Christmas is a time to review the past year and plan, as much as possible, for the coming 12 months. The year 2015 brought change in Floyd County: retirements by the sheriff and chief investigator in our only police department, retirement of long-time circuit clerk Wendell Peters and a retirement on the board of supervisors, among other issues.
We start 2016 with a new sheriff, a new clerk and a new supervisor in Little River. Brian Craig survived challenges in both the Republican primary and general election to become the new sheriff, assistant clerk Rhonda Vaughn steps into the county clerk’s position and Realtor/radio announcer Linda DeVito Kuchenbuch will bring a new face and a vocal, direct persona to the board of supervisors.
A “drug court” becomes part of the Circuit Court in Floyd County. The court was advocated by former Commonwealth’s Attorney (and now judge) Stephanie Shortt and Circuit Judge Marc Long and is expected to be a vital part of the fight against escalating illegal drug production and use in the county.
On the local government front, county administrator Dan Campbell moved on to a new job in Madison County in the Shenandoah Valley and longtime assistant Terri Morris took the reigns as the top official.
School superintendent Kevin Harris came under fire from residents who want him fired after he sent a notice of “shut up and stay away” via Sheriff’s deputies to parent Rob Neukirch after a dust up at a cross country meet. Harris is under fire for aggressive, and some say harsh, treatment of teachers, staff and parents. Taxpayers also want to know how he managed to convince the compliant school board to remain an out-of-county resident when he was supposed to move to Floyd after taking the job.
Controversies over the superintendent’s actions and behavior are expected to continue into the new year.
On the business front, The Bank of Floyd and Grayson National Bank in Galax announced this year that they hope to merge early in 2016 to create a new, yet unnamed regional bank.
Financial insiders say the merger makes good sense for Grayson National, which wants the presence in Roanoke and the New River Valley that Bank of Floyd, which has taken an earnings hit because of some plans that cost more than it contributed to the bottom line.
Will shareholders approve the merger. Expect a fight from some stockholders of Bank of Floyd as more details emerge in 2016.
Floyd County High School’s Lady Buffaloes basketball team made it to the final four and then the championship game against Wise before losing in Richmond last March and the team is strong again as the year closes out and they head into 2016. The Lady Buffs softball team made the playoffs and the cross country team scored well at The Plains in the state games this past fall. Volleyballers made it to the state playoffs for the second year in a row.
The increasing footprint of Floyd County and Southwestern Virginia’s musical traditions continues. Dylan Locke and Heather Krantz completed their first year of ownership of The Floyd Country Store and its Friday Night Jamboree. They added more music on more nights, continued to develop the Floyd Radio Show and promise even more for the coming year.
David Larsen’s Chantilly Farm music venue added more events, more facilities and also become home to the annual cross county track event from Floyd County High School. Look for more at the Farm in 2016.
FloydFest restructured some and focused back on local music in a revamped schedule in 2015 and has announced acts and activities for 2016. Yoga Jam in Indian Valley continued to grow.
In a week, 2015 becomes “the week that was.” What is coming should be something to see and experience.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Amy, myself, and Blue Ridge Muse. Thank you making all this worthwhile.