Saturday, October 31, 2009

Final Thoughts on Solar 2009

I made it home safely form the left coast. The solar conference was one of the most well attended that I have seen in many years. We had appointments with over 25 potential clients over three days and attended several training sessions covering incentives and other topics. I came home with several impressions and many more questions.

Much of Europe and Asia are well ahead of us in solar deployment. Germany is the world leader and Spain has made a large push. China is making a lot of noise about cleaning up their act but I don't buy it. California and New Jersey are in the forefront of the efforts in the US. The efforts here are uneven and are mainly determined by who has the best incentives. Sometimes the incentive come and go, depending on state budgets.

The questions surround whether or not we stay the course. At the present time the cost power produced by solar in most areas is not competitive with more established sources, especially not in North Carolina. There is a wide gap and this has to be bridged with incentives or rising cost or new technology. I think we must continue to explore every avenue available until we find the answers to our dependence on foreign energy. Solar needs to be a part of the strategy and North Carolina needs to be a player in this. I will be interested in following the industry and comparing who is present at the conference next year as compared to this year.It should be an intersting ride

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Solar Energy 2009

I am in Anaheim this week for Solar Power International 2009. This is a three day event that has over 900 vendors and 25,000 attendees. It reminds me of a carnival. You have the sideshows, the pithcmen, and the hucksters, the only thing missing is the rides and Disney is just down the street.

This may not be totally true but it is the feeling I get walking around the convention center. I spoke with a fellow Economic Developer and he said that probably less than 20% of the companies showing at the conference will be in business within two years. That is probably not unusual for and emerging industry but it certainly makes my job tougher. Who do you try to recruit? The PV manufacturer? They are running at less than 50% capacity and there will probably be a major consolidation in the offing. A solar farm? This involves huge investment, a partner to buy the power and they are very dependent on tax credits. It is a difficult market to handicap. I have another day tomorrow and we have about 15 appointments, maybe I can at least find a cotton candy vendor.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Broadband Efforts

Thanks to the approval of a feasibility study by the Stokes County Commissioners, we are moving forward with a study to see how broadband service can be improved in our county.
This is a long term process aned there are many unknowns that this study will work to clear-up. Story below:

By Lisa O'Donnell


Published: October 26, 2009

Updated: 10/26/2009 12:20 am

DANBURY - Relief may be on the way for people in Stokes County who are on the wrong end of the digital divide.

The Stokes County Commissioners recently approved $21,000 for a feasibility study that will map, as closely as possible, where broadband access is already available and look at what it would take to increase accessibility.

Alan Wood, the county's director of economic development, is one of the driving forces behind bringing high-speed Internet access to more residents.

He estimated that broadband is available to about 65 percent of the county's residents, most of whom live in the populated areas of King and Walnut Cove and along major corridors. The rest of the population either doesn't have a computer or relies on dial-up Internet access.

"Broadband is at the core of everything we are trying to do economic development-wise in Stokes County," Wood said. "It's a necessary utility for economic development, like water and sewer. That's my opinion. Without it, you don't have the tools to recruit or let existing businesses grow and prosper."

Businesses aren't the only ones who can benefit from high-speed Internet. Although all of the schools in the county have high-speed Internet, many students do not have it at home. That limits their ability to do research and take online courses.

Stewart Hobbs, the superintendent of Stokes County Schools, said that schools often stay open past the final bell so that students have access to computers.

"We're in a technology world now. We're really pushing 21st century global skills, and we need students to have access to the Internet at home," Hobbs said. "From kindergarten up, a lot of our kids' learning takes place on the computer."

As it is now, Stokes residents get their Internet through their telephone or cable company or by satellite.

Some flock to the Stokes County Library in Danbury to use one of its several computers. High-traffic times are in the afternoon when students get out of school, said Nora Lankford, the branch librarian.

Marisa Renegar-Smith of Lawsonville was at the library recently to use its computer because hers was not working. She gets her Internet service by way of satellite but that is expensive, costing about $65 a month.

She said she would like to have another choice.

"Now, you get dial-up and wait forever or pay a lot," Renegar-Smith said.

The feasibility study should be ready in a few months.

After that, it will be up to the commissioners to decide whether increased accessibility is too costly or something they should pursue.

If they do decide to pursue it, the county could be eligible for stimulus money. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made $7.2 billion available for increasing broadband in rural areas.

A new wave of money will be released in late February or March, and Wood wants Stokes County to be prepared with a shovel-ready project to submit.

The issue of increasing Internet speed is one that comes up often among county residents, Commissioner Jimmy Walker said.

"Because we've not given sufficient attention to this important issue, I feel like we've gotten behind and now, it's like we have to try harder to get up to where we need to be," Walker said.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Digital Bootcamp

My wife and I spent three and a half hours of our Saturday in Greensboro discussing the world of digital marketing. I know this doesn't sound like the best way to spend a weekend but it was very enlightening and if the programs we are trying to put in place in Stokes County are going to be effective, I need to learn.

We learned that every application doesn't fit every business but a well thought and developed marketing plan can not exist without the digital world. We discussed why web pages are needed. The list is long but I think the most compelling one we discussed was the credibility it adds to a business.

This reinforces what Mr. Jim Morgan, Chairman of the Board of the Piedmont Triad Partnership told me earlier this week. Mr. Morgan said" I still believe that most of my business comes from word of mouth. This has changed now because after they are given my name they check me out on-line." Without this on-line prescense his clients and might go somewhere else. I think this is true for not only his business but for almost everyone that has a company in the digital world.

I will be taking the rest of the classes in the series in the hope that I can find ways to help the 500+ businesses in my county find an edge.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hurray to Stokes

Glad to see this article. This is just a small sample of what technology can do in Stokes County.

Stokes County technology wins award
by Leslie Bray Evans
16 hrs ago 23 views 0

A technology project implemented in Stokes County last year has won a high level award. The Probable Cause Video Conferencing system was named one of the winners of the Local Government Federal Credit Union employee productivity awards given by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC).The honor was presented on Friday, August 28, at an awards ceremony at the Metro Convention Center in Hickory. It was brought back to Stokes County and presented formally for everyone to see at the September 8 county commissioners meeting in Danbury.A review committee from the NCACC chose the Stokes County technology innovation as one of the top 10 project applications received from all over the state. The project was slated to be featured in the organization’s monthly newspaper, CountyLines,“I want to personally commend your team for its creativity, innovation and commitment to improving county government,” said David F. Thompson, executive director of NCACC, to the Stokes County project team. “County employees like you set a wonderful example to others to rethink their way of doing business.”The award included a $1,000 check. According to Stokes County Manager Bryan Steen, the monetary award will be handed over to the county, possibly to be used to help defray the cost of the Employee Holiday Lunch in December.The winning project makes use of technology to video probable cause hearings and transmit the proceedings to the proper authorities. This has resulted in substantial savings in time and gas for county law enforcement officials. Safety has been increased as well since the system cuts the trips law agents must make with suspected criminals in their custody.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Ally For Stokes County

We are pleased to welcome the Dan River Basin Association to Stokes County. This dedicated group can be a huge asset in our efforts to increase tourism and create new jobs.

Advocate to promote Dan River
Journal File Photo
The Hemlock Golf Course access is no longer open to the public after the lease was not renewed.
By Lisa O'Donnell
Published: October 21, 2009
Updated: 10/20/2009 10:35 pm
DANBURY - Many paddlers would agree that the prettiest sections of the 200-mile-long Dan River are in Stokes County.
Those sections are also among the most difficult to access.
Dale Swanson hopes to change that.
Swanson was recently named the Stokes Program Coordinator for the Dan River Basin Association, a nonprofit organization based in Eden that has become a strong advocate for promoting and protecting the river. Some of the association's activities include organizing outings on the river, working with local governments and building trails.
The new office is in the same building as the Stokes County Arts Council in Danbury.
Katherine Mull, the executive director for the association, said it made sense to expand to Danbury.
"Stokes County is really a gem, and it is one of the most popular places to paddle because it is so beautiful and there are natural heritage sites," she said. "We needed to have an office there, so this is a dream come true for us."
Swanson and a few other Stokes County leaders approached Mull a few months ago about opening a Danbury office. The timing was right for Swanson. He had recently been laid off from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and was looking for something to do.
He also works as a guide for the Dan River Company, a local outfitter.
"I know the river from top to bottom," said Swanson, who is volunteering his time.
His first project is getting more public accesses to the river. The accesses in Francisco and at the Hemlock Golf Course in Walnut Cove were closed to the public a few years ago, leaving the county with just two public accesses -- one near Hanging Rock State Park and another at Moratock Park in Danbury. The owners of those other accesses did not renew leases with the county to keep them open, Swanson said.
"At the time, there was no real advocate locally pushing to work something out to retain those accesses," he said.
Those accesses are important economically because the river is a regional draw for paddlers and people who like to fish, Mull said. Once in the county, they look for places to buy gas and eat.
Alan Wood, the economic-development director for Stokes, said the association will help the county figure out ways to use its natural resources, such as the Dan, to fuel the economy.
"We have two main resources, tourism-wise, and that's Hanging Rock State Park and the Dan River. The Dan is a wonderful natural resource, and we have not done a very good job in developing it as an asset," Wood said. "They add legitimacy in promoting the Dan River and will be a huge ally," he said of the association.
The organization has also been successful at winning grants that are not available to municipalities, Mull said.
In addition to trying to reopen the two closed accesses, Swanson hopes to launch Trout in Classroom, a Trout Unlimited project that teaches schoolchildren about the importance of water and watersheds.
He also plans to look into routing a branch of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along the river and work with local landowners about how to build a proper river access.
He said there are a few improperly built private accesses that have eroded, causing sediment to fall into the river.
The community will play an important role in all of the organization's projects, Mull said.
"We're not coming in with preconceived notions about what Stokes County needs," she said. "It's all going to come from the community."

Leaf Update

With the Piedmont experiencing predominantly cloudy, overcast skies and ample rainfall throughout most of the region this past week, color change has struck a holding pattern. However, for the first time since beginning our 2009 Piedmont fall foliage reports, a substantial and significant difference between elevations in the Piedmont Region is now noticeable. Reporting from Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County, Park Superintendent Dave Cook observes that higher elevations in the park are now starting into peak period, while lower areas have not changed significantly over the last week. Approaching the park from NC Highway 66 and 89 in Stokes County, you can see a dramatic difference as color sweeps down from the top of Hanging Rock before fading and blending in at lower elevations. Nearing the elevation of 2,572 feet, Dave believes that leaf change is between 40 and 50 percent. Red Maple, Blackgum and Sweetgum, Sourwood and Flowering Dogwood, are showing off nicely with oranges, yellows and reds.

Stokes Farmers Visit Rutherford County

A group of 14 local farmers and local business people and government officials visited Rutherford County on Monday to learn about a really exciting program. Below is an article published in this weeks Daily Courier, the local Rutherford County Newspaper about the visit. There are also pictures here and on the Stokes Toursim and Development facebook page.

The program ties local farmers to chefs and other buyers for their produce via the Internet. Orders are placed on-line and the goods are delivered within 24 hours. There will be much more to come on this project.: Photo above is Billy Ray, lovingly named after Billy Ray Hall from the NC Rural Development Center. The Rural Center funded the High School program discussed below via a grant. Billy Ray (above) is a Ossabow Island Pig. The breed is known for rooting and has nicely marbled red meet. The meet has a strong following in certain gourmet markets through-out the country.

Visitors study farm projects
by Larry Dale
1 day 9 hrs ago 33 views 0
RUTHERFORDTON — Visitors from Stokes County came to Rutherford County on Monday to take a look at the farming efforts being fostered by Foothills Connect Business & Technology Center.One of the stops for the visitors was at the R-S Central High School farm to see the agricultural operation there.Teacher Brandon Higgins talked about the process of clearing land and improving the soil through the rotation of goats, pigs and chickens across the land and the selective cutting of timber.The R-S Central operation was once “all cotton farming land,” Higgins explained, and has only two to three inches of topsoil, so an effort has to be made to build the land back up. The animal manure adds nitrogen and helps build the soil, and sales of the animals are a money-maker for the school.The visitors got to see Billy Ray, the Ossabaw Island pig, and the teacher explained how the “red meat” hog is being crossed with other breeds to produce leaner meat, since the Ossabaw naturally is a fatty animal. Ideally, he explained, the school would like to have six sows and breed one a month with the Ossabaw. “It looks like Billy Ray has a home for life,” Higgins noted.The teacher said he is in his fourth year at R-S Central, and the number of students in the program has grown from 75 to more than 200, a testimony to the growing popularity of the program.Higgins spoke with pride of the successes of the farm program at the school, but he warned his visitors that soil building and the effort to become sustainable is “a long-term process.”“This is an animal science facility,” he said, with the livestock being raised for meat and milk. He noted, for example, that 35 chickens were sold to a county restaurant as broilers.The Stokes visitors also were shown the school’s two greenhouses, including the one that was recently completed.“I would like Stokes County to learn what Rutherford County has taken from this,” said Kaye Moorefield, treasurer/ secretary for the farmers market of Stokes County, on Monday at R-S Central. “They have seen what needs to be done, they’re doing something about it, they’re getting the kids involved, and I think that is fantastic. In Stokes County, we are hurting as badly as Rutherford, and I think if we can get some programs set up and get the education in the schools and get the younger kids interested, I think we’ll be OK in the future.”Among the other visitors from Stokes County were: Michael Hylton, interim director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Stokes County; Harvey Moser, president of the King Farmers Market and Stokes County Economic Development Director Alan Wood.“There’s a variety of people from the county to see what we can do to help Stokes County,” Moorefield said.She said that in many ways, Stokes is “a sister county to Rutherford, with job losses, farmland usage, loss of farms. I think it is the same, or very similar.”Farmers Fresh Market has linked Rutherford County farmers to the lucrative Charlotte market and the Stokes County visitors are hopeful that their farmers can likewise be linked to Winston-Salem and Greensboro markets.When the Stokes County group arrived, they were welcomed by Jim Brown, chair of the Foothills Connect board. During introductions, the contingent met County Manager John Condrey, regional heritage tourism official Frankie McWhorter and Liz Rose, owner of CafĂ© at the Mall in Forest City.Ms. Rose, an enthusiastic supporter of the Farmers Fresh Market project, urged the visitors to get local restaurants involved in buying from the local producers. She showed them what she places on her tables to promote the local producers and to let her customers know she is buying from local sources.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walking the Walk after Talking the Talk

If you have been around me very much, you already know that I am passionate about what I do. You may also think that I go a little overboard on the value of web based marketing and the impact it can have on your business. This of course include social networking, pay per click advertising, etc.

I am admitting here before all the readers of this blog (both of you) that I am a relatively recent convert to the system. I fought carrying a cell phone for many years and wanted nothing to do with a blackberry, smart phone, etc. As with most converts, when the change came it was dramatic and eye opening.

I have often said that a reformed anything was scary and so it is with me. I am waging a battle, with the help of a great many good people in Stokes County assisting me, to create a better economic future for our residents. We don't have a huge budget to accomplish this. What we do have is a vision, passion for what we do and a developing game plan.

This game plan includes a web based marketing campaign that reaches out to every business, large or small that wants to participate. We will give them a listing on our web site, that is searchable by name, business type or key word search. If they don't have a web site, we will build the one! If they already have a web site but it isn't being used to it's fullest potential, we want to help. If they don't have affordable broadband, we hope to bring it to the county, with a lot of help (our commissioners approved a feasibility study yesterday that will allow us to map where broadband access is currently available and start the process on where it needs to go, how to get it there and the costs. If you see them, please tell them thank you. This may be the most important project we undertake in my lifetime, if we area successful.

Our economy is changing, as if you haven't noticed. The only way we can be competitive is if we change faster and get in front of the curve. That is exactly where we are headed. If you see me on the street and have already heard the story or don't want to hear me preach, then cross to the other side of the road. I am a convert and as my wife is fond of saying, I don't take it serious, I take it personal!

Below is a great link on how to set up a fan facebook page:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Picture of Wreath that won 1st place in the Winston-Salem Florist Association Competition at the Dixie Classic Fair

This entry in the Winston-Salem Florist Association Professional Division of the floral design competition won first prize at this weeks Dixie Classic Fair. The wreath was done by designer Jane Elolf from Talley's Flower Shop. It is made of all natural elements. The face is done in various seeds, such as crushed rye, poppy seeds, lintels, etc. The beard is done in wood shavings and the hair is made of natural virgin wool. The theme for the event was "Twas the Night before Christmas" and the line used for inspiration was 'It encircled his head like a wreath". Jane is an accomplished, award winning designer and her creation truly captures the spirit of the poem. Thanks to Sarah Johnson for sharing this wonderful bit of news about the talented people that exist in Stokes County. Hurry Christmas, don't be late.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Stokes County Web Development Program

It has taken several months and a lot of grunt work by my faithful work group but we are finally ready to role out our web site development program. This is a wonderful chance for any small business that wants to take part to have a web site of their own. There is no reason for anyone, large or small to be left out. Look at the press release and the story in the Winston Salem Journal for detail. Let me know if you have any questions.
Economic Development Commission



Contact: Alan Wood – STOKES COUNTY (336) 593 - 2496
The Stokes County Economic Development Commission (EDC) is ready to “kick off” a program to build web sites for local businesses that are not currently active on the internet. The EDC applied for and received an Incumbent Workers Grant from NW Piedmont Council of Governments' Workforce Development Board to make this program possible. The grant will pay for development of templates on which the sites can be built, training of the interns that will build the sites and their travel to the company’s place of business. The web sites will be built free of charge by interns from the local community. The only cost to the company will be acquiring their domain name and a monthly hosting fee (approximately $25 for the domain name and $6.00/month for hosting.)
The idea for the program was developed during strategic priority sessions held by the EDC earlier this year. These sessions established short and long term goals and objectives for the EDC. It was readily apparent that while there were many challenges ahead, there were also opportunities that were being overlooked. Many of these involved the active use of the internet to market the county and the businesses in the county.
Several strategies evolved from these sessions. The development of new web sites to allow the EDC to better promote itself on the world stage was determined to be very important but we needed to do something to help local businesses as well. A working group was established and over the course of five months a plan developed. Build web sites for local businesses! Go to their place of business, at their convenience, gather the information needed, explain the process, build the sites, teach them how to maintain and update their sites and charge them $0. In addition, our clients, local Stokes County businesses will be introduced to such things as web based marketing, web site analytics, keyword analysis and advised on strategies for developing a cost effective internet marketing campaign. The interns will work with the businesses for up to six months to insure that there is a comfort level with the site and that they understand the need to keep information updated and how to update it in a timely manner.
Nvizion, a local company located in King was hired to build the templates for the sites and will provide training to the interns. The interns will be provided with assistance from the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments Workforce Development and will be students from our technical schools and area high schools. Using local students allows the EDC to tap into a large pool of talent and at the same time provide these students with an important opportunity to develop skills and learn to interact with local business leaders.
The first sites will be built for six or seven local companies that have agreed to participate in a “Pilot Program”, with the understanding that this is a new process and there will be details to be worked out. After the successful completion of the “Pilot” sites, the program will be available to all Stokes County businesses that do not currently have active web sites. The EDC will continue to build web sites for companies as long as the money last or until everyone that wants or needs a site has one.
Local leaders were intrigued by the program. Leon Inman, chairman of the Stokes County Board of Commissioners was quoted saying “there is huge growth potential for businesses in Stokes County. If you want to participate in a global economy, you must be searchable on the internet. This program allows you that opportunity.”
EDC Board Chair Worth Hampton echoed those thoughts, “I am a small business man and I believe the economy of the future will take on even more of a global feel. Your customers might come from anywhere and if you are not a participant in the web network, you will be leaving potential business on the table.”
Althea Hairston, Director of the NW Piedmont Workforce Development Board embraces the concept, saying “The Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Board recently awarded Stokes County Economic Development a grant that will provide training to over 500 small businesses in their use of technology to increase public awareness which will result in increased revenue and business expansion. This is a great example of maximizing available resources to grow businesses in Stokes County.”
The first sites should be underway in late-October and the project should be running at full speed later this year. It is hoped that the second group of sites can be started before year-end. Anyone interested in having a web site build should contact Alan Wood, Stokes County Economic Development Director at 336-593-2496 or email him at

Published: October 2, 2009

The Stokes County Economic Development Commission has received a $15,000 grant to assist in building Web sites for local businesses that are not on the Internet.
The grant, which was awarded by the Northwest Piedmont Council of Government's Workforce Development Board, will pay for developing templates and training local interns to build the sites. Nvizion, a company in King, will provide the training, according to a release by the commission.
Interns will come from local technical and high schools. The sites will be built for free, but local businesses will have to pay for the domain name and a monthly hosting fee.
A small number of businesses are participating in a pilot program, which will be open to all Stokes County businesses, most likely by the end of the year.
For more information, contact Alan Wood, the director of the commission, at 593-2496 or e-mail

News Story from Fox 8

Below is a link to a story on Fox News 8 that aired yesterday. It concerns broadband access in rural areas and what is being done about it. Stokes County is reviewing proposals to do a feasibility study on the level of access that exist in the county and what we can do to improve it. Stay tuned for more details:,0,7800005.story

Assistance from Stokes County Partnership for Children

Cindy Tuttle, Executive Director of Stokes Partnership for Children, would like for anyone who has an interest in receiving funding from their Smart Start Program review the following information. This is a great program and I hope everyone will take time and review it. Our children are our future and we need to help them get off to the best start possible:

Smart Start Request for Proposals (RFP) Stokes Partnership for Children, Inc. wants to fund acceptable programs, which relate to young children (birth through age five) for fiscal year 2010-2011. Programs should help ensure that all of Stokes County’s young children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. Proposals will be accepted in the areas of family support, health, and early care and education. Funding priority will be given to programs that will result in specific outcomes. See for details.

The availability of Smart Start funds is contingent on the final budget adopted by the NC General Assembly for the 2010–2011 fiscal year.

Individuals, organizations or agencies interested in seeking Smart Start funding should obtain details and attend one mandatory grant workshop, to be held at Stokes Partnership for Children, either on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. or Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. Please call to register. All proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 11, 2009. For details, contact Stokes Partnership for Children at (336) 985-2676. Applications became available October 5, 2009, and may be downloaded at or available by request by calling 336-985-2676 or by email request at

RFP packets became available on-line yesterday both in a hard copy format and electronically.

To learn more about the Request for Proposal process you must attend one of the two workshops offered at Stokes Partnership for Children:
Tuesday. October 13, 2009 at 6:00 pm or
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 9:00 am
Registration is required for either of theses sessions.

All proposals are due no later than 5:00 pm, Friday, December 11, 2009.
Applicants will be required to participate in a face-to-face interview in January 2010.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good News for Pets in Stokes County

We are very glad to read this but will not be happy until the number of animals that need to be destroyed approaches 0! Keep a look-out on the Stokes County facebook page or call the Stokes County Animal Shelter at the 336-994-2788 to help rescue these wonderful animals.

Animal Shelter Bans Gas Chamber
WXII Videos


It’s a good day for Stokes County animal advocates. As of August 27, the Animal Shelter in Germanton, off Sizemore Road, is no longer using the gas chamber to euthanize cats and dogs. The shelter has chosen what most believe to be the better alternative, lethal injection.
“I’m so proud of Stokes County because they’re placing value on our pets,” said Mona Triplett, head of the newly formed Stokes County Humane Society.
Triplett, who has been involved in animal rescue for over 10 years, has been waiting for this day to come. “Most people don’t realize how inhumane it is to put an animal in a gas chamber. In the past I’ve placed almost 98 percent of the animals I’ve rescued into loving homes, because they knew the tragic way these pets would be put down if they weren’t adopted.”
Phillip Hanby, the director of the Stokes County Animal Shelter says, “We knew eventually we would go to injections; it’s just taken time.”
With an average of 30 cats and dogs put down per week, Hanby admits that this has increased the workload for him and his staff, but “it’s something that needed to be done,” he says.
The United States Humane Society reports that six to eight million cats and dogs are placed in shelters every year. Nearly four million are euthanized. Hanby is working with local organizations, such as the Stokes County Humane Society and
Stokes County Animal Rescue to not only place adoptable pets but also to educate pet owners about having their pets spayed and neutered.
In an effort to euthanize less, Hanby has implemented a Stokes County Animal
Control website through and a page on Facebook to promote their adoptable pets. “This has been a great tool for us. We’ve had calls from New
York to Pennsylvania that have resulted in adoptions,” he notes.
Triplett says, “The Animal Shelter is making great strides in the community.
We’re seeing a tremendous effort on their part.”
Triplett is actively involved as well. She oversees spay and neuter clinics throughout Stokes County. She also donates her time to “Helping Hands, Food for the Furry” Food and Supply Drive. This program prepares boxes of food and pet supplies to hand out to those who can no longer afford to properly care for their pets. Donations can be dropped off at three locations. The designated places are Pampered Pooch in King, the Stokes County Animal Shelter and the Animal Hospital of Walnut Cove.
States around the country are rethinking their pet welfare legislation. In April of 2009, seven states proposed a ban on carbon monoxide gas chambers as a form of euthanasia. Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina were on that list. NC Representative Cary Allred introduced
“Davie’s Law,” named after a puppy that survived a Davie County gas chamber and was later found in a nearby dumpster still alive.
According to Animal Law Coalition, the NC bill “was defeated and the legislation is dead for this session.”
States that have been successful in banning the gas chamber and implementing lethal injection are: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland,
New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming,
Connecticut and most recently, West Virginia and Illinois.
“That’s why this is such a victory for Stokes County,” says Triplett. “It’s not by law they had to shut this down. It was a choice, a very good one.”
For more information on the Stokes County Animal Shelter or for information on how to adopt a pet, visit or call 336-994-2788.
This article appeared in Thursday's edition of the Stokes News.


Is my favorite month of the year. I wait for it through the long, hot summer days, knowing that the mornings will dawn, bright, crisp, cool and delightful. It is football season, country fairs, harvest time, falling leaves and blue skys.
I know that times are tough and we all have burdens to carry but on this beautiful October day, take a few moments to go outside take a deep breath and be thankful. October is only 31 days long and I hope you enjoy them all.

Below is a poem that I first read in the 7th grade and still enjoy today:

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)
October's Bright Blue Weather
O SUNS and skies and clouds of June, And flowers of June together, Ye cannot rival for one hour October's bright blue weather;
When loud the bumble-bee makes haste, Belated, thriftless vagrant, And Golden-Rod is dying fast, And lanes with grapes are fragrant;
When Gentians roll their fringes tight To save them for the morning, And chestnuts fall from satin burrs Without a sound of warning;
When on the ground red apples lie In piles like jewels shining, And redder still on old stone walls Are leaves of woodbine twining;
When all the lovely wayside things Their white-winged seeds are sowing, And in the fields, still green and fair, Late aftermaths are growing;
When springs run low, and on the brooks, In idle golden freighting, Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush Of woods, for winter waiting;
When comrades seek sweet country haunts, By twos and twos together, And count like misers, hour by hour, October's bright blue weather.
O suns and skies and flowers of June, Count all your boasts together, Love loveth best of all the year October's bright blue weather.