Dobson Elementary names Teacher, Assistant of the Year – Mount Airy News

Amy Edwards was named Teacher of the Year at Dobson Elementary School. (Submitted photo)
Jason Edwards was named Teacher Assistant of the Year at Dobson Elementary School. (Submitted photo)
Dobson Elementary School recently named its Teacher and Teaching Assistant for the 2022-2023 school year.
Amy Edwards, media specialist, was named as the Teacher of the Year. Edwards has taught in the Surry County School system for 25 years and has been a Dobson Tiger for three years.
“Every day she works with students in the Media Center, teaches fourth and fifth grade AIG classes, and provides enrichment instruction for K-2 students,” school officials said. “She also serves as our digital learning leader and is the chairperson of our Media, Technology, and Literacy committee.”
Jason Edwards, first grade teaching assistant, was named the Teaching Assistant of the Year. This is Jason Edwards first year with Surry County Schools and his first year as a Dobson Tiger. He works in multiple grade levels, providing one-on-one remediation and instruction with students.
“He is a member of the ROAR Leadership team and has jumped in to help our school be the best it can be for everyone. He is a true team player,” the school said.
Principal Sharia Templeton, along with last year’s Teacher of the Year Sarah Atkins, and Teaching Assistant of the Year, Candy Day, surprised each of the winners with the announcement of their selection and a gift basket.
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March 14, 2022
PINNACLE — The North Carolina Living Historical Farm Committee Inc. will hold its annual Spring Heirloom Apple Tree Sale beginning Saturday, March 19 and continuing through mid-April or until all trees are sold out.
Dozens of apple varieties will be available. Magnum Bonum, Striped Ben Davis, Russet Sheepnose, Rustycoat, Fall Orange, Red Cathead, and Dixie Red Delight are just a few examples of the varieties offered. All trees are grafted from cuttings taken from the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard and, as such, are duplicates of the heirloom trees in the orchard.
Four different rootstocks have been used to graft the cuttings onto, which will determine the height of the resulting tree.
• B9 Rootstock will produce a tree 8 – 10 feet tall
• G202 Rootstock will result in a tree 12 – 14 feet fall
• M7 Rootstock will produce a tree 14 – 16 feet tall.
• MIII Rootstock will result in a tree 20 feet or more in height.
Horne Creek Farm is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The trees will be sold from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Price per tree is $22.50. All proceeds from the sale of the apple trees will be used specifically for the benefit of the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard.
In addition, the site will also have three varieties of peach trees available: Elberta, Indian Cling, and Belle of Georgia. Cost per tree is the same as the apple trees: $22.50.
Acceptable methods of payment include cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.
Customers are encouraged social distance. Masks are optional, though unvaccinated and high-risk individuals are encouraged to wear one.
For more information about the Annual Apple Tree Sale, call 336-325-2298.
Horne Creek Living Historical Farm State Historic Site is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The farm is located at 308 Horne Creek Farm Road, Pinnacle. For more information, contact the site at 336-325-2298.
March 14, 2022
A spring tradition will be returning to Surry County this year, when the Surry County Parks and Recreation holds an Easter Egg Hunt at Fisher River Park in Dobson.
The hunt was an annual tradition put on by the department until 2020. That year, as was the case with most of regular public gatherings, the event was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, still in the throes of the pandemic, it was again cancelled.
This year, with the drop in local cases, the recreation department will bring back the popular event.
“We usually tally over 600 people entering the gate,” said Bradley Key, program coordinator for parks and rec. “The event is more than just the egg hunt…between 10 and 1, community vendors, agencies, civil service groups along with their vehicles — fire trucks, Humvees, various vehicles — are on display. Families come, visit these booths, talk with representatives from these agencies.”
There is also plenty of fun, with the Easter Bunny expected to be onhand to visit with children, along with face painting, arts, crafts, and other activities.
Best of all, Key said, the event is free — though organizers are asking those attending to bring a canned food item for donation, with the food going to area food banks.
Of course, the big draw — at least for the youth — is the Easter egg hunt. Key said roughy 8,000 eggs will be there.
“Each egg will be stuffed with candy or toys and there is a grand prize Golden Egg to be found in each age group’s area,” he said.
Key explained the egg hunting is done in three shifts, with kids grouped by age. At noon those aged birth up to 3 will collect eggs, at 12:20 p.m. the 4- to 6-year-olds will be let lose on the field; and at 12:40 those aged 7 and older will have their chance.
“You don’t want to be late,” he said with a laugh. “They can clear a whole ball field of thousands of eggs in less than 5 minutes. It is amazing. Generally, each child collects at least 20 eggs.”
He does say children need to bring their own baskets, although the county will have a limited number available for those who may forget or need an additional basket.
“We would love to see a similar size crowd to what we’ve had in the past, it’s a great fun healthy activity for the families to get back involved in. Folks may have not had as much opportunity to have fun over the past couple of years. We’re happy to offer this as a chance to get out for a fun, family activity.”
He said the event is outdoors, which will limit potential COVID issues, and while masks are not required, individuals are still free to wear one if they want. The county will have hand sanitizer on hand for individuals to use, and he said there will be plenty of space for people to spread out, observing social distancing practices.
The gathering is set for April 2. For more information, visit the Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
Key said if inclement weather occurs and the event cannot be held, it will still go on — just in a drive-through format, with folks able to drive up for youth to get some goody-filled eggs.
March 14, 2022
New releases available at the Mount Airy Public Library:
Shadows Reel – C.J. Box
The Paper Palace – Miranda Cowley Heller
The Darkest Place – Phillip Margolin
Run Rose Run – Dolly Parton and James Patterson
The Last Chance Library – Freya Sampson
High Stakes – Danielle Steel
Large Print Fiction
A Darker Reality – Anne Perry
Foul Play – Stuart Woods
The Bird Way – Jennifer Ackerman
Smile: The Story of a Face – Sarah Ruhl
“STEAM”ed UP on Mondays at 4 p.m. — Join us for science stories and simple experiments for grade school ages. Toddler Time for children ages 2-3 Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.; Book Babies for children ages birth to 2 years old Thursday at 9:30 a.m.; preschool story time for ages 4 – 5 Thursday at 11 a.m.
Surry Community College is offering a fun and free English as Second Language (ESL) class at the Mount Airy Public Library Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Anyone interested should contact Jennifer Pardue at 336-386-3674.
Hooked – Come join our crochet and knitting club, every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Bring your own yarn and make the group project or bring your own project to work on.
Tai Chi has returned to the library. Join us each Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. This class is beneficial for those with limited mobility.
Make It Mondays. Craft class for adults meets the third Monday of each month at 3 p.m. .
The Community Book Club meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. Our book this month is The Widows by Jess Montgomery. Copies are available at the front desk.
It’s Yoga Y’all – Yoga with Ms. Heather will be the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. unless otherwise noted.
LACE, the Romance Readers Book Club meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. This month’s book is Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath.
Classic Movie Monday – March’s Classic Movie selection is Grapes of Wrath starring Henry Fonda and John Carradine. The film is based on the play “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. We have copies available if you’d like to read it before watching it with us on March 28 at 6 p.m.
Author Meet and Greet on March 15 at 6 p.m. Author Martin Clark will talk about his latest book, “The Substitution Order.” He is a retired Virginia circuit court judge who served 27 years on the bench. His novels have appeared on several best-seller lists.
Author Meet and Greet on April 2 at 11 a.m. Jess Montgomery talk about her latest book in “The Kinship Series,” “The Echoes”. This series takes place in the coal fields of Ohio in the mid 1920s, there is a lot of history, mystery, murder and intrigue. Jess will be here in-person to talk about her books, the people she based her characters on and the history of the region.
The YVEDDI Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the Surry County Senior Center are partnering with the Mount Airy Public Library and the IRS to provide free tax preparation at the library. VITA sites provide free income tax preparation for low-to moderate income taxpayers (generally those who make $57,000 and below) who need help filing their returns. The program will run through April 9, operating on Saturdays at the Mount Airy Public Library from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at the Surry County Senior Center from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 336-415-4225. Masks are mandatory for this event, for the safety of the volunteers.
Friends of the Library Book Sale – The Friends of the Library will have its annual spring book sale beginning, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. and running through April 25. The book sale will be open during regular library hours.
Keep up with all events on our FaceBook pages, and or our website
March 13, 2022
The American College of Health Care Administrators recently honored Virginia “Jenny” Triplett, RN, BSN, director of the Northern Skilled Nursing Center at Northern Regional Hospital with the 2022 Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award.
Only 3% of facilities nationwide met the initial selection criteria. This year, 57 administrators in 17 states met all eligibility requirements and were awarded the facility leadership award.
“This award recognizes outstanding leaders who have performed at the highest professional level for the entire 2021 calendar year,” said Chris A. Lumsden, Northern Regional Hospital president and CEO. “Jenny is an excellent nurse, leader, and person, and she and her entire team are most deserving of this coveted recognition. We appreciate Jenny and her many contributions in leading our award-winning Skilled Nursing Center.”
Eligibility for this award is based on three years of skilled nursing facility survey data, including the health, fire safety, and complaint surveys, as well as top quartile performance on designated quality measures. The criteria also include at least a 70% or greater facility occupancy and a three‐year avoidance of a Special Focus Facility status.
The Facility Leadership Award was introduced in 2008 by one of ACHCA’s most revered leaders, the late Eli Pick. A former executive director of the Ballard Rehabilitation Center, DesPlaines, Ilinois, for more than 30 years, “Eli embodied excellence as an administrator who cared for his residents, their families, and his community,” the organization said. “This award is presented annually in memory of Eli, a consummate member of ACHCA, dedicated to advancing professionalism and leadership in long‐term care.“
March 13, 2022
Shoals Elementary School recently named its student leaders of the month for February. They are pictured here.
March 13, 2022
The cold winds of Saturday morning were met with smiling faces from a team of volunteers from the Animal Welfare Committee of Surry County, Surry Medical Ministries, Humane Solution, and the vet team from DEGA. They created a pop up veterinary clinic in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church in Pilot Mountain to offer vet care to pets and owners in need.
DEGA Mobile Veterinary Care is a nonprofit based in the Triangle that provides their pop-up clinics in various locations to give basic vet care to cats, dogs, and pet pigs that would otherwise may not see a veterinarian. Dr. April Gessner and Dr. Bennett Deddens, spouses who met in veterinary training, held their first clinic on Valentine’s Day last year in Raleigh.
Determined for Everyone to Gain Access to Veterinary Care (DEGA) was born from Dr. Gessner’s desire to help pets on a more local level just as she has done in years of international volunteer work involving animals. It was also created to honor the memory of her beloved dogs Dega and Ghon by helping pets in need.
This desire brought DEGA on Saturday back to Pilot Mountain for their second time partnering with the Animal Welfare Committee to provide treatment. Advance registration for the event filled up fast with 23 confirmed appointment times, but they were anticipating more by the end.
Lee Stalcup, a volunteer and one of the organizers of the event, is thankful for the help from DEGA who offered a “needs based service, and a service to our community.” She would know a little something about communities coming together to aid animals. As the rescue coordinator for Mayberry 4 Paws, around the animal community in these parts Stalcup is known as an animal advocate of the highest order.
“Everyone at the event is involved in animal rescue in some way,” she said, adding that it takes a big heart to deal with animals in need. As this was a needs-based event, some of these animals and their owners may not have had the ability to seek out veterinary care.
While not offering a full suite of veterinary services, the clinic providing rabies vaccinations, checkups, microchips, minor treatments, flea and tick preventative, and heart worm preventative to some pets who may not have loved the attention from random strangers. The animals are sent home with more supplies depending on what is needed, a stack of dog food and treats were standing by.
Jessica Dunlap, president of the Animal Welfare Committee, had her daughter Alyssa along to assist with checking in the animals as they arrived at the church. A pop up clinic to be sure, the process still mirrored a vet’s office. Parents waited in cars as the animals went to be examined by the team of four vets and two vet techs.
Tender touches were observed and soft words spoken to dogs shivering in a brisk wind, with no sign of mom or dad to be seen. Animal lovers were all around though, the warmth and gentle nature of the staff of volunteers helped to calm confused animals.
Dunlap mentioned she is hopeful to add in the future spay and neuter services to these clinics. Animal advocacy groups have been presenting the lack of low/no cost spay neuter clinics as one of the root causes for pet overpopulation in the county. DEGA recently received a grant and purchased an additional mobile unit for such services.
As Amber Golding of Tiny Tigers Rescue can attest, one stray cat can yield more than a dozen kittens in one year. Having spay-neuter solutions that are easy to access, and affordable, could reduce the number of pets at the animal shelter annually who are put down at county expense.
Dunlap relayed a story from last October of a homeless woman who walked four miles with three dogs for treatment from their clinic, and the volunteers drove her where she needed to go afterward. The event meant for the animals was able to do so much more, she wishes though she could do more.
Replicating the success of these needs-based clinics again in this area will help to do just that, she said. Having the partnership with DEGA and the flexibility of the mobile care center will allow clients an ease of access to these low/no cost services that can be hard to find.
March 13, 2022
In recording deeds, the state of North Carolina does not require that the amount paid for a parcel be stated on the deed. However a tax stamp at the rate of $2 for every $1,000 in value is affixed to each deed.
Recent real estate transfers recorded in the Surry County Register of Deed’s office include:
– Larry Dean Newman Jr. to Dwayne A. Venable, Shannon Leigh Ann Venable and Leann Venable; 9.11 acres Dobson; $96.
– Brandon E. Marshall to Miguel Angel Aceverdo; tract Mount Airy; $27.
– Polly Newman Jester to Joyce Atkinson; 14.822 acres PB 40 110 Bryan; $0.
– William Preston Harris and Mikayla Harris to Stanton York Harris; tract one 4.362 acres Bryan; $0.
– Rodney C. Gunter and Kathy Gunter to Jason Gunter and Tracy Gunter; 1.08 acres tract one PB 23 87; $0.
– William Anderson Dezarn and Julie R. Dezarn to Joshua C. Hayden and Gabrielle Hayden; 6.007 acres PB 40 88 Siloam; $100.
– Brenda Owens McDaniel to Frances Annette Broadwell and Elizabeth Pell Broadwell; 22.60 acres tract one PB 6 58; $108.
– Barry Rook and Dawn Rook to Taylor Younger and Logan Younger; 6.11 acres tract one Eldora; $504.
– Sarah Elizabeth Redwine and Sarah O’Connor to Brian C. O’Connor; 10.451 acres Elkin; $0.
– William Thomas Marion and Danielle Whitaker Marion to Jonathan Ross Byrd; tract Rockford; $370.
– Carolyn Barnes Gentry, Billy James Gentry Jr., Sheila Barnes Harrison, Terry Harrison, Michael Ray Barnes, Linda Miller and Beverly Barnes Norman to Bradley Ray Barnes and Pamela Barns; tract one 0.55 acres and tract two 0.56 acres Marsh; $176.
– Estate of Hugh W. Hauser, Norris E. Hauser and Hugh W. Hauser to Rachel K. Hauser; quitclaim deed 17 acres PB 1 188 estate of Hugh W. Hauser file 21 E 230 Forsyth; $0.
– Niki Dollyhite Stevens and John Junior Stevens to John Junior Garrett Stevens; 4.275 acres Westfield; $0.
– COC Real Estate Co., LLC to Standard Development Company, LLC; parcel one 0.80 acres and parcel two 0.91 acres PB 32 132 1304 West Pine St., 961 Old Hwy 601 Mount Airy; $1,400.
– Brkema, LLC to Peter Kimbell and Sherri Kimbell; 104.40 acres PB 10 23 Bryan; $470.
– Richard Lee Dillon and Hazel F. Dillon to IDR, LLC; lot 8 Charles F. Smith development PB 6 148 Stewarts Creek; $220.
– Virginia Violet Felts and Virginia Baldwin to Eddie Ray Davis; 27,894 sq ft lot 13 Ray Killon property Franklin; $11.
– Ronald F. Moorefield and Patricia W. Moorefield to Michael David Semon and Lauren E. Woodward; 3.80 acres PB 39 113; $1,450.
– Estate of Patricia W. Ratcliff, Randy Reid Ratcliff, Richard Rondale Ratcliff and Patricia W. Ratcliff to Richard Rondale Ratcliff and Alisa Lynn Hudson; lot 9 section 4 Pine Lakes development PB 7 38 estate of Patricia W. Ratcliff file 21 E 1060 Stewarts Creek; $50.
– Dumitru Purcaru and Elena D. Purcaru to Cecil Glenn Tate and Lakeshia Michael Vasquez; tract Stewarts Creek; $430
– Sonny L. Taylor and Kimberly Davis Taylor to Barker Eldon Taylor; 0.579 acres PB 40 124 Stewarts Creek; $0.
– The Roger M. Cramer Revocable Trust and Roger M. Cramer to Randy R. Gentry and Sylvia J. Gentry; condominium deed unit 6A Old Springs Condominiums bk 1 49-52 Mount Airy; $352.
– John Wesley Strickland Jr. to David L. Reeves and Kimberly H. Reeves; tracts Mount Airy; $206.
– Noelia Karina Valdez and Corey Valdez Caudill to Deavon Elizabeth Mauldin; 3 tracts Mount Airy; $264.
– Sonny L. Taylor and Kimberly Davis Taylor to Arnold Robert Paul Noah and Jodi Nicole Patterson; tract one tract PB 10 100 and tract two 0.120 acres PB 40-124 Stewarts Creek; $240.
– Ronald Phillip Dockery and Geneva Eaton Dockery to Jerry Dean Newman and Donna S. Newman; condominium deed unit 4-G Renfro Lofts Condominiums bk 1 150-176 and unit A parking PB 1 182-188 Mount Airy; $620.
– Byron Millington and Valeria Millington to Edward Daniel Ramsland, Danny Ramsland and Terry A. Ramsland; 0.647 acres PB 35 180 Elkin; $230.
– Gary Robert Golding and Brooke Golding to Grey Worthington Hunter and Abigail Golding Hunter; 23.994 acres PB 40 119 Franklin; $660.
– Edward Daniel Ramsland, Danny Ramsland and Terry A. Ramsland to Elkin Tobacco and Vape, Inc.; 0.647 acres PB 35 180 Elkin; $164.
– Shirley Jones Jenkins, Jesse Gene Jenkins, Samantha Taylor Jenkins and Samuel Casey Jenkins to Blaine M. Montgomery; 2.91 acres Marsh; $80.
– Standard Development Company, LLC and Blake Smith to SE 1304 Mt. Airy, LLC; 0.80 acres PB 32 133; $1,700.
– Marie Libretti Peebles, Marie L. Finney and James S. Peebles to Department Of Transportation State Of North Carolina; deed for highway right of way tract NC 268 Marsh; $18.
– Danielle Moore Wallace to James Patrick McDonald and Kelsey Marie McDonald; lot 33 Ring Creek subdivision PB 23 78 Stewarts Creek; $47.
March 13, 2022
If this building could talk, what would it say?
The National Historic Preservation Act began sometime in 1966 and since then Americans have been diligently seeking out, protecting, and preserving historic buildings and homes. Surry County, established in 1771, is no different. Each town, community, and hidden spot has secret gems to unlock and discover; from small one-bedroom cabins to large Victorian homes, Surry has a lot to protect.
The alluring town of Pilot Mountain, established March 9, 1889, has its leading land marker of the great knob, however it also has a historic downtown that showcases many prominent buildings. The old Bank of Pilot Mountain is one of those.
Laura Phillips, a North Carolina Architectural Historian, called the bank building, “the most architecturally significant commercial structure in Pilot Mountain.” The two-story Queen Anne style building began to be constructed sometime during 1900. The Pilot Mountain Sanborn fire maps from September of that year show the building in place. The details on the map read “from plans,” indicating that construction had started but was incomplete.
Once finished the building at the corner of Main and Depot streets stood with a domed turret with an octagonal roof. The two Flemish parapeted gables, more round than square, feature several curves with an appropriate piedmont at their center. While the building is narrow on the Main Street side, the structure stands as a demanding presence compared to some of the buildings in the row. The second story windows offer up the same curve as the gables, while the bottom is square with quarry-faced granite sills. The building was, and still is beautiful to behold.
The building’s notations in the National Register of Historic Places does not state an architect or construction team, we only know that the building was purchased and constructed to serve as a bank for downtown Pilot Mountain.
The Pilot Mountain Bank and Trust Company was established in 1900 and served patrons by the corner entry, through the domed turret. The second floor of the building was occupied by different businesses and practices from 1900-1930; professional offices, apartments, and even a doctor’s office/ sanatorium resided above the bank.
The building also played host to The Denny Brother Furniture company that was accessible on the Main Street side of the property before 1910.
The first bank failed in 1910 and was replaced in 1914 with the Bank of Pilot Mountain which occupied the building until 1994. The Bank of Pilot Mountain opened a new location in 1984, operating the original 100 E. Main Street location as a branch until it was sold to non-bank owners. The building is now owned and operated by Thornton Beroth as an antique petroleum memorabilia museum which you can visit by appointment only.
Buildings such as the Bank of Pilot Mountain make up some truly rich history here in Surry County. Taking an in-depth look into these places helps us discover the lives our ancestors lived and how our history can truly change lives. I encourage you all to take a stroll down any Main Street in our region and look for the history. You never know what you may find.
Emily Morgan is the guest services manager at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. She and her family live in Westfield. She can be reached at or by calling 336-786-4478 x229
March 13, 2022
DOBSON — For the third spring in a row, a highly regarded musical event staged at Surry Community College in Dobson will not be held and could even be silenced for good.
“It may be dead forever — I don’t know,” said Buck Buckner, longtime organizer of the Surry Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, citing multiple issues for that outlook.
The event traditionally held around late March/early April has been one of the few of its kind anywhere due to catering entirely to the old-time music genre — unlike most conventions that include competition among both bluegrass and old-time performers. That is the case with those held in Mount Airy and Galax, Virginia, later in the year.
After celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the spring convention was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus, and it also has been shelved this year, Buckner confirmed Friday — with no breakthrough seen on the immediate horizon.
“I don’t know if it will ever fire back up again,” Buckner said of the convention that typically attracts more than 100 old-time bands and individual musicians from near and far including youngsters plying the craft.
The two-day event has kicked off with a heavily attended Friday night square dance in the college gymnasium featuring well-known area bands, with the competition held there the next day. A festival atmosphere has permeated the campus during the conventions.
For 2022, the culprit is a combination of factors including lingering COVID concerns and a lack of interest among key parties, Buckner summarized.
Dr. David Shockley, the president of Surry Community College, “called it off back before the year started, really,” the organizer said.
“At the college, they’ve tightened up, and I think it was when COVID started,” Buckner added in regard to restrictions imposed by the state government which are continuing to affect such events.
He believes retirements and job reassignments of personnel at the college who played a role in perpetuating the convention to be another factor, with no one else taking up that task.
“They just don’t want to deal with it anymore,” in the view of Buckner, who said such complications are hampering any restart of the convention at this time.
“It’s very disappointing that it’s not happening,” said the organizer, himself an old-time musician who admits that his enthusiasm has become somewhat dampened as a result. “I just got kind of frustrated.”
Holding out hope
Despite that frustration, Buckner says there is a possibility the convention could be resurrected later this year.
He has been contacted by personnel from the town of Dobson who are interested in holding it at either a town park or Fisher River Park just outside the county seat.
A facility in Elkin is another possible venue.
“If we do figure it out, it will be in the fall,” Buckner said of a potential return of the Surry Old-Time Fiddlers Convention for 2022.
He said it’s unfortunate that it can’t be held this spring, especially with the pandemic situation loosening and music fans looking to attend an event featuring live performances.
“But they won’t find it at Surry Community College this year.”
March 13, 2022
The Surry County Community Corrections office is seeking information on the whereabouts of the following individuals:
• Eric Chadley Snow, 44, a white male wanted on probation violations who is on probation for felony fleeing to elude arrest, felony possession of methamphetamine, felony possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting a public officer, altering serial numbers, no insurance and drive while license revoked;
• Justin Brent Moncus, 40, a white male wanted on probation violations who is on probation for felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance, two counts of felony breaking and entering motor vehicles and four counts of larceny;
• Kenneth Edward Matthews, 47, a white male wanted for failing to appear in court on probation violations who is on probation for hit and run;
• Brandon Levi Young, 31, a white male wanted for failing to appear in court on probation violations who is on probation for felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.
View all probation absconders on the internet at and click on absconders. Anyone with information on any probation absconders should contact Crime Stoppers at 786-4000, county probation at 719-2705 or the Mount Airy Police Department at 786-3535.
March 13, 2022
Making a container of “fake” shamrocks
On the week during Saint Patrick’s Day, many florists and super markets feature small and medium containers of shamrocks from Ireland. You can produce your own if you have any clover growing in clumps in the garden area or lawn. Just dig up a clump and set it in a pot of potting medium and water it. Place a plate under the container to prevent it from leaking. Wrap the container in Saint Paddy’s wrap with shamrocks on it. A green candle in the container adds extra color to the pot. The shamrocks at Food Lion, Lowes, and Harris Teeter cost between $3 and $4.
An unusual green for Saint Paddy’s Day
In the Elvis Presley classic song, “Poke Salad Annie,” every day Poke Salad Annie would pick a mess of poke salad and cook it up. Poke weed is common and grows wild in most southern states, and it is edible especially in early and mid spring when leaves are tender and have no stems. My Northampton County grandma would pick tender leaves of poke salad and mix it with other garden greens and season a huge pot full with a slab of bacon. She would serve them with a cake of yellow cornbread. The “pot likker” the greens was cooked in was awesomely great with chunks of fried cornbread in it! Poke salad is great by itself without adding any other greens with it. If poke salad has gained a bad reputation, it is simply because its tiny purple berries are poisonous, but the leaves are not poisonous. The leaves do get tough as they grow larger and are only edible in early spring when leaves are tender. Best of all, they are free for the picking. “Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?”
Getting ready to plant Irish potatoes
Saint Patrick’s Day will arrive this week. Irish potatoes requires at least a 90-day growing season and are mostly a cool weather vegetable that reaches over into early summer around a Dog Day harvest in July. It performs well in cool weather because it is a root crop. By planting in mid-March, they will have plenty of time to produce a harvest and allow plenty of time to succeed them with a warm weather vegetable crop. Hardwares, seed and garden shops already have seed potatoes that include Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Irish Cobbler and Kemebec. Always set out whole seed potatoes and do not cut potatoes to divide the eyes because this may cause rot, mildew and mold as well as promote animal pests. Plant potatoes in a furrow about 7 or 8 inches deep and about 10 to 12 inches apart. Cover with a layer of peat moss and apply a layer of Plant-Tone organic vegetable food. Hill the soil up on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade. Before the potatoes sprout, cover between rows with a bed of crushed leaves. Feed every 15 days with Plant-Tone organic plant food and hill the Plant-Tone into the soil on both sides of the row. Hilling up potatoes will also give them protection and support.
Plenty of signs of spring
Spring is still a couple of weeks from now, but signs of spring are showing up all around us. The hyacinths, jonquils, and daffodils are showing up and glowing in their beds. Crows are making plenty of noise in the pines. birds are active and robins are searching the lawns for food. There is more daylight as Daylight Savings Time is with us again. Frogs are out of the hollow logs and singing their songs down by the creek bank.
A one-shot Alaska green pea harvest
One of the unusual late winter and early spring vegetables is the early June Alaska green pea. It requires no plant food because the peas themselves add nitrogen to the soil. Cold weather has no effect on them. They will produce their whole harvest in a two-week period. They have a maturity date of 52 to 60 days after sowing. You can choose from varities of Wando, Green Arrow, and Alaska. A pound will cover a 40 foot row. Sow them in a furrow about 3 or 4 inches deep and cover with a layer of peat moss and hill up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with the hoe blade.
Saint Patrick’s Day corned beef pie
As we prepare to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, a corned beef pie is a great way to celebrate the day of the Irish. This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare. You will need one can of Libby’s corned beef, one cup diced onion, one cup diced potatoes, half cup diced carrots, four tablespoons light margarine, three large eggs (slightly beaten), half cup milk, half teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper, one cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, one cup sour cream. Mash the can of corned beef and spread it in a nine inch pie plate and flatten it out like a pie crust. Fry onions in the margarine until tender but not brown. Spread onions over corned beef. Boil diced potatoes and carrots and spread and mix over the onions. Mix the beaten eggs, milk, sour cream, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the pie ingredients. sprinkle finely shredded cheddar cheese over the pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until firm and set. Top with a few green stuffed olives.
The heart-shaped glossy American violet
A spring herald in the form of the heart-shaped American violet now adorns the edge of the garden and in several containers on the deck. Most of them will soon be purple and white with blooms as well as a sweet fragrance. We like them in containers because after they bloom, they spread their glossy leaves over the sides of the containers to form an umbrella like cascade of shiny leaves for several months.
Great drainage for annuals and perennials
If you have annuals and perennials that need to be transplanted into larger containers, you can provide great drainage for them by crushing a few aluminum soda drink cans and spreading them in the bottoms of containers before you fill them with potting medium. They perform well and are very light weight. They make the containers easier to move around.
The month of the lion and the lamb
In March we can experience a bit of lion-like and lamb-like weather, and a few days in between. Even some snowfall could be in the works. In speaking of the lion, the spring constellation of Leo the lion is rising each evening and is now well up on the Eastern horizon as it gets dark each evening. You can find Leo by locating the Big Dipper and then find the two stars in the end of the Dipper and follow them five times the distance between these two stars downward and you will find Leo the lion. Follow these same two stars upward five times their distance and you will find the North Star and the Little Dipper.
Adding a layer of medium to perennials
As we move closer to the first day of spring, give your perennials a new boost of energy by adding a layer of new potting medium to the top of the containers after applying a handful of Flower-Tone organic flower food.
Hoe hoe hoedown
“Fruity.” A little boy showed his teacher his drawing, entitled “America the Beautiful.” In the center was a huge airliner covered with pears, apples, oranges and bananas. “What is this?” the teacher asked, pointing to the airplane. “That,” said the little boy, “is the fruited plane.”
“Caution.” His teeth are so yellow that every time he smiles in traffic all the cars slow down to see whether they should stop or go.
-If a gardener has a green thumb, who has a purple thumb? A near-sighted carpenter!
Night of the Full Worm Moon
Next Friday, March 18 will be the evening of the Full Worm Moon as it shines down on mostly bare tree limbs and a mostly cold evening. It will be silvery in color and maybe greeted by the peepers down by the creek bank or perhaps a few snow flakes which could be a possibility as we reach mid-March.
March 13, 2022
What the Senior Games of North Carolina may lack in terms of the pomp and grandeur of the recent Olympic Games, they more than make up for with the character of the people of the Tarheel state. Sadly, Beijing saw no cheerleading contests between fierce rival squads of senior citizens, NBC has the ratings to prove it.
The Yadkin Senior Games and SilverArts 2022 will not have any intense curling battles, they will however take the fun of spirited athletic competition and add in contests in arts categories to engage in an olympiad of both the body and mind.
“You are never too old to play, and its never too late to create,” said Bradley Key, local coordinator of the games. In a typical year, he said the games may have 150 – 200 participants from across the region. The games are open to residents of other counties, only the pickleball tournament has a requirement one player live in Surry or Yadkin counties.
Feeding into the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals, The Yadkin Valley Senior Games and SilverArts have their registration open now through the end of March. Registration costs $10, will include a t-shirt, and can be found online at:
Athletic events offered at the Yadkin Senior Games include bowling, cycling, 5k run, swimming, and also track and field events. Tournament style events for billiards, bocce, disc golf, croquet, shuffleboard, and cornhole will also be held. Multiple racket events are being held with tennis, table tennis, badminton, racquetball, and a new favorite across the nation: pickleball.
A skill game involving launching dill pickles into an oversized barrel, this is not. Pickleball is a social game for all ages that combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played on a smaller court with a paddle, Silver Sneakers Magazine said seniors enjoy the game because, “beginners are always welcome, the rules are easy to learn, and it’s designed to be carefree and fun.”
“Pickleball is a great sport for active living across the lifetime,” says Jonathan Casper, Ph.D., associate professor of sports management at North Carolina State University. “Because it’s similar to other racquet sports, you can learn the game pretty quickly, and you can play for as long as your body will let you.”
A sports fitness industry survey found a 21.3% increase in national participation since 2019, in part due to inclusion at retirement communities. However, the combination of a smaller court, a paddle, and serves not screaming by one’s head may hold appeal to players of all types.
Medical professionals have encouraged making regular time for physical activity as people age, making time for a brain workout may also reap benefits. Activities that engage both brain and motor skills at the same time can aid in both improving physical fitness while also putting one of the body’s most important organs to work.
To that end, the SilverArts are “a celebration of the creative expression of seniors in North Carolina” and are a major component of the traditional athletic competition of Senior Games that some may not have heard about.
Striving to keep seniors active and involved, the program unites athlete and artist to highlight the similarities found in both. Qualities of discipline, dedication, and pride in accomplishment can be found on display in a range of artistic mediums.
SilverArts categories include literary arts for entries in essay, short story, and poems. In visual arts submissions being sought include pastels, photography, sculpture, and watercolors.
For those who seek the spotlight performing arts will host vocal, comedy, and line dancing showcases. Cheerleading squads in groups small, medium, and large compete at the local level as well for their chance to make it to the state finals to achieve their bragging rights as best in the state.
Heritage arts category may be of special interest to craftspeople of the area. A display of skills among the best in local basket weaving, crocheting, knitting, needlework, quilting, stained glass, pottery, weaving, woodcarving, and woodworking will be sure to delight competitors and audiences alike.
“While many of our participants simply like to participate for fun locally, this is also an opportunity to qualify in an event and advance to compete at the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals,” Key said.
Submitted artwork will be on exhibit at Yadkin Cultural Arts Center from 12 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.
The Yadkin Valley Senior Games and SilverArts run May 3 – June 14. The North Carolina Senior Games state finals begin in September with archery and wrap up in November with a basketball tournament in Greenville.
With even more options than space to list here, those interested in participating locally should take a trip to: for a complete listing of all the offerings in the Senior Games and SilverArts.
March 13, 2022
The following marriage licenses were issued in Surry County:
– Tyler Eugene Stinson, 26, of Surry County to Mary Elizabeth Pell, 25, of Stokes County.
– Jeffrey Samuel Patterson, 36, of Surry County to Shelley Ann Hawthorne, 44, of Orange County, Florida.
– Chase Daniel Shinault, 32, of Surry County to Stephanie Renee Outlaw, 31, of Surry County.
– Bradley Ray Clifton, 36, of Surry County to Amber Elaine Rippey, 32, of Surry County.
– Willie Douglas Joyner, 65, of Surry County to Judith Kathryn Mappa, 63, of Surry County.
– William Brandon Haymore, 20, of Alamance County to Kathleena Marie Mayor, 20, of Alamance County.
– Chance Robert Craft, 27, of Surry County to Tawny Gabrielle Milwood, 28, of Surry County.
– Seth Jordyn Weir, 25, of Montgomery County to Alexandra Ana Mahoney, 24, of Montgomery County.
– Oliver Coleman King, 37, of Surry County to Margaret Tiera Borders, 36, of Surry County.
– John Wayne Delcamp, 38, of Surry County to Jessica Lynn Franklin, 25, of Surry County.
– Joshua Eugene Smith, 24, of Davie County to Sarah Elizabeth Flowers, 23, of Surry County.
March 13, 2022
Editor’s Note: Community Comment is a feature of The Mount Airy News, presenting commentary from community leaders in Mount Airy and Surry County.
The intentional work that Surry County Schools has placed in our career pathways and hands-on classes has left our students prepared for today’s workforce. Because of classes taken while in high school, many students are showing up for their freshman year of college or their first day on the job with significant career and professional skills. At Surry County Schools, we are focusing on programs that lead to in-demand, high-wage jobs and preparing our students for whichever path they choose after graduation.
Through initiatives like Career and College Promise, work-based learning, and other Career and Technical Education courses, we empower students to be successful citizens, workers, and leaders. Educational program offerings include agriculture, business, finance, information technology, engineering, family and consumer science, health science, and much more. Along with these courses, students can also pursue internships and apprenticeship opportunities based on their interests. Students participating in middle and high school CTE programs have earned more than 1,200 credentials, including ServSafe, AutoCAD, CNA, Photoshop, OSHA 10, CPR / AED, first aid, and many more.
In middle school, we offer a career exploration course that exposes students to many different career pathways. All students have the opportunity to explore the world of engineering and problem solving through our pre-engineering (Project Lead The Way) courses and computer science through our Computer Science Discoveries courses. Additionally, we are excited to offer agriculture in middle school for all our students. Students have the opportunity to hear from local business and industry leaders about many different career prospects.
In high school, there are a wide variety of CTE opportunities for students. Through our agriculture pathway, students can pursue courses in animal science and horticulture. Those interested in a future career in business, finance, or information technology can take classes in business management, computer science, and digital media. For students interested in family and consumer science, the district offers courses in culinary arts, counseling and mental health, and education training. The Health Science pathway allows students to take biomedical technology, health sciences, pharmacy tech courses. There are also offerings in marketing and entrepreneurship, such as sport and event marketing. Students interested in the technology, engineering, or design pathway are encouraged to take the pre-engineering program (Project Lead the Way) course. Additionally, construction, masonry, and project management are available for those interested in trade and industrial education.
Agriculture is the number one industry in Surry County and North Carolina. By offering agriculture classes in all four of our middle schools, Surry County Schools is creating a solid foundation for skills students can learn in their future courses and exposing them to opportunities to advance in agricultural careers. Surry County Schools is fortunate to partner with Surry Community College and offer certificates in animal science and sustainable agriculture. Additionally, students have the opportunity to attend NC A&T University through a 1+3 locally developed diploma agreement with Surry Community College, which allows students to pursue many different pathways in the agriculture industry.
Surry County Schools has been on the cutting edge of exposing students to careers in agriculture for many years. The district has integrated animal science into agricultural programs and has opened animal science labs at all traditional high schools. East Surry and Surry Central High School students study poultry science because of a partnership with Wayne Farms, while North Surry High School students have pursued livestock science studies through a partnership with Farm Bureau of Surry. Currently, the district is working with Surry Community College on plans for a future joint-use facility that borders Surry Central High School and the college. Upon completion, this facility will be an outstanding opportunity for students at both institutions.
Students are also encouraged to look at the wide range of CTE student organizations available for participation. These organizations help students by allowing them to expand upon interests they have developed through CTE. These include Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, Skills USA, Health Occupations Students of America, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, and National Technical Honor Society.
CTE internships through Surry County Schools are directly related to both classroom instruction and the career path of the student. These internships include a variety of experiences aligned to the career interest of the student and can include: assignments such as a standardized reflective journal, a term project, and an exit presentation based on student goals and outcomes. The skills learned inside and outside of the classroom combined with goal-setting and periods of reflection create a unique experience for students working towards their careers.
Surry County Schools has also formed relationships with many local community and business partners, to secure internships and other work-based learning opportunities for students. Northern Hospital of Surry County has welcomed our interns and given them the vital hands-on experience with patients and equipment they will need to pursue their careers in the healthcare industry. The district has also had the pleasure of connecting with businesses such as Altec, Scenic Automotive Group, Surry Communications, Xtreme Marketing, and others who are invested in helping grow our student leaders.
Additionally, students can pursue additional internship opportunities through Surry-Yadkin Works. Surry-Yadkin Works is the first community-based internship program of its kind in North Carolina across a two-county region. This business and education initiative is the collaborative effort of 4 local public school systems across Surry and Yadkin counties, as well as Surry Community College with the goal to create a unique approach to a regional internship program. There are also partnerships with local businesses like Wayne Farms that bridge the gap between classroom instruction and 21st-century skills.
At Surry County Schools, we know that education and industry go hand-in-hand, and by working together, we can show the next generation of students what schools can and should be. The school system recognizes this link and understands that by investing in CTE programs, we are investing in the workforce and the Surry County of tomorrow. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Good apprentices are likely to make good citizens,” and I wholeheartedly agree. The opportunities and skills learned through CTE and apprenticeship opportunities create a solid foundation for career success, lifelong learning, and good citizenship.
March 12, 2022
• A man listed as homeless has been charged with stealing merchandise valued at $305 from the Tractor Supply store on Rockford Street, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.
Cody Levi Dalton, 28, is accused of larceny, possession of stolen goods and possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from the Monday night incident that targeted clothing and other items. Included were a $200 pair of boots along with a machete, hunting knife, belts, tools and pants.
Dalton is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on March 21 and has been banned from Tractor Supply.
• Police learned Monday that a license plate had been stolen from Scenic Chevrolet Buick GMC after it fell from a vehicle onto the roadway at the Rockford Street dealership, which is listed as the victim of the crime.
The tag number was reported as FD92758.
• A crime involving breaking into a coin-operated machine, damage to property and hit and run was discovered last Sunday at Dusty’s Car Wash on East Pine Street. It included someone using a hammer in an effort to break into machinery, who also backed a vehicle into a concrete slab there containing decorative stones before leaving the scene.
Two coin-operated car wash boxes valued at $500 were listed as stolen during the incident, with damage put at $500 occurring to the concrete structure.
March 12, 2022
That bone-chilling feeling that’s made conditions seem colder than usual at times this year has been confirmed by the latest local weather statistics.
The average temperature for January was more than two degrees cooler than usual while February’s readings were only slightly above normal, based on a two-month breakdown issued last Monday by F.G. Doggett Water Plant.
It is Mount Airy’s official weather-monitoring station.
January’s contribution to frigidness included a pair of 10-degree days, on both Jan. 30-31, which took low-temperature honors for the month.
Ironically, the mercury had hit a balmy 77 earlier in January, on its second day, which was the highest reading during the 31-day period.
All this added up to an average temperature of a near-freezing 33.9 degrees, compared to the all-time local average for the first month of the year, 36.1 degrees. Weather records have been maintained in Mount Airy since 1924.
In February, the mercury averaged an even 40 degrees, less than 1 degree warmer than the usual monthly average of 39.3.
The average temp for both months combined was 36.95 degrees, cooler than the local average of 37.7 for January and February.
February’s showing included a monthly low of 16 degrees logged for both Feb. 7 and Feb. 16, with a 71-degree temperature on the 24th the high for the month.
Frost was noted on 15 days during January and 12 days in February.
Precipitation above normal
After several months of drought-like conditions, Mount Airy’s precipitation level so far in 2022 was 38.9% or 2.65 inches, above normal as of Feb. 28.
A total of 9.47 inches was measured in January and February at the water plant, compared to the all-time local average for those two months of 6.82 inches.
This was due to higher-than normal precipitation during each.
In January, it totaled 4.05 inches — exceeding the January local average of 3.72 inches — and in February the result was 5.42 inches compared to the usual 3.10 for the second month here.
Measurable amounts occurred on nine days during January, with 0.91 inches the most falling on a single day, logged for Jan. 10.
January’s weather picture also included 0.70 inches of snow on Jan. 3, 1.8 inches on Jan. 16 and 0.9 inches on Jan. 17
February produced 13 days of measurable precipitation during its short 28 days, with 1.52 inches on Feb. 4 the most occurring on a single day.
Fog was reported on one day each in January and February.
March 12, 2022
The Surry County Digital Heritage community project began more than six years ago, when a group of local historians began looking for ways to digitize and save the history of the county and its residents.
That has led the heritage project to its position today — the second largest local digital history project in North Carolina, not far behind Digital Watauga, a project that started several years before the Surry County project.
The local project’s work traces its ongoing success back to 2016, when the Surry Community College library received a grant through the State Library of North Carolina to bring a nationally recognized consultant in digital history projects to Surry County. Tom Clareson spent four days in the county looking at the collection of materials in various locations and prepared a report that supported the need for a digital history collection for Surry County and a planning template to make it a reality.
In subsequent years, grant applications were submitted to the State Library of NC and approved through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, providing funds to hire staff to scan photos and documents to form the website that is now the Surry Digital Heritage Project, at . The original documents and photos that are scanned are all backed up and preserved “in the cloud” so that they always will be available.
The theme of the initial year of the project was Saving Our Communities, from Bannertown to Beulah and Mount Airy to Mountain Park. A picture of an old store building was the impetus for Melissa Taylor to write the story of the Dockery Store
For the second year, the project focused on the history of the more than 275 churches in Surry County. Unique items from some of the oldest churches in the county were digitized and added to the project website, including the Westfield Friends Church and Gum Orchard Baptist Church.
The third year of the grants focused on businesses, including materials such as a scrapbook created by Iveylyn Martin about the Skull Camp Dairy Farm operated by Ned and Iveylyn in the Beulah Community, . The theme of the current year is family history and materials from the Carlos Surratt Genealogy Collection at the Surry Community College Library are being added to the website.
The Surry Digital Heritage Project is a community-based project and website, not a commercial website such as Facebook. Materials on the Surry website will always be available, a guarantee that can’t be made for pictures and stories posted on a Facebook page. Community partners include the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, Northwestern Regional Library (incorporating branches in Elkin, Mount Airy, and Pilot Mountain), Surry County African American Historical and Genealogical Society, Surry County Genealogical Society, and Surry County Historical Society. The project is coordinated through the Surry Community College Library. The project has attracted attention across the state by libraries and other organizations thinking about a digital history project.
Preserving the history of Surry County is the goal of the project. Materials will continue to be added to the website after the current, and final, year of the grants. However, it will be at a much slower pace because the grants have paid for 60 person hours of scanning each week. Anyone with documents, pictures, or stories related to the history of Surry County can contact Sebrina Mabe at the Surry Community College Library at or Amy Snyder at the museum of regional history at, or Alan Unsworth at SCC Library at Materials will be scanned and returned.
Cash donations are welcome to provide funds for the cloud storage and website hosting. Donations are accepted through the Surry Community College Foundation designated to the SCC Library for the Digital History Project.
March 12, 2022
DOBSON — Surry Central hosted its portion of the 2022 Cook’s Sports Spring Break Tournament on March 10.
The tournament featured games at North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central, and featured six baseball teams: Statesville, West Stokes, South Stokes and the three host schools.
The Golden Eagles caught an unlucky break in their first tournament game against West Stokes, held March 8 at North Surry. After Central scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings tied 5-5, West Stokes scored seven runs in just the top of the eighth inning to win 12-5. This was Central’s first loss of the season after starting 3-0.
Surry Central returned home on March 10 to play their third Stokes Co. opponent this season: South Stokes. The Eagles and Sauras combined for just one run through five innings, with South scoring in the top of the first inning and holding the slight advantage most of the game. The Sauras got hot in the sixth inning and piled on six additional runs to win the game 7-0.
Max Lambert and Brady Edmonds were the Eagles’ two pitchers against the Sauras. Lambert started and threw nine strikeouts, walked one player, gave up two hits and one run. Edmonds came in for the sixth and seventh innings and threw two strikeouts, walked one batter, gave up five hits and six runs.
Fielding errors proved costly for the Golden Eagles. The opening South Stokes run resulted from a Central error, as did more than one of South’s sixth-inning runs. The Eagles finished with six errors to the Sauras’ one.
Central had chances to score despite only recording two hits. Dakota Mills earned a base on balls to begin the game, but was picked off trying to take a lead. Clay Whitaker responded by bombing a hit to right center field and earning a double, but was then tagged out trying to go for third.
Lambert was walked to begin the bottom of the second inning and quickly moved to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a ground out. Mason Jewell even joined him on base, but the inning ended with back-to-back strikeouts before the Eagles could put runs on the board.
Lambert held South Stokes to just one hit through five innings. He struck out all three batters in the third inning, two each in the second and fourth, and one in first and fifth innings.
Momentum began to shift in the bottom of the fifth after Surry Central left three runners on base. Kendall White led with a single, then moved to third after a pair of wild pitches. South struck out the next two Central batters, then walked the following two to load the bases. South pitcher Connor Young tossed his seventh and final strikeout of the game to kept the Saura 1-0 lead alive.
After stopping Central, South’s offense went on a rampage and capitalized on its opponents mistakes. Each of the first six batters in the inning would round the bases and return home to score.
Surry Central, meanwhile, only put one man on base in the final two innings.
With the final round of the Spring Break Tournament cancelled due to inclement weather, Surry Central looks to bounce back when it begins conference play on March 15. The Eagles are back at home and will host North Wilkes.
South Stokes – 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 6, 0 = 7
Surry Central – 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 = 0
March 12, 2022
PILOT MOUNTAIN — The North Surry baseball team is off to a 4-0 start for the first time in well over a decade.
The Greyhounds added a pair of big wins this past week in the 2022 Cook’s Sports Spring Break Tournament. The tournament featured games at North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central, and included six baseball teams: Statesville, West Stokes, South Stokes and the three host schools.
North Surry first defeated Statesville 11-2 on March 8 in Toast. The next round of the tournament saw the Greyhounds travel to Pilot Mountain to face South Stokes at East Surry’s Barry Hall Field.
North started hot and never really cooled off in a 9-4 win over South Stokes.
Four different pitchers spent time on the mound for the Hounds in Friday’s win. Myles Draughn threw four innings and struck out one batter, allowed four bases on balls, gave up one hit and three runs. Caleb Collins, Cam Taylor and Ethan Edwards combined to throw three innings and had four strikeouts, three walks, allowed two hits and one run.
Eight different Greyhound players combined to record 10 hits. Draughn and Brodie Robertson each hit twice, and the following players had one hit: Edwards, Taylor, Kolby Watson, Corbin Dollyhigh, Keaton Hudson and James McCreary.
The game began with each of North Surry’s first six batters getting on base. Hudson had a double, Watson, Edwards, and Draughn had singles, Dollyhigh was hit by a pitch and Robertson reached on a fielder’s choice as the Hounds piled on three first-inning runs.
Fast-forward to the top of the third and Draughn and Robertson are once again on base. Taylor hits the gap between the right and center fielders to score both teammates on a 2RBI double.
South Stokes mounted a comeback in the bottom of the fifth. North prevented a run by making a fielder’s choice at the plate, but runs would score later in the inning after two wild pitches and walk with loaded bases.
South never got within a run of North Surry thanks to a pair of scores in the top of the sixth. McCreary was walked and Watson hit by a pitch to begin the inning. Another walk added Edwards to the mix and loaded the bases, and Draughn picked up his second and third RBIs with a single.
North Surry added two runs in the top of the seventh for good measure. Taylor and Trevor Isaacs were each walked, advanced to scoring position after a passed ball, then took advantage of a Saura fielding error on a Watson hit to score runs No. 8 and No. 9.
North Surry looks to stay undefeated with a three-game week coming up. The Greyhounds travel to West Stokes (2-3) on March 15, go to Mount Airy (4-2) on March 16 and host West Stokes on March 18.
North Surry – 3, 0, 2, 0, 0, 2, 2 = 9
South Stokes – 0, 0, 0, 0, 3, 1, 0 = 4
March 12, 2022
North Surry softball broke into the win column with a dominant performance against Mount Airy on Friday.
Mount Airy hosted North in just the second meeting between the teams since 2019. Just like their most recent meeting – which coincidentally was also played on March 11 – the Greyhounds ran away with the win.
North Surry went to another level following a slow first two innings, piling on eight runs over its next two at-bats. Another scoring surge in the sixth allowed the Hounds to defeat the Bears 14-2 in six innings.
Jordan Snow and Trista Berrier combined to throw 12 strikeouts for the Lady Hounds. Snow started the game and struck out four batters, allowed one hit and walked one Granite Bear in three innings. Berrier took over for the final three innings and threw eight strikeouts, allowed four hits and two runs.
Skylar Partin started on the mound for the Bears. Partin struck out one batter, walked one Greyhound, allowed 11 hits and nine runs in 3.1 innings. Sydney Seagraves pitched the final 2.2 innings and had four strikeouts, two base on balls and allowed five runs on four hits.
The teams combined for just two hits through the first two innings and kept the scoreboard clean with big plays on defense. The Bears and Hounds both left a runner on base in the first inning, but North was able to break the 0-0 tie in the top of the second.
Jordan Snow led with a triple down the right field line, and Micah Felts was hit by a pitch after that. Felts tried to steal second as a distraction while Snow made a run for the plate, but the Bears countered and tagged Snow out at the plate. Felts did make it to second and later third on steals while Carley Puckett was at the plate, then she scored on a sacrifice fly from Puckett.
Mount Airy’s Sofia Stafford was walked in the bottom of the inning, so the Bears tried to move her into scoring position. Instead, Mount Airy suffered back-to-back strikeouts before North’s Sara Bledsoe ran down a fly ball.
The Greyhounds got into a groove in the third inning. Bella Aparicio singled, then made her way around the bases to score thanks to a Sarah Mauldin sacrifice bunt. Kadie Fulk and Sadie Montgomery singled, then both scored on a Snow double. Kyra Stanley, running for Snow, crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly from Felts to increase the lead to 5-0.
Three consecutive hits in the top of the fourth added three Greyhound runs. Marissa Casstevens and Bledsoe each singled, then Aparicio hit a line drive to center field. A fielding error on Aparicio’s hit allowed Casstevens and Bledsoe to score, but the future Queens College Knight didn’t stop there. Aparicio sped around the diamond like the Road Runner and made it back to the plate on the same play.
A ninth Greyhound run went on the board when Fulk hit an RBI single to score Mauldin.
Neither squad scored in the fifth inning, but North loaded the bases on its first three batters of the sixth inning. This set Berrier up for a 2RBI double, then Sarah Sutphin crushed a 3RBI hit to right field to make it 14-0.
Mount Airy continued to fight and put two runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Chloe Potts led off with a double to left field. Then Seagraves singled to move Potts to third, and a Greyhound fielding error scored Potts and moved Seagraves to second.
Stafford kept the Bears momentum going with a single that moved Seagraves to third, then the bases were loaded when Savannah Horne was hit by a pitch. Seagraves added Mount Airy’s second run by scoring on a passed ball.
Mount Airy (0-3) begins conference play on March 15 by traveling to East Wilkes (2-0). North Surry (1-2) will continue its nonconference schedule by hosting West Stokes on March 14.
North Surry – 0, 1, 4, 4, 0, 5, X = 14
Mount Airy – 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, X = 2
March 12, 2022
DOBSON — A dynamite start to a game against North Wilkes wasn’t enough to propel Millennium Charter to a victory.
The Lions took a 3-0 lead out of the gate on March 10, and held the visiting Vikings to just two run through four innings. North Wilkes scored two quick runs in the fifth to tie things up, then costly errors by Millennium gave North the opportunity to run away with the lead and win 8-3.
Millennium’s hot start began with freshman pitcher Phillip Byrd striking out North Wilkes’ leadoff. Byrd went on to pitch four innings, strike out six batters and allow four hits.
The Lions’ 2-3-4 batters piled on back-to-back-to-back hits. Calvin Devore hit a single, and was moved to third after Ethan Holladay crushed a double. Landon Martin stepped up to the plate and smashed Millennium’s first home run of the season clear over the fence at Fisher River Park.
After the first inning, no Lion player got on base until the bottom of the third. Millennium wanted to counter North Wilkes’ first run that was scored in the top of the inning, and were headed that way when Hartley Devore hit a grounder along the third-base line. However, he attempted to steal second base and caught, and two Lion strikeouts ended the inning.
North Wilkes’ Jacob Faw safely bunted in the top of the fourth, then was joined on base by Blaine Shell when the latter was struck by a pitch. Byrd threw his fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game in the fourth inning, but gave up one final hit that scored Faw and cut the lead to 3-2.
Millennium had another runner get on base in the bottom of the fourth when Martin was walked, but he too was picked off trying to steal.
MCA swapped Tristan Shockley on to the mound when Byrd reached a pitch count limit. A pair of Viking hits tied the game at 3-3, then Martin took the mound for the Lions. Martin pitched the final three innings of the game and struck out five batters, gave up four hits as well as five runs.
A few errors by Millennium in the sixth inning helped North Wilkes’ accumulate five more runs in the sixth inning. The Lions, meanwhile, had hits in fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but could never advance past second base before the third out.
The Lions (1-3) have a chance for redemption when they travel to North Wilkes (2-3) on March 17. Millennium jumps into conference play the following week by hosting Bethany on March 22.
North Wilkes – 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 5, 0 = 8
Millennium Charter – 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 = 3
March 12, 2022
Nearly two dozen individuals and bands competed in the recent Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition was held at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre.
All totalled, there were 19 separate entrants, coming from as far away as Taylorsville and Boones Mill, Virginia. The youth competed in two age levels: 5-12 and 13-18 with categories for both age groups in fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, vocal, dance, and other (which includes all other instruments and bands).
The Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition was sponsored in part by a TAPS grant from the Folklife Division of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The winners were:
Ages 5-12 years
First place: Cheyenne Grantham of Boones Mill
Second place: Hunter Hiatt of State Road
Third place: Sam Wilkerson of Thurmond
Third place: Sylvie Davis of Leicester
Clawhammer Banjo
First place: Wyatt Grantham of Boones Mill
Second place: Everly Davis of Leicester
First place: Judah Davis of Leicester
First place: Gatlynn Grantham of Boones Mill
First place: Maggie Wilkerson of Thurmond
First place: Josiah Wilkerson of Thurmond, Bluegrass Banjo
Second place: Emme Davis of Leicester, Mandolin
Ages 13-18 years
First place: Neely Sizemore of Elkin
Clawhammer Banjo
First place: Bayla Davis of Leicester
Second place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville
First place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville
First place: Candace Noah of Dobson
Second place: Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain
First place: Jackson Dunning of Pilot Mountain
Second place: Bayla Davis of Leicester
Third place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville
Third place: Neely Sizemore of Elkin
First place: Candace Noah of Dobson, Bluegrass Banjo
Second place: Natalie Sizemore of Elkin, Mandolin
First place: Highway 268 featuring Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain, Neely Sizemore of Elkin, Natalie Sizemore of Elkin, and Jackson Dunning of Pilot Mountain;
Second place: Grantham Family featuring Cheyenne Grantham, Wyatt Grantham, Gatlynn Grantham of Boones Mill;
Second place: Wilkerson Family featuring Sam Wilkerson, Josiah Wilkerson, Maggie Wilkerson, and Silas Wilkerson of Thurmond;
Third place: Davis Family featuring Bayla Davis, Sylvie Davis, Judah Davis, and Emme Davis of Leicester.
March 12, 2022
PILOT MOUNTAIN — A pair of wins in the 2022 Cook’s Sports Spring Break Tournament has East Surry 4-0 on the season.
The tournament featured games at North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central, and included six baseball teams: Statesville, West Stokes, South Stokes and the three host schools.
The Cardinals competed in their first tournament game on March 11 against Statesville. After facing an 0-3 deficit out of the gate, East Surry scored 16 unanswered runs to come away with the win.
East Surry’s first tournament game was held at Surry Central in the afternoon. The next night, the Cards made their 2022 debut at Barry Hall Field in the primetime game. A strong defensive effort by the Cardinals led to a 4-1 win.
Cardinal pitchers Folger Boaz and Luke Brown combined for 16 strikeouts against the Wildcats (2-3). Boaz got the start and threw 11 strikeouts, four walks, allowed two hits and one run in four innings. Brown threw the final three innings and struck out five batters, walked three, and allowed no hits or runs.
Even when West Stokes managed to get on base, the Cards worked themselves out of a few sticky situations. After the Cats scored their only run of the game in the top of the fourth, Boaz threw his 11th strikeout and left three runners stranded on base.
When Brown took over on the mound in the fifth, he struck out his first two batters but walked the next three. Faced with loaded bases once again, West Stokes’ Dylan Gastley hammered a hit to left field. East Surry’s Gabriel Harpe ran down the fly ball to save at least two potential runs from scoring.
Strong defensive play was complimented by timely hits allowed East to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Prior to the third, Cardinals Luke Bowman, Matthew Keener and Brett Clayton each reached scoring position but were left on base.
Bowman, East’s leadoff, was walked to begin the bottom of the third. Trey Armstrong got on base after a West Stokes fielding error, then Boaz smacked a 2RBI single to break the 0-0 tie. Keener hit an RBI single later in the inning to put run No. 3 on the board.
West Stokes scored its only run in the top of the fourth, then East cancelled it out with one in the bottom of the same inning. Clayton was walked to start the inning, then was joined by Bowman after he too earned a base on balls. A wild pitch thrown at Armstrong moved Clayton to third.
A short hit from Armstrong sent Clayton to the plate. The Wildcats fielded the hit and made a quick throw to home, but Clayton dodged the tag and scored the fourth run.
Luke Brown had East Surry’s only hit for the rest of the game by hitting a double in the bottom of the fifth.
The Cardinals begin Foothills 2A Conference play next week with a star-studded series against the Forbush Falcons. East Surry won the 1A West Regional Championship in 2021, and Forbush finished 2A West Regional Runner-up the same season.
East Surry travels to East Bend to face Forbush on March 15, then hosts the Falcons on March 18.
West Stokes – 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0 = 1
East Surry – 0, 0, 3, 1, 0, 0, – = 4
March 11, 2022
In 2016, Morris Moore, of Siloam, decided to step away from a long-time career in the world of corporate finance. But it was no retirement — he was just making a career change to becoming a cattleman.
Now he and his wife, Denise, handle a herd of about 30 head of cattle, with plans to grow his operation as he expands beyond the 60 acres of pasture he has now.
Moore was recently recognized by the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association with the 2022 NC Environmental Stewardship Award for pursuing what he calls regenerative agricultural practices.
“Basically, it’s focusing on healthy soil, which includes good soil biology,” he said. “If you have healthy soil it’s going to produce healthy forages for your cattle or livestock, which in turn will give them better quality of meat.”
The practice also tends to be better for the environment.
“With my cows, I planted pastures that have high diversity in plant species,” he said of how he farms. He said he has nine different plant species in his pastures, which offers his cattle sustenance that includes a wide variety of minerals. The mix of different grasses also means the soil stays healthier. While some of the grass he plants is more traditional for pasture cover, with shallower roots and quicker growth, other grasses have much deeper roots that help hold the soil in place during times of drought — as well as pull nutrients from deeper in the ground.
Moore said he also does not use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, nor herbicides. Instead, he tends to allow the forage grass to grow longer.
“When you keep your forage taller in the pasture, it provides shade for the soil,” he said, and tends to offset the need for chemicals.
It also helps avoid root loss that traditionally happens when cattle are feeding on short grass, foraging around on the ground to get the last bit of grass.
One other practice he employs is rotational grazing. Using a light fence and temporary fence posts, Moore moves some of his fencing routinely, sequestering his cattle in a different section of his pastureland.
“A daily rotation is typically what I do when the forage is growing, in the spring, summer and fall,” he said. Some of his land is grazed only a day or two every 30 to 45 days.
“All of that serves to benefit the strength of the forage that’s growing in the pasture,” he said.
While Moore spent his career in finance, he fondly recalls his growing up years, spending summers on his grandfather’s cattle farm. It was there he believes the desire to be a farmer was first planted. When he had the chance, Moore took it — but he also knew he didn’t want his farm to be exactly like the one from his childhood.
”I’d been looking for something that wasn’t just conventional commodity agriculture,” he said. “Something to differentiate what I’m doing.”
Shortly after his 2016 retirement from the corporate finance world, he attended a conference on regenerative agricultural practices and decided that was for him.
He and his wife began the operation in 2018, and he has plans to continue growing.
“I have about 60 acres in pasture, plan to add 30 more over the next (few) years,” he said. He also would like to grow his herd size to around 40 to 45 head.
“One of my objectives is to get enough pasture developed I can have some… (that) I can plant to supplement the grazing during the winter, or have pasture I can let grow in later summer and fall, so cows can go and graze that in the winter. Looking to reduce the amount of hay I need to get the cows through the winter.”
He and his wife have also recently started a retail meat operation, selling grassfed meat directly to the public. For more information, visit the farm’s Facebook page at
March 11, 2022
Knowledge is power yet delivering the correct information at the right time has often been hard for governmental agencies at every level.
From Tom Ridge and the color-coded terror charts of 20 years ago to the face mask policy roll outs of the pandemic era — messaging matters and confusing messages create more problems than they solve.
Enter Nathan Walls who recently proposed a governmental television channel tentatively called “Surry on the Go.” As the county public information officer, he has experience working with newspapers and other regional media outlets to get information out in a timely fashion. “We want to be able to reach people in new ways,” he said.
Sometimes information needs to get out right away and he is seeking to reduce lag time as much as possible. Directly delivering the message to the target audience on their home TV or via streaming platform will allow the county’s message through unencumbered, and as fast as the video or informational slide can be produced and added to the channel’s feed.
Timely and targeted, this channel would announce “public hearings for rezoning, new ordinances, ordinance text amendments, and upset bid processes for surplus property. It could advertise the sale of surplus property, encourage litter collection, better recruit employees and volunteers, and encourage participation in county events.”
Walls noted Alleghany County has a robust operation for governmental television and is operating three of its own channels, for a population 15% the size of Surry County. In some cases, programming may be delivered to a captive audience like in a waiting room or the information channel in a hotel.
Walls noted “Many tourists in Cabarrus County watch programs in their hotel to plan their weekend.” As Surry County is continuing to grow its profile as a destination for travel and tourism, having an information channel on at local hotels seems a win-win for county services and local businesses.
Surry County has a need, and he sees the proposed government channel as an additional service that will compliment traditional means of delivery. “This will be a way to supplement the media.”
Being able to broadcast the meetings of county commissioners and the planning board, get the word out on county policy changes or initiatives, deliver notices from the health department, school closings, or county office hours during holiday on a non-stop basis holds appeal to county staff and their respective departments.
Surry on the Go could “reach more people with endless programming,” Walls said while laying out a list of programming options from various county departments.
A possible wish list for programming outside of board meetings could include, “Parks and Recreation programming, Health and Nutrition Center programming, airport programming and Substance Abuse Recovery Department programming. I would also like to have programming that focuses on our outdoors and natural resources.”
The commissioners were interested in hearing more about the prospect of being able to broadcast on television for a negligible cost versus the potential return.
Alleghany Community TV is operating with a staff of one, Cabarrus has two. Walls sees an opportunity here to pair with local high schools, or students in related fields at Surry Community College to get students hands-on experience with broadcasting and video production via internships or possible part time employment.
Once the station is running it could be self-sufficient with sponsorships. Walls explained sponsorships are advertisements that lack a call to action, a car dealer may tout their great service and staff but not ask a viewer to make a purchase.
A small grant may be available “once the station becomes certified by the state,” Walls advised. The actual channel space on the airwaves would be donated by the local cable provider at the request of the local government, as is the norm.
The largest costs would be for startup equipment and editing software, the projected operating budget would be less than $100,000 annually, a figured based on the budget and cost model of Caldwell County’s station.
“Knowledge is power, I think the more our citizens can hear and know, the better,” Board Vice Chair Eddie Harris said of the plan to create a county station. “The more sunshine you can shine on something, the better. This can allow for a greater focus on drugs, animal control, and litter.”
Nodding heads showed agreement and Commissioner Van Tucker concurred citing a new interest in school board meetings and their transparency. Commissioners Mark Marion and Larry Johnson both expressed their desire to advance the Surry on the Go plan and develop it for the next budget year.
March 11, 2022
STUART, Va. — In a type of crime rarely seen, a Patrick County man charged with multiple counts of distributing methamphetamine also is accused of killing two albino deer along a local roadside.
The Thursday arrest of Michael Ray Clifton, 35, at his home at 53 Cedar View Lane in Stuart reflected a dual purpose, according to details released by the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies with its tactical response team went there to execute three distribution of methamphetamine indictments naming Clifton, who also was targeted during a three-month investigation of the albino deer being found dead with their tails cut off, Sheriff Dan Smith advised.
The killing of the deer occurred on Little Russell Creek Road, highlighting the unusual appearance of such animals. Research shows the chances of seeing an albino in the wild are about one in 30,000, with that condition due to a genetic mutation causing the deer to be totally absent of body pigment.
Meanwhile, the drug indictments resulted from an ongoing investigation by Lt. Nicholas Pendleton and Investigator Brian Hubbard of a special investigations unit of the Patrick Sheriff’s Office.
During the arrest of Clifton, the deputies were accompanied by Game Warden Dale Owens of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Division, who led a wildlife poaching investigation involving Clifton with Hubbard assisting.
Owens subsequently charged Clifton with two counts each of spotlighting deer with the intent to shoot, hunting from a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a roadway and illegal possession of deer not reported. He further is accused of hunting without a license, hunting without a big game license and trespassing.
Clifton was released on a $2,500 secured bond while awaiting trial, for which no date was available Friday.
March 11, 2022
“Have you noticed that Jesus talked more about serving humanity than fulfilling your destiny?” – Naeem Fazal
And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” – Luke 3:10-11
The Bible calls us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and in the same passage it calls us to love our neighbor as our self. Now one way we see the Bible explain what this means is it’s continual call for us to be generous to our neighbor. We see this with Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan — how he sacrifices his time, his money, his reputation to take care of this man who is near death. We also see when John the Baptist talks to a group listening to him preach, he tells them that if they have two coats, they should give one to the poor.
So, the universal biblical truth that we find all throughout scripture, and especially pointedly at New Testament believers in Jesus is that those who would call themselves Christians should be generous, overflowing or sacrificially loving to our neighbor.
What does that mean as we bring that forward nearly 2,000 years into our current culture and our current context? It means that as we live in one of the wealthiest places in the world, and as we have the freedom to work for a wage we are to freely and somewhat sacrificially give some of that away. Now I don’t know what the next week or months or years will look like for you and your pocketbook. I don’t know if they will be affected by things in this world far out of our control or not. I don’t know if your savings account or 401k will boom or take a massive hit because of the cost of living or any number of financial variables.
But what I do know is that the word of God has called me and you to be generous, and it does not stipulate the time. It does not stipulate our financial circumstances, it does not stipulate what our house looks like. So when things get lean it’s really easy for me to want to keep my second coat and stop being generous to those around me, but that is not the call of Christ. The generosity of Christ cost him his very life, and he calls you and I brother and sister in Christ to do the same. To voluntarily sometimes take up our cross, to die to comfort or even our own life for the sake of loving others.
Now what if these “others” are ungrateful or do not accept Christ? Well, once again in the example of Jesus — that did not stop him from being generous. Jesus heals ten lepers knowing that only one would come back. Their appreciation of Jesus as Messiah or even their appreciation of just what he had done for them was not the motivation for Jesus’ kindness. The underlying factors for his generosity was that he was generous and they were needy. And so fellow brother and sister in Christ, let’s model our savior and do the same. Let’s seek to be generous in loving our neighbor, making the only requirement that they are needy.
March 11, 2022
DOBSON — So the slate of candidates for the 2022 election season in Surry County was finalized with last Friday’s end of filing by Democrats and Republicans, right? Wrong! The campaigns could include some unaffiliated additions.
One person who has has publicly announced an effort to join the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate is Melissa Key Atkinson, a sitting member of the Surry County Board of Education.
Atkinson, who is one of the 14,650 voters in the county wearing the unaffiliated label — based on a Jan. 1 count — has a simple reason for not wanting to run for re-election as a major party candidate.
“I don’t think politics has a place in schools,” said Atkinson, a resident of the Siloam community who was appointed in early January to the District 3 post on the school board, also known as its South District seat. She was tapped to complete the unexpired term of Earlie Coe, who had resigned in November.
“It should be about educating children, keeping them safe,” Atkinson added regarding preparing them to be productive members of society which school board service should encompass. “Not politics.”
Politics has has been part of the equation since a 2019 decision by the Surry Board of Commissioners to make all school board elections across the county partisan in nature.
Two Republicans, Kent Whitaker and Jessica George, filed for the District 3 school board seat by last week’s deadline and will square off in a May 17 primary.
Situation is “doable”
Being able to retain her position with the Surry Board of Education as an unaffiliated candidate is involving a bit of an effort by Atkinson — not as simple as it might seem.
State law requires a nomination by petition process for such candidacies to be realized, according to county Director of Elections Michella Huff.
In order to be placed on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated office-seeker, someone must garner signatures amounting to 4% of Surry’s registered voters as of Jan. 1, which is 1,876.
Huff says a petition request form also has to be presented to the Surry County Board of Elections before signatures are obtained by a candidate.
“Those would be due to us by noon on the date of the primary, May 17,” the elections director further explained.
Her office then would certify those names, including verifying that they are registered voters in the county and examining the signatures.
When the petitioner obtains his/her required number of names and the petition is certified, the candidate pays the appropriate filing fee, if necessary, and the elections office would have the office-seeker complete a notice of candidacy via petition.
“Obviously, this candidate would not be on the primary ballot but the ballot in November for the general election,” Huff advised.
Atkinson is confident about her ability to secure the necessary signatures.
“It’s a doable number — and we’re doing it,” she said of an effort that includes a team of supporters who are soliciting names for signature sheets.
The school board member, the wife of former Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson and a mother of two, is encouraged by the number received so far, although she had no firm count earlier this week. “We just started this last week.”
Atkinson said citizens wishing to add their signatures can consult the Melissa Key Atkinson Facebook page, which contains information on how to do so, including videos regarding her campaign quest.
She believes that one hurdle to overcome surrounds the fact that voters might not be accustomed to such a campaign. “People just need to understand (what’s involved), because it is a new process.”
On the other hand, Atkinson’s desire to run as an unaffiliated candidate has struck a chord with county residents who don’t ally themselves with either major party.
“I’ve had good support,” she said, calling it “overwhelming.”
Atkinson has an educational background that includes being employed by Surry Community College for 28 years in various roles, before retiring.
That involvement also has included serving as PTO president at Copeland Elementary School and volunteering at Copeland, Central Middle and Surry Central High schools.
Atkinson received a master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and over the course of her career has worked with high school and middle school students, along with adults.
Maybe others
Others besides Atkinson are pursuing the unaffiliated route, according to Huff, the elections director, who reported this week that her office has “been receiving lots of questions” about the related petition process.
One key element Huff mentioned involves the fact that someone may run as an unaffiliated candidate even if he or she is associated with a political party. “Your voter registration affiliation does not affect your eligibility to be an unaffiliated candidate.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Debbie Brown of State Road had filed a petition request for the West District seat on the Elkin Board of Education, and Frank Beals, also of State Road, a petition for the Surry County Board of Commissioners’ South District seat. It is now held by the GOP’s Eddie Harris.
“We have received some phone calls inquiring about the unaffiliated by petition process within the past week, but these are the only ones who have followed through with submitting a petition request,” Huff mentioned regarding persons involved thus far.
March 11, 2022
March 10, 2022
• A Mount Airy man is facing a felony drug charge and also is accused of driving while impaired stemming from a suspicious-vehicle investigation Monday, according to city police reports.
Joseph Allen Allgood, 31, of 148 Kimberly St., was arrested in the area of Hickory Street and U.S. 52, where he was found passed out in the driver’s seat of a 2008 Ford Taurus while the engine of the vehicle was running and it was in gear, arrest records state.
Allgood allegedly exhibited multiple signs of impairment during field sobriety testing and Sultan, a K9 member of the Mount Airy Police Department, gave a positive indication of an odor of narcotics coming from the car. This led to a probable-cause search of the vehicle and Allgood being charged with possession of methamphetamine.
He was confined in the Surry County Jail under a $2,500 secured bond and slated for an appearance in District Court next Wednesday.
• Quenton Levi Watson, 29, listed as homeless, was arrested Sunday as a fugitive from justice and jailed under a $15,000 secured bond.
Watson was encountered by officers at an unidentified business at 701 W. Pine St., with an investigation revealing that he is wanted in Grayson County, Virginia, on an unspecified matter via his name being listed in a national crime database.
He is scheduled to be in Surry District Court on March 21.
During the same incident, Angela Adkins Collins, 42, of Winston-Salem, was taken into custody on orders for arrest issued in both Surry, on Feb. 11, and Forsyth (Jan. 11) counties on unspecified matters and a charge of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer due to providing a fictitious name and date of birth to Mount Airy police.
Collins was jailed under a $5,800 secured bond and also is facing a March 21 court date.
• Shain Daniel Olson, 28, of Dan Valley Farm Road, Ararat, Virginia, was arrested on March 3 on outstanding warrants for three counts of harassing phone calls which had been filed on Feb. 11 and an order for arrest for failing to appear in court in Surry County issued on Jan. 24.
Olson was jailed under a $16,500 secured bond and is to appear in District Court on March 21.
March 10, 2022
For people dealing with substance use disorder, it can feel as though problems compound on themselves creating an avalanche of pressure. Often already feeling trapped, isolated, and out of options, the prospect of getting to counseling or treatment may be too daunting.
To relieve some of that pressure, Surry County has been offering the Ride the Road to Recovery service to those in need. A lifeline to a variety of county services, medical treatment, recovery, and mental health providers, this program is delivering its results one rider, one at a time.
“When the car shows, I’m happy,” program client Shane Moncus said of the Road to Recovery. He said the interpersonal connections made with the drivers make a big difference. “The transport team really care about your wellbeing. It’s not just a ride, the drivers care about you and your progress.”
Ride the Road to Recovery states their “mission is to provide secure, safe and timely transportation needs to Surry County residents who require assistance in meeting and exceeding a healthier future.”
Deborah Giep, transportation director for the county’s Office of Substance Abuse Recovery, went on to say, “Our drivers do more than just drive, we are cheerleaders, we offer seasoned sound advice and life experiences.”
Those drivers are staying busy. With February data still coming in, a total of 100 online requests were made for transport using Road to Recovery. In January 148 rides were given, with 128 of those destinations being for treatment of substance use disorder. Clients travelling for treatment of substance use issues account for the highest share of ridership in all months for which data is available.
A glance at the ridership data for the programs shows a majority of riders live in Mount Airy, but residents from Dobson, Elkin and Pilot Mountain are also utilizing the ride service.
No bus service in town, few cabs, and limited ride share options mean that for someone without a vehicle, or a ride, to get around the county is a trek on foot or not at all. If PART Route 6 is eliminated, one viable option for some to exit the county for medical care, or any other reason, will disappear.
“We have learned that it’s more than just a ‘ride,’ we are reaching individuals that feel there is no one left in the world that cares about them,” Giep explained.
“We provide information about other services and have positive conversation. We also provide positive reinforcement when our riders are on time and doing well.”
Other services include access to the legal system with rides to the courthouse and probation offices being available. No sympathy is given to a court date missed because of a lack of transportation, Ride the Road to Recovery is seeking to reduce these instances.
Missing appointments is a significant problem, when someone misses an appointment with the doctor it may mean a prescription is not being refilled, whereas missing a court date may yield a bench warrant – and a cascade of additional costs that may follow.
Diseases require treatment and substance use disorder is a disease. The consequences of missing an appointment, a counseling session, or a medication assisted treatment (MAT) dose is tantamount to skipping dialysis or chemo — the stakes are that dire.
For someone dealing with a mental health issue or a substance use disorder, these are the types of events that compound. Often these add-on stressors can lead someone in recovery back to the means of escape from which they came, and a relapse.
When life’s pressures compound, “I take a step back, and sometimes out of myself when things get rough, to center,” Moncus said acknowledging the difficulties of the fight. He sees the Road to Recovery as just another tool in his tool belt, a useful one he has used to create more distance between his past and his recovery.
Occasionally a little help may be what is needs to change a person’s trajectory.
“Ride the Road to Recovery is part of my recovery,” Moncus said during Open Forum at the recent meeting of the county commissioners. “They feel like they’re helping, not just being transportation. It’s like having a friend that cares about you. I tell you, the commissioners, the county, whoever got this program going, they’re saving lives.”
Where the rubber meets the road, Ride the Road to Recovery drivers will be behind the wheel and logging miles in service to the community, the proof is found on the odometer. Giep reported their drivers have combined for 34,326 miles in total.
“We have driven around the Earth one and a quarter times — with a little leftover. We have really gone around the world for our riders.”
March 10, 2022
For years, a busy intersection in the Flat Rock community has been the scene of numerous collisions, but the N.C. Department of Transportation is implementing what it thinks will be a remedy.
It announced Wednesday that DOT crews were scheduled to be at the spot Thursday where East Pine Street (N.C. 103) and McBride/Quaker Road meet to install an all-way stop configuration and new signs in response to its elevated crash rate.
This includes a study examining the five-year accident history of the intersection which revealed 14 dangerous-angle crashes. It is located near Flat Rock Elementary School.
Thursday’s work was to involve installing additional red stop signs there.
The change means traffic heading in any direction at this intersection must make a complete stop. Before this project, through traffic on East Pine Street did not stop. This change will improve safety and reduce crashes at the intersection, officials say.
Advance warning signs stating “Stop Ahead” and “New Traffic Pattern” also were slated to be installed during this project, which is part of the state Highway Safety Improvement Program.
The goal of the program is to alleviate the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities by reducing the potential for and severity of crashes on public roadways.
Four-way stop
Rules of the road
The DOT advises drivers to remember these guidelines for all-way stops:
• The first vehicle at the intersection has the right of way.
• When two or more vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, the one to the right has the right of way and may go straight or, if legal and after signaling, turn left or right.
• When two facing vehicles approach an intersection simultaneously, both drivers can move straight ahead or turn right. If one driver is going straight while the other wants to turn left, the driver who wants to turn left must yield.
• Even with the right of way, drivers should remember to use appropriate turn signals and watch for pedestrians and other vehicles.
Motorists can visit an all-way stop page of the N.C. Department of Transportation — — for more information.
​An all-way stop is considered an effective and cost-efficient way to improve the safety of an intersection.
Recently Mount Airy officials took that approach with the intersection of Willow and West Oak streets downtown.
March 10, 2022
GATLINBURG, Tenn. — The Surry Heat 9U basketball team concluded its winter season by bringing home the gold in a nationwide tournament.
The Heat, coached by Jonathan Gardner and assisted by Danta McLeod, represented Surry County in the Fifth Annual Gatlinburg Hardwood Classic presented by Teammate Basketball. The team competed in – and won – the Third Grade Boys Bracket, which featured 11 teams from five states: Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. More than 100 teams traveled to the Rocky Top Sports World to compete in the tournament on February 26-27.
Team members include: Silas Hiatt, Kannon Gardner, Taeveon McLeod, Preston McLeod, Griffin Key, Pryce Taylor, Nixon Willard and Myles Moore.
The tournament began with pool play. The Heat defeated 865 Elite (TN) 44-13 on Saturday morning, then topped the TN Grizzlies (TN) 24-22 that afternoon.
On Sunday, the Surry Heat had a first round BYE and faced Team Heat Elite Black (NC) in the semifinals of the Gold Division Bracket. A 28-27 win sent the Surry Heat to the championship to face a familiar opponent: the TN Grizzlies.
The Heat ran away with the victory in the championship, winning 34-23.
The first-place tournament finish in the Gatlinburg Hardwood Classic was Surry’s eighth tournament win of the winter season, which runs November-February. The Heat also had two silver finishes, and only one non-medal weekend when the team played in a fifth-grade tournament.
March 10, 2022
Students from North Surry and Surry Central High Schools represented Surry County Schools at the 70th Annual Mars Hill Choral Festival.
Each year more than 800 students from approximately 100 high schools audition for the Festival Choir. North Surry students Kaitlin Culbertson, Mady Simmons, Raegan Amos, Colby Mitchell, Will Danley, and Surry Central students Olivia Smith and Kaylyn Pozo were invited to sing in the festival chorus after auditioning for the ensemble in October.
“It was wonderful to see so many students back together in one room singing,” said North Surry Chorus and Theatre Arts Director Sarah McCraw. “The choral directors joined in on one of the choral pieces and I think several of us got teary-eyed just taking in that moment of being able to make music together again.”
Surry Central Choral Music Teacher Angie Smith shared the same sentiment.
“Students, teachers, and parents were very excited to return to the festival this year,” she said. “Covid restrictions have had a huge impact on the arts and to be able to participate in a large choral event again was wonderful. These are the school experiences that students remember their whole life and I am so thankful to be able to help create those opportunities for them again. I also value the opportunity to collaborate with other choral teachers from across our state.”
The Mars Hill University–J. Elwood Roberts Choral Festival was established in 1949 by the late J. Elwood Roberts as an effort to improve choral music in the high schools of western North Carolina. While in the beginning the clinic was comprised of about fifteen schools in the closely surrounding area, this annual event has grown into one of the premier choral festivals in North Carolina and, as far as is known, is the longest, continuously-running festival of its type in the southeast and is unique for a private college in the United States.
March 09, 2022
DOBSON — Surry Central senior Claire Marion will continue her academic and athletic careers at Emory & Henry College.
Marion, who will compete in track and field in college, made things official by signing her NCAA National Letter of Intent while surrounded by her family and friends.
“I am excited to continue running in college and happy that I get the opportunity to keep on doing what I love,” Marion said.
When asked what attracted her to Emory & Henry, Marion said: “I liked that the size of the school was smaller, it has my major I am interested in, and, when I met with the coach at the school, he was very welcoming and I feel like I will fit in with the team well.”
Competing in cross country and indoor track was originally just a way for Claire to stay in shape for other sports. It wasn’t until she was an upperclassman that she shifted her focus.
“I started thinking about running track in college my junior year,” she said. “My freshman and sophomore year I started running track to get faster and stronger for soccer, but ended up loving track and taking it more seriously.”
Jason Bryant is one of Marion’s high school coaches that has seen her progression across all three running seasons: cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring.
Marion competed in indoor track for three seasons (no season was held in 2020-21 due to COVID-19), cross country for three seasons and is currently in her third season of outdoor track.
“Claire possesses great persistence; she consistently asks for aspects to improve on her running form and training,” Bryant said. “I was excited to see her be a scoring team member on our girls 2A Midwest Regional Champion team last spring, as well scoring for conference championships in 2021 outdoor and 2022 indoor track.”
As Bryant mentioned, the Lady Eagles track teams have been on fire since the spring 2020 outdoor and winter 2020-21 indoor seasons were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Marion helped the 2020-21 outdoor track team win the Western Piedmont 2A Conference and 2A Midwest Regional Championships by earning points in each event as a member of the 4×200-meter relay team. She also scored in the high jump at the conference championship.
The Eagles then won the Foothills 2A Conference Championship as a team for the 2021-22 indoor season. Here, Marion was part of the Eagles’ 4×200-meter relay team that won an individual conference title and finished No. 8 at the 1A/2A State Championship.
“I have really appreciated Claire’s team commitment and focus,” Bryant said. “She is constantly available and supportive as a teammate. This attribute speaks both of Claire’s athletic personality and her character in general. Claire has been such a positive part of Surry Central track for these years.
“I’m look forward to the opportunities that being a member of the Emory & Henry track team will provide to Claire.”
Marion hopes to add another conference title and get back to the state championship in her senior outdoor track season.
“I would like to thank my family, friends and coaches for pushing me to always do my best, and to never quit or give up,” Marion said.
March 09, 2022
DOBSON — Even though it was a chilly day on the courts, no amount of high winds and low temperatures could preventSurry Central from its hottest start in nearly a decade.
The Golden Eagles moved to 3-0 on the season Wednesday after defeating previously undefeated Forbush 9-0. Central’s three-match winning streak to kick off the season is the program’s best start since the 2013 team was 5-0.
The Eagles haven’t just been winning: they’ve dominated. Surry Central’s has blanked opponents 9-0 in all three matches this season.
Central set the tone for their 2022 campaign with the most lopsided victory possible on February 28. The Eagles traveled to West Wilkes and didn’t lose a single game. The following players earned double-bagel victories of 6-0, 6-0 in singles (listed in descending order by seed): Josh Pardue, Jacob Edmonds, Michael Tucker, Maddox Martin, Tripp McMillen and Isaac Eller.
Pardue and Edmonds swept No. 1 doubles, while Tucker and Martin did at No. 2, and Chris Hall and Eduardo Romero-Rondin did at No. 3.
Wilkes Central traveled to Dobson for Surry Central’s home opener on March 8. Wilkes Central won a combined 10 games in all of singles, and no player from the visitors won more than two games in a set. The top six remained the same for Surry Central, with McMillen and Martin switched in No. 4 and No. 5 singles.
The Golden Eagles did hold Wilkes Central winless in doubles by winning all 24 games in doubles. Pardue and Edmonds once again led the way at No. 1 doubles, followed by Tucker and McMillen in the No. 2 spot, and Martin and Eller at No. 3.
Surry Central played its second match of a back-to-back on March 9. This time, the Golden Eagles welcomed the 4-0 Forbush Falcons.
Pardue (No. 1) and McMillen (No. 4) each won 6-0, 6-0 in singles. Pardue, who is defending his singles conference championship from the 2021 season, hasn’t dropped a singles game in 2022.
Surry Central’s Martin was pushed in the first set of the No. 5 singles match, but still came out on top 6-4. He swept the next set 6-0.
Tucker faced a similar situation on court No. 3. He overcame his opponent in a close first set 6-4, then took the second set 6-1. Edmonds wrapped up his match around the same time as Tucker, winning 6-1, 6-2 in No. 2 singles.
Eller won the first set of the No. 6 singles match 7-5, but dropped the second set 2-6. The pair went to a third-set tiebreaker that nearly outlasted some doubles matches. Eller won the tiebreaker 10-8 to remain undefeated on the year.
Doubles also heavily favored the Golden Eagles. Pardue and Edmonds won 8-2 on court No. 1, Tucker and McMillen won 8-3 on court No. 2, and Martin and Eller dominated on court No. 3 to win 8-0.
With the Forbush loss, only two teams remain undefeated in Foothills 2A Conference play: Surry Central at 3-0 and East Surry at 2-0.
The Golden Eagles return to the courts on March 14 to host North Wilkes (1-2).
March 09, 2022
GALAX, Va. — The Blue Ridge Music Center is celebrating 20 years of summer concerts at its hillside outdoor amphitheater on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a slate of performances announced for the 2022 season.
A number of fan favorites will be taking the stage, including North Carolina-based acts such as Steep Canyon Rangers from Asheville, along with The Kruger Brothers accompanied by the Kontras Quartet and Chatham County Line.
The regional flavor also features Virginia-based performers including The Steel Wheels, Dori Freeman accompanied by a Winston-Salem Symphony string quintet and Bill and the Belles.
Organizers point out that the concert roster is strong on bluegrass and old-time music, featuring traditional acts as well as artists who perform in a more contemporary vein.
Representing the music of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the upcoming concert series will be Unspoken Tradition, Five Mile Mountain Road, Nobody’s Business, None of the Above, The Mike Mitchell Band, Zoe and Cloyd and ShadowGrass.
Featured performers who represent diversity and inclusion in the American roots music community include Rissi Palmer (Color Me Country Radio), Joe Troop and Friends, The Earl White Stringband and several female-fronted bands such as Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway, The Amanda Cook Band, The Burnett Sisters Band and Dori Freeman.
Tuba Skinny will kick off the concert series on May 28 (the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend). An ensemble of former street musicians, the group’s sound evokes the rich musical heritage of its New Orleans home, from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz, music center officials say.
The series concludes on Sept. 3 (during the Labor Day weekend), when Californian Molly Tuttle, the first woman ever named Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, takes the stage.
Tuttle is considered one of the most compelling young voices in American roots. Tuttle and her highly regarded Golden Highway Band will perform songs from Tuttle’s critically acclaimed bluegrass-focused album, The Crooked Tree.
Steep Canyon Rangers, who will appear at the Blue Ridge Music Center on Aug. 6, are Grammy winners, perennial Billboard chart-toppers and frequent collaborators of the renowned banjoist (and occasional comedian) Steve Martin.
The group released three albums in 2020 on Yep Roc Records. The Grammy-nominated North Carolina Songbook is a recording of its live 2019 performance at MerleFest, in which Steep Canyon Rangers rendered a selection of songs by the state’s songwriters (Ola Belle Reed, Doc Watson, James Taylor, Ben E. King and others).
The studio album Be Still Moses paired the band with Philadelphia soul legends Boyz II Men and their hometown Asheville Symphony to overhaul the song “Be Still Moses,” which was first recorded on their 2007 breakout album Lovin’ Pretty Women. The album includes re-imagined versions of Steep Canyon Rangers’ previously released original songs performed with an orchestra.
Their most recent release of all-original music, Arm in Arm, emerged in October 2020.
Full concert schedule
Performances start at 7 p.m. on Saturdays during the Blue Ridge Music Center concert season, with admission gates opening at 5:45 p.m. Ticket prices range from $20 to $40. Tickets, season passes (full, half and Pick 3), along with memberships, are available at
The complete schedule includes these dates and performers:
• May 28: Tuba Skinny
• June 4: Symphony Unbound with Dori Freeman accompanied by a Winston-Salem Symphony string quintet
• June 18: The Kruger Brothers accompanied by the Kontras Quartet
• June 25: Zoe and Cloyd plus The Burnett Sisters Band with Colin Ray
• July 2: Old-Time Dance Party with Five Mile Mountain Road plus The Earl White Stringband
• July 9: The Mike Mitchell Band; None of the Above
• July 16: Bill and the Belles; ShadowGrass
• July 23: Rissi Palmer; Joe Troop and Friends
• July 30: The Amanda Cook Band; Unspoken Tradition
• Aug. 6: An Evening with the Steep Canyon Rangers
• Aug. 20: The Slocan Ramblers plus Nobody’s Business
• Aug. 27: The Steel Wheels; Chatham County Line
• Sept. 3: Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway; Wayne Henderson and Herb Key
The Blue Ridge Music Center, located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax, exists to celebrate the music and musicians of the mountains.
It is a national park facility, a major attraction along the Blue Ridge Parkway and a venue partner of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Parkway/National Park Service maintains and operates the site and staffs a visitor/interpretive center there.
March 09, 2022
STUART, Va. — Two men were arrested on methamphetamine-related charges Wednesday in Ararat, including a Mount Airy resident, during separate narcotic take-down operations spearheaded by the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the incidents involved Johnny Miranda, 24, of Morrow, Georgia, who was nabbed about 5 p.m. when he allegedly attempted to deliver more than 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine into that community.
Miranda was taken into custody without incident by a tactical response team of the Patrick Sheriff’s Office.
The methamphetamine seized has a street value of around $40,000, according to Sheriff Dan Smith, who explained that such large quantities are sold to street-level dealers by the gram, typically at $60 to $80 each.
“This is how dozens of drug addicts are infected, poisoning our community with thefts and other unwanted by-products caused by the methamphetamine epidemic,” the sheriff emphasized in a statement.
Miranda is charged with possession with intent to distribute more than 227 grams of a Schedule II narcotic and is being held in the Patrick County Jail without privilege of bond.
Surry man implicated
Later Wednesday, at around 8 p.m., Joshua David Sawyers, 38, of 1455 Simpson Mill Road, Mount Airy, was arrested as he allegedly attempted to deliver about one ounce of methamphetamine in the Ararat community.
Sawyers also was found in possession of a stolen rifle that he was attempting to distribute along with the methamphetamine and a handgun, according to Smith.
The suspect was not compliant and attempted to flee as deputies from the tactical response team gave him commands to surrender.
Sawyers was apprehended soon after by Crash, a K9 member of the Patrick Sheriff’s Office, and subsequently treated by medical personnel for minor injuries.
The Mount Airy man initially was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is being held in the Patrick County Jail without bond.
Smith stated that “a multitude’ of narcotics and firearms charges are forthcoming against Sawyers as the investigation continues.
In mentioning that the two incidents are unrelated, the Patrick sheriff added that Miranda and Sawyers do not know each other.
The Surry County and Carroll County sheriff’s offices assisted in the operations. “We are grateful for the close working relationship we share with our adjoining jurisdictions,” Smith commented.
Patrick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Nicholas Pendleton and Investigator Brian Hubbard led the investigations.
Both Miranda and Sawyers are scheduled to appear in Patrick County General District Court on May 17.
March 09, 2022
Dobson Elementary recently participated in Kids Heart Challenge. The fundraiser was a success, raising $3,814.16 for the American Heart Association.
The Top School Money Earner was Logan Norman. He received a sports equipment package for being the overall earner.
The Top Grade Level Earners were Logan Norman in fifth grade, Maddux Atkins for fourth grade, Gracein Hodges in third grade, Aaron Johnson in second grade, Cameron Whitaker for first grade, and William Quance in kindergarten. They will each receive one week of their favorite special area class.
Siomara Baltazar’s fifth grade class was the Top Class Earner, winning a pizza party.
Each student who raised $5 or more got an ice cream sandwich during PE the week of the celebration and got to participate in some fun activities that promote healthy heart development.
March 09, 2022
The 427 member schools of the N.C. High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) are being called upon to vote on the future of high school athletics.
The NCHSAA’s administration of interscholastic athletics was challenged with the introduction of the “Accountability and Fair Play in Athletics” bill, or House Bill 91, in July 2021. Early versions of bill called for the removal of the NCHSAA, though that has been altered to now require oversight of the association.
The NCHSAA stated in a Nov. 16 press release that despite believing the legislation was “unnecessary,” the association advocated for changes to the bill to “best serve the needs of student-athletes.” As stated in the aforementioned release, the revised legislation allows the State Board of Education to reach a memorandum of understanding with a designated organization for that organization to administer high school athletics.
Later in November, the revised bill passed in both the State Senate and House of Representatives before being signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. It stated that any non-profit organization administering high school athletics for public schools in the state, including the NCHSAA, must sign a memorandum of understanding with the State Board of Education and meet all criteria required by the board.
The NCHSAA Board of Directors voted to approve the MOU on March 7, however, a number of items in the MOU counter current NCHSAA articles of incorporation and bylaws. Changing the bylaws can only be done with votes of approval from three-fourths of the 427 member schools, which would be 321 schools.
The NCHSAA sent an electronic ballot to member schools on March 7 asking for members to vote “yes” or “no” to suspend the relevant articles of incorporation and bylaws. Schools have until noon on Friday, March 11 to submit their votes because the NCHSAA must sign the memorandum of understanding by March 15. This date is set by the new state law.
This vote is considered an emergency vote by the membership due to the deadline, and any non-vote counts as “no.”
If the emergency vote does not receive the necessary number of votes to pass, the Department of Public Instruction will take over the duties of the NCHSAA at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
March 09, 2022
Mount Airy Rotarians recently visited Tharrington Primary Students came to read with them for the first time since the 2019-2020 school year.
The Rotarians used to regularly visit the school, but have been unable to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group returned in style using the Blue Bear Bus. For the first time, the Blue Bear was introduced to students. The Blue Bear and Rotarians exited the bus, met with students, and the parade entered BHT to begin reading.
March 09, 2022
An electrical construction company based in Mount Airy has been fined $43,506 stemming from the deaths of two young employees in Alabama last year, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The penalties against Pike Electric, LLC resulted from a federal workplace safety investigation into the fatal electrocutions of the 19-year-old apprentices in Adger, Alabama, about 23 miles southwest of Birmingham, on Aug. 31.
Officials say the incident occurred while they were working on a 7,200-volt electric distribution line to restore power after a severe summer storm.
The OSHA announcement did not name the victims, but the 19-year-olds were identified in an Associated Press report as Eli Nathaniel Babb of Kellyton, Alabama, and Layton River Ellison of Alexandria.
Investigators with OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, determined that Pike Electric allowed the two apprentices to repair a downed line without ensuring the removal of all jumpers from the power source.
The company also failed to train workers to competently recognize electrical hazards and know the required safety procedures to address the existing hazards, their investigation revealed.
It further found that their employer might have prevented the incident by ensuring required safety standards were adhered to, and that adequate supervision and training was provided.
In addition, OSHA reported that the energy services provider failed to have an adequate number of people with first-aid training for the crew as it performed field work on exposed lines and energized equipment.
“Two young people suffered fatal electrocution because Pike Electric, LLC failed to meet their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace and ensure the proper supervision of new workers,” OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris, of Birmingham, said in a statement.
“Pike Electric should know the steps needed to isolate live electrical sources before making repairs on a downed electrical line and be acutely aware of the dangers,” Morris added. “Not following safety precautions and ensuring workers understand the dangers when lives are on the line is inexcusable.”
The investigation identified three serious violations for which OSHA has proposed $43,506 in penalties.
Pike Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
A call to Pike Electric Wednesday afternoon seeking comment about the case was referred to James Banner, listed as senior vice president of administration for the company located on Pike Way in the Holly Springs community.
Banner did not immediately respond to a voice-mail message left there.
Pike Electric, LLC provides transmission, distribution and substation construction services along with emergency storm response in a number of states, which began with Hurricane Betsy in 1965.
It is a subsidiary of Pike Corp., an electric, gas and telecommunications provider with about 10,000 employees and 100 office locations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees, Tuesday’s announcement mentions.
OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
In 2020, 126 workers lost their lives from exposure to electricity on the job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Employment of electricians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, and most workers enter the field through apprenticeship as did the two in Alabama.
March 09, 2022
For decades North Carolina has ranked near the bottom of all states in the country when it comes to the public’s right to know what went wrong when a government employee is transferred, demoted or terminated for disciplinary reasons.
There have been efforts to change that, including a bill introduced 25 years ago by a young state senator named Roy Cooper, who now of course is North Carolina’s governor.
So “Sunshine Week” March 13-19 is an appropriate time to examine where North Carolina stands on the people’s right to know.
Founded in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors, Sunshine Week is designed to heighten awareness about the importance of open government and freedom of information and advocate for change where change is needed. Change is needed badly here. The best hope for that openness and accountability is ready to be taken up now by the Legislature.
For the third time since Gov. Cooper’s 1997 bill, the Legislature has a chance to make history by enacting legislation that opens public employee personnel files to inspection when bosses or elected leaders take disciplinary action. Passed last year by a bipartisan majority in the N.C. Senate, the Government Transparency Act of 2021 would open personnel files in cases of misconduct by public school teachers and professors, city and county managers, and state and local law enforcement officers.
All North Carolinians should ask how the wall of secrecy around these disciplinary records was erected in the first place. One clue lies in a letter presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee last spring voicing full throated opposition to the Government Transparency Act by none other than the state’s public school teachers lobby (NCAE), the North Carolina state employees association (SEANC), and the Teamsters Union. The opposition caused the bill to stall in the state House, though it remains alive in that chamber and can be taken up at the leadership’s signal. The bill has the full support of the N.C. Association of Broadcasters, the N.C. Press Association, and the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association, not to mention consistent and broad support in polling of taxpayers and voters.
This election year — when every seat in the General Assembly is on the ballot — is a good time for those voters to remind candidates of their interest in knowing about the conduct of government employees they’re paying.
A fix for North Carolina’s legacy of personnel files locked in file cabinets sits on the goal line. Legislative leaders and the rank and file should be eager to punch it in.
Sandy Hurley, Regional Publisher, Mount Airy News Media Group, is president of the North Carolina Press Association. Bill Moss, publisher of the Hendersonville Lightning, is the NCPA’s Legislative Committee chair.
March 08, 2022
• A Mount Airy man was jailed on larceny and other charges after a weekend incident at a local convenience store, according to city police reports.
Joey Keith Caudle, 31, of 110 Sheila St., allegedly stole alcoholic beverages, food items and soft drinks with a total value of $76 at Speedway on West Pine Street around 1 a.m. Saturday and was arrested shortly afterward in the area of West Pine and Independence Boulevard nearby.
In addition to larceny, Caudle is accused of possession of stolen goods and second-degree trespassing due to having been banned from Speedway by its management in April 2020.
He was confined in the Surry County Jail under a $500 secured bond and slated for a March 28 appearance in District Court.
• James Glenn Bowman, 75, of 114 Dare Lane, is facing a larceny charge after pushing a shopping cart containing miscellaneous merchandise valued altogether at $524 into the Walmart parking lot last Friday without paying. He was caught and detained by store loss-prevention personnel until police arrived.
Among the items taken were 25 quarts of Castrol Edge high-mileage motor oil, shop towels, a bath faucet, seat covers and a 78mm battery.
Bowman is free on a written promise to appear in Surry District Court on March 21 after signing a $500 appearance bond, police records state.
• Police were told on Feb. 25 that a Motorola Moto G cell phone owned by David Lee Cain of Shamrock Avenue had been stolen by an unknown suspect at Walmart. The phone, described as blue, is valued at $200.
• A woman from Glendale, South Carolina, was reported to have been a victim of an assault by strangulation on Feb. 24 at Holiday Inn Express and Suites on EMS Drive, which also involved interfering with an emergency communication.
Eva M. Vickers advised police that after striking and strangling her, an apparently known suspect prevented her from calling for help. Minor injuries resulted during the incident for which no charges were issued in its immediate aftermath.
• Dwight Eugene Baldwin, 42, of Wilkesboro, was jailed on a felony drug charge and an order for arrest for failure to appear in court stemming from an incident at Walmart where he allegedly stole merchandise valued at $806.
Officers encountered Baldwin during a larceny call on Feb. 23 which involved men’s clothing, toys and children’s clothing and during a probable-cause search of his person a crystal-like substance was found which police records identify as methamphetamine.
Baldwin was charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and larceny, while also being revealed as the subject of an outstanding order for arrest on the court violation which had been issued in Wilkes County on Jan. 11. He was held in the Surry County Jail under a $2,500 secured bond and is scheduled to be in District Court in Dobson on March 28.
• A case involving EBT (electronic benefits transfer) fraud was discovered on Feb. 22 to have occurred at Walmart, where police records indicate that a known individual used the EBT card of Rachel Kay Franklin of Johnson Farm Road at Pilot Mountain to buy items online from the store which subsequently were picked up there.
No loss figure was listed for the crime that was still under investigation at last report.
March 08, 2022
East Surry earned its first win of the season in nearly perfect fashion.
The Cardinals’ offense scored 13 runs on 15 hits, while the defense held Mount Airy to just one hit in the 13-0 win.
East Surry pitcher Riley Pennington struck out 10-of-16 Granite Bear batters in the five-inning game. Of the six non-strikeouts, there was one flyout, three groundouts, one base on balls and one hit allowed.
Mount Airy’s lone hit was a blooper that sailed into center field, allowing Isabella Beck to reach first base in the bottom of the second inning. The only other Granite Bear to get on base was Chloe Potts when she was walked in the bottom of the fourth.
East Surry’s Rosie Craven was a home run away from hitting for the cycle. The Cardinal senior hit two singles, a double and a triple, as well as three RBIs. Pennington had three hits for East Surry, and Bella Hutchens and Elise Marion added two each.
Craven led the game off with a single, and was joined on base by Marion. Pennington scored Craven with a single of her own, then Addy Sechrist – running for Marion – and Pennington would score later in the inning to make it 3-0.
Seagraves tossed her first strikeout in the second inning, but it was followed by a hit from Sara Scott. Though originally a single, fielding errors allowed Scott to reach prime scoring position at third base. Craven then scored Scott with a triple, then Maegan Banks paid it forward by scoring Craven. Banks herself later scored on a wild pitch to go up 6-0 through two innings.
East Surry loaded the bases after Clara Willard was walked, but a Seagraves strikeout and forced flyout by the Bears prevented further scoring in the inning.
East picked back up with its scoring in the third inning. Craven hit her third RBI with a double that scored Scott, and Marion hit a double that scored Craven.
The Cards’ advantage grew to double digits with three runs in the fourth inning. Each of the first three batters scored: Hutchens, Lilly Brinkley and Tegan Minor. The first two batters of the fifth inning scored the final two runs, those being Willard and Hutchens.
East Surry’s win gets the Cards in the win column for the first time this season. The Lady Cardinals previously dropped games to Davie, West Stokes and South Stokes.
Mount Airy drops to 0-2, with the Bears’ only previous game being a loss to Reagan.
Mount Airy returns to the diamond on March 11 to host North Surry, and East Surry is off until its rematch with South Stokes on March 14.
East Surry – 3, 3, 2, 3, 2, X, X = 13
Mount Airy – 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 X, X = 0
March 08, 2022
The “jury” is in regarding what should be done about the one-way traffic situation in downtown Mount Airy, which is nothing, according to the results of a recent survey.
It showed that the majority of respondents (44%) “strongly like” the idea of keeping the present two lanes of travel going one way along North Main Street through the central business district, with another 35% liking that setup though not strongly.
Only 16% of respondents dislike the one-way/two-lane traffic and 6% strongly do.
The section of North Main eyed for potential design changes referenced in the survey runs between Independence Boulevard and Pine Street.
Another possible adjustment that has been suggested for this stretch is replacing stoplights now existing along the way with stop signs where feasible, for which the survey showed sizeable support.
Fifty-three percent of those answering the survey either like (28%) or strongly like (25%) that alternative, with the results showing that 47% do not want stoplights replaced.
Early findings of plan
The survey results and other preliminary findings about downtown Mount Airy were presented during a city council meeting last Thursday by staff members of the Benchmark consulting firm that is updating a previous master plan for that area from 2004.
In November, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $67,000 in city funding for the modernized plan toward a total funding commitment to it of about $125,000 — also involving financial input from the group Mount Airy Downtown Inc.
Benchmark has been providing in-house planning-related services to Mount Airy since 2011 through a privatization move, and is receiving the additional funding for the downtown effort above its normal annual contract price.
While the plan won’t be completed until this summer, city officials were updated last week on the progress so far by the Benchmark team. Its report was based on first-hand observations, two days of listening sessions with local residents including downtown stakeholders and the recent survey.
It was accessible to the general public online until Jan. 31, with 481 people responding.
While those administering the survey say that number exceeded an initial goal, Commissioner Jon Cawley pointed out during the meeting that it represents only about 4% of Mount Airy’s population.
In addition to favoring the present one-way traffic setup, respondents, among other preferences:
• Expressed some support for changing to a one-lane/one-way configuration with angled parking and loading zones as an alternative, which a healthy number also dislike. (Benchmark President Jason Epley, who led the presentation, said the support shown for one-way/one-lane traffic contradicted the overall preference for leaving the existing format alone, but offered no explanation.)
• Eighty-three percent of the respondents oppose a change to two-way traffic of one lane each way with loading zones.
• Fifty-three percent strongly favor another oft-mentioned proposal, to bury overhead utility lines, which the Benchmark staff indicates is not feasible due to a high cost — magnified by the possible presence of thick granite below the surface which has undermined many a project.
• Fifty-five percent visit the downtown area several times a week or more, mostly for dining/entertainment, shopping and attending special events.
• While 56% consider downtown Mount Airy great, support was shown for improvements such as expanded schedules for businesses and alternative entertainment opportunities. Having rock concerts at the Earle Theatre instead of just old-time music is one example mentioned which would appeal to younger folks especially.
Parking, transportation misconceptions
The work so far on the master plan update has served to shoot down some common myths, including that downtown Mount Airy lacks sufficient parking.
Most survey respondents believe parking there is either easy (45%) or very easy (18%).
There are 2,343 parking spaces total, based on the presentation, including 232 on-street ones, though Benchmark representatives cite the fact that it might not be exactly where patrons want.
“Certainly there are peak times during the day and weekends when it can be difficult,” Epley said, adding that this might require circling the block to find a spot.
The consultant also mentioned a common problem that seemingly has plagued downtown Mount Airy since the early days of the automobile, on-street spaces being used by owners and/or employees of businesses there.
“There is some issue with cars being parked on the street all day long,” Epley said, “fifteen to 20 cars on any given day.”
He mentioned that capacity could be increased by getting those individuals to park elsewhere.
Another misconception shot down by the study thus far is that the amount of traffic is stressing downtown streets.
Epley said findings show that Independence Boulevard, Pine Street and Renfro, the busiest routes, “could easily handle more volume.”
However, this doesn’t mean there are no danger spots, with the intersection of Pine and Main found to be the most hazardous for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Parents with small children, along with elderly persons, are especially at risk, according to the Benchmark team, which also believes the area as a whole is not conducive to cycling.
But overall, Mount Airy has one of the best downtown environments of any small city in North Carolina, the consultants say, with features including an amphitheater, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and others.
Both city government and downtown leaders thought it necessary to update the 18-year old study by incorporating new elements to better guide future investments in the central business district, private and public, in a coherent and cost-effective manner.
March 08, 2022
A local woman is facing a long list of forgery and other felony charges stemming from incidents targeting checking and debit accounts of an elderly Mount Airy resident.
Amber Christi Black, 33, of 869 Siloam Road, Mount Airy, is accused of 20 serious charges altogether, according to information released Tuesday about her alleged crimes by city police, who are classifying the case as the exploitation of an elder adult.
Black is accused of stealing, forging and cashing personal checks belonging to Claude Edward Miles Sr., 87, a resident of Durham Street, and using the retiree’s debit card for fraudulent transactions at various locations around town without his consent.
The crimes occurred around the Feb. 21-22 time frame, police say, with an investigation leading to the lengthy slate of felony violations being filed against the woman. She was served with outstanding warrants on the charges at the Mount Airy Police Department Saturday and subsequently confined in the Surry County Jail under a total secured bond of $14,000.
Black is accused of four counts of forgery of instruments, four counts of uttering a forged instrument and 12 counts of financial card fraud.
Miles’ Wells Fargo debit card also was stolen and used to buy items at Walmart, Burkes Outlet, Taco Bell, Roses, an unidentified specialty store at 2123 Rockford St. and an unidentified restaurant at 1406 Edgewood Drive.
The Siloam Road resident is alleged to have forged the victim’s name on four checks from his account with Wells Fargo Bank and cashed them at its branch on North Main Street.
Black obtained a total of $505 using the checks, according to police records, which list no loss total for the transactions involving the debit card.
Police records also contain no information as to the relationship between Black and the victim.
The crimes were reported to authorities by a nearby neighbor of Miles on Durham Street.
Black is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on March 28.
March 08, 2022
With most of winter sports already completed, The News is recognizing the local student-athletes that were presented with All-Conference Honors for their respective sports.
East Surry, North Surry and Surry Central all compete in the Foothills 2A Conference (FH2A), Millennium Charter Academy competes in the Northwest Piedmont 1A Conference (NWPC) and Mount Airy competes in the Northwest 1A Conference (NW1A).
All-Conference Honorable Mentions will include “HM” before their name. Following each name will be the wrestler’s weight class in the conference tournament.
Wrestling All-Conference
East Surry – Eli Becker (182)*, Trace Tilley (170), Daniel Villasenor (195), HM Lucas East (220)
Millennium Charter – did not field a wrestling team in 2021-22
Mount Airy – Franklin Bennett (152)*, Traven Thompson (160)*, Connor Medvar (170)*, Edwin Agabo (195)*, Sao Lennon (220)*, Jack Martin (106), Brison George (126), Alex Cox (132), John Martin (138), Luke Leonard (182), HM Hope Horan (113), HM Avery Poindexter (145)
North Surry – Caleb Utt (126), Garrett Shore (170), Adam Slate (182), HM Isaac Tate (106), HM Will Brickell (120), HM William France (138), HM Jase Hernandez (195), HM Ty Gwyn (285)
Surry Central – Jacob Price (145)*, Jeremiah Price (152)*, Karson Crouse (160)*, Spencer LeClair (170)*, Ayden Norman (106), Wyatt Wall (138), Enoch Lopez (220), HM Alex Kinton (126), HM Cole Butcher (182)
*Individual conference champions
Season summary
East Surry finished 13-15 overall and 1-5 in conference competition. The Cardinals did not qualify for the 2A Dual Team State Tournament.
Individually, Eli Becker won the 2A Midwest 182 Regional Championship and was State Runner-up in his class with a final record of 27-1. Daniel Villasenor finished third at regionals in the 195 bracket, then finished fourth at the state competition.
Mount Airy finished 17-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play. The Granite Bears won the NW1A Regular Season Championship for the eighth time in nine years, as well as the NW1A Tournament Championship for the ninth consecutive season. Mount Airy reached the Elite Eight 1A Dual Team State Playoffs before losing to the eventual state champion.
Individually, Connor Medvar was named NW1A Conference Wrestler of the Year, won the 1A West Regional 170 Championship and 1A 170 State Championship with a 34-1 record. Edwin Agabo was Regional Runner-up and State Runner-up in the 195 class, and Franklin Bennett was Regional Champion and State Bronze Medalist at 152. Alex Cox finished fourth in the 132 regional bracket and was a state qualifier.
Though falling just short of her second appearance in the NCHSAA 1A State Championship Tournament, Mount Airy’s Hope Horan got her moment in the spotlight by becoming the 114-pound Women’s Wrestling Invitational Champion.
Mount Airy coach Cody Atkins was named NW1A Coach of the Year.
North Surry finished 15-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The Greyhounds did not qualify for the 2A Dual Team State Tournament.
Individually, Garrett Shore became the first North Surry wrestler in three years to qualify for the 2A State Championship by finishing fourth in the 2A Midwest 170 bracket. He went on to the state tournament, but fell short of medaling.
Surry Central finished 15-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play. The Golden Eagles qualified for the 2A West Dual Team State Touranment, but fell to West Lincoln in the opening round. Central did win the school’s first regional team championship at the 2A Midwest Regional Competition.
Both Jeremiah Price and Jacob Price went on to win regional and state championships. Jacob captured his first state title in the 145 bracket, finishing with a record of 32-2 record. Jeremiah won his third state title by winning the 152 bracket, doing so with a perfect 42-0 record.
Surry Central’s Xavier Salazar, Karson Crouse, Spencer LeClair and Enoch Lopez all finished Regional Runners-up and qualified for the state tournament.
Crouse (160) and LeClair (170) each finished fifth in their respective brackets, while Salazar (106) and Lopez (195) fell short of medaling.
Surry Central coach Stephen Priddy was named FH2A Coach of the Year, Jeremiah Price was named FH2A Wrestler of the Year and Jacob Price was named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the FH2A Championship.
Jeremiah was also named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the 2A State Championship.
March 08, 2022
A significant next step was taken Monday in the process to save and revitalize the old J. J. Jones High School. Proposals and counters have now moved between the interested parties as the fate of the former all Black high school may find its resolution shortly.
The highlight of the Surry County proposal the county commissioners passed unanimously Monday was a timetable for the county to turn J. J. Jones High over the African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Surry County on June 30, 2022.
Chairman Bill Goins took a moment during the board of commissioners meeting to run through the options that were available both for the public in attendance, and those watching remotely from home, “This is for public consumption.”
As documented, Jones along with Westfield Elementary were added last year to the list of county surplus property. The county could no longer absorb the expenditures of maintenance on buildings of such age while staring down hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations to the county’s high schools in the near future.
The cost of upkeep on schools with a life expectancy of around 50 years was simply more than the county could continue to incur. Surplusing the properties means the county wanted to sell them, and in a timely fashion.
Goins explained a Public-Private-Partnership (P3) between the county and The Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation option was available that would create affordable housing. P3 groups allow the expertise of the private sector to be harnessed for projects that benefit the public good.
This plan contained upfront investment of $1 million, with up to $11 million in total that would create housing and preserve space for YVEDDI services. The P3 would form its own managing LLC to operate the new venture and navigate through state/federal grant funding. They would provide oversight for the historical preservation society, management of the tenants both residential and service providers, along with all other managerial and maintenance services.
“It preserves the building, the African American community has a voice in that process, and it ensures that the African American community has a space in the building. And, if you have a seat at the table, you may have more than what you asked for.
“It creates much needed housing for our community even though some people say we don’t need all that affordable housing — we do. That’s an economic development issue, our young people are leaving because they don’t have anywhere to live. So, it’s an issue to us.”
Last month, the Historical and Genealogical Society made its proposal to save Jones School. Goins explained, “Their main goal is not only to preserve Jones for its current purposes, but they wish to expand it to serve as a multi-cultural center, including education, health, and service resources. As well as affordable housing and artistic endeavors for the future.
“Some of these things go together,” Goins said of the overlapping goals of the P3 model and the Save Jones School proposal. Both seek to give space to the African American community, provide housing, and allow YVEDDI services to remain if they so choose. These issues of tenancy are among those Goins has raise as concerns to the Save Jones group.
The major difference is that Save Jones want ownership of the building and the land to be given to them, as it is part of the Black community’s history.
The county, Goins said, has “listened and we have a proposal, we are not looking for an answer. We think you need to go back and discuss out proposal, you need to have an honest discussion.”
County Manager Chris Knopf walked through the proposal from the county, and it lined up with the proposal from the society in nearly every point. Transfer of the property to the Historical and Genealogical Society, continuation of the leasing agreements with the service providers, and a maintenance budget of up to $60,000 annually through fiscal year 2025. At that time, full maintenance will fall to the new owners.
There are two sticking points where the county plan differs from the society’s plan, one involving Graham Field which will not be able to find successful resolution as that field was just deeded to the City of Mount Airy.
Secondly, the Save Jones group had asked for the sale of the J. J. Jones High to be delayed until 2025, in that area the county sees things differently. The county’s “primary interest is in relinquishing ownership in the near term,” the proposal reads.
A proposal made and countered, the choice now resides in the hands of Historical and Genealogical Society to decide if this is the best course of action. The board has asked the group to discuss and come back to the next commissioners meeting to reply.
Before the board voted on the proposal, Chairman Goins asked some questions that, “I feel that I have to ask as the chairman of the board of commissioners. This is going to be a big undertaking. You have said publicly and on record that you can handle it, and I hope that is the case. You are going to be competing for dollars, with the alumni group and others.
“You will be the owners, and responsible for everything that comes with it: the tenants, will they stay or go; insurance – fire and liability; power and water; maintenance after the county allocation is gone.”
He also questions if the support seen for the Save Jones can sustain itself. “In any organization if you say you have 100 people, and they tell you they’re on board – ten are gonna do the work, I’m being a realist. It’s going to take a substantial amount of money, and it’s going to take a lot of work by more than just ten people.
“I’m 53, almost 54, many of you are older than I am. Who takes over when you can’t do it? These are things to think about.”
March 08, 2022
Eighth grade students from Gentry Middle School recently celebrated “Twosday Tuesday” on Feb. 22.
That date — Feb. 22 — written as 2-22-22 is an example of a Palindrome and occurred as a once-in-a-lifetime date. Math teachers Wendie Gwynn and Kelly Cave planned a Glow Party for their students to enjoy. Students were able to rotate to a variety of activity stations that reinforced important math concepts but with a twist. Every activity either used the digits 2, 0, 2, 2 in the problem or the digits were used to represent part of the answer.
“Students were very engaged in problem-solving and were surprised to experience the many ways 2 can be used in math,” school officials said.

© 2018 The Mount Airy News