Features https://www.independencedeclaration.com/features/todaysfeatures en Woodcarving is this family's business https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/woodcarving-familys-business <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_1927.jpg" alt="Jerry Sheets" title="Jerry Sheets" align="left" hspace="6" width="64" height="85" /><p> TROUTDALE &mdash; When Wayne Sheets and his siblings were growing up, their father, Jerry Sheets, encouraged them to pick up creative hobbies.</p> <p> &ldquo;Supposedly, hobbies keep you out of trouble,&rdquo; Jerry says. But not only that, a good hobby leads to feelings of accomplishment, and perhaps a little bit of revenue if they break into the business of selling their crafts; which is exactly what this family does.</p> St. Frances of Rome in Sparta celebrates 50th anniversary https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/st-frances-rome-sparta-celebrates-50th-anniversary <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_8016_1.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="113" height="85" /><p> SPARTA, N.C. &mdash; The 50th anniversary of the St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Sparta, N.C., was celebrated with a special Sunday Mass on Sept. 25, followed by a reception and fellowship.<br /> The church was first dedicated on Sept. 25, 1966, and brought local Catholics a formal venue for worship in Sparta. St. Frances of Rome was built in memory of Frances Payne Darr, mother of Ed Darr, and sister of Anne Payne Robertson. In the past 50 years, the parish has grown to approximately 152 families.<br /> Monument Mysteries https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/monument-mysteries <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/26_0.jpg" alt="In the Grant Community Cemetery, gravestones mark the final resting places of husband and wife Alexander and Rose Porter." title="In the Grant Community Cemetery, gravestones mark the final resting places of husband and wife Alexander and Rose Porter." align="left" hspace="6" width="114" height="85" /><p> <strong>By D.T. CLARK, Staff</strong></p> <p> TROUTDALE &mdash; There&rsquo;s a progression that takes place in most of us: first, you&rsquo;re a baby interested only in food and sleep, and then you&rsquo;re a kid fascinated with toys and games, and then you&rsquo;re a teen and discover the opposite sex, and then, before you know it, you&rsquo;re middle-aged (or older) thinking: what happened?</p> May 22 is first Fiber Day of season at Independence Farmers Market https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/may-22-first-fiber-day-season-independence-farmers-market <p> INDEPENDENCE -- Now in its seventh year, the Independence Farmers Market is off to a strong start this year. Addressing the Independence Town Council last week, Market Manager Michelle Pridgen told them the market&rsquo;s season opening day this month drew record numbers.</p> Saxophone group to close Independence concert series https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/saxophone-group-close-independence-concert-series <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/saxophone050615cymk.jpg" alt="The Historic 1908 Courthouse’s “winter” concert series concludes with a saxophone concert 3 p.m. this Sunday, May 10. (It was originally scheduled in February, but snow forced its cancellation.) The concert features the New Traditions Saxophone Quartet and is free, but donations are welcomed. The quartet includes University of North Carolina School of the Arts students, from left, Kyle Greaney, Khara Kowalski, Brooke Hendricks and Daniel Brooks.  " title="The Historic 1908 Courthouse’s “winter” concert series concludes with a saxophone concert 3 p.m. this Sunday, May 10. (It was originally scheduled in February, but snow forced its cancellation.) The concert features the New Traditions Saxophone Quartet and is free, but donations are welcomed. The quartet includes University of North Carolina School of the Arts students, from left, Kyle Greaney, Khara Kowalski, Brooke Hendricks and Daniel Brooks.  " align="left" hspace="6" width="123" height="85" /><p> INDEPENDENCE -- With wonderful spring weather blooming everywhere in Grayson County, you might have thought everything winter-related was long gone. Not so on the local music scene &ndash; there&rsquo;s still one concert left in the Historic 1908 Courthouse&rsquo;s &ldquo;winter&rdquo; concert series. A performance featuring New Traditions Saxophone Quartet was originally set for February, but was canceled due to snowy conditions. It is now set for 3 p.m. this Sunday, May 10.</p> Grayson County High School's April 25 prom draws 300 https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/grayson-county-high-schools-april-25-prom-draws-300 <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/promcoupleshot042915rgb_0.jpg" alt="Grayson County High School sophomore Kaylee Moore and her date, junior Tyler Lundy, are captured in a cell phone photo by Lauren Harris as they arrive for the prom Saturday night. Be sure to pick up The Declaration&#039;s April 29 print edition for a big photo package from the prom." title="Grayson County High School sophomore Kaylee Moore and her date, junior Tyler Lundy, are captured in a cell phone photo by Lauren Harris as they arrive for the prom Saturday night. Be sure to pick up The Declaration&#039;s April 29 print edition for a big photo package from the prom." align="left" hspace="6" width="107" height="85" /><p> INDEPENDENCE -- About 300 attended Grayson County High School&rsquo;s annual Junior-Senior Prom, dancing this past Saturday night away in the school&rsquo;s old gym, which was specially decorated for the event.</p> <p> The prom&rsquo;s theme this year was &ldquo;If Only for One Night.&rdquo; The event was coordinated by GCHS teacher Amanda Brewer, who was assisted by many volunteers.</p> Tour Troutdale -- Virginia's highest incorporated municipality -- May 9 https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/tour-troutdale-virginias-highest-incorporated-municipality-may-9 <img src="https://www.independencedeclaration.com/sites/www.independencedeclaration.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/troutdaleoverallcurrent040815rgb.jpg" alt="Troutdale History Tour Leader Ed Clayton, left, and Troutdale Mayor Billy Mitchell linger in the center of Troutdale Thursday reflecting on the boom town that once was. In the background is the now vacant building that once housed the long-defunct Troutdale First National Bank, left, and across Main Street is Troutdale Baptist Church, built in 1911, which still regularly hosts services." title="Troutdale History Tour Leader Ed Clayton, left, and Troutdale Mayor Billy Mitchell linger in the center of Troutdale Thursday reflecting on the boom town that once was. In the background is the now vacant building that once housed the long-defunct Troutdale First National Bank, left, and across Main Street is Troutdale Baptist Church, built in 1911, which still regularly hosts services." align="left" hspace="6" width="128" height="85" /><p> TROUTDALE &ndash; In its glory days in the early 1900s, Troutdale had nearly 3,000 residents, a department store, hotel and movie theater. As its lucrative logging operations in time dwindled -- along with its status as a train hub -- it lost all these businesses and many more. It&rsquo;s an interesting tale of boom and bust and an exciting historic backdrop to a town its longtime mayor believes will one day again grow and prosper as a gateway to nearby Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.</p> Whitetop Mountain Maple Festival draws hundreds https://www.independencedeclaration.com/content/whitetop-mountain-maple-festival-draws-hundreds-0 <p> WHITETOP &ndash; Officially shuttered to school children in 2010, Mount Rogers School springs to life again during the last weekend of the month every March when it serves as the headquarters for the annual Whitetop Mountain Maple Festival. More than a thousand people turn out for the annual fundraiser, enjoying pancakes made in the old school&rsquo;s cafeteria kitchen and browsing through arts and crafts displays in its for classrooms. Proceeds go to support the Mount Rogers Fire Department and Rescue Squad.</p>