Juneteenth events, Jones School fundraiser this weekend | Mt. Airy News

2022-06-24 18:50:02 By : Ms. Rachel Zhu

Juneteenth activities are planned Sunday, June 19, at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.

Mount Airy is holding their 2nd Annual Juneteenth in the Market Street Arts & Entertainment District Saturday beginning at noon.

Bridge of Unity’s 2nd Annual Juneteenth Festival is Saturday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. with music, karaoke contest, games, food trucks, and a BBQ cookoff.

It has been twelve weeks since the Surry County Board of County Commissioners and the African American Historical and Genealogical Society agree to transfer the former J. J. Jones High School back into the hands of her alumni.

As the county’s fiscal year is reaching its end, the first benchmark of the agreement is set for July 1 when the deed will be transferred to the Save Jones group.

Co-chair of the Save Jones School Committee Adreann Belle advised this week that, “We are progressing nicely toward taking over the Jones Family Resource Center.” She said planning and work continue at the L. H. Jones Family Resource Center in anticipation of the transfer of the deed from the county to the Save Jones School group. Save Jones was given the former J. J. Jones High School from Surry County after it had been listed as surplus property due to the cost of maintenance on the aging building.

“Cosmetically, it’s not that bad,” Belle advised this week. “The boiler needs to be replaced, it’s on last legs. We are looking for some grant money, around $350,000 to help with that.” The county’s assessment of the building had identified the boiler, plumbing, roof, wiring, HVAC and windows as all being near the end of their projected life cycle.

After the boiler, the roof is the next major project; it will then be time for an architectural analysis to get the design elements of the new mixed-use facility. “We want a cultural and heritage center to preserve the artifacts not just of the school, but of the community,” Belle said of the future facility.

The group has made an application to the General Assembly for $500,000 in grant money to further projects that will transition the former school from its current configuration as the home for the organizations of YVEDDI to a mixture of residential and community use spaces. LaShene Lowe, president of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society, said Wednesday that at this time all YVEDDI occupants have signaled their intention to stay in the new Jones.

The end of month fundraising goal for the group is $20,000, down two thirds from the last update provided. To add to the Save Jones effort, there are several events upcoming that the community is invited to participate in beginning this Friday, June 17, at 7 p.m. with a Masquerade Ball at the Jones School Auditorium. “This is a dress to impress event,” Belle said, “but we will provide the masquerade mask.”

She said this is the one to put fun back in fundraiser, “We will have snacks, drinks, and music so it’s an opportunity to have some fun.” Entry to the masquerade ball is $15.

Furthermore, the Save Jones group will have booths set up this Saturday in both Mount Airy and Elkin for Juneteenth events. Juneteenth is the day in 1865 when residents of Galveston, Texas, learned that slavery in the United States had been abolished, two months after the end of the Civil War and 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

In Elkin, the event is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Heritage Center, 257 Standard Street. Greg Brewer, president of Bridge of Unity extended the offer, “If you are able to come, we would love to have you here. Our events will focus on things that bring us together and not focus on the differences – but things like food, fun, and fellowship that we can all agree on.”

Fernando “Sly” Best, CEO of Bridge of Unity, laid out the activities beginning at 11 a.m. with events for kids such as bounce houses, field day games, and an art gallery for anyone seeking some relief from the heat inside the Heritage Center. A selection of more than 30 vendors will be on hand and Elkin’s Got Talent karaoke begins at 2 p.m. where there is a $100 prize for the winner. From 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. the band Retropunkz will take the stage, “They are number-one in New Orleans and Bourbon Street,” he said.

“Come hungry,” Best has told those going to the Juneteenth event. There is an all you can eat buffet beginning at 5 p.m. that costs $25, but he warned, “Get there early because last year the ticket and the food ran out quick.” With selections of crab legs, brisket, ribs, turkey legs, hamburgers, chicken and more this is a ticket that understandably could fly out the window.

No fear if the buffet runs out, Best said he has it covered with a group of food trucks ranging from soul to creole and points in between heading to Elkin this weekend.

In Mount Airy, also on Saturday, the Second Annual Juneteenth Celebration with be held in the Market Street Arts & Entertainment District and Melva’s Alley. Big Dawg Catering & Food Truck will be there along with multiple artists and a performance from the UNC Chapel Hill Kamikazi Dance Team at 2 p.m.

Organizer Dougenna Hill said vendors were chosen from Black owned local businesses again this year to participate in the event. There will be live music in Melva’s Alley featuring Lois Atkinson & Aquarius Moon will be found from 7 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Before the evening’s music, there will be a moment of silence and a toast of red fruit punch, a donation of Lenise Lynch of Hampton Inn of Mount Airy. “Red is a color that evokes cultural memory of the bloodshed by our enslaved ancestors through the transatlantic slave trade,” said culinary historian Adrian Miller.

On Sunday, the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is holding its own Juneteenth event from 1 – 4 p.m.

There will be a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, games, live music and history focused activities such as crafts and a self-guided walking tour of the main street area that focuses on local African American history. This event is free to the public.

Hands off the 2nd Amendment

Public hearing on rezoning/annexation set tonight

Surry County announced a property purchase at a time when few others seem to have the appetite to swallow current interest rates in order to make such a buy. So, when the fiscally conservative county commissioners opened the checkbook to buy the 1830 Surry County Courthouse in Rockford it took many by surprise, more so given the amount of time it had been in the works.

Chairman Bill Goins announced the move, “The board of commissioners are pleased to announce in conjunction with Surry 250 and Surry County’s Invest in Surry Initiative the acquisition of the 1830 Surry County Courthouse in historic Rockford. This acquisition process has been ongoing since last fall and was slowed due to title issues on the part of the seller. Now that this process has been concluded we are excited to move forward.

“The board wants to thank the county’s parks and recreation department, development services, and public works department for their property improvement efforts the past few weeks.

“The county staff is already engaged and working closely with a restoration specialist from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office to develop a plan and use for the building and property going forward.

“It is the county’s primary intent to return use of this property to the citizens of Surry County in some capacity as we move forward in developing a plan for the property.”

To the public it was an unknown move but in county circles it was known for some time; some secrets can be kept – from some. Surry County employees knew and had sent a photographer well before announcing the buy to begin documenting the purchase through restoration of the property.

To some this secrecy did not appear the ideal way to conduct business with the taxpayers’ money. With no public input on the matter solicited, one county commissioner candidate has been raising concerns.

Assistant to the County Manager Nathan Walls had responded to questions on the purchase last week, “The purchase price was $75,000 and the Board of Commissioners are set to announce the acquisition of the old Rockford Courthouse at their regular board meeting.”

County Commissioner candidate Ken Badgett was the one peppering both County Manager Chris Knopf and Walls with questions on the acquisition. He expressed concerns this process was done behind closed doors, only to be revealed to the public upon completion.

“The secrecy involved in the transaction is unusual — or, maybe not. Who knows what the commissioners discuss in their ‘closed sessions?’ If done properly, the old courthouse building in Rockford is going to be very expensive to restore,” he added.

It was explained that County Attorney Ed Woltz contacted an Elkin realtor in May 2021 to determine if the Rockford Courthouse was available after hearing the property owner had passed away. He was advised the property was for sale, but the sale was contingent on approval from the clerk of court.

In September he was given approval to offer an amount between $50,000 – $80,000 for the property; the written offer was accepted on Oct. 5. There were issues with the title relating to the estate and connected trusts that took until late April to clear, not a wholly uncommon occurrence in estate matters.

Badgett also made inquiry to the county about the possible conveyance of the courthouse to the Rockford Preservation Society, a move akin to the J. J. Jones property transfer made the African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Surry County.

After Monday’s meeting Knopf offered unsolicited that there were no plans at this time for such a property transfer and that restoration specialists would be continuing their examination in order to proceed in planning. The desire remains, he said, to create some sort of community use center from the historic building.

The city of Mount Airy is preparing to launch major, much-needed utility upgrades in the downtown area using $1.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

This includes $987,500 for what is known as the West Side Main Street Water Improvements Project and $512,500 for a sewer project in the same area, both targeting the replacement of aging lines, according to Public Works Director Mitch Williams.

Though originating through a national source, Congress, the money is coming from a state agency, the Department of Environmental Quality.

The water project will include the replacement of existing water mains that serve Franklin Street, Willow Street, Virginia Street and West Oak Street. The sewer portion is to involve replacing existing mains on those streets.

These lines are some of the oldest in the city, where it can least afford problems due to the impact on the central business district, and have been a source of concern for years.

This included, for example, a discussion among municipal officials more than 10 years ago — in March 2012 — when they sought to address what had been termed a “ticking time bomb” regarding the aging facilities.

“One day, they’re going to break and Main Street is going to be blocked for two months,” then-Commissioner Dean Brown said of a worst-case scenario.

Another commissioner, the late Scott Graham, agreed. “One of these days it’s going to reach up and bite us,” Graham said of the problem that has been easy to ignore because of being underground and therefore out of sight.

The line replacements are finally ready to proceed, using the $1.5 million initially announced late last year in conjunction with the adoption of a state budget.

With the funding recently received, the present group of commissioners took action at a meeting last week to move forward with the respective utility projects.

This was accompanied by votes officially accepting the ARPA water-sewer funds and awarding contracts for planning and design services related to the two projects to The Lane Group.

City staff members had solicited requests for quotes from private engineering firms to provide those functions, with Lane the only one to do so in each case.

Yet staff members were comfortable with The Lane Group’s involvement, since it has a past working relationship with Mount Airy on large annexation and water-sewer rehabilitation projects. That firm possesses an “extensive knowledge” of the city utility system and always has been quick to respond to any conflicts arising during construction, a memo from Williams adds.

The Lane Group was awarded a $100,400 planning/design contract for the water project and one of $56,000 for the sewer work.

The American Rescue Plan Act funding for the utility improvements is separate from another $3.2 million received by Mount Airy in ARPA COVID relief which largely is earmarked for building repairs and equipment additions among the various municipal departments.

ARARAT, Va. — The community of Ararat just across the state line from Mount Airy has many attractions, and is ramping up efforts to get out that message.

As part of this goal, Noah Mabe, an associate of the Patrick Tourism Department, which leads efforts on behalf of sites countywide, recently paid a visit to Ararat.

That included a stop at Willis Gap Community Center, where the Dan River District component of the county tourism organization is working with the center to place a Virginia “LOVE” mural on the building. This is planned in conjunction with many communities, businesses and individuals becoming part of a LOVEworks project growing across the state with hundreds of participants now involved.

The only requirement involves creating a sign, mural or sculpture with the message L-O-V-E. Even though all contain those simple letters, each is different and showcases an area’s great outdoors, landmarks, agriculture and other resources.

In the case of Willis Gap Community Center, the mural will highlight Friday Night open jams held there and its connection with The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

To further the mural plans, Mabe, the county tourism associate, met with President Mike Noonkester of the community center’s governing board and Secretary Mary Dellenback Hill, who also is a member of the 2022 Patrick County Tourism Advisory Council. Hill recently was appointed as the representative for the Dan River District of the Patrick County Tourism Department.

County Tourism Coordinator James Houchins also is excited about the project and looks forward to seeing what the center and David Stanley of SilverLining Design will create for the mural.

During Hill’s visit, he and Hill also took the opportunity to view a Patrick County tourism sign at the North Carolina/Virginia border; Laurel Hill, the birthplace of Maj. Gen J.E.B. Stuart, including a tourism kiosk there; and the William Letcher gravesite (the oldest-known in Patrick County).

Letcher also was a great-grandfather of Gen. Stuart on his mother’s side.

“We wrapped up with lunch at Boyd’s Restaurant,” Hill advised regarding a longtime establishment in Ararat. “Noah appreciated the tour, and I think he gained some variable insight on enhancing the area from a tourism point of view.”

• A Mount Airy woman was jailed without privilege of bond Sunday on break-in and other charges, according to city police reports.

Kimberlee Monik Duncan, 41, of 421 Westover Drive, is accused of forcibly entering the residence of Rodney Tyrone Travis in the 500 block of Worth Street Saturday night, causing damage to a door and door hinge. In addition to breaking and entering, Duncan is charged with injury to real property and domestic criminal trespassing.

She is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on July 11.

• David Gonzalez Rodriguez, 33, of 131 Cone Lane, was jailed without bond on driving while impaired and other charges after a June 14 traffic stop on Highland Drive due to alleged careless and reckless driving. He subsequently registered a blood-alcohol content of .17 percent, more than twice the legal limit for getting behind the wheel.

Rodriguez also is charged with having no operator’s license and an open container of alcohol, along with a child-restraint violation. He is slated for a July 18 appearance in District Court.

• Joshua Thomas Martinez, 26, of 332 Lovill St., is facing drug and traffic charges — five in all — in the wake of a 2000 Chrysler 300 operated by Martinez being pulled over on U.S. 52 near Bluemont Road on June 9.

He is accused of possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, no operator’s license, expired registration and expired inspection. The case is set for next Wednesday’s District Court session.

An event Saturday at Miss Angel’s Farm will celebrate a favorite fruit while also aiding local food banks.

This involves a fifth-annual peach festival for charity scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the farm, located at 252 Heart Lane (formerly Quarter Horse Lane), which is west of Mount Airy near Interstate 77, off N.C. 89.

Saturday’s gathering will feature live music, catered food, beverages and the chance to stroll around the 65-acre orchard there, according to Angela Shur of the farm.

As its name suggests, peaches are to be a centerpiece, including being offered for sale on a pick-your-own basis and in pre-picked baskets. The fruits also will be incorporated into various dessert dishes to highlight the occasion.

Further planned are hayrides, access to a recently upgraded playground, a fruit cannon, pick-your-own flowers and vendors selling crafts, art, handmade goods and more.

Contests and a cakewalk will be among other festivities.

The selections of a Little Miss and Mister Peach are planned at noon.

Pie-eating contests will begin at 1:30 p.m. arranged by contestants ages 5 and under, 6 to 14 and 14 to adult.

A peach dessert bake-off is on tap for 3:30.

The cakewalk is to precede the Little Miss and Mister Peach segment.

Two bands are scheduled to perform during the day, Ten20Three from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Little Horse, 4 to 7 p.m.

Admission will cost $10 at the gate, but is free for children 3 and under.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit a food bank operated by Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Airy and Foothills Food Pantry in Dobson, according to Shur.

She said Wednesday that a previous event at the farm during the Memorial Day weekend raised $3,200 for charity.

The new Andy Griffith mural on Moore Avenue would appear to have no relationship to recent struggles by a local body shop owner involving a proposed sign at his expansion location.

Yet the two have been drawn together by a city councilman alleging a double standard concerning how each has been handled.

Commissioner Jon Cawley questioned why a city ordinance is keeping shop owner Frank Fleming from refurbishing an existing sign at the former Winn-Dixie location, at the same time he says another ordinance has been violated regarding infrastructure for the mural.

A way can always seem to be found to accomplish things sought by certain parties locally, while others — such as a sign request by Fleming — are blocked by the rule book, Cawley charged.

“When one person can’t do it, but the city can,” he said of the apparent double standard resulting.

Fleming, who brought fame to Mount Airy through his long career as a modified race car driver, has launched a $2 million expansion project from his present location on Springs Road to a rundown site on Merita Street off U.S. 52-North.

That former supermarket spot is in a somewhat out-of-the-way place and the businessman is seeking to re-use the existing framework of a tall sign left behind by Winn-Dixie to draw attention to his new shop where jobs will be created.

However, that is not permitted under a municipal sign ordinance, updated in 2016, because it would exceed a maximum allowable height of 15 feet in cases of a new business development such as Fleming’s.

The Mount Airy Zoning Board of Adjustment, a powerful body whose actions carry the same weight as court rulings, denied his request to exceed the height limitation and Fleming is appealing the case to Surry County Superior Court.

A supportive crowd came to City Hall for a council meeting last Thursday night, when Fleming asked the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners to approve an amendment to the ordinance that would allow the existing sign to be used. The matter will be formally considered at a board meeting next month.

But it was during the same session in which Fleming spoke that Cawley referenced the Andy Griffith mural that was completed this spring on a wall of Surrey Bank and Trust facing Moore Avenue.

“And it’s a beautiful mural,” Cawley said without hesitation.

“But then we (the city government) went on to tear up the sidewalk and street,” he added in reference to his issue concerning the infrastructure work accompanying the placement of the artwork.

“Did you know that Mount Airy has an ordinance that the only people who can decide to tear up the sidewalks or the streets are the commissioners?” Cawley said. “And we’ve never voted on it — and we have a city manager (Stan Farmer), who told me in another conversation that he made that call.”

In further expressing his view in a general comment period at the end of last Thursday’s meeting “whether or not he really made that call, I can’t say,” Cawley said of the city manager. “But we’ve got an ordinance that says he does not have the right to make the call.”

No other officials attempted to rebut or counter Cawley’s claims at the meeting about the apparent ordinance violation involving the mural site — where a grassed area was dug up along with the sidewalk and street, including the loss of parking space. This allowed the building of a wider sidewalk area where visitors can pause to admire or take photos of the artwork.

Commissioner Steve Yokeley did say he thought these changes were appropriate and that ample parking exists at the spot in a public lot across Moore Avenue from the mural.

Cawley, the longest-serving city commissioner who is giving up his seat to run for mayor in this year’s municipal election, is not seeking any remediative action regarding the recently added Andy Griffith mural infrastructure.

“We’re not going to go tear up that,” he said.

“I’m not asking anybody to tear up what’s been done — I’m not,” Cawley emphasized. “I’m asking us to give the same leeway to people” who have a need, such as Fleming, to proceed in such a manner where an ordinance is concerned.

“I wonder what would happen to Mr. Fleming if he went ahead and built this thing?” Cawley speculated concerning the sign.

“Would he be fined X number of dollars a day because he’s breaking an ordinance? I don’t know what would happen to him — maybe they would put him in jail.”

DOBSON — Got a problem with the federal government? If so, an event Friday in Dobson could bring a solution for Surry County constituents.

This will involve plans by the staff of 10th District Congressman Patrick McHenry to hold office hours that day from 2 to 5 p.m. at the historic Surry County Courthouse, where citizens are invited to come with issues or concerns. The courthouse is located at 114 W. Atkins St. in Dobson.

McHenry has periodically offered this opportunity to local residents since Surry County became part of his district after the 2020 congressional election.

Roger Kumpf, McHenry’s regional director for Surry, will be available Friday to meet with constituents who have issues with agencies such as the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Kumpf will also be there to listen to any concerns that constituents have with federal policy or pending legislation before Congress. He will relay those concerns to Rep. McHenry.

Congressman McHenry’s staff holds regular office hours in each county of the 10th District.

He maintains district offices in Rural Hall, Mooresville and Hickory.

A Virginia man is dead, but no charges are expected, after an early afternoon crash on Interstate 77 near Elkin.

Andra Lewis, 38, of Virginia, was killed when the 2021 SUV Honda he was driving backed onto the interstate, where it was slammed by a tractor-trailer, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. S.B. Marshall. He declined to give a specific city where Lewis lived.

The crash occured at mile marker 85, near Elkin. The sergeant said Lewis was on the right shoulder of southbound I-77, backing up northward along the shoulder, when he “lost control of the car, backed into the travel lane of the highway,” where the 18-wheeler was traveling southward. He said it was not clear whey Lewis was backing up on the shoulder.

The wreck, which occurred around 1:30, has snarled traffic on southbound I-77 as workers clean the wreckage and highway patrol officers investigate the incident. The Department of Transportation said they expected the interstate to remain closed until around 5:30 p.m., with traffic being diverted onto neighboring roads.

Marshall did not have the name nor residency of the truck driver, saying he was still being interviewed by troopers on the scene. The sergeant did say the driver was not injured, and he anticipated no charges would be filed.

No other individuals were in the truck or the SUV.

A long process of meetings, hearings, and number crunching in order to get the 2022-2023 Surry County budget together ended Monday with little fanfare with unanimous passage of a $93,607,336 budget which includes no property tax increase.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Goins opened the floor to a public hearing on the budget to offer a chance for residents of Surry County to ask questions about the new spending plan. There were no questions — what remained was a formality.

County Manager Chris Knopf had presented changes to the proposed budget that had been made since the last planning meeting. The board directed him to find places to make additional cuts in order to fund increases in spending elsewhere without raising the over budget past projection.

Commissioner Van Tucker said at that time, “We ask you to propose a figure and we kind of have to look at the top of it. We’re at the phase now where rather than raise the top of what we thought we could make work for the budget we could wiggle out of here and change a few dollars from one column to another, from department to department, as necessary.”

Those changes yielded a total net decrease of $9,767 from the last number projected. That is not to say big changes were not made including an increase of $205,440 in school spending to raise the per student spending to $1,260.

An additional $268,147 was also added for salaries of county employees; full time county employees may look forward to a 5% cost of living adjustment.

Cuts totaling more than $50,000 were made in the proposed budgets of Emergency Management, $87,000 for EMS, and $150,000 from the recently hot topic of county departments the Board of Elections.

These are not cuts from previous year’s spending or to the overall departmental budget, rather adjustments made to the specific line-item requests in the next budget.

Such changes are made as priorities in other areas of the budget shift or as Commissioner Van Tucker said at the county budget planning meeting,

Commissioner Larry Johnson offered thanks to the county and staff members for their hard work, as one would expect. What may not have been was that he thanked the citizens – not for the first time –for caring enough to pay their property taxes on time.

It is the revenue from the citizens that funds the county and makes departmental budgets possible. At over 99.5% the rate of collection was “amazing” he said.

Knopf said the budget will be available on the county website for viewing soon.

The former Westfield Elementary School will remain a county owned property for the time being. With no additional bids made, the offer on the table was ultimately declined by the county.

County Manager Chris Knopf brought the matter to the commissioners in a late add to the agenda. The haste was necessary as their decision could have removed the property from the county ledger before the end of the fiscal year.

A bid of $102,000 was made by the Shelton family, who own nearby land, in early June. It was only the second bid made for the school that joined a list of surplus properties last year.

The board accepted their offer at that time in order to open a period of upset bidding that ended before Monday’s board meeting.

Vice Chair Eddie Harris suggested the offer was “a little under fair market value.” He preferred though to defer to Commissioner Van Tucker who represents the district in question.

Tucker made it known on June 6 when the offer was accepted that he hoped the school would fetch more with competition; he did so again Monday. The site has an estimated tax value of $279,124 and an appraisal value of $243,000 was given last year.

“I said before when we accepted the bid that we ought to accept the bid to start the process, but I also said I hoped that in the final end game we would be able to garner a little higher amount of money than that,” Tucker said. “I feel like this is a little less that the amount that this property should bring.”

There had been just the one offer prior in the amount of $150,000 that was rescinded by the buyer shortly thereafter. County officials cited potential costs of cleanup and possible remediation in the withdrawal of the bid.

Commissioners Larry Johnson and Harris each questioned if people had been adequately informed of the sale and the upset bidding process. “Maybe if the for-sale sign isn’t quite enough advertisement, maybe we can get more,” Johnson said.

A resolution was read into the record by Vice Chair Eddie Harris to honor the late Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Trooper Bullard was killed in the line of duty in Surry County on May 21, 2018, when his cruiser was involved in a collision during a high-speed pursuit.

The board is making a request to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to name the NC 268 Bypass – CC Camp Road bridge over the Big Elkin Creek the Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard bridge in his memory.

Bullard was a native of Wilkes County and a graduate of East Wilkes High who is remembered as an outdoorsman and hunter. He entered service with the highway patrol in June 2015 and was posthumously awarded the Officer of the Year at the 2019 Blue Line Brotherhood Banquet.

Harris was visibly emotional and took a moment to collect himself more than once as he read the resolution. “Some may wonder about my emotion here. Without a doubt this was the hardest evening in my term of 12 years on the board. It happened as Commissioner Tucker and I were leaving a meeting and Johnny Shelton called, we didn’t know which trooper it was.”

Trooper Brandon Cox, Harris’ son-in-law, was the driving force to get the bridge renamed in Trooper Bullard’s honor. He told the board he was appreciative to have the process moving forward saying that he knew getting the bridge renamed may take a while, “but not this long.”

Harris said he “wanted to make sure we get this right” and doubled back at meeting’s end to ensure that all procedural matters had been addressed so that the state had what was needed to advance the process.

He also asked for guidance on making a funding request to cover expenses and was told the county could cover the application fees out of the general contingency fund.

Eagle Scout service projects are designed for the young scout pursuing the Eagle rank to show his leadership by designing and leading an effort which fills a need in the community.

For Bradley Kiger, his project is aimed at serving those who may most need it.

A rising sophomore at Millennium Charter Academy and member of Troop 545 in in Pilot Mountain, Bradley built a pair of blessing boxes at King First Christian Church in Stokes County.

“I wanted to I do believed would be more helpful to the community,” he said of narrowing his community service project choices. “That would be the blessing boxes. They are meant to help the less fortunate people in King.”

Along with building the boxes, Bradley was able to rasie $1,000 in funding by holding a community dinner at the church. The money will be administered by the church, to keep the boxes filled with free food and with reading material. In addition, he said volunteers can put food in the box — although he said it should be water and other goods that don’t spoil easily.

The church is located at 625 Meadowbrook Drive in King.

Three area high school seniors recently were recognized for their writing skill in the The Silver Pen Writing Competition.

The Silver Pen is an essay contest held for high school seniors to give them the opportunity to win cash for college. With today’s rising college tuition costs, there’s a need for alternative financial pathways outside of financial aid, and the Silver Pen Writing Competition is designed to help alleviate some of those burdens. This contest is held by RidgeCrest, a Mount Airy retirement community whose seniors are proud to give back to the younger generation of seniors.

RidgeCrest recently awarded three cash prizes to essay applicants of the Silver Pen Writing Competition. Each essay topic was chosen by senior residents who make up the judging panel at RidgeCrest based on the topic: How have the extracurricular programs such as music, art, clubs, and/or sports teams benefited your educational and personal growth? How do you feel it would affect the education system if they were taken away? This year’s $3,750 in prize money were awarded to:

– First place winner – Rachel Carter – Surry Central High School

– Second place winner – Katelyn Gammons – North Surry High School

– Third place winner – Paxton Reece – Mount Airy High School

This competition has been hosted by RidgeCrest’s parent company, The Maxwell Group, since 2012. The company has awarded more than $386,000 to high school seniors to assist with their college costs. The goal of the competition is to bridge the communication gap between high school seniors and senior residents as well as give back to exceptional students within the local area. Each participant is required to submit a written essay with a minimum of 1,000 words.

To learn more about how RidgeCrest is helping adult seniors stay connected with the younger generation and live The Weller Life, visit www.Ridge-Crest.com

Surry Community College recently announced the Spring Semester 2022 President’s List.

Students qualifying for the President’s List must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours of college level coursework and maintain a 3.8 grade point average for the semester with no final grade lower than a “C.” Students on the President’s List receive a congratulatory letter.

Fatima Almanza, Elizabeth Atkins, Kayla Lynn Baker, Charlotte Anne Banfield, Michelle Bedolla Villalobos, Shelby Chase Blevins, Cora A. Branch, Nydia Cabrera Cabrera and Jessica Lynn Callaway, all of Mount Airy;

Abbigail Grace Draughn, Caleb J. Easter, Sky Lin Estrada, Robert Dean Giesbers, Matthew Curtis Gillespie, Sara Patricia Goins, Ashton Bree Golding, Allie Rae Hawks, Levi Colton Haynes, Lauren Smith Hester, Stephanie Lauren Hiatt, Christopher Adam Hobbs, Page Elizabeth Hodge, Eperson E. Hughes, Joshua Kameron Jones, Renee Loraine Kirkman, Andrew Blake Lawson, Allie Grace Leonard, Jackson Dale Lindsay, Kalie Brean Mabe, Ethan Dale Marion, Hannah Nicole Martin, Nisa Monique McFowler, Evan Scott Morris, Tosha Nicole Murray, Miguel Angel Paredes Castillo, Weatherly Adair Reeves, Carlos Salmeron Bautista, Jill I. Simandle, Allyn-Claire Simmons and Alexandria Rae Stanley, all of of Mount Airy;

Leticia Janeth Valenzuela, Luis Fernando Valle, Douglas Michael Vanvleet, Diego Vega, Taylor Kathleen Vernon, Grant Michael Whittington and Celeste Vanitasing Tilley all of of Mount Airy; Carl Michael Dallas Gardner and Hailey Nicole Stewart of Lowgap;

Kylie Mckynzie Bruner, Cooper Wayne Motsinger, Beysi D. Sanabria and Matthew Wayne Southern of Pilot Mountain; Morgan Nichole Bryant, Robert McCallum George, Tristan Lane Harless, Lowell Abeyta Hewett, Thomas Allen McKinney, Joseph Pearman, Kendra Michele Persinger and Amber Grace Shutsky of Pinnacle;

Chelsey Madyson Atkins, Fabian Alexander Bautista, Austin Blake Cave, Elorah Abigail Gillispie, Anay Gomez, Diego Armando Guerrero, Lesley Janel Hernandez, Mason Donald Kreh, Mia Catherine McMillen and Jacob.T Mills, Colby Ryan Mitchell, Jacob Livingston Mitchell, Taylor Grace Newman, Emily Santiago Orellana, Tyler Malo Reece, Steve Orsono Rodriguez, Kathy Santiago, Cara Leigh Rose Scott and Christine Michelle Vail, all of Dobson;

Gavin Allen Gray of Cana, Virginia; Kira Ayers and Victoria Rose Cole of Galax, Virginia;

Seyry Lineth Borjas Paz, Samantha Nicole Chattin, Tamara Destiny Alvarez Chautla, Ryan Blake Coffey, Abigail Marie Garza, Ashley Leigh Rhoades, Sebastian Saul Sanchez Aguilar, Kimberly Dawn Whitaker and Byron Lee Wild of Elkin;

Mattie Katherann Cave, Macy Faith Key, Sophia Mae Lowe, Robert Carson Simmons and Amber Michelle Taylor of Ararat; Jennifer M. Woodlee of Asheville; Abigail Corrine Baum, Anna Kate Brown, Vanessa Denise Hatcher, Molly Elizabeth Maske, Emily Elizabeth Parker, Tanna Rae Sagraves and Bryson Lee Wood of Boonville; Rachel Leigh Trueblood of Cameron; Katlin Nicole Benfield of Charlotte; Ronnie A. Caviness of Clemmons; Gabriel Ty Oerter of Danbury;

Zachary Grant Berrier, Zachary Charles Brady, Micheal Brent Chaffin, Kristian Hunter Davis, Rebecca Camille Fowler, Stephanie Alise Greeson, Adrienne Kylee Johnson, Joshua Matthew Lambert, Victoria Grace Miller, Debra Ann Philpott, Jo Rierson, Sailor FaithSmitherman and Sarah Grace Wiedenhoft of East Bend;

Natalie A Gentry and Chloe Alysse Nagle of Ennice; Cassandra Ann Benge of Gastonia; Carson Jase Fulp of Germanton; Jennifer Marie Evans of Glade Valley; Sarah Quinn Bare, Ashley D. Blevins, Gaige Austin Cass, Guadalupe Hernandez, Christopher Dalton Robbins, Estephanie Sanchez Juarez and Brianna Danielle Shoffner of Hamptonville; Carter Christopher Bridges of Harmony; Hannah Greene Harrison of Hudson; Brayden B. Adams of Indian Trail.

Elimelec Calderon Rojas, Emma Noel Freed, Kaleb Michael Harrison, Margaret Diane Hurt, Dakota Cheyenne Johnson, Keith Blane Macy, Michael Tyler Reinhardt and Karla Alejandra Romero of Jonesville; Rachel Grace Claffee, Spencer Carlton Easter, Taylor Grace George, Bayleigh Kristine Jarrell, Rhyan Elizabeth Sapp and Susan Jeannette Sullivan of King; Emma Grace Stanbery of Lawsonville; Laken Janeen Gudger of Lexington;

Susan Dianne Anderson, Krysten Alana Miller and Daniel Lee Watson of North Wilkesboro; Christina Kelly Blakley and Victoria Faith Blakley of Pfafftown

Josiah James Jarvis of Roaring River; Kaitlyn Elizabeth Lacey of Sandford; Allison Celeste Bruner of Siloam; Jenna Faye Adams and Megan Diane Royal of State Rd; Megan Lynsey Blackburn of Thurmond; Marie Williamson of Tobaccoville; Gracie Bernice Brim of Walnut Cove; Jenifher Alessandra Flores Martinez, Brittany Michelle Mahala, Dalton Joseph Simmons and Mason Lane Woods of Winston-Salem; Laiken Nicole Baity, Brianna Nicole Beck, Abigail Carachure-Medina, Yamel Cortez Zamora, Isaac Samuel Cranfill, Dillon Thomas Draughn, Emma Rose Greene, Sara Gail Hennings, Jackson Harding McManus, Ton Dong Nguyen, Olivia Lauren Pizzuti and Megan Nicole Smith of Yadkinville. Eyra Mae Stewart, Hannah Nicole Todd and Megan Michelle Wagoner of Yadkinville; Kristen Louise Joyce of Clinton, Connecticut;

Jordan Edwards has joined the staff of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.

She will be taking the position of director of events. In her new post, she will be overseeing the annual Autumn Leaves Festival. She comes to the chamber from the Alleghany County Chamber of Commerce and the Alleghany County Public Schools.

“We welcome Jordon to the chamber team,” said Chamber President and CEO Randy Collins. “She comes to us with some great experience with event management and marketing.”

Edwards, who takes the post left vacant by the departure of Travis Frye earlier this year, can be reached at the chamber at 336-786-6116, ext. 204 or via email at jordon@mtairyncchamber.org.

The Surry Art Council’s Summer Concert Series continues with three bands set to perform this weekend.

The Fantasy Band will play the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday night. Cassette Rewind returns on Friday and Jukebox Rehab will take the stage on Saturday. All three shows will start at 7:30 pm.

Fantasy is “The Carolina’s Most Entertaining Party Band.” Whether it’s beach music, Motown, funk, soul, or smooth R&B, Fantasy does it all.

Born in the 1980s and raised on radio, Cassette Rewind is the ultimate authentic ‘80s experience. Cassette Rewind provides performances of Prince, George Michael, Journey, Whitney Houston, and countless 1980s pop icons. Grab a Members Only jacket and a pair of leg warmers to get footloose and sing along.

Jukebox Rehab is a country music band based out of Winston-Salem. They deliver a monster country show that is steeped in classic country traditional sounds ensured to lift your soul.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

For anyone who believes “The Andy Griffith Show’s” hold on the public may be loosening, brothers Cort and Stark Howell have a message — not so fast.

The two, sons of actor Hoke Howell (a character actor known for portraying hillbilly Dud Wash on The Andy Griffith Show), released the independent film Mayberry Man last year. While the film has had a limited release — 30 theaters spread across a dozen states altogether, according to Cort Howell, many of those showings have been sell-outs. But what really tipped the scales for the movie was getting a deal to distribute through Amazon streaming services.

“It has performed extremely well on Amazon Prime for a small indie film — huge success for a small film like ours.”

That has led the duo, along with much of the movie’s cast, to take the next step and create Mayberry Man: The Series.

“In the feature film, arrogant movie star Chris Stone’s life changes when he is forced to spend a week at a nostalgic festival celebrating ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ the beloved television classic from the 1960s,” Cort said in a press release. “Mayberry Man: The Series picks up where the movie leaves off, following Chris Stone as he navigates his newfound relationships with Mayberry’s sweetheart Kate and the quirky characters of a modern-day Mayberry.”

The movie’s plot had its beginning in a real-life visit Stark Howell made to Mayberry Days several years ago.

“I’ve always been a fan of the show, but I was shocked to discover the spirit of Mayberry still exists today within the tight-knit Mayberry fan community,” he said. That visit started the creative wheels turning in his mind, and he and his brother, along with several other children of Mayberry stars, put the film idea together.

“It’s the perfect setting to tell modern-day, family-friendly stories that express the virtues of the fictitious town of Mayberry that we all love.”

He said during that developmental stage, he and his brother decided to produce the movie as an independent project, which he said would allow them to make a family-friendly movie without the influence of sometimes less family-friendly studios.

Stark’s younger brother Cort Howell produced the movie and will return as producer of the series. “We worked outside the Hollywood system and partnered with Mayberry fans through crowdfunding to protect the wholesomeness of the project,” Cort said. “We plan to repeat this winning formula with the series.”

Much of the funding for the project was raised through crowdfunding efforts, after a kick-off party at the Loaded Goat in Mount Airy, with many of the larger donors earning time on screen during the movie. They intend to use the same strategy for the series. While he and his brother have secured private backing for some of the cost of the venture, he said the crowdfunding component will be vital to getting the series off the ground.

“For fans who always dreamed of visiting Mayberry, they have the opportunity to participate in the show as actors and extras,” he said. When backing the project on Indiegogo beginning June 25, fans can choose from a variety of perks that include things such as getting their name in the credits, passes to a red-carpet premiere, participating on-set as a background extra, or they can even land an on-screen speaking role.

The project involves what Stark Howell calls “Mayberry royalty,” the kids of many of those actors who were in the show during its 1960-1968 run. Andy Griffith’s daughter Dixie Griffith is returning as executive producer and Karen Knotts, daughter of Don Knotts, will be a cast member. Additionally, co-producer Gregory Schell is the son of actor-comedian Ronnie Schell who appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” and played Duke Slater in “Gomer Pyle, USMC.” Ronnie Schell is also slated to appear in the series.

The filming of the show will also follow a pattern familiar to those who have seen the movie. Many scenes will be shot in Mount Airy, especially during this year’s Mayberry Days. Much of the original movie was shot in Mount Airy and the surrounding area, including scenes shot during the 2020 Mayberry Days.

Other scenes from the movie were shot in and near Danville, Indiana, home of a smaller festival called Mayberry in the Midwest, as well as scenes shot in California.

Cort Howell said the eventual distribution of the series had not yet been determined, and most likely won’t be until 2023.

The crowdfunding campaign launches June 25 and runs through the end of July. Special events are planned throughout the campaign and can be found at mayberryman.com.

• A larceny call at Walmart has led to the arrest of an Ararat man on a felony drug charge and protective order violation, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.

Michael Garfield Johnson, 35, of 208 Ash Hill Road, was found to have concealed Hanes boxers valued at $24 in the front of his pants, arrest records state, with a probable-cause search also revealing a plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance in a cigarette pack found in a cargo pocket, which was identified as methamphetamine.

In addition to being charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and concealment of goods during the June 15 incident, Johnson was found to be the subject of an outstanding warrant for the protective order violation which had been filed on Feb. 21.

He was held in the Surry County Jail under a $2,500 secured bond and was scheduled to be in District Court on Monday of this week.

• Dylan Michael Easter, 34, of 416 Junction St., was jailed on charges of larceny of a motor vehicle and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer on June 14 after he was encountered during a traffic stop on North Renfro Street.

The motor vehicle larceny charge had been issued by Davie County authorities on March 11. Easter was incarcerated under a $10,500 secured bond and slated to be in District Court in Dobson Monday.

• Wilmer Arnell Martin, 65, of Gastonia, was held in the Surry County Jail without privilege of bond on charges of assault on a female and interfering with emergency communications after a fight investigation at Starlite Motel on June 15.

Martin is alleged to have thrown a lighter at Catherine Diane Burton, a resident of the motel, and grabbed her ankle to drag the woman across a bed. The case is scheduled for the July 18 session of Surry District Court.

The Mayberry Cool Cars & Rods Cruise-In series was presented by the Downtown Business Association on Sunday in downtown Mount Airy. A variety of cars of all makes, models, and styles were on display Saturday as were motorcycles shown in a sponsored Smokin’ Harley Davidson of Winston-Salem display area.

In previous years these Mayberry Cool Cars events were held on the third Saturday of the month during summer, this year the events have moved to Sunday. The next events are scheduled for Sunday July 17, August 21, and Sept. 18 each from 1 – 5 p.m.

Smokin’ Harley Davidson was added this year as a presenting sponsor and they set up in the parking lot next to Old North State Winery for a bike show. Throaty hogs were on display next to sleek and sporty bikes with passersby snapping pictures and pointing to accessories or colors that caught there eye. Surely it must take a bit of training to be able to look 50 yards down the way and see a Harely in motion, and still be able to determine what year it was made.

It was just that sort of crowd that was on hand who had no real agenda or time table. Folks just wandered about listening to the sounds of “On the Beach” with Charlie Brown as they chatted with strangers about a teal 1950s pickup truck. Some cars were shiny and tricked out, some went the other route and brought what to some may have looked like a dangerous rust bucket, yet to the owner is their pride and joy.

Sadly, one participant lost their striking white Shelby Mustang to an apparent overrun of zombies who had then placed a car-hop tray of brains and Texas Pete out the window as a sign to keep other looky-loos away.

Many cars were seen there for the duration and some are known show cars of local residents. Having recently had ‘Cruisin’ with Honor’ at the Armory during Memorial Day weekend, a charity motorcycle ride at Veterans Memorial Park, and the auto/fly-in show at the airport last weekend — it has been a busy few weekends for those who enjoy showing off their prized wheels. There is some level of overlap as some of the best looking cars were local rides, so they show their grills at more than one event.

For the low price of free taking a few laps up and down Main Street on Father’s Day was a change of pace from days of high heat, humidity, and yard work. Rest assured: there is time yet in the rest of the summer for all of those.

Mount Airy officials have awarded a contract for building new public restrooms for an underserved section downtown, but a merchant who actively lobbied for that project wonders why it’s taken so long.

“I am grateful we will have bathrooms down here — most grateful — I just don’t understand the timing,” Martha Truskolaski said Monday of the facilities planned for the municipal parking lot between Brannock and Hiatt Furniture Co. and Old North State Winery.

“It was approved in November — why wouldn’t they have moved forward until now?” added Truskolaski, who operates Spotted Moon, a retail gift shop, in a building she owns at 419 N. Main St.

Truskolaski was referring to action last Thursday setting the construction in motion, for which funding was approved last fall through a city budget amendment totaling $295,000. It was set aside for an array of downtown projects, including the new restrooms, the updating of a master plan and others, with the group Mount Airy Downtown Inc. also committing $297,000.

This finally led to the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners’ vote Thursday night to award a $104,900 contract to Colt W. Simmons Construction Co., a local firm, to build the restroom facilities. These will be similar to ones located on the Granite City Greenway behind Roses, according to Public Works Director Mitch Williams, which include two bathroom units and a brick exterior.

“It’s about time,” said Truskolaski, who had appeared before the commissioners at a meeting last July urging them to add the restrooms in what she termed the “Forgotten 400 Block.”

“Why has it waited this long?”

In responding to that question, City Manager Stan Farmer explained Monday afternoon that officials spent much time exploring a suggested alternate location for the new restrooms at a site near Trinity Episcopal Church. This is a little farther north of the original one eyed, with the church located on the corner of North Main Street and Independence Boulevard.

However, it was decided after weeks of study to go back to “Plan A,” Farmer said of the location in the rear of the north 400 block parking lot between Brannock and Hiatt and Old North State Winery.

The restroom project should be completed by late summer or early fall, according to Williams, the public works director.

He mentioned that bids for the job recently were solicited from several local contractors — but only two, Colt W. Simmons Construction and J.G. Coram, submitted proposals.

Simmons was the low bidder, undercutting the offer made by Coram, $116,589, by $11,689, and in addition the Simmons company had completed past contracts for the city in a satisfactory manner and enjoys “an excellent working relationship” with it, Williams advised.

Along with the contract sum of $104,900, a 15% contingency fund is included to cover unforeseen expenses, for a total project cost of $120,000.

While lamenting the fact the new restrooms won’t be available until late summer or early fall — posing a further inconvenience to downtown visitors — Truskolaski indicated Monday that she is thankful the facilities are now within sight.

The local merchant had pointed out during her July 2021 appearance before city officials that the nearest public restrooms to the 400 block are almost two blocks away at the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. The only other public facilities downtown are at the southern end of the North Main Street shopping area in the Jack A. Loftis Plaza.

Truskolaski said when speaking at City Hall that this is particularly a problem with young children and the elderly and asked officials: “If you needed to use a restroom while out shopping, would you want to walk two blocks up a hill to do so?”

The merchant stressed last July that this void reflected a longtime problem needing to be filled sooner rather than later.

Adding public restrooms to the area in question “will benefit not only the visitors that come to our friendly city but our citizens as well,” Truskolaski commented during that appearance.

That there was not one, but two, Juneteenth events in Surry County over the weekend as the holiday enters its second year of official recognition after decades of less formalized but no less exuberant celebrations.

If you missed the events last weekend, fear not for Juneteenth events will be a fixture of mid-June revelry going forward in Surry County and across the United States.

“As we celebrate Black heritage, liberation, freedom and the great progress we have made, we must continue to be aware that systemic racism still persists,” Gov. Roy Cooper said last week. “Although we’ve come a long way since 1865, there’s more work to do.”

Juneteenth commemorates the events of June 19, 1865, which is where the name derives. On that day U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the enslaved Black people of their freedom after cessation of combat in the Civil War. It had been two and half years since President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth was made a federal holiday when President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021. Now more states and the District of Columbia are recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday and are offering it as a paid day off to state employees.

While knowledge and awareness of the holiday is increasing among the public, there is still a way to go and obstacles to overcome in acceptance. In June, nearly 60% of Americans said they knew about the holiday, compared with 37% in May 2021, according to a Gallup poll.

Mount Airy’s event on Saturday reflected a similar attitude with members of the community passing in, around, and through the Juneteenth festival in the Market Street Arts and Entertainment District with some not aware they were doing so.

That did not diminish the spirit of the event nor its participants. Even those passing through what one visitor referred to as “a pop-up fair” stopped to browse at vendor booths or gaze up at the visage of the giant Melva Houston from Melva’s Alley.

Young kids ran around as the grownups parked themselves at picnic tables or under shade on a warm day. Folks were coming in and out of the area waiting for the toast of the celebratory Juneteenth red drink and then to groove down to the sounds of Aquarius Moon.

It was a fun event in Mount Airy to mark a day of great significance to the nation, but the holiday creates angst for some others. There has been some resistance from state legislatures that suggests the acrimony that arose out of efforts to make the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a paid holiday throughout the country. After President Ronald Reagan signed Dr. King’s birthday into federal law in 1983, Arizona was the last state to adopt the Dr. King holiday, waiting until 1992.

It took intervention from the National Football League in the form of pulling Super Bowl XXVII from Tempe and big-name recording artists boycotting the state before voters changed course in late 1992. Arizona got there despite the best efforts of politicians to stop it; the voters got it done. Tempe was granted another opportunity after the vote, getting Super Bowl XXX three years later.

Michelle Obama has said of Juneteenth, “What I love is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.”

The late Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Dr. King said of such progress, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.”

DOBSON — A member of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners who will be losing his seat later this year as the result of a recent primary defeat is setting his sights on another elected office.

Joe Zalescik has filed for Surry County soil and water conservation supervisor. Two such seats will be up for election in November.

The filing period for those offices, which are non-partisan, began on June 13 and will end on July 1 at noon.

Surry County Director of Elections Michella Huff has announced that in addition to Zalescik, the two people presently holding the pair of seats involved, Chad Keith Chilton and Bradley Boyd, also have filed as candidates.

Zalescik, who is now serving as the at-large member of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, which also is non-partisan, finished third in a three-way primary on May 17 for a South Ward seat on the city board. It is now held by Steve Yokeley.

Yokeley, meanwhile, had filed as a candidate for the at-large post, after he and Zalescik reached an agreement to seek each other’s positions due to the terms involved with each.

Since the eventual winner of the at-large slot in November will be filling the unexpired portion, two years, of a four year term vacated by Ron Niland when he became mayor, this fit Yokeley’s desire to serve only for a short time more. He has been on the board since 2009.

However, Zalescik sought the full four-year term accompanying the South Ward seat.

Yokeley finished second in a three-person primary won by Deborah Cochran, a former mayor and commissioner, meaning he and Cochran will go head to head in November.

But since Zalescik was third in the primary for the South Ward seat, losing to Phil Thacker and Gene Clark, he will not be a candidate in November since only the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election. Zalescik will be stepping down from the city board in December.

Zalescik, who was on the Mount Airy Planning Board before being selected as at-large commissioner last September by the other four commissioners, says his seeking of the soil and water conservation post isn’t about just wanting to hold an office.

“I had similar experience in New Jersey,” he said of the community where he resided before moving to Mount Airy in recent years.

This involved serving on an environmental board for about six years, which dealt with wetlands and related issues, according to Zalescik.

“It seems like it would be a good fit for me,” he said of serving as a soil and water conservation supervisor in Surry. “Since I lost the primary, I need to do something.”

The supervisors govern the Surry County Soil and Water Conservation District, one of 96 local districts in North Carolina, according to information on a state government website.

These were formed in 1937 by North Carolina General Statute 139 as part of a nationwide movement to prevent critical conservation problems that grew out of the devastating Dust Bowl by addressing soil erosion, drainage and related issues.

The soil and water conservation districts exist for the primary purpose of providing local direction to voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs to help landowners protect and conserve the state’s natural resources, including soil, water, wildlife, unique plant and animal habitats and others.

District supervisors work closely with county, state and federal governments and both public and private organizations in a non-regulatory capacity to carry out a comprehensive conservation program. It is aimed at protecting and improving counties’ natural resources while assisting private landowners in using conservation practices.

The soil and water conservation districts, which each have a five-member board of supervisors, according to the state website, are organized as governmental subdivisions of the state, as well as independent political units.

Seventeen Surry Community College students recently graduated from the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program, and 20 students graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing to Associate Degree Nursing (LPN-ADN) program. An additional three students graduated with an ADN from the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) Collaborative program.

The pinning and graduation ceremony was recently on Surry’s Dobson campus. The guest speaker was Dena Shore, MSN, RN, OCN, CNE.

SCC President Dr. David Shockley welcomed the graduates followed by remarks from Dr. Yvonne Johnson, associate dean of health sciences at SCC. Shockley also presented the diplomas, while SCC Nurse Educators Andrea Underwood, DNP, FNP-C, MSN, RN; and Jennifer Mitchell, MSN, RN, OCN, presented the pins. Ashley Morrison, dean of academics, performed the presentation of graduates.

The associate degree nursing graduates are: Carlie Silvers and Morgan Swaim of Boonville; Cassandra Flinchum and Charles Dakota Young of Danbury; Angelina Patel of Dobson; Savannah Atkins of Elkin; Lizbet Arce-Zuniga, Brittney Hefner and Brooke Hefner of Jonesville; Stephanie Collins, William Graham Pruitt, Katie Rotenzier and Joana Vega of Mount Airy; Emily Laws of North Wilkesboro; Ashley Edmonds of Pinnacle; Tyler Macemore of Yadkinville; and Johnny Collins of Ararat, Virginia.

The following graduates were already licensed as LPNs and earned the associate degree in nursing: Zachary Davis of Asheboro; Bradley Martin of Crumpler; Candace Wilmoth of Dobson; James Lausch Jr. and Lexy Mickey of Elkin; Bailey Church and Olivia Carico of Ennice; Lori Ward of Hays; Melanie Trump of King; Savannah Parrish of Lewisville; Amanda Flinchum of Millers Creek; Caitlyn Holt and Whitney Riffey of Mount Airy; Nicolette Brown of Pfafftown; Nicole Williams of Pinnacle; Holly Sell of Ronda; Melisa Dunlap of Rural Hall; Melinda Hope Carrow of West Jefferson; Leanne Price of Winston-Salem; and Teah Gonzalez of Yadkinville.

The RIBN Collaborative graduates who completed the ADN are: Sydney Miller of East Bend; Kyle Casstevens of Mount Airy; and Lauren Golding of Thurmond.

The passing of the lamp symbolizes the nurse’s dedication to providing continuous nursing care to their patients. Just as Florence Nightingale passed her lamp on to the next shift of nurses, ADN graduate Tyler Macemore, passed the lamp on to Freshman Class Representative Savannah Fritts.

Surry’s ADN curriculum provides students with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and strategies to integrate safety and quality into nursing care, to practice in a dynamic environment, and to assist individuals in making informed decisions that impact their health, quality of life, and achievement of potential.

Surry Community College students can choose to complete the ADN, which is a two-year program, or currently licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can choose to complete the LPN-ADN program, which is a three-semester program. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

“Employment opportunities are vast within the global health care system and may include positions within acute, chronic, extended, industrial, or community health care facilities,” college officials said. “The average annual salary for a registered nurse is approximately $66,440. SCC also offers opportunities for students to purse a baccalaureate degree in nursing (LPN-BSN and RIBN collaboration) through a partnership with Lees-McRae College.”

For more information about the nursing program, contact Johnson at 336-386-3368 or johnsony@surry.edu. Follow the nursing program on Facebook @surrynursing.

Carole Burke made a check presentation to the Rotary Club of Mount Airy last week from the Frank Smith World Law Fund. The donation was in the amount of $2,000 that will aid the local Rotarians in future projects.

The presentation gave Burke a chance to take the club on a “trip down memory lane” and a trip back in time as she told the group of her trip to the United Nations. She gave context to the life of Frank Smith as it related to his desire to grow future leaders – herself among them – and promote peace.

He established a fund that would promote the United Nations because of the world wars. “He abhorred war. He felt the only solution to end war was to have world peace. He wanted to talk about students writing an essay and going to the United Nations to learn about world peace and the organization itself,” she said.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Burke recalled, “When we would go to conferences usually, he was always the oldest graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and back then then I was the youngest graduate attending these meetings.”

Smith made his money in the Mount Airy Granite Quarry and used to tell her tales of his experiences.

He told Burke years ago that he had written a memoir of his life entitled “Memories of a 92-Year-Old Male.” While accurate at that time, she noted he would need to rename his book annually. Smith changed it to ‘Memories of a 94-Year-Old Male’ and left it there. There is one copy of his book in the Mount Airy Library, a gift from of Bob Ferris via Smith.

The Mount Airy Rotary Club has for many years sponsored a teacher and student from Mount Airy High School high to attend the American Freedom Association’s Global Issues trip to the United Nations; the 2023 trip will be the 70th such trip.

Established in 1953 as a movement in support of public education toward world peace, since its founding the American Freedom Association has organized a high school essay and public speaking program and the annual Southeastern World Affairs Institute. The organization has a long-standing relationship with UNC Peace Scholars program sponsored by Rotary International.

Students participate in a 1,000-word essay with the topic is chosen by teachers who participate in the program. The top essay from Mount Airy High then becomes eligible to receive the Oscar Merritt Scholarship that was established by the Mount Airy industrialist in 1953.

Merritt covered a lot of ground in his life of work from operating an orchard, to research and development in textile manufacturing, to land surveying and mapping, to commercial manager in the Caribbean sugar industry. It was written that Merritt, “Ascribed to the theory that if anyone thinks he has an idea that might preserve peace, (they) should be working on that idea 24 hours a day.”

“The boys and girls in our high schools today, tomorrow must take over leadership, not only of our own nation, but to a large extent of the whole world,” he said. “Has any generation ever faced so great a responsibility? Are we giving our young people the information and training they need?”

The winning essay’s author and their teacher then make the trek to New York City to see the sights, tour the United Nations with a tour guide, and receive a briefing from a United Nations official. The top four essays are presented at the United Nations before officials and the top essay received the prestigious Oscar Merritt Scholarship.

Burke was among the students on the 1963 edition of the trip, and she handed out a commemorative brochure that documented the trip each high school’s winner took to New York. It held a photo of “all the delegates that went to the United Nations from this program that was started in Mount Airy by industrialists who felt like we cannot go through another war, it has devastated our country.”

Photos showed the beehive hair styles and thick glasses of the day but more importantly showed the North Carolina delegates up close and personal in the halls of the United Nations. The attended a briefing with a representative of the United Arab Republic to hear his thoughts on the “Israeli-Arab dispute.” At that time, the U.A.R. was the given name to Egypt after Syria withdrew from their partnership in 1961.

Peace remains the mission and the goal today as it was for Smith and those who started the Merritt Scholarship. Burke explained that every year is declared as the “Year of International World Peace” and 2023 is to be no exception. “We were challenged to go back to our clubs and communities and ask that 2023 be declared as the International Year of Peace.”

As a Tarheel, the number 23 jumps out at her for the connection to one Michael Jordan. “We want to make 2023 a year where each of us dedicate ourselves individually, our families, our friends, and everybody we know to a year of international world peace. It does happen to be the year that Michael Jordan turns 60 years old, so there will be a very special celebration on Feb. 17.”

Tonda Phillips leads the local Rotary of Mount Airy and agreed with the notion of spreading peace starting at home, “Rotary still works toward world peace, and it starts right here with our individual members. We all give money per quarter which goes to world projects.”

Burke summarized, “We want everything we do in Rotary to be about the truth, and we want it to be beneficial to all. We want to be the crown Rotarians that are international peacekeepers, and we want to do everything we can to promote peace first with ourselves, our clubs, our city, our community, and our schools.”

The chaotic scene looked like a horror movie – severe head injuries, sucking chest wound, impalement of steel rod to am abdomen, a spinal cord injury, a femur fracture, facial lacerations, a shoulder dislocation, bleeding from a radial artery laceration, a nasal fracture, and bilateral forearm fractures.

Victims yelled – “Please help me. I can’t move my leg. What happened?” Their shrill screams echoed through the Angus J. Tucker Baseball Field at Surry Community College in Dobson as some victims walked around aimlessly, confused and injured. Others remained silently on the ground, while others yelped in pain.

An area that is normally filled with Surry Knights baseball players and fans had become the simulation for a medical emergency involving a bleacher collapse with 10 victims, nine alive and one deceased.

The victims were identified with paperwork detailing medical stats such as blood pressure and heart rate along with symptoms. The nursing and paramedic students did not know what they would encounter that morning as part of this emergency medical simulation until they arrived on the scene.

“Though we had just taught trauma to these students in the past few weeks, they now had to apply, not only those skills recently learned, but the skills they have gained over the last 20 months in a disaster simulation that was in an uncontrolled/uncertain environment,” said Dr. Andrea Underwood, SCC nurse educator, who organized the simulation.

“The nursing students were first on the scene of the disaster and given only limited supplies, so they had to think outside of the box of acute ways to stabilize the patients before EMS arrived with much needed medical equipment,” she said. “Improvising would be a good word to use here to describe how the nursing students had to react to care for their victims. They also had to use critical thinking in how to triage the patients correctly. Who was the most critical? Who was the most stable? Who could not be saved?

“Two nursing students, Johnny Collins and Savannah Atkins, were first on the scene as they were the primary and secondary survey nurses. They were responsible for assessing and triaging the patients correctly. The remaining group of senior nursing students joined soon after to provide the necessary care for the victims.”

The college’s cosmetology students had spent a couple hours that morning preparing the victims by performing moulage, which is a technique in which special effects makeup is used to create wounds and injuries in a fabricated environment.

“The simulation I participated in along with my nursing classmates was a wonderful opportunity for putting our critical thinking skills to the test,” Atkins said. “We nursing students did not have much knowledge on what the scenario would be like or what to expect, making it that much more thrilling. It was wonderful testing our knowledge on how well we could quickly perform a primary survey and determine which patients were the most critical and needed to be attended to first. Along with testing our critical thinking skills, we also had to make sure our emergency assessment and intervention skills were up to par.

“Between having realistic looking and acting victims performed by Surry Community’s cosmetology students, the collaboration of EMS students, multiple bystanders, and family member actors, the simulation felt like we were in a real-life disaster scenario. I found this simulation very beneficial and exciting.”

Nursing student Johnny Collins of Ararat, Virginia, added, “I was unsure of what to expect on this exercise, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that this was a fun way for my fellow classmates and I to utilize our skills and practice assessing victims with different types of medical problems. I sincerely hope that the college continues to offer this experience for their medical students in the future.”

SCC Cosmetology Instructor Wendy Billings led her students in performing the moulage on the victims.

“The Cosmetology Department is always excited about doing simulations with the EMT students and the nursing students. It gives those involved a chance to interact with each other and to show off their abilities in the career that they love. I’m so proud of my class,” Billings said.

“I really enjoyed doing the makeup. It was a good learning experience for me,” said cosmetology student Elisabeth Maya of Harmony.

Cosmetology student Renee Kirkman of Mount Airy added, “I was previously in the medical field. It was a different experience being on the opposite end of the spectrum. I was a wounded victim in the simulation. I felt that everyone involved was professional and took it seriously.”

Kenneth Vaught, coordinator of the Emergency Medical Program for SCC, summed up the training event.

“This was an exceptional opportunity for our students to experience a mass casualty incident where there was a large audience, several people providing treatment prior to their arrival, and how they interacted with and used those bystanders. It was also great to see the inter-cooperation of multiple departments of Surry Community College working together to develop and implement such a tremendous event for our students,” he said.

High school tour groups from Elkin High School and Surry Central High School were able to watch the simulation as part of their visit to SCC. Faculty from nursing, cosmetology and EMS programs also observed.

“These types of projects show how important teamwork is among the professions of EMS and nursing when providing care. These two medical professions will forever work closely together to provide extraordinary care to those in our communities long after they have completed their degree from SCC,” Underwood said.

A debriefing was provided to students by Dr. Doug Underwood, director of SCC’s Emergency Medical Programs, and Dr. Andrea Underwood to provide feedback about the simulation.

“We discussed what went right, what went wrong, and how we could improve patient care in these types of situations,” she said. “I would like to thank Dr. Doug Underwood for working closely with me on the project to make it a successful day for all those involved. I am grateful for the hard work put in by cosmetology, nursing and EMS programs and for taking time to make this such a great experience for all those involved.”

• A woman listed as homeless was jailed under a $50,000 secured bond Thursday on a long list of charges including being a fugitive from justice, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.

April Leann Taylor, 43, was encountered by officers at Walmart during a larceny investigation and subsequently arrested as a fugitive from Montgomery County, Virginia, where she is wanted on an unspecified matter. Taylor also is accused locally of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine), a felony; possession of a stolen vehicle; resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer; aiding and abetting a larceny; second-degree trespassing; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In connection with the same incident, Ashley Hutton Norman, 41, also listed as homeless, was charged with larceny and possession of stolen goods from Walmart, identified as men’s clothing, seat covers, fishing supplies and cooking items with a total value of $591 which were recovered.

Taylor is scheduled to be in Surry District Court on July 11 and Norman, July 15.

• Regina Lynne Taylor, 47, of Galax, Virginia, was charged with substitution of price Wednesday after an incident at the Goodwill store on Rockford Street, where she allegedly placed a $5 price tag on a mini-shelf with a higher value. She is facing a July 11 appearance in District Court.

• A license plate, number TCD8763, was discovered stolen Monday from a 1988 Nissan D21 pickup owned by J.C. Luther Ramzy Hatcher, which was taken while the vehicle was at Hatcher’s residence on Banner Street.

• A break-in was discovered on June 10 at the home of Jonathan Wayne Edmonds on Maple Street, which was entered after a window pane was removed. A Midea window-unit air conditioner, black in color and valued at $178, was listed as stolen.

Frank Fleming is known for drawing legions of fans during his distinguished career in modified racing, and Thursday night a crowd gathered at the Municipal Building to support Fleming in a regulatory dispute with the city government.

It involves a sign he wants to display at a site on Merita Street off U.S. 52-North where a new Frank Fleming Body Shop and Collision Center is being developed. This represents a $2 million expansion of his present longtime location on Springs Road near radio stations WPAQ/WSYD just outside the city limits.

The expansion also will create nine or 10 new jobs in addition to his present force of about 10 employees, Fleming said during a public forum at a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.

However, the project — which involves the now-rundown site of a former Winn-Dixie supermarket — is being hindered by another city board’s decision disallowing Fleming’s use of an existing sign displayed by the grocery business before it closed. The body shop owner has sought to re-purpose it in order to draw attention to his new operation.

He has been barred from doing so through a recent vote by a powerful group known as the Mount Airy Zoning Board of Adjustment — a quasi-judicial administrative body whose decisions affect private property rights to the same extent as court rulings.

Its decision is based on a relatively new sign ordinance approved by the commissioners in 2016 whereby signage for new businesses in the city may be no taller than 15 feet. Those already existing were grandfathered in under the measure.

Fleming is appealing the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s ruling to Surry County Superior Court, which is scheduled to hear the case in September, based on information revealed Thursday night.

In the meantime, Fleming, his brother Chris, also a longtime modified racer, and a throng of supporters made their way to City Hall in an effort to have the commissioners approve some amendment to the ordinance or other action allowing him to utilize the sign.

“This will enable me to use an existing sign that is in good condition,” he said during the public forum of Thursday night’s meeting, when the issue was not on the agenda for regular board consideration.

Chris Fleming also spoke on the matter during the forum, recalling how his brother had eyeballed the Merita Street property numerous times when they passed by it, and expressed interest in buying and improving the site.

“We know how bad the property looks now,” Chris Fleming said. “Frank bought the property — but he didn’t know about the sign (restriction).”

Chris also pointed to a safety concern posed by the lack of a tall sign to direct people to the body shop, in which motorists who miss the turn at Merita Street near McDonald’s would have to continue along U.S. 52 and double back to the business. This would require turning into busy lanes of fast-moving vehicles.

“I’m asking you to help Frank help the community,” Chris said of how the sign could contribute to the body shop’s success and aid improvement overall.

The crowd of supporters applauded the brothers’ position and stood up at one point to highlight their numbers.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners took no vote on the matter Thursday night, conforming to a regular practice in which issues raised during public forums are not considered during the same meeting. But they agreed to place the matter on the agenda for another meeting on July 21.

In the meantime, city officials did express a desire to find a solution to the impasse and prevent Fleming and the municipality from incurring huge expenses required by a court fight.

“Reasonable people can come up with reasonable answers,” Mayor Ron Niland said.

Niland wasn’t on the city council when the updated sign regulations were adopted in 2016, and said it wouldn’t hurt to have that package reviewed. “Looking at it is a good thing.”

Commissioner Steve Yokeley, who was on the board when the sign measure was approved and voted in favor of it, offered a similar view.

“I thought we had a good ordinance at the time,” Yokeley said, but added that this doesn’t mean it couldn’t be changed.

Commissioner Jon Cawley, who lobbied for the placement of the matter on the July 21 meeting agenda, was more stern in his take on the situation.

“I hope we can find a solution that will be pro-business,” Cawley said. “It never should have gotten to this point.”

One parting remark by Cawley regarding regulations also drew applause from the audience: “What’s good for the city also should be good for the citizens.” Cawley told Fleming that he deserved all the support exhibited Thursday night.

Commissioner Tom Koch also spoke highly of Fleming, saying his body shop had done a great job repairing his car after it was sideswiped while parked.

Still, Niland and other officials emphasized Thursday night that the board can’t just snap its figures and help Fleming without going through proper channels.

Since an ordinance already on the books is involved, changing it would require certain steps including a public hearing, according to the mayor.

Commissioner Joe Zalescik also reminded that an active appeal is under way. “I don’t think we as commissioners should interfere with that,” he said.

“One of the big issues in Mount Airy is signage.”

Support for Frank Fleming’s request also has come from an external source.

While she was unable to attend Thursday night’s meeting, Deborah Cochran, a former mayor and city commissioner, issued a statement to that effect.

“This property has been unsightly over the years and now Frank is bringing it back to life,” Cochran wrote regarding the Merita Street location.

“I wholeheartedly support an amendment to the existing sign ordinance,” added the former city official, who is a candidate for at-large commissioner in this year’s municipal election. “Highway 52 is a thoroughfare and the amendment would allow businesses located 300 feet back off the highway to have a taller sign.”

Cochran expressed confidence that Fleming would make sure it is refurbished in a professional manner.

“Frank has been dealing with this issue for months,” she wrote.

“He moves at lightning speed on the race track — I hope each commissioner will move fast on June 16th and approve this amendment, so Frank can continue taking care of business.”

The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History will be holding two commemorations on Sunday — a Juneteenth celebration and Rotary Family Fun Day

The annual Juneteenth Celebration will be from 1 to 4 p.m.

“This celebration will be free to the public and will be held in the museum courtyard,” museum officials said. “We will have a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, games and activities, a children’s craft table, live music, and even a new walking tour. The walking tour maps will be free to public and they are a self-guided tour of black history here in downtown Mount Airy.”

The day coincides with the museum’s first Rotary Family Fun Day of the season where admission to the public and activities are free “thanks to a grant from the Rotary Club of Mount Airy,” officials said. “Anyone is welcome to tour the museum and partake in the Juneteenth festivities for no charge during this event.”

Anyone with questions can contact the museum at mamrh@northcarolinamuseum.org, by calling 336-786-4478, or by stopping by at 301 N. Main St.

Though their journey into adulthood is just beginning, students in Surry County already have struck gold by being selected to receive scholarships potentially totaling $14,000.

The eight recipients involved are among 215 rural North Carolina students overall who were tapped for academic aid from the Golden LEAF Foundation based in Rocky Mount. Those students, double the number locally who received that assistance in 2021, were selected out of a pool of more than 1,600 applicants.

Recently graduated high school seniors entering college as first-year students are each eligible for a $3,500 Golden LEAF Scholarship annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at a participating four-year North Carolina college or university. Community college transfer students are eligible for $3,500 a year for up to three years of undergraduate study.

The local scholarship winners include Michelle Bedolla-Villalobos of Surry Early College High School, who will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Haley Chilton, an East Surry High School graduate bound for N.C. State University; Victoria Griffin of Surry Early College High School of Design, who will attend UNC-Chapel Hill; Alberto Hernandez of Surry Early College High School, headed for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte;

Also, Meaghan Pell of Forsyth Technical Community College, who will attend Appalachian State University; Sebastian Sanchez-Aguilar, a recent Surry Central High School graduate bound for N.C. State University; Dante Watson, another Surry Central student who will continue her studies at N.C. State; and Christopher White, a Surry Early College High School of Design graduate who’ll also do so at N.C. State.

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from a 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers.

Its mission has included working worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Golden LEAF Foundation established the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties with the goal that after graduation recipients will return and contribute back to those communities. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) administers the program and selects students for awards.

Scholarship recipients from rural, tobacco-dependent or economically distressed North Carolina counties are chosen based on career and educational goals, a review of school and community service activities, academic performance, length of residence in the county and expressed intent to contribute to the state’s rural communities upon graduation from college.

“My sincerest congratulations to Michelle, Haley, Victoria, Alberto, Meaghan, Sebastian, Dante and Christopher for earning this award,” state Rep. Sarah Stevens of Mount Airy said in a statement. “I’m sure you will put in the hard work to help you accomplish your goals — we need students like you to help our rural communities thrive.”

“Congratulations to the students from Surry County for receiving this award,” state Rep. Kyle Hall, whose 91st House District includes it along with Stokes and Rockingham counties, said in a statement.

The students tapped for scholarships “have already demonstrated leadership and strong academic performance,” Hall added. “Receiving a Golden LEAF Scholarship is a great honor and these students should be proud of their accomplishment.”

“We are proud to award scholarships to hardworking and bright students with deep roots in their rural communities,” stated Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF Foundation president and chief executive officer.

“We look forward to the future success of these scholarship recipients as they follow their educational pursuits and develop into North Carolina’s next generation of rural leaders.”

Mount Airy officials approved an $18.4 million budget for the city Thursday night over the objections of one councilman who complained about a lack of discussion over the 2022-23 spending plan and related issues.

The municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins on July 1, adopted in a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Jon Cawley dissenting, keeps the property tax rate at 60 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The charge for water and sewer service also is unchanged.

While the $18.4 million general fund package — which does not include Mount Airy’s water-sewer operation — is the same figure first proposed when the preliminary budget was unveiled last month, it does reflect a recent addition.

That involves an expenditure totaling $201,150 in appropriations for the Surry Arts Council ($87,500), Mount Airy Public Library ($103,650) and Mount Airy Museum of Regional History ($10,000), an annual provision that had been omitted in the preliminary budget.

Ongoing city funding next year for the Mount Airy Rescue Squad, $10,000, and Mount Airy-Surry County Airport, $20,000, wasn’t slashed.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners restored the funding to the other agencies after a crowd showed up at its previous meeting on June 2 to object to the cuts specifically for the arts group and museum. In the case of the library and Surry Arts Council, which occupy buildings owned by the city government, structural improvements eyed for those are planned which apparently were meant to make the loss of the annual allocations more palatable.

City Manager Stan Farmer explained Thursday night that to avoid increasing the budget to accommodate the extra $201,150, a capital improvement fund was decreased to provide the extra funding and keep the bottom-line numbers the same.

“We added, but we took away,” Farmer said.

The general fund budget for 2022-23 is about 24% higher than that adopted last June for the present fiscal year that ends on June 30, totaling $14.9 million.

It includes $3.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act, COVID-relief funding allocated to Mount Airy which is reflected in the overall budget and largely targeted for facility improvements and equipment additions among the various municipal departments.

The passage of the budget Thursday night was accompanied by sharp criticism by Commissioner Cawley over how the city budgetary process was handled and the future financial outlook.

He charged that there was a lack of public discussion on the spending plan, pointing to the fact no budget workshop was conducted. In recent years, Mount Airy officials have held such a special meeting, sometimes lasting several hours, to hammer out various details, but this year other city leadership opted not to do so, Cawley said.

“It’s something we’ve always had,” said the North Ward commissioner and mayoral candidate, who added that he never failed to learn key facts during those sessions and is “disappointed” that none occurred this year.

“I have missed that process very much,” Cawley said of the void left behind. “It’s not acceptable to me.”

The dissenting councilman also raised concerns about how this year’s inflated budget package might adversely impact the city property tax rate for the 2023-24 fiscal year in terms of a possible increase.

Cawley mentioned that there will be some carryover expense from the American Rescue Plan Act projects, and also cited a $1,500 raise for full-time municipal employees in the 2022-23 budget which will be ongoing. He questioned if this situation is sustainable over time.

“And I really want an answer.”

In reaction to Cawley’s comments, fellow council members said they were satisfied with the budget process led by the city manager, to whom some of Cawley’s criticisms were leveled.

“I think it’s a good budget going forward,” Mayor Ron Niland said.

The mayor also believes the package just passed won’t necessarily affect the 2023-24 budget, as argued by Cawley.

“What we do next year will be next year,” Niland said.

“The budget is not really dependent on past years and it doesn’t really depend on future years.”

The city manager also weighed in on that issue, indicating that higher-than-normal spending this coming year because of the injection of federal dollars shouldn’t be the case for 2023-24 and there’s no real reason to think taxes will rise.

“There could be other efficiencies, other revenue sources,” Farmer said, which could be in play and offset any need for a property tax increase.

The mayor, who is running to retain his seat against Cawley this year, also referred to comments by Cawley directed toward Farmer.

“I think we need to be a little kinder when we take on city staff,” said Niland, who expressed support for the job Farmer is doing.

A public hearing — and possible action — is scheduled today by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners on the proposed annexation and rezoning of property near Walmart, for which the owner says there are no plans.

“At this point, nothing,” Bill Juno said of the land located in the 1400 block of Edgewood Drive, off U.S. 601 (Rockford Street).

In addition to requesting that the two parcels involved — a total 1.48-acre site — be brought into the city limits through voluntary annexation, Juno, through an entity known as Rockford Street, LLC, of which he is the principal, is requesting that its zoning be changed.

The property now is classified as RL, a Surry County designation that stands for Residential Limited. In conjunction with the proposed annexation, city officials are being asked to alter its zoning to B-4, or Highway Business.

Citizens will have a chance to weigh in on those issues at today’s hearing, to be held during a commissioners meeting that begins at 6 p.m.

Although the rezoning would facilitate further business development in a bustling section of town on the property in question, Juno says there is nothing on the drawing board regarding this.

“At this point, no plans for anything right now,” he said.

Juno is the longtime owner of multiple Subway restaurants in Mount Airy, including one near the site being considered for annexation/rezoning.

“It’s behind the other property we have,” he said of the 1.48-acre tract.

Juno added that it is appropriate for the site’s zoning to be altered to a business classification.

Mount Airy’s B-4 districts typically are located on major thoroughfares and collector streets, according to city planning documents.

Municipal staff members specify that the rezoning request is consistent with future high-intensity land-use recommendations in the Mount Airy Comprehensive Plan. The high-intensity designation applies to both residential and a wide variety of retail, service, office, institutional and civic uses along major arteries, planning documents state.

Annexation, meanwhile, aids the obtaining of municipal services such as water and sewer as a result of property being taken into the city.

The parcel eyed for annexation on Edgewood Drive has direct access to public water and sewer lines would have to be extended by the developer about 175 feet down that road to serve the property.

Later in tonight’s meeting in the wake of the public hearing, the commissioners are scheduled to vote on the annexation and rezoning in separate decisions.

The Mount Airy Planning Board, an advisory group to the commissioners, voted 7-0 in favor of both on May 23.

It has been twelve weeks since the Surry County Board of County Commissioners and the African American Historical and Genealogical Society agree to transfer the former J. J. Jones High School back into the hands of her alumni.

As the county’s fiscal year is reaching its end, the first benchmark of the agreement is set for July 1 when the deed will be transferred to the Save Jones group.

Co-chair of the Save Jones School Committee Adreann Belle advised this week that, “We are progressing nicely toward taking over the Jones Family Resource Center.” She said planning and work continue at the L. H. Jones Family Resource Center in anticipation of the transfer of the deed from the county to the Save Jones School group. Save Jones was given the former J. J. Jones High School from Surry County after it had been listed as surplus property due to the cost of maintenance on the aging building.

“Cosmetically, it’s not that bad,” Belle advised this week. “The boiler needs to be replaced, it’s on last legs. We are looking for some grant money, around $350,000 to help with that.” The county’s assessment of the building had identified the boiler, plumbing, roof, wiring, HVAC and windows as all being near the end of their projected life cycle.

After the boiler, the roof is the next major project; it will then be time for an architectural analysis to get the design elements of the new mixed-use facility. “We want a cultural and heritage center to preserve the artifacts not just of the school, but of the community,” Belle said of the future facility.

The group has made an application to the General Assembly for $500,000 in grant money to further projects that will transition the former school from its current configuration as the home for the organizations of YVEDDI to a mixture of residential and community use spaces. LaShene Lowe, president of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society, said Wednesday that at this time all YVEDDI occupants have signaled their intention to stay in the new Jones.

The end of month fundraising goal for the group is $20,000, down two thirds from the last update provided. To add to the Save Jones effort, there are several events upcoming that the community is invited to participate in beginning this Friday, June 17, at 7 p.m. with a Masquerade Ball at the Jones School Auditorium. “This is a dress to impress event,” Belle said, “but we will provide the masquerade mask.”

She said this is the one to put fun back in fundraiser, “We will have snacks, drinks, and music so it’s an opportunity to have some fun.” Entry to the masquerade ball is $15.

Furthermore, the Save Jones group will have booths set up this Saturday in both Mount Airy and Elkin for Juneteenth events. Juneteenth is the day in 1865 when residents of Galveston, Texas, learned that slavery in the United States had been abolished, two months after the end of the Civil War and 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

In Elkin, the event is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Heritage Center, 257 Standard Street. Greg Brewer, president of Bridge of Unity extended the offer, “If you are able to come, we would love to have you here. Our events will focus on things that bring us together and not focus on the differences – but things like food, fun, and fellowship that we can all agree on.”

Fernando “Sly” Best, CEO of Bridge of Unity, laid out the activities beginning at 11 a.m. with events for kids such as bounce houses, field day games, and an art gallery for anyone seeking some relief from the heat inside the Heritage Center. A selection of more than 30 vendors will be on hand and Elkin’s Got Talent karaoke begins at 2 p.m. where there is a $100 prize for the winner. From 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. the band Retropunkz will take the stage, “They are number-one in New Orleans and Bourbon Street,” he said.

“Come hungry,” Best has told those going to the Juneteenth event. There is an all you can eat buffet beginning at 5 p.m. that costs $25, but he warned, “Get there early because last year the ticket and the food ran out quick.” With selections of crab legs, brisket, ribs, turkey legs, hamburgers, chicken and more this is a ticket that understandably could fly out the window.

No fear if the buffet runs out, Best said he has it covered with a group of food trucks ranging from soul to creole and points in between heading to Elkin this weekend.

In Mount Airy, also on Saturday, the Second Annual Juneteenth Celebration with be held in the Market Street Arts & Entertainment District and Melva’s Alley. Big Dawg Catering & Food Truck will be there along with multiple artists and a performance from the UNC Chapel Hill Kamikazi Dance Team at 2 p.m.

Organizer Dougenna Hill said vendors were chosen from Black owned local businesses again this year to participate in the event. There will be live music in Melva’s Alley featuring Lois Atkinson & Aquarius Moon will be found from 7 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.

Before the evening’s music, there will be a moment of silence and a toast of red fruit punch, a donation of Lenise Lynch of Hampton Inn of Mount Airy. “Red is a color that evokes cultural memory of the bloodshed by our enslaved ancestors through the transatlantic slave trade,” said culinary historian Adrian Miller.

On Sunday, the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is holding its own Juneteenth event from 1 – 4 p.m.

There will be a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, games, live music and history focused activities such as crafts and a self-guided walking tour of the main street area that focuses on local African American history. This event is free to the public.

• An encounter with officers late Tuesday night led to a homeless man being jailed under a large, $81,000 secured, bond on charges including resisting arrest, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.

Gregory Wayne Childress Jr., 37, was the subject of a traffic stop on Long Street near South Franklin Road due to an unspecified equipment violation regarding the 2009 Pontiac G6 he was operating.

Childress also was wanted on an outstanding arrest order for failing to appear in court which had been issued on May 2 and was charged Tuesday night with resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, although the reason for this was not specified in police records.

He also was charged with possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, identified as Suboxone. Childress is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on July 25.

• A crime involving the obtaining of property by false pretense was discovered last Saturday at Walmart, where an unknown suspect had taken items from the store and returned them for a gift card. This was identified as batteries valued at $31.28 which were used to obtain a gift card of the same sum.

• A Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle valued at $2,500, identified as white in color, was discovered stolen from the Edgewood Place Lane residence of owner Trey Junius Dalton on June 8. No model year or license tag information was noted.

• Travis Lee Wells, 29, listed as homeless, is facing a felony drug charge that was filed after he crossed paths with officers during a suspicious-vehicle investigation in the 1200 block of West Lebanon Street on June 5.

Wells was found in possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia including red cut straws and plastic baggies with white powder residue, an aluminum grinder and a glass smoking device.

He was charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia, and also was found to be the subject of two outstanding arrest warrants for charges of larceny and damage to property which had been filed by Davie County authorities. Wells was held in the Surry County Jail under a $5,500 secured bond and is slated for a Sept. 12 appearance in District Court at Dobson.

More than 30 years have passed since the death of an accomplished local student-athlete, but her legacy continues through annual memorial and scholarship programs for students at the school she attended, Mount Airy High.

This included the presentation of the Charlotte Weatherly Yokley Memorial Award to Jessica Sawyers and the awarding of the Charlotte Weatherly Yokley Scholarship to Mackenzie Welch.

Both occurred during Mount Airy High School’s annual honors program held recently near the end of the school year.

The presentation of the memorial award to Jessica Sawyers, signified by a trophy, was made by Pam Yokeley, Charlotte’s mother, and previous winners Oshyn Bryant (2021), Catherine Sawyers (2020) and Owen Perkins (2019).

It is based on academics, athletics and character.

Jessica plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro this fall. She is the daughter of Denise and Calvin Sawyers.

The receiving of the Yokley scholarship will aid Mackenzie Welch in her studies at Western Carolina University beginning in the fall. She is the daughter of Beth and David Welch.

It was bestowed to her by Pam Yokley and Charlotte’s sisters, Allyson Ferguson and Sheldon Fowler.

The scholarship selection is based on academics and character.

Charlotte Yokley, who would have graduated from Mount Airy High School in 1992, was a member of the National Honor Society, a junior marshal, received the John Hamilton Award in 1990 and was a member of the school’s varsity basketball, track and tennis teams.

In the summer of 1991, just before the start of her senior year, Charlotte was traveling the British Virgin Islands on a sailing expedition with a group known as Actionquest. During the trip, a collision with another boat operated by an intoxicated driver led to her death.

Both the memorial award and scholarship program were established the next year as lasting tributes to her.

A Pilot Mountain man is dead, apparently shot by his son, during a domestic dispute which occurred Saturday evening, June 11, according to Surry County Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt.

While the sheriff released few details — and said no additional information would be released at this time — it appears as if the victim was shot while engaged in a domestic assault of his wife, the shooter’s mother.

In a written statement released Wednesday evening, the sheriff said his deputies arrived at 180 Moravian Lane in Pilot Mountain after a 9:19 p.m. call on Saturday. Upon arrival at the home, they found Michael Williams Goins, 47, dead from “an apparent gunshot wound.”

The sheriff’s office, along with special agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation “remained on the scene conducting interviews and gathering information throughout the night,” the sheriff said.

“During the investigation, detectives determined that the shooting incident occurred during a domestic assault incident between Goins and his wife, Sherry Palmer Goins…Present during the incident, was their son, Andrew William Goins,” who the sheriff said fired a single shot with a firearm.

The sheriff’s statement did not include what sort of gun was involved, nor any other details regarding the assault.

“This incident is still an active investigation and no other information will be released at this time,” the sheriff said.

Guy Sparger stands apart from other Freemasons not just in District 25 but across the nation for his recent recognition of 70 years of membership in the organization.

He was honored by his peers at his home in Mount Airy last week by a collection of masons who have seen 30 and 40 anniversary pins bestowed – but never seen a 70-year pin.

Local freemason Ricky Lawson joked, “They have special recognitions for 25, 50, and 60 years – but not 70 years!” Of the ten local Masons who attended there were none who could recall another Mason being so honored for that length of time.

Sparger is a lively gentleman in his 90s who held court with the assorted guests at his home, some of whom he was not as familiar with. For the local Masons of Round Peak Lodge #616 and Copeland Lodge #390 it was their honor to be there for the plaque and pin ceremony for the United States Navy veteran and elder local Mason.

Mary Louise Sparger, wife of the honoree, had the pleasure of pinning on the anniversary year lapel pin to her husband. The Spargers have been married since 1952, “that’s a lot of good years,” he told the men on the porch.

After leaving to attend school at UNC-Chapel Hill, Sparger entered the Freemasons on April 20, 1951. Yes, the math is a bit off, “They always keep us behind a year on the recognitions,” Lawson noted. It was in 1990 that he made his return to take care of his mother.

At that time, the Spargers moved into their current home off Sparger Road, just above North Surry High School. Even the road where the home is found has taken on the family name as he said his father had “help(ed) move the road up the hill from the water where it used to be.”

As Mary Louise explained they made such changes to the old home to make it livable. It is a lovely mix of old wood with modern touches that is reminiscent of many older farmhouses in Surry County that have had a facelift here and there, but the striking beauty of old quality craftsmanship shows through.

“We make good men better.”

Jonathan Underwood, grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, praised Sparger noting again just how rare an accomplishment he has achieved. “It is very rare. We see a few as people are living longer now, 50s and 60s, but only a few who make 70 years. Especially given you have to be 21 to enter, it’s rare.”

“Freemasonry is a philosophical and philanthropic organization,” he went on, “whose aim is to teach men to be better, to live by the Golden Rule, and to be of service to one another.” Freemasonry teaches members to show concern for people, care for the less fortunate, and help for those in need.

Those are noble guideposts to follow in life, and Sparger said if more people ascribed to those goals that a closer sense of community could be found. “We’d be better off if more people went to church. I’d say going to church, being aware of what is going on around you and helping other people — that’s the way to get back to a greater sense of community.” The two pastors in attendance gave nods of approval to this diagnosis.

Each of the Masons agreed that they can and have a desire to serve others as is their mission. However, they would like to see the number of Masons increasing. Sparger said, “It’s the same in the churches now too, they ain’t coming like they used to.”

The average age of a North Carolina Mason, Lawson said, is 64 years old. The assembled masons struggled between them to produce an age of the youngest mason they could think of locally before concluding they could recall two members in their 20s in this area.

Bringing new members into the fold will only help the Masons with their desire to grow as men and to serve their community. “Masons are ready to help,” Sparger reminded.

Much of what the Freemasons do is cloaked in a bit of mystery; ask someone on the street who or what the masons are, and you may get a fantastical answer involving secret societies and intricate ceremonies. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina says, “The fraternity is so old and so many of its records have been lost or destroyed, or never written, that a vast amount of Masonic lore is admittedly legend. “

One masonic historian wrote, “The Freemasons kept their trade secrets secret as did most guilds such as ironmongers, bakers, and weavers. This secrecy protected the quality of the guild’s work and ensured job security for its members.”

Fully organized since 1717 it is thought the origins of Freemasonry may go back to guilds of stonemasons in the Middle Ages. Lawson said he thinks the origins go much further than that back to the time of King Solomon. Whatever the date, they write they are “the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organization.”

“The guild of Freemasons transformed into a social and fraternal institution in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this time, they used the tools and legends of their trade as metaphors to emphasize internal enlightenment and personal growth among the fraternity’s members.”

The men within its ranks then influenced the development of modern concepts of democracy and personal liberty – ideals entrenched in the founding of the United States.

In North Carolina, the first documented evidence of Masonic activity can be dated to Wilmington and New Bern during the early 1750’s.

Today the work of a mason may look different than in centuries past, but the underlying mission of the Freemasons remains one of service. Sparger has served several times over in his lifetime and is not done just yet; there are still ways he can make a difference.

The Surry Arts Council’s Summer Concert Series continues with a full weekend of entertainment starting with North Tower Band on Thursday. The Entertainers will perform on Friday and The Magnificents will take the stage on Saturday. All three shows will start at 7:30 p.m.

North Tower has been one of the South’s great party bands for over 35 years, providing the best in Top 40, beach, funk, and oldies. Sizzling brass, super vocals, and a wide-ranging repertoire all contribute to making your event a night to remember.

The Entertainers are proud to have shared in the South’s Beach Music tradition for more than 30 years. While staying true to their R&B and Beach Music roots, the group also satisfies the most diverse audiences by playing selections from the latest Top 40, Classic Rock & Roll, and Country music.

The Magnificents Band has a wealth of live playing experience in varied styles of music, includingclassic soul, beach, Motown, Top 40, and dance hits. The band brings a diverse of high-energy collection of music and motivation to get people dancing.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

Copeland Elementary was in the spotlight recently when fifth grader Billy Creed and his artwork were recognized as a North Carolina Farm to School Art Contest winner during the awards reception in Raleigh.

Each year, winners of this contest are chosen, and their artwork is featured in the NC Farm to School Calendar. During the hybrid reception, it was revealed that Billy’s artwork will be representing the month of January in the 2022-2023 calendar.

This year, the NC Farm to School program received more than 4,246 entries from across the state so judges had to take on the challenging task of choosing 13 winners. There are two levels of judging – a prejudging to narrow down the field and then final judging. There are a different set of judges for each event, most having a background in agriculture or visual arts. Each of the 13 winners will be featured as a month, or the cover, in the 2022-2023 North Carolina Farm to School calendar. In addition, honorable mentions will be posted to the North Carolina Farm to School website in late May.

Felecity Davis, a kindergartener at Shoals Elementary, was also recognized as an Honorable Mention in the contest.

“I am super proud of all the students at both Copeland Shoals and how hard they worked on the 2022-23 Farm to School Calendar contest,” said Hank Whitaker, who serves as visual arts instructor at both of the recognized elementary schools. “Billy Creed from Copeland Elementary School has been great to work with all year and is a talented young artist. Felicity Davis at Shoals Elementary School is also a talented young artist. It is great to see them receive recognition for their hard work.”

A local attorney running for the District 17B district court judge seat in the fall will get an early start on her job, after being appointed to the vacant post by Gov. Roy Cooper. District 17B covers Surry and Stokes counties.

Gretchen Hollar Kirkman, a Mount Airy attorney, was among four judicial appointments Cooper announced Tuesday.

The Mount Airy resident previously served as a district court judge for District 17B, when she was appointed to that seat in 2018 to fill a vacancy after Charles M. Neaves Jr. retired from that post. She lost a re-election bid later that year in a tight race with Tom Langan. The death of Judge Spencer Key created the present vacancy, and Kirkman easily won the GOP nomination for the seat over Mark Miller.

Because there are no other candidates filed to run for the seat in November, the primary effectively gave her the victory, and Cooper’s appointment allows her to take the judge seat several months early.

Kirkman is the sole practitioner at the Law Office of Gretchen Hollar Kirkman, PLLC. Previously, in addition to serving as a District 17B judge, she was an attorney at the Law Office of Sarah Stevens. The Surry Central High School graduate received her Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

– Jennifer Bedford as District Court Judge in District 10F, which serves part of Wake County. She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kris Bailey. Bedford serves as a Wake County Guardian ad Litem. She has worked as a senior legislative analyst and lead committee counsel at the North Carolina General Assembly. She was also an assistant district attorney in North Carolina and served in the U.S. Army. Bedford received her Juris Doctor from Pennsylvania State University and her Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University.

– Matthew Rupp as District Court Judge in District 24, which serves Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Larry Leake. Rupp is a partner at Angle, Rupp and Rupp, Attorneys at Law. Previously, he was an assistant district attorney in the District Attorney’s Office for the 35th Prosecutorial District and the 26th Prosecutorial District. His prior experience also includes serving as counsel for the House Committee on Ways and Means and Counselor to the Inspector General. He received his Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame.

– Shante’ Burke-Hayer as District Court Judge in District 26, which serves part of Mecklenburg County. She will fill the vacant seat formerly held by Judge Kimberly Best. Burke-Hayer is managing attorney at Burke-Hayer Law Firm, PLLC. Previously, Burke was Of Counsel – Attorney at Hunt Law, PLLC, and a legal analyst at Wells Fargo. She received her Juris Doctor from the Charlotte School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“These appointees bring years of experience and knowledge to the bench,” Gov. Cooper said. “I am grateful for their dedication to their communities over the years, and grateful for their willingness to serve.”

Usually when actors who worked with Andy Griffith come to town it’s because of the Mayberry connection, but in Daniel Roebuck’s case his role on “the other” television series starring the local native — “Matlock” — was involved.

Roebuck appears in 55 episodes of that legal drama, which ran on the NBC and ABC networks from 1986 to 1995, playing Cliff Lewis, the junior partner of the law firm headed by the Griffith character, Ben Matlock.

And Daniel Roebuck’s face also is familiar to fans of the movie “The Fugitive,” in which he portrays Marshal Biggs, one of the officers working under Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) trying to apprehend the title protagonist (Harrison Ford).

The versatile actor’s long list of TV and movie credits further includes “U.S. Marshals,” a sequel to “The Fugitive,” and the TV series “Lost,” among others.

Yet Roebuck’s visit this week to Mount Airy, his first — lasting from Monday night to Tuesday afternoon — was all about soaking up sights and sounds of the man he worked with on “Matlock.”

This included visiting the Andy and Opie statue; Griffith’s homeplace on East Haymore Street; the Andy Griffith Museum; Grace Moravian Church, where young Andy learned to play the trombone and performed in the church band; and the new Andy Griffith mural on Moore Avenue showing Griffith at different stages of his career, which features an image of him as “Matlock.”

Of course, there also were the other obligatory stops visitors often take in, the granite quarry and radio station WPAQ.

To reach those locations, Roebuck was chauffeured around in a Squad Car Tours vintage Ford Galaxie driven by Mark Brown, which included the actor checking out the Mayberry Courthouse located next door to the squad car headquarters.

“What a great tour!” Roebuck, 59, exclaimed upon exiting the Galaxie, just before greeting and posing for photos with members of a large crowd gathered there.

The visiting actor explained that he had been on the road the past few days, covering about 1,200 miles, encompassing a number of key areas of North Carolina.

One was a site in Sylva in Jackson County in the far western portion of the state where an iconic scene in “The Fugitive” was filmed involving a collision between the prison bus Dr. Richard Kimble was on and a train.

The wreckage was left in place and has been a tourist attraction in the years since the movie’s release in 1993 — but Roebuck’s visit was accompanied by him falling down a hillside there and getting a banged-up face.

He also went to Wilmington, where “Matlock” was filmed. “And my brother lives there,” Roebuck said.

So his swing through Mount Airy was an appropriate addition to the travel itinerary, where something else stood out to him more than its various tourist attractions.

“My first impressions of Mount Airy is great people, ahead of everything else,” he said.

Roebuck also talked about working with Andy Griffith on “Matlock,” which transpired after a circuitous, typically Hollywood path. After initially appearing on the program in its first season, Griffith was so impressed with Roebuck’s work that he promised the young actor he would have a regular role on the show, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website.

This would take five seasons, two additional guest appearances as different characters and a change of networks, from NBC to ABC, but Griffith kept that promise and Roebuck finally became a series regular.

“What I remember most about my time with Andy Griffith is that there wasn’t a day when we weren’t laughing and smiling and having a good time,” Roebuck recalled Tuesday, which was despite the hard, grueling work required by episodic TV. The veteran actor also took an interest in Roebuck’s personal life.

“Andy was instrumental, pardon the pun, in helping my wife pick the music for our wedding,” he said. It incorporated a trombone choir, hearkening back to Griffith’s time in Mount Airy when he learned to play that member of the brass family.

Roebuck also remembers how Griffith wore black sneakers due to suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder accompanied by weakness and tingling in the feet. Roebuck said he has copied that approached by wearing such footwear all the time, even with suits and other formal attire.

“If it was good enough for Andy Griffith, it was good enough for me,” he reasoned Tuesday.

The 10-year anniversary of Griffith’s death in July 2012 at age 86 is approaching.

Daniel Roebuck’s more recent projects have included working on a reboot of the classic TV series “The Munsters,” playing Grandpa Munster in a role that merges his two favorite genres, horror and comedy. Spearheading that production was the singer, songwriter, filmmaker and voice actor Rob Zombie.

Roebuck wore a Munsters ball cap while in Mount Airy.

One of Roebuck’s reasons for visiting Mount Airy this week was to film material for his own social media channels. This included capturing some scenes at the Mayberry Courthouse site, where he took on the jobs as director and actor.

“He’s wanting to support our city for his social media outlets,” said local Tourism Development Authority Executive Director Jessica Roberts, who called Roebuck “a really interesting guy.” She, Brown and Jenny Smith of Mount Airy Visitors Center helped guide him to the various locations Tuesday.

“I think it is amazing that he is interested in our town,” Roberts said, and seeking to present it on his social media network. “I just think he wants to be a part of what’s going on in Mayberry.”

The days are long, the afternoons hot, and the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History has changed its hours.

The facility has switched over to summer hours, meaning it is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

“The hours aren’t the only thing changing, and we will soon be opening up new exhibit spaces including our kid’s gallery,” officials there said recently. “We are also bringing back beloved events and programs such as our children’s summer camps in June and July and Ghost Tours on Friday and Saturday evening at 8 p.m.”

While most events there have a charge, many offer a discount for museum members. A full-year family membership is $55. For more information, contact the museum at mamrh@northcarolinamuseum.org or call 336-786-4478, or visit in person at 301 N. Main St.

While she was serving on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, Shirley Brinkley was among the majority voting for a 25% increase in city property taxes — but now is singing a different tune.

Brinkley is advocating that taxes be slashed in the municipal budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that begins on July 1, which the present council members possibly will adopt during a meeting this Thursday night without such a cut.

Although the proposed $18.4 million budget, released last month, is $3.5 million higher than that approved in June 2021 for the present fiscal year, the property tax rate is projected to remain at 60 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

That might satisfy some citizens, yet Brinkley, a former South Ward commissioner who served two terms, believes the board should go an extra step given the present state of affairs with consumers hit by record gas prices and inflation at a 40-year high.

“A tax cut in this economy should have been your priority instead of increasing the budget by $3.5 million,” Brinkley told city officials while speaking during a public hearing on the spending plan at a meeting earlier this month.

That increase is largely due to Mount Airy’s receiving of about $3.2 million in federal COVID-relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, which is reflected in the overall municipal budget even though local tax dollars aren’t involved.

The bulk of that funding is proposed to be spent on a long list of projects during the next fiscal year, mainly including major building and equipment needs at City Hall, Reeves Community Center and elsewhere.

Brinkley implied that city officials should have found some way within the budget parameters to reduce property taxes rather than increase spending on items that do not directly help local residents.

“You are here to make changes and improvements that will benefit all citizens of Mount Airy, and I say all — not the few here and there.”

The former commissioner added, “I see many on this board making your decisions, and forgive me for saying this, in a vacuum,” and not “looking at the needs of all the citizens.”

Brinkley punctuated her comments with stern criticism.

“I’m just going to say, shame on you,” Brinkley told the commissioners at one point, warning that some would be held accountable come ballot time in November.

“Elections are on the horizon — voters are putting their eyes on those running that are honest and will keep their word, those committed to tax cuts,” she said.

“If I stepped on toes, I apologize,” Brinkley concluded in her remarks to city officials. “If you felt anything, maybe you had a little conscience from what I said.”

Ironically, Brinkley was on the city council the last time property taxes were raised, in June 2018 when the rate jumped from 48 to 60 cents. Before that, the last tax increase had occurred in 2007.

Part of the 2018 hike was due to Brinkley’s insistence that city firefighters get a raise.

For the next fiscal year, full-time municipal employees are recommended to receive a $1,500 increase.

Brinkley was up for re-election in 2019, but chose not to run for a third term.

Instead Marie Wood successfully campaigned that year for the South Ward seat held by Brinkley and in addition to serving as a commissioner is the city’s mayor pro tem, or vice mayor, who presides in the absence of the chief executive.

With Mayor Ron Niland not attending the last council meeting when Brinkley spoke, it fell to Wood to respond to Brinkley’s address — including her belief that now is not the time to reduce taxes.

Based on Wood’s statements, this is because the municipality is facing a financial crunch the same as private consumers.

“Things are going up — they are not going down,” she said of prices.

In her opinion, “it will be impossible to cut taxes — in this environment,” Wood added.

“Would I love to have my taxes cut? Absolutely,” she said. “But I don’t see that as a possibility — I’m saying I just don’t.”

• A Virginia woman was the victim of a recent break-in of a motor vehicle in Mount Airy, according to city police reports.

The crime was discovered on June 5 at a residence in the 1200 block of Greenhill Road, which involved an undisclosed sum of money and a portable battery charger valued at $30 being stolen from an unsecured vehicle. The owner of the property was identified as Charlotte Pamela Cloud of Robin Ridge Road in Cana.

• Michelle O’Rourke Brown, 54, of 211 Locklear St., was jailed without privilege of bond on the evening of June 7 for her alleged violation of a protective order. It had been filed by Surry County authorities the day before, with Linda Malmquist of Brindle Road in Dobson listed as the complainant.

A warrant in the matter was served on Brown at Mount Airy Bowling Lanes. She is scheduled to appear in District Court on June 28.

• Michael Edward Salisbury, 20, of 3411 Meadowbrook Road in Cana, Virginia, was served with an outstanding criminal summons for a charge of injury to real property on June 4, after officers responded to a call of an intoxicated pedestrian at Walmart.

Further investigation revealed Salisbury to be the subject of that summons, which had been issued on Feb. 18 with no other details listed. The case is set for Wednesday’s session of District Court.

• Police learned on June 1 that a break-in had occurred at a vacant residence on Fairlane Drive owned by Nancy Marion of that street. Household goods were stolen during the incident, with no loss figure supplied.

The hogs ran loose from Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy this past weekend as the First Mount Airy Men’s Shelter Summer Festival Motorcycle Ride took place to help raise money for the cause. It was the first of its kind event for the charity, whose organizers hope to open a year-round homeless shelter for men in need in Mount Airy.

The reason for the festival was to bring awareness to and raise needed funds for the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter. Since she began speaking to groups such as the Rotary Club of Mount Airy last fall, Ann Simmons has been leading a team on a mission to secure land, break ground, and open doors of a dedicated shelter.

While the target need is for single men, she has said that there should be room available, if possible, for homeless men who may have children, or families in need. It is something that she feels she was called to do to improve the lives of others.

Under a bright sun the field along West Lebanon Street was filled with dozens of vendors selling their wares. Kids had bounce castle options which is always a good position for them to be in. As the adults wandered through the stalls more than one jealous eye was cast toward a flagon of refreshing strawberry lemonade or a tasty looking Aunt Bea’s sandwich.

With the sounds of Santo Chessari Jr. belting out the hits of Neil Diamond and local talent Kinston Nichols serenading with a range from Sinatra to Green Day, it was an all-ages affair.

Dancers entertained the crowd from Danceworks as well as the Surry and Carroll County Dance Centers who were recently featured at the Daytona 500. Kids ran loose as raffles were held for golf clubs and an outdoor griddle that was drawing lots of attention.

The main draw was the motorcycle ride though and after some safety instructions and prayer from Ron Mathews, more than 60 bikes rolled off as their throaty engines called for all in attendance to turn their heads and see.

Organizers of the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter are working toward building a facility on West Lebanon Street that would be near the Daymark Treatment center. They want to be able to house single men, men with children, and families out of the elements be it the heat and humidity of the summer, or freezing temperatures in winter.

The founders want to help the homeless by having a “safe and secure place to lay their heads with hot meals readily available.” The end goal is a year-round full-time facility where they can provide access to health resources, job skills training, money management/budgeting, public relations skills training, and access to regular meetings to help those with substance use disorder.

Offering more than just a pillow or a meal, the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter wants to help men transition back to what many of them desire: independent living. With counseling, skills classes, meetings, and a location across the street from one of the area’s major treatment centers — the shelter has the potential to significantly change lives.

The founders also point to a potential long-term savings to the taxpayers of Surry County. “Part of their mission states that ‘The community endures the cost if we do not provide for and address the issues of male homelessness in Surry County.’”

Costs can get passed back to the community when the homeless are arrested for trespassing on a cold night. Or, when one arrives to the emergency department at Northern Regional Hospital, they will not be turned away from not having health insurance; the hospital will have to recoup those costs somehow.

The recently begun Strengthening Systems for North Carolina Children program is looking at these issues, such as homelessness, as traumatic factors that can have a negative impact on a child. The Mount Airy Men’s Shelter could be one of the potential mitigation solutions to remove the adverse childhood experience of homelessness from that child. Also, the skills training may be the plus-one addition that a parent needs to break their cycle of unemployment.

Simmons knows those are the potential long-term outcomes, but she managed to keep her eyes focused on what is right ahead of her over the weekend. For her event she said, “The best part of the day were the tireless volunteers who came and helped out, the Aunt Beas crew who donated and served food.”

“Thanks to Santos who kept the music going and Kinston Nichols who put on a great performance — I hear he’s ready to put a band together,” she offered. “The girls dance teams from Danceworks Inc, Surry County Dance Center and Carroll County Dance Center, were all really good. I don’t think I ever moved that much as a child.”

What The Mount Airy Men’s Shelter founders have done is identify a need, one that has a target audience and a goal to help the homeless help themselves. To get the fundraising ball moving for them this past weekend’s Summer Festival helped bring in some funds they will use to move forward. “We are all exhausted but super happy for all the exposure for the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter.”

In the interim they will continue to help with food services for the homeless and being an advocate for those in need. More information and ways to help the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter can be found at: www.mountairymensshelter.com.

Seven area youths got a chance to paint, build their own rockets, test out parachuting, and release butterflies from downtown during the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History’s STEM Jr. Camp.

Cassandra Johnson, program and education director at the museum, said many of the activities were designed to be hands on, and meant to connect science with history.

“There’s not a lot of connection between science and history in the classroom,” she said recently. Johnson planned last week’s camp activities to show how important science is today, and how vital it was to pioneers settling the region in centuries past.

While the STEM camp is over, there will be other opportunities for area youth to attend the museum’s summer activity camps.

The next session will be the Explorers Camp June 20-June 24, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day, for ages 8 to 13.

“If your child is more about being outside and hands-on, this is really the camp that I recommend,” she said. “We’ll have a butterfly display, a butterfly release, we’ll go down to Riverside Park one day, we’ll be learning basic things about bird watching, local plants, bees…making a compass…a sun dial, a little about star charting and navigating,” all skills settlers to the region and earlier residents would have used and needed.

The cost of the camps for the general public is $100, with additional children in a family getting a $10 discount for the week. For museum members, she said the cost is discounted $20, so one child would cost $80, additional children from the same family would cost $70.

Johnson said parents should pack a snack for their child each, because there is a brief snack period each day. For more information about the camps, or the museum, call 336-786-4478 or visit the website at https://www.northcarolinamuseum.org/

JJ Jones Intermediate School recently learned it has been certified and named as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by FranklinCovey Education.

“This recognition is evidence that the school has produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing the Leader in Me process with fidelity and excellence,” the Mount Airy City Schools system said. “It is also because of the extraordinary impact the school is having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community.”

Leader in Me is an evidence-based PK-12 model, developed in partnership with educators, designed to build perseverance and leadership in students, create a high-trust culture, and help improve academic achievement. This model equips students, educators, and families with the leadership and life skills needed to thrive, adapt, and to contribute in a dynamic world.

With Leader in Me, students learn to become self-aware, interdependent, take initiative, plan ahead, set and track goals, do their homework, prioritize their time, be considerate of others, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, find creative solutions, value differences, live a balanced life, and contribute to society.

“Our school is honored to be recognized as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School,” said Principal Chelsy Payne. “The Leader in Me has helped our students, staff, and families with setting goals, tracking progress, and celebrating success. In addition, it has allowed us to invest in students’ leadership roles and give back to the greater community. One of my favorite aspects of The Leader in Me is Student Led Conferences. I appreciate how being a Lighthouse School empowers us to shed a beacon of light and make a positive difference for the future.”

“We are thrilled to recognize Jones Intermediate as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School,” said Sean Covey, president of FranklinCovey Education. “Schools who achieve this Lighthouse Certification are great examples of a strong leadership model , and of what it means to be a Leader in Me school. This school has experienced incredible results by implementing the principles and practices related to Leader in Me. And we are so pleased and honored to be their partner and to celebrate the success they are experiencing.”

Since its official launch nearly a decade ago, more than 5,000 public, private, and charter schools across 50 countries have adopted the Leader in Me process, while nearly 600 schools have achieved the Lighthouse Certification. It is earned by schools that demonstrate the following:

● The principal, school administration and staff engage in ongoing learning and develop as leaders, while championing leadership for the school;

● Leadership principles are effectively taught to all students through direct lessons, integrated approaches, and staff modeling. Students are able to think critically about and apply leadership principles;

● Families and the school partner together in learning about the 7 Habits and leadership principles through effective communication and mutual respect;

● The school community is able to see leadership in the physical environment, hear leadership through a common language, and feel leadership through a culture of caring, relationships, and affirmation;

● Leadership is shared with students through a variety of leadership roles and student voice leads to innovations within the school;

● Schoolwide, classroom, family and community leadership events provide authentic environments to celebrate leadership, build culture, and allow students to practice leadership skills;

● The school utilizes the 4DX process to identify and track progress toward Wildly Important Goals for the school, classroom, and staff;

● Students lead their own learning with the skills to assess their needs, set appropriate goals, and carry out action plans. They track progress toward goals in Leadership Notebooks and share these notebooks with adults in student-led conferences;

● Teacher planning and reflection, trusting relationships, and student-led learning combine to create environments for highly engaged learning.

There were plenty of friendly, knowledgeable folks to be found along the Mount Airy Blooms tour of gardens — but the real stars of that event were the plants.

Those taking in the tour Saturday were treated to a colorful and imaginative showcase of gardens at local residences — eight in all — plus a variety of informative displays by Surry County Master Gardeners at what is known as the Blue House, located downtown.

Visits to the different stops occurred on a self-guided basis, which produced steady traffic during the morning and afternoon hours, with a common theme evident at each location: an appreciation for greenery and beauty that highlighted the joys of gardening.

“When I’m in my garden, I’m in a different zone,” explained Carla Kartanson, whose home on North Main Street was one of the tour stops.

“It’s my spiritual time,” Kartanson added, when she can escape the pressures of the outside world and achieve a sense of comfort while working with or simply enjoying the plants — one going hand in hand with a certain mental state.

“I think you have to put yourself in a zone.”

While inspiring others to take up the gardening hobby and make the community a greener, more attractive place, the Mount Airy Blooms tour also emphasized how one can utilize whatever space is available — regardless of light and other factors.

That is certainly true at Kartanson’s home featuring a well-positioned site with southern-exposure chock full of flowering plants, including a colorful display of zinnias.

“I was inspired by Herb’s,” she said of nearby resident Herb Mason, whose home also was part of Saturday’s tour, with Kartanson a first-time participant in the event.

“The irises were already here when I moved here,” Kartanson said of relocating about 4.5 years ago from Texas, where she lived for a lengthy period and worked in the homebuilding field, after growing up in this area. Her flower garden also includes such varieties as Easter lilies, gerbera daisies, lantana and others.

But one thing Kartanson wanted visitors to take away from Saturday’s tour was the fact that lack of sunlight needn’t be a hindrance to plant growth. That is evident with her front yard facing the busy North Main Street, a shaded area where grass would not even grow well, she discovered upon moving here.

Though some homeowners purposely provide alternate landscaping just to avoid mowing their lawns, it was a necessity in Kartanson’s case. She researched plant species that thrived under low-light conditions and the result is a well-arranged grouping of mulched beds bearing rhododendron, azaleas and similar varieties that collectively create an attractive, engaging spot.

Kartanson has been involved in gardening for about 40 years, since “I first got married and started moving around and bought homes.”

Before returning to her native area, Kartanson lived in Dallas, in a gated community where yards were strictly regulated — fostering what she indicated was a state of conformity and uniformity that discouraged free-form gardening.

She was happy to move to the home in Mount Airy where her creative energies can run free.

In addition to picking up plant tips from the various residences along the tour, participants were treated to a one-stop, virtual oasis of educational exhibits at the Blue House of the Gilmer-Smith Foundation at 615 N. Main St.

About five different stations were set up at tents in the back yard there by Master Gardeners, including a display of live plants native to the area and one showcasing container gardening.

At another location, visitors were warned about the dangers of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species that is steadily encroaching on this region. That insect is a known pest of grapes, apples, maples, oaks and others.

On a less-menacing note, Tasha Greer of Lowgap, a Master Gardener for six years and also an author, displayed and answered questions about an array of edible plants she brought along, such as garlic, kale, artichokes and breadseed poppy.

Saturday’s tour was presented by Mount Airy garden clubs, with Event Coordinator Anne Webb pleased with the turnout for the every-other-year attraction.

Proceeds from Mount Airy Blooms will benefit several appearance projects locally, including the rose garden at Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home and restoration of grounds at the historic Moore House.

Money also is targeted for the maintenance and upkeep of a mini-garden and fountain at the junction of North Main and Renfro streets and maintenance for a pollinator garden on South Main Street near the Municipal Building.

Another beneficiary will be exceptional children’s classes at B.H. Tharrington Primary School, for which special programming is to be provided.

Northern Regional Hospital recently awarded the 2022 Robin Hardy Hodgin Education Scholarship to two area students pursuing a career in the healthcare field. Each will receive a $5,000 scholarship.

Liszbhet Hernandez, of Mount Airy, and Kylie Bruner, of Pilot Mountain, were the two scholarship recipients.

Liszbhet is a 2022 graduate of Surry County Early College High School and will attend UNC-Charlotte in the fall to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing. Lizbhet’s aspirations for healthcare began at a young age, and she has volunteered at Dunmoore Plantation Assisted Living Alzheimer’s Care Unit and at Surry Medical Ministries.

“I was overjoyed to learn I had been chosen for this award, and I am thankful and grateful,” she said. “This scholarship will help me with my overall cost of tuition and books. I plan to use this scholarship towards my books and with the money that is leftover, I’ll pay off my tuition. I plan to be driven to succeed in the future and winning this scholarship will help me be one step closer to achieving my goal to become a nurse.”

Kylie is a 2022 graduate of East Surry High School and plans to begin her studies to become a nurse practitioner at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall. She is working as a certified nursing assistant in Northern Regional Hospital’s Pre-Apprentice Program. Bruner has aspired to a career in healthcare since the age of 6, when she lost two of her grandparents to cancer.

“The scholarship provided to me by the Robin Hardy Hodgin Scholarship Fund will benefit me by providing a slight relief from the added stress of paying for college. I am so thankful to become a recipient of this scholarship because I feel valued and held to a great honor being chosen by the scholarship committee. As I embark on my educational nursing journey, the Robin H. Hodgin scholarship allows me to go to college more empowered and with less worry about the cost of my education,” she said.

Historically, the foundation has awarded 10 individual $1,000 scholarships, but this year, the committee chose to award two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to two graduates, screened and selected by a team of hospital leaders. The scholarship can be used to cover the cost of tuition, books, and supplies for selected students who enroll in accredited healthcare programs in the areas of nursing, pharmacy, or other allied-health professions. The scholarship, established in the 201-2020 school year, has already awarded $28,000 to support local graduates going into a healthcare field.

“This valuable program provides a much-needed helping hand to deserving students who have chosen to pursue fulfilling careers in healthcare while honoring the distinguished and ongoing career of Robin Hodgin, one of the most gifted and committed nursing leaders we have at Northern Regional Hospital,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and chief executive officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “It is one of the numerous ways Northern provides support for our local youth, and exemplifies our commitment to education.”

Northern Regional Hospital established the scholarship program in October 2019, named in honor of Senior Vice President for Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer Robin H. Hodgin. The scholarship is funded through private donations, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Northern Regional Foundation. The Hospital’s Scholarship Committee awards one-time scholarships for up to 10 eligible students enrolled in a health science degree-granting program at an accredited college or university of their choice.

Scholarships are awarded to prospective students who reside in Surry County and the surrounding region and aspire to a career in nursing or allied-health professions – including respiratory therapy, physical therapy, medical imaging technology, laboratory science, pharmacy, and others.

“I am honored to serve on the scholarship committee for the Robin Hardy Hodgin Education Scholarship,” said Tina Beasley, executive assistant for Northern Regional Hospital. “This scholarship is a testament to the talents and leadership of Northern Regional Hospital’s top nursing executive, Robin Hodgin, who has served our hospital for more than 40 years. This scholarship program is designed to help jumpstart their careers of students pursuing a career in nursing or allied health. Recipients are chosen based on merit, academics, community involvement, and financial need. This year, both recipients ranked in the top 5 of their class and had high GPAs. Both students were involved in many extra-curricular and community activities. Each student received outstanding recommendations from their teachers and school administrators. We have no doubt that both Kylie and Lizbhet will represent Northern Regional Hospital well.”

For more information about the Robin Hardy Hodgin Scholarship Fund, about Northern Regional Hospital Foundation, and to donate, visit wearenorthern.org.

Unlike others who serve Mount Airy in highly visible positions, city Planning Board members often labor in relative obscurity while playing important roles — but efforts were undertaken to ensure one member’s contributions didn’t go unnoticed.

Jeannie Studnicki recently was honored during a city council meeting for her volunteerism as a member of the Mount Airy Planning Board for nearly seven years — the last two as its chairman.

Studnicki’s present term on that board will expire this year and she is not eligible for reappointment due to serving the maximum time allowed.

The planning group is an advisory board to the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners on growth-related matters such as rezoning and annexation requests.

It analyzes present and emerging land-development trends and activities and recommends plans, policies and ordinances designed to maximize opportunities for growth while promoting public health, safety, morals and welfare.

The Planning Board gets first crack at zoning and land-use issues coming before the municipality which prove controversial at times, taking preliminary action on such matters in making recommendations to the commissioners for final decisions.

Studnicki has a marketing background and other business expertise, which has included being responsible for spearheading extensive and sustainable growth strategies for Fortune 500 companies.

She grew up in Ontario, Canada, and came to New York as a student-athlete before eventually making her way to Mount Airy.

Studnicki has taken a special interest in historic-preservation efforts while serving with the Planning Board. That included taking a lead role in recent years to have areas of Mount Airy with architecturally valuable sites added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“We have been very fortunate to have a person of your capabilities serving the city of Mount Airy,” Mayor Ron Niland told Studnicki during a late-May council meeting when she received a certificate of appreciation for her work with the planning group.

“That’s going to be a big void to fill on that board,” Niland added in reference to Studnicki’s departure. “So we want to recognize her for the invaluable contribution she has made while serving on our Planning Board.”

In remarks afterward, Studnicki — who joined that group in 2015 when she was appointed to an initial three-year term as the replacement for N.A. Barnes, who rotated off — mentioned that this also has been a good experience for her.

“It’s been a special time,” she said. “I have learned so much.”

A spirit of community was evident in her response to being honored by the city government.

“I’ve lived here for quite a while now,” Studnicki said of Mount Airy, where she has made a contribution in other volunteer roles in addition to the planning group.

“And it’s nice to be able to contribute to its success and its growth.”

In this day and age, most people will rarely have to use the services of their local funeral home, which is something to be grateful for. But that wasn’t always the case, and the public’s interaction with these businesses used to be much more prevalent — funeral homes used to also function as a basic ambulance service, and provided an early form of life insurance.

Before the mid 1800s, the care of the recently deceased was left up to the family. It was up to them to build coffins and sometimes even dig the graves. Times were harsh, living and working conditions were poor, which led to high mortality rates. Families preparing their deceased loved ones for burial was a common occurrence.

Luckily, for much of recent history, these duties can be designated to funeral homes, allowing the family to mourn without the added trauma. However, preparing for funerals has not always been the sole duty of funeral homes; they have historically fulfilled other roles in their communities.

Starting in the 1800s, funeral homes also fulfilled the essential service of transporting the sick and injured, much like a modern emergency medical service. Before the Surry County EMS program began in 1974, many funeral homes in Surry County had their own ambulances. Though it may seem strange to us now, it was a practical choice, as funeral directors were already on call 24/7 for funeral purposes. More importantly, hearses could be easily adapted to both function as hearses and ambulances due to their design and their size.

One of the first records of a hearse in Mount Airy is from 1892. Totten and Poole funeral home, which would eventually become Moody’s funeral home, was the first to purchase a hearse for the community.

In 1935, Ashburn and Calloway Funeral Home, having recently moved into its remodeled building on Pine Street, replaced its old combination ambulance and funeral coach with a new Chrysler. The vehicle was picked up by co-owner JE Calloway in Ohio and driven back to Mount Airy, where it was put on display for the public to view. An advertisement for this car promoted that it was equipped with hot and cold running water, electric fans for the summer, heating for the winter, and all first aid equipment that could be needed.

Another local establishment, Hennis Funeral Home, located on North Main Street and opened in 1942, advertised its ambulance service in 1942 as being available day or night, and only costing $2.50 for calls within the city.

In 1938, Moody’s Funeral Home purchased a new $4,000 Buick ambulance. With 140 horsepower, it was finished with a solid leather interior and was air conditioned. Moody’s went beyond the conventional ambulance, and as of 1946, was also the Surry County and surrounding territory representative for the Air-Ambulance Service of Durham. The planes were advertised as the “first fully organized aerial ambulance service in the US.” The air ambulance was said to be able to transport the sick and injured to any part of the US within hours and had a nurse in attendance on all flights.

The community was also served by Mutual Burial Associations, an organization under which subscribers could pay a fee which would collectively go toward the funeral costs of the association’s members. Locally, the Harrison Mutual Burial Association operated out of both Hannah Funeral Home and Moody’s. In 1931, the association paid for at least 80 members’ funerals in 1931, each costing between $50-$100. (between $951 to almost $2,000 today). Membership for Harrison Mutual Burial Association was a 25 cent fee in 1936, up from 10 cents in 1932.

Moody’s in Mount Airy’s is the longest operating funeral home. Its origins date back to the 1870s, when Bob Totten operated a coffin and furniture business in Mount Airy. When E.A. Hannah moved to the area from Indiana, he purchased Totten’s business, officially starting the business that would become Moody’s in 1902.

Wade Moody began working at what was then called “E.A. Hannah Harness and Coffins” in 1915 at the age of just 19 with a salary of $25 a month. Less than a decade later, Moody would become co-owner of the business along with D.E. Nelson, before becoming sole owner in 1932. After World War II devastated an untold number of families, the home was staffed for the most part by veterans of both world wars. Wade Moody was known at the time for playing a leading role in the local posts of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. As an article from 1948 states “Moody’s is not only an undertaker’s establishment but also the center of many civic affairs and ventures.” The business remains in the family to this day.

Katherine “Kat” Jackson is a staff member at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. Originally from Australia she now lives in King. She can be reached at the museum at 336-786-4478.

• An Ararat woman was jailed Tuesday on charges stemming from a break-in at a local flea market last month, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.

Shawn Phalen Murphy, 37, of 226 Pearman Lane, was encountered by investigating officers at the scene of the crime on May 15, a storage building at Bonnie Lou’s Flea Market on Carter Street, where Jose Guadalupe Padron of Hemmings Street in Dobson was the victim of the breaking and entering — but fled as they approached.

Murphy was located by police Tuesday at a Welch Road location and arrested on warrants for charges filed the day of the incident on Carter Street, including felonious breaking and entering of a building along with three misdemeanors: resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer; possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana); and attempted larceny.

The Ararat woman also is facing unrelated charges, including four counts of failing to appear in court, issued Tuesday; a larceny charge filed by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office on May 15; and a second-degree trespassing violation, May 12. Murphy was incarcerated under a $13,300 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in District Court on Monday.

• A costly piece of equipment was discovered stolen Wednesday morning from a parking lot at a construction site in the 1900 block of Caudle Drive. The Stihl Cutquik concrete saw owned by Wemco Contracting Inc. of Siloam Road, Dobson — orange in color and valued at $1,000 — was taken from a tool box.

• Kimberlee Monik Duncan, 41, of Pfafftown, was charged with first-degree trespassing on June 2 after allegedly refusing to leave a residence in the 500 block of Worth Street, from which she had been banned the same day in connection with a domestic investigation.

Duncan was released under a $1,000 unsecured bond to appear in Surry District Court on July 25.

• Two people were jailed on May 31 after police responded to a breaking and entering call at a residence in the 900 block of West Pine Street, where records indicated that glass windows were broken to gain entry.

Hannah Marie Schmidt, 28, and Timothy Travis Hicks, 45, both listed as homeless, are each charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering, with Schmidt additionally accused of possessing methamphetamine, a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hicks also was found to be the subject of an outstanding arrest order for failing to appear in court which had been filed in June 2021. Both were confined in the Surry County Jail under $500 secured bonds and are to appear in District Court on July 25.

Christine Reece of Oak Ridge is listed as the victim of the illegal entry.

• A break-in was discovered on May 31 at the home of Jose Elias Rivera Reyes on Factory Street. Glass in a screen door was broken and a locked wooden door forced open in order to gain entry. Nothing was listed as stolen, but the property damage totaled $400.

• A case of financial card fraud was reported on May 30, which involved an apparently known individual using card information of Patty Sue Morton, a Newsome Street resident, to make an online payment without her permission.

The crime, for which the monetary loss was not listed, remained under investigation at last report.

• April Elizabeth Warren, 46, of 240 Starlite Road, No. 105, was jailed without privilege of bond on May 27, when she allegedly hit her boyfriend, Steven Erik McIntire of the same address, in the head with a lamp, fled from officers who responded to the domestic disturbance and subsequently was found with meth.

After allegedly running from the scene on foot and refusing to comply with police orders to stop, Warren was subdued and found with a small glass bottle containing the crystal-like substance.

She is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a felony; assault with a deadly weapon; resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer; and possession of drug paraphernalia. Warren is slated for a July 11 court appearance.

Mount Airy City Schools Educational Foundation recently held its first dinner aimed at raising money for “innovative programming” throughout the district. The night was met with celebrated success as the ballroom of Cross Creek Country Club was packed with more than 150 individuals ready to support children.

Superintendent Dr. Kim Morrison welcomed the group and explained how the foundation came to be and what it would support.

“Our amazing Board of Education had the foresight to support an educational foundation that will ensure our innovative programs continue for generations to come. We are overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from the community to support these efforts and we are blessed to be in Mount Airy with such a great community of people who really care about the success of Mount Airy City Schools.”

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Phillip Brown served as the evening’s MC and introduced the various students who performed throughout the event.

The district’s dual language immersion program, Language Leaders, was represented by kindergarteners from BH Tharrington Primary School. Students sang and danced while the salad was being served.

JJ Jones Intermediate School’s Melody Makers followed with two songs and were led by Hollie Heller. During the serving of the main course, students shared their experiences in career and technical education and how the program has provided unique opportunities and connections for them.

Following the testimonials were individual student performances from middle school student Luca Livengood and high school student Angel Rivera accompanied by Meredith Dowdy, Mount Airy High School music teacher. During dessert, Mount Airy Middle School’s Chorus, led by Jennifer Riska, performed three songs. Students involved in Mount Airy Middle School’s Interact Club escorted guests to tables and selling raffle tickets for the foundation.

Career and Technical Education Director Olivia Sikes, Career Development Coordinator Catrina Alexander, foundation treasurer Lesa Hensley, and foundation board member Ellie Webb coordinated the event while foundation board members served as table hosts. At the close of the evening, $42,000 had been raised toward the $50,000 goal.

Sikes shared, “Community involvement has always been a key factor to the success of our students. This event was yet another example of how blessed we are to serve in such a supportive community. Because of this support, students will continue to learn through innovative programming and enriched learning experiences.”

The creation of this foundation provides the district with a third way that individuals can give. “Three Ways to Give” includes the Mount Airy Youth Foundation, alumni support through Mount Airy High School, and the Mount Airy City Schools Education Foundation. Each method of giving has a targeted purpose:

1. The youth foundation has been around for years and supports athletics in the district while also providing all students and staff with yearly passes to athletic events;

2. The alumni giving through the high school goes toward a designated project at the school. Funds from the alumni go toward a memorial being designed and built at the corner of N. South Street and Orchard Street to honor graduates who have served in the military. Once that project is complete, a new one will be presented;

3. The educational foundation will serve as an avenue for donors to give to the district’s art programs, dual language immersion program, and CTE/workforce development programs.

“I was thrilled with the support of the community and the willingness to get behind the foundation during its early stages,” said Education Foundation Chair Kyle Leonard. “I am so excited for the future and how the foundation will benefit all MACS kids towards their future. This is a special time for MACS and the future looks bright.”

Anyone wishing to help the foundation reach their $50,000 goal can drop donations at the Community Central Office located at 351 Riverside Drive. Checks need to be written to the Mount Airy High School Education Foundation.

© 2018 The Mount Airy News