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Today's Features

  •     The Wharton Memorial Foundation and the Bedford Academy for the Arts ended the old year by becoming one. The merger took place in September.

        The Wharton Memorial Foundation was formally organized in 1997, according to Fred Duis, the foundation’s vice president and a founding member. Its roots go back to the desire to set up a public garden.

  •     Austin Wiese, a 2004 Jefferson Forest High School (JFHS) graduate, decided during his freshman year of high school to seek a career in the armed forces.

        “What better way to serve and to defend our nation’s values than to be in the military?” he commented.

        Wiese said that his paternal grandfather, Colonel William Wiese, was a major influence in that decision. Col. Wiese, an Air Force officer, flew combat missions in Vietnam in the F-105.

  • Shayne Tracy is a different kind of massage therapist. His clients are big, big as a horse. In fact, they are horses.

        Tracy started out with people and did massage therapy on humans for 20 years. After doing some research, he began working with horses.

        “It relaxes them,” he said.

  • Paul D. Helsel, who heads up the Elks organization nationwide, was sure that there would be a line of cars near the Elks National Home full of people hoping his remarks would be brief. He was right. As soon as he pressed the switch that turned on the lights Friday night, a steady stream of cars began rolling into the Elks Home property.

  • Calvin Rice has worked along the Blue Ridge Parkway for half a century.

        He’s currently the dining room manager at the Peaks of Otter Lodge.

        Rice started working at a service station along the parkway at Otter Creek, near Big Island, right out of high school. This is 28 miles north of the Peaks and the parkway was not yet complete at that time. There was not yet a bridge carrying the road over the James River and motorists, upon reaching that point, had to get off, cross the James elsewhere and then return to the parkway.

  • Bedford area residents welcomed in the holiday season Saturday as the streets were lined with those attending the Bedford Christmas Parade.

        “It’s nice to see the community come out,” noted Bedford Main Street Executive Director Linda Exley. “The comments were very positive.”

  •     The Bedford Historical Society held its annual Hanging of the Greens lunch at the Bedford Historic Meeting House.

        Hanging of the Greens is an old English tradition observed in many churches. It marks the beginning of Advent, the period leading up to Christmas. It got its name because of the green wreaths that were hung as decorations for the season. It marks the point when many churches put up their holiday decorations, leaving them up through Epiphany, which comes on Jan. 6 and marks the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

  • A lake area author has written a book on combat veterans and he came to the National D-Day Memorial last week to sign copies.

        Bob Vanderlinde knows something about serving in combat. A member of the 187th Airborne, he made two combat jumps during the Korean War. He was wounded three times and still has pieces of shrapnel in his body.

        His first jump was on Oct. 20, 1950.

        “We jumped 50 miles north of Pyongyang,” he said.

  •     Ruth Crouch has been the manager at D. Reynolds for 32 years, but she's known about Bedford as the pie lady. As a sideline, she bakes pies to order.

        “I made six this morning before I came to work,” she said when interviewed the day before Thanksgiving. 

        All told, she's baked 220 this year. That includes more than 40 for Main Street United Methodist Church's bake sales in July and August. Each year she contributes at least 40 for this fundraising event.

  • The Shepherd’s Table served its annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday, feeding 106 people turkey with dressing and gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

        It’s a labor of love. The Shepherd’s table provides free hot lunches to people in Bedford who are in tight financial circumstances.