The sign on the door at Dinos on U.S. 221 north of Willis says "A Hillbilly Greek Restaurant."
Dinos is Floyd County’s newest eatery, a diner-like spot right on the road near Willis Elementary School that offers a mix of old-fashioned American food (hamburgers, cheesburgers, steak sandwiches) with Greek fare (gyros, etc.).
Run by a Greek immigrant who lived in Chicago before moving to the area, Dinos is unpretentious, straightforward and serves good, well-prepared and tasty dishes.
I stopped there with a client Wednesday and my Italian beef sandwich was large, juicy and delicious. Our schedule didn’t permit time to talk at length with the owner or take photos but I plan to go back soon, sample more of his fare and learn what brought him to our corner of the world.
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A workman puts the finishing touches on the new siding and sign at the Floyd Country Store in preparation for Friday and Saturday’s grand opening celebration.
Owner Woody Crenshaw has invested countless time and money in rennovating the store and improving the venue for Floyd’s legendary Friday Nite Jamboree. Schedule details can be found on the store’s web site.Continue reading …
An anti-incumbent mood swept three local officials out of office Saturday as voters expressed their dissatisfaction with status-quo in Floyd County’s GOP primary.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon Hannett — whose first term as the county prosecutor was marked by controversy, fights with Circuit Judge Ray W. Grubbs and widespread dissatisfaction over plea bargains and lost cases — was soundly defeated by newcomer Eric Branscom, a former Montgomery County assistant commonwealth’s attorney.Continue reading …
A week later and Virginia Tech is still a national story. Lots of press — some good, lots exploitive — but Neely Tucker of The Washington Post nails the story of what life and the future holds for Blacksburg:
Big cities, big places, they don’t worry like this. Shooting sprees, mass death — they don’t become linked in the national consciousness to their moment of suffering.
Small towns, little-known places, they often do. It’s not fair, but it’s still the way it is.
"This is the last place in the world where you’d expect something like this to happen, and here we set a record for it, the worst shooting in the country."
You want to know surreal? The University of Miami baseball team came to play a series against Virginia Tech on campus this weekend.
It was the first regular campus event since 32 students were shot to death by a fellow classmate.
The Hurricanes were planning to bring an extra cop to Blacksburg so they’d feel safe.
Read the above sentence again.
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This is a joke, right? A town of 40,000, more than half of them college students, a rural pocket of off-the-interstate America, a town with zero murders in the previous year, a place where the crime report for the year reads 22 burglaries, seven sex offenses, six weapons violations, 194 liquor law violations — and Miami thinks this place is rough?
Welcome to the new home of Blue Ridge Muse, now powered by WordPress and firmly settled in on a new server.
I’ve been planning the move for some time now but finally had a chance to get it completed this weekend.
Still have some housekeeping to do so please bear with me.
But we’re open for business.Continue reading …
The Blue Ridge Muse
Doug Thompson realized the value of capturing history 46 years ago as a 10-year-old schoolboy in Farmville, Virginia, when the community, caught up in a fight over integration, closed the public schools and opened an all-white private school.
Thompson wrote about his experiences and submitted his story and photos to The Farmville Herald, the local newspaper. He developed other photo stories for the paper and a journalism career was born.
When his family relocated to the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Floyd, the 14-year-old Thompson took his photographs and stories to Pete Hallman, editor of the weekly Floyd Press.Â Hallman encouraged the young man to continue writing and taking photos, teaching him the ins and outs of the newspaper business.
Thompson went on to join the staff of The Roanoke Times where he covered the police beat, emerging racial turmoil in the city and tackled other tough subjects. His story about a young girl who obtained an abortion (illegal at the time) won the top feature writing award from the Virginia Press Association. Another, about street racers in the city, won a feature writing award while his coverage of the murder of a Southwest Roanoke couple and the abduction and rape of their teenaged daughters brought the top news writing award from the association
After moving on to The Telegraph in Alton, Illinois, Thompson continued to win awards for writing and photography, capturing the Illinois Associated Press Managing Editors top prizes for news, feature and column writing as well as first place awards from the Illinois Press Association.
Thompson took a sabbatical from newspapers in 1981 and moved to Washington to work on Capitol Hill. He served as press secretary for two Congressmen and then Chief of Staff for another before joining the House Committee on Science & Technology. From 1987-1992, Thompson served as Vice President for Political Programs for The National Association of Realtors and then joined The Eddie Mahe Company as a senior associate for Communications. During that stint he became involved in campaign finance issues and was a founding member of the Project for Comprehensive Campaign Reform. He also lectured at the American Campaign Academy and was a sought-after spokesman on campaign finance issues.
But journalism remained Thompson’s true love and returned to his roots as a free-lance writer and photographer.
During his stint at the House Committee on Science and Technology, Thompson worked on transfer of what was then DARPANet from the Department of Defense to the National Science Foundation, the beginnings of the Internet. Sensing the coming growth of the Internet, he started a web hosting and design company in 1994 and that same year launched Capitol Hill Blue as the web’s first political news site.
Besides Blue, Thompson publishes a number of other web sites, including American Newsreel and Blue Ridge Muse. He owns Blue Ridge Creative, a photography, video production and digital imaging company in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In 2001, Thompson and his wife launched the Our America project, a 10-year program to document the first decade of the new century through videos, photography and written essays.
The Thompsons left Washington in 2004 and moved to a hilltop retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. He returns to Washington once a year to speak to journalism students at the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism and still has business interests in the National Capital Region but his days as a Washingtonian are over. Despite his success in new media, Thompson remains a newspaperman at heart and lives by the creed that it is the role of a newspaperman to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."Continue reading …
We’re moving today to a new server with a new publishing system. During the transition, comments have been disabled. With luck (and luck has a lot to do with it) we should be back up and running by Monday morning.Continue reading …
At least 30 people are dead and more wounded, some critically, at Virginia Tech this morning when shots rang out for the second time this term on the Blacksburg campus.
The story is developing. Information is available on the Virginia Tech web site.Continue reading …
Tuggles Gap is open again…under old ownership. Cheri reports that she has reopened the restaurant, which was closed after a sale that fell through.
The reopened Tuggles is smoke free so nicotine addicts will have to look elsewhere.
Speaking of sales that fall through, Floyd’s current soap opera — the on-again, off-again sale of the Harvest Moon building and properties, remains the talk of the town.Continue reading …
For the Floyd County High School girls’ basketball team, the dream ended early Saturday afternoon in Richmond — their hopes for a perfect season dashed by a devastating loss to Clarke County in the Virginia High School League’s state final at the Siegel Center.Continue reading …