Surry County Most Wanted – Mount Airy News

The Surry County Community Corrections office is seeking information on the whereabouts of the following individuals:
• Samantha Dawn Hazelwood, 27, a white female wanted for failure to appear in court on probation violations who is on probation for use/possession of drug paraphernalia;
• Brenda Kay Easter Lawson, 57, a white female wanted on probation violations who is on probation for level 2 driving while impaired;
• Sheena Lynette Smith, 40, a black female wanted on probation violations who is on probation for felony obtaining property by false pretense and felony uttering a forged paper;
• Carl Lewis Carter Jr., 30, a white male wanted on probation violations who is on probation for larceny and shoplifting.
View all probation absconders on the internet at http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi 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.
Spring is coming
Real Estate Transfers
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 https://www.blueridgemusiccenter.org/
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.
Scoring
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.
March 08, 2022
North Surry senior Micah Felts officially signed her NCAA National Letter of Intent and will continue her academic and softball careers at Pfeiffer University.
“I feel really good,” Felts said. “I’ve been working towards this for a long time, so it feels good to finally sign and put it away.”
Call it a passion, a lifestyle or even a part of her identity, but don’t tell Micah that softball is just sport. She’s been involved in multiple sports her entire life, but the dream was always to continue her softball career as long as possible.
“It was always softball,” Felts said. “I don’t know, it just clicked more than the other ones. Basketball more kept me in shape, and volleyball, I loved that, but nothing like softball. I put in so much time and effort, and it’s not like I get tired of it. It’s something I love to do.”
She said she started playing softball when she was seven, and that’s it’s “just never got old.” Softball is even on her mind when it’s not in season.
“On an offseason or when I have a long break, I keep telling my dad: ‘I just want to practice. Can we go outside and hit? Can we throw?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah Micah, we can.’ I just can’t sit still. I have to be doing something.”
When she was 16, Felts realized her dream could actually become a reality. She joined the Carolina Cardinals travel organization, which includes softball players from as far south as Charlotte and areas into South Carolina.
The regional team Felts is a part of is coached by Harry Jonas.
“When I got really serious about it was when I started going to showcases and talking to coaches,” Felts said. “They surround themselves with colleges with the goal of getting players there. I think that’s really when it set in. I went with Harry Jonas and Mike Blackmon, and they put so much time and effort into getting their kids to the college level. It really meant a lot.
“It was crazy to be emailing a coach and realize, ‘Oh crap! I’m talking to a college coach!’ It was just so cool.”
Micah managed to find her perfect fit despite starting her recruiting process later than most. Recruiting was also complicated by the pandemic.
Despite the obstacles, she still managed to come across Pfeiffer.
“When I went to Pfeiffer it just felt like home,” Felts said. “I never wanted to go to a big school; I just couldn’t do it, I don’t think. When I went to Pfeiffer it felt like here. So, I just felt comfortable. I think I’ll enjoy it.”
Micah thanked her coaches, friends, parents and teachers for helping her reach this point in her life.
“I want to thank all my coaches, because each one of them gives me something to take in. So, I just put it all together, and that’s made me the player I am, “Felts said. “My friends, if I have a problem they’re like, ‘Micah, you’re good enough. Shut up.’ They encourage me.
“My parents: they push me to be the best I can be as an individual and a player. And my teachers do too. My coach, Coach J, he called himself my dad at school. He would pull me out and ask, ‘What are you making in this class,’ and I’m like, ‘An A!’ and he’s like, ‘Okay, I was just wondering.’ They’re all like my family.”
Felts joins Marissa Casstevens and Bella Aparicio as Greyhound seniors that have signed to play collegiate softball. But their job isn’t done yet, as the girls still have a lot they want to accomplish in high school.
“I think we’re aiming just to have a really successful year and play as a unit,” Felts said. “I think sometimes teams tend to play separate, but you gotta realize you’re a unit and you’re all working together to achieve one goal. We have a great group of girls, and I think we will do great this year.
“It doesn’t matter who we go against because we’ve got that grit. That Greyhound Grit.“
March 08, 2022
Surry Community College is offering an eNotary class for electronic witnessing on March 22, from 1 to 5 p.m.
The course will cover the N.C. Electronic Notary Act, eligibility and registration; the N.C. Notary Act in broad view, electronic notary processes, technology solutions and providers; ethics as they pertain to electronic notarizations, consequences of misconduct, security standards and best practices; and departmental recommendations. To qualify to become a certified electronic notary, participants must hold a valid commission as a notary public in North Carolina.
Tuition for this course is $71. For information about this class or to register, call the Yadkin Center at 336-386-3580.
March 08, 2022
The Faculty Senate of Surry Community College has selected Dr. Kathleen Fowler as the Spring 2022 recipient of the Servant-Leadership Recognition award. She is an English instructor at the college.
The award formally recognizes a faculty member in the fall and spring semesters who exemplifies dedication to the mission of Surry Community College and meritorious service to the college and to the community. Both full and part-time faculty members are eligible after one year of service.
Candidates for the award should be sensitive to the needs of others, bring out the best in others, mentor and encourage self-expression, facilitate personal growth in those who work with them, and focus on achieving the goals of the college. They should also challenge the status quo in striving to solve problems and find new directions as well as uphold and support the mission of the college.
Donald Fowler, assistant director of the Academic Support Center, told Dr. Kathleen Fowler: “For many years, you have consistently gone out of your way to serve the students, faculty, and staff at SCC. You dedicate many hours outside of school to support students through your leadership with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Additionally, your leadership on the Faculty Senate has produced many programs to benefit your fellow employees. From creating a fund for the faculty and staff during moments of tragedy to recognizing our veterans for their sacrificial service to our country, you have done your best to actively help and improve the morale of your fellow employees. You are always willing to help any SCC community member in need, and you have been a mentor to new faculty in the English Department.”
SCC College President Dr. David Shockley said, “I am delighted that Dr. Kathleen Fowler has been recognized by her peers for the tireless and dedicated work that she gives to our students. This is evidenced by her role as an English Instructor and advisor for our internationally recognized Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chapter. Kathleen truly uplifts the lives of our entire community.”
Dr. Kathleen Fowler has been an instructor of English at Surry Community College about 19 years. Before working at SCC, she taught English and literature in Japan for six years. She has served as the president of the Faculty Senate for four and a half years, where she instigated the founding of the Faculty/Staff Emergency fund. She also served as the head of the Gen Ed Writing Committee for six years.
In addition to teaching and serving on committees, Dr. Kathleen Fowler also serves as co-advisor for the college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. The chapter has earned a 5-Star Chapter status since 2013, received Distinguished Chapter Awards for the Carolinas Region over the last four years, earned recognition as an internationally Distinguished Chapter in 2020 and received thousands of dollars through grants and fundraisers for their local service projects and Honors In Action projects. She was chosen by PTK as a Faculty Scholar for 2021.
An alumna of Surry Community College, Dr. Kathleen Fowler earned an A.A. and an A.S., before going on to Appalachian State University. There, she earned a B.A. with a double major in English and anthropology, and subsequently an M.A. in English. She earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with concentrations in medieval and early modern English literature, as well as rhetoric and composition.
March 07, 2022
Monday evening in Dobson the Surry County Board of Commissioners met for the first time since their board planning retreat in Mount Airy last month. A complete summary of their meeting will follow, but it remains the topic of J. J. Jones High School that is of such keen interest to so many in Surry County.
The wait may soon be over, because the county’s Save Jones School proposal advanced unanimously Monday from the county commissioners.
County Manager Chris Knopf, with consultation from County Attorney Ed Woltz, offered the county’s proposal in response to the presentation made by the African American Historical & Genealogical Society of Surry County at the board retreat.
In short, a roadmap has been laid out for the county to transfer J. J. Jones School over to the AAHGS this year. The county will build in a maintenance allowance through 2025, and the AAHGS will retain the current lease agreements as they stand.
Representatives of the group called the undertaking of getting their proposal to the board together a “herculean task.” From the invitation to make a formal presentation to the commissioners to their delivery of that proposal was a matter of weeks.
While this is not the definitive and final answer on the matter, the commissioners gave their approval to and sent back to the AAHGS the county’s proposal for their consideration. It was made clear that the board did not want, nor was seeking, an answer from the save Jones group at that moment.
Rather, now the board wants the group to look over the county proposal and give it hard thought. Chairman Bill Goins spoke with a level of earnestness as he laid out what taking ownership of the building would mean and briefly addressed some of the points of concern he sees going forward.
It is a victory for those who have been fighting for and dreaming about saving a piece of their shared history. Where all this winds up by Spring’s end is still in the air, but now with a proposal in hand, the Black community has the power to decide.
A complete breakdown of the successful passage of the county’s Save Jones School proposal will follow in Wednesday’s Mount Airy News.
March 07, 2022
More than 200 area people turned out for the annual Surry Arts Council Arts Ball at Cross Creek Country Club on Feb. 18, showing their support for the arts and helping the council pursue a goal of raising $25,000 at the event to fund art programs in area schools.
The gathering featured a Mardi Gras theme that was incorporated through table decorations, booklets, and the silent auction.
“The Surry Arts Council is grateful to Airmont Florist, Cana Mount Airy Florist, and Creative Design Flowers who worked tirelessly to provide elegant centerpieces for the evening,” the agency’s officials said.
The guests enjoyed a seated dinner, live music, and dancing with The Band of Oz, and a silent auction with more than 400 donated items.
“The staff at Cross Creek Country Club went above and beyond with passed hors d’oeuvres and soup followed by a seated dinner featuring filet and salmon with key lime parfait and tiramisu for dessert,” council officials said.
Those who attended the celebration had a chance to meet and speak with local school administrators, who were on hand to greet guests. Dr. DeAnne Danley served as the liaison for Surry County Schools, and Dr. Phillip Brown and Mandy Brown represented the Mount Airy City Schools.
Melissa Sumner coordinated the Arts Ball and worked with Surry Arts Council Board members, school personnel, and volunteers to organize the event, sell tickets and ensure the arts remain a part of area school programming in 25 schools. The auction was successful with items ranging from tickets and gift cards to household items, purses, and jewelry.
This year, thousands of students have already enjoyed arts programming provided by the fundraising from the Arts Ball. In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and South Arts.
The TAPS grant provides support for several hundred students to have a hands-on experience with traditional stringed instruments. Jim Vipperman spends a week in each of three schools introducing students to fiddles, guitars, and Surry County’s traditional music heritage. Students are then able to attend the weekly free year-round lessons at the Historic Earle Theatre every Thursday afternoon if they wish to continue lessons.
Other cultural arts programs provided during the current year include two school performances of “The Nutcracker,” performed by Ballet for Young Audiences, two performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” performed by the Surry Arts Players at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and three performances of “Pout-Pout Fish,” performed by Theatreworks USA, a professional touring company.
Additional programs include “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Have You Filled A Bucket Today,” productions from Virginia Repertory Theatre; two performances of Seussical Jr will be performed by the Surry Arts Players; two musical performances by Sons of Mystro that are funded in part by a grant from South Arts; Mike Wiley will be featured in four performances of “Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart;” along with multiple monthly free movies and additional programs that target students with special needs that are sponsored in part by the United Fund of Surry coupled with Surry Arts Council support.
The Surry Arts Film Festival for Surry County High School and Surry Community College Students will again be hosted at the Earle Theatre and students will have the opportunity to see their work shown in a movie theatre setting.
Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball result in more than 15,000 student contacts during this school year. Students receive free arts programs in their own schools and have the opportunity to bus to the Blackmon Amphitheatre, the Historic Earle Theatre, and the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Students also have field trips to the Andy Griffith Museum, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost. These field trips include guided tours, scavenger hunts, and music.
The Surry Arts Council provides its venues to the schools for holiday and year-end choral and band programs at no cost to the schools. The Surry Arts Council also works with schools to host interns and provide art instruction in both in-school and after-school programs and many other partnerships.
For additional information, contact melissa@surryarts.org. To view additional photos of the event, visit www.surryarts.org.
March 07, 2022
They say April showers bring May flowers, but I promise you there is a lot more work that goes into the process.
As warmer days become more frequent, some of us are thinking about outdoor planting, chores, and good ol’ summer fun. This was also true for many of our ancestors who worked the land in the gaps, hollows, and mountains of Surry and surrounding counties. To survive was to plan, a successful year was totally dependent on the readiness and preparedness of the farmer or planter. Traditionally, March is a little late to start getting ready for the forage and growing season, but better late than never.
Here among the lush evergreens and plentiful shrubs, an abundance of free food could and still can be found. Before diving further into the topic, it is important to note, never gather a plant unless you are 100% familiar with it. So many plants are deceptive and resemble tasty plants. Take for example the dandelion plant. While this plant is not native to North America it has been cultivated and used for its resources for centuries. The plant was brought to America by settlers and revered for its medicinal properties. Every part of the dandelion is good for you; the roots, leaves, and flowers. However, there is another plant called “catsear” that looks almost identical. One major way to tell them apart is to look at the stem; if it’s hollow inside, you are good to go. Dandelions fight high blood sugar, manage cholesterol, and reduce inflammation.
Many other plants, including dandelions, were harvested to make tinctures and tonics. Our ancestors knew how important it was to stay healthy during the planting and harvest season; with this in mind they would do everything in their power to stay fit including taking several tonics in the spring. Some common ones were sassafras or spicewood teas. Sassafras tea was consumed in the spring to “tone up the blood,” this native tree was considered a cure all, aiding in liver, stomach, and other ailments. Ramps, morels, meadow onion, nettles, and mustards were also gathered during the spring and summer season to add to or replace cultivated plants.
Warmer days also means bees. North Carolina and Virginia are home to more than 500 species of bees, mostly which are native. European honey bees were brought to North America sometime in the 17th century. Here in the hollow, bees were admired for their pollinating habits and some for their honey production; keeping honey bees close to crops and flowers was and is important to a planter’s success. Early spring is the time to feed hives that need extra food before the first pollen arrives. It is also time to make repairs to old boxes or beegums. Before bees were sold in boxes to beekeepers, our forefathers and mothers had to go hunting for bee trees or swarms. Late spring will see bees swarm to more favorable conditions. Many beekeepers search out these swarms to capture and give them a new home, keeping the history alive.
For what nature could not provide, homesteaders would buy from the vibrant pages of seed catalogs, local shops or pick from saved seeds collected from a previous harvest. In 1840 the first seed catalog was printed in America. These catalogs were distributed in January and February and offered a variety of heirloom and exotic seeds to farmers and gardeners. Careful planning and precision was put into crop placement and irrigation.
These are just a few of the preparations many of our ancestors took to get ready for the spring and summer seasons. I challenge you all to take up a spade or shovel and continue the hard, but highly rewarding work of our ancestors. I wish you all abundance and a happy spring.
March 07, 2022
Rising high school juniors and seniors who are interested in earning college credit, tuition free, are invited to Surry Community College’s Career and College Promise Virtual Event on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.
“Surry Community College, in partnership with Surry and Yadkin counties, Elkin and Mount Airy city schools and Millennium Charter Academy, offers high school students opportunities to complete a college credential before graduating from high school,” said Melissa Recknor, director of student success and academic advising at the college. “The Career and College Promise Program (CCP) offers free tuition to high school juniors, seniors, and under classmen identified as AIG (Academically or Intellectually Gifted), while enrolled at their traditional high school.
“CCP is also available to homeschool students. The purpose of this virtual meeting is to discuss CCP, the different programs offered, important deadlines, and answer questions that the community may have,” she said.
Those interested in joining the meeting can go to [bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022]bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022. More information about CCP programs can be found at surry.edu/ccp. For any further questions or information, contact Recknor at 336-386-3628 or recknorm@surry.edu.
March 07, 2022
March may produce lion and lamb days
March is now six days old and the whole month can produce some lion and lamb days and a few split personality days and also a few snows to make the month interesting. There is quit a bit of winter remaining in March. We need to recall that over the past years, there have been some hefty snowfalls in mid-March and even several back-to-back deep snows. The best thing of all about March snowfalls is that the cool weather vegetables already planted are tough enough to survive snow, freezes and cold temperatures.
Golden pathway of jonquils
March produces golden pathways and beds of jonquils that adorn sidewalks, pathways, into gardens and colorful beds in woodlands. They are one of the heralds of spring. There are many varieties of jonquils and they will display their colors throughout the month.
Jonquils are heirloom spring flowering bulbs and perennial. Some of the beautiful beds in the woodlands next to the Reynolda Gardens have been enjoyed every spring for generations. A trip through the countryside of Surry County depicts many old home places where ancient jonquil beds planted many years ago still make their appearance every spring in silent testimony to the occupants who planted them when the homeplaces were built by hand many years ago. An amazing jonquil display is one displaying its blooms on a vacant meadow where there is no homeplace but these golden jonquils are a memorial that a family once lived in this meadow and planted these beds of jonquils. We remember old graveyards where jonquils bloom to honor loved ones and family members. Who knows, the beautiful beds along Reynolda Road at Reynolda House in Winston-Salem may have been set out by the Richard Joshua Reynolds family themselves!
Hyacinths add fragrance and color
Jonquils produce their golden glow to month of March, but the fragrance, beauty, dainty flowers, and colors of the awakening hyacinths on a March morning on the front porch makes any morning brighter. They are pleasing to the eyes and the nostrils. At this glorious time of the year, their fragrance is like the essence of perfume that lingers on the winds of a March morning. Their colors of red, white, yellow, pink, lavender, purple and blue pastels are a welcome sight on a cool March morning. Their wide green leafy foliage also adds depth to their display of blooms. They seem to emit more fragrance in the morning when the sun shines bright beams down upon them.
A Saint Patrick’s Day angel pie
Saint Patrick’s Day is only one week away. You can make an angel pie for Saint Patrick’s Day with a graham cracker crust ready-made or a nine inch pre-baked pie shell. The ready made graham cracker crust is defiantly the best. You will the need pie shell of your choice, one cup of crushed pineapple, one fourth teaspoon salt, six tablespoons corn starch, three egg whites, half pint dairy whipping cream, (beaten until stiff, one small jar green maraschino cherries (chopped), and a half cup sugar. Combine crushed pineapple, half cup sugar, one forth teaspoon salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Blend cornstarch with half cup cold water and add to crushed pineapple mixture. Cook on medium heat until clear and glossy (stirring constantly). Set aside to cool. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold the beaten egg whites into the crushed pineapple mixture. Spread the mixture into the pie shell or crust. Beat the other half pint dairy whipping cream until stiff, add three teaspoons of sugar and stir. Top the pie with the whipped cream and sprinkle the jar of drained, chopped, green maraschino cherries over top of whipped cream topping. Keep refrigerated before and after serving.
Mustard greens in March
The garden soil is workable and conditions are ideal for sowing a row or bed of curly mustard greens. They are sweet and tender and yes, they are curly. You can also sow mixed greens which can be mixed in any ratio you desire. You can choose from kale, rape, broad leaf, tender green, leafy turnip and spinach. The hardware or seed shop will mix the seed for you or have them pre-mixed in one-ounce bags. Spring greens perform well and produce a harvest in 50 to 60 days and in spring, they have very few insect enemies this time of year. Sow seed in a three-inch deep furrow, cover seed with a layer of peat moss and add Plant-Tone organic vegetable food before hilling up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamping down with the hoe blade.
Something pretty and pink
Across the highways and byways of Surry County and into the Virginia foothills and all the way to the Sandhills, the peach trees are displaying their dainty pastel pink blossoms. Their shade of pink is like no other. Even backyards and small orchards glow with shades of blushing pink. We hope this will be a bountiful, abundant year for peaches.
A bowl of Saint Patty’s sparkling punch
It is not too early to enjoy a bowl of sparking Saint Paddy’s punch or prepare a bowl for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. This is an easy recipe and very green too. You will need three packs of lime Kool-Aid, one can (46 ounce) of pineapple juice, one 46 ounce can of water, two cups sugar, one two liter bottle green apple Fanta, one two liter bottle pineapple Fanta, one two liter bottle of Mountain Dew, one three ounce can of limeade concentrate. Mix the 46 ounce can of pineapple juice, one 46 ounce can water, two packs lime Kool-Aid, two cups sugar and three ounce can limeade concentrate. Mix well until sugar and Kool-Aid are dissolved and mixed. For an ice ring, mix one pack lime Kool-Aid and two quarts water. Mix and pour into a tube cake pan and freeze overnight. Refrigerate the two liter drinks over night and also the punch base. To serve, add ice ring to punch bowl, add half punch base and half Fanta green apple and Mountain Dew. Add this ratio to replenish the bowl as needed.
A row of spring onions
Most hardwares and seed shops have spring onions in stock in colors of white, red and yellow. A pound of sets will sow a 40foot row or a four-by-eight foot bed. They will perform well in cool March soil and cold temperatures and their growth will not be hindered. Plant the sets in a furrow about four inches deep. Place sets about three inches apart, cover with a layer of peat moss and then apply a layer of Plant-Tone organic vegetable food before hilling up the soil on both sides of the furrow. Be sure to set the onions with the root side down. Apply Miracle-Gro liquid plant food mixed with water on the sets once a month.
Peat moss is magical ingredient of garden
Peat moss is totally organic and not only improves texture of soil, but it also absorbs and retains moisture and promotes growth and health of both soil and plants. It produces its magic touch on flowers as well as vegetables and bulbs in all seasons of the year. A few handfuls in potting medium for containers of annuals and perennials work to maintain moisture and texture. A 3.5 cubic foot bag of peat moss costs about $11 or $12. It pays to apply peat moss on every growing thing you plant or set out. When planting rose bushes, fill bottom of the hole where roses are planted with peat moss and also mix peat moss with the soil you cover the roses with. In the drought of summer, the peat moss will help roses retain moisture.
Keeping an eye on the Christmas cactus
The Christmas cactus have been spending winter in the sunny living room. They get sun there, but not full sun. They are kept away from direct sunlight because direct sunlight causes the cactus to develop reddish foliage which is a warning the cactus is receiving too much sun. A move across the room will solve the problem. In the middle of April, the cactus can be moved to the front porch to spend spring, summer and early autumn. March is the time to prepare them for their move outside. During this month, water lightly every ten days. Add extra potting medium if the cactus needs it. Add Flower-Tone organic plant food to the medium. If any foliage is discolored or unhealthy, pull it off. Wait until all frost danger is over before transferring to front porch.
Hoe hoe hoedown
“Wrong coat.” A polite man at the restaurant touched the man who was putting on an overcoat. “Excuse me,” he said. “But do you happen to be Mr. Johnston of Mount Airy?” “No, I’m not,” the man said abruptly. “Oh, well,” said the first man, “I am Mr. Johnston and that’s my coat your putting on!”
“Weep no more, my lady,” A woman in church was weeping as she said goodbye to her pastor of several years. “My dear lady,” said the pastor, “don’t get upset, they will send a much better pastor to replace me.” “That’s what they said the last time,” said the woman.
The almanac for the month of March 2022
Mardi Gras is celebrated Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Ash Wednesday will be Wednesday, March 2, 20222. There will be a new moon on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The moon reaches its first quarter on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Daylight savings time arrives at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 13, 2022. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Thursday, March 17, 2022. The moon will be full on Friday, March 18, 2022. The first day of spring will be on Monday, March 21, 2022. The name of the full moon of March is “Full Worm Moon”. The moon reaches its last quarter on Friday, March 25, 2022.
March 07, 2022
RALEIGH — Early voting sites will be located in all four municipalities of Surry County for an upcoming primary, the North Carolina State Board of Elections decided Monday morning in a 4-1 vote.
While such actions on polling sites usually occur at the local level, an attempt by the Surry County Board of Elections to do so at a meeting in Dobson on Feb. 9 had failed.
The board voted 3-2 then to operate four one-stop early voting sites — in Dobson, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain and Elkin — matching the number for the last election in November 2020, which followed another 3-2 vote against having just the Dobson location.
But since that outcome, made along party lines, to open all four for the May 17 primary wasn’t unanimous, the state board was required to settle the matter, which occurred Monday morning during a meeting in Raleigh accessible via Facebook.
A representative of both sides of the Surry issue — the minority and majority positions — was allotted time to express his opinion before the State Board of Elections members.
Democrat Clark Comer, one of three members of that party on the county elections board, was selected to represent the majority and Republican Jerry Forestieri, the minority position. Forestieri is one of two GOP members of the Surry group.
State board of elections members seemed to be swayed by information Comer presented about the demographics of Surry County, especially Stella Anderson, who said these were similar to her home county of Watauga.
Comer indicated that maintaining sites in all four municipalities would provide a convenient means of casting ballots by members of all population groups spread across the county, including African-Americans, while not favoring any political party.
Forestieri focused on the cost-per-vote involved with providing all four locations.
As a supporter of the much-debated voter ID provision, which is not a requirement at this time, Forestieri also has been concerned about the security of elections. He says this could be magnified by having more than just the one state-mandated early voting location, at the Surry Board of Elections in Dobson.
Comer attempted to counter the security issue when offering his comments after Forestieri spoke.
“Our belief in safe elections is important to us,” he said of Surry officials as a whole.
The state board also seem to put much stock in the fact that funding for the four sites in Surry already has been budgeted for 2022.
Surry Director of Elections Michella Huff, who was subjected to questioning about this by the state board, confirmed that the budget for this year was based on the one for the 2020 general election with the full slate of locations.
This led immediately to a motion being introduced by one of the state board members to approve all four early voting sites in Surry, which was approved.
Surry was not the only locality where non-unanimous one-stop early voting plans were decided Monday, with others scheduled involving Bladen, Chatham, Columbus, Gates, Lincoln and Pasquotank counties.
March 07, 2022
New releases available at the Mount Airy Public Library:
Fiction
Slewfoot – BROM
Phantom Game – Christine Feehan
Death in Daylesford – Kerry Greenwood
With Love from London – Sarah Jio
When the SHooting Starts – William W. Johnstone
Gwendy’s Final Task – Stephen King
This Thing Between Us – Gus Moreno
The Last Checkmate – Gabriela Saab
Large Print Fiction
Life Flight – Lynette Eason
The Shadow – James Patterson
Invisible – Danielle Steel
Non-Fiction
Chasing Ghosts – Marc Hartzman
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream – Dean Jobb
The Icepick Surgeon – Sam Kean
Life is What You Bake It – Vallery Lomas
The Woman They Could Not Silence – Kate Moore
Audio Book
The Rose Code – Kate Quinn
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Make It Mondays. Craft class for adults meets the third Monday of each month.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Author Meet and Greet on April 2 at 11 a.m. Jess Montgomery talk about her latest book in “The Kinship Series,” “The Echoes”.
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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.
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Keep up with all events on our FaceBook pages, https://www.facebook.com/groups/fmapl and https://www.facebook.com/mtapublibrary or our website https://nwrlibrary.org/mountairy/
March 06, 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:
– Richard D. Goins and Tamara H. Goins to Levi Justin Goins; 1.228 acres lot 17 section one Fairfield PB 6 102 Mount Airy; $0.
– Blanche Louise Murphy to Sally B. Roberts; 0.618 acres Franklin; $18.
– Jackie W. Stanley to Ubatuba Properties, LLC; 0.47 acres Dobson; $256.
– Larry J. Reynolds and Tammy Reynolds to Steven D. Durick and Stephanie L. Durick; 18.596 acres; $700.
– Peggy Richardson to Mario Flores; tract Mount Airy; $0.
– Charles Minor Lowe and Deborah L. Hiatt to Christopher Lee Eads and Lee Anne Eads; 2/3 acres Eldora; $86.
– Arthur Gray Marion and Doris P. Marion to Donna L. Hood; tract Jotish Drive Riverfront subdivision PB 12 36 Pilot; $0.
– James Avery Fowler Jr., Pat Fowler, Linda Fowler Matthis and Frank Matthis to Kevin Earl Vaughn Sr. and Amanda Dennise Vaughn; 1.96 acres Dobson; $260.
– The McArthur Family Trust, Artavious McArthur and Martha McArthur to Joseph L. Dobson and Eloise Avis Dobson; 2 acres Westfield; $110.
– Alice Arrington Thompson, Roger Thompson, Dorothea Lynn Arrington Stone, Larry Stone, Ricky Darrell Arrington, Teresa Arrington, Alisha Renee Winesett, Matt Winesett, Casey Dawn Hiatt and Mark Hiatt to Cleon B. Young and Vereta M. Young; 0.80 acres tract two PB 16 32 Mount Airy; $200.
– Jeffery Todd Edwards and Lisa Edwards to Hugh Hudspeth and Skylar Hudspeth; lot 9 Cedarcreek development PB 12 188; $850.
– E.L. Haymore and Edward Lee Haymore to Debora Gaye Davis and Debora Hall Davis; 1.588 acres Rockford; $284.
– The Moody Squared Living Trust and Mark Anthony Moody to Guadalupe Castillo; lot 5 Pace property PB 1 36 Mount Airy; $214.
– Estate of Joyce Mills Robertson, Joyce Mills Robertson Revocable Trust, Richard Lee Robertson, Charles Ronald Robertson, Pamela Ann Robertson and Joyce Mills Robertson to Vicki L. Furr; tract estate of Joyce Mills Robertson file 20 E 2175 Forsyth; $288.
– J.G. Coram Limited Partnership, J.G. Coram and Barbara C. Coram to James Trevor, L.L.C.; 2 tracts Stewarts Creek; $206.
– CAS Investments, LLC to Caroline G. Westmoreland and Jackson C. Smith; lot 9 block A Fancy Acres development PB 6 163 Mount Airy; $284.
– John Glenn White, Linda Marshall White and Shane Bradley White to Linda Marshall White; 4 tracts Pilot; $0.
– Norma Forrest Boaz and Forrest Ray Boaz to Kingstone Investments, LLC tracts Pilot; $800.
– Thomas Paul Baker, Amanda Baker and Norma Jean Baker to Darrell Baker; 1.303 acres PB 40 103 Bryan; $24.
– Active Capital Real Estate Investments, LLC to Greenhill Real Estates, LLC; lots 16-17 block one Bannertown addition PB 1 61 Mount Airy; $158.
– Merrick S. Buffaloe and Rebecca B. Buffaloe to Constance C. Tucker, Amanda C. Murfin and Daniel S. Buffaloe; unit 17 A Greystone Condominium bk 1 251, 342 and 375-376 and PB 23 134 and 192 Mount Airy; $0.
– Phyllis Boger Spaugh, Alton Ray Boger Jr. and Connie Boger to Brown Farms of Surry County, LLC; 49.39 acres Shoals; $400.
– Nichole E. Coleman to Dakota L. Martel; lot 10 Oakview subdivision PB 14 8; $21.
– James C. Short and Linda M. Short to John Rayburn Harris and Virginia Short Harris; condominium deed unit 5-A River Run Condominiums phase II bk 1 258-259 Mount Airy; $398.
– Innovative Home Pros, LLC to Donald Copley; 12,000 sq ft PB 33 187 Elkin; $405.
– James Lambert and Shawna Lambert to George Born; 6.57 acres lot 31 Round Peak Acres Franklin; $300.
– Rufus Holt Jr. to Melissa Marie Holt; 3.88 acres tract 2 PB 16 67 Bryan; $0.
– Hallie Fay Critts and Timmy Dale Crotts to Kristin Crotts Bullin and Jeremy Ray Bullin; 4.26 acres tract one PB 35 173 Mount Airy; $0.
– Troy Lee Payne Jr. and Rebecca M. Payne to Alexander S. Ledford and Ashley Brooke Ledford; tract Mount Airy; $520.
– Jimmy Dale Johnson and Lydia C. Johnson to Michael Lee Johnson; 4.000 acres PB 40 70 and 76; $0.
– Deborah D. Atkins to Juan Ortega; 14,403 sq ft tract four and 1.410 acres tract five Mount Airy; $0.
– Teresa Poplin Cook to Kristin Michelle Poplin; tract 135 Robert Drive Bryan; $0.
– Ruben Aguirre and Carl Jean Aguirre to Jonathan Bailey Long; 1,139 sq ft lot 10 PB 37 185 Mount Airy; $330.
– Teddy Ervin Snow and Janet Vestal Snow to Marlene De Jesus Jimenez and Salvador Velazquez Merida; 0.69 acres Elkin; $120.
– Cecil G. Hicks and Denise L. Hicks to Victoria Annabelle Allen and Robert Raymond Hicks; .62 acres Mount Airy; $0.
– Timothy L. Lowe and Jennifer G. Lowe to Sophia L. McConkey and Dylan McConkey; 1.44 acres PB 25 79 Eldora; $0.
– Vickie Paige Westmoreland to James H. Hicks Sr.; 1.879 acres PB 23 191 Shoals; $24.
– Jolen Cheryl Aguilar and Marc Roger Aguilar to Michelle Goodson; lots 4-6 Don Mills and Associates subdivision PB 7 132 Marsh; $136.
– Gabriel N. Ortolaza to Julio Perez and Candelaria Facio Olvera; 2 tracts Mount Airy; $220.
– Juan J. Hernandez and Yuri Madrigal to Ramiro Madrigal; tract one lots 10-15 and tract two lots 5-9 block A Crestwood acres development PB 4 189 Pilot; $190.
– Sandra H. Davis and Randy L. Davis to Scottie Lee Davis; tract one 6.03 acres and tract two 6.03 acres Dobson; $0.
– Harvey Ray Wall and Mildred Anne Wall to Ralp Lee Lawson and Dawn Cox Lawson; lots 69-78 Grady B. Slate and Bernie R. Slate subdivision PB 4 195 Mount Airy; $150.
March 06, 2022
The Surry County Community Corrections office is seeking information on the whereabouts of the following individuals:
• Darrel Wayne Gearhart, 37, a white male wanted on probation violations who is on probation for felony indecent liberties with a child;
• Lela Noelle Shipman, 23, a white female wanted on probation violations who is on probation for violating a domestic violence protective order, injury to real property, second degree trespassing, resisting a public officer, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and larceny;
• Kenneth Paul Rupert, 42, a white male wanted on probation violations who is on probation for felony speeding to elude arrest and two counts of felony possession of methamphetamine;
• Kay Matthews Calhoun, 63, a white female wanted on probation violations who is on probation for level 1 driving while impaired.
View all probation absconders on the internet at http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi 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 06, 2022
The following marriage licenses were issued in Surry County:
– Chandler Levi Hiatt, 24, of Carroll County, Virginia, to Allie Brooke Dowdy, 23, of Carroll County.
– Robert Lee Miller Jr., 50, of Surry County to Angela Dawn Miller, 48, of Surry County.
– Jerry Minton East Jr., 48, of Surry County to Chelsea Dawn Reynolds, 33, of Surry County.
– Gabriel Ramirez Alvardo, 43, of Surry County to Petra Leandro Alonzo, 32, of Surry County.
– Patrick Zane East, 26, of Surry County to Alexis Marie Kinnan, 26, of Surry County.
– Colton Gray Jones, 30, of Surry County to Lauren Ayn Huels, 37, of Surry County.
– Dalton Dave Boyd, 33, of Surry County to Delana Rishell Smith, 29, of Surry County.
– Jose De Jesus Aguilar Duran, 30, of Carroll County to Maria Elena Perez Palacios, 31, of Surry County.
– Eric Joseph Treannie, 24, of Yadkin County to Madison Alayna Duke, 22, of Darlington County.
March 06, 2022
The Surry County Board of County Commissioners meeting tonight has already drawn the attention of the public. Word has begun to spread of a line item found on the agenda: Jones School Property Transfer.
The county manager’s office said this morning, “The County Manager has submitted a proposal for the Board to consider tonight following the Board Retreat. No additional offers have been received since the Board Retreat.”
“Jones School Property Transfer,” four simple words may end the lingering questions surrounding the fate of the beloved shuttered J. J. Jones High School, which was added to the surplus property list along with Westfield Elementary last year.
County Manager Chris Knopf is set to present five items: county fire service info, the Westfield Community Center being used as a temporary site for paving materials, Flat Rock/Bannertown Water/Sewer Payoff, USDA loan & grant applications for Surry Medical Ministries and Jones School Property Transfer. There is no elaboration to be found on the agenda.
Board meetings are open to the public beginning at 6 p.m. at the Surry County Historic Courthouse in Dobson. It would be safe to assume a crowd will be a crowd in attendance, as Save Jones School along with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society have been well represented at commissioners meetings for many weeks now.
Those who would prefer can find a link to the county commissioners meetings on the county website, most easily found by searching “Meeting Videos” in the top right corner search field. More savvy users may go directly to YouTube and seek “Surry County NC.”
Video replay will be available online as well.
It remains to be seen what County Manager Chris Knopf will say, or if a vote is on the horizon this evening. In a community ready for news and hoping for a win – word is spreading.
March 06, 2022
Research shows (SAMHSA, 2021) that one of the most important factors in healthy child development is a strong, open relationship with a parent. It is important to start talking to your children about alcohol and other drugs before they encounter them. Per SAMHSA (2021), parents can use these five goals when talking to kids about alcohol and other drugs:
1. Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse.
More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. Send a clear and strong message that you disapprove of underage drinking and misuse of other drugs.
2. Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success.
Young people are more likely to listen when they know you’re on their side.
Reinforce why you don’t want your child to drink or use other drugs. The conversation will be more successful if you’re open and show concern for their health and safety.
3. Show you’re a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs.
You want your child to make informed decisions about alcohol and drugs
with foundational information about their dangers. Establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information so they can come to you with any questions.
4. Show you’re paying attention and you’ll discourage risky behaviors.
Show you’re aware of what your child is up to, as young people are more likely to drink
or use drugs if they think no one will notice.
5. Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding underage drinking and drug use.
Even if you don’t think your child wants to try substance use, peer pressure is a
powerful thing. Having a plan to avoid alcohol and drug use can help children make better choices. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs, such as texting a code word to a family member or practicing how they’ll say “no thanks.” Remember, keep it low-key. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get everything across in one talk. Plan to have many short talks. “Talk. They really do hear you.”
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from learning more about “Talk. They Hear You,” start by contacting Charlotte Reeves, Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery Community Outreach Coordinator, at reevesc@co.surry.nc.us. Visit our website at surrycountycares.com for more information about substance use disorder and the many resources in our County.
March 06, 2022
Editor’s Note: Community Comment is a periodic column in The Mount Airy News featuring commentary from community leaders in Mount Airy and Surry County.
Mount Airy City Schools (MACS) is ahead of the curve in academic preparation. We accelerate children at every level. “Acceleration” means that we allow students to move faster through the traditional curriculum and work ahead. This is important because the state standards are just a baseline for how much can be and should be learned at each grade level.
BH Tharrington Primary has a nurturing program. This helps all children find their area of giftedness. We have individualized instruction for all children working at their pace and exposing many students to “above grade level” curriculum. An individual pathway makes sure all students are able to move at a pace that is comfortable for them.
The Academically and Intellectually Gifted program at JJ Jones Intermediate identifies students in third grade for a separate setting in fourth and fifth grades. This allows the students to move at a much faster pace than the standard curriculum and allows them to explore topics beyond their grade level. Our teacher can also compact the curriculum to help all students go at a pace that may include several grade levels. We have specialized equipment that allows fifth grade students who qualify to attend a middle school course virtually with a teacher from Mount Airy Middle School every day. While many schools across the nation have cut gifted programming, we have expanded it.
Our MicroSchool has helped students who need to move at an even faster pace and who may be two grade levels ahead. The MicroSchool allows students to be at home learning online for part of the week and enjoy a “place-based” learning experience once a week. This year they have come together for STEAM activities and experiments and many environmental excursions. We may have a first grade student learning second or third grade concepts and working with students from upper grade levels each week.
Another program, Dual Language Immersion (DLI) is so popular that it often has a waiting list. This program allows students to be fluent in Spanish and English, taking Spanish a majority of the day in K-second grade and 50% of the day in third through fifth. The DLI program has now extended to middle school where students will take advanced courses in Spanish and learn to apply their Spanish in many ways throughout the real world.
The middle school acceleration model encourages students who are ahead in mathematics to take advanced courses beginning in the sixth grade.
Once students have entered the eighth grade they have many options. If they are ready to take high school courses for credit, we offer our High School Accelerate where English I, Math 1, Earth and Environmental Science, Spanish I, and American History I are taken during their eighth grade. They take these high school courses face-to-face with experienced and highly qualified teachers. We even have students who have virtually joined our high school sophomore courses to make sure they are not held back but pushed forward.
Our North Carolina Association of Scholastic Activities challenges all students and helps them stretch their academic skills. Mount Airy Middle School has been able to win the statewide cup and place every year because of the amazing students we have and how well they compete across the state.
Our summer programs allow for all students to explore their passions. The summer programs are built around the theme of STEAM and match the summer program to students’ natural interests. The program in the summer is an extensive menu of free summer programs and activities from kindergarten through twelfth grade. We encourage you to watch for the menu of options coming soon.
The last piece of our acceleration puzzle is the high school academic program. The many pathways to success allow for all students to be involved in honors and college courses. Ninety percent of our students attend a two- or four-year university and taking care of their general courses in high school can save them thousands of dollars. The support system at Mount Airy High School allows students to take Advanced Placement courses for college credit while giving the students the support they need to be successful in those courses. The College and Career Promise Courses provide the opportunity for all children to take courses through Surry Community College. The credits they receive help them with college success.
The career and technical education courses also provide many certification programs and exciting internships with businesses right here in our county. Students can learn to fly a drone, become a pilot, become an entrepreneur, create 3D models, design websites, explore all health science careers, and learn to cook. All schools get the opportunity to travel and our strategic plan encourages us to return to traveling outside of the state and country. Many of these trips have included trips to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and China. We can’t wait for our students to begin to learn outside the walls of our school again.
Our families love our ability to “accelerate” their children. We get feedback each year on this program and try to cater to the needs of students. We know every child is gifted, we want to find how they are gifted and use their educational support to match their gifts. If you are interested in our program please visit: https://bit.ly/3sYzcnf
For more information or if you want to become a Granite Bear please contact us and visit our website at : https://www.mtairy.k12.nc.us/
March 06, 2022
• Authorities are investigating a first-degree burglary at Cloud Zone Tobacco and Vape involving the theft of property valued altogether at more than $3,500, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.
The crime was discovered on the morning of Feb. 26 at the business on North Renfro Street, which three unknown suspects broke into the night before while it was occupied.
They then stole merchandise with a total value of $3,586, including CBD products listed as a one-pound jar of Delta H hemp, nine three-ounce jars of Delta H hemp and 30 Packwoods hemp-infused Delta 8 cigarettes.
• Police learned Wednesday that power tools valued at $667 had been stolen from a vehicle owned by Dennis Dwain Angel. The theft occurred while the 1995 Chevrolet was unsecured at an unidentified commercial/office building in the 400 block of West Pine Street.
The loss included a Stihl orange and tan chainsaw and a DeWalt brad nailer 18-inch nail gun.
• A bodily assault occurred on Feb. 26 at the residence of Solmarie Pacheco on Lovill Street, where a known suspect is said to have struck her in the nose and face using his fists. No arrests were reported in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
• A hit and run case was reported on Feb. 25, which involved an unknown driver sideswiping a 2001 Dodge Caravan owned by Bobby Dean Huff Jr. of Holly Avenue and fleeing the scene.
The incident occurred while the minivan was parked at A Touch of Mayberry on North Main Street, where Huff is employed. It caused damage put at $2,000.
March 06, 2022
Something meant to remedy a problem, the pain chart at the hospital, may have played a little-known role in the blight of opioid abuse. Surry County is expected to receive over $9 million from the opioid settlement, and a long-term plan has been drawn up to utilize those funds based on community feedback.
$26 billion has been settled by three drug manufacturers to resolve lawsuits claiming their business practices helped fuel the deadly opioid crisis. “Our communities will begin to receive money this year to help people struggling with substance misuse,” focusing on treatment, recovery, prevention, and harm reduction services, Attorney General Josh Stein said.
Of the state’s $750 million settlement, 1.5% is expected to reach Surry County which Mark Willis, the county’s opioid response director, said will be paid to the county over 18 years. He spoke recently to the county commissioners to discuss plans focusing the roughly $500,000 a year the settlement will add to the fight on drugs.
A painful outcome
Surry was not alone but was victim to “a number of events that were outside of your control, no different than 2,000 other rural counties.” With the implementation of pain as the sixth vital sign by the American Pain Society, Willis told the commissioners, pain management became a barometer of patient satisfaction.
How well hospitals dealt with pain had a direct effect on their ratings, “That lead to doctors taking what drug companies said and over prescribing opiates,” he explained. In this area, Surry County stood out from other counties. From 2006 – 2014 in Surry County 55 million pills were sold, 105% more than the average of neighboring counties “including Forsyth.”
Seeing a problem, North Carolina adopted in 2017 the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act. It was another measure designed to help by limiting the quantity of pain pills that could be prescribed.
The sudden change created a problem for those patients who had been managing their pain as directed and became a causal factor in creating many addiction problems.
“You had people getting 60-90 opioid pills of 80mg, 100mg, 120mg. Then you tell them, ‘You are not getting anymore, you’re only getting seven days. We don’t think you need anymore.’ They went elsewhere and where they went was the street.”
The business of abuse
Economics also came into play, Willis pointed out that finding a “tick” of heroin on the street costs a fraction of a pill, making it the faster easier option. The path of least resistance has then led from pills to heroin in the blink of an eye.
Eighty percent of heroin users today he said started on legal prescriptions for opioids. “Although the intent of the state legislature was good, what we didn’t do was put something in place to help people who need treatment for opioid addiction.”
Commissioner Eddie Harris pointed out that weak border security needs to be considered on the list of events working against the war on drugs. Willis agreed saying the majority of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, or the newest concern “novel psycho active substances – fentanyl, and dozens and dozens of different analogs of fentanyl flooding your streets,” cross from Mexico.
He noted cartels there have improved all elements of operations from smuggling to the science of producing synthetic drugs, even calling some of the business techniques “Harvard level.”
Traffickers want people hooked, so fentanyl is now found mixed in with other drugs. Non-opiates like Xanax or ecstasy, even marijuana vapes may be laced with fentanyl to create a new addict because of its “exceptionally addictive” nature.
Willis said EMS crews have reported that the refinements to the science have led to stronger drugs on local streets, and an uptick of drugs laced with fentanyl has been documented. The federal Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking reported two thirds of overdose deaths nationally from June 2020 to May 2021 were from fentanyl and synthetic opioids.
A community plan
To see what citizens felt were the areas of concern, a community needs assessment of 25 questions got back 730 responses, twice as many as were needed Willis noted. Interviews were done with community leaders and responses ranked by their readiness level, or how prepared the community is to act.
Willis applauded the county’s progress so far on creating an action plan and offered that Surry County was doing “one hundred percent more than a third of NC counties.”
Having an action plan is critical in using settlement money, everything must fall under the allowance of the memorandum of agreement. The settlement requires data collection, analysis, and reporting back on the efficacy of the programs – the same as with federal grants – to ensure compliance with the MOA.
Commissioner Van Tucker asked what he can tell his constituents is being done, Willis advised, “tell them we have a plan: our citizens say they want this, the MOA says we can do it, and we have a plan, so we know what we are going to spend on.
“We need to be able to build a program in this county that will adapt itself to any problem. You’ve gone through crack cocaine, heroin, opioid pills, and now we’re looking at the novel psycho active substances. There will be something else in the next few years, we will have systems in place that can handle whatever the next outbreak is.”
An ounce of prevention
The plan focuses on prevention and will hire an outreach coordinator to facilitate youth prevention education groups and information dissemination, an estimated annual cost of $117,000. “What we need to do with prevention programs – they are usually the last things to be done. I think we should build a protective dome around Surry County that rivals anything anyone has ever seen.
”We have asked for help from Partners Health Management to specifically address substance use disorder in this county to saturate for 18 months this county with prevention and SUD related programs.”
Treatment programs, as well as addition of counselors and addiction specialists to the jail will be a key in breaking the cycle of abuse. The current budget projection is based on estimates for a staff of four, and what those salaries would look like at an outside treatment center, roughly $177,000 annually.
Wills said a healthy recovery system will require a peer support specialist who will pair with the re-entry coordinator to work with detention centers, businesses, and treatment centers. The goal is to be able to find people jobs, like the pilot programs with Leonard Buildings and Wayne Farms that place people into employment post incarceration. The positions are budgets at $188,000 annually.
Partners is going assist to help with a volunteer network of recovery coaches to replicate what AA/NA does with mentors, someone to talk to when having a problem. That is going to take training for those mentors, the budget hold $10,000 annually to offset those training costs for mentors.
The settlement is not a silver bullet, it will only be an additional tool in the ongoing fight again substance abuse. Preventing substance issues before they start is playing offense, treatment and recovery are wholly reactive measures, Willis suggests a plan with more offense.
March 05, 2022
Going to the dentist ranks right up there with death and speaking in public as one of mankind’s greatest fears — which is understandable to anyone who’s ever experienced a painful procedure.
Not only must a patient dread that discomfort, there is also the injection of anesthesia before the real pain can commence.
But the dental services offered by the Surry Medical Ministries free clinic in Mount Airy have gotten a shot of funding — a $46,755 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant — that will greatly numb this situation through the use of more-effective anesthesia.
This was one of two major developments diagnosed for the Rockford Street facility in recent days.
Clinic adds days
The other involves an expansion of the general clinic schedule to benefit those seeking a variety of services, according to Nancy Dixon, president of the Surry Medical Ministries governing board. It went into effect this past week.
Surry Medical Ministries, which provides free services to people without health insurance, has been operating only two days each week, on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon.
The new clinic hours include a Monday schedule of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the original Tuesday time from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, also 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Surry Medical Ministries officials say the extra hours of service will impact the care of patients with chronic disease, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by COVID.
The clinic opened in 1993. It relies on medical professionals and others in the community who serve those in need on a volunteer basis.
Surry Medical Ministries’ caseload has more than doubled since COVID-19 struck.
“Dental anxiety” factor
The positive impact the $46,755 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant will have in allowing the clinic to see more patients in need of dental services — through the new anesthesia method — can be considered critical when examining the caseload at hand.
Its backlog is such that someone must wait several months for an appointment. “We’re all the way booked into July,” Dixon said.
Surry Medical Ministries is the only provider for adult dental services in Surry County for the uninsured population, offering one monthly dental clinic on the first Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. staffed by two dentists and one assistant. Surry Health and Nutrition Center, the county health department, presently lacks a dentist and has only been offering pediatric care.
The role the enhanced anesthesia component will play in allowing more patients to be processed might not be readily apparent, but was clearly explained by clinic officials.
Surry Medical Ministries prioritizes dental emergencies such as extractions and surgical procedures, which require time — including the period for the injected anesthesia to take effect.
Many clinic patients are “very fearful” of the dentist, officials say, and/or have a high tolerance to anesthetics, making it more difficult for them to feel sufficiently numb for the dentist to begin surgery. This slows down the process and thus reduces the number of patients who can be managed during one clinic session.
The facility will use funding to support the enhancement of present dental services by 25 percent, based on information provided by Dixon.
Doctor’s perspective
Further elaboration on the issue was supplied by Dr. Ken Peavy, one of the lead dentists in the clinic’s volunteer dental unit.
“At almost every clinic, a patient or two leaves before the treatment can be completed or even initiated because their dental anxiety and the pain (which is from the oral infection) is so overwhelming,” Peavy said in a statement.
“We have others leave because the pain and anxiety has caused their blood pressure to rise to levels so high that it is too dangerous to give them local anesthesia.”
Peavy added that many times, after 10 minutes of trying to reassure patients and coax them to at least try to have a painful tooth removed, the staff administers the local anesthesia, then waits another five to 10 minutes. “And they still say they can feel it and we can’t finish,” the dentist related.
“This is especially heartbreaking for the dental providers because we know how effective local anesthesia is, but local anesthesia doesn’t do anything to relieve the psychic pain they are feeling — not only have they not been helped, they have taken up 20 to 30 minutes of our limited surgery time and other patients have to wait.”
The excessive wait resulting has caused some patients to be unable to stay long enough for their turns, who end up leaving before even being seen and treated.
One extremely safe and effective solution to reduce both pain and anxiety is the inhalation use of a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (N2O sedation) sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” according to Peavy.
He says N2O sedation has been one of the safest agents used in medicine and dentistry because it can be mixed and delivered for the desired effect and rapidly reversed in just a few breaths. The N2O sedation has a rapid onset that is as fast as many IV medications, the dentist mentioned regarding the catalyst for the clinic becoming more efficient.
The new method will better assist patients with their dental anxiety while speeding up procedure time and allowing more people to be served during the clinic hours.
Dixon says the enhanced anesthesia component will be added in the next few months as the Blue Cross Blue Shield funds are processed and related installation occurs.
March 05, 2022
The seventh grade academically and intellectually gifted students at Gentry Middle School decided to create a blessing box on campus for their 2021-2022 service project. They wanted to create a place where people in the community who are in need of basic supplies could go to pick up different items.
The students worked with Chuck Hiatt at North Surry High School to have the box built. After Hiatt and his students delivered the box, the Gentry students painted it and started collecting items to get the box stocked. Jonathan Phillips and his students helped to get the box set up out by the school’s mailbox.
“We are so excited to see an idea turn into something that can help our community,” school officials said of the effort. “If you know anyone who might need food or toiletry items, please pass this along. We will continue to collect items to keep the box stocked. You can also come by anytime to add items to the box. Thanks so much for the support of everyone who has donated items or helped to make this project happen. We hope this blessing box will be a help to citizens in our community for years to come.”
March 05, 2022
Millennium Charter Academy recently inducted 17 students into the National Junior Honor Society.
Membership in this near-century-old international organization is both an honor and responsibility rooted in “outstanding scholarship, character, leadership, service, and citizenship,” according to information released by the school.
The Academy requires its candidates to: maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75 in grades 6-8; be outstandingly principled; lead others into and through service; set the example of how one ought to act.
”These seventeen young people have proven themselves time and time again in their continuous pursuit of excellence,” school officials said. “Furthermore, the administration of Millennium Charter Academy thanks the parents, siblings, friends, and teachers of these distinguished young people. A significant reason that each of them were honored is because of the love, support, guidance, influence, and input provided by those closest to them.“
March 05, 2022
Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust, recently reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2021 and the full year.
For the quarter ending Dec. 31, net income totaled $1,179,807 or 28 cents per share, which was down from $1,498,414, or 36 cents per share earned during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The decrease in earnings results from a decrease in net interest income.
Net interest income decreased by 11% from $3,638,909 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $3,237,515 for the same period in 2021 as net interest income yields declined. The decrease is due to the reduction of loan origination fees from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP origination fees totaling $184,751 were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to $773,100 recognized in the fourth quarter of 2020. The large decrease in fee recognition was due to the winding down of PPP loans in the fourth quarter of 2021. PPP loans totaling $24,775,780 were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2020 while only $3,331,485 in PPP loans were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The provision for loan losses decreased from $125,666 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $61,428 in 2021. Noninterest income decreased from $804,890 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $488,331in 2021. This decrease was primarily attributable to the reduction in insurance commission due to the sale of SB&T Insurance in the first quarter of 2021. Insurance commissions in the fourth quarter of 2020 amounted to $238,179. Noninterest expenses decreased from $2,441,728 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $2,142,849 in the fourth quarter of 2021. This decrease is attributable to salaries and employee benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.
Net income for the year rose, however. As of Dec. 31, net income for the year was $5,103,575 or $1.22 per share outstanding, compared to a $4,578,161 or $1.10 per share outstanding for the previous year. Earnings for the year are approximately 11.5% higher than for the same period in 2020. The increase in earnings results from a decrease in the provision for loan losses and a decrease in noninterest expenses.
The provision for loan losses decreased from a provision of $689,853 in 2020 to a provision of $387,359 in 2021. This decrease is due to the estimated economic impact of the pandemic lessening in 2021 as the federal government added stimulus to the economy. Noninterest expenses decreased 4.7%, from $9,196,654 in 2020, to $8,763,536 in 2021. Most of the decrease results from a reduction in salaries and benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.
Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full-service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited-service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at www.surreybank.com.
March 05, 2022
An African drum and dance workshop will be held in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre on Saturday, March 19. The workshop will begin with drumming at 1 p.m. followed by an African dance workshop at 2:15 p.m. The workshops are free for all ages and are limited to 30 participants per session.
Tam Tam Mandingue of Winston-Salem will be providing 30 drums at each workshop. With an authentic imported drum for every participant, these education programs immerse participants in both the music and dance of West Africa.
Participants learn rhythms and songs that represent the traditions of several African ethnic groups, then learn dances that historically accompany the musical selections. Strong emphasis is placed on the traditional West African values of respect, community, and teamwork. Living Rhythms workshops broaden participants’ understanding of our increasingly interdependent world, and encourage them to embrace a life of critical thinking.
The African drumming and dance workshops are sponsored in part by the African American Historical and Genealogical Society with funding from a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
Contact Marie Nicholson at mariejnic@hotmail.com or RJ Heller at rj@surryarts.org with questions, to participate, or for more information.
March 05, 2022
Talk about a last-minute rush.
As of early on Feb. 25, only three local non-profit organizations had applied for money from Mount Airy’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds designated last year to help communities nationwide recover from the COVID pandemic.
But by the application deadline four days later — last Tuesday — the number of groups seeking assistance had ballooned to 16, which submitted funding requests totaling $2.4 million.
The city government was tapped for $3.2 million through the American Rescue Plan Act, and no decision has been made regarding whether such requests actually will be granted and in what sums.
With aid for non-profits an allowable use of the federal dollars, Mount Airy officials have explained that they wanted to get information on proposed projects or programs from applicants for funding ahead of the city’s annual spring budget process.
The number of applicants and the specific requests sought were compiled and released publicly Thursday afternoon at a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
That list includes (in the order reported by the city):
The Surry Young Entrepreneurs Program, Surry Arts Council, Mount Airy Men’s Shelter, Mount Airy Rescue Squad, Sandy Level Community Council Inc., Veterans Memorial Park, Surry Medical Ministries, Rotary Pup Dog Park, Tiny Tigers Rescue Inc.;
Also, the Shepherd’s House homeless shelter, Masonic Properties of Mount Airy Inc., Surry Children’s Center, African-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, Mount Airy Public Library and Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club.
The $2.4 million in assistance overall which these organizations are requesting is to support various projects with a total estimated price tag of $8.1 million.
This is believed to be the first time in Mount Airy’s history that such potential funding was offered on a widespread basis.
Information released by the municipality does not specify the projects, but some have been reported on previously, as exemplified by requests from two major entities.
The largest sum sought is $475,000 from the museum, and the Arts Council is next with a request of $357,500.
Both have targeted city funding in recent years for facility additions and/or improvements.
Another example is third on the list, the Sandy Level Community Council, which is seeking $262,920 toward a total project cost of $346,880. Its plans call for renovations of the historic Satterfield House so it can become a community center offering educational and other programs at a site where a Rosenwald school also was once located.
Mayor Ron Niland and Commissioner Marie Wood believe any requests granted should be for non-profit organizations with solid records of community service which are planning meaningful programs and projects not duplicated by others.
The city government also will designating the federal money for its needs.
Downtown improvements, employee salaries and upgrading the communications capabilities of the council meeting room in the Municipal Building through a major technology upgrade have been listed as possible uses by the municipality.
Equipment and building-related expenditures such as new trucks and HVAC upgrades are among other needs cited.
March 05, 2022
Organizers of an upcoming event aren’t asking participants to sing for their supper. Instead, they are asking for individuals willing to run for someone else’s lunch.
The 2022 YVEDDI Meals on Wheels 5K/10K run is slated for March 26, with YVEDDI hoping to use the event to raise significant funding for the Meals on Wheels project.
Lisa Money, Meals on Wheels director, said this will be the eighth 5K/10K run the organization has sponsored, although there will be some differences this year because of COVID-19. Chief among those is the need for individuals to register in advance — there will be no onsite registration the day of the run.
The annual run has been a big hit for the agency.
“Our first year, we had 165 people on a waiting list for Meals on Wheels,” she said, with lack of funding the primary reason her organization couldn’t serve all who wanted the meals. “We knew we needed to do something big, and quickly. With the help of a lot of volunteers we pulled it together.”
The result? She said that first run raised enough money to move everyone off of the waiting list.
Meals on Wheels delivers lunches to area senior citizens, using a cadre of volunteers who drive the meals out to the client homes. Prior to the pandemic, she said they delivered a lunch to clients Monday through Friday.
“They got a hot meal delivered every day,” she said. Nearly as important, those receiving the meals also made a social contact with the delivery volunteers.
“For some of our people, they live alone, they have no one else,” Money said. “A lot of times our driver is the only person the client sees and talks to each day. It provides a safety check on them.”
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the program to change how it operates. At present, she said volunteers only go out on Tuesdays, delivering five boxed meals the client can use at his or her convenience during the week. Money is hopeful that declining COVID case numbers will soon mean the agency can get back to daily deliveries.
COVID-19 also affected the 5K/10K effort.
“The first year of the pandemic, in 2020, we didn’t get to have it,” she said of the run. “We always have it on the last Saturday in March, and we shut down on March 17, so it was cancelled.”
Last year, Money said the race went on, but with some modifications. There was no onsite registration race day, and participants were asked to remain in their cars until a few minutes before start time. There also was no award ceremony — medals were mailed to those who had won them.
This year, she said restrictions will be loosened a bit. While there will be no race day registration, there will be a ceremony afterward recognizing the winners.
“We ask that everyone wear their mask or face covering until it’s time for their race to start,” she said, then to wear them again after the races when onsite. “We ask people to social distance as much as possible.”
According to information supplied by the Meals on Wheels program, the 5K/10K run has raised a total of $70,000 since its inception, which has provided funding for 20,000 meals.
While that is a lot, it’s only a fraction of what the agency does each year. In the most recent fiscal year, she said the agency provided 94,328 meals. At present, she said they have 329 clients, with another 45 in Surry County on a waiting list.
She also said the agency is in need of additional volunteers to help deliver food. Sometimes, she said, people are put on a waiting list simply because there are no drivers available to deliver.
That has become particularly acute during the pandemic, with some volunteers having to step aside from fear of contracting the virus.
“The deliveries are mid-day…most of our drivers are retired. They are in that vulnerable age group for COVID, so many of them have stopped delivering.”
Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering can call Money at 336-367-3522.
As for the March 26 run, the event will be at Dobson Square Park, with the 10K starting at 8 a.m. and the 5K getting underway at 8:15. The cost is $20 for individuals age 17 and younger, $30 for adults, through March 11. Afterward, the cost is $35 for all ages. Those registered by March 11 will also get a “moisture-wicking t-shirt.”
For additional information, or to register, visit https://yveddi5k10k.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=5192
March 05, 2022
GREENSBORO — North Surry incredible playoff run came to an end Saturday as the Greyhounds fell 79-62 to Robinson.
Nine first-half lead changes left the No. 4 Greyhounds and No. 6 Bulldogs tied up 34-34 at halftime of the 2A West Regional Final. Robinson took advantage of North Surry turnovers and second-chance opportunities in the third quarter to slowly gain a double-digit lead, then kept building the lead to as many as 22 in the fourth quarter.
“I was proud of the way our guys fought tonight, even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” said North Surry coach Tyler Bentley. “We knew they were going to be big, strong and athletic, and we held our own in the first half. Our guys battled the whole game, but then they got that 8-10 point lead and kind of stretched us to get out of our zone and have to match up with them.
“They’re a tough, strong and physical team, so we’ve got to get tougher, stronger and more physical on our end.”
Robinson came into Saturday’s West Regional Final 26-3. Like the Hounds, the Bulldogs won their conference with a 12-0 record and won 12-straight to reach the Final Four.
Nine players on Robinson’s 13-man roster were listed at 6’0” or taller, with junior forward Daevin Hobbs leading the way at 6’6”. Bentley compared Robinson’s athleticism to that of East Forsyth and Mount Tabor, who North Surry played in the Frank Spencer Classic earlier this season.
“Top to bottom, they may be the most athletic team we’ve faced.”
The Greyhounds went basket-for-basket with the Bulldogs in the first half. Similar to their Elite Eight game against West Caldwell, North knocked down three 3-pointers in the first quarter. This included triples from James McCreary and Cam Taylor on back-to-back possessions.
Robinson did most of its scoring in the paint, and its offense really came alive in the second half. Hobbs broke the 34-34 tie 14 seconds into the third quarter. Hobbs and fellow forward Jermaine Gray combined for 17 in the quarter, while also bringing down seven rebounds – more than North Surry’s as a whole in the third.
Robinson won the rebounding battle 45-29. Hobbs, who tied for the most points in the game with 23, also grabbed 16 rebounds.
Once Robinson led by 10 at the end of the third quarter, the Greyhounds knew it was going to be a tough mountain to climb. The Bulldogs tight defense made this even more difficult by forcing four turnovers in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, and turning those into seven points on the other end.
North Surry finishes the season 23-5 overall. Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Hounds had won nine consecutive games and 15 of their past 16. This included finishing 12-0 in the Foothills 2A Conference, then winning back-to-back games to win the conference tournament.
“We had goals of winning the conference and making a run in the playoffs,” Bentley said. “Our guys latched on to that in the beginning of the season, and it allowed us to make this run. We ended up playing our best basketball at the very end of the season, which is every coach’s dream. Doing that allowed us to get to this point today.”
The Greyhounds’ trip to the Final Four comes after three seasons without a playoff win.
“These guys have a ton to be proud of with what they have accomplished this year and what they’ve given this community,” Bentley said. “We had the community come out to home and away games and these guys gave them something to cheer on.
“This is our first real away game in about a month. We get here and look up in the stands – and this is a big gym – packed with blue shirts. That’s really special. I’m so thankful for everyone’s support this entire season.”
Jahreece Lynch led the Greyhounds with eight assists and tied Ryan Simmons and Cam Taylor with five rebounds. Lynch was also the team’s leader in steals with four.
Scoring
Robinson – 17, 17, 24, 21 = 79
North Surry – 19, 15, 13, 15 = 62
RN: Daevin Hobbs 23, Jaylen Jackson 23, Jermaine Gray 14, Zi’ Kei Wheeler 9, Andrew Jordan 4, Brian Rowe 2, Jamari Brooks 2
NS: James McCreary 18, Jahreece Lynch 17, Cam Taylor 11, Kolby Watson 10, Jackson Smith 4, Ryan Simmons 2
March 05, 2022
Mount Airy hosted East Surry Friday in what was the first-ever nonconference meeting between the schools in girls soccer.
An hour-long 0-0 stalemate was broken by a Mount Airy goal in the 60th minute, then the Bears added a safety net nine minutes later to win 2-0.
“This was a really good experience for us,” said Bears coach Will Hurley. “He’s got a great team, and they’re very well-coached so I knew we were in for a challenge. [William] Hart always does a great job.”
Mount Airy finishes week one of the season undefeated at 3-0. With two wins over North Wilkes earlier in the week, the Lady Bears have now outscored opponents 18-0. Karyme Bueno and Kate Deaton each scored in the win over the Cardinals.
East Surry drops its first match of the season to finish week one 1-1-1. The Cardinals opened the season with a 2-2 tie against Elkin, with Morgan Bryant and Liannette Chavez each scoring against the Buckin’ Elks. Bryant netted two goals in a 5-1 win over Starmount, as did Ember Midkiff, and Addison Goins scored once.
“The girls had a hard week, but we are better now than we were five days ago,” Hart said.
Both defenses had strong showings on Friday, keeping most of the action between 18-yard boxes. Attempts to bypass the opposing back line were unsuccessful more often than not with two veteran keepers – Mount Airy senior Mackenzie Hudson and East Surry junior Katie Collins – willing to leave their lines.
The Granite Bear defense recorded its third shutout of the season. After making some lineup changes, Hurley wasn’t sure how efficient everything on defense would be when the Cardinals came to town.
“I learned that our back line is true,” Hurley said. “I really didn’t know that going into this thing, because we moved our striker to the back line to play sweeper and she’s done a phenomenal job. We actually moved one of our center backs up to striker, and she played an awesome game too. She didn’t score, but still did a lot for us.”
East Surry finally broke through the back line in the 29th minute. Midkiff and Chavez executed give-and-go passes through the midfield, then Midkiff found Bryant inside Mount Airy’s 18. Bryant made the Bears’ sweat before Mount Airy could send the ball over the end line for a corner kick.
A short pass from the corner gave Chavez a better angle for a cross. The senior’s pass sailed over the defense and landed near the far post, where Goins was just a step late of connecting for a shot on goal.
Four of Mount Airy’s five first-half shots were placed on frame but saved by Collins. In the second half, Deaton sparked a counterattack and sent a through ball to Alex Rose at striker, however her shot went just outside of the left post.
Mount Airy’s presence in East Surry’s defensive half midway through the second half led to the Bears’ first goal. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the back line, Deaton finally put a through ball ahead to Paola Ramirez in the 60th minute. Collins prevented a shot by charging Ramirez, but Bueno swooped in to clean up the leftovers of the collision.
Nine minutes later, Mount Airy’s Grey Moore lined up for a free kick to the left of East Surry’s 18-yard box. After having an earlier free kick from a similar spot saved when she attempted a direct shot, Moore placed her kick near the six-yard line for Bueno.
Bueno was swarmed by Cardinal defenders, but Deaton was there to finish things off.
East Surry had two late chances to get back in the game. Kynsley Penney, who had a big game for the Cards at right back, pressed up when East was inside Mount Airy’s defensive third. A Granite Bear clearance came right to Penney, setting her up for a 40-yard shot that went right at the goal. Hudson kept the scoreboard clean by snatching the shot after one bounce.
The second opportunity came when Midkiff made a run up the Bears’ sideline. The sophomore cut into the box before firing a shot in the 71st minute, and it was saved by Hudson.
Mount Airy controlled possession down the stretch to secure the 2-0 win.
“It’s was a tough game from the beginning to end,” Hart said. “I’m proud of the effort my girls gave. We know what we want to accomplish, and we just have to put in the work to get there and play to our full potential.”
Hurley echoed Hart’s sentiment for his own team.
“This is one of the better girls teams I’ve ever had, from top to bottom,” Hurley said. “We’ve got potential, there are just things we have to keep working at. We have to work on our midfield; that’s no secret. Everybody can see that. But we’re just starting to bloom. We’ve got three really good seniors, and they’re doing a great job leading this team.
“This team really doesn’t have that much drama. They all get along with each other. When somebody scores, and it doesn’t matter who it is, they all go and celebrate.
Both Mount Airy and East Surry will take next week off for Spring Break. The Bears return to the pitch March 14 to face West Stokes on the road, and the Cardinals will host North Wilkes on March 15.
Scoring
ES – 0, 0 = 0
MA – 0, 2 = 0
Karyme Bueno (MA) 60’, Kate Deaton (MA) 69’
March 04, 2022
There are several irons in the fire these days for development of Mount Airy’s downtown. With the final branding announcement on the hotel project still under wraps, the multi-phased projects in the area adjacent to the new hotel are coming into view as the vision for downtown begins to take shape.
The best known of the Spencer’s Mill projects is the ongoing hotel project. Lizzie Morrison of Mount Airy Downton Inc. recently reported to the county commissioners that the hotel chain has committed more than $1 million to design plans for the hotel and multi-purpose market center.
The supporting projects around the hotel area have been drawn up to create a destination for businesses to bring conventions and corporate gatherings to the area. A feasibility study conducted found simply, “Mount Airy needs a downtown hotel with a convention center.”
“We have established over many years we cannot accommodate several types of meetings here,” said Jessica Roberts of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority. “We have a lot of companies who have headquarters here that are going to Winston-Salem or Greensboro that we know of already who would have multiple events at a facility like this.”
The feasibility study called for a convention center totaling 44,000 square feet of space, and the Spencer’s Mill project was designed out to a flexible 26,500 square feet. Morrison told the board that all projections for this phase were conservative to “make sure Mount Airy and Surry County can indeed support the facility.”
A comparison was made to halls in Statesville and Hickory. Hickory boasts 84,000 square feet but their location is right off the interstate, yielding no tangible benefit to the downtown, Morrison said. Statesville has a modest 16,500 square feet facility with no adjoining lodging, they are dealing with the same issue Mount Airy is designing its way out of.
The 14,000 square foot convention floor itself will allow for large groups at one time and have a bay door to allow trucks inside to bring in supplies for trade or auto shows. In addition to the convention center would be a connected visitors center, between them they would offer classroom and office space, as well as meeting rooms for the conventioneers.
When the ribbon is cut, the new convention center has a built-in client base. Leonard has told officials they would be interested in having several events a year at the new convention center. Organizations such as Downtown Mount Airy Inc. could also move offices into the new space.
Outside will be an array of features for the visitors and residents alike, including a pocket park along Willow Street. A new pavilion to be constructed along Franklin Street that can be used as a farmers’ market, and a splash pad is to be added as well. Morrison advised, “We don’t want to recreate what’s in Dobson, but we want to be able to turn the water off and use it for something else.”
“This is to support the visitors center and convention center, but this is going to be a public park that benefits all local citizen and families and gives them yet another thing to do in Surry County.
“We have been presenting this to community groups like the Rotary Clubs, and the residents of Renfro and Spencer’s Lofts, the Spencer’s Mill residents, local industry leaders and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. This project checks off all the boxes.”
With a projected finish date of fall 2024, the new boutique hotel is the crown jewel of Phase 2 of the development and is slated to offer 70-80 rooms, include a full-service restaurant, bar, and a possible rooftop lounge area.
The hotel is being added to compliment the convention center and because business leaders have asked for more space to entertain when bringing in guests to the area. This would be the county’s only full-service hotel with onsite restaurant and bar.
With the elements being created in Phase 3, the overlap begins to show itself and the opportunities for businesses to capitalize on new events, conventions, trade shows, and more local foot traffic during the week may make mouths water.
A combination of city, county and private money are going into the hotel project, with $14.6 million of the total estimated $17.8 million cost to be covered by private investment.
There is excitement around these projects, Morrison said even among local kids. “I presented to a group of second through fifth graders for innovation day, and when we got to the slide showing the exterior with the water feature, the kids just loved it.”
Phase 1 has been completed and much like the hotel component was mostly private money. The city gave roughly $3 million for preliminary costs of developing the site that includes 16 units at Spencer’s Mill Lofts and the 65 units at the Spencer’s Mill Apartments.
Morrison gave a glowing report of the success of Phase 1, “I am typically an optimist for all things downtown Mount Airy, but to complete an apartment project in May 2020, I was nervous about their ability to fill up. But these apartments were full in five months and have a 20% wait list to this day.”
Phases 1 and 2 are projected to bring in $300,000 a year in property taxes between the city and county, and more than $2 million in combined sales tax revenue for the county and state – these projects “equal big numbers in the long haul,” said Bryan Grote of Mount Airy Downtown Inc.
Adding in full time residents to downtown with new options to live, at differing price points, is a surefire way to have a larger base headcount downtown.
March 04, 2022
DOBSON — The filing period for various state and local offices ended Friday in Surry County, highlighted by another candidate entering the race for an at-large seat on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Tonda Phillips, 44, a resident of Greenbriar Street, joined previous filers Steve Yokeley and Deborah Cochran in vying for the office now held by At-Large Commissioner Joe Zalescik.
Zalescik is seeking a South Ward seat on the non-partisan city council long occupied by Yokeley, which two other candidates also filed for, Gene Clark and Phil Thacker.
Also up for grabs is the North Ward council post of Jon Cawley, who decided to file for mayor this year instead against present Mayor Ron Niland and Teresa Lewis.
Four people are candidates for the North Ward seat, John Pritchard, Joanna Refvem, Teresa Davis Leiva and Chad Hutchens.
Phillips is a member of the local realty profession who has been involved in community service including heading various projects as president of the Rotary Club of Mount Airy.
She was one of five people countywide tossing their hats into the ring Friday before a noon filing deadline.
Also doing so then was a Democratic candidate for the Central District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners, Ken Badgett, 56, of Rockford Road, Dobson.
Badgett is the lone Democrat seeking the office now held by Republican Mark Marion, who is running for re-election to a second four-year term in a race that also includes GOP opponent Landon Tolbert.
The other three Friday filers are candidates for the Elkin Board of Education, Earl M. Blackburn, Johnny M. Blevins and Patty Crosswhite, who are vying for its City District seat.
All three are Republicans whose filings came on the heels of another GOP member signing up to run for that office Thursday, Denny Lazar.
Also filing Thursday was Jennifer Kleinheksel, who when the smoke cleared was the only person seeking the West District seat on the Elkin school board.
Cumulative filings
The final slate of candidates at the close of filing further includes these for the offices specified:
• Incumbent Bill Goins, who is seeking his second term for a Mount Airy District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners against two other Republicans, Steven R. Odum and Walter D. Harris;
• Incumbent South District Commissioner Eddie Harris and GOP challenger Tessa Saeli;
• Republican Sheriff Steve Hiatt;
• Another GOP incumbent, District Attorney Tim Watson;
• Four people vying for three local District Court judge seats, including incumbents Marion Boone and Thomas Langan along with Gretchen Hollar Kirkman and Mark Miller. All are on the GOP ticket;
• Republican clerk of court candidates including first-term incumbent Neil Brendle, Teresa O’Dell and Melissa Marion Welch;
• Republican incumbent 90th District state Rep. Sarah Stevens and challenger Benjamin Romans, also a GOP member;
• Four Republicans seeking the 66th District state Senate seat serving Surry and other counties: Shirley Randleman, Eddie Settle, Vann Tate and Lee Zachary;
• Democratic incumbent Mamie McKinney Sutphin and a Republican challenger for her District 2 seat on the Surry Board of Education, Tony L. Hutchens;
• Two Republicans seeking the District 3 seat on the county school board, Kent Whitaker and Jessica George;
• A trio of GOP hopefuls for that board’s District 4 seat, Jimmy Yokeley, T.J. Bledsoe and Donna McLamb;
• Incumbent Mount Airy Board of Education members Kyle A. Leonard in District A and Ben Cooke, District B, both Republicans who are facing no opposition in their re-election bids, which also is the case for the board’s at-large member, Democrat Tim Matthews.
For offices in which multiple candidates have filed for a particular seat of the same political party, primaries will be conducted on May 17 to narrow the field for the general election in November.
In many cases, no Democratic candidates have filed, meaning seats actually will be won through the May primaries.
Persons with no party opposition automatically advance to the November ballot.
In the case of Mount Airy where elections are non-partisan, primaries are required when three or more candidates toss their hats into the ring for a position, with the two top vote-getters then squaring off in November.
Primary elections are in store for all four council seats affected by the 2022 election cycle.
March 04, 2022
The Alpha Xi Tau chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Surry Community College has received designation as a Five Star chapter.
This designation requires the chapter to have completed an Honors In Action Project and a college project, as well as involvement in service projects at the local, regional and international levels with Phi Theta Kappa. This SCC chapter was one of 18 total college chapters in the Carolinas region to meet these requirements.
In 2021, the chapter raised more than $3,000 for Hope Chapel Orphanage in Ghana as the club’s Honors In Action project. The money raised was a result of multiple fundraisers, including prize raffles and yard sales, and the awarding of a grant from Phi Theta Kappa to help their efforts.
Other initiatives recently taken by the chapter include creating cards for senior citizens and veterans, raising awareness of child labor in Africa and cleaning local river access points. The chapter also received a second grant from Walmart Giving for $3,000, which allowed members to start a student outreach center as part of their college project.
“Our PTK students have demonstrated their desire to help both our local communities and the world, and their diligent efforts to serve others have been impressive and inspiring,” said Surry Community College’s PTK Chapter Co-advisor Kayla Forrest.
Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa and their projects, contact PTK’s faculty co-advisors Dr. Kathleen Fowler at 336-386-3560 or fowlerk@surry.edu or Kayla Forrest at (336) 386-3315 or forrestkm@surry.edu or go to www.ptk.org. Follow the local chapter on Facebook @surryPhiThetaKappa.
March 04, 2022
Josh Penn’s charisma and infectious personality made people want to be around him throughout football season, but it was just the opposite for Mount Airy’s opponents whenever Penn’s received a handoff.
Described by coach J.K Adkins as the player that, “brought the thunder to our backfield tandem,” Penn quickly gained a reputation as one of the most difficult players around to tackle. The 5’11”, 215 pound running back made life miserable for opposing varsity squads, and he hopes to continue that trend when he suits up for collegiate football this fall.
Surrounded by his friends and family, Penn signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent to play football for The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, or UVA Wise.
“It’s exciting,” Penn said. “I’ve been dreaming about this since I started playing football, and everybody helped me through it. I’m kind of nervous to go start my first year and play with a whole new team.”
Penn started playing football at age 7, but really got serious with the sport in eighth grade.
“I started playing with different people and going against bigger teams,” he said. “I got in the weight room more, got bigger and was able to just run people over. That’s when I was like ‘I think I can do it. I think I can play college football now.’”
Penn originally played receiver when he joined the varsity football team his junior year, but moved to running back ahead of his senior season.
“He actually approached me about playing running back,” Adkins said. “And I told him ‘with your size, your ability and your speed, we’re going to give you a shot at it. If you win the job, you win the job’…and he won the job early.”
Penn’s move to the backfield was a welcome one as the Bears transitioned from a pass-dominant offense to a run-heavy option.
In his first game at the position, Penn carried the ball eight times for a game-high 105 yards rushing as well as a touchdown. He was one of two players to record at least 100 yards rushing in the game, which helped Mount Airy total 272 yards on the ground as a team – a total that the previous season’s team only surpassed once.
“He’s a hard kid to bring to the ground,” Adkins said. “I always joked about Josh appearing to be 32 years old. He looks like grown man. I think people that we played felt like that too. You look at a 16-year-old kid that’s 170 pounds playing linebacker, and it’s a hard ask to tell that kid to try and take down a kid that looks like Josh does.”
Through Mount Airy’s first five games, Penn found the end zone five times and averaged more than 10 yards per carry. The Granite Bears outscored opponents 264-12 in that stretch.
An injury took Penn out for a good chunk of the season after this, but he was determined to return.
“I just kept telling myself that I was going to come back before playoffs,” Penn said. “All these colleges were still hitting me up, wanting me to come up for visits, so that’s what helped me through. The coaches helped me through it, and our athletic trainer helped me get ready to come back.
“I want to thank my family, coaches, teammates, and athletic trainer Patrick O’Neal for helping me through all my injuries.”
Penn made a partial return to the field in the regular season finale to get back in the rotation. He only carried the ball twice in the Bears’ playoff opener the following week, but did so for 89 yards and a touchdown. He was able to fully integrate back into Mount Airy’s offense later in the playoffs and helped the team reach the 1A West Regional Semifinal.
Penn finished the season with 52 carries for 578 yards and eight touchdowns.
“His stats would’ve been eye-popping had he not been hurt and missed half the season,” Adkins said. “He’s a great kid, a hard worker and a tremendous player that is extremely coachable.
“We’re going to miss him,” continued Adkins. “He always brought the energy. Even when he was hurt, he was a leader on the sidelines. He’s a pleasure to have around and has a great personality. I’m really proud of him.”
Mount Airy finished the 2021-22 season 13-1 overall. The Bears also finished 6-0 in conference play to help the seniors – Penn included – go out as the Northwest 1A Conference Champions.
”Playing at Mount Airy was like a brotherhood between all the players and the coaches. I feel like I can trust everybody here, ” Penn said. “Thank you to everybody at Mount Airy for helping me and supporting me.”
March 04, 2022
The Surry County Board of Commissioners take a few minutes at the top of their meetings to acknowledge members of the community for excellence.
Eagle Scouts come to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that go into achieving that prestigious rank. Eagle Scout rank represents a milestone of accomplishment that is “recognized across the country and even the world,” states the official website of Scouts BSA.
This evening, there was something different about the new Eagle Scouts that set them apart from many of those who came before, Audrey and Reagan Poindexter are siblings — sisters in scouting who have achieved the highest rank, and with it the honor they deserve.
Proud parents DeAnn and Jeff Poindexter beamed as the commissioners read the proclamations and handed the ladies’ their commendations. Reagan and Audrey are trailblazers in the local scouting community as they are the first female Eagle Scouts in Surry County, and the entire Dogwood District.
An animal lover, Reagan put out collection boxes at several locations to collect pet food and supplies for the Surry County Animal Shelter as her community project required for the rank. With cash donations she also made 33 pet beds as part of her service project. Audrey constructed an 80 x 120-foot pollinator habitat and four benches at the sustainable agriculture building on the grounds of Surry Community College.
From a family that believes in scouting, the sisters join their brother Nolan, who reached Eagle in 2019. Reagan said scouting allows her a chance to do fun things outdoors such as sailing and archery. Big sister Audrey chimed in that she had the chance to rappel down Pilot Mountain as part of her climbing badge.
“Old Hickory Council and the Seven Rivers District wishes to congratulate Audrey and Reagan Poindexter for achieving the Eagle Scout Rank,” said Chris Lawson, executive for Seven Rivers District.
“The rank of Eagle Scout is an accomplishment which tells the world that an individual holds up to the highest values in Citizenship, Service, and Devotion. An Eagle Scout is prepared to take on whatever challenges that will come and see it through to the end.”
Chairman Bill Goins has fond memories of scouting and recalls as such when Eagle Scouts appear before the commissioners to receive their commendation. The connections made in scouting, and the lessons learned, he tells them, follow those scouts the rest of their life.
BSA national board chair, and former AT&T executive, Randall Stephenson knows something about leadership. In 2017 he said, “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization. It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”
The Boy Scouts of America had a name change in 2019 following the inclusion of young ladies into the program for older youths, however despite some confusion, Scouts BSA only refers to the specific program for 11 to 17-year-olds that is now co-ed. The organization itself is still called Boy Scouts of America.
Some opposition was leveled from former scouts to allowing girls in, and the Girl Scouts of America were none too pleased with the new Scouts BSA moniker. They sued the Boy Scouts of America for using “scouts” in the new name. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled against them in 2021, “‘Boy Scouts’ is a brand, ‘Girl Scouts’ is a brand, but ‘Scouting’ alone is an activity,” he ruled.
Scouts BSA saw a need to open their ranks, not only to combat declines in new membership, but also as a direct response to parents. In announcing the change, they said, “Families today are busier and more diverse than ever, and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.”
Since the change, more than 31,000 girls have joined and there are more than 3,000 Girl Troops across the country. In this area there are currently two Girl Troops active: Troop 0539G at Flat Rock Baptist Church, and Troop 0529G at Dobson United Methodist Church — to which the Poindexters are members.
“The Boy Scouts of America has had a coed tradition in its Venturing and Explorer programs for decades and allowed females into Cub Scouts in 2018 and the BSA program in 2019, changing its name to Scouts BSA,” Lawson of the district office said. “This has allowed Scouting to become a true family adventure.
“Since that time Scouts BSA has chartered girl troops throughout the country and are now seeing girls achieve the Eagle Scout Rank. We congratulate Audrey, Reagan, and Girl Troop 529G for this outstanding achievement.”
“It’s a great opportunity to make friends and have fun,” Audrey gave as her best summation of scouting. Archery, climbing, rowing, lifesaver skills, and sailing, certainly sound like fun, but more than that, she said scouting, “Can open up opportunities for you and help you gain respect.”
March 04, 2022
A lengthy investigation by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the seizure of more than 4 pounds of methamphetamine on Wednesday and the arrest of two area residents — one jailed under a $2.5 million bond. Two other local individuals were arrested earlier in the probe. All totaled, law enforcement seized more than 5 pounds of meth, nearly three dozen firearms, cash, and related material.
Arrested Wednesday was Kevin Louis Markham, 41, of 184 Westview Drive, after a traffic stop during which investigators located 4.3 pounds of methamphetamine, large amounts of U.S. currency and assorted drug paraphernalia.
According to Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt, the vehicle stop led to the execution of search warrants at the addresses of 470 Tom Jones Road, Ararat, and 262 Hickory Street, Mount Airy.
“Investigators located additional amounts of methamphetamine at the address of 262 Hickory Street,” the sheriff said.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team executed a search warrant at the Ararat home, which the sheriff said is a secondary residence of Markham and owned by Adrian Martinez, 37, and Teresa Del Rosario Martinez, 45, of 109 Escondido Lane, Lowgap. They had been arrested earlier in the probe, on Feb. 11.
During the search of the Tom Jones Road home in Ararat, the sheriff said investigators located more than four ounces of methamphetamine, 21 firearms, U.S. currency, a stolen GMC Yukon, and assorted drug paraphernalia. Additionally, deputies located Joshua James Myers, 32, of 470 Tom Jones Road, who was wanted for an outstanding probation violation. Myers allegedly was found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, resulting in him being charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Myers was placed under a $10,500 secured bond with a scheduled March 23 court date.
Markham was charged with three counts of trafficking methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug vehicle, one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $2.5 million bond with a March 23 court date.
The traffic stop that led to the findings and arrests stemmed from a longer investigation involving the sheriff’s office along with Homeland Security Investigations, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Mount Airy Police Department, Stokes County Sheriff’s Office, Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Hiatt said.
That probe had led to the earlier arrests of Adrian Martinez and Teresa Del Rosario Martinez, which helped lead to Wednesday’s arrests.
On Feb. 11, the sheriff’s office Narcotics Division executed a search warrant at the address of 109 Escondido Lane in Lowgap. That search warrant led to the seizure of 24 ounces of methamphetamine, Methylenedioxy-N-benzylcathinone (hydrochloride) or known as BMDP, marijuana, 13 firearms, and assorted drug paraphernalia.
Adrian Martinez was charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug dwelling, one count of manufacturing marijuana, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $280,000 secured bond.
Teresa Del Rosario Martinez was charged with one count of maintaining a drug dwelling and received a $7,000 secured bond. Both are scheduled for court appearances on March 23.
“This just shows when law enforcement agencies work together as one, there are no jurisdictional lines for offenders to hide behind,” the sheriff said, adding that he was thankful to all of the agencies and law enforcement personnel that assisted with this investigation.
March 04, 2022
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” – John Piper
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
A lawyer comes up to Jesus with a question. His question is “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus, who regularly answers a question with another question, asks him “What is written in the Law?” To this the lawyer answers with our verse up above; the Luke 10:27 passage. Jesus tells him that he has answered correctly. It is this answer that I want us to look at in detail. What exactly does it mean?
It means, in general, that followers of Jesus, Christians, are people that love God with all of who they are. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe and there does not exist a square inch of reality that is not his; this includes every bit of you and me. The reality of Christianity, real Christianity, is loving God means giving him everything we are. And everything we are includes our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
To love God with our heart means to be passionately in love with God. Being someone who loves God does not simply mean you believe the right things, nor that your love is an action. Loving God is doing the right things and love is action, but loving God is more than those things. To love God is to feel love for God. God’s call for all Christians is to be in love with him. To be head over heels, puppy dog, boy just discovered girls aren’t icky, heart beating out of your chest, sweaty palms, emotional love.
To love God with our soul means to put the hope of our eternal self in his hands. For as long as people have walked this earth we have wondered about eternity and our place in it. So we have sought to find, and came up with, a way to ensure that eternity favors us. Some have put that hope in science and some in false religions and cults, but the truth is we all put that hope in something. The Bible calls Christians to put that hope in God: To trust not in our own ability to ensure our eternal reward, but to trust in the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross: That he lived perfectly and died for my sins and that even though I should die because of my sins I now get the eternal life that he deserves.
To love God with our strength is to love God with what we do. Once someone becomes a Christian they are given a new heart that seeks to please the one who loves us most, God. The call to love with our strength is the command to love with our hands and our feet; to let the new heart of Christ flow into our actions. Christ, in affirming the lawyer’s answer, is saying that to be one of his is to do what pleases him and what he has called us to. And not to do it because we have to or because it earns anything. But to do it because that’s what love does. Love seeks to please its lover.
To love God with our mind is to seek to know God more. When we love something, truly and deeply love something, we want to know all there is about it. New relationships often start with long conversations over the phone, or now through Snapchat I guess, because each person wants to know more and more and more about the person of their affection. People who love football spend hours looking at stats of their favorite players. Baseball junkies pour over baseball cards. None of this is mandatory. Instead, it flows from a heart that is in love. Love seeks to know and understand. To love is to seek to better know him and better understand him. He is found most directly in his Word.
This lawyer rightly says that to inherit eternal life one must love God with their heart, soul, strength, and mind. One must love God with all of who they are. Do you have eternal life?
March 04, 2022
Marissa Montgomery, FNP-C, has joined the clinical team of Northern Family Medicine – the Family Medicine Division of Northern Regional Hospital.
As a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Montgomery will meet, diagnose and treat patients for a wide variety of common and chronic conditions and ailments – including minor injuries, diabetes, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). She will also perform annual wellness visits and offer COVID testing and treatment options.
Montgomery believes strongly in providing high-quality care by creating a respectful and trusting relationship with her patients. “I give my undivided attention to patients and listen fully to what they have to say,” she said. “In that way, I am able to develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration their individual preferences, needs and values.”
“I’ve been taught and always practiced patient-centered care,” she continued. “My approach is to provide holistic care for the whole person – attending to their mental, spiritual and social needs – because all of those aspects affect one’s physical health.”
“We are pleased to welcome Marissa Montgomery to our team of clinicians who work collaboratively and comprehensively to ensure the best possible care for patients,” said Jose L. Mendoza, MD, board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Family Medicine. “Marissa’s strong nursing knowledge and skills, along with her positive energy and compassion, will further enrich our efforts to provide safe, quality care to those we serve.”
Montgomery is not new to Northern, or Mount Airy. She was born in Northern Hospital 28 years ago, and then raised and educated in the Mount Airy region. Not surprisingly, the energetic Montgomery is a lifelong ambassador for both the hospital and her hometown. “Northern is committed to providing high-quality care to patients in a healing, family-like environment; and Mount Airy is a friendly, tight-knit community where everybody is willing to help each other,” she said.
Becoming a nurse – and, in particular, a Family Nurse Practitioner – has been the singular professional goal pursued by Montgomery since her high-school days. By participating in an accelerated academic program in high school, she graduated with college credits that were applied directly to the nursing program of Surry Community College. After earning her associate’s degree in nursing from Surry in 2015, she launched her career as a healthcare clinician by taking her first nursing job in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Northern Regional Hospital.
Over the next four years, Montgomery continued to attend to the needs of patients in several clinical units at Forsyth Medical Center. She also effectively managed her time to complete advanced nursing studies with Chamberlain University. in Downers Grove, Illinois, earning both a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree in 2019, and her Master of Science in Nursing in Family Medicine degree in April of 2021.
Her focused energy is fueled on a daily basis, she said, by the interactions and relationships she developed with her patients and their families. “I believe it’s every patient I’ve come in contact with who has led me to this point,” she said. “They all have a unique story and disease process – and they allowed me to learn from them so that I can apply my new knowledge to help others. They’re also so grateful that it fills my heart.”
Montgomery also acknowledges and appreciates the support she received from several mentors she met on her journey to achieve her professional goal. “There were three professors in the nursing program at Surry College – Kiena Williams, Ann Scott, and Lorrie Heath – who, from day one, really believed in me and continued to push me to be the best that I could be,” she recalled. “Another mentor was Kelly Manuel, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Northern Family Medicine, who graciously taught me many things while serving as preceptor during my master’s program.”
Marissa and her husband, Campbell, enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. Montgomery also does volunteer work – including spending time and helping residents at a women’s homeless shelter in Winston-Salem.
To schedule an appointment with Marissa Montgomery, Family Nurse Practitioner, call 336-786-4133 or visit the Northern Family Medicine Office at 280 N. Pointe Boulevard, in Mount Airy.




© 2018 The Mount Airy News

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