Tom Joyce

Position: Staff Reporter
E-Mail Address: tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

Latest Stories by Tom Joyce

The good news is that a free community Thanksgiving dinner will be offered this coming Thursday in Mount Airy as it has for the past 17 years.
But while the turkey served there is sure to be delicious, the 2015 event could leave a bittersweet taste in the mouths of participants. That's because of a decision by the meal's chief organizer, Melva Hou

Holiday meal to be Houston's last as leader

The good news is that a free community Thanksgiving dinner will be offered this coming Thursday in Mount Airy as it has for the past 17 years. But while the turkey served there is sure to be delicious, the 2015 event could leave a bittersweet taste in the mouths of participants. That's because of a decision by the meal's chief organizer, Melva Hou

Unlike its football team that is a perennial playoff contender, Mount Airy High School's marching band had hit some low notes in recent years.Perhaps the lowest came during the 2012-2013 academic term, when the high school had no band program at all. It was a Don McLean “American Pie” kind of time in which music education at the campus

Director has band marching to different tune

Unlike its football team that is a perennial playoff contender, Mount Airy High School's marching band had hit some low notes in recent years.Perhaps the lowest came during the 2012-2013 academic term, when the high school had no band program at all. It was a Don McLean “American Pie” kind of time in which music education at the campus

A man known as the Night Rider describes how he learned to deal with the reality of death.
A woman comes forward to offer a possible explanation for strange lights in swamps, while another describes how success was reaped from an apparent onstage disaster during her long-ago dance performance.
These and other accounts were part of an annual ̶

Storytellers spin colorful tales

A man known as the Night Rider describes how he learned to deal with the reality of death. A woman comes forward to offer a possible explanation for strange lights in swamps, while another describes how success was reaped from an apparent onstage disaster during her long-ago dance performance. These and other accounts were part of an annual ̶

Mount Airy officials are trying to salvage a possible industrial expansion locally that could mean 75 new jobs, after the county government rejected incentives for the project this week.
This includes plans for upping a city cash incentive already approved, which will require a public hearing in addition to one already held, and hoping all the whi

City seeks to save jobs after Surry snub

Mount Airy officials are trying to salvage a possible industrial expansion locally that could mean 75 new jobs, after the county government rejected incentives for the project this week. This includes plans for upping a city cash incentive already approved, which will require a public hearing in addition to one already held, and hoping all the whi

Sewer project OK'd to aid office building

Mount Airy is pursuing a sewer line extension to serve a new office building on North Main Street, in response to a strange situation of no existing lines being available for the inner-city area involved. The city board of commissioners was briefed on the project at a meeting Thursday night, which relates to plans by Dr. Adam Delp, a local chiropr

Board again delays vote on hookup policy

Once again the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners took up the issue of mandatory water and sewer connections, but once again came away without a decision. After reviewing revisions Thursday night, on top of previous revisions proposed for the city's code of ordinances for utility hookups, board members decided that more time was needed to act. One

DOBSON — A vote recount Thursday in the tightly contested race for clerk of Superior Court in Surry County produced no change in the initial outcome.
This means Republican Teresa O'Dell soon will take office as clerk, due to her narrow defeat of Rebecca Brendle, a Democrat who had been appointed to the post after the 2012 retirement of the p

Clerk election unchanged after recount

DOBSON — A vote recount Thursday in the tightly contested race for clerk of Superior Court in Surry County produced no change in the initial outcome. This means Republican Teresa O'Dell soon will take office as clerk, due to her narrow defeat of Rebecca Brendle, a Democrat who had been appointed to the post after the 2012 retirement of the p

To the Editor, I wish to thank you for the excellent reporting provided throughout the 2014 Veteran's Day event. And a five-star special thanks to Mr. Tom Joyce for his excellent reporting of this very special day before, during, and after the ceremony and parade. All the praise and accolades should go to people like Don Isaacs, district commande

Police briefs

• An attempted break-in was discovered Tuesday at Appalachian Computer Sales on South Renfro Street, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. A 3-foot by 3-foot window pane was broken in the process, with the damage put at $200. • Violations of inhaling a toxic vapors substance and possession of a toxic substance were issued

Cell tower requests mounting

DOBSON — It's been a busy year for cell phone tower projects in Surry County, and the list is growing. “I think we're over 10 for the year and I have one more coming in right now,” Surry Planning Director Kim Bates said Wednesday of tower-placement requests processed through his office and considered for permits by the county pla

City police aiming for new guns

The Mount Airy Police Department is setting its sights on new handguns to replace those now carried by city officers, with grant money hopefully supplying the funding firepower needed. “The standard life of a gun is around eight years,” Police Chief Dale Watson said Wednesday concerning plans to update the department's front-line weapo

Clerk's race recount set for Thursday

DOBSON — A recount in the Surry County clerk of court election will come sooner rather than later, this week as a matter of fact. It will be held Thursday, according to an announcement from the Surry County Board of Elections. The recount had been requested Monday by Democratic incumbent Surry Clerk of Superior Court Rebecca Brendle on the

City Attorney Hugh Campbell apparently has found a solution to a sticky situation concerning changes to Mount Airy's mandatory hookup policy for water and sewer services.
The city board of commissioners hit a brick wall on the issue during an Oct. 16 meeting, when a lengthy discussion was held on amending municipal codes of ordinances governing ut

Possible solution eyed for utility hookup dilemma

City Attorney Hugh Campbell apparently has found a solution to a sticky situation concerning changes to Mount Airy's mandatory hookup policy for water and sewer services. The city board of commissioners hit a brick wall on the issue during an Oct. 16 meeting, when a lengthy discussion was held on amending municipal codes of ordinances governing ut

DOBSON — Surry County Clerk of Superior Court Becky Brendle requested a recount today of votes for the Nov. 4 general election that resulted in her loss to challenger Teresa O'Dell.Brendle's request to the county board of elections comes on the heels of official totals being released for the election, which occurred after a canvass of votes F

Brendle requests recount in clerk's race

DOBSON — Surry County Clerk of Superior Court Becky Brendle requested a recount today of votes for the Nov. 4 general election that resulted in her loss to challenger Teresa O'Dell.Brendle's request to the county board of elections comes on the heels of official totals being released for the election, which occurred after a canvass of votes F

After completing her 10-week session of Mount Airy's Citizens Police Academy last spring, Cynthia Puckett admittedly did not come away feeling better about society as a whole.
“However, I will say I am confident we are in good hands,” Puckett added of how participation in the annual program provided her a behind-the-scenes look at the

Applicants sought for Citizens Police Academy

After completing her 10-week session of Mount Airy's Citizens Police Academy last spring, Cynthia Puckett admittedly did not come away feeling better about society as a whole. “However, I will say I am confident we are in good hands,” Puckett added of how participation in the annual program provided her a behind-the-scenes look at the

Police briefs

• A Pilot Mountain resident has been cited for a property damage violation after allegedly “keying” the vehicle of another woman early Sunday, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. The incident occurred in the parking lot of Walmart, where a 2004 Volkswagen Beetle owned by Chastity Ann Taylor Snow of City View Drive r

Historic Mount Airy ghost tours have become a popular attraction downtown, but a less-scary spirit is being conjured up along North Main Street — a century-old Coca-Cola mural that's undergoing a restoration.
Known as a “ghost sign” — a term applied to old images on exterior building walls which have become weathered —

Historic 'ghost' sign coming to life

Historic Mount Airy ghost tours have become a popular attraction downtown, but a less-scary spirit is being conjured up along North Main Street — a century-old Coca-Cola mural that's undergoing a restoration. Known as a “ghost sign” — a term applied to old images on exterior building walls which have become weathered —

Police briefs

• Olde Mill Music, a business on North Main Street downtown, was broken into during the early morning hours Thursday, according to Mount Airy Police Department reports. A window was broken to gain entry, with the damage put at $800, enabling the theft of an undisclosed sum of cash and property described as a “black and white guitar with

Every Thanksgiving for the past 20 years, local families — totaling about 3,350 to date — have heard knocks on the door from smiling people eager to give them a bag full of items for a free holiday feast.
This happens not by magic or coincidence, but through a well-oiled-machine-like effort waged by members of a Sunday school class at

Support sought for holiday meal program

Every Thanksgiving for the past 20 years, local families — totaling about 3,350 to date — have heard knocks on the door from smiling people eager to give them a bag full of items for a free holiday feast. This happens not by magic or coincidence, but through a well-oiled-machine-like effort waged by members of a Sunday school class at

Unless there's a generous allowance or a genie at their disposal, a new skateboard or clothes can be out of reach for some children — but an upcoming event will make such wishes a reality.
The Surry County Chapter of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) once again is preparing for an annual shopping spree for kids, which will t

Cops gearing up to shop with kids

Unless there's a generous allowance or a genie at their disposal, a new skateboard or clothes can be out of reach for some children — but an upcoming event will make such wishes a reality. The Surry County Chapter of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) once again is preparing for an annual shopping spree for kids, which will t





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