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South Boston Police catch up with suspect

Miss Virginia shines at Miss America Pageant

Courtney Garrett, whose grandfather lives in Halifax County, is first runner-up

Spirits of the past

In the 1920s and 1930s, if you lived in Franklin County, most likely you were in involved in the county’s biggest industry — making illegal whiskey or moonshine.


12 runners, 208 miles, 36 hours, no sleep

Recently, a group of twelve local runners took on the challenge of participating in the Blue Ridge Relay. A grueling, two hundred plus mile relay spanning two days, mountainous terrain,…





Plain and Simple for Nov. 21, 2013 / November 20, 2013
Last night I watched a story on the CBS news show “60 Minutes,” that inspired me as few things have in a long time. It told the story of the young people of a town in Paraguay called Cateura that has grown up around the large trash dump near the capital city of Asuncion. In that town where people make a living digging through trash, a music teacher named Fabio Chavez has brought forth a miracle.

A few years ago Chavez got the idea to bring music to the children of that town that had little hope. But he had a problem. No one had any musical instruments. Even if he could beg or borrow musical instruments from outside the city of Cateura there would still be problems. The people were so poor that even a used violin would be worth more than the average house would cost. Owning such an instrument would put the child in danger.

So Chavez enlisted the aid of a worker in the town. Together they began to create instruments out of the trash that they recycled. Unbelievably, they were able to outfit the orchestra with violins, cellos, and horns that sounded as beautiful as the real thing except they were made out of barrels, hubcaps, and forks. The children breathed the air of musical beauty and became experts at playing these fantastic instruments.

Gradually, these children became noticed. A posting on YouTube under the name of “Landfill Harmonic,” has received over one million views. They have now toured throughout Paraguay and to other countries. Still, the original sweetness remains. The first to learn have continued to help the younger children grab at this opportunity to see more of the world than its trash.

Sometimes it becomes all too easy to become overwhelmed by the evil and the nastiness that we see all around us. Stories such as this one help remind us that one person can make a difference. There is beauty in this world because God put it there. Rather than lamenting what is wrong we need to work harder to strengthen what is right. There are people who are doing wonderful things in this world.

They are standing up to the darkness and we can help light a candle. As we approach the Christmas season, let us remember that Christ came in a small stable in a very dark time and changed the world forever. We can help change the world a little at a time no matter how dark it may appear even now.

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