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Tom Joyce

Position: Staff Reporter
E-Mail Address: tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

Latest Stories by Tom Joyce

Fire displaces family, animals

WESTFIELD — A fire Saturday stemming from an electrical problem displaced a family of four, along with a large number of animals at their home in the Westfield area. Another fire in Surry County Friday night caused heavy damage to a mobile home in the Flat Rock community. The Saturday blaze was reported around 11:30 a.m. as an attic fire at

Capt. Richard Lowe, who spent more than half his life serving local citizens in law enforcement, has ended a career spanning 28-plus years which saw its share of innovation and drama.
Lowe, 47, spent his last day on the job at the Mount Airy police headquarters Friday. With his retirement, Lowe will be devoting more time to a second career, his bu

Lowe hangs up badge after 28-plus years

Capt. Richard Lowe, who spent more than half his life serving local citizens in law enforcement, has ended a career spanning 28-plus years which saw its share of innovation and drama. Lowe, 47, spent his last day on the job at the Mount Airy police headquarters Friday. With his retirement, Lowe will be devoting more time to a second career, his bu

Sports has a way of bringing folks of all walks of life and age groups together, which is certainly true with a new traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution now on display here.
“Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” which can be viewed through April 11 at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, kicked off in a big way du

Sports exhibit scores with public

Sports has a way of bringing folks of all walks of life and age groups together, which is certainly true with a new traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution now on display here. “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” which can be viewed through April 11 at Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, kicked off in a big way du

The year 2015 is an important one for the J.J. Jones High School Class of 1965, which not only is celebrating its 50th anniversary but launching a fundraising effort to benefit the community.
It involves the scheduling of a special night of entertainment geared toward adults, a show and dance featuring “old school” music with both a Du

Jones alumni event to feature vocal group, DJ

The year 2015 is an important one for the J.J. Jones High School Class of 1965, which not only is celebrating its 50th anniversary but launching a fundraising effort to benefit the community. It involves the scheduling of a special night of entertainment geared toward adults, a show and dance featuring “old school” music with both a Du

A plan that was in the works nearly five years — for Mount Airy to sell water to an area of Carroll County, Virginia, in need — will be officially commemorated during a special event Tuesday.
Billed as the Water Celebration, it is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Love's Travel Stops in Cana. Officials from both Mount Airy and Carroll C

'Water Celebration' on tap Tuesday

A plan that was in the works nearly five years — for Mount Airy to sell water to an area of Carroll County, Virginia, in need — will be officially commemorated during a special event Tuesday. Billed as the Water Celebration, it is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Love's Travel Stops in Cana. Officials from both Mount Airy and Carroll C

Police reports

• A trailer valued at $5,200 was discovered stolen Wednesday from Pine State Marketing on Frederick Street, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. A hitch lock was cut in order to remove the trailer owned by Wesley Kent Brown, an Inman Circle resident who is a Pine State employee. The Diamond Cargo-brand trailer is described as 8

Given that things can't be too perfect when one is having to discuss the “latest” snowstorm to hit Surry County, the area did get lucky this time around, a local official said.“I think we fared very well and I think the reason we did was the temperature and the type of snow that fell,” Surry Emergency Services Director John

Problems minimal from latest snow

Given that things can't be too perfect when one is having to discuss the “latest” snowstorm to hit Surry County, the area did get lucky this time around, a local official said.“I think we fared very well and I think the reason we did was the temperature and the type of snow that fell,” Surry Emergency Services Director John

“Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution, isn't the kind of thing that can be set up anywhere.
“There were 21 crates of stuff,” said Matt Edwards of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, the first venue in North Carolina chosen for the exhibit that arrived here aboard

Smithsonian sports exhibit arrives

“Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America,” a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution, isn't the kind of thing that can be set up anywhere. “There were 21 crates of stuff,” said Matt Edwards of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, the first venue in North Carolina chosen for the exhibit that arrived here aboard

Downtown businessman Gene Rees has been granted an option to buy a portion of the old Spencer's Inc. manufacturing complex, now owned by the city government, for possible development.
However, this doesn't mean Rees actually will buy, or do anything, with the property in question, a former Spencer's site located immediately behind the Gardner law

Option granted on Spencer's parcel

Downtown businessman Gene Rees has been granted an option to buy a portion of the old Spencer's Inc. manufacturing complex, now owned by the city government, for possible development. However, this doesn't mean Rees actually will buy, or do anything, with the property in question, a former Spencer's site located immediately behind the Gardner law

City grapples with truck purchase

Mount Airy will be getting a “grapple” truck — but not without some wrestling among city officials beforehand, leading to a 4-1 vote on the acquisition. The $134,758 vehicle, also known as a knuckleboom truck, will allow sanitation personnel to collect larger amounts of yard waste from residences on a weekly basis, along with aid

A fire department typically deals with situations such as burning structures, but in Mount Airy's case diversification has allowed it to also make a difference in medical emergencies.
More than 50 cases have now occurred in which people at the brink of death have been able to go on living thanks to city firefighters' response to those types of cal

Firefighters exceed 50 lives saved

A fire department typically deals with situations such as burning structures, but in Mount Airy's case diversification has allowed it to also make a difference in medical emergencies. More than 50 cases have now occurred in which people at the brink of death have been able to go on living thanks to city firefighters' response to those types of cal

Mount Airy officials have given the green light to a grant application they hope will lead to an automotive business moving here and creating 14 jobs.
“These are a lot of good positions we'd like to see,” LeeAnn Nixon of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) said of the employment opportunities possible with “Pr

City revs up 'Project Velocity'

Mount Airy officials have given the green light to a grant application they hope will lead to an automotive business moving here and creating 14 jobs. “These are a lot of good positions we'd like to see,” LeeAnn Nixon of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) said of the employment opportunities possible with “Pr

Americans spend $20 billion per year on footwear — but if all consumers had the same habit as Bishop Dr. Jon Hall, annual sales for that industry would be zero.
That's because the man known appropriately as the “barefoot prophet” never wears shoes, and hasn't had a pair on his feet since Nov. 27, 1989.
“This is the way I g

'Barefoot prophet' never wears shoes

Americans spend $20 billion per year on footwear — but if all consumers had the same habit as Bishop Dr. Jon Hall, annual sales for that industry would be zero. That's because the man known appropriately as the “barefoot prophet” never wears shoes, and hasn't had a pair on his feet since Nov. 27, 1989. “This is the way I g

Police Reports

• A Mount Airy man was arrested Monday on charges of possession of a firearm (a handgun) by a convicted felon and resisting a public officer, according to city police department reports. Mikle Eugene Dixon, 39, of 210 Mountain View Road, was taken into custody at Northern Hospital of Surry County after being served with warrants on those offe

Five children and their aunt who was babysitting them escaped a burning residence in the Bannertown area Thursday night, when frigid conditions also presented major difficulties for firefighters.
The blaze that caused significant damage at 117 Dutch Lane was reported just before 6:45 p.m. in a mobile home park located off Pittman Street near N.C.

Kids escape blaze as firemen slip, slide

Five children and their aunt who was babysitting them escaped a burning residence in the Bannertown area Thursday night, when frigid conditions also presented major difficulties for firefighters. The blaze that caused significant damage at 117 Dutch Lane was reported just before 6:45 p.m. in a mobile home park located off Pittman Street near N.C.

What looked to be a routine housekeeping measure to clean up language in Mount Airy zoning regulations became a mini-debate stemming from one city commissioner's concerns about opening up avenues for terrorist religious groups.
The church-related change that was approved 3-2 during a Thursday night meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners

Church zoning change sparks city debate

What looked to be a routine housekeeping measure to clean up language in Mount Airy zoning regulations became a mini-debate stemming from one city commissioner's concerns about opening up avenues for terrorist religious groups. The church-related change that was approved 3-2 during a Thursday night meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners

Police reports

• Two people were arrested on larceny charges Thursday stemming from the theft of an Emerson 46-inch flat-screen television set valued at $359 from Roses the day before, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. An investigation of the crime led to Jonathan Lee Holyfield, 33, of 201 Boaz Lane, being confined in the Surry County Jail

Water tank eyed for first cell antennas

With the Andy and Opie water tank on Rockford Street now a well-populated venue for communications antennas, the cell phone industry has turned its attention to a similar high spot in Mount Airy. The city board of commissioners was expected to vote Thursday night to approve an agreement to allow the cellular telephone provider Carolina West Wirele

Police reports

• A breaking and entering at a city residence this week led to $1,250 in damage to electronic equipment and appliances, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. The incident was discovered Tuesday at the home of Michael Preston Simpson on Myers Drive. The damage occurred to a Sanyo 46-inch flat-screen television set, a 32-inch JVC f

Citing concerns about eroding private property rights and keeping “vigilante” behavior in check, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday not to lessen complaint requirements for alleged minimum housing violations.
Under an existing ordinance, five people who believe a house is unfit for human habitation must register a

Board retains housing complaint rule

Citing concerns about eroding private property rights and keeping “vigilante” behavior in check, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday not to lessen complaint requirements for alleged minimum housing violations. Under an existing ordinance, five people who believe a house is unfit for human habitation must register a





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