2017: A year-in-review


Staff Report



Members of the Elkin Police Department and the North Carolina Department of Transportation responds quickly to a sinkhole on N.C. 268 Business.


File photos

Dr. Jim Harrell Sr. expresses how much scouting influenced his life during a breakfast honoring him and Fred Norman with Good Scout Awards. Harrell died in March of 2017.


File photos

President of the Elkin Valley Trails Association Bill Blackley receives the honors though he tells people, “the EVTA received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”


File photos

Flames are seen among the shelves in the Elkin Walmart July 4, 2017, causing the store to remain closed for several days.


File photos

Bill Blackley of the Elkin Valley Trails Association tosses a stick into the pool at the bottom of Carter Falls for Scout to retrieve.


File photos

Peggy Dudley expresses her amazement as the Rev. Stuart Taylor unveils a plaque honoring Peggy’s Playground at Elkin Municipal Park. Dudley was instrumental in creating the first playground at the park.


File photos

Elkin Mayor Sam Bishop helps Reeves Theater owners Debbie Carson and Dr. Chris Groner cut the ribbon for the grand opening celebration.


File photos

January

• Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital welcomed the first baby of 2017 on Jan. 3, Atlas Theodore Moorefield.

• The local community mourned the loss of a young firefighter, Dustin Bobbitt, 19, a member of the State Road Volunteer Fire Department, who died on Jan. 5. His father reflected on his service to the community, which began at age 14.

• The area received its first snow of 2017 on Jan. 6, bringing seven inches of snow for children to enjoy playing in.

• Renovations to the gymnasium at the Elkin Recreation Center are completed and unveiled as the Elkin Jaycees present a check for $20,000 to help fund the project.

• Jonesville’s town manager, Scott Buffkin, announced he would be leaving to take a post with Clemmons, leaving Jonesville after a second time of serving Jonesville for nearly 10 years as manager.

• A sinkhole opened on N.C. 268 Business closing the highway from Powers Lane to Elk Spur Street. The hole left the roadway closed for some time after it returned in March, until pipes under the roadway could be replaced and the road repaired.

• Gladys Cundiff Morrison, a long-time Yadkin County educator and promoter of the arts, died on Jan. 19. Morrison was a charter member of the Foothills Arts Council in Elkin, and she organized the annual Cliff Morrison Art Show in memory of her late husband.

• Area residents attend the inauguration of President Donald Trump, while others attend the following day’s Women’s March on Washington, D.C.

• Starmount High School announces its inaugural Sports Hall of Fame inductees, Bob Adams, Jackie Brown, Coach B.W. Holt, Carlos King, Reid Lowder, Heather Macy, John Mathis, Marilyn Scales, Mary Parker, Bill Parker, Brad Storie and Sylvia Wingler.

• Elkin High School’s wrestling team won its first Mountain Valley Athletic Conference meet since 2004, with a victory over Wilkes Central.

February

• Prism Medical Products made a donation of more than $17,000 to ensure the project to create a linear park at the downtown Elkin rock façade remained in tact after engineers discovered extra work requiring additional funding the town didn’t expect for the project.

• Governor Roy Cooper announced a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in a 2016 Elkin homicide case involving the murder of Charlie Winfield Spann. The case remains unsolved.

• Ronda elected officials vote to move fire tax collection to Wilkes County’s tax department. The Wilkes County commissioners approved the collection change.

• A $100,000 revolving loan program was developed by the town of Elkin to aid small businesses in building renovations, façade improvements and other needs to help them succeed.

• Surry County officials approve a plan to borrow $55 million, with a portion of that allocated to fund a gym renovation/addition at Elkin High School.

March

• The Elkin community lost a beloved community servant with the death of Dr. Jim Harrell Sr. He will be remembered for his service as a veteran, an Eagle Scout, a former mayor and commissioner for the town of Elkin, long-time chairman of the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation and dentist to many in the area.

• The North Carolina Department of Transportation began a road widening project on N.C. 268 between Elkin and Ronda, which kept traffic to one lane with delays for a few months until it was completed.

• Elkin school officials began the early process of addressing the need for gym upgrades at Elkin High School, in light of county commissioners voting to take out a loan to fund needed projects around the county.

• Yadkin Bank announced it would merge with First National Bank, FNB, bringing with it the loss of 150 jobs in the Yadkin Valley. The local Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust began in 2002 in Elkin and had acquired and merged with other banks through the years, changing its name to Yadkin Bank in 2013.

• Elkin Commissioner Bob Norton died on March 18 following a battle with cancer. Norton was remembered for being dedicated and being a “watchdog” on the town board as well as his time serving Elkin City Schools as a bus driver.

• Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson announced his unexpected retirement to take a post on the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission appointed by Governor Roy Cooper. Atkinson began his law enforcement career in Surry County in 1985 and had been a deputy and DARE officer as well as narcotics officer prior to being elected sheriff in 2006.

• A tragic house fire in Ronda took the lives of two children on March 22. The fire on Little Elkin Church Road in Wilkes County shook the community, and several fundraisers were held by classmates of the two boys’ older sibling to help the family.

• Elkin hosted hundreds for the 40th anniversary of the Gathering of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, during which Elkin Valley Trails Association member and trail advocate Bill Blackley was honored with the Order of the Long-Leaf Pine.

• An antler was taken from the bronze Elk statue at the Elkin High School football field. Its disappearance remains a mystery as it was never recovered.

• A new movement to promote Elkin and develop it as a destination kicked off with the Explore Elkin initiative, spearheaded by Jeff Eidson. The movement came about from a committee appointed by Mayor Sam Bishop and lead to events such as Live at Five and Food Truck Friday.

April

• Ronda Commissioner Cody Soots resigned his position citing a change in work schedules preventing him from being an active member of the town board. Gene Fowler was appointed to fill the seat.

• Angry Troll Brewing, Elkin’s second brewery and its first downtown brewery, officially opened its doors to the public during an open house event.

• Jeff Eidson, owner of G&B Energy and lead of the Explore Elkin initiative, is named an Elkin town commissioner, filling the vacancy left by the death of Bob Norton.

• The Yadkin Valley United Fund celebrates exceeding its $170,000 campaign goal, raising $196,000 to help nonprofit programs in the three-county service area.

• Michael Pardue is named as Jonesville’s new town manager. Pardue came to Jonesville from time in Wilkes County government.

• Local roadways and parks were flooded by waterways as Big Elkin Creek, the Yadkin River and Roaring River, as well as other waters, poured over their banks caused by days of rain.

• In a move to promote tourism and be environmentally-friendly, Elkin officials approve receipt of a grant to install electric car charging stations in three locations of town — the town hall/farmers market parking lot, the Elkin Municipal Park parking lot and the parking lot of the heritage and visitors center.

May

• A new nonprofit, Mercy and Truth Ministries, is formed with a mission to serve the less fortunate of the tri-county region. The group coordinates projects to provide Christmas, winter coats and school supplies to families in need.

• With a 3-11 conference season record, East Wilkes High School’s baseball team went on for a Cinderella story-win of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference’s season-ending tournament.

• A clinic designed to treat opioid addicts became the center of controversy in Elkin as facility owner Dr. Bobby Kearney proposed putting the clinic in a downtown building. With the community coming out in force against the plan, and his employees and patients for it, they spoke out to town commissioners about their feelings. In the end, commissioners moved forward with a plan to revamp approved downtown property uses, eliminating the medical arts as an option.

• Elkin Fire Chief Mike Morton resigned after two years in his post with the town fire department. The town recently posted the job opening after Don Mitchell filled it on an interim basis.

• After months of contention, a court case between Ronda Mayor Victor Varela and Commissioner Manuel Wood is decided in Wilkes County, with a judge declaring Wood not guilty of charges brought by Varela and Varela was given a prayer judgment continued for charges Wood took out against the mayor.

June

• A tragic house fire was reported in State Road as Corrine Michelle Clark of the Adams Ridge Road home died in her home during the incident.

• High school seniors in Surry, Yadkin and Wilkes counties walked across the stage, received diplomas and turned their tassels as the graduated and prepared for their futures.

July

• A fire was started inside Walmart in Elkin, with a youth later being charged, damaging thousands of dollars of merchandise and forcing the store to be closed for days as crews came in to assess and repair and clean up the damage and reset the store with new merchandise.

• State Fire Marshal Mike Causey visits CC Camp Volunteer Fire Department as part of a tour of Surry County’s fire service, emphasizing issues such as firefighter recruitment and insurance fraud.

• A contract workers life was saved by medical responders after he was electrocuted while working on lighting at Elkin Elementary School. Life save awards were presented in the fall to the people responsible for saving his life.

• In continued work to renovate the historic Reeves Theater in downtown Elkin, the replica of the original sign is installed on the front of the building on West Main Street.

August

• Wells Fargo announced it would close its downtown Elkin branch in October 2017, but would maintain employees by relocating them to other area branches. The closure left two corner bank properties empty at the Bridge and Main street intersection.

• The sale of Carter Falls by local attorney Dan Park to the state makes the North Carolina Council of State’s agenda, and is later approved at the state level. Wilkes County plans to lease the property from the state for $1 a year, and Elkin Valley Trails Association will develop the site and trail, which is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail between Elkin and Stone Mountain.

• Jonesville native Dickie Hemri, an ACC Athlete of the Year from 1954 and 1955 and a player for the Boston Celtics, died at the age of 83.

• The State Employees’ Credit Union Hospice Home of Yadkin opened its doors to patients following a largely attended grand opening event and more than a year of awaiting completion of construction.

• Yadkin Valley residents stopped on Aug. 21, some for just two minutes, some for longer, to watch a historic solar eclipse which was about 95 percent totality for the area.

September

• Residents and natives of the area respond to help victims of the historic and tragic flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.

• Elkin City Schools learns it jumped three spots to fourth in the state in academic performance following results of the 2016-17 school year. In several categories, the small local system ranked first in the state.

• Starmount High School wins the annual Battle of the Bridge football game against Elkin, after defeating Forbush in the Unifi Bowl.

October

• Elkin grew by more than 1,000 people for a day and a night as cyclists participating in Cycle North Carolina’s 2017 Mountains to Coast ride rode into town, camped, visited local sites and then left for the next leg of their journey.

• Elkin City Schools’ students were visited by Capt. Barrington Irving, who flew into the Elkin Municipal Airport to greet middle-schoolers and then went on to speak at the elementary and high schools.

• A Roaring River man, Daniel Keith Walters Sr., was shot during a burglary incident at his home. He died on Dec. 27 and two men have been charged in that case.

• More than $57,000 was raised to benefit the Elkin Rescue Squad during the annual charity golf tournament sponsored by WIFM.

• East Wilkes High School’s girls’ tennis team won both the 1A singles and doubles championships during the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference tournament.

• Four trains cars derailed along N.C. 268 Business in front of the former Vaughn-Bassett Furniture Plant east of downtown.

• The playground at Elkin Municipal Park was named in honor of its creator and guiding force, Peggy Dudley, as a surprise for her birthday.

• Starmount football coach Scott Johnson reached his 100th career win with his team’s victory over West Wilkes High School.

• Elkin’s football team pulls the upset of the season by defeating the undefeated East Wilkes Cardinals, 53-52, with a field goal in the final seconds of the game.

November

• The Elkin High School 1967 football team reunited for gathering 50 years after winning the state championship for a night of fellowship and memories.

December

• Light Up Night highlighted the newly opened linear park at the downtown Elkin rock façade as residents gather to welcome the holidays to the Yadkin Valley.

• The first community gathering is held at the new Heritage and Trails Center on Front Street as leaders seek input on what exhibits and impact residents want shared at the center when it officially opens to the public.

• Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital adds two more accolades to the long list of honors and awards it has received as the Women’s Choice Awards are announced.

• Long-time physician Dr. Howard Nabors passed away, and is remembered by patients and family as a man who still cared enough to make home visits. He is honored with a scholarship in his memory through the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation.

• The first snow in the Yadkin Valley region for the 2018-19 cold season arrives before the official start of winter.

• The Elkin Board of Commissioners vote to begin the initial process toward the construction of a shell industrial building, pledging a match to help with the development of the project if the county is agreeable and a developer can be found to partner.

• Starmount High School inducts its second class into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame, with new members including Deana King, Danny Macemore, the late David Norman, Julianna Prim and Robin Vann.

• The Reeves Theater in downtown Elkin officially opens to the public, first with a holiday concert by Time Sawyer, and then with a grand opening and ribbon cutting event featuring the Reeves House Band. The opening was a long time in coming as renovations took longer than expected to the historic building which once was a cinema.

Members of the Elkin Police Department and the North Carolina Department of Transportation responds quickly to a sinkhole on N.C. 268 Business.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_IMG_0004-2.jpgMembers of the Elkin Police Department and the North Carolina Department of Transportation responds quickly to a sinkhole on N.C. 268 Business. File photos

Dr. Jim Harrell Sr. expresses how much scouting influenced his life during a breakfast honoring him and Fred Norman with Good Scout Awards. Harrell died in March of 2017.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_DSC_0112.jpgDr. Jim Harrell Sr. expresses how much scouting influenced his life during a breakfast honoring him and Fred Norman with Good Scout Awards. Harrell died in March of 2017. File photos

President of the Elkin Valley Trails Association Bill Blackley receives the honors though he tells people, “the EVTA received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_BillsLaurel.jpgPresident of the Elkin Valley Trails Association Bill Blackley receives the honors though he tells people, “the EVTA received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.” File photos

Flames are seen among the shelves in the Elkin Walmart July 4, 2017, causing the store to remain closed for several days.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_19642557_804798353020590_665812475154025030_n.jpgFlames are seen among the shelves in the Elkin Walmart July 4, 2017, causing the store to remain closed for several days. File photos

Bill Blackley of the Elkin Valley Trails Association tosses a stick into the pool at the bottom of Carter Falls for Scout to retrieve.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_carter-falls-2.jpgBill Blackley of the Elkin Valley Trails Association tosses a stick into the pool at the bottom of Carter Falls for Scout to retrieve. File photos

Peggy Dudley expresses her amazement as the Rev. Stuart Taylor unveils a plaque honoring Peggy’s Playground at Elkin Municipal Park. Dudley was instrumental in creating the first playground at the park.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_playground-5-formatted.jpgPeggy Dudley expresses her amazement as the Rev. Stuart Taylor unveils a plaque honoring Peggy’s Playground at Elkin Municipal Park. Dudley was instrumental in creating the first playground at the park. File photos

Elkin Mayor Sam Bishop helps Reeves Theater owners Debbie Carson and Dr. Chris Groner cut the ribbon for the grand opening celebration.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_RibbonCuttingKitsey-2.jpgElkin Mayor Sam Bishop helps Reeves Theater owners Debbie Carson and Dr. Chris Groner cut the ribbon for the grand opening celebration. File photos

Staff Report

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