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 Friday, April 17, 2015
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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Rocky Mount man makes pens from old stills
Todd Mason uses wood from abandoned site in Franklin County
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By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post

When Todd Mason of Rocky Mount gets an idea, nothing is going to stop him from making his dream a reality.

Early this year, he decided to make pens from wood he's recovered from old submarine moonshine stills he found near his home. Now, he's selling them online at

Mason is turning out pens on a small lathe he purchased online. His work area is his late father's garage behind his mother's home on Mason's Lane. Once the equipment arrived, Mason went to work turning out the wood piece that fits on a brass "sleeve" in a pen kit he orders from an internet source.

The idea of using wood reclaimed from abandoned moonshine stills came to him as he walked through the woods behind his mother's home. There's a site behind the house where white lightning was manufactured more than 30 years ago. Mason said he was a teenager the last time he remembers the still being in operation.

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Shine ‘n Dine set for Saturday at the Early Inn
United Way hosts unique fundraiser
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The United Way of Franklin County will host the first annual moonshine tasting fundraiser, Shine 'n Dine, on Saturday, April 18 at the Early Inn at the Grove from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

"We wanted an event that was unique, that captures a piece of our heritage and that has the potential to attract sponsors from throughout the region," said Nancy Bell, executive director of United Way. "We are planning an enchanted evening under the stars."

In addition to sampling moonshine from Appalachian Mountain Spirits distillery of Marion, guests will enjoy a variety of foods from local chefs, desserts, a coffee bar, music, games, storytelling, a silent auction and the opportunity to explore the grounds of Early Inn at the Grove, where the event will be held.

Tickets are available at the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce, United Way Office, Blooming Deals, Bootlegger Café, and online via Also visit the Shine 'n Dine Facebook page, which has a link to the tickets.

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Adopted school budget includes pay increases

The $87.9 million budget adopted Monday night by the

Franklin County School Board includes a 1.7-percent step pay raise for all school employees at a cost of $1.4 million.

Of that amount, the state will provide a 1.5-percent increase for teachers ($324,206); however, that only covers a portion of the teaching staff and none of the school division's support staff, according to Dr. Mark Church, school superintendent.

Earlier this month, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors approved an increase in local funding of $331,118 to help with the pay raises. Supervisors also allowed the school division to use $260,000 in energy carryover funds and $464,780 in anticipated carryover funds from fiscal year 2015 for the pay increase.

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Compassionate Friends group coming to county


An organization offering free support to parents who have lost children is coming to Franklin County.

The local chapter of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) was started in 2003 by Cheryl Peevey, who lost a son in 1993. The group of about 10 members used to meet every week, but when one of its members passed away, it lost steam, Peevey said.

"I'm looking to bring it back, as I think there are a lot of local families who could benefit from it," said Peevey.

The group's first meeting will take place Monday, April 20 from 5:15 to 7 p.m. at the Franklin County Public Library in Rocky Mount.

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‘Franklin County’s Got Talent’ is tonight
Show will begin at 7 p.m. in FCHS auditorium
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The sixth annual "Franklin County's Got Talent" show is set for Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Franklin County High School auditorium.

This year, 19 students will compete for cash prizes during the show, which is a fundraiser for the Franklin County Public Schools Education Foundation.

There will be an elementary division and a secondary division with participants performing songs, dances, gymnastics routines and instrumentals.

Each division will have a first, second and third-place winner.

The top talent in each division, voted on by a panel of judges, will receive $150 with second place getting $75. Third-place winners will receive $50 each.

Franklin County's Got Talent is a showcase for student talent, and all proceeds go to the foundation, a charitable organization that helps many students each year.

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