HomePRKSCC hosting virtual event on free college classes - Mount Airy News

SCC hosting virtual event on free college classes – Mount Airy News

Rising high school juniors and seniors who are interested in earning college credit, tuition free, are invited to Surry Community College’s Career and College Promise Virtual Event on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.
“Surry Community College, in partnership with Surry and Yadkin counties, Elkin and Mount Airy city schools and Millennium Charter Academy, offers high school students opportunities to complete a college credential before graduating from high school,” said Melissa Recknor, director of student success and academic advising at the college. “The Career and College Promise Program (CCP) offers free tuition to high school juniors, seniors, and under classmen identified as AIG (Academically or Intellectually Gifted), while enrolled at their traditional high school.
“CCP is also available to homeschool students. The purpose of this virtual meeting is to discuss CCP, the different programs offered, important deadlines, and answer questions that the community may have,” she said.
Those interested in joining the meeting can go to [bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022]bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022. More information about CCP programs can be found at surry.edu/ccp. For any further questions or information, contact Recknor at 336-386-3628 or [email protected]
Color for the March garden
Our ancestors knew
March 09, 2022
Dobson Elementary recently participated in Kids Heart Challenge. The fundraiser was a success, raising $3,814.16 for the American Heart Association.
The Top School Money Earner was Logan Norman. He received a sports equipment package for being the overall earner.
The Top Grade Level Earners were Logan Norman in fifth grade, Maddux Atkins for fourth grade, Gracein Hodges in third grade, Aaron Johnson in second grade, Cameron Whitaker for first grade, and William Quance in kindergarten. They will each receive one week of their favorite special area class.
Siomara Baltazar’s fifth grade class was the Top Class Earner, winning a pizza party.
Each student who raised $5 or more got an ice cream sandwich during PE the week of the celebration and got to participate in some fun activities that promote healthy heart development.
March 09, 2022
Mount Airy Rotarians recently visited Tharrington Primary Students came to read with them for the first time since the 2019-2020 school year.
The Rotarians used to regularly visit the school, but have been unable to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group returned in style using the Blue Bear Bus. For the first time, the Blue Bear was introduced to students. The Blue Bear and Rotarians exited the bus, met with students, and the parade entered BHT to begin reading.
March 09, 2022
An electrical construction company based in Mount Airy has been fined $43,506 stemming from the deaths of two young employees in Alabama last year, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The penalties against Pike Electric, LLC resulted from a federal workplace safety investigation into the fatal electrocutions of the 19-year-old apprentices in Adger, Alabama, about 23 miles southwest of Birmingham, on Aug. 31.
Officials say the incident occurred while they were working on a 7,200-volt electric distribution line to restore power after a severe summer storm.
The OSHA announcement did not name the victims, but the 19-year-olds were identified in an Associated Press report as Eli Nathaniel Babb of Kellyton, Alabama, and Layton River Ellison of Alexandria.
Investigators with OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, determined that Pike Electric allowed the two apprentices to repair a downed line without ensuring the removal of all jumpers from the power source.
The company also failed to train workers to competently recognize electrical hazards and know the required safety procedures to address the existing hazards, their investigation revealed.
It further found that their employer might have prevented the incident by ensuring required safety standards were adhered to, and that adequate supervision and training was provided.
In addition, OSHA reported that the energy services provider failed to have an adequate number of people with first-aid training for the crew as it performed field work on exposed lines and energized equipment.
“Two young people suffered fatal electrocution because Pike Electric, LLC failed to meet their responsibility to ensure a safe and healthful workplace and ensure the proper supervision of new workers,” OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris, of Birmingham, said in a statement.
“Pike Electric should know the steps needed to isolate live electrical sources before making repairs on a downed electrical line and be acutely aware of the dangers,” Morris added. “Not following safety precautions and ensuring workers understand the dangers when lives are on the line is inexcusable.”
The investigation identified three serious violations for which OSHA has proposed $43,506 in penalties.
Pike Electric has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
A call to Pike Electric Wednesday afternoon seeking comment about the case was referred to James Banner, listed as senior vice president of administration for the company located on Pike Way in the Holly Springs community.
Banner did not immediately respond to a voice-mail message left there.
Pike Electric, LLC provides transmission, distribution and substation construction services along with emergency storm response in a number of states, which began with Hurricane Betsy in 1965.
It is a subsidiary of Pike Corp., an electric, gas and telecommunications provider with about 10,000 employees and 100 office locations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees, Tuesday’s announcement mentions.
OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.
In 2020, 126 workers lost their lives from exposure to electricity on the job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
Employment of electricians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, and most workers enter the field through apprenticeship as did the two in Alabama.
March 08, 2022
• A Mount Airy man was jailed on larceny and other charges after a weekend incident at a local convenience store, according to city police reports.
Joey Keith Caudle, 31, of 110 Sheila St., allegedly stole alcoholic beverages, food items and soft drinks with a total value of $76 at Speedway on West Pine Street around 1 a.m. Saturday and was arrested shortly afterward in the area of West Pine and Independence Boulevard nearby.
In addition to larceny, Caudle is accused of possession of stolen goods and second-degree trespassing due to having been banned from Speedway by its management in April 2020.
He was confined in the Surry County Jail under a $500 secured bond and slated for a March 28 appearance in District Court.
• James Glenn Bowman, 75, of 114 Dare Lane, is facing a larceny charge after pushing a shopping cart containing miscellaneous merchandise valued altogether at $524 into the Walmart parking lot last Friday without paying. He was caught and detained by store loss-prevention personnel until police arrived.
Among the items taken were 25 quarts of Castrol Edge high-mileage motor oil, shop towels, a bath faucet, seat covers and a 78mm battery.
Bowman is free on a written promise to appear in Surry District Court on March 21 after signing a $500 appearance bond, police records state.
• Police were told on Feb. 25 that a Motorola Moto G cell phone owned by David Lee Cain of Shamrock Avenue had been stolen by an unknown suspect at Walmart. The phone, described as blue, is valued at $200.
• A woman from Glendale, South Carolina, was reported to have been a victim of an assault by strangulation on Feb. 24 at Holiday Inn Express and Suites on EMS Drive, which also involved interfering with an emergency communication.
Eva M. Vickers advised police that after striking and strangling her, an apparently known suspect prevented her from calling for help. Minor injuries resulted during the incident for which no charges were issued in its immediate aftermath.
• Dwight Eugene Baldwin, 42, of Wilkesboro, was jailed on a felony drug charge and an order for arrest for failure to appear in court stemming from an incident at Walmart where he allegedly stole merchandise valued at $806.
Officers encountered Baldwin during a larceny call on Feb. 23 which involved men’s clothing, toys and children’s clothing and during a probable-cause search of his person a crystal-like substance was found which police records identify as methamphetamine.
Baldwin was charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and larceny, while also being revealed as the subject of an outstanding order for arrest on the court violation which had been issued in Wilkes County on Jan. 11. He was held in the Surry County Jail under a $2,500 secured bond and is scheduled to be in District Court in Dobson on March 28.
• A case involving EBT (electronic benefits transfer) fraud was discovered on Feb. 22 to have occurred at Walmart, where police records indicate that a known individual used the EBT card of Rachel Kay Franklin of Johnson Farm Road at Pilot Mountain to buy items online from the store which subsequently were picked up there.
No loss figure was listed for the crime that was still under investigation at last report.
March 08, 2022
The “jury” is in regarding what should be done about the one-way traffic situation in downtown Mount Airy, which is nothing, according to the results of a recent survey.
It showed that the majority of respondents (44%) “strongly like” the idea of keeping the present two lanes of travel going one way along North Main Street through the central business district, with another 35% liking that setup though not strongly.
Only 16% of respondents dislike the one-way/two-lane traffic and 6% strongly do.
The section of North Main eyed for potential design changes referenced in the survey runs between Independence Boulevard and Pine Street.
Another possible adjustment that has been suggested for this stretch is replacing stoplights now existing along the way with stop signs where feasible, for which the survey showed sizeable support.
Fifty-three percent of those answering the survey either like (28%) or strongly like (25%) that alternative, with the results showing that 47% do not want stoplights replaced.
Early findings of plan
The survey results and other preliminary findings about downtown Mount Airy were presented during a city council meeting last Thursday by staff members of the Benchmark consulting firm that is updating a previous master plan for that area from 2004.
In November, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $67,000 in city funding for the modernized plan toward a total funding commitment to it of about $125,000 — also involving financial input from the group Mount Airy Downtown Inc.
Benchmark has been providing in-house planning-related services to Mount Airy since 2011 through a privatization move, and is receiving the additional funding for the downtown effort above its normal annual contract price.
While the plan won’t be completed until this summer, city officials were updated last week on the progress so far by the Benchmark team. Its report was based on first-hand observations, two days of listening sessions with local residents including downtown stakeholders and the recent survey.
It was accessible to the general public online until Jan. 31, with 481 people responding.
While those administering the survey say that number exceeded an initial goal, Commissioner Jon Cawley pointed out during the meeting that it represents only about 4% of Mount Airy’s population.
In addition to favoring the present one-way traffic setup, respondents, among other preferences:
• Expressed some support for changing to a one-lane/one-way configuration with angled parking and loading zones as an alternative, which a healthy number also dislike. (Benchmark President Jason Epley, who led the presentation, said the support shown for one-way/one-lane traffic contradicted the overall preference for leaving the existing format alone, but offered no explanation.)
• Eighty-three percent of the respondents oppose a change to two-way traffic of one lane each way with loading zones.
• Fifty-three percent strongly favor another oft-mentioned proposal, to bury overhead utility lines, which the Benchmark staff indicates is not feasible due to a high cost — magnified by the possible presence of thick granite below the surface which has undermined many a project.
• Fifty-five percent visit the downtown area several times a week or more, mostly for dining/entertainment, shopping and attending special events.
• While 56% consider downtown Mount Airy great, support was shown for improvements such as expanded schedules for businesses and alternative entertainment opportunities. Having rock concerts at the Earle Theatre instead of just old-time music is one example mentioned which would appeal to younger folks especially.
Parking, transportation misconceptions
The work so far on the master plan update has served to shoot down some common myths, including that downtown Mount Airy lacks sufficient parking.
Most survey respondents believe parking there is either easy (45%) or very easy (18%).
There are 2,343 parking spaces total, based on the presentation, including 232 on-street ones, though Benchmark representatives cite the fact that it might not be exactly where patrons want.
“Certainly there are peak times during the day and weekends when it can be difficult,” Epley said, adding that this might require circling the block to find a spot.
The consultant also mentioned a common problem that seemingly has plagued downtown Mount Airy since the early days of the automobile, on-street spaces being used by owners and/or employees of businesses there.
“There is some issue with cars being parked on the street all day long,” Epley said, “fifteen to 20 cars on any given day.”
He mentioned that capacity could be increased by getting those individuals to park elsewhere.
Another misconception shot down by the study thus far is that the amount of traffic is stressing downtown streets.
Epley said findings show that Independence Boulevard, Pine Street and Renfro, the busiest routes, “could easily handle more volume.”
However, this doesn’t mean there are no danger spots, with the intersection of Pine and Main found to be the most hazardous for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Parents with small children, along with elderly persons, are especially at risk, according to the Benchmark team, which also believes the area as a whole is not conducive to cycling.
But overall, Mount Airy has one of the best downtown environments of any small city in North Carolina, the consultants say, with features including an amphitheater, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History and others.
Both city government and downtown leaders thought it necessary to update the 18-year old study by incorporating new elements to better guide future investments in the central business district, private and public, in a coherent and cost-effective manner.
March 08, 2022
A local woman is facing a long list of forgery and other felony charges stemming from incidents targeting checking and debit accounts of an elderly Mount Airy resident.
Amber Christi Black, 33, of 869 Siloam Road, Mount Airy, is accused of 20 serious charges altogether, according to information released Tuesday about her alleged crimes by city police, who are classifying the case as the exploitation of an elder adult.
Black is accused of stealing, forging and cashing personal checks belonging to Claude Edward Miles Sr., 87, a resident of Durham Street, and using the retiree’s debit card for fraudulent transactions at various locations around town without his consent.
The crimes occurred around the Feb. 21-22 time frame, police say, with an investigation leading to the lengthy slate of felony violations being filed against the woman. She was served with outstanding warrants on the charges at the Mount Airy Police Department Saturday and subsequently confined in the Surry County Jail under a total secured bond of $14,000.
Black is accused of four counts of forgery of instruments, four counts of uttering a forged instrument and 12 counts of financial card fraud.
Miles’ Wells Fargo debit card also was stolen and used to buy items at Walmart, Burkes Outlet, Taco Bell, Roses, an unidentified specialty store at 2123 Rockford St. and an unidentified restaurant at 1406 Edgewood Drive.
The Siloam Road resident is alleged to have forged the victim’s name on four checks from his account with Wells Fargo Bank and cashed them at its branch on North Main Street.
Black obtained a total of $505 using the checks, according to police records, which list no loss total for the transactions involving the debit card.
Police records also contain no information as to the relationship between Black and the victim.
The crimes were reported to authorities by a nearby neighbor of Miles on Durham Street.
Black is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on March 28.
March 08, 2022
A significant next step was taken Monday in the process to save and revitalize the old J. J. Jones High School. Proposals and counters have now moved between the interested parties as the fate of the former all Black high school may find its resolution shortly.
The highlight of the Surry County proposal the county commissioners passed unanimously Monday was a timetable for the county to turn J. J. Jones High over the African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Surry County on June 30, 2022.
Chairman Bill Goins took a moment during the board of commissioners meeting to run through the options that were available both for the public in attendance, and those watching remotely from home, “This is for public consumption.”
As documented, Jones along with Westfield Elementary were added last year to the list of county surplus property. The county could no longer absorb the expenditures of maintenance on buildings of such age while staring down hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations to the county’s high schools in the near future.
The cost of upkeep on schools with a life expectancy of around 50 years was simply more than the county could continue to incur. Surplusing the properties means the county wanted to sell them, and in a timely fashion.
Goins explained a Public-Private-Partnership (P3) between the county and The Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation option was available that would create affordable housing. P3 groups allow the expertise of the private sector to be harnessed for projects that benefit the public good.
This plan contained upfront investment of $1 million, with up to $11 million in total that would create housing and preserve space for YVEDDI services. The P3 would form its own managing LLC to operate the new venture and navigate through state/federal grant funding. They would provide oversight for the historical preservation society, management of the tenants both residential and service providers, along with all other managerial and maintenance services.
“It preserves the building, the African American community has a voice in that process, and it ensures that the African American community has a space in the building. And, if you have a seat at the table, you may have more than what you asked for.
“It creates much needed housing for our community even though some people say we don’t need all that affordable housing — we do. That’s an economic development issue, our young people are leaving because they don’t have anywhere to live. So, it’s an issue to us.”
Last month, the Historical and Genealogical Society made its proposal to save Jones School. Goins explained, “Their main goal is not only to preserve Jones for its current purposes, but they wish to expand it to serve as a multi-cultural center, including education, health, and service resources. As well as affordable housing and artistic endeavors for the future.
“Some of these things go together,” Goins said of the overlapping goals of the P3 model and the Save Jones School proposal. Both seek to give space to the African American community, provide housing, and allow YVEDDI services to remain if they so choose. These issues of tenancy are among those Goins has raise as concerns to the Save Jones group.
The major difference is that Save Jones want ownership of the building and the land to be given to them, as it is part of the Black community’s history.
The county, Goins said, has “listened and we have a proposal, we are not looking for an answer. We think you need to go back and discuss out proposal, you need to have an honest discussion.”
County Manager Chris Knopf walked through the proposal from the county, and it lined up with the proposal from the society in nearly every point. Transfer of the property to the Historical and Genealogical Society, continuation of the leasing agreements with the service providers, and a maintenance budget of up to $60,000 annually through fiscal year 2025. At that time, full maintenance will fall to the new owners.
There are two sticking points where the county plan differs from the society’s plan, one involving Graham Field which will not be able to find successful resolution as that field was just deeded to the City of Mount Airy.
Secondly, the Save Jones group had asked for the sale of the J. J. Jones High to be delayed until 2025, in that area the county sees things differently. The county’s “primary interest is in relinquishing ownership in the near term,” the proposal reads.
A proposal made and countered, the choice now resides in the hands of Historical and Genealogical Society to decide if this is the best course of action. The board has asked the group to discuss and come back to the next commissioners meeting to reply.
Before the board voted on the proposal, Chairman Goins asked some questions that, “I feel that I have to ask as the chairman of the board of commissioners. This is going to be a big undertaking. You have said publicly and on record that you can handle it, and I hope that is the case. You are going to be competing for dollars, with the alumni group and others.
“You will be the owners, and responsible for everything that comes with it: the tenants, will they stay or go; insurance – fire and liability; power and water; maintenance after the county allocation is gone.”
He also questions if the support seen for the Save Jones can sustain itself. “In any organization if you say you have 100 people, and they tell you they’re on board – ten are gonna do the work, I’m being a realist. It’s going to take a substantial amount of money, and it’s going to take a lot of work by more than just ten people.
“I’m 53, almost 54, many of you are older than I am. Who takes over when you can’t do it? These are things to think about.”
March 08, 2022
Eighth grade students from Gentry Middle School recently celebrated “Twosday Tuesday” on Feb. 22.
That date — Feb. 22 — written as 2-22-22 is an example of a Palindrome and occurred as a once-in-a-lifetime date. Math teachers Wendie Gwynn and Kelly Cave planned a Glow Party for their students to enjoy. Students were able to rotate to a variety of activity stations that reinforced important math concepts but with a twist. Every activity either used the digits 2, 0, 2, 2 in the problem or the digits were used to represent part of the answer.
“Students were very engaged in problem-solving and were surprised to experience the many ways 2 can be used in math,” school officials said.
March 08, 2022
Surry Community College is offering an eNotary class for electronic witnessing on March 22, from 1 to 5 p.m.
The course will cover the N.C. Electronic Notary Act, eligibility and registration; the N.C. Notary Act in broad view, electronic notary processes, technology solutions and providers; ethics as they pertain to electronic notarizations, consequences of misconduct, security standards and best practices; and departmental recommendations. To qualify to become a certified electronic notary, participants must hold a valid commission as a notary public in North Carolina.
Tuition for this course is $71. For information about this class or to register, call the Yadkin Center at 336-386-3580.
March 08, 2022
The Faculty Senate of Surry Community College has selected Dr. Kathleen Fowler as the Spring 2022 recipient of the Servant-Leadership Recognition award. She is an English instructor at the college.
The award formally recognizes a faculty member in the fall and spring semesters who exemplifies dedication to the mission of Surry Community College and meritorious service to the college and to the community. Both full and part-time faculty members are eligible after one year of service.
Candidates for the award should be sensitive to the needs of others, bring out the best in others, mentor and encourage self-expression, facilitate personal growth in those who work with them, and focus on achieving the goals of the college. They should also challenge the status quo in striving to solve problems and find new directions as well as uphold and support the mission of the college.
Donald Fowler, assistant director of the Academic Support Center, told Dr. Kathleen Fowler: “For many years, you have consistently gone out of your way to serve the students, faculty, and staff at SCC. You dedicate many hours outside of school to support students through your leadership with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Additionally, your leadership on the Faculty Senate has produced many programs to benefit your fellow employees. From creating a fund for the faculty and staff during moments of tragedy to recognizing our veterans for their sacrificial service to our country, you have done your best to actively help and improve the morale of your fellow employees. You are always willing to help any SCC community member in need, and you have been a mentor to new faculty in the English Department.”
SCC College President Dr. David Shockley said, “I am delighted that Dr. Kathleen Fowler has been recognized by her peers for the tireless and dedicated work that she gives to our students. This is evidenced by her role as an English Instructor and advisor for our internationally recognized Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chapter. Kathleen truly uplifts the lives of our entire community.”
Dr. Kathleen Fowler has been an instructor of English at Surry Community College about 19 years. Before working at SCC, she taught English and literature in Japan for six years. She has served as the president of the Faculty Senate for four and a half years, where she instigated the founding of the Faculty/Staff Emergency fund. She also served as the head of the Gen Ed Writing Committee for six years.
In addition to teaching and serving on committees, Dr. Kathleen Fowler also serves as co-advisor for the college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter. The chapter has earned a 5-Star Chapter status since 2013, received Distinguished Chapter Awards for the Carolinas Region over the last four years, earned recognition as an internationally Distinguished Chapter in 2020 and received thousands of dollars through grants and fundraisers for their local service projects and Honors In Action projects. She was chosen by PTK as a Faculty Scholar for 2021.
An alumna of Surry Community College, Dr. Kathleen Fowler earned an A.A. and an A.S., before going on to Appalachian State University. There, she earned a B.A. with a double major in English and anthropology, and subsequently an M.A. in English. She earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with concentrations in medieval and early modern English literature, as well as rhetoric and composition.
March 07, 2022
More than 200 area people turned out for the annual Surry Arts Council Arts Ball at Cross Creek Country Club on Feb. 18, showing their support for the arts and helping the council pursue a goal of raising $25,000 at the event to fund art programs in area schools.
The gathering featured a Mardi Gras theme that was incorporated through table decorations, booklets, and the silent auction.
“The Surry Arts Council is grateful to Airmont Florist, Cana Mount Airy Florist, and Creative Design Flowers who worked tirelessly to provide elegant centerpieces for the evening,” the agency’s officials said.
The guests enjoyed a seated dinner, live music, and dancing with The Band of Oz, and a silent auction with more than 400 donated items.
“The staff at Cross Creek Country Club went above and beyond with passed hors d’oeuvres and soup followed by a seated dinner featuring filet and salmon with key lime parfait and tiramisu for dessert,” council officials said.
Those who attended the celebration had a chance to meet and speak with local school administrators, who were on hand to greet guests. Dr. DeAnne Danley served as the liaison for Surry County Schools, and Dr. Phillip Brown and Mandy Brown represented the Mount Airy City Schools.
Melissa Sumner coordinated the Arts Ball and worked with Surry Arts Council Board members, school personnel, and volunteers to organize the event, sell tickets and ensure the arts remain a part of area school programming in 25 schools. The auction was successful with items ranging from tickets and gift cards to household items, purses, and jewelry.
This year, thousands of students have already enjoyed arts programming provided by the fundraising from the Arts Ball. In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and South Arts.
The TAPS grant provides support for several hundred students to have a hands-on experience with traditional stringed instruments. Jim Vipperman spends a week in each of three schools introducing students to fiddles, guitars, and Surry County’s traditional music heritage. Students are then able to attend the weekly free year-round lessons at the Historic Earle Theatre every Thursday afternoon if they wish to continue lessons.
Other cultural arts programs provided during the current year include two school performances of “The Nutcracker,” performed by Ballet for Young Audiences, two performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” performed by the Surry Arts Players at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and three performances of “Pout-Pout Fish,” performed by Theatreworks USA, a professional touring company.
Additional programs include “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Have You Filled A Bucket Today,” productions from Virginia Repertory Theatre; two performances of Seussical Jr will be performed by the Surry Arts Players; two musical performances by Sons of Mystro that are funded in part by a grant from South Arts; Mike Wiley will be featured in four performances of “Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart;” along with multiple monthly free movies and additional programs that target students with special needs that are sponsored in part by the United Fund of Surry coupled with Surry Arts Council support.
The Surry Arts Film Festival for Surry County High School and Surry Community College Students will again be hosted at the Earle Theatre and students will have the opportunity to see their work shown in a movie theatre setting.
Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball result in more than 15,000 student contacts during this school year. Students receive free arts programs in their own schools and have the opportunity to bus to the Blackmon Amphitheatre, the Historic Earle Theatre, and the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Students also have field trips to the Andy Griffith Museum, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost. These field trips include guided tours, scavenger hunts, and music.
The Surry Arts Council provides its venues to the schools for holiday and year-end choral and band programs at no cost to the schools. The Surry Arts Council also works with schools to host interns and provide art instruction in both in-school and after-school programs and many other partnerships.
For additional information, contact [email protected] To view additional photos of the event, visit www.surryarts.org.
March 07, 2022
Rising high school juniors and seniors who are interested in earning college credit, tuition free, are invited to Surry Community College’s Career and College Promise Virtual Event on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.
“Surry Community College, in partnership with Surry and Yadkin counties, Elkin and Mount Airy city schools and Millennium Charter Academy, offers high school students opportunities to complete a college credential before graduating from high school,” said Melissa Recknor, director of student success and academic advising at the college. “The Career and College Promise Program (CCP) offers free tuition to high school juniors, seniors, and under classmen identified as AIG (Academically or Intellectually Gifted), while enrolled at their traditional high school.
“CCP is also available to homeschool students. The purpose of this virtual meeting is to discuss CCP, the different programs offered, important deadlines, and answer questions that the community may have,” she said.
Those interested in joining the meeting can go to [bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022]bit.ly/CCPVirtual2022. More information about CCP programs can be found at surry.edu/ccp. For any further questions or information, contact Recknor at 336-386-3628 or [email protected]
March 07, 2022
RALEIGH — Early voting sites will be located in all four municipalities of Surry County for an upcoming primary, the North Carolina State Board of Elections decided Monday morning in a 4-1 vote.
While such actions on polling sites usually occur at the local level, an attempt by the Surry County Board of Elections to do so at a meeting in Dobson on Feb. 9 had failed.
The board voted 3-2 then to operate four one-stop early voting sites — in Dobson, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain and Elkin — matching the number for the last election in November 2020, which followed another 3-2 vote against having just the Dobson location.
But since that outcome, made along party lines, to open all four for the May 17 primary wasn’t unanimous, the state board was required to settle the matter, which occurred Monday morning during a meeting in Raleigh accessible via Facebook.
A representative of both sides of the Surry issue — the minority and majority positions — was allotted time to express his opinion before the State Board of Elections members.
Democrat Clark Comer, one of three members of that party on the county elections board, was selected to represent the majority and Republican Jerry Forestieri, the minority position. Forestieri is one of two GOP members of the Surry group.
State board of elections members seemed to be swayed by information Comer presented about the demographics of Surry County, especially Stella Anderson, who said these were similar to her home county of Watauga.
Comer indicated that maintaining sites in all four municipalities would provide a convenient means of casting ballots by members of all population groups spread across the county, including African-Americans, while not favoring any political party.
Forestieri focused on the cost-per-vote involved with providing all four locations.
As a supporter of the much-debated voter ID provision, which is not a requirement at this time, Forestieri also has been concerned about the security of elections. He says this could be magnified by having more than just the one state-mandated early voting location, at the Surry Board of Elections in Dobson.
Comer attempted to counter the security issue when offering his comments after Forestieri spoke.
“Our belief in safe elections is important to us,” he said of Surry officials as a whole.
The state board also seem to put much stock in the fact that funding for the four sites in Surry already has been budgeted for 2022.
Surry Director of Elections Michella Huff, who was subjected to questioning about this by the state board, confirmed that the budget for this year was based on the one for the 2020 general election with the full slate of locations.
This led immediately to a motion being introduced by one of the state board members to approve all four early voting sites in Surry, which was approved.
Surry was not the only locality where non-unanimous one-stop early voting plans were decided Monday, with others scheduled involving Bladen, Chatham, Columbus, Gates, Lincoln and Pasquotank counties.
March 06, 2022
The Surry County Board of County Commissioners meeting tonight has already drawn the attention of the public. Word has begun to spread of a line item found on the agenda: Jones School Property Transfer.
The county manager’s office said this morning, “The County Manager has submitted a proposal for the Board to consider tonight following the Board Retreat. No additional offers have been received since the Board Retreat.”
“Jones School Property Transfer,” four simple words may end the lingering questions surrounding the fate of the beloved shuttered J. J. Jones High School, which was added to the surplus property list along with Westfield Elementary last year.
County Manager Chris Knopf is set to present five items: county fire service info, the Westfield Community Center being used as a temporary site for paving materials, Flat Rock/Bannertown Water/Sewer Payoff, USDA loan & grant applications for Surry Medical Ministries and Jones School Property Transfer. There is no elaboration to be found on the agenda.
Board meetings are open to the public beginning at 6 p.m. at the Surry County Historic Courthouse in Dobson. It would be safe to assume a crowd will be a crowd in attendance, as Save Jones School along with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society have been well represented at commissioners meetings for many weeks now.
Those who would prefer can find a link to the county commissioners meetings on the county website, most easily found by searching “Meeting Videos” in the top right corner search field. More savvy users may go directly to YouTube and seek “Surry County NC.”
Video replay will be available online as well.
It remains to be seen what County Manager Chris Knopf will say, or if a vote is on the horizon this evening. In a community ready for news and hoping for a win – word is spreading.
March 06, 2022
• Authorities are investigating a first-degree burglary at Cloud Zone Tobacco and Vape involving the theft of property valued altogether at more than $3,500, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports.
The crime was discovered on the morning of Feb. 26 at the business on North Renfro Street, which three unknown suspects broke into the night before while it was occupied.
They then stole merchandise with a total value of $3,586, including CBD products listed as a one-pound jar of Delta H hemp, nine three-ounce jars of Delta H hemp and 30 Packwoods hemp-infused Delta 8 cigarettes.
• Police learned Wednesday that power tools valued at $667 had been stolen from a vehicle owned by Dennis Dwain Angel. The theft occurred while the 1995 Chevrolet was unsecured at an unidentified commercial/office building in the 400 block of West Pine Street.
The loss included a Stihl orange and tan chainsaw and a DeWalt brad nailer 18-inch nail gun.
• A bodily assault occurred on Feb. 26 at the residence of Solmarie Pacheco on Lovill Street, where a known suspect is said to have struck her in the nose and face using his fists. No arrests were reported in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
• A hit and run case was reported on Feb. 25, which involved an unknown driver sideswiping a 2001 Dodge Caravan owned by Bobby Dean Huff Jr. of Holly Avenue and fleeing the scene.
The incident occurred while the minivan was parked at A Touch of Mayberry on North Main Street, where Huff is employed. It caused damage put at $2,000.
March 05, 2022
Going to the dentist ranks right up there with death and speaking in public as one of mankind’s greatest fears — which is understandable to anyone who’s ever experienced a painful procedure.
Not only must a patient dread that discomfort, there is also the injection of anesthesia before the real pain can commence.
But the dental services offered by the Surry Medical Ministries free clinic in Mount Airy have gotten a shot of funding — a $46,755 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant — that will greatly numb this situation through the use of more-effective anesthesia.
This was one of two major developments diagnosed for the Rockford Street facility in recent days.
Clinic adds days
The other involves an expansion of the general clinic schedule to benefit those seeking a variety of services, according to Nancy Dixon, president of the Surry Medical Ministries governing board. It went into effect this past week.
Surry Medical Ministries, which provides free services to people without health insurance, has been operating only two days each week, on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon.
The new clinic hours include a Monday schedule of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the original Tuesday time from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, also 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Surry Medical Ministries officials say the extra hours of service will impact the care of patients with chronic disease, many of whom have been disproportionately affected by COVID.
The clinic opened in 1993. It relies on medical professionals and others in the community who serve those in need on a volunteer basis.
Surry Medical Ministries’ caseload has more than doubled since COVID-19 struck.
“Dental anxiety” factor
The positive impact the $46,755 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant will have in allowing the clinic to see more patients in need of dental services — through the new anesthesia method — can be considered critical when examining the caseload at hand.
Its backlog is such that someone must wait several months for an appointment. “We’re all the way booked into July,” Dixon said.
Surry Medical Ministries is the only provider for adult dental services in Surry County for the uninsured population, offering one monthly dental clinic on the first Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. staffed by two dentists and one assistant. Surry Health and Nutrition Center, the county health department, presently lacks a dentist and has only been offering pediatric care.
The role the enhanced anesthesia component will play in allowing more patients to be processed might not be readily apparent, but was clearly explained by clinic officials.
Surry Medical Ministries prioritizes dental emergencies such as extractions and surgical procedures, which require time — including the period for the injected anesthesia to take effect.
Many clinic patients are “very fearful” of the dentist, officials say, and/or have a high tolerance to anesthetics, making it more difficult for them to feel sufficiently numb for the dentist to begin surgery. This slows down the process and thus reduces the number of patients who can be managed during one clinic session.
The facility will use funding to support the enhancement of present dental services by 25 percent, based on information provided by Dixon.
Doctor’s perspective
Further elaboration on the issue was supplied by Dr. Ken Peavy, one of the lead dentists in the clinic’s volunteer dental unit.
“At almost every clinic, a patient or two leaves before the treatment can be completed or even initiated because their dental anxiety and the pain (which is from the oral infection) is so overwhelming,” Peavy said in a statement.
“We have others leave because the pain and anxiety has caused their blood pressure to rise to levels so high that it is too dangerous to give them local anesthesia.”
Peavy added that many times, after 10 minutes of trying to reassure patients and coax them to at least try to have a painful tooth removed, the staff administers the local anesthesia, then waits another five to 10 minutes. “And they still say they can feel it and we can’t finish,” the dentist related.
“This is especially heartbreaking for the dental providers because we know how effective local anesthesia is, but local anesthesia doesn’t do anything to relieve the psychic pain they are feeling — not only have they not been helped, they have taken up 20 to 30 minutes of our limited surgery time and other patients have to wait.”
The excessive wait resulting has caused some patients to be unable to stay long enough for their turns, who end up leaving before even being seen and treated.
One extremely safe and effective solution to reduce both pain and anxiety is the inhalation use of a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen (N2O sedation) sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” according to Peavy.
He says N2O sedation has been one of the safest agents used in medicine and dentistry because it can be mixed and delivered for the desired effect and rapidly reversed in just a few breaths. The N2O sedation has a rapid onset that is as fast as many IV medications, the dentist mentioned regarding the catalyst for the clinic becoming more efficient.
The new method will better assist patients with their dental anxiety while speeding up procedure time and allowing more people to be served during the clinic hours.
Dixon says the enhanced anesthesia component will be added in the next few months as the Blue Cross Blue Shield funds are processed and related installation occurs.
March 05, 2022
Millennium Charter Academy recently inducted 17 students into the National Junior Honor Society.
Membership in this near-century-old international organization is both an honor and responsibility rooted in “outstanding scholarship, character, leadership, service, and citizenship,” according to information released by the school.
The Academy requires its candidates to: maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75 in grades 6-8; be outstandingly principled; lead others into and through service; set the example of how one ought to act.
”These seventeen young people have proven themselves time and time again in their continuous pursuit of excellence,” school officials said. “Furthermore, the administration of Millennium Charter Academy thanks the parents, siblings, friends, and teachers of these distinguished young people. A significant reason that each of them were honored is because of the love, support, guidance, influence, and input provided by those closest to them.“
March 05, 2022
Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust, recently reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2021 and the full year.
For the quarter ending Dec. 31, net income totaled $1,179,807 or 28 cents per share, which was down from $1,498,414, or 36 cents per share earned during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The decrease in earnings results from a decrease in net interest income.
Net interest income decreased by 11% from $3,638,909 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $3,237,515 for the same period in 2021 as net interest income yields declined. The decrease is due to the reduction of loan origination fees from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP origination fees totaling $184,751 were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to $773,100 recognized in the fourth quarter of 2020. The large decrease in fee recognition was due to the winding down of PPP loans in the fourth quarter of 2021. PPP loans totaling $24,775,780 were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2020 while only $3,331,485 in PPP loans were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The provision for loan losses decreased from $125,666 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $61,428 in 2021. Noninterest income decreased from $804,890 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $488,331in 2021. This decrease was primarily attributable to the reduction in insurance commission due to the sale of SB&T Insurance in the first quarter of 2021. Insurance commissions in the fourth quarter of 2020 amounted to $238,179. Noninterest expenses decreased from $2,441,728 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $2,142,849 in the fourth quarter of 2021. This decrease is attributable to salaries and employee benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.
Net income for the year rose, however. As of Dec. 31, net income for the year was $5,103,575 or $1.22 per share outstanding, compared to a $4,578,161 or $1.10 per share outstanding for the previous year. Earnings for the year are approximately 11.5% higher than for the same period in 2020. The increase in earnings results from a decrease in the provision for loan losses and a decrease in noninterest expenses.
The provision for loan losses decreased from a provision of $689,853 in 2020 to a provision of $387,359 in 2021. This decrease is due to the estimated economic impact of the pandemic lessening in 2021 as the federal government added stimulus to the economy. Noninterest expenses decreased 4.7%, from $9,196,654 in 2020, to $8,763,536 in 2021. Most of the decrease results from a reduction in salaries and benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.
Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full-service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited-service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at www.surreybank.com.
March 05, 2022
An African drum and dance workshop will be held in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre on Saturday, March 19. The workshop will begin with drumming at 1 p.m. followed by an African dance workshop at 2:15 p.m. The workshops are free for all ages and are limited to 30 participants per session.
Tam Tam Mandingue of Winston-Salem will be providing 30 drums at each workshop. With an authentic imported drum for every participant, these education programs immerse participants in both the music and dance of West Africa.
Participants learn rhythms and songs that represent the traditions of several African ethnic groups, then learn dances that historically accompany the musical selections. Strong emphasis is placed on the traditional West African values of respect, community, and teamwork. Living Rhythms workshops broaden participants’ understanding of our increasingly interdependent world, and encourage them to embrace a life of critical thinking.
The African drumming and dance workshops are sponsored in part by the African American Historical and Genealogical Society with funding from a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.
Contact Marie Nicholson at [email protected] or RJ Heller at [email protected] with questions, to participate, or for more information.
March 05, 2022
Talk about a last-minute rush.
As of early on Feb. 25, only three local non-profit organizations had applied for money from Mount Airy’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds designated last year to help communities nationwide recover from the COVID pandemic.
But by the application deadline four days later — last Tuesday — the number of groups seeking assistance had ballooned to 16, which submitted funding requests totaling $2.4 million.
The city government was tapped for $3.2 million through the American Rescue Plan Act, and no decision has been made regarding whether such requests actually will be granted and in what sums.
With aid for non-profits an allowable use of the federal dollars, Mount Airy officials have explained that they wanted to get information on proposed projects or programs from applicants for funding ahead of the city’s annual spring budget process.
The number of applicants and the specific requests sought were compiled and released publicly Thursday afternoon at a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
That list includes (in the order reported by the city):
The Surry Young Entrepreneurs Program, Surry Arts Council, Mount Airy Men’s Shelter, Mount Airy Rescue Squad, Sandy Level Community Council Inc., Veterans Memorial Park, Surry Medical Ministries, Rotary Pup Dog Park, Tiny Tigers Rescue Inc.;
Also, the Shepherd’s House homeless shelter, Masonic Properties of Mount Airy Inc., Surry Children’s Center, African-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, Mount Airy Public Library and Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club.
The $2.4 million in assistance overall which these organizations are requesting is to support various projects with a total estimated price tag of $8.1 million.
This is believed to be the first time in Mount Airy’s history that such potential funding was offered on a widespread basis.
Information released by the municipality does not specify the projects, but some have been reported on previously, as exemplified by requests from two major entities.
The largest sum sought is $475,000 from the museum, and the Arts Council is next with a request of $357,500.
Both have targeted city funding in recent years for facility additions and/or improvements.
Another example is third on the list, the Sandy Level Community Council, which is seeking $262,920 toward a total project cost of $346,880. Its plans call for renovations of the historic Satterfield House so it can become a community center offering educational and other programs at a site where a Rosenwald school also was once located.
Mayor Ron Niland and Commissioner Marie Wood believe any requests granted should be for non-profit organizations with solid records of community service which are planning meaningful programs and projects not duplicated by others.
The city government also will designating the federal money for its needs.
Downtown improvements, employee salaries and upgrading the communications capabilities of the council meeting room in the Municipal Building through a major technology upgrade have been listed as possible uses by the municipality.
Equipment and building-related expenditures such as new trucks and HVAC upgrades are among other needs cited.
March 05, 2022
Organizers of an upcoming event aren’t asking participants to sing for their supper. Instead, they are asking for individuals willing to run for someone else’s lunch.
The 2022 YVEDDI Meals on Wheels 5K/10K run is slated for March 26, with YVEDDI hoping to use the event to raise significant funding for the Meals on Wheels project.
Lisa Money, Meals on Wheels director, said this will be the eighth 5K/10K run the organization has sponsored, although there will be some differences this year because of COVID-19. Chief among those is the need for individuals to register in advance — there will be no onsite registration the day of the run.
The annual run has been a big hit for the agency.
“Our first year, we had 165 people on a waiting list for Meals on Wheels,” she said, with lack of funding the primary reason her organization couldn’t serve all who wanted the meals. “We knew we needed to do something big, and quickly. With the help of a lot of volunteers we pulled it together.”
The result? She said that first run raised enough money to move everyone off of the waiting list.
Meals on Wheels delivers lunches to area senior citizens, using a cadre of volunteers who drive the meals out to the client homes. Prior to the pandemic, she said they delivered a lunch to clients Monday through Friday.
“They got a hot meal delivered every day,” she said. Nearly as important, those receiving the meals also made a social contact with the delivery volunteers.
“For some of our people, they live alone, they have no one else,” Money said. “A lot of times our driver is the only person the client sees and talks to each day. It provides a safety check on them.”
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the program to change how it operates. At present, she said volunteers only go out on Tuesdays, delivering five boxed meals the client can use at his or her convenience during the week. Money is hopeful that declining COVID case numbers will soon mean the agency can get back to daily deliveries.
COVID-19 also affected the 5K/10K effort.
“The first year of the pandemic, in 2020, we didn’t get to have it,” she said of the run. “We always have it on the last Saturday in March, and we shut down on March 17, so it was cancelled.”
Last year, Money said the race went on, but with some modifications. There was no onsite registration race day, and participants were asked to remain in their cars until a few minutes before start time. There also was no award ceremony — medals were mailed to those who had won them.
This year, she said restrictions will be loosened a bit. While there will be no race day registration, there will be a ceremony afterward recognizing the winners.
“We ask that everyone wear their mask or face covering until it’s time for their race to start,” she said, then to wear them again after the races when onsite. “We ask people to social distance as much as possible.”
According to information supplied by the Meals on Wheels program, the 5K/10K run has raised a total of $70,000 since its inception, which has provided funding for 20,000 meals.
While that is a lot, it’s only a fraction of what the agency does each year. In the most recent fiscal year, she said the agency provided 94,328 meals. At present, she said they have 329 clients, with another 45 in Surry County on a waiting list.
She also said the agency is in need of additional volunteers to help deliver food. Sometimes, she said, people are put on a waiting list simply because there are no drivers available to deliver.
That has become particularly acute during the pandemic, with some volunteers having to step aside from fear of contracting the virus.
“The deliveries are mid-day…most of our drivers are retired. They are in that vulnerable age group for COVID, so many of them have stopped delivering.”
Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering can call Money at 336-367-3522.
As for the March 26 run, the event will be at Dobson Square Park, with the 10K starting at 8 a.m. and the 5K getting underway at 8:15. The cost is $20 for individuals age 17 and younger, $30 for adults, through March 11. Afterward, the cost is $35 for all ages. Those registered by March 11 will also get a “moisture-wicking t-shirt.”
For additional information, or to register, visit https://yveddi5k10k.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=5192
March 04, 2022
There are several irons in the fire these days for development of Mount Airy’s downtown. With the final branding announcement on the hotel project still under wraps, the multi-phased projects in the area adjacent to the new hotel are coming into view as the vision for downtown begins to take shape.
The best known of the Spencer’s Mill projects is the ongoing hotel project. Lizzie Morrison of Mount Airy Downton Inc. recently reported to the county commissioners that the hotel chain has committed more than $1 million to design plans for the hotel and multi-purpose market center.
The supporting projects around the hotel area have been drawn up to create a destination for businesses to bring conventions and corporate gatherings to the area. A feasibility study conducted found simply, “Mount Airy needs a downtown hotel with a convention center.”
“We have established over many years we cannot accommodate several types of meetings here,” said Jessica Roberts of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority. “We have a lot of companies who have headquarters here that are going to Winston-Salem or Greensboro that we know of already who would have multiple events at a facility like this.”
The feasibility study called for a convention center totaling 44,000 square feet of space, and the Spencer’s Mill project was designed out to a flexible 26,500 square feet. Morrison told the board that all projections for this phase were conservative to “make sure Mount Airy and Surry County can indeed support the facility.”
A comparison was made to halls in Statesville and Hickory. Hickory boasts 84,000 square feet but their location is right off the interstate, yielding no tangible benefit to the downtown, Morrison said. Statesville has a modest 16,500 square feet facility with no adjoining lodging, they are dealing with the same issue Mount Airy is designing its way out of.
The 14,000 square foot convention floor itself will allow for large groups at one time and have a bay door to allow trucks inside to bring in supplies for trade or auto shows. In addition to the convention center would be a connected visitors center, between them they would offer classroom and office space, as well as meeting rooms for the conventioneers.
When the ribbon is cut, the new convention center has a built-in client base. Leonard has told officials they would be interested in having several events a year at the new convention center. Organizations such as Downtown Mount Airy Inc. could also move offices into the new space.
Outside will be an array of features for the visitors and residents alike, including a pocket park along Willow Street. A new pavilion to be constructed along Franklin Street that can be used as a farmers’ market, and a splash pad is to be added as well. Morrison advised, “We don’t want to recreate what’s in Dobson, but we want to be able to turn the water off and use it for something else.”
“This is to support the visitors center and convention center, but this is going to be a public park that benefits all local citizen and families and gives them yet another thing to do in Surry County.
“We have been presenting this to community groups like the Rotary Clubs, and the residents of Renfro and Spencer’s Lofts, the Spencer’s Mill residents, local industry leaders and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. This project checks off all the boxes.”
With a projected finish date of fall 2024, the new boutique hotel is the crown jewel of Phase 2 of the development and is slated to offer 70-80 rooms, include a full-service restaurant, bar, and a possible rooftop lounge area.
The hotel is being added to compliment the convention center and because business leaders have asked for more space to entertain when bringing in guests to the area. This would be the county’s only full-service hotel with onsite restaurant and bar.
With the elements being created in Phase 3, the overlap begins to show itself and the opportunities for businesses to capitalize on new events, conventions, trade shows, and more local foot traffic during the week may make mouths water.
A combination of city, county and private money are going into the hotel project, with $14.6 million of the total estimated $17.8 million cost to be covered by private investment.
There is excitement around these projects, Morrison said even among local kids. “I presented to a group of second through fifth graders for innovation day, and when we got to the slide showing the exterior with the water feature, the kids just loved it.”
Phase 1 has been completed and much like the hotel component was mostly private money. The city gave roughly $3 million for preliminary costs of developing the site that includes 16 units at Spencer’s Mill Lofts and the 65 units at the Spencer’s Mill Apartments.
Morrison gave a glowing report of the success of Phase 1, “I am typically an optimist for all things downtown Mount Airy, but to complete an apartment project in May 2020, I was nervous about their ability to fill up. But these apartments were full in five months and have a 20% wait list to this day.”
Phases 1 and 2 are projected to bring in $300,000 a year in property taxes between the city and county, and more than $2 million in combined sales tax revenue for the county and state – these projects “equal big numbers in the long haul,” said Bryan Grote of Mount Airy Downtown Inc.
Adding in full time residents to downtown with new options to live, at differing price points, is a surefire way to have a larger base headcount downtown.
March 04, 2022
DOBSON — The filing period for various state and local offices ended Friday in Surry County, highlighted by another candidate entering the race for an at-large seat on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Tonda Phillips, 44, a resident of Greenbriar Street, joined previous filers Steve Yokeley and Deborah Cochran in vying for the office now held by At-Large Commissioner Joe Zalescik.
Zalescik is seeking a South Ward seat on the non-partisan city council long occupied by Yokeley, which two other candidates also filed for, Gene Clark and Phil Thacker.
Also up for grabs is the North Ward council post of Jon Cawley, who decided to file for mayor this year instead against present Mayor Ron Niland and Teresa Lewis.
Four people are candidates for the North Ward seat, John Pritchard, Joanna Refvem, Teresa Davis Leiva and Chad Hutchens.
Phillips is a member of the local realty profession who has been involved in community service including heading various projects as president of the Rotary Club of Mount Airy.
She was one of five people countywide tossing their hats into the ring Friday before a noon filing deadline.
Also doing so then was a Democratic candidate for the Central District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners, Ken Badgett, 56, of Rockford Road, Dobson.
Badgett is the lone Democrat seeking the office now held by Republican Mark Marion, who is running for re-election to a second four-year term in a race that also includes GOP opponent Landon Tolbert.
The other three Friday filers are candidates for the Elkin Board of Education, Earl M. Blackburn, Johnny M. Blevins and Patty Crosswhite, who are vying for its City District seat.
All three are Republicans whose filings came on the heels of another GOP member signing up to run for that office Thursday, Denny Lazar.
Also filing Thursday was Jennifer Kleinheksel, who when the smoke cleared was the only person seeking the West District seat on the Elkin school board.
Cumulative filings
The final slate of candidates at the close of filing further includes these for the offices specified:
• Incumbent Bill Goins, who is seeking his second term for a Mount Airy District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners against two other Republicans, Steven R. Odum and Walter D. Harris;
• Incumbent South District Commissioner Eddie Harris and GOP challenger Tessa Saeli;
• Republican Sheriff Steve Hiatt;
• Another GOP incumbent, District Attorney Tim Watson;
• Four people vying for three local District Court judge seats, including incumbents Marion Boone and Thomas Langan along with Gretchen Hollar Kirkman and Mark Miller. All are on the GOP ticket;
• Republican clerk of court candidates including first-term incumbent Neil Brendle, Teresa O’Dell and Melissa Marion Welch;
• Republican incumbent 90th District state Rep. Sarah Stevens and challenger Benjamin Romans, also a GOP member;
• Four Republicans seeking the 66th District state Senate seat serving Surry and other counties: Shirley Randleman, Eddie Settle, Vann Tate and Lee Zachary;
• Democratic incumbent Mamie McKinney Sutphin and a Republican challenger for her District 2 seat on the Surry Board of Education, Tony L. Hutchens;
• Two Republicans seeking the District 3 seat on the county school board, Kent Whitaker and Jessica George;
• A trio of GOP hopefuls for that board’s District 4 seat, Jimmy Yokeley, T.J. Bledsoe and Donna McLamb;
• Incumbent Mount Airy Board of Education members Kyle A. Leonard in District A and Ben Cooke, District B, both Republicans who are facing no opposition in their re-election bids, which also is the case for the board’s at-large member, Democrat Tim Matthews.
For offices in which multiple candidates have filed for a particular seat of the same political party, primaries will be conducted on May 17 to narrow the field for the general election in November.
In many cases, no Democratic candidates have filed, meaning seats actually will be won through the May primaries.
Persons with no party opposition automatically advance to the November ballot.
In the case of Mount Airy where elections are non-partisan, primaries are required when three or more candidates toss their hats into the ring for a position, with the two top vote-getters then squaring off in November.
Primary elections are in store for all four council seats affected by the 2022 election cycle.
March 04, 2022
The Alpha Xi Tau chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Surry Community College has received designation as a Five Star chapter.
This designation requires the chapter to have completed an Honors In Action Project and a college project, as well as involvement in service projects at the local, regional and international levels with Phi Theta Kappa. This SCC chapter was one of 18 total college chapters in the Carolinas region to meet these requirements.
In 2021, the chapter raised more than $3,000 for Hope Chapel Orphanage in Ghana as the club’s Honors In Action project. The money raised was a result of multiple fundraisers, including prize raffles and yard sales, and the awarding of a grant from Phi Theta Kappa to help their efforts.
Other initiatives recently taken by the chapter include creating cards for senior citizens and veterans, raising awareness of child labor in Africa and cleaning local river access points. The chapter also received a second grant from Walmart Giving for $3,000, which allowed members to start a student outreach center as part of their college project.
“Our PTK students have demonstrated their desire to help both our local communities and the world, and their diligent efforts to serve others have been impressive and inspiring,” said Surry Community College’s PTK Chapter Co-advisor Kayla Forrest.
Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa and their projects, contact PTK’s faculty co-advisors Dr. Kathleen Fowler at 336-386-3560 or [email protected] or Kayla Forrest at (336) 386-3315 or [email protected] or go to www.ptk.org. Follow the local chapter on Facebook @surryPhiThetaKappa.
March 04, 2022
The Surry County Board of Commissioners take a few minutes at the top of their meetings to acknowledge members of the community for excellence.
Eagle Scouts come to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that go into achieving that prestigious rank. Eagle Scout rank represents a milestone of accomplishment that is “recognized across the country and even the world,” states the official website of Scouts BSA.
This evening, there was something different about the new Eagle Scouts that set them apart from many of those who came before, Audrey and Reagan Poindexter are siblings — sisters in scouting who have achieved the highest rank, and with it the honor they deserve.
Proud parents DeAnn and Jeff Poindexter beamed as the commissioners read the proclamations and handed the ladies’ their commendations. Reagan and Audrey are trailblazers in the local scouting community as they are the first female Eagle Scouts in Surry County, and the entire Dogwood District.
An animal lover, Reagan put out collection boxes at several locations to collect pet food and supplies for the Surry County Animal Shelter as her community project required for the rank. With cash donations she also made 33 pet beds as part of her service project. Audrey constructed an 80 x 120-foot pollinator habitat and four benches at the sustainable agriculture building on the grounds of Surry Community College.
From a family that believes in scouting, the sisters join their brother Nolan, who reached Eagle in 2019. Reagan said scouting allows her a chance to do fun things outdoors such as sailing and archery. Big sister Audrey chimed in that she had the chance to rappel down Pilot Mountain as part of her climbing badge.
“Old Hickory Council and the Seven Rivers District wishes to congratulate Audrey and Reagan Poindexter for achieving the Eagle Scout Rank,” said Chris Lawson, executive for Seven Rivers District.
“The rank of Eagle Scout is an accomplishment which tells the world that an individual holds up to the highest values in Citizenship, Service, and Devotion. An Eagle Scout is prepared to take on whatever challenges that will come and see it through to the end.”
Chairman Bill Goins has fond memories of scouting and recalls as such when Eagle Scouts appear before the commissioners to receive their commendation. The connections made in scouting, and the lessons learned, he tells them, follow those scouts the rest of their life.
BSA national board chair, and former AT&T executive, Randall Stephenson knows something about leadership. In 2017 he said, “I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization. It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls.”
The Boy Scouts of America had a name change in 2019 following the inclusion of young ladies into the program for older youths, however despite some confusion, Scouts BSA only refers to the specific program for 11 to 17-year-olds that is now co-ed. The organization itself is still called Boy Scouts of America.
Some opposition was leveled from former scouts to allowing girls in, and the Girl Scouts of America were none too pleased with the new Scouts BSA moniker. They sued the Boy Scouts of America for using “scouts” in the new name. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled against them in 2021, “‘Boy Scouts’ is a brand, ‘Girl Scouts’ is a brand, but ‘Scouting’ alone is an activity,” he ruled.
Scouts BSA saw a need to open their ranks, not only to combat declines in new membership, but also as a direct response to parents. In announcing the change, they said, “Families today are busier and more diverse than ever, and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.”
Since the change, more than 31,000 girls have joined and there are more than 3,000 Girl Troops across the country. In this area there are currently two Girl Troops active: Troop 0539G at Flat Rock Baptist Church, and Troop 0529G at Dobson United Methodist Church — to which the Poindexters are members.
“The Boy Scouts of America has had a coed tradition in its Venturing and Explorer programs for decades and allowed females into Cub Scouts in 2018 and the BSA program in 2019, changing its name to Scouts BSA,” Lawson of the district office said. “This has allowed Scouting to become a true family adventure.
“Since that time Scouts BSA has chartered girl troops throughout the country and are now seeing girls achieve the Eagle Scout Rank. We congratulate Audrey, Reagan, and Girl Troop 529G for this outstanding achievement.”
“It’s a great opportunity to make friends and have fun,” Audrey gave as her best summation of scouting. Archery, climbing, rowing, lifesaver skills, and sailing, certainly sound like fun, but more than that, she said scouting, “Can open up opportunities for you and help you gain respect.”
March 04, 2022
A lengthy investigation by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the seizure of more than 4 pounds of methamphetamine on Wednesday and the arrest of two area residents — one jailed under a $2.5 million bond. Two other local individuals were arrested earlier in the probe. All totaled, law enforcement seized more than 5 pounds of meth, nearly three dozen firearms, cash, and related material.
Arrested Wednesday was Kevin Louis Markham, 41, of 184 Westview Drive, after a traffic stop during which investigators located 4.3 pounds of methamphetamine, large amounts of U.S. currency and assorted drug paraphernalia.
According to Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt, the vehicle stop led to the execution of search warrants at the addresses of 470 Tom Jones Road, Ararat, and 262 Hickory Street, Mount Airy.
“Investigators located additional amounts of methamphetamine at the address of 262 Hickory Street,” the sheriff said.
The Surry County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team executed a search warrant at the Ararat home, which the sheriff said is a secondary residence of Markham and owned by Adrian Martinez, 37, and Teresa Del Rosario Martinez, 45, of 109 Escondido Lane, Lowgap. They had been arrested earlier in the probe, on Feb. 11.
During the search of the Tom Jones Road home in Ararat, the sheriff said investigators located more than four ounces of methamphetamine, 21 firearms, U.S. currency, a stolen GMC Yukon, and assorted drug paraphernalia. Additionally, deputies located Joshua James Myers, 32, of 470 Tom Jones Road, who was wanted for an outstanding probation violation. Myers allegedly was found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, resulting in him being charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Myers was placed under a $10,500 secured bond with a scheduled March 23 court date.
Markham was charged with three counts of trafficking methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug vehicle, one count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $2.5 million bond with a March 23 court date.
The traffic stop that led to the findings and arrests stemmed from a longer investigation involving the sheriff’s office along with Homeland Security Investigations, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Mount Airy Police Department, Stokes County Sheriff’s Office, Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Hiatt said.
That probe had led to the earlier arrests of Adrian Martinez and Teresa Del Rosario Martinez, which helped lead to Wednesday’s arrests.
On Feb. 11, the sheriff’s office Narcotics Division executed a search warrant at the address of 109 Escondido Lane in Lowgap. That search warrant led to the seizure of 24 ounces of methamphetamine, Methylenedioxy-N-benzylcathinone (hydrochloride) or known as BMDP, marijuana, 13 firearms, and assorted drug paraphernalia.
Adrian Martinez was charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug dwelling, one count of manufacturing marijuana, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $280,000 secured bond.
Teresa Del Rosario Martinez was charged with one count of maintaining a drug dwelling and received a $7,000 secured bond. Both are scheduled for court appearances on March 23.
“This just shows when law enforcement agencies work together as one, there are no jurisdictional lines for offenders to hide behind,” the sheriff said, adding that he was thankful to all of the agencies and law enforcement personnel that assisted with this investigation.
March 04, 2022
Marissa Montgomery, FNP-C, has joined the clinical team of Northern Family Medicine – the Family Medicine Division of Northern Regional Hospital.
As a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Montgomery will meet, diagnose and treat patients for a wide variety of common and chronic conditions and ailments – including minor injuries, diabetes, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). She will also perform annual wellness visits and offer COVID testing and treatment options.
Montgomery believes strongly in providing high-quality care by creating a respectful and trusting relationship with her patients. “I give my undivided attention to patients and listen fully to what they have to say,” she said. “In that way, I am able to develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration their individual preferences, needs and values.”
“I’ve been taught and always practiced patient-centered care,” she continued. “My approach is to provide holistic care for the whole person – attending to their mental, spiritual and social needs – because all of those aspects affect one’s physical health.”
“We are pleased to welcome Marissa Montgomery to our team of clinicians who work collaboratively and comprehensively to ensure the best possible care for patients,” said Jose L. Mendoza, MD, board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Family Medicine. “Marissa’s strong nursing knowledge and skills, along with her positive energy and compassion, will further enrich our efforts to provide safe, quality care to those we serve.”
Montgomery is not new to Northern, or Mount Airy. She was born in Northern Hospital 28 years ago, and then raised and educated in the Mount Airy region. Not surprisingly, the energetic Montgomery is a lifelong ambassador for both the hospital and her hometown. “Northern is committed to providing high-quality care to patients in a healing, family-like environment; and Mount Airy is a friendly, tight-knit community where everybody is willing to help each other,” she said.
Becoming a nurse – and, in particular, a Family Nurse Practitioner – has been the singular professional goal pursued by Montgomery since her high-school days. By participating in an accelerated academic program in high school, she graduated with college credits that were applied directly to the nursing program of Surry Community College. After earning her associate’s degree in nursing from Surry in 2015, she launched her career as a healthcare clinician by taking her first nursing job in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Northern Regional Hospital.
Over the next four years, Montgomery continued to attend to the needs of patients in several clinical units at Forsyth Medical Center. She also effectively managed her time to complete advanced nursing studies with Chamberlain University. in Downers Grove, Illinois, earning both a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree in 2019, and her Master of Science in Nursing in Family Medicine degree in April of 2021.
Her focused energy is fueled on a daily basis, she said, by the interactions and relationships she developed with her patients and their families. “I believe it’s every patient I’ve come in contact with who has led me to this point,” she said. “They all have a unique story and disease process – and they allowed me to learn from them so that I can apply my new knowledge to help others. They’re also so grateful that it fills my heart.”
Montgomery also acknowledges and appreciates the support she received from several mentors she met on her journey to achieve her professional goal. “There were three professors in the nursing program at Surry College – Kiena Williams, Ann Scott, and Lorrie Heath – who, from day one, really believed in me and continued to push me to be the best that I could be,” she recalled. “Another mentor was Kelly Manuel, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Northern Family Medicine, who graciously taught me many things while serving as preceptor during my master’s program.”
Marissa and her husband, Campbell, enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. Montgomery also does volunteer work – including spending time and helping residents at a women’s homeless shelter in Winston-Salem.
To schedule an appointment with Marissa Montgomery, Family Nurse Practitioner, call 336-786-4133 or visit the Northern Family Medicine Office at 280 N. Pointe Boulevard, in Mount Airy.
March 04, 2022
DOBSON — The ongoing candidate filing period also has been accompanied by some “unfilings” at the Surry Board of Elections office in Dobson, including that of a county school board hopeful.
Brent Long of Pilot Mountain withdrew Tuesday from the ballot for the District 2 seat on the Surry County Board of Education. That left Democratic incumbent Mamie McKinney Sutphin of Pilot Mountain and Republican challenger Tony L. Hutchens of Mount Airy as the only candidates left in that race with filing ending today.
But Long’s departure was accompanied by the addition of five candidates Tuesday and three on Wednesday, including Phil Thacker, a former member of the city school board, tossing his hat into the ring Tuesday for a South Ward seat on the non-partisan Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Two candidates entered the race Wednesday for North Ward commissioner in Mount Airy, Teresa Davis Leiva and Chad Hutchens.
Other new filers include Kyle A. Leonard and Ben Cooke, for re-election to their seats on the Mount Airy Board of Education. Both are Republicans, with Leonard, 31, a Cherry Street resident, representing District A on the board and Cooke, 50, of Wrenn Avenue, District B.
The incumbent Democratic at-large member of the Mount Airy Board of Education, Tim Matthews, filed previously to retain his seat.
Also entering the political fray Tuesday were two people for a Mount Airy District seat on the Surry County Board of Commissioners, including incumbent Bill Goins and Steven R. Odum, both Republicans.
Goins, 53, of Grandview Drive, Mount Airy, is seeking his second four-year term on the county board and presently serves as its chairman.
Odum, 49, resides on Springs Road in Mount Airy.
Walter D. Harris, also a GOP member, is another candidate for the Mount Airy District seat who signed up in early December before the filing process was halted until Feb. 24 by court challenges over redistricting.
Republican Jimmy Yokeley, 62, of Pine Street in Dobson, filed Wednesday for the District 4 seat on the Surry County Board of Education, joining previous filers T.J. Bledsoe and Donna McLamb.
The District 4 post is now held by Terri Mosley, the school board’s chairman.
Tuesday at 5 p.m. was the deadline to withdraw a candidacy and not have one’s name appear on the May primary ballot. Anyone withdrawing after that will be listed.
City council breakdown
Thacker, 67, of East Devon Drive, served on the Mount Airy Board of Education from 2000 to 2020, when the Democratic incumbent lost to Republican Randy Floyd in an election held in the wake of a switch of city school board seats from non-partisan to partisan.
As of Tuesday’s close of filing, Thacker was the third candidate in the race for the South Ward council seat now held by Steve Yokeley, the others being present At-Large Commissioner Joe Zalescik and Gene Clark.
Yokeley has filed to run for the at-large position, along with Deborah Cochran, a former Mount Airy mayor and at-large commissioner.
A North Ward slot on the city council now held by Commissioner Jon Cawley also is up for grabs during the 2022 election cycle, which includes the May primary and the general election in November.
Cawley is running for mayor, with John Pritchard and Joanna Refvem filing so far in the North Ward council race along with the latest entries Wednesday of Leiva, 37, an Essex Lane resident, and Hutchens, 45, of Country Club Road.
Other mayoral candidates are Ron Niland, who now holds that position, and Teresa Lewis, a former at-large commissioner.
After operating during normal business hours this week at the Surry Board of Elections headquarters, the filing period has a shortened schedule today from 8:15 a.m. to noon, when it closes.
March 03, 2022
• A traffic stop for driving left of center led to the discovery that a Mount Airy man was wanted on a felony drug charge, according to city police reports.
James Curtis Taylor, 39, of 147 Puckett St., was encountered by officers last Friday on West Pine Street near Muse Avenue, with an investigation revealing that he was the subject of an outstanding warrant on a charge of possession of methamphetamine.
It had been issued on Jan. 10 through the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, with Taylor additionally accused then of possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond to appear in Surry District Court on March 23.
• Also last Friday, George Lee Moore, 60, of Lexington, was charged with larceny and possession of stolen goods stemming from an incident at Walmart, where he allegedly was caught stealing merchandise by store loss-prevention personnel.
It was identified as a a CarPlay media receiver valued at $198, which was recovered. The case is slated for the March 21 session of Surry District Court.
• Veronic Denice Webster, 40, of 119 Oakwood Drive, was jailed under a $1,000 secured bond on Feb. 24 after police responded to a larceny call at Dollar General on North Renfro Street, where she allegedly had concealed a bottle of light body spray in her pocketbook.
Webster also was found to be the subject of two outstanding orders for arrest for failing to appear in court, one that had been filed on Feb. 16 in Yadkin County and the other on Feb. 23 in Surry.
She is now facing another appearance in Surry District Court on March 28 and has been banned from Dollar General.
• A break-in discovered on Feb. 23 at a vacant commercial/office building on Moore Avenue downtown resulted in the theft of tools and other property valued at $650 owned by local businessman Gene Rees.
Included were a variety of DeWalt, Milwaukee and undocumented power tools, 13 altogether; Milwaukee and other power tool batteries (10) and multi-pack battery chargers (two); along with a pair of tool tote bags.
• An EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card was discovered stolen on Feb. 21, with Savanna Newman of Churchill Lane listed as the victim of the crime. The card is said to have been taken from Newman’s residence by an unknown suspect, with no loss figure listed.
March 03, 2022
The Mount Airy Rescue Squad has served the community for more than 60 years and now could use some assistance of its own as the squad recovers from COVID-19 effects.
“For one, it affected us monetarily,” squad Chief Nathan Webb said of an overall budget reduction of about 10% in funding from various sources.
That impact was double-edged, with the squad’s expenses increasing as a direct result of the pandemic while revenues declined.
“We had to purchase an unprecedented amount of PPE supplies,” Webb said of personal protective equipment such as face shields, gowns and gloves to safeguard its all-volunteer ranks providing a wide range of services.
“From time to time we did have a few members contract the virus,” added the squad chief, “myself being one of them,” with the pandemic also requiring some to undergo quarantines.
One bright spot was an annual fundraising campaign last year for the organization that was established in 1961. “That did recoup some of the funding,” Webb said.
However, the need continues, evidenced by the launching of the 2022 campaign in the past few days which has included an appeal by mail to each resident and property owner in the squad’s service area requesting financial assistance.
“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need your support more than ever,” an open letter from the squad leadership states.
“As is true for many public safety agencies, the virus has affected our operational budget,” it continues. “As a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on donations, grants and fundraising events to fund our lifesaving work.”
While the squad has coped with the budgetary and personnel repercussions of the coronavirus, its scope of work has continued to be massive, including handling more than 1,600 calls last year.
The squad’s 55 volunteer members respond to a variety of emergencies. These can include motor vehicle accidents, agricultural and machinery extrication, search and rescue operations, swift-water rescues, those involving persons trapped in trenches or confined spaces and high-angle rescues.
Its coverage area for rescue and medical services includes not only the city of Mount Airy but neighboring communities in Surry County — a 177-square-mile district overall.
As a certified North Carolina heavy-rescue provider, the squad offers mutual-aid response for Surry and surrounding North Carolina and Virginia counties.
Along with the life-or-death situations, squad members play a role not as critical or noticeable but one valuable all the same at various community gatherings requiring orderly management of vehicle flow and crowds.
The Mount Airy Rescue Squad supplies standby assistance for festivals, parades, 5K runs, school functions and other events.
Yet unlike other agencies, it is a non-tax base emergency service and depends on donations to continue serving the community, which make up the largest portion of the rescue squad’s annual budget.
Fortunately, Webb said, the unit hasn’t been forced to shut its doors as others have — with the need for assistance ongoing.
All donations to the Mount Airy Rescue Squad are entirely tax-deductible, and every penny given goes directly to the squad, officials say.
The open letter to the public refers to squad members “continuing a tradition of neighbor helping neighbor and (being) very active in the community,” which can consider the squad its own as a local emergency agency.
“We are here to serve you in your greatest time of need,” it states. “Your contribution will help our organization answer emergency calls with the best immediate medical care available.”
Donations can be mailed to Mount Airy Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 1053, Mount Airy, NC, 27030.
March 03, 2022
Residents living in and around Mount Airy can learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions with screenings by Life Line Screening. Cross Creek Country Club will host this community event on March 7.
Screenings can check for:
• The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and overall vascular health.
• HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
• Diabetes risk
• Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
• Kidney and thyroid function, and more.
Free parking is also available.
Special package pricing starts at $159, but consultants will work with patients to create a package that is right based on age and risk factors. Call 1-877-237-1354 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Advance registration is required. Cross Creek Country Club is located at The site is located at 1129 Greenhill Rd in Mount Airy.
March 02, 2022
DOBSON — Work by the Surry County Parks & Recreation staff and volunteers has resulted in the first segments of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail being officially designated within Surry County’s jurisdiction by the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Office.
One section of trail and parking facilities is located near Friendship Motor Speedway off Highway 268, while a second section of trail links Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery to Burch Station River Access on Highway 268. The two segments combine for a length of ¾ of a mile.
The 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea State Trail is a trail for hiking and backpacking that spans North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail’s western endpoint is at Clingman’s Dome, where it connects to the Appalachian Trail. Its eastern endpoint is in Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
“We’re excited the trail sections have received this well-deserved recognition,” said Daniel White, Surry County Parks & Recreation director. “Staff and volunteers worked exceptionally hard to acquire easements and construct the segments. We’d like to thank the property owners who provided the easements and worked with the county to turn this idea into reality. Easements were donated by Wayne Farms, Duke Energy and Carolina Heritage Vineyard & Winery. The County of Surry and the Elkin Valley Trails Association have also worked together to make these sections possible. In the near future, hikers of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail will be able to trek through the beautiful county limits of Surry County.”
The goal of this project is to connect Burch Station River Access to Downtown Elkin. Ultimately, this trail will connect from Surry County’s western border all the way to the eastern border, creating a link to Pilot Mountain.
Jimmy Flythe, Duke Energy Government and Community Relations director, said: “Duke Energy congratulates Surry County on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail designation. We appreciate the collaboration with Surry County Parks & Recreation to allow a portion of the trail on company-owned land. Surry County has been great to work with on this project and several others over the years.”
Matthew Wooten, Dobson Complex Manager for Wayne Farms LLC, said: “Wayne Farms is committed to being good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us. We are passionate about sustainability. This trail is something that will be enjoyed by all for generations to come. Partnering with Surry County on this important project has been a pleasure and something we were very excited to help with.”
March 02, 2022
The Surry Community College Ambassador Scholars Program recognizes students who served as public relations representatives by hosting campus visitors, conducting campus tours, supporting special events, and setting an example of excellence for Surry students. The Surry Community College Foundation established the Ambassador Scholars Program in 1993.
Ambassadors and Student Government Association members for the 2021-2022 year are: Brayden Adams of Indian Trail; Jesse Keaton of Boonville; Kailey Myers of Lowgap; Kameron Burch, Christopher Hernández Carrillo and Makynna Jackson of Mount Airy; Nataly Avalos, Jacob Mills and Jacquelin Cortes Montero of Dobson; and Estevan Luna Zamora of Hamptonville.
SGA President Brayden Adams of Indian Trail is a first-year student in the process of earning an Associate in Science. He chose to attend Surry Community College to be part of the baseball team. He looks forward to being part of student government and getting to know people on campus as time goes on. Eventually, he plans to transfer to a four-year university to continue playing baseball.
Senior Ambassador and SGA secretary Jesse Keaton of Boonville is completing an Associate in Arts, as well as a certificate in Nurse Aide. She plans to attend Appalachian State University in the fall, hoping to go into the medical field to work with pediatric patients. As a student, she is also involved with National Society of Leadership and Success, Phi Theta Kappa, Scholars of Global Distinction and Surry’s Minds Matter. Keaton states that she has enjoyed the classes and connections she has made with fellow students and staff at Surry Community College.
Senior Ambassador Kailey Myers of Lowgap is pursuing both an Associate in Arts, as well as an Associate in Science through the Surry Early College. She plans to transfer to a four-year university in the fall to study Biology and Chemistry. Myers states that she has enjoyed the faculty-to-student ratio, opportunities available for students and supportive instructors during her time at Surry Community College.
Junior Ambassador Kameron Burch of Mount Airy is in his second year of the Information Technology program at SCC. He is currently taking all classes online and says that he appreciates the ability to take online classes. While still uncertain of his plans beyond graduation, he is currently considering going into cybersecurity or software development.
Junior Ambassador Jacquelin Cortes Montero of Dobson is currently a student at the Surry Early College and is obtaining an Associate in Arts. She also plans on earning certificates in Spanish Language and Medical Administration. After graduation, she is going into dental hygiene. Jacqueline states that she enjoys how welcoming SCC feels including the environment, staff and faculty. Her hobbies include going to the gym and spending time with her family and best friend.
SGA Event Coordinator Christopher Hernández Carrillo of Mount Airy is pursuing an Associate in Science through the Surry Early College. He also plans to obtain certificates in Medical Administration and Spanish Medical Interpreter. After graduating from Surry Community College, he hopes to go to a four-year university to become a diagnostic medical sonographer and obtain a sonographer’s license. In addition to being an SGA member, he also serves as the event coordinator. Christopher is the secretary of the SCC National Society of Leadership and Success chapter, and enjoys reading, learning new languages and working out.
SGA Vice President Nataly Avalos of Dobson is a sophomore at Surry Early College High School and is pursuing an Associate in Arts. She plans on transferring to a four-year college university and majoring in International Business. She enjoys the environment of Surry Community College, including the instructors and the educational opportunities.
Senior Ambassador and SGA Mascot Jacob Mills of Dobson is a senior at Surry Early College High School and is completing an Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts. After graduation, he plans on attending Appalachian State University to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts Education (K-12). He also plans on getting a master’s degree in fine arts or design. He has enjoyed the warm atmosphere that the teachers and instructors of Surry Community College have provided.
Junior Ambassador Makynna Jackson of Mount Airy is a junior at Surry Early College High School and is part of the Associate in General Education program at Surry Community College. She plans on going to a four-year university to major in Chemistry. Her hobbies include drawing and reading.
Junior Ambassador Estevan Luna Zamora of Hamptonville is a second-year student completing an Associate in Arts and Science. He enjoys the fact that he is taking classes that will go toward his major at a four-year university for a fraction of the cost. He plans on becoming a mechanical engineer and appreciates the math and science departments at SCC for having caring teachers that bring out the best in their students.
Kendra Myers, coordinator of student services and SGA advisor, is also the faculty leader for the Ambassador Scholars Program. “SCC is fortunate to have strong student leaders. Students are nominated and selected based on those leadership skills. Other criteria include diverse backgrounds, and a willingness to represent Surry Community College on campus and in the community,” Myers said. “Student leaders serve in many capacities while providing tours for our school, meeting individuals throughout the community, and assisting with many fundraising events on campus. SCC is proud to have these fine individuals serving as representatives of our college.”
Senior Ambassadors receive an academic scholarship of $500 per semester for a total of $1,000 for the duration of their service year. All ambassadors must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and be nominated by a SCC faculty or staff member and go through an interview process. SGA officers receive an academic scholarship between $300 and $500 per semester based on their help in the office, with a maximum of $600-$1,000 per year.
For more information about the SCC Ambassador Scholars Program or the Student Government Association, contact Myers at [email protected] or 336-386-3465.
March 02, 2022
A Mount Airy businessman has been appointed to a city advisory group.
Steve Scott was named to the Cemetery Trustees Board in a vote by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners during its last meeting on Feb. 17.
The Cemetery Trustees Board is a five-member group that oversees the municipal-owned Oakdale Cemetery, a 22-acre facility situated along North Main Street which contains more than 6,000 burial sites.
Bill Beamer, who had been serving on the board, became no longer eligible for that due to moving outside the city limits and Scott was chosen to replace him.
Scott was approved to serve out Beamer’s unexpired term, which ends on Nov. 1, 2023, and may be reappointed after that.
He is the longtime owner of Airmont Florist and Gift Shop.
Among other members of the Cemetery Trustees Board are Dr. John Crane, Ivy Sheppard and Bill Rountree, who in July 2020 were reappointed for four-year terms ending on March 1, 2024.
The fifth member of the board is Mayor Ron Niland. The mayor automatically becomes part of it for his or her term in office.
Scott also serves on another city advisory group, the Mount Airy Library Board.
March 02, 2022
Three Surry County Schools students were selected to participate in the Northwest NC All-District Honor Band event held at Appalachian State University in Boone on Feb. 18-20.
Representing East Surry were Nate Parrish, who performed as the ninth clarinet in the 9-10 Symphonic Band, and Rachel Dolinger, who performed as eighth clarinet in the 9-12 Concert Band. North Surry was represented by Colby Callaway, who performed as second tuba in the 9-12 Concert Band. These students are enrolled in the band programs at their respective Surry County high schools.
Several COVID-19 protocols made the 2022 event operate a little differently than in the past. For instance, the number of students selected for each band was reduced in order to allow for physical spacing in rehearsal and performance venues. Rehearsals were also broken up into 50-minute blocks and the HVAC system was allowed to change over air in between each block. However, these and other protocols did not discourage participants. After an all-virtual event in 2021, everyone involved was excited to be able to have an in-person experience this year.
These students rehearsed and performed with other student musicians in the Northwest District Bandmasters Association. Guest conductors led rehearsals which culminated in a concert in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on the afternoon of Feb. 20.
The 9-12 Concert Band was conducted by Robert Johnston, director of bands at Ronald Reagan High School in Pfafftown, and the 2021 Northwest District Award of Excellence winner. The 9-10 Symphonic Band was conducted by Todd Ebert, director of bands at Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw. While no Surry County Schools students were selected for the 11-12 Symphonic Band this year, it was conducted by Colonel Don Schofield, the commander and conductor of The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.
The All-District Honor Band is sponsored each year by the Northwest North Carolina Bandmasters Association, a division of the North Carolina Music Educators Association. This is a highly competitive event where more than 1,200 students representing 19 counties audition each year. In order to audition, students are required to practice and perfect a solo specific to their instrument, major scales, chromatic scale as well as sight-read a piece of music after looking at it for only 30 seconds. Auditions are scored by a panel of judges and students receiving the highest scores are invited to be members of the honor bands.
March 02, 2022
Surry County Schools was well-represented with 18 projects competing in the recent The North Central Region 5 Science Fair, with several receiving recognition at the event. Among those were:
– Emilynn Haymore from Pilot Mountain Elementary received Honorable Mention.
– Nathaniel Murphy from Copeland Elementary received Honorable Mention
– Emma Mae White from Meadowview Magnet Middle received Honorable Mention in the Junior Division, Environmental Category.
– Bailey Ray from Meadowview Magnet Middle received a Third Place recognition in the Junior Division, Mathematics Category.
– Makynna Jackson and Isabella Jackson from Surry Early College High received a Second Place recognition in the Senior Division, Engineering Category.
All totaled, 122 projects were registered in three divisions; Elementary, Junior, and Senior.
The virtual presentations mark the first time that Surry County Schools’ students have been able to participate in the Regional Science Fair proceedings for the past two years. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, students did not have the opportunity to participate in last year’s competition due to safety concerns. This school year, students were excited to present their projects and push towards the regional competition.
Each student prepared slide presentations of their project and shared the slides with judges. The competition judges reviewed each project and developed individualized questions for the students based on their observations. After the review process, each student was given time to meet with judges virtually for around 3-5 minutes. Students were asked questions and given more time to elaborate on their project and scientific findings.
“Science and engineering are alive in Surry County Schools, and students at every level, elementary, middle, and high school are gaining valuable skills that transfer to the world of work,” said Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves. “Not only did students demonstrate creativity in their research but they also presented that research to judges in an interview. The ability to synthesize information and communicate it in a professional manner sets students apart competitively and prepares them for what’s next, whether that be college or careers. I am extremely proud of how hard our students work to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills each day in their classrooms and the high-quality lessons teachers create to facilitate learning. It has been wonderful to see our students back in action this year on the regional level building upon concepts learned in the classroom. Congratulations to all.”
March 02, 2022
Mount Airy officials will realize some return on the city government’s $67,000 investment late last year in a downtown master plan during an update at a meeting Thursday afternoon.
A representative of the Benchmark consulting firm — likely its president, Jason Epley — is slated to provide a presentation on the plan’s progress since then at a 2 p.m. meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
The commissioners voted in November to allocate the $67,000 for the master plan. This was part of a total funding commitment to it of about $125,000 — also involving financial input from the group Mount Airy Downtown Inc. using Municipal Service District tax revenues levied in the central business district.
Benchmark, which has been providing planning-related services to Mount Airy since 2011 through a privatization move, took on the extra task of modernizing a downtown master plan introduced in 2004 for the additional sum involved.
Both city government and downtown leaders have thought it necessary to update the 18-year old study to incorporate new elements to better guide future investments there (public and private) in a coherent and cost-effective manner.
Benchmark also is focusing on public parking solutions; a traffic-flow analysis and possible changes such as the removal of stoplights along North Main Street, making it two-way rather than one-way; and burying overhead power lines, among others.
Survey undertaken
A key development occurring since the planning firm was tapped for the master plan effort involved the launching of an online public survey to help steer the plans for the downtown area, which ended on Jan. 31.
“We had 481 responses total which was well over our goal of 250,” Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison of Mount Airy Downtown disclosed afterward regarding the survey respondents.
The process allowed them to express views on issues such as the potential stoplight removal and two-way traffic conversion, although media requests to access the survey results were not successful. The overall findings have been discussed by a steering committee for the plan, according to Morrison.
“Most people were very positive about the downtown-revitalization efforts over the last several years, and expressed interest in potential changes to the streetscape that would center on a safer pedestrian experience,” Morrison related.
“In addition to the survey, Benchmark has been conducting downtown stakeholder interviews with property and business owners, community leaders and city department heads to gather more information.”
It was not known beforehand if any traffic recommendations will be aired during Thursday afternoon’s meeting.
Plans for the master plan update also have called for public workshops to give citizens more opportunities to participate in the downtown enhancement process.
Morrison has been encouraged by what is transpiring, including the public interest being demonstrated.
“People are not apathetic to what is happening here — the citizens of Mount Airy are interested and excited about what is to come for our wonderful small town,” the Main Street coordinator said.
“It is encouraging to get such a large response for the survey and to see so much optimism from the interviewing process.”
Epley advised last month that Benchmark personnel were still working through the overall analysis for a then-tentative early March presentation of a downtown assessment.
“And the survey is part of that,” he added. “We will release the survey results (then).”
March 01, 2022
For one man with local ties, the photos and videos of Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine carries a special significance.
Don Masura is a second-generation Ukrainian-American. While he was born in the U.S., raised around Detroit, he still identifies strongly with the native homeland of his grandparents.
“My grandparents immigrated to the United States,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Both sides of my family…from the Carpathian Mountains area of Ukraine.”
Growing up in the northern regions of the U.S., he said he had many friends who were immigrants — friends would readily identify with their Polish or Italian or Spanish ancestry. Masura, however, was not able to freely tell people he was Ukrainian.
“I was raised without being able to discuss my heritage,” he said. When he was growing up, Masura said most people in America considered Ukraine to be part of Russia, because it was under the control of the Soviet Union.
“To tell people that you were from Russia or that you were of Russian heritage…was not smart. People didn’t like Russians.” Instead, his parents told him to tell friends he was Austrian.
As he grew into adulthood and aged, Masura said he wanted to learn more about his true heritage, and three years ago he was able to finally visit Ukraine, spending time in the capitol city of Kyiv.
“It was a life-changing experience. I saw people who looked like my cousins and uncles.” Despite never having been to the nation, Masura said “everything was familiar. Ukraine itself is an absolutely gorgeous country. I stood in the central square. I could see the golden domes of the churches. There were flowers everywhere, and people were friendly and it was clean. People were happy. I can’t tell you how loving and kind everyone there was.”
Masura, a member of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and one of its volunteer ambassadors, is a small business owner, operating his own High Point-based consulting firm, The Threshold Performance Group. He said he it was fulfilling to finally see his family’s homeland, to connect to the people and places in Ukraine.
“To see the same streets I walked on, filled with war, breaks my heart,” he said. He also carries worry about relatives. While his immediate family is all in the United States, Masura said he has a cousin who immigrated back to the land of their ancestors, married and took up residence there.
“I’m worried about him,” he said, adding he has not been able to contact his cousin in recent days.
He does have other friends there who have sent out emails to him and others outside the country, describing what is going on.
“They talked about how it is so frightening,” he said of the emails. People there are having to go to extremes trying to stay safe.
“One example is the people are hiding underground. One said there are 1,200 people hiding in a train station underground and the only toilet facility they have is one bucket, and yet they don’t complain,” he said, expressing his admiration for the people of Ukraine. “They are finding a way…they are hungry, they are scared. Families are separated. Yet they fight, with everything they’ve got.”
While Ukraine may not be perfect, Masura said when he visited there three years ago, he spent time talking with many of the young people. He said they were happy and optimistic about their future, about Ukraine continuing to find its own identity after generations of being dominated by Russia, the former Soviet Union, and before that various empires which controlled Eastern Europe.
Some of that history, particularly recent history with Russia and the Soviet Union, is on display in the Kyiv city square.
“I went through a park that was the equivalent of the holocaust museum in Washington, D.C.,” Masura recalled. There, among memorials and museums was the story of Stalin, the Soviet Union leader, who would starve the people of Ukraine and elsewhere in his empire — just to keep them in line. Masura said there are memorials there to many people who died from Stalin’s brutal treatment.
And now, Russia is again invading its neighbor, apparently targeting both soldiers and civilians.
“They have not lost hope,” he said of the Ukrainians he is in contact with. “That’s what they need from the rest of the world, the prayers and the support so that they don’t lose hope. They have already lasted three or four days longer than everyone thought they would.”
Masura said the nation’s ability to hold off the Russian take-over has, in his opinion, given time for the U.S. and European nations to better coordinate their response. He fears, given the superior numbers of the Russian invaders, that the nation will eventually fall. That does not mean the war will be over.
“It is a culturally rich country. The people there are stubborn. They love their country in a way that is hard for us to understand, that they would line up with rocks and sticks to fight somebody to save their country.
“Depending on how it goes, it will turn into a guerrilla situation. The Russian troops don’t want to be there…there will be a lack of stability. I don’t think Russia will be able to take control over Ukraine and run it, because the people won’t allow that.”
Masura hopes sanctions and other actions by the rest of the world, combined with the dogged resistance being put up by Ukraine, will convince Russia’s Vladimir Putin the war is not worth it, that he will withdraw his troops.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, he said the response of Ukrainian residents should be a lesson to Americans.
“This is an excellent example of people who love their country. You may not always love your government but you can love your country.”
March 01, 2022
DOBSON — Seats on the Surry County Board of Education have been one of the more popular selections for candidates filing for office so far.
At the close of filing Monday afternoon, seven people had tossed their hats into the ring for county school board seats, including during a brief court-interrupted filing period in December and a resumption of that process which began last Thursday.
Donna McLamb was the latest to do so on Monday, when she officially became a candidate for the District 4 seat on the Surry Board of Education on the Republican ticket.
Before the filing of Lamb, 60, of Foley Brindle Lane, Dobson, fellow GOP member T.J. Bledsoe, also of Dobson, had been the only other candidate for the District 4 post that is now occupied by Terri Mosley, the board’s chairman.
Meanwhile, three candidates have filed, as of Monday afternoon, for the District 2 seat on the Surry Board of Education. They include Democratic incumbent Mamie McKinney Sutphin of Pilot Mountain and Republican challengers Tony L. Hutchens of Mount Airy, and Brent Long from Pilot Mountain.
The only other county school board slot affected by the 2022 election cycle is the District 3 seat for which Kent Whitaker of Dobson and Jessica George of Siloam were the only candidates to have filed by Monday’s closing. Both are Republicans.
That seat previously was held by Earlie Coe, who stepped down last year. Melissa Key Atkinson subsequently was appointed to serve the remainder of Coe’s unexpired term.
In comparison to the county school board, less candidate interest has been shown in Mount Airy Board of Education races. Both have partisan seats.
At last report, only incumbent at-large member Tim Matthews, a Democrat, had filed in a bid to retain that seat, with no one doing so for District A and B.
Those positions are now held by Kyle Leonard and Ben Cooke, respectively.
The filing period will continue today and Thursday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 8:15 a.m. to noon, when filing closes at the Surry County Board of Elections office in Dobson.
About 35 candidates had signed up as of Monday to run for various local and state offices, in anticipation of a primary election in May and the general election next November.
March 01, 2022
Surplus school properties have been a hot topic for the Surry County commissioners of late. With decisions looming on the fate of J. J. Jones High School, it was Westfield Elementary that needed some extra attention at the last board meeting.
Commissioner Van Tucker advised his fellow board members that a possible home for items on the lot of the former Westfield Elementary had been found. At Westfield were a World War II memorial and a flagpole with a bell that have significance to the community.
Tucker had been asking the board members, and the public, for help in finding these artifacts a new home. He reported that a scout wants to take on this project as part of Eagle Scout certification. He noted that would include bringing in the equipment necessary to uproot the flagpole and memorial for the move to Westfield Baptist Church.
He asked the board to give permission in advance to the Westfield Baptist group and the scouts to move ahead if and when the church’s deacons approved it.
County Attorney Ed Woltz made sure everything was in line with regulations and advised when the school was surplussed last year along with J.J. Jones that it was a surplussed as “real property.” These artifacts would be considered personal property attached to real property and would need to be surplussed as well.
The board passed a resolution to designate the items as personal property and the flagpole with bell to Westfield Baptist, and to grant pre-approval for the groups to move when approval is gained.
The county will gift these items to the church, who will agree to keep them in the public use going forward. For artifacts being displayed outside the church, where anyone can see, the public use component is easily met.
“They will freely and gladly comply with whatever it takes to satisfy the county’s paperwork request,” Tucker reported yesterday.
“Those people died heroically serving the country in World War II,” he said of the desire to save the memorial and the artifacts that hold significance to this community, “We don’t want anyone’s treasures to be lost.”
In other business at a recent board meeting:
– The Health and Nutrition Center sent a request to the board for authorization to buy a new truck. Previously, pandemic relief funds were used by them to buy an incident trailer, and now a vehicle is needed to get that trailer around the county for vaccination clinics and other functions.
Mount Airy Chrysler Dodge agreed to hold the vehicle for the county upon its arrival but would not be able to hold it until the next commissioners meeting. Knopf advised that no county fund would be used for the truck and noted the department had done due diligence in their selection of the vehicle based on departmental needs. The request was approved.
– The Town of Dobson is also in the market for a 100-foot aerial ladder truck for their fire department. The current Dobson fire fleet will not be able to reach the tallest buildings with its 50 foot truck, however officials have now determined the new truck is too large to fit down many Dobson neighborhood streets.
Previously, Dobson was going to sell the 50 foot ladder truck to help pay for the new one, that plan was scrapped. Town Manager Laura Neely sent a request to the county commissioners planning retreat last week for a contribution for the purchase, which Dobson had negotiated down to $90,000. With hotels, county buildings, and the new detention center being cited as the need for the purchase, the commissioners made a surprise offer to fully cover half the costs of the new ladder truck.
– The county’s Animal Control Committee sent forth a list of names to be reappointed to the committee: Tony Davis and Tony Tilley were reappointed by the board. Melissa Hiatt, executive director of the United Fund of Surry, was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the committee.
– Finally, Todd Harris, Surry County Register of Deeds, appeared before the commissioners to give credit for a job well done. He heaped praise on his staff for its recent certifications achieved through the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill.
“They passed with flying colors. Even this squirrel found an acorn down in Chapel Hill and was able to pass,” Harris offered. “We are very happy to announce, and very proud that this gives us 100% certification. I have an incredible staff.”
Recognized were: Misti Collins, Deputy Register of Deeds 1; Laken Haynes, Deputy Register of Deeds 1; and Jennifer Barker, Assistant Register of Deeds 2. Harris was certified as well as Register of Deeds. Also, in attendance to show departmental support for their teammates were Teresa Tilley and Teresa Smith.
March 01, 2022
The Moore House in Mount Airy was bustling with energy Monday as Melissa Hiatt of the United Fund of Surry gathered together representatives from the 26 member organizations for a lunch meet and greet. On the agenda was preparation to open the next round of funding request for the member agencies the United Fund of Surry supports, and they heard an update on the Community Campaign.
The United Fund recently moved into the upstairs at Moore House and Hiatt said they are “excited to be in their new offices.” Hosting a group at the house is a welcome change as the Moore House has been sitting unused since the pandemic. “No one has been here since closing for COVID.”
As the signage outside of Reeves Community Center reflects, the goal set of $430,000 has been exceeded, at last update the current total sat at $451,000 with a handful of workplace campaigns still ongoing. “This a good comeback from not making goal last year following the pandemic,” and there is still a “Dine-Out for the Fund” night scheduled with local restaurants in March.
The agencies under the United Fund umbrella serve needs all across the county, in fact Hiatt said at times United Fund is plugging in holes where local or state agencies cannot assist. The Ararat Rescue Squad, Surry Friends of Youth, and Yokefellow Ministries are among those agencies who benefit from being a part of the United Fund.
While the United Fund of Surry helps to distribute funds to the member agencies, she reminded the group that they are here to serve their agencies, “This is about you and the people you serve.”
In Surry County she reported 17,578 people have directly benefited from a service from one of the agencies, which equates to 25% in a county of roughly 70,000. “Those are just the direct touches, when you think about how many people around those received a benefit as well, the residual footprint is much higher than that.”
Take Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care as a prime example of a larger footprint, their direct service is for the patient, and secondary services are then offered via counseling and support to the family members in a time of great need. When extrapolated to the 18-county region they serve in both North Carolina and Southern Virginia, the impact felt from the services of Mountain Valley can reach into homes all across the region – and beyond.
In a minuscule sampling of the services utilized from the member organizations in the past 12 months, Hiatt gave the following: 69,000 meals, 530 scholarships, 1,078 prescription assistance requests, and more than 7,000 counseling classes were provided by United Fund agencies.
“This number that blows my mind, because I don’t know how this happens with all volunteers and no paid staff, but 3,298 crisis calls were met by rescue squads,” Hiatt observed. “That’s amazing when you think about the number of people who leave their home as a volunteer to get in a truck to aid someone and they have no idea where they’re going.”
People helping people comes in many forms and she encouraged the members to lean on one another where complementary services may overlap, or where one member agency could offer services to another. “It’s always better to partner with another non-profit at a lesser rate than it is to pay someone else to do it.”
A total of 58,827 volunteer hours were racked up by the agencies utilizing an army of 1,096 volunteers. Hiatt said that labor savings to the county has a price tag of $1.7 million. “When you speak to a county commissioner, remind them what you’re worth.”
There is still time to help the Community Campaign reach an even higher total, the public can make donations through: http://www.unitedfundofsurry.org/donate.
The Community Campaign for the United Fund of Surry is ongoing through the end of March.
March 01, 2022
The Northwestern Regional Library Quiz Bowel was held Feb. 19 at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mount Airy.with . The the team from Mount Airy High School coming out on top, with North Surry High School as runner up.
North Surry made Mount Airy fight for the win. The two teams had to compete with each other in back-to-back matches before Mount Airy won 120-80.
The event is an academic competition for high school students. Eight area high school teams competed including Alleghany, East Surry, Elkin, Mount Airy, North Surry, South Stokes, Stokes Early College, and Yadkin Early College.
The event includes two teams of four team members each competing with each other to answer questions about science, mathematics, social studies, literature, and current events. The event is double-elimination so that all teams are involved for several rounds.
This year’s Mount Airy team members included Andrew Myers, Tyler Utt, Angel Rivera, Nicholas Calcillo-Solis, Chris Lim, and the sponsor was Rod Hosking.
March 01, 2022
A female inmate at the Surry County Detention Center died Monday night, after having been jailed earlier in the day on a failure to appear charge relating to an earlier driving while intoxicated case.
Few details are being released by the sheriff’s office at this time.
Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt, in a written statement released this morning, said that Ashley Michelle Hicks, 31, had a “medical emergency” while in custody at the center.
“Detention staff located the inmate and immediately started emergency medical care,” Sheriff Hiatt said in the statement. “Surry County Emergency Medical Services was notified of the event by detention staff and arrived to assist a short time later. Ms. Hicks passed at the scene.”
Captain Scott Hudson said Hicks had been brought to the jail by officers from the Mount Airy Police Department at 5:05 p.m. that day. While he could not release details of the “medical emergency,” he did say “It appears to be a medical emergency and it is not due to suicide.”
The sheriff said his office has informed both the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Jail Inspector’s Office of the death. As a matter of policy, he said the SBI is conducting an investigation into her death.
Angie Grube, a communications official with the SBI, said there is little information to be released at this time.
“SBI agents responded to the scene/jail to conduct an investigation, which is standard,” she said. “Our investigation remains ongoing.”
She said it will be up to the state medical examiner to determine the cause of death, which could take several days or even weeks before all results are back.
March 01, 2022
The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Surry Center, wants to promote healthy eating and is offering a free webinar Thursday on growing you own food.
The “Grow Your Own Salad Bowl” webinar is being held Thursday, March 3 from noon to 1 p.m. The Cooperative Extension staff will be showing how to start your own salad bowl garden in order to grow your own tasty salad. “Seeing how easy this is will make you want to get started right away. You will never want to go anywhere else for your greens,” the announcement states.
The Cooperative Extension says do not let limited space stop you from growing your own food, a lot can be done in limited space. In these time of uncertainty about supply chains and what may be found from day to day at the market, taking matters into your own hands can eliminate some of that shortage anxiety.
Adding in those homegrown extra leafy greens can yield savings during times when prices keep climbing, and the health benefits to adding in more greens have been well known.
A 2020 study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, led by Joshua Dunaief, MD, found that a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables is associated with decreased systemic C-reactive protein levels over time.
Subsequently, those lower levels were correlated with reduced risk of diseases promoted by chronic inflammation. Foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties are highly recommended by doctors.
Dr. Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health, says “inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of diseases” such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
This webinar, the Cooperative says, will help participants raise their garden and “know where your food comes from.” Beyond the security of knowing the food is safe and pesticide free, they also say it can just be plain old fun. “Grow your own. It is exciting to watch your food grow from seed or transplant to table.”
Read more at: https://surry.ces.ncsu.edu/2022/02/grow-your-own-salad-bowl-webinar/
February 28, 2022
Three Surry Community College students, dually enrolled in local high schools, are finalists for Park Scholarships from North Carolina State University. These students are Nancy García Villa of Dobson, Nydia Cabrera Cabrera of Mount Airy, and Weatherly Reeves of Mount Airy.
Nydia Cabrera Cabrera is the daughter of Floriberto and Maria Cabrera. Nydia will graduate from North Surry High School where she is president of the student council. She also volunteers for local events and is a district nominee for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education Program and is godmother to her two nieces. Nydia plans to major in computer science.
Nancy García Villa is the daughter of Gricelda and Arturo García. Nancy will graduate from Surry Early College High School where she is a Scholar of Global Distinction, student council president, and National Society of Leadership and Success vice president. She also has been recognized as a LatinxEd 20 Under 20 recipient. Nancy plans to major in political science.
Weatherly Reeves is the daughter of Leslie and Dr. Travis Reeves. Weatherly will graduate from North Surry High School where she is Cadet Commander for Air Force JROTC unit NC-811, a National Honor Society member, and an all-conference member of the varsity soccer team. She is also an aspiring author and has written a fantasy novel for young adults. Her love of writing grew by attending the North Carolina Governor’s School East for English. She enjoys volunteering for Flags for Vets, Give a Kid a Christmas, and the Salvation Army Toy Drive. Weatherly plans to major in design studies at the College of Design.
Of 2,260 scholarship candidates from around the globe, 112 were chosen as finalists. These students were selected following application review and interviews conducted by more than 280 NC State and Park Scholarships alumni and friends. Finalists will go on to participate in final selection activities, where they will meet faculty, alumni, current Park Scholars, and other distinguished guests.
The Park Scholarship is a four-year scholarship valued at $116,000 for in-state students and $208,000 for out-of-state students, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel, and personal expenses. All finalists who participate in final selection activities and enroll at NC State are guaranteed a $10,000 scholarship – $2,500 per year for four years.
Since 1996, the Park Scholarships program has brought more than 1,200 students to NC State based on outstanding accomplishments and potential in scholarship, leadership, service, and character. The program develops and supports Park Scholars in these areas, preparing them for lifelong contributions to the university, state, nation, and world. The scholarship includes tuition and fees, room and board, enrichment activities, and additional expenses.
Park Scholarships is named for the late Roy H. Park, a 1931 NC State alumnus who created the charitable Park Foundation, dedicated to education, media, and the environment. Approximately 40 scholarships will be awarded this year to high school seniors for undergraduate study in any discipline at NC State.
February 28, 2022
Members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Surry Community College recently led an initiative to write Valentine’s Day cards for senior residents at two local rest homes.
In total, PTK members created 168 Valentine’s Day cards to be distributed to senior citizens. The cards were sent to Chatham Nursing Home in Elkin and North Pointe of Mayodan.
Surry Community College’s PTK Chapter Co-advisor, Dr. Kathleen D. Fowler said, “Too often these precious members of our community feel lonely and forgotten. We just wanted to help brighten the holiday for them.”
Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa and their projects, contact Fowler at 336-386-3560 or [email protected] or Kayla Forrest at 336-386-3315 or [email protected] or go to www.ptk.org. Follow the local chapter on Facebook @surryPhiThetaKappa.
February 28, 2022
Hannah Bowman’s kindergarten students at White Plains Elementary School recently participated in a candy heart challenge.
Students had to see how many candy hearts they could stack in two minutes without it falling, then they counted the candy hearts to determine the winner.
February 27, 2022
Staffers from Dr. John L. Gravitte and Associates recently visited Franklin Elementary School to meet with students and teach them the importance of daily dental health. They demonstrated proper brushing and flossing techniques and talked about the importance of healthy food and drink choices.
As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month Dr. John L. Gravitte & Associates reminds parents that their children can avoid cavities. Ensuring children are brushing their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between their teeth daily, eating a healthy diet that limits sugary beverage and snacks are a few of the daily habits for preventative care of primary and permanent teeth.
They also suggest parents consider getting sealants for their children. Sealants form a protective barrier that helps prevent bacteria from causing tooth decay.
February 27, 2022
The Town of Dobson and Surry County have combined forces to create a tourism coordinator position, which will oversee the operations of both the Dobson Tourism Development Authority and the Surry County Tourism Authority.
Filling that position will be Travis Frye, who was appointed to his new post last week. The organizations will continue working with the Surry County Tourism Partnership in efforts to grow tourism in the county.
Frye, who will assume his new position March 15, has been employed with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce as programs and events director, as well as Autumn Leaves Festival director, since 2017. Previously, he worked at the Surry Arts Council as a museum and event specialist. He is a graduate of Mount Airy High School and Appalachian State University.
“Travis brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the tourism industry in Surry County,” said Dobson Town Manager Laura Neely. “I congratulate him on this appointment, and we are excited to see what the future holds for the Dobson TDA and Surry County TDA.”
“I would like to congratulate Travis on his appointment as tourism coordinator and we look forward to working with him,” said County Manager Chris Knopf said. “His work experience will benefit him greatly as he transitions to this new role serving both communities.”
“I am excited and privileged to represent the Town of Dobson and the County of Surry in my new role as tourism coordinator. I look forward to building strong relationships with our community leaders, supporting local organizations and businesses, and promoting all the great offerings in our county,” Frye said of his appointment.
Frye was appointed following a selection process that included representatives from both TDAs, as well as local partner agencies. His office will be in Dobson Town Hall, 307 N. Main Street, Dobson.
Chamber officials have begun a search to fill his soon-to-be-vacant post there.
February 27, 2022
DOBSON — Rather than growing on the second day of a reinstated candidate filing period on Friday, the field actually got smaller where city races are concerned.
Will Pfitzner exited the ballot for a North Ward Mount Airy Board of Commissioners seat he’d thrown his hat in the ring for in December when filing initially began — before being suspended nearly three months by state redistricting court challenges.
Pfitzner said shortly after filing that he planned to withdraw his name due to being unaware that a respected family friend, Joanna Refvem, also was seeking that office, who he thought would do a better job. And he officially did so Friday, according to Surry County Director of Elections Michella Huff.
The owner of a business called LazerEdge Designs, Pfitzner, 28, had said his reasons for seeking public office included wanting to inject an element of youth into city leadership, and he vowed to do again in the future.
Friday was a relatively quiet day for filing at the elections office in Dobson after a busy day Thursday when a flurry of activity surrounding Mount Airy offices unfolded.
With all court challenges running their course, the candidate filing period for the 2022 election cycle was allowed to resume statewide Thursday after being halted in early December.
A primary election is scheduled in May for various local, state and federal offices ahead of the general election in November.
The candidate filing period ends Friday at the Board of Elections office, located in the Surry County Service Center at 915 E. Atkins St. in Dobson.
It will be open for filing each weekday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday and from 8:15 a.m. to noon on Friday, when filing closes.
Marion seeks re-election
Countywide, only one candidate filed Friday based on a breakdown from Huff, Kent Whitaker for the District 3 seat on the Surry County Board of Education previously held by Early Coe, who resigned last year.
Whitaker, 69, who lives on Siloam Road, Dobson, is a Republican, the same party as the only other person to enter that race so far, Jessica George, 33, of Cheyenne Trail, Siloam, who did so in December before the shutdown.
Other previously unreported filings, from Thursday, include those of incumbent county commissioner Mark Marion, 63, a Republican who represents the Central District and is seeking his second four-year term, and fellow GOP member Landon Tolbert, 30, for the same seat.
Marion lives on Lake Elva Lane, Dobson, while Tolbert is a Mount Airy resident of George Chandler Road.
City campaigns shaping up
Some interesting battles are developing in Mount Airy, where elections are non-partisan.
Former Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran, 59, of Allred Mill Road, filed Thursday to run for the at-large seat on the city council which she also once held before being elected to the municipality’s highest office.
Present longtime South Ward Commissioner Steve Yokeley, 74, a resident of Greystone Lane, also is seeking the at-large seat now occupied by Joe Zalescik, another commissioner candidate.
Confused yet?
Zalescik, 61, of West Devon Drive, filed Thursday for the seat now held by Yokeley.
This was part of an understanding between the two, Zalescik explained, due to a quirk in the municipal election process whereby the person winning the at-large seat will serve only the last two years of an unexpired term before facing re-election.
Since Yokeley is said to be “winding down” and is interested in a short-term proposition, he opted to run for that office while Zalescik desires a longer tenure that the South Ward would offer with a full four-year term.
Gene Clark, 59, of Newsome Street, also filed Thursday for the South Ward post.
John Pritchard, 77, who lives on Ridgecrest Drive, tossed his hat into the ring Thursday for the North Ward commissioner race in which Refvem, 67, of Montclaire Drive, is now the only other candidate.
That seat presently is held by Jon Cawley, 59, of Country Club Road, who is running for mayor in a field that now includes the present mayor, Ron Niland, 66, of Folly Farm Circle, and Teresa Lewis, 63, another former at-large commissioner for whom no street address is listed.
All three had filed in December.
Candidates slate so far
As of Friday at the close of business, this slate of office-seekers since December was in place, aside from city and county races already listed, with four more filing days remaining:
• Walter D. Harris, 68, of Tanglewood Drive, who is running for a Mount Airy District seat on the Surry Board of Commissioners now held by first-term incumbent and fellow Republican Bill Goins, who has not filed;
• Incumbent South District Commissioner Eddie Harris, 60, of State Road, and GOP challenger Tessa Saeli, 48, of Claremont Drive in Elkin;
• Incumbent Republican Sheriff Steve Hiatt, 58, of North Main Street, Mount Airy;
• Another GOP incumbent, District Attorney Tim Watson 62, of Edgewood Drive, Mount Airy;
• Four people vying for three local District Court judge seats, including incumbents Marion Boone, 59, of Phillip Branch Road, Mount Airy, and Thomas Langan, 48, of Deer Trace Lane, Pilot Mountain; Gretchen Hollar Kirkman, 48, of Saddle Creek Way, Mount Airy, a former judge; and Mark Miller, 39, of Mitchell Ridge Road, Elkin. All are on the GOP ticket;
• Republican clerk of court candidates including first-term incumbent Neil Brendle, 45, no street listing given; Teresa O’Dell, 60, a former clerk, of Kate Street, Mount Airy; and Melissa Marion Welch, 41, of Surrey Court Drive, Dobson;
• Candidates for the District 2 seat on the Surry Board of Education, including Democratic incumbent Mamie McKinney Sutphin, 44, of Pilot Mountain, no street listing given, and Republicans Tony L. Hutchens, 57, of Swansboro Lane, Mount Airy, and Brent Long, 56, of Tom’s Creek Bluff Lane, Pilot Mountain;
• One candidate for District 4 on the county school board, Republican T.J. Bledsoe, 40, of Stone Harbor Lane, Dobson.
• Democratic incumbent Tim Matthews, 65, of Barrington Drive, the at-large member of the Mount Airy Board of Education, with no one filing so far for its District A and B seats;
• Republican incumbent 90th District state Rep. Sarah Stevens, 61, of Margaret Drive, Mount Airy, and challenger Benjamin Romans, 36, of Roaring River, also a GOP member;
• Four Republicans seeking the 66th District state Senate seat serving Surry and other counties: Shirley Randleman, 71, of Wilkesboro, who formerly represented Surry; Eddie Settle, 62, of East Carter Mill Road, Elkin; Vann Tate, 57, a retired member of the N.C. Highway Patrol who lives on Old Toast Road, Mount Airy; and Lee Zachary, 75, of Yadkinville.
Candidates for N.C. House and Senate races file at their respective county boards of elections.
Those seeking federal offices such as seats in Congress complete their filings at the state Board of Elections in Raleigh.

© 2018 The Mount Airy News



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