Students as C.H. Friend Elementary rush to board their bus in December of 1988 as a fast moving winter storm dumped close to two inches of snow on the South Boston-Halifax County area and forced the closing of city and county schools. It was the first snowfall of the winter season.

10 YEARS AGO | 2011 

  • Santa came to Halifax County bearing gifts a few days early this year with the governor’s announcement that Dominion Virginia Power in partnership with Faneuil, Inc. will invest $1.5 million and create 150 jobs in Halifax County by establishing a customer care center for Dominion Virginia Power at Riverstone Technology Park. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling joined over 100 business and government leaders in South Boston Thursday on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s behalf to announce the project. With Thursday’s announcement there are 300 customer care center jobs related to Dominion in Southern Virginia. 
  • It was a downtown holiday destination and an institution for at least one generation of area youngsters, and it’s long since gone, but fond memories remain of the magic of Toyland. Toyland was located at the rear of the former Wilborn’s Hardware Store in South Boston, and all that’s left now is an empty lot after the building housing the hardware store and Toyland was razed in 1990. But the magic and the memories remain. Just ask Ann Strickland Raab, who like many others looked forward to walking through the hardware store to find a room full of toys. Many children of the 1950s and before remember the time immediately after the South Boston Christmas parade, when Toyland opened for the season. Much like the journey to Oz, youngsters would enter Wilborn’s Hardware on South Main Street and follow the yellow tape placed on the floor to a back door, down a pair of steps to a breezeway and then up two steps to their final destination — Toyland. 
  • The Comets’ varsity girl’s basketball team has claimed the Halifax County High School Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament title three years in a row. Coach Matthew McCargo and the Lady Comets would like nothing better than to make it four straight in this year’s tourney, set to begin Tuesday at Comets Gym. Halifax County plays Gretna at 6 p.m. in the opening day of the tourney, and with a win advances to the championship game Wednesday against the winner of the game between Person High School and Park View High School. A loss in Tuesday’s semifinal round puts Halifax County in the 3 p.m. consolation game the next day against the Person-Park View loser. 

20 YEARS AGO | 2001

  • The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, which controls nearly half of Virginia’s estimated $4 billion settlement money from the tobacco industry, voted unanimously Thursday to seek payout of the funds in one lump sum rather than in installment payments. Commission members chose to support a bill in the upcoming General Assembly that would enable them to “securitize” their share of the funds. Members of the panel feel that receiving the funds in one payment is the best way to maximize the impact in tobacco-dependent regions. The settlement money controlled by the commission is planned to reimburse producers and quota holders who were hurt by the national settlement and to aid tobacco-dependent communities, which have been hurt by the decline in the tobacco industry. 
  • The story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present to the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness. “I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,” Pedro said consolingly. Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds. She fashioned them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weed, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. Pepita fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel. As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro’s kind words: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the naivety scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as Flores de Noches Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night. 
  • The Halifax County High School Blue Comets couldn’t have been more happy to leave the Person High School Friday night. Thanks to an excellent night at the charity stripe and good offensive execution in the final two minutes, Halifax County escaped with a 73-69 win over the Rockets in a foul-filled game that left Comets coaches, players and fans frustrated and fuming as they hit the exists. With the North Carolina-based-officiating crew calling even the most minor of touch fouls, the Comets were whistled for 29 fouls and the Rockets were tagged with 28 fouls. 

40 YEARS AGO | 1981

  • Tobacco growers may face a lot of uncertainties as quickly as 1982, according to Virginia Department of Agriculture people, and the first cloudy area will be that of lease agreement. Tobacco leasing will begin as soon as the allotment notices are sent out by the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service Office in Halifax. A spokesman for that office said quota notices will be mailed on Jan. 5, 1982. “Both the lessor and the lessee could be getting into an agreement without knowing what’s going to happen,” Virginia Department of Tobacco Marketing Specialist Stan Duffer said Friday. “The program could operate with no changes, but then again, it may not.” 
  • A huge throng of spectators estimated by parade organizers as being between 3,000 and 4,000 strong, lined the roads in and around the Alton community Saturday afternoon to watch the second ever Alton Christmas Parade pass the review. A portion of the high crowd which braved the bone chilling cold were seen watching as a pair of the parade units proceeded around a bend and the winning float, which was entered by the Alton Extension Homemakes Club made its way. Other highlights of Saturday’s affair included a hot, delicious Brunswick stew which was made and sold by the Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department and a special visit by former WSET-TV weatherman, Charles Middleton, who served as a parade judge. 
  • Would you believe two ninth grade basketball teams could score 169 points in a single game? Well, two of them did here last Thursday night, and the Halifax County Junior High School ninth graders got more than half of them. In an exciting, obviously high scoring contest, the Lions defeated visiting Martinsville, 87-82, to even their record at 2-2. But it wasn’t so much the number of points, as the way the team played at the end that excited coach Sam Sterrett. “We haven’t been playing good team ball, but we started playing team ball Thursday night,” he said.  

Previously featured photos