Obituary for Debra Dianne Thompson

Debra Dianne Thompson, 61 of Pulaski, died Friday, October 2, 2015 at New River Valley Medical Center.  She was born on September 4, 1954 in Pulaski Co., and was the daughter of Mamie Lee Wyatt Blevins and Jacob Avery Blevins.  In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a brother, James (Jim) Blevins and a sister-in-law, Marcia Blevins.  She is survived by her husband, Frank Rangley Thompson of Pulaski:  three daughters;  Ashley Ann Coble and her husband Cam of Pulaski, Jennifer Lea Eller and her husband Dane of Draper, and Opal Genett Hancock and her husband Timmy of Pulaski:  four brothers;  Fred Blevins and his wife Joyce of Pulaski, Roy Blevins and his wife Debra of Graham’s Forge, Larry Jr. Blevins of Pulaski, and Ronald Blevins and his wife Olekia of Pulaski:  a sister-in-law;  Wanda Blevins of Pulaski:  seven grandchildren;  Zane and Seth Coble, Kaylea, Isabella and Corbin Eller, Hannah and Aaron Hancock, along with a special friend, Minnie Early and several nieces nephews and cousins.  Funeral services will be held Monday, October 5, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Seagle Funeral Home with the Rev. Dale Akers officiating.  Interment will follow in Highland Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends on Sunday at the funeral home from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Flowers are appreciated, but for those who wish, they may make memorial contributions to:  Rockin’ R Robotics % Dalton Intermediate School 60 Dalton Drive Radford, VA 24141 (memo: D. Thompson Memorial).  Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting  Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski.  540-980-1700

Austinville man dies in single-vehicle crash Saturday morning in Carroll County

By Corinne N. Geller

Public Relations Director

Virginia State Police

Virginia State Police Sr. Trooper S.E. Kinney is investigating a fatal single-vehicle crash in Carroll County that occurred Saturday morning about 8:10 a.m. The crash occurred on Route 635, just north of Route 736.

A 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck was southbound on Route 635 when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree on the passenger side.

The driver, Darby C. Hill, 45, of Austinville, Va., was transported to Twin County Regional Healthcare for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt.

The passenger, Marc D. Heddinger Jr., 51, of Austinville, Va., died at the scene.

Hill was arrested for DUI as well as charged with reckless driving, driving on a suspended license and for not wearing a seat belt.

The crash remains under investigation.


Obituary for Margaret Elizabeth O’Dell Cole

Margaret Elizabeth O’Dell Cole, age 90 of Hiwassee passed away Friday, October 2, 2015 at the Lewis-Gale Hospital, Pulaski.

Born April 15, 1925 in Snowville she was the daughter of the late Charlie Lee & Maggie Kidd O’Dell. Her husband, Franklin Lee Cole, grandsons, Jonathan Cole & Russell Duncan, six brothers and one sister also preceded her in death.

She is survived by her 


William “Bill” (Sandra) Cole – Amelia, VA

Rosetta (Chester) Duncan – Hiwassee

Stanley Lee (Darlene) Cole – Draper

8 Grandchildren               20 Great Grandchildren                 3 Great Great Grandchildren


Betty O’Dell & Bessie O’Dell

Special Friend & Caretaker                          Elaine Davis

Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM – Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at the Bower Funeral Chapel, Pulaski.

Interment will follow at the Cecil’s Chapel Cemetery (Hiwassee).

The family will receive friends Tuesday from 1:00 PM until service time.

To sign the online guestbook, visit

Bower Funeral Chapels, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.

State of Emergency declared in Pulaski County



A state of emergency exists in Pulaski County today.

Pulaski County Administration made the emergency declaration Thursday, and it was ratified this morning during a meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

According to County Administrator Peter Huber, once administration declares an emergency, the board has 10 days in which to ratify the declaration for it to be recognized by the state.

Several factors, according to Huber, led to the emergency declaration.

Huber said American Electric Power is conducting a drawdown of Claytor Lake due to the recent rainfall and the several inches of rain that is expected through the weekend. That causes concern over the water level at the water intake for the county located in the Draper area.

He said normal flows at the intake are about 2,100 to 2,200 gallons per minute.  With a two-foot drawdown by AEP, water intake is down to about 1,400 gallons per minute.

In response, the county deployed its barge and loaded an excavator onto it on lake front property owned by Stan Moran.  The barge was then moved to the area of the intake.  Once there silt was shifted around and away from the intake.

Huber said that normally once the silt is touched, regulations require it to be removed. However, written approval had been obtained earlier from all the regulatory agencies that govern the lake that in the event of an emergency the silt can be moved around, but not removed.

As of Friday morning, flow had increased to about 1,800 gallons per minute due to the action.

The second reason for the declaration, Huber said, is the expected rainfall.  The worst of it, he said, is expected from between 3 p.m. and midnight tonight.

About four inches of rain is expected, Huber noted.

“The problem is there’s no place for it to go. The ground has already absorbed all it is going to absorb. Plus there will be high winds,” Huber said.

He said Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Tolbert and others had been busy making sure county drains are cleared and working properly, that all vehicles are full of fuel and that swift water rescue is available, hopefully at the lake.

Huber told the supervisors that a couple days ago a Radford University student who had gone kayaking had to be rescued by the swift water rescue team.

Huber said the county had received a call earlier from Floyd County needing help with building inspections due to flooding.  He said two of the county’s building officials – Edith Hampton and Bill Warden – were sent to assist.

“There were about seven houses they had to condemn where they had been flooded, and they said there were more that needed to be condemned, but the residents had no place to go,” Huber related.

The board met this morning at the county’s Visitor’s Center prior to a Manufacturing Day event sponsored by Pulaski County and the Chamber of Commerce.

Obituary for Kelsie Kyle Kemp

Kelsie Kyle Kemp, age 90, of Barren Springs, VA passed away Thursday, October 1, 2015.

He was born July 5, 1925 in Kimball, WV, the son of the late French and Bessie Bond Kemp. He was preceded in death by two brothers, John Clayton Kemp and Malcolm Wythe Kemp.

Kelsie was a retired Barber and an active member of Glenwood United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School and was a past Board Member.  He served in the United Coast Guard during WWII and was a former member of the Civil Air Patrol. He was a former member of Grover King Post # 1115 VFW.  He was a member of the Hillsville Masonic Lodge #193 A.F. & A.M. and co-founder of the Barren Springs Fire Department.  Kelsie is survived by his wife of 65 years, Elsie Akers Kemp; children,  Joe Kyle Kemp, Glenna Young, Charlotte Viars, Tim and Diane Kemp all of Barren Springs, VA; grandchildren and spouses, Justin and Beth, Derick and Tonya, Jamie and Anjie,

Tonya and Jorge, Amy and Jeff, Jonathan and Tasida; great-grandchildren, Jordan, Anthony, Erica, Brieanna, Callie, Levi, Beach and Kai; sister, Phyllis Duncan of Barren Springs, VA;

several nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, October 4, 2015 at Glenwood United Methodist Church with the Reverend Ruth Ann Henley and Reverend Richard Gregory officiating. Hillsville Masonic Lodge # 193 A.F. & A.M. will conduct masonic rites. The family will receive friends Sunday from 5:00 p.m. until service time at the church. Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, October 5, 2015 at Stevens Cemetery, Barren Springs.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Reese Funeral Home, Austinville, VA is serving the Kemp family.


Gunman opens fire at Oregon community college, killing 13

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at an Oregon community college Thursday, killing at least 13 people before he died during an exchange of gunfire with police, authorities said.

The shooting happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, about 180 miles south of Portland. The local fire district advised people via Twitter to stay away from the school.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said 13 people are dead. State police Lt. Bill Fugate told KATU-TV that at least 20 others were hurt.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said the 20-year-old gunman was killed during an exchange of gunfire with officers. The sheriff did not say whether the shooter was killed by officers or took his own life.

“We locked our door, and I went out to lock up the restrooms and could hear four shots from the front of campus,” UCC Foundation Executive Director Dennis O’Neill told the Roseburg News-Review.

A photographer for the newspaper said he saw people being loaded into multiple ambulances and taken to the local hospital.

The school has about 3,000 students. Its website was down Thursday, and a phone message left at the college was not immediately returned.

Neither state police nor the sheriff’s office immediately returned calls from The Associated Press seeking details.

The sheriff’s office reported on Twitter that it received a call about the shooting at 10:38 a.m. Students and faculty members were being bused to the county fairgrounds, the sheriff’s office said.

Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg reported that it had received nine patients from the shooting, with more on the way.

Former UCC President Joe Olson, who retired in June after four years, said the school had no formal security staff, just one officer on a shift.

One of the biggest debates on campus last year was whether to post armed security officers on campus to respond to a shooting.

“I suspect this is going to start a discussion across the country about how community colleges prepare themselves for events like this,” he said.

The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation by his Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco. He was to continue receiving updates throughout the day.

The rural town of Roseburg lies west of the Cascade Mountains in an area where the timber industry has struggled. In recent years, officials have tried to promote the region as a tourist destination for vineyards and outdoor activities.

‘Joaquin’ strengthens to Category 4, batters Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Hurricane Joaquin roared through lightly populated islands in the eastern Bahamas as a Category 4 storm on Thursday, and forecasters said it could grow still more powerful before following a path that would near the U.S. East Coast.

The storm tore off tree branches and unleashed widespread flooding in some areas, with reports of water reaching the windows of some homes on Long Island and the airport runway at Ragged Island being under water. There were no immediate reports of casualties, according to Capt. Stephen Russell, the director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said he was amending laws to allow officials to declare a national emergency and mandate evacuations because some people were refusing to move into shelters.

“We do not know the impact of 140 miles an hour on those areas,” he said, referring to the hurricane’s winds. “We know it’s a horrific kind of experience.”

Christie and other top-ranking officials also deflected accusations that the government was not prepared and that residents were not properly advised.

The most severe flooding reported so far was on Acklins island, where power went off overnight and phones were down. Russell said some of the roughly 565 people who live there were trapped in their homes.

Bahamas resident Shandira Forbes said she had spoken to her mother on Acklins by phone Thursday.

“She was calling for help because the sea was coming into her house,” Forbes said. “People’s roofs were lifting up. No one knew (about the storm), so there was no preparedness, there was no meeting, there was nothing.”

Flooding also was reported across parts of Long Island, but no one had been injured, said Parliament member Loretta Butler Turner.

“We will have to wait for the winds to die down before we can go out and really assess the damage,” she said.

Islands such as San Salvador, Cat Island and Rum Cay were expected to be hit hardest before the storm begins an expected shift toward the north, forecasters said.

Joaquin had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (210 kph) and hurricane strength winds extending 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the eye, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. As of 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was located about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Crooked Island after passing over Samana Cays, Bahamas. It was moving southwest at 6 mph (9 kph).

While Samana Cays is usually uninhabited, eight to 10 people were working there, staying in temporary housing, when the storm hit, said Parliament member Alfred Gray.

“If the buildings look like they won’t withstand, there are some caves on the side of the rock that they can go into because it’s not prone to flooding,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities in the nearby Turks & Caicos Islands closed all airports, schools and government offices.

The storm was predicted to turn to the north and northwest toward the United States on Friday, but forecasters were trying to determine how it might affect the U.S. East Coast, which was already suffering flooding and heavy rains from separate storms.

“There’s still a distinct possibility that his could make landfall somewhere in the U.S.,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and hurricane center spokesman.

The Hurricane Center said parts of the Bahamas could see storm surge raising sea levels 5 to 10 feet (as much as 3 meters) above normal, with 10 to 15 inches (250 to 380 millimeters) of rain falling on the central Bahamas.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center’s long-term forecast showed the storm could near the U.S. East Coast along North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday or Monday.

“Residents of the Carolinas north should be paying attention and monitoring the storm. There’s no question,” said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist with the center. “If your hurricane plans got a little dusty because of the light hurricane season, now is a good time to update them.”

Homecoming dance postponed

Due to the potential for extreme weather conditions and hazardous road conditions over the weekend, PCHS’s Homecoming Dance has been rescheduled.  The dance originally scheduled for Saturday, October 3 will now be Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 8:00-11:00 pm at the PCHS gymnasium. All pre sale tickets will be honored.


Pulaski County Tractor Parade postponed due to weather

The Pulaski County Tractor Parade, sponsored by The Patriot and Thornspring Pastures Farm – scheduled for Saturday – has been postponed until Oct. 17 because of the bad weather forecast for this weekend.

The Latest: Navy tells sailors be prepared to move

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The latest on drenching rains and the threat of Hurricane Joaquin threatening the East Coast and Virginia.

6:15 p.m.

The Navy has told its sailors in Virginia to prepare to move out of port within 48 hours if Hurricane Joaquin approaches Hampton Roads.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command issued the order on Wednesday.

Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base and is the home port for every East Coast-based aircraft carrier. Navy bases in Virginia are also home to submarines, destroyers and amphibious assault ships, among others.

Navy officials have also told installations in the Hampton Roads to area to begin preparing for sustained, destructive winds within 72 hours. Initial efforts include securing hazards throughout each installation and removing debris from drainage areas.

6 p.m.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia. That allows public safety officials to respond to flooding from unrelenting rainfall Tuesday and the prospect of more extreme weather over the coming days — perhaps up to 10 inches of rain.

McAuliffe cautioned Virginians of the potential of devastating weather.

“I cannot stress enough the imperative for Virginians to focus on the rainstorms that are headed our way tomorrow and Friday, well before Hurricane Joaquin could potentially impact Virginia,” he said.

The governor added that he has instructed his secretary of public safety and homeland security “to make every preparation for a major event Thursday and Friday.”