Sullivan Recognized for Service
Buchanan County School
Board Chairman Steve Hamro III, left,
presents Hurricane School Board Member
Willie Sullivan with a gravel, thanking
Sullivan on behalf of the full board for
his service on the school board as a past
chairman. The presentation was made during
Monday night's meeting of the school
(Staff photo/Cathy St. Clair.)
St. Clair Is Named State SBA Journalist of the
Virginia Mountaineer News Editor Cathy St.
Clair has been named the Virginia Small Business
Administration Journalist of the Year.
St. Clair, news editor of the
Mountaineer for the past 21 years, was nominated
for the statewide award by Jim Boyd, director of the
Small Business Development Center at Southwest
Virginia Community College.
She joined the Mountaineer as
a staff reporter in 1983 on a part-time basis, while
still working full time for an area law firm. She
joined the Mountaineer staff full-time as news
editor in 1985.
She will be honored during the Small
Business Administration’s annual awards luncheon in
Richmond May 12 at which time she will be presented
with the award.
In nominating St. Clair for the award, Boyd
cited St. Clair’s work in delivering the news
associated with the Grundy Flood Control project,
small business development, the Coalfields Expressway,
and higher education initiatives in Buchanan County,
as well as her coverage of the Operation Big Coon Dog
In his letter of nomination,
Boyd noted that as the coal economy declined, Buchanan
County had seized the opportunity to diversify and
looked into establishing education initiatives,
including the Appalachian School of Law, the
University of Appalachia College of Pharmacy and the
SVCC training and education facility at the Grundy
Plaza. He credited the Mountaineer and St.
Clair for helping to make those initiatives a success.
"The Virginia Mountaineer and Cathy,
through writing and community involvement, greatly
influenced and contributed to making each of these
educational pursuits reality," Boyd said in his letter
Turning to the Coon Dog story, Boyd
suggested it had been one of the more challenging
stories St. Clair has reported.
"Sixteen local elected officials and prominent
business persons were given severe sentences and fines
for their role in misusing FEMA funds following the
catastrophic flooding of Hurley," Boyd wrote. "Cathy
covered the story with courage, compassion and
sensitivity. With courage, she reported the
seriousness of the crime, not minimizing or offering
excuses for the actions. With compassion, she used
language and structure that would minimize the hurt
that loved ones and the community felt for those
involved and her stories were sensitive to the story’s
impact on the community’s image, knowing that some of
the finest people in the Commonwealth lived in her
"The Virginia Mountaineer and Cathy have
raised the standard of reporting with their positive
and upbeat articles dealing with difficult stories,"
St. Clair is a 1981 cum laude graduate of East
Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor
of science degree in mass communications and political
She resides at Keen Mountain with her
husband, Joe; and son, Jacob.
Police Radio Equipment Unreliable
by Scotty Wampler
Radio communication for
police officers in Grundy has become so unreliable that Town Council
is exploring what can be done to solve the problem.
Grundy Police Chief Barney Stiltner
told Town Council members last week that some officers have lost
complete contact with dispatch recently.
“Communication’s bad,” he admitted.
“There’s times that it’s really bad.”
Stiltner and another town officer detailed
to council members a recent incident where a man suspected of
driving under the influence was pulled over to be questioned. Upon
questioning, the suspect reached for a handgun that was concealed in
The officer, after subduing the
suspect, attempted to call for backup, with no success.
While that particular incident didn’t
result in an escalated situation, council members expressed concern
that future breakdowns in communication might lead to grave
“This is really important,” Mayor Roger
Powers said, reiterating the council’s position.
Council members initially considered
looking into the cost of brand new radio equipment for town police.
However, after additional
discussion, they opted to investigate the issue further in the hope
that the problem might be more specifically pinpointed.
“I think we need to diagnose the
problem ... before we go off and spend thousands of dollars,”
councilman Chris Mitchell said.
Councilman Bill Stokes suggested
probing the differences in radio frequencies to determine what would
achieve the best results in Buchanan County’s mountainous terrain.
Council members agreed to have
estimates prepared on new radio equipment by Town Council’s next
meeting in April.
“I think we need to get a quote
on it,” Mitchell said.
For more of the
story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at
newsstands now. To subscribe to the Mountaineer,
call 276-935-2123 today.
Grundy Town Council to Revisit Noise
by Scotty Wampler
Members of Grundy Town
Council agreed last week to revisit the noise ordinance that was
tabled in February.
“I think that thing needs to be
reviewed,” said councilman Gary Prater. “There’s people that want us
to do that.”
The original proposed ordinance
called for noise restrictions on a number of items, devices and
activities, including vehicles, radios, musical instruments,
fireworks and social gatherings.
Town Council rejected the
proposed ordinance last month after Mayor Roger Powers broke a 3-3
tie, calling the proposal “too restrictive.”
In bringing the topic
back to the table last week, Prater asked members of the council if
they would consider looking at a revised version of the ordinance
soon, which they agreed to do.
Also at Town Council’s regular
meeting last week, the local Sons of Confederate Veterans spoke
before the council, requesting use of the Walnut Street Park April
27-28 for the group’s annual gathering.
“Last year, we had over 50 visitors
come by,” SCV representative Ken Smith said. “Only thing that will
stop us [this year] is if it comes a rain.”
The group plans to build a fire
and cook for any visitors who wish to come by.
While the group received the
approval of Town Council, the use of the park is subject to approval
by the property owner.