Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Vaccination clinics set in Danville and Pittsylvania County in January

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is hosting vaccination clinics at area elementary schools during January.

“Being vaccinated and boosted is especially important now with the rise in cases caused by the omicron variant of the virus. These more contagious strains can spread quickly and vaccines are our best hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Scott Spillmann, director of the Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts, said in a statement. “While the vaccine does not guarantee a person will not get COVID-19, it has proven to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death for millions who have received them already.”

The clinics will offer first, second, additional primary and booster doses at no cost to the public. The Moderna vaccine and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson are available for anyone 18 and older. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for anyone 5 years and older. A parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18. The clinics will be held:

Saturday, Jan. 8                9 to 11 a.m.                 Johnson Elementary School
                                                                                    680 Arnett Blvd., Danville

Saturday, Jan. 15              9 to 11 a.m.                 Park Avenue Elementary School
                                                                                   661 Park Ave., Danville

Register in advance at If you have any trouble registering or need additional assistance, call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). English- and Spanish-speaking operators are available. Translation services also are available in more than 100 languages.

Appointments are highly recommended, but walk-ins are also welcome. Those with an appointment should plan to arrive no earlier than 20 minutes prior to the appointment time.

The experience of getting a COVID-19 vaccine will be very similar to the experience of getting routine vaccines. Parents can check out these tips on talking to their child about what to expect.  For more about vaccinating children and teens, parents can visit the CDC website.

The Pfizer BioNTech booster vaccine can be obtained by anyone 16 and older at least six months from the date of their second mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine or at least two months from the date of their Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster vaccine can be obtained by anyone 18 and older at least six months from the date of their second mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine or at least two months from the date of their Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Individuals who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose may choose which vaccine product they would like to receive as a booster. For those individuals that choose a different product than their primary series, VDH urges you to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider who can assist you in making the best decision for your own situation.

If you are coming for your second, third or booster dose, please bring your vaccine card to confirm the date and type of vaccine you received in previous doses.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, its safety and answers to frequently asked questions at VDH’s website and CDC’s website.

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Rey Perez of Fitness Authority in Honaker. Courtesy of VCEDA

VCEDA approves seed capital grant for gym in Honaker

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $6,500 seed capital grant to Fitness Authority LLC, a new gym that opened earlier this year in Honaker.

Fitness Authority projects four full-time jobs and three part-time jobs within five years, said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher in a statement.

The business is owned by Rey Perez. The VCEDA grant helped purchase some of the equipment.

Perez worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College in the development of his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Russell County Industrial Development Authority.

“Rey Perez’s investment in the town of Honaker will not only provide jobs but will also provide residents with opportunities to improve health and quality of life,” said Margie Douglass, SBDC program manager at SWCC, in a statement.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

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Junior Achievement is looking for volunteers in Salem

Junior Achievement is looking for volunteers to help mentor students at G.W. Carver Elementary in Salem starting January 17. Volunteers are needed to visit the classroom once a week for five weeks. Each visit will last approximately 45 minutes.

For more information, email