News Journal

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 • USPS 387-780 • • 75 cents Sunday crash claims life of former News Journal/Messenger writer A former intern writer for the Radford News Journal and News Messenger and graduate of Radford University has died in a vehicle crash. Mercedes Diane Scales, 24, of Falls Church, Va., formerly from Christiansburg, was pro- nounced dead at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Sunday. She was a passenger in the ve- hicle. According to a statement from Brian Wright of the Montgomery County Sher- iff’s Office, “On Sunday, June 7, at 6:05 a.m., Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office depu- ties along with units from the Christiansburg Rescue Squad and the Christiansburg Fire De- partment responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash with entrapment in the 1500 block of Ellett Road, approximately one mile outside of Christians- burg. Upon arrival, they locat- ed a 2017 Nissan Rogue over a steep embankment that had crashed into a tree.” The driver, 24-year-old Pres- ton Conner Jones from Peter- stown, WVa., was transported by ambulance with serious injuries. He was charged with driving under the influence. Scales was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash remains under investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the New River Val- ley Regional Crash Investiga- tion Team. Additional charges are pend- ing. Drive-thru COVID-19 testing continues Thursday in Blacksburg The New River Valley Pub- lic Health Task Force will hold ongoing drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Thursday, June 11, at Blacksburg High School, 3401 Bruin Lane in Blacksburg from noon to 2 p.m. The site is closed to the public. Only those individuals with a letter of authorization from the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District will be allowed access to the sites, and only by ap- pointment. “We have administered more than 3,500 COVID-19 tests since broad community testing began nearly two months ago,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., di- rector of the New River Health District. “Testing is important to monitor cases as we enter phases of re-opening, so we can investigate, trace the contacts of those infected and mitigate the spread of illness.” For questions about CO- VID-19 or to request an ap- pointment for testing, call the New River Health District’s COVID-19 public health call center at 540-267-8240. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. After hours, leave a mes- sage. For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit new-river, www.nrvroadtowell-, www.vdh.virginia. gov/coronavirus and www.cdc. gov/coronavirus. Radford’s Dorothy Gillespie outdoor sculpture exhibit ends on June 15 Visitors and residents in the New River Valley have only a short time left in which to en- joy Dorothy Gillespie’s bright- ly colored outdoor sculptures throughout the City of Rad- ford. The exhibit, which cel- ebrates the centennial an- niversary of Gillespie’s birth in nearby Roanoke, ends on June 15. The sculptures will be picked up and trucked to the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, N.C. The collection of more than 50 works features a variety of large and small enamel-painted aluminum sculptures that once were part of a major exhibit in the Channel Gardens at New York City’s iconic Rockefeller Center. Gillespie, an internationally recognized sculptor and paint- er, passed away in 2012 but is well-known in Southwest Vir- ginia. From 1981 to 1983, she served as a visiting professor at Radford University, was on the faculty of the 1986 Virginia Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts held at RU and eventually was named a Distinguished Professor of Art at the university. She also is largely responsible for the es- tablishment of the university’s permanent art collection. A large collection of her works will still be on display in this region in two separate exhibits when Roanoke’s Taub- man Museum of Art reopens, according to Gary Israel, Gil- lespie’s son. One of the exhib- its, titled “Dorothy Gillespie: Still Enchanting Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” features works from private collectors in the New River Valley, including those of several City of Radford resi- dents. In addition, one of the artist’s pieces, located in the Mary Draper Ingles Cultural Heritage Park, will remain on loan to the Glencoe Mansion Museum & Gallery. Israel said he’s happy that the citizens of Radford got to enjoy the art. “My mother believed in public art and of- ten said that people should be able to grow up with art and live with it,” he said. “She felt it was not just something to go see in a museum.” The Radford installa- tion has been made possible through the efforts of the Dor- othy Gillespie Foundation, the Radford City Council and the Radford tourism commis- sion with assistance from the Beautification and Municipal Forest Commission and the Radford public works de- partment. More information about the Public Art program is available at VisitRadford. com/ArtTrail. Radford Farmers Market brimming with good eats and more PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE RADFORD VISITOR’S CENTER More than 50 of renowned artist Dorothy Gillespie’s colorful sculptures have been dotting Radford’s landscape for the past several months. The art will move on to North Carolina June 15. PHOTO BY HEATHER BELL The Radford Farmers Market is up and running full speed these days, with all vendors and patrons wearing masks.The Market takes place on Saturdays on West Main Street from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Meat, vegetables, plants, cut flowers, baked goods, eggs, crafts, micro-greens and more can be found at the market. Professors rescue mama snapping turtle One on of his frequent walks through Wildwood Park recently, Radford Uni- versity Art Professor Steve Arbury came across a large snapping turtle who needed some help. “She was trying to get down to the creek area to lay her eggs, but was foiled by the metal grid fence along the bike trail, about a 100 yards before you get to the tunnel that goes under Main Street,” said Arbury. “She was some- how stuck and too large for me to extricate on my own, at nearly two feet long with her tail and quite heavy. So I called Matt [Close, Biology professor at RU], who has lots of experience with that sort of thing, and he deftly and quickly got her untangled and then placed her on the other side of the fence. We watched her as she disappeared into the undergrowth on her way down to the creek.” PHOTOS BY STEVE ARBURY