENCE — Tourism continues to be a top priority in Grayson, and less than one month into her new position as tourism support specialist, Tracy Cornett is excited to promote what the county has to offer.

    Cornett officially began her new position on Nov. 19. She filled the seat previously occupied by Rhonda Sproviero, who announced in November that she would be taking a full-time position in the county’s building department.

  • Joe Lauer of Hillsville shared these photos of a giant snowman he and his friends built Monday after the weekend’s storm, which dropped nearly two feet of snow on the Twin Counties.

    The snowman across from Willie’s Drive-In on U.S. 221 in Hillsville is more than 18 feet tall.

    Lauer said the project took about three hours and they used a skid loader to stack the huge pieces.

  • Thanks to Hillsville resident Tracey Hodge, critters at the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Animal Shelter are having a Merry Christmas.

    When Hodge took a stray mama cat and its kittens to the shelter, she missed it so much she ended up going back and adopting it. The mother, now known as Cricket, was old and Hodge was afraid it would end up not being taken by someone.

    However, she felt bad for all the cats and dogs in there who wouldn’t have a loving home to enjoy the holidays in. This month is seeing a high volume of animals at the shelter.

  • HILLSVILLE – The community has come together during this holiday season for the first-ever “Lawn of Hope,” a Relay for Life fundraiser with a touch of Christmas spirit.

    On Dec. 1, the blue house at 1815 North Main Street in downtown Hillsville added holiday décor to its lawn for a good cause. Twenty trees were set up on the grounds for members of the community to “adopt” and decorate, with all proceeds going to the America Cancer Society.

  • Neil Anderson is being remembered as an active member of the first responder community in the City of Galax and Grayson County, with more than three decades as a volunteer firefighter.

    Anderson, 62, of Galax, passed away on Dec. 3, after an illness.

    Some of his fellow firefighters took a moment this week to remember and honor him.

  • FRIES — Star Market in Fries began a new holiday tradition this year, with the introduction of a Christmas tree that is dedicated to honoring area veterans.

    Put together by Nichelle Funk, who frequently volunteers to help at the market, the tree currently holds more than 200 ornaments with the names of area veterans; and more than 50 other names are still waiting to be added.

  • Staff Reports

    Early December will be full of festive family fun in the Twin Counties, with Christmas-themed activities ranging from caroling and parades to a holiday ballet and musical performances.

    The holiday season kicks off this Saturday, with events in Hillsville, Independence and Fries; and continues next weekend with more fun in Galax.

    To plan your festivities, here’s a schedule of what’s happening in the area:


  • INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County Public Library recently received a telescope donated by the Echo Ridge Astronomical League — a local group dedicated to the study and teachings of astronomy to the general public.

    The Orion Star Blast 45 Astron Reflector Telescope was delivered to the library at the end of October. The library and Echo Ridge plan to work in partnership to deliver astronomy programs to patrons of all ages.