Every town I’ve lived in has its gadflies, those who challenge the status quo but do so in a way that angers even those who might agree that the status quo needs a challenge or two.

In Floyd, the gadflies are Dennis and Linda Wagner, two transplants who hit town about seven years ago, restoring a large historic house on Main Street, and managing to find a way to alienate just about everyone they come in contact with.

Dennis ran for Mayor in this past election and Linda for town council. Neither made it. The status quo that they despise so much rose up and stomped them with humiliating defeats.

A favorite game at breakfast and lunch at places like Blue Ridge Restaurant, Café del Sol and Oddfellas Cantina is guessing the next business in Floyd that will ban the Wagners from the premises. Hardees has a restraining order barring them from the fast-food franchise (something about abusing the free refills policy). So does a local antique shop and other business owners tell me they are not welcome in their establishments as well. Linda has a case pending for trespass and Dennis has a lawsuit against the city, saying he was injured by a flying rock from a town-owned lawnmower.

Currently, they are firing off letters to a phalanx of state and federal public officials, claiming the town’s new revitalization project is just a shill to fatten the wallets of a few at the expense of many.

Now I’m the first to admit a few things could be changed for the better around here but I have to wonder about the motives of those who seek change through confrontation and alienation. Some that the Wagners claim are crooks are people I’ve known most of my life and I trust them a lot more than folks I don’t know.

Progress is not served by firing off shotgun salvos of letters of innuendo. Floyd, and the people who are working so hard to improve it, deserve better.

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