Lots of changes on the Floyd scene as the old year rings out:
Lawrence Wood is closing the funeral home that bears his name. Wood has buried a lot of people in Floyd County, including my maternal grandparents. He’s been a fixture around here for a long, long time.
Protocol Automotive is becoming “Joe’s Garage,” reflecting the name of owner Joey Kaylor and perhaps also reflecting Kaylor’s continuing legal problems. He faces trial next year on a 14-count embezzlement charge. The Commonwealth of Virginia claims Kaylor diverted funds for employee withholding for other purposes. Is the name change part of a defense strategy? We will have to wait for the trial. Kaylor, the self-declared “hateful” mechanic, isn’t keeping a low profile. He held a “customer appreciation day” at Protocol after his indictments and applied not once, but twice, for open positions on the county’s Economic Development Authority, citing his experiences in dealing with the many challenges of running a small business in Floyd County. He didn’t get either appointment.
The Tea Party became a county-wide laughing stock when it tried to pack a public hearing on the proposed comprehensive plan with claims that the plan was a tool of the United Nations. A lot of talk but little change in the plan, which will be discussed at the board of supervisors meeting in two weeks.
A lot of controversy over proposed wind turbine farms on Wills Ridge and possibly other places in the county. The county board narrowly passed a proposed ordinance banning ridgeline development — including wind farms — but the ordinance faces what is expected to be a turbulent public hearing on Jan. 31. If the county could harness all the hot air generated in the debate it could produce enough geo-thermal energy to power all the homes and businesses here.
The Floyd Country Store is curtailing its hours, starting next week, going from a six-day a week schedule to Thursday-Sunday. The store expects to expand back to a fuller schedule when the tourist season kicks in.
The National Music Festival held its first season with critical acclaim, finished the year in the black and then packed up and left town for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, leaving some contributors feeling conned.
The Wine Tasting Shop at the Station on South Locust packed up and left. Owners are still looking for someone to occupy the space vacated by the County Health Department and other vacancies in the complex.
Our old space at The Village Green — home for a brief while to a bicycle shop — remains empty. It’s a nice corner location but the vacancy is a sign of the times not only in Floyd but elsewhere. Floyd has fewer empty business spaces downtown than most communities. For that we can be thankful.
On The Run at the Exxon Station is now a Circle K. Same owners, just a different name. Circle K bought the national On the Run chain from Exxon.
The video store is gone. The Harris & Baker building remains empty. Internal dissension continues to affect Angels in the Attic. Prices are up and customers report often surly service from the new crop of volunteers brought in after the old timers left in a dispute with Kathy Blackwell.
Longtime school superintendent Terry Arbogast left under a cloud amid questions about his salary and a lack of accountability in public disclosure. New school boss Kevin Harris is still getting his bearings.
The local elections put two new faces on the board of supervisors (Lauren Yoder and Joe Turman) as longtime supervisor and board chairman David Ingram lost out to Yoder in the primary and fell short in a write-in effort. Challenges to two school board incumbents fell short. Sheriff Shannon Zeman survived two opponents — a disgruntled former deputy and an Indian Valley resident with no law enforcement experience who said God told him to run and assured him he would win if he did. No word yet from God on why his candidate lost.
Crime is up, court dockets are crowded and the crystal meth epidemic is spiraling out of control. The sheriff’s department is busting a record numbers of meth labs. Meth, it seems, is the new moonshine in Floyd County.
It’s been that kind of year.