Emory & Henry College. Photo courtesy of Emory & Henry.

Here’s a round-up of business news from around Southwest and Southside. Send items for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

Emory & Henry sees surge of interest in nursing program

Emory & Henry College hopes to have 30 to 40 when the school starts its new pre-nursing program in fall 2022. School spokeswoman Allison Matthews says “close to 100” students have already been admitted — although admission is no guarantee that those students will choose to enroll. Last week, Emory & Henry announced that its nursing program has already earned accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

USDA awards $2.2 million in grants to Southwest Virginia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development agency has awarded $2,208,500 in grants and loans for projects and public services in Southwest Virginia. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, released the following list of projects:

  • A loan of $1,700,000 to People Incorporated of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon to purchase and renovate a building for an administrative office;
  • A loan of $84,300 and a grant of $75,000 to the Town of Glade Spring for a new sanitation vehicle;
  • A loan of $85,000, a grant of $50,000, and a grant of $25,000 to the Wise County Public Service Authority for three new service trucks;
  • A grant of $66,000 to the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon for a diesel generator to provide backup electricity;
  • A grant of $50,000 to the Town of Marion to purchase equipment for its patrol vehicle fleet;
  • A grant of $50,000 to the City of Norton for two new vehicles, furniture, and equipment; and
  • A grant of $23,200 to Buchanan County for a utility task vehicle, cargo trailer, and four helmets.

Roanoke gets low grade for LGBTQ+ equality

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The Equality Federation, has released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policies, laws and services in 506 cities across the nation, including 11 in Virginia.

The average score for cities in Virginia is 88 out of 100 points, which falls 21 the national average of 67. This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year.

Of the 11 cities measured in Virginia, Roanoke was the only one in Southwest or Southside. It received a score of 65, the lowest of the Virginia localities measured. The scores in Virginia:

  1. Alexandria 100
  2. Arlington 100
  3. Fairfax County 100
  4. Richmond 100
  5. Virginia Beach 100
  6. Norfolk 91
  7. Hampton 81
  8. Chesapeake 80
  9. Charlottesville 79
  10. Newport News 70
  11. Roanoke 65

Among the areas where Roanoke ranked lowest was for not having transgender-inclusive health care benefits, not having a human rights commission, not having an LGBT liaison in the city manager’s office, not having city services for the LGBT population, and not having an LGBT police liaison. The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.