WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Steve Willis, East Wytheville’s newly elected representative on the Wythe County Board of Supervisors, took the oath of office Friday afternoon.

Willis, who has lived in Wythe County since 1976, was surrounded by family as Clerk of Court Hayden Horney administered the oath.

“I would like to see Progress Park reach capacity with new businesses and opportunities for the people of Wythe County,” answered Willis, when asked what he would hope to see accomplished while serving on the board.

An honors graduate from James Madison University, Willis has worked in the trucking and logistics industry since 1985.

After seventeen years of employment with Volvo Trucks, Willis left the company in 2002 to become general manager for Camrett Logistics.

The Wytheville based company has won numerous awards, including being named one of the 50 fastest growing businesses in Virginia and was twice the recipient of the IWLA award for being the “Safest Warehouse in North America.”

Willis, the son of a Virginia State Trooper, says his parents were his biggest influences.

Dr. Gary Houseman and Coy McRoberts, both returning board members who ran unopposed in the general election, were also sworn in Friday afternoon.

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SPEEDWELL, Va. – Firefighters servicing Wytheville, Rural Retreat and Speedwell now have dozens of new fire hydrants at their disposal.

Last week, the Wythe County Water Department approved the use of fifty-six additional hydrants, stretching from East Lee Highway to the community of Speedwell.

The ten-mile line of hydrants will bring the countywide number to 366, not counting fire hydrants located within the town limits of Wytheville and Rural Retreat.

“Instead of having to haul water back and forth, fire crews will now be able to hook to the hydrants directly at the scene. This new process will save time and be a lot safer,” stated Ikey Davidson, Wythe County’s Emergency Manager.

The hydrants will be powered by an eight-inch waterline, pressured to provide a minimum of 500 gallons per minute to crews working blazes.

Installation of the hydrants is part of a greater county effort to supply residents in the community of Speedwell with a more reliable form of drinking water.

County officials are encouraging residents along the waterline’s route to notify their insurance carriers of the new hydrants. The Insurance Information Institute states that residents close to a fire hydrant may pay less for insurance.

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MAX MEADOWS, Va. — Wythe County’s Parks & Recreation Department has announced the tournament schedule for the youth basketball boys and girls JV leagues.  The two-day single elimination tournament will be hosted at Max Meadows Elementary School.

Tournament schedule for Saturday, December 14:

9:00 a.m. – GIRLS JV – Game #1 – Sheffey Lady Wildcats vs. MM Lady Pioneers Gold

10:00 a.m. – GIRLS JV – Game #2 – RR Lady Indians vs. MM Lady Pioneers Black

11:00 a.m. – BOYS JV – Game #1 – MM Pioneers Black vs. MM Pioneers White

12:00 p.m.  – BOYS JV – Game #2 – RR Indians Orange vs. RR Indians Black

1:00 p.m. – BOYS JV – Game #3 – Jackson Eagles vs. Game #1 winner

Championship schedule for Monday, December 16:

6:00 p.m.  – GIRLS JV – Championship – Game #1 winner vs. Game #2 winner

7:00 p.m.  – BOYS JV – Championship – Game #2 winner vs. Game #3 winner

Wythe County youth sports coordinator Scotty Vaught said the season was a great success.

“This year, we had a great group of coaches and it was a lot of fun working with them, as well as the booster clubs and parents,” stated Vaught.

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AUSTINVILLE, Va. – According to Wythe County officials, approximately 250 gallons of fuel oil was leaked into county sewer lines over the weekend. The contaminant eventually made its way into the Austinville Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it was discovered Saturday morning.

Once treatment plant workers noticed the pollutant, the county’s emergency manager was contacted and workers quickly worked to contain the unauthorized substance.

“Due to the swift actions of everyone involved, we were able to contain the oil before it made its way into local waterways,” said Wythe County Emergency Manager Ikey Davidson.

Much of the oil was contained through oil absorbent pads and through a process known as skimming.

Don Crisp, Wythe County’s Director of Water and Wastewater informed residents that sewer services would not be interrupted.

Additionally, Crisp advised that there is absolutely no threat of the county’s drinking water being at risk due to this weekend’s spill.

The source of the spill has been traced to a residence and has been determined to have been accidental.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has been notified and will be making a site visit today.

As part of restoration efforts, wastewater treatment plant tanks are scheduled to be pumped Monday afternoon.

The wastewater plant, which is located along Kohler Avenue in Austiville, services nearly 80 homes.

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This Friday marks the nineteenth anniversary of the murder of Wythe County Sheriff’s Deputy Cliff Dicker.

Dicker’s watch ended Tuesday, December 6, 1994, when he was shot and killed by a juvenile suspect on whom he was serving papers.

Speaking from an interview room inside the county sheriff’s office, Wythe County Sheriff Doug King spoke about Wythe County’s only sheriff’s deputy killed in action.

“I first met Cliff in 1983, when I started with the sheriff’s department. Cliff was one of the guys I looked up to. He was always so professional in his behavior and appearance.”

On the date of Dicker’s slaying, King was attending training in Richmond. “They left a note on my door to call dispatch. It was one of the greatest shocks of my life. It was a huge loss to the community and an even bigger loss to the family,” said King, adding, “He was just a decent and kind man who loved his family.”

To mark the solemn date, the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a full slate of events for Friday.

The day will begin with a memorial service inside the main conference room of the sheriff’s department at 10:15 a.m. 1st Sergeant Mike Honaker of the Virginia State Police will speak at the ceremony, which will include a moment of silence at 10:24 a.m., the time the department’s dispatch received the call stating that Dicker had been fatally wounded.

Later on Friday, the sheriff’s office will be hosting the fifth annual Cliff Dicker Memorial Blood Drive, lasting from 12 – 6 p.m. The Red Cross sanctioned event will be held across the street from the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office at the Fourth Street Civic Center.

Deputy Dicker was a fourteen year veteran of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office and served previously in the United States Air Force.

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – More than two-dozen Wythe County residents, including first responders, local officials, truck drivers and teachers came out last night for the county hosted severe weather course. The two-hour class, which was provided at no charge to the general public, was held at the Wytheville Community College.

National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Hysell taught the course, focusing primarily on the formation of thunderstorms, tornados, derechos and winter storms.

“In this part of the country, there’s sometimes a mentality that if there is no tornado warning, there is no danger,” stated Hysell, as he shared with the class statistics which proved non-tornado storms are often just as deadly.

Students who attended the National Weather Service sanctioned event were given a weather spotter’s field guide and awarded a certificate acknowledging their completion of the course; making them National Weather Service certified SKYWARN spotters.

“In recent years, severe weather has become a greater concern for communities throughout the nation. By offering this course to the public, we’re hoping to give people the knowledge they need to remain proactive in staying safe,” said Ikey Davidson, Wythe County’s emergency manager.

In January 2011, Wythe County became one of only a handful of Virginia counties to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. Last night’s class was the final step in the county’s re-certification effort.

Pleased with the event’s turnout, meteorologist Hysell urged those in attendance “if you see severe weather, report it – it could save a life.”

Residents unable to attend last night’s severe weather training seminar are encouraged to take the online version of the course.

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Wythe County December Calendar of Events

Calendar of events, courtesy of Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce:

Santa’s Shop – Collection of new, unwrapped toys for children 12 years old and under, that will be distributed by the Department of Social Services in Bland and Wythe Counties.  Toys may be dropped off at the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce  150 East Monroe St., Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm until Dec. 17.

Café Saturdays at West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery – Each Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm.  LIVE MUSIC from Noon – 2 pm!  Lunch selections for $10+.  For more information or complete menus, visit www.westwindwine.com or call 276.699.2020.

Wohlfahrt Haus’ Holiday Spectacular – Now – Dec. 31 Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, 170 Malin Dr., Wytheville.  276-223-0891 or 888-950-3382.  www.wohlfahrthaus.com.

Open House – December 3.  6 – 8 pm Star Overstock, 1340 E. Main St., Wytheville

Festival of Lights – December 6-7.  New River Trail State Park,  Foster Falls Village. Drive-thru only tour of the lights. On Friday night, the admission will be $2 or five canned food items and Saturday night admission will be $3 or five canned items. 276.699.6778

Cliff Dicker Memorial Blood Drive – December 6, at the old community center in Downtown Wytheville from 12-6 pm.  Donors can schedule appointments at www.redcrossblood.org and walk-ins are welcome. This blood drive is sponsored by the Wythe County Sheriff’s Department.

Christmas Bazaar at the Depot – December 6 – 8. 10 am – 4 pm and Sunday 1-5 pm. Rural Retreat Depot Downtown Rural Retreat.

Christmas Wreath Class/Open House – December 7. 11 am. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm and Environmental Education Center.  276.621.4511 www.beagleridgeherbfarm.com

Mr. Strong Family Run/Walk 5K – December 7; Registration at 9 am.  Registration fee is a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  www.facebook.com/Mrstrong5k

WCCH Christmas Parade – December 7; 6 pm  Downtown Wytheville.  Theme:  Red, White & Blue Christmas  276.625.8812

Max Meadows Christmas Parade December 7, 1 pm.   276.223.4517 or 276.637.4332.

Christmas Parade – December 8. 2 pm.   Downtown Rural Retreat.  Sponsored by the RRVFD.  276-686-4376

Visit with Santa – December 7. 2 till 4 pm.  Wytheville Community Center, 333 Community Blvd., Wytheville. 276.223.3378

Christmas Tour of Homes – December 8 .  Christmas Home Tours.  Sponsored by Wythe Arts Council. 276-228-6002. www.wythevillefestival.org

WCC Concert Band Concert – December 10, 7 pm.  George Wythe High School Auditorium, One Maroon Way, Wytheville.  Free.

 Christmas Market at the Wytheville Farmer’s Market – December 14, 10 am – 2 pm; 355 E. Main St., Wytheville, VA  Baked goods, hand-crafted items, local beef & produce available.  This is a great way to support independent businesses and shop locally for the holidays!  276-620-0303 or 276-620-0303; [email protected]

 Wythe-Bland Young Professionals Christmas Dazzler – December 14.  6 pm.  West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery, 180 West Wind Dr., Max Meadows.  If you are between the ages of 21-40, please join us for our end of the year Holiday Mixer!  223.3365

 Christmas Parade – December 14 . 6 pm.  Downtown Bland. Sponsored by Bland Beautification Committee.  276.223.3365

 Kid’s Musical Drama – “The Nightshift Before Christmas” – December 15, 9 am, 11 am, 6 pm.  All Nations Church, 1020 Stafford Umberger Dr., Wytheville.   276.228.5981

Live Nativity – December 19 – 20. 7 pm.  Hayrides, cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, Christmas music and special Christmas Devotion.  All Nations Church, 1020 Stafford Umberger Dr., Wytheville.  276.228.5981

WinterFest 2013 – December 20 .  Wytheville Community Center,  333 Community Blvd., Wytheville.  Grades 4 – 8; 1 pm – 5 pm Grades 3 & under; 5:30 – 8:30 pm.  276.223.3520

Merry Christmas – December 25.

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