Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana. Official portrait.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Walorski was former Liberty student

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, who was killed along with two staffers in a car accident this week, was a former Liberty University student, the school said.

She attended Liberty University, known as Liberty Baptist College at the time, from 1981 to 1983 and graduated from Taylor University in Indiana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration in 1985.

“This is a sad day for our country and Liberty University. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Walorski’s family,” said Liberty University President Jerry Prevo in a statement. “We are grateful for her service and devotion to our nation as a member of Congress and most importantly for her faith in Christ. We know, and we are thankful that as believers in Jesus Christ, we will one day be with Him and all one day see each other again.”

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Malcolm Smith. Courtesy of Birthplace of Country Music.

Writer to discuss book on Virginia fiddler Albert Hash in Bristol

Writer and banjo player Dr. Malcolm L. Smith will discuss his book “Appalachian Fiddler Albert Hash: The Last Leaf on the Tree” as part of this month’s Speaker Series at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol. The event will be held in the museum’s performance theater at 7 p.m. EDT, Aug. 9. The program is free and open to the public, with both in-person and virtual options for participants to join.

Luthier and 1995 NEA National Heritage Fellow Wayne Henderson credits his entire career to the mentorship of Albert Hash. “He was a true folk hero,” says Henderson in the forward to Smith’s biography. Born and raised near Whitetop Mountain in extreme poverty, Hash rose to become one of the premiere old-time fiddlers in the world with the Whitetop Mountain Band, as well as building hundreds of sought after fiddles in his shop on Virginia’s second highest peak. 

With this Speaker Series, Smith will share stories and memories that he learned in over 100 hours of interviews conducted while researching Hash. During the program, a local musician will demonstrate Hash’s unique bowing style and play some of the fiddler’s songs. Smith will also sign copies of his book “Appalachian Fiddler Albert Hash: The Last Leaf on the Tree,” which will be available for purchase at the event.

Dr. Smith specializes in writing about old-time musicians. In addition to Albert Hash’s biography, Smith has written countless stories for The Old Time HeraldSingOut!, and other magazines. He has written feature stories on banjo builder Mac Traynham, 90-year-old banjoist Rhoda Kemp, Walt Koken and Clare Milner, and many others.

If you are planning to attend the Speaker Series in person, please RSVP using the link on the Events page at Those who wish to attend virtually must pre-register at the same location online.   

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Sales tax holiday is this weekend

Virginia’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday is Friday, Aug. 5 – Sunday, Aug. 7. Specifically, the sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 5 and wraps up on Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m. During this period, Virginians can buy a number of items in stores, online, by mail order, and by telephone without paying sales tax.

What items are eligible?

  • School supplies, clothing, and footwear
  • Qualified school supplies – $20 or less per item
  • Qualified clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products 
  • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
  • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
  • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item
  • Energy Star™ and WaterSense™​ products
  • Qualifying Energy Star™ or WaterSense™ products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use – $2,500 or less per item

Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines and on Virginia Tax’s website

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Franklin County sets August 16 date to apply for vacant supervisor position

Franklin County has scheduled a special election for Nov. 8 to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Supervisor Leland Mitchell. Until then, it will appoint an interim supervisor. Here’s how it will do so:

“Any qualified voter of the Snow Creek District interested in being considered for the vacancy may submit a “Board/Commission Application” with a letter of qualification or resume to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. Applications are available on the County’s website at or may be obtained in the office of the County Administrator or by calling (540) 483-3030. The submission deadline is by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. Applications with a letter of qualification or resume may be returned by e-mail to, fax to (540) 483-3035; by mail or hand delivered to the County Administrator’s Office located at 1255 Franklin Street, Suite 112, Rocky Mount, VA 24151. Applications received after the established deadline will not be considered.”

Franklin County further advises that “the county recently reapportioned the election districts and adjusted the boundaries. If a citizen is unsure if they are a qualified voter of the Snow Creek District, they should call (540) 483-3030 or review the electoral maps available at the Voter Registrar’s Office, County Administrator’s Office and online at”