Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, D-Virginia, have joined in a letter requesting the Environmental Protection Agency help Bristol with its notoriously stinky landfill. Their letter follows the city’s request for assistance from the EPA sent on January 3.

The lawmakers wrote: ““It is our understanding that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff has been involved in assisting Bristol with certain aspects of the landfill and we thank you for that assistance. As mentioned in the January 3rd letter, Bristol has also worked with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as well as private consultants and engineers in an attempt to address the odor issue plaguing the City and surrounding areas. However, despite these efforts, the malodor persists and continues to affect Bristol and the surrounding communities. At this time, we respectfully request that EPA provide all available resources to assist the City of Bristol in developing a mitigation strategy to resolve this issue.  Our offices stand ready to assist you and your staff in any way.”

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Free covid testing set in Danville for Jan. 18

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District will offer free COVID-19 testing this month. Testing will take place Tuesday, January 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. inside the Danville Farmers’ Market at 629 Craghead St. Appointments are not necessary; the first 100 individuals will be eligible to be tested at no cost.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is a proven test for detecting active infection. PCR may also reveal fragments even after the virus appears to be gone. The test is performed by using a swab to collect a respiratory specimen with results expected to be available one to three days following the test.

 “Testing is another significant tool we are deploying to identify COVID-19 among those who may be displaying symptoms. The goal is to prevent further spread of the virus and to help keep our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed,” said Director of Pittsylvania-Danville and Southside Health Districts Scott J. Spillmann. “Omicron is proving to be very transmissible. Early studies show the variant is about 2.5-times more contagious and it can replicate at a rate 70 times more quickly than Delta. It is an accelerated new phase of the disease, which makes testing even more important.”  

Testing is available to all ages. However, a parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 18 years old. 

To protect yourself and healthcare workers, wear a cloth face covering or mask. Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people at all times. Be sure to tell the testing providers if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, deep cough or shortness of breath, or believe that you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

VDH recommends that the following people be tested for COVID-19:

·       Those with symptoms or signs of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.

·       Those who have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.

o   Fully vaccinated people should be tested three to five days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.

o   People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately after an exposure, and again five to seven days following exposure if the first test is negative.

·       Those who participate in activities that are higher risk for COVID-19 exposure (e.g. travel, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings).

·       Those who have been referred for COVID-19 testing by their healthcare provider or the health department.

·       Those who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travel with some exceptions for fully vaccinated people.

·       Those who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.

For more information about this event, call (434) 713-5199 or (434) 766-9800. For questions about COVID-19 testing or a list of testing locations, visit the VDH website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For those still needing a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit or 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.

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Organic farmers and gardeners hold convention in Roanoke

The Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) — Virginia’s premier organization of organic farmers, gardeners, foodies, educators, advocates and supporters of sustainable agriculture — will hold its 22nd anniversary conference January 22-24, 2022 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. 

More than 30 speakers — covering topics from mushroom growing, year-round vegetable growing, growing cut flowers, and raising pastured chickens and pigs, to permaculture and agroforestry — will take the stage during over 60 concurrent sessions. 

On Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, from 2-9 p.m., local food and libation vendors will set up shop in The Hotel Roanoke’s Crystal Ballroom for the Taste of Virginia Expo. Visitors can sample a diverse array of Virginia produced food, beverages, herbals and handicrafts. At 7:30 p.m. the music begins and the market becomes an evening social. Taste of Virginia is free and open to the public.

The 22nd annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference is hosted by VABF in partnership with Virginia State University College of Agriculture and Virginia Cooperative Extension. Discounted VABF member and student rates are available and discounted rooms at the Hotel Roanoke are also available.  Volunteer positions are available as well as Sponsorship and Exhibitor opportunities. 

Registration for the conference is available at Find out more information here, and contact Lindsay Newsome at with questions.