Thursday, May 27, 2010

Secrets Revealed

While it is not a secret to anyone who lives in Stokes County, it seems to surprise many of our friends nearby just how beautiful and relaxing our area is. Below is part of an article in today's Winston Salem Journal talking about Hanging Rock State Park, the Dan River and Priddy's General Store. If your are looking for a relaxing way to spend a weekend, you can't beat it.

By Lisa O'Donnell | Journal Reporter

Published: May 27, 2010

Updated: 05/26/2010 08:05 pm

The holiday-shopping season has Black Friday.

The camping season has a gateway day, too. A Green Friday, if you will.

And it begins in about 24 hours.

Oh sure, those of us who love to knock around outdoors don't need a season. But that stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a golden period, custom-made for dipping your toes in mountain streams, hiking through banks of rhododendrons and falling asleep to tree-frog serenades.

What follows are a few suggestions for a holiday outing:

Stokes County

Sticking close to home, a float down the Dan River near Danbury has become an annual rite of summer for many folks. You can rent tubes at the Danbury General Store and the Hillside Market & Deli. If paddling is more your speed, the Dan River Company runs trips and shuttles down the Dan. Many trips end at Moratock Park, which has a nice little swimming hole.

Of course, if you are in Danbury, you may want to take a short hike to Hanging Rock State Park or jaunt over to Pilot Mountain State Park. Expect throngs of people to have that same idea, however. Hanging Rock's lake won't open until June 1.

One of the my favorite spots in the area is Priddy's General Store, which has been serving folks since the early 20th century. You can load up on drinks and homemade goodies or order a sandwich near the back of the store. Pickin' at Priddy's, a series of bluegrass shows, begins Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. Bring a chair

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Ramblings

Our web building program continues to move forward. Samantha Martin, the intern that does all the work is doing a great job. The sites look better and better as the companies become more comfortable with how to update them and what the capabilities are. I invite you to visit Town and Country Restaurants site and Walnut Cove Furniture's site as examples of what the is happening on this front. We have almost 80 sites either complete or in process. There have been a few bumps in the road but these have been addressed and I believe we are making a difference.

The Economic Development Board and I have just completed our priorities for the upcoming year. We have maintained our 4 areas of concentrations: Business Retention and Expansion, Business Recruitment, Entrepreneurial Development and Tourism as objectives. The board will be heavily involved in working with me to identify and gain control of an industrial site or sites, develop and implement a tourism master-plan as well as looking for ways to be of assistance to our existing businesses. It is an aggressive plan that will build upon the work of the last 12 months.

As a part of these efforts, we have applied to the NC Department of Commerce to be included in the 21st Century Communities Program. If successful, this will raise the county's profile with the Department of Commerce, assist us in refining our planning, point us to where potential partners are located and improve our opportunity to leverage State grants when the opportunities arise. The application was submitted on May 19th and the selected counties will be notified this fall.

If we are successful, we will hold a series of interviews with local elected officials, school officials, business people, students, working citizens in several industries, farmers and others to develop a profile of what is available and what is needed. I will keep you updated as soon as there is further news. Keep your fingers crossed.

The music event at Jomeokee was wonderful. The music was great, the food was good, the crowds were very well behaved and the Stokes County Arts Council should be very proud of the results. Can's wait til next year.

Our new Stokes County Visitors Guide is nearing completion. I think it is something we will be proud of and will be a great marketing tool. When combined with our new tourism website that is under construction, we will soon have more and better information available. Stay tuned for additional details.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Broadband for Rural Counties

Below is an editorial from the Winston Salem Journal concerning efforts currently underway in the NC Legislature to curtail the ability of rural counties to provide broadband coverage. I agree that we should not be in competition with private business and if the companies that provide this service would provide it to all our citizens, we could focus on other problems. This, however is not the case and we can not wait for 10 or 15 years until it becomes profitable for them to do so. This is, in my opinion a need that is in many ways equal to the need in the early 20th century to bring electricity to rural America. Thanks to the Journal Staff for taking this stand.

Broadband battle

No law dictates that private telecommunication businesses must provide every North Carolina household and business with high-speed Internet. The companies are free to do business wherever they wish.

But, 15 years after Internet use became common, the telecoms still do not provide high-speed service to much of North Carolina. They can't expect people to wait any longer.

The telecommunications industry wants the legislature to make it more difficult for local governments to offer high-speed Internet service. The giant companies say they can't compete with local governments in towns of a couple thousand people.

Specifically, their bill would prohibit local governments from borrowing to build Internet infrastructure unless the public first voted to sell the bonds.

The Journal has long argued that government borrowing without a vote of the people is both unwise and unconstitutional. But that is borrowing backed by the "full faith and credit" of the borrower, in this case, the people of the jurisdiction involved. So, if that is what the telecoms want, we support them.

But that protection is already written into the state constitution. When governments borrow for public utility infrastructure, they generally pledge as collateral only the facilities that will be built and the revenues produced by the utility involved. In these cases, that would mean the equipment needed for the Internet service and the revenues it generates.

If the General Assembly were to give the telecoms what they want, they would be setting a higher standard for Internet borrowing than exists for most other government borrowing. And legislators would look hypocritical in passing such legislation because they've been borrowing without bond referenda for many years.

The issue here is that North Carolina's small towns and rural areas need fast Internet service so they can attract business. With high-speed Internet, people can work from home, too, thus increasing the likelihood that small Internet-based businesses can take advantage of lower costs in rural areas. Also many people currently work from home. They can move to rural areas and stay employed by urban companies if they have a high-speed Internet connection.

These communities can't wait until it will be profitable for a private company to serve them adequately. So, using the democratic process, they are asking their local governments to establish service for them. This is reminiscent of the early 20th century when small towns in this state developed their own electrical grids rather than wait for the big utilities to do so.

If the telecoms don't want local governments to establish these Internet services, they should rush into these areas and establish service now.

And the General Assembly should ignore the telecoms on this issue.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Think I will Change my name to Steve

I'm not sure how many of you still read the daily comics but I still do. It is a habit to pick up my newspaper each day and get a few laughs.

One of my current favorites is "Get Fuzzy" by Darby Conley. The cat in this strip recently changed his name to "Steve", because of all the great things that the Steves have accomplished. In honor of Bucky and the Steves here are 10 thoughts by Steve Jobs that show Bucky may be correct:

10 Golden Lessons From Steve Jobs

““I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.”

- Steve Jobs

His accomplishments and character helped define a generation and change the world. He is co-founder of the fairytale company we now know as Apple Computers. And he is the visionary of the personal computers world that led the entire computer hardware and software industry to restructure itself.

This man with boundless energy and charisma is also a master of hype, hyperbole and the catchy phrase. And even when he’s trying to talk normally, brilliant verbiage comes tumbling out.

Here’s a selection of some of the most insanely great things he said, golden lessons to help you succeed in life, Jobs-style:

“1. Steve Jobs said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for you to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; more customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry – get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work; or out of business. And remember that procrastination is not an option here. Start innovating now!

2. Steve Jobs said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

There is no shortcut to excellence. You will have to make the commitment to make excellence your priority. Use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible and get ahead of others by giving that little extra. Live by a higher standard and pay attention to the details that really do make the difference. Excellence is not difficult – simply decide right now to give it your best shot – and you will be amazed with what life gives you back.

3. Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

I’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” Seek out an occupation that gives you a sense of meaning, direction and satisfaction in life. Having a sense of purpose and striving towards goals gives life meaning, direction and satisfaction. It not only contributes to health and longevity, but also makes you feel better in difficult times. Do you jump out of bed on Monday mornings and look forward to the work week? If the answer is ‘no’ keep looking, you’ll know when you find it.

4. Steve Jobs said: “You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.”

Live in a way that is ethically responsible. Try to make a difference in this world and contribute to the higher good. You’ll find it gives more meaning to your life and it’s a great antidote to boredom. There is always so much to be done. And talk to others about what you are doing. Don’t preach or be self-righteous, or fanatical about it, that just puts people off, but at the same time, don’t be shy about setting an example, and use opportunities that arise to let others know what you are doing.

5. Steve Jobs said: “There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.”

It is the kind of mind that can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything. Beginner’s mind is Zen practice in action. It is the mind that is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgments and prejudices. Think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement.

6. Steve Jobs said: “We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”

Reams of academic studies over the decades have amply confirmed television’s pernicious mental and moral influences. And most TV watchers know that their habit is mind-numbing and wasteful, but still spend most of their time in front of that box. So turn your TV off and save some brain cells. But be cautious, you can turn your brain off by using a computer also. Try and have an intelligent conversation with someone who plays first person shooters for 8 hours a day. Or auto race games, or role-playing games.

7. Steve Jobs said: “I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”

Don’t equate making mistakes with being a mistake. There is no such thing as a successful person who has not failed or made mistakes, there are successful people who made mistakes and changed their lives or performance in response to them, and so got it right the next time. They viewed mistakes as warnings rather than signs of hopeless inadequacy. Never making a mistake means never living life to the full.

8. Steve Jobs said: “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”

Over the last decade, numerous books featuring lessons from historical figures have appeared on the shelves of bookstores around the world. And Socrates stands with Leonardo da Vinci, Nicholas Copernicus, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein as a beacon of inspiration for independent thinkers. But he came first. Cicero said of Socrates that, “He called philosophy down from the skies and into the lives of men.” So use Socrates’ principles in your life, your work, your learning, and your relationships. It’s not about Socrates, it’s really about you, and how you can bring more truth, beauty and goodness into your life everyday.

9. Steve Jobs said: “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”

Did you know that you have big things to accomplish in life? And did you know that those big things are getting rather dusty while you pour yourself another cup of coffee, and decide to mull things over rather than do them? We were all born with a gift to give in life, one which informs all of our desires, interests, passions and curiosities. This gift is, in fact, our purpose. And you don’t need permission to decide your own purpose. No boss, teacher, parent, priest or other authority can decide this for you. Just find that unique purpose.

10. Steve Jobs said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Are you tired of living someone else’s dream? No doubt, its your life and you have every right to spend it in your own individual way without any hurdles or barriers from others. Give yourself a chance to nurture your creative qualities in a fear-free and pressure-free climate. Live a life that YOU choose and be your own boss.

Each lesson might be difficult to integrate into your life at first, but if you ease your way into each lesson, one at a time, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your overall performance. So go ahead, give them a try.

FlaviaF... Steve-Jobs-Life-Lessons
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Friday, May 7, 2010

TheFoothills Hayride Presents Jomeokee

Only one week, 7 short days until many of the finest bluegrass and traditional musicians in the country arrive in Stokes County. If you don't have your tickets, there is still time. Visit for more information.

Today's feature group is the Steep Canyon Rangers:

From Asheville, North Carolina, Steep Canyon Rangers have built a reputation as an engaging acoustic quintet seasoned by constant touring. Before being nominated for 2 International Bluegrass Music awards in 2008 (including Album of the Year, ”Lovin’ Pretty Women), the Rangers were named ’Emerging Artist of the Year’ in 2006 at the IBMA awards ceremony in Nashville, TN. The group has been regularly featured on the Grand Ole Opry, as well as major U.S. Bluegrass and Americana music festivals such as MerleFest, Telluride, Grey Fox, DelFest and RockyGrass.

The band’s willingness to bring Bluegrass to music-lovers worldwide has taken Steep Canyon Rangers to festivals in Sweden, Ireland, Germany and Canada. The group also regularly performs at Rock & Roll venues on the U.S. jam-band circuit.

For more details on the band visit:

Stokes Partnership for Children

Below is a letter from Cindy Tuttle,Executive Director, Stokes Partnership for Children, concerning their recent "Little Folks Festival." They believe as I do that we need to offer every opportunity for our children to succeed. Please take a moment and read the letter and take another moment to see how you can get involved.

Walnut Cove Elementary hosted the ninth annual Little Folks Festival Saturday, April 17. The four-hour event focused on the promotion of early care and education, school readiness and family support and involvement.

The mission of the Little Folks Festival is to educate the community on the services available to young children and families with a goal to help prepare all children to enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. We hope we took a few more steps to accomplish our goal by hosting this event.

The outpouring support of area teachers, community agencies, businesses and families was evident. Cars lined the streets, and the parking lot was full for those who wanted to get a firsthand look at all the event had to offer. With a free hot dog/hamburger lunch donated by The Knights of Columbus, Good Shepherd Council, and an abundance of ice cream provided by Chestnut Grove Ruritan Club, families were able to enjoy a meal together before participating in the array of activities.

What began as an idea in 2002, has grown tremendously since then. People in the community have come to expect it. Over 300 children were in attendance, 40 community agencies and vendors participated, and over 100 volunteers rallied together to make the day successful.
Cindy S. Tuttle
Executive Director

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Mans Junk

Received an email from Eddy McGee, Director of the Stokes County Arts Council yesterday and I wanted to share its contents with you and brag on their efforts. First the email: "don't forget the festival will feature the former Winston-Salem Symphony Performance Shell used at Tanglewood and Graylyn back in the 70's and 80's. All of the research that I've done on fiberglass shells tells me that this one new would cost in the neighborhood of $90,000 +. We got it for a 1/2 tank of gas to haul it back to Stokes, $11.00 for sand paper, and we borrowed a pressure washer and were owed a favor for a paint job on it. That creative rural engineering may not be pretty, but it ain't half bad. "

I wish I could find a photo of this for a before and after shot but have been unable to do so. It would simply enhance my story on how industrious the fine people, both staff and volunteers of the Stokes County Arts Council are. I believe they do more with less than any group I have ever been associated with. It is amazing how many lives are touched by their efforts to bring "The Arts" to the people of Stokes County.

When you are attending one of the events they sponsor, and there are a lot of them, take time to thank them for a job well done. And don't miss next weekends Foothills Hayride at Jomeokee event. It should be a classic. If the bandshell looks familiar, you will know where it came from.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Foothills Hayride at Jomeokee

The next big music event in Stokes County will be kicking off in less than two weeks. I will be doing my run-up with Bios on the performers. I think this is going to be a first class event with great music, food and crafts. We will start with a bio on John Cowan:

John Cowan got his start in Louisville, where he played in scrappy rock outfits like Everyday People and Louisville Sound Department. In 1974, he auditioned as a bassist and vocalist for New Grass Revival, and together with Sam Bush and later bandmates Béla Fleck and Pat Flynn, led the charge of the 1980s' bluegrass revival. New Grass Revival disbanded in 1990 when Fleck departed for a solo career, but Cowan didn't slow down. He did distance himself a bit from NGR's acoustic foundation, however, choosing to tour as a solo rock act as well as front the country-rock band Sky Kings (with Poco's Rusty Young). But despite writing an album, arranging the artwork, releasing a single, and setting a release date (March 27, 1997), the Sky Kings' full-length sat on a shelf. Cowan next busied himself with solo work for the Sugar Hill label. His releases there included an ambitious self-titled effort in 2000, as well as the lower-key Always Take Me Back in 2002. 2000 had also seen the final release of the Sky Kings album From Out of the Blue; the set included the entire original LP, as well as demos and songs that were subsequently completed for the project. ~ Johnny Loftus, All Music Guide