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Clinch Valley Times
St. Paul , Virginia
January 16, 2014     Clinch Valley Times
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January 16, 2014

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Page 8 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES St. Paul, Va. Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 Old Castlewood as it appeared in its heyday. On the left is the present-day home of Gary and Debbie Gibson, which was built by Gary's ancestors many years ago. Gary shared this photo. -- VISITORS ----- From Page 1 My visitor was delight- ed by the suggestion, so off we went. In addition to his family's old home, I showed him the Castlewood Masonic Lodge (his great-grandfa- ther had been an early member), and the Fort Gibson church, the descen- dant of the earlier church his family attended. Our final stop was the commu- nity of Old Castlewood. My visitor and I stood in front of the deserted Winchester Hotel while I helped him visualize the community as it appeared during the years when it was an integral part of his family's daily life. Sadly, some of Old Castlewood's homes and stores have vanished with- out a trace. In other cases, only the foundations remain. But none of that mattered to my visitor. It was obvious he felt the connection and he knew he had come home. He said he hopes to return this year with his wife and adult children for more explor- ing. Good. Another interesting pair of visitors were a mother and daughter from California. They told me they had been trying to set up a trip to Russell County for years. Their schedules finally meshed and at last they embarked on their first-ever visit. Though they have local relatives, they are not acquainted Undeterred by rain, a record crowd turned out on Sunday, January 5th to take part in the Old Christmas Celebration at the Old Russell County Courthouse. Ron Shortt entertained guests with sto- ries, then led guests in singing old-time songs. Afterwards, refresh- ments prepared by Charles Howard were served in the dining room. And it couldn't hardly have been called Christmas without a stack cake, now, could it? with them. These ladies had done their homework before leaving California. They knew what they wanted to see, how to find it, and were thoroughly enjoying their long-await- ed homecoming adventure. I was honored to be the first person in Russell County to welcome them. I hope others welcomed them as well. When out-of-area visi- tors come to the Old Courthouse or the St. Paul Railroad Museum, I endeavor to be a good ambassador for our area. At such times, I am not repre- senting raae; I'm represent- ing all of us. After all, these people may not have an opportunity to talk to any- one but me while they're here. So the success of their visit, as well as their deci- sion to come back again, may depend upon whether I do a good job of making them feel welcome. In the words of a song by Virginia artists Robin and Linda Williams, "Don't let me come home a stranger, I couldn't stand to be a stranger" A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO SUPPORTERS Members of the Historical Society of Russell County would like to thank everyone who attended this program and other programs which have been presented this year. When the Old Courthouse reopens in the spring, we'll have some surprises for you, so check our sign as you drive past. Be part of "The Old Courthouse Experience." Amtrak to extend Virginia service to Roanoke Train travel will return to Star City for first time in 34 years RICHMOND Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Norfolk Southern Corporation have entered into an agreement to improve rail related infrastructure between Lynchburg and Roanoke. The improvements will allow passenger rail to \\; once again serve the Roanoke Region. Governor McDonnell's 2013 transportation fund- ing plan was instrumental in funding the return of intercity passenger rail service to Roanoke. "DRPT and Norfolk Southern continue their strong partnership to advance intercity passen- ger rail service in the state of Virginia," said Governor McDonnell. "Intercity passenger rail service is central to the Commonwealth's econom- ic growth, vitality and competitiveness in the region. Now the major population centers will have intercity passenger rail service."; "The historic trans- portation bill has opened the door for continued expansion and growth of intercity passenger rail service in the State. The extension of intercity pas- senger train service from Lynchburg to Roanoke would not be possible without passage of this legislation," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton. "During this adminis- tration, new train service to Norfolk, and funding for the continuation of six state regional trains occurred," said Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). "With the signing of this agreement, the State will be able to extend Amtrak Virginia daily intercity passenger train service to Roanoke within four years with direct same seat service to as far north as Boston." Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern Chairman and CEO, stat- ed, "Norfolk Southern is proud to expand our part- nership with DRPT and the Commonwealth. Virginia's leadership enables both passenger mobility and economic development through a strong rail net- work."; "The signing of the agreement between Norfolk Southern and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is an important milestone in bringing Amtrak rail serv- ice to our community. "This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Commonwealth, the Roanoke Valley region, and our city, and with this signed agreement we can accelerate the return of passenger rail to the val- ley," said Roanoke City Mayor David A. Bowers. Included in this agree- ment are track additions and realignments, signal and communication upgrades along the route, clearance adjustments, and a platform and train servic- ing facility in downtown Roanoke. Design work will begin immediately. In another effort funded by the Commonwealth and Norfolk Southern, the downtown" Roanoke rail connections are currently being reconfigured to improve the flow of train traffic through Roanoke, which is a prerequisite to reintroducing passenger rail service. Known as the "Amtrak Virginia" partnership, Roanoke is the latest step for the Commonwealth to lead the way as one of the few states in the country to successfully negotiate the addition of new intercity passenger rail service in major rail corridors, bal- ancing freight and eco- nomic development needs with additional intercity passenger rail options. -- Calendar----- From Page 1 JOIN THE FRIENDS- Join the Friends of J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library and help promote the improvement of facili- ties and services of the library. Send name. address and phone number, with a $5 membership gift. to J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library, P.O. Box 1976, St. Paul, VA 24283. Make checks payable to Friends of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library. EASTERN STAR- Clinch Valley Chapter #152, Order of Eastern Star, meets each fourth Tuesday, except for March and December. when the meetings are on the second Tuesday. All meetings are at 7:30 p.m. VETERANS ' CLAIMS- Coeburn-A Dept. of Veterans Services repre- sentative will assist clients and answer questions at the Coeburn VFW Post from 9am-3:30 pm third Thursdays except June. COMMUNITY CEN- TER-The West Dante Community Center meets at 7 pm first Mondays. Call 495-8473. FREE HIV TESTING- Health Departments in the Lenowisco Health District offer free confidential HIV testing throughout the year. For information, call Wise County 318-8000; Lee Co. Health Dept. 276-346- 2011; or Scott Co. Health Dept. 276-386-1312. FREE GED CLASSES- Free GED classes are offered at the Oxbow Family Investment Center, St. Paul, Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am- 12 noon. Glenna McReynolds is the teacher. Call 1-800-422-3433. GED TESTING-GED Testing is available Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays at the Wise Co. Alternative Education Center, Wise. Call 276-328-8612 for information concerning GED testing. IN CONTROL PRO- GRAMS-In Control. a free diabetes program, meets at Oxbow Center, St. Paul, 5- 6 pm 2nd Mondays. BOOK DISCUSSION- Book Discussion Group One of the J. Fred Matthews Memorial Library meets fourth Thursdays at the Riverside Diner at 6 pm. DANTE LIVES ON- The Dante Lives On Board meets at 6:00 pm 3rd Tuesdays at the Dante Museum with the Community Meeting fol- lowing at 7:00 pm. GED ONLINE-The Regional Adult Education Program is offering free GED Classes online. This service is for qualifying and adult learners, with or without their own home computers, in Lee, Scott and Wi.e counties and the City of Norton. For more information, call GED Online Coordinator Marci Gore, 1- 800-422-3433 (in Scott County 386-2433). HEGAN CLAY  CHARI-IE ENGL, E 49 WINCHESTER BENEFIT CONCERT SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 7:00 P.H. SAINT PAUL HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUH - ADMISSION: $10.00 A FUND RAISING EVENT FOR FRIENDS OF THE L FRED HATTHEWS HEHORIAL, I.lflRARY