Ferrum 5th Graders Spring in Action to Help Bus Driver During Crash with Tree

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

bus33From Franklin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Church:


Bus # 64 driven by Teresa Dooley was in an accident on Runnett Bag Road in Endicott region of Ferrum yesterday evening around 3:45 p.m.  She was driving a 2015 Thomas C2 bus.  Mrs. Dooley has been driving for the school division for 4 ½ years and has driving experience prior to this.   


She had to swerve off the road to avoid hitting an oncoming vehicle during the Thursday afternoon bus run subsequently hitting a tree. While Mrs. Dooley was calling for help and working with the young students on the front of the bus, Ferrum Elementary 5th graders Brooklyn Tolbert and Nicholas Guilliams took the lead to safely get the students off the bus.


There were eight students on the bus at the time of the accident. The bus driver suffered a broken arm and a broken finger and Brooklyn had minor injuries but was treated and released. All students were released to their parents at the scene but not before being checked out by the local rescue squad.


The accident is still under investigation by the Virginia State Police.


Superintendent Dr. Mark Church and School Board Vice Chairman Julie Nix joined Principal Jennifer Talley to publicly thank Nicholas and Brooklyn for their heroic endeavors this morning at the school; however, Brooklyn was not at school today due to her injuries but was reached at home for a statement.


“We are very thankful that the injuries were not serious and that everyone will be okay,” said Superintendent, Dr. Mark Church. Church added, “I am proud of how our bus driver and our students handled themselves and for their quick action to make sure everyone safely exited the bus.”


Gregg Cuddy, Director of Operations for Franklin County Public Schools said, “We are also very thankful for the immediate response and assistance provided by the Virginia State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the Ferrum Fire Department, the Ferrum Rescue Squad, and numerous community residents who did not hesitate to help.”


Student Statements:


“Once I got up off the floor, I was kind of shocked, so I got up and checked on Mrs. Teresa.  I tried to get the little ones to stop crying and then we tried to open the door and we evacuated everyone off the bus once Mrs. Teresa was okay.  I was really scared when it happened, but I knew we needed to get everyone off in case something happened to the bus we would all be safe.  The bus evacuation drills are important and I was able to use what I had learned to get everybody off safe.” said Brooklyn Tolbert.


Nicholas Guilliams said “Yesterday afternoon, my bus was involved in an accident.  My bus driver had to swerve to avoid contact with another vehicle.  The right side of the bus hit a tree which destroyed the whole right side of the bus.  Luckily after that, our bus driver, Mrs. Teresa, was able to get back on the road and safely stop the bus before any of us were majorly hurt.  When the bus stopped, I stood up and saw that the whole right side of the bus was destroyed.  I looked up to see if the bus driver was okay and she was helping and gathering the little kids, so I quickly opened the back emergency exit door so we could all escape.  By that time, another student, Brooklyn Tolbert, was helping the little kids safely get down from the bus.  Finally, after we all got out safely, we waited for the rescue workers to check us all out and our parents to pick us up.  Mrs. Teresa, our bus driver, wasn’t seriously hurt, but her wrist was possibly broken or injured.”


 Nicholas Guilliams is the son of Kevin and Karen Guilliams of Ferrum, and Brooklyn Tolbert is the daughter of Kelly Flowers and Joseph Tolbert of Ferrum.


Traffic Stop Leads to Drug, Weapon Arrests

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

SmithWhiteheadFRANKLIN CO. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Department says two men were arrested March 15 on drug and weapon charges after a routine traffic stop. 

Micheal Smith and Travis Whitehead were arrested on meth and marijuana possession with the intent to distribute and concealed weapon charges. A search warrant resulted in additional drug and weapon charges. 

Both men were held without bond. 

The investigation is ongoing with more charges pending. 


Harvester Generates Best Profit Since Opening

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

Harvester VTCROCKY MOUNT - The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount has posted its best operational performance since its 2014 opening, recording a second straight profitable year in 2017. Harvester Chief Executive Officer Matthew C. Hankins presented the annual results to Rocky Mount Town Council this week for venue which completes four years of operation in April.

“For 2017, the Harvester Performance Center posted a profit of $18,328, about 19.6 times higher than the 2016 profit,” Hankins said. “Overall ticket revenue, per- show ticket revenue, per-show concessions revenue, per-show attendance, overall attendance and sponsorship income all reached new heights in 2017, while keeping ticket prices, concessions and merchandise accessible to more music fans.”

The year-end report was just completed by the independent accountant who reviews the Harvester’s books. The Harvester is an economic development initiative
of the Town of Rocky Mount, charged with hosting performances to bring in visitors to the community for world-class performances by well-known artists in an intimate
environment with outstanding acoustics. The Harvester received a clean audit report in the Town’s audit, as well.

“As long as the performances profit by $1, the Harvester staff is doing its job, bringing people into our community to experience Rocky Mount’s restaurants, shops
and lodging,” said Hankins. “I am proud of the work the staff is doing to bring so many people to our community, and happy that we get to help so many people
experience so many different forms of music and so many great artists.”

The Harvester hosted ticket buyers from 39 states and Washington, D.C., and at least five foreign countries, including five French cities, Italy, Great Britain, China
and the Netherlands.

“We make it a priority to have all types and all kinds of price levels so everyone can afford to come see a show, and more and more people are finding out about the
venue, its amazing sound and our friendly atmosphere,” said Hankins. “Most of our customers drive from within a three-hour radius, but we’ve hosted visitors from all 50
states and at least 17 foreign countries during our four years in business.”

Although the Harvester promoted fewer shows than in previous years, attendance was up and so was income across all sectors in 2017. Ticket revenue topped $1.5
million, exceeding all of the previous year’s revenue on its own.

“The Harvester staff and volunteers continue to create a great atmosphere for artists and fans alike, and we are pleased with the financial progress we’ve been able
to make,” Hankins said. “We are off to a great start for 2018, and we look forward to bringing visitors to experience world-class music in a great setting, with inviting
shops, restaurants and hotels ready to welcome the world to our community.”

The music, comedy and theatre performance facility is owned by the Town of Rocky Mount, which leases it to the Harvester. Rocky Mount underwrites the operations personnel, maintenance and utility costs paid for by increased tax revenues from meals, lodging and shopping taxes generated by Harvester visitors.

“Eight of the 12 months of 2017 saw record meals tax collections for that month,” Hankins said. “The four years before the Harvester opened, restaurants sold averaged
selling $23.5 million in meals in Rocky Mount; since we opened, restaurants have averaged $28.6 million in combined annual sales, and for the first time ever in 2017,
crossed a combined $30 million in sales.”