A $50,000 VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund grant for the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority’s new center at Coeburn was closed recently. On hand for the ceremonial check presentation were, from left, Carl Snodgrass, Wise County Industrial Development Authority; Joe Blevins, SRRA supervisor; Melissa Slemp Rose, SRRA director; Brian Falin, Wise County; Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel; and Natalie Chapman, Wise County.

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

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Spearhead Trails rec center planned in Coeburn

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $50,000 grant to be used to finance building renovations and improvements to assist with the development of the Spearhead Trails Adventure Recreation Center at Coeburn.

The center will house not only its main offices, but also its shop, an activity center and supply storage.

The activity center is part of a larger plan by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority to develop recreation and activity centers throughout the region. The centers will each feature unique activities to add to the tourism and amenities of the area. Activities planned for the Coeburn center include indoor climbing, indoor batting cages, indoor ax throwing, sling shot/knife throwing, an indoor skate park, picnic pavilion, board room/party room, games, events/programs, shopping and concessions.

“VCEDA’s support of the Spearhead Trails through the years is well-documented and the $50,000 grant closed recently will continue support of SRRA’s attempts to further develop tourism potential throughout the region we all serve,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel in a statement. “The application projects a net gain of one full-time job and one part-time job at the center.”

The Southwest Regional Recreation Authority was formed by act of the General Assembly in 2008 for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a Southwest Regional Recreation Area, which was defined as “a system of recreational trails and appurtenant facilities, including trail-head centers, parking areas, camping facilities, picnic areas, recreational areas, historic or cultural interpretive sites and other facilities that are a part of the system.” 

SRRA purchased the previous location of the Coeburn Home Center which includes a 22,600-square-foot building and a 5-acre yard and parking area to house the new center at Coeburn.  SRRA estimates the renovations and improvements to the building will cost approximately $350,000 and the activity center portion will be an additional $150,000. 

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University of Virginia’s College at Wise students in Chicago. Courtesy of UVa-Wise.

UVa-Wise band members attend clinic in Chicago

Students and faculty from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise recently joined nearly 18,000 music educators, performers and other students from 50 states and 40 countries at the 75th International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

The conference is also known as the Midwest Clinic. In December 1946, the clinic got its start when about 120 music directors from the Chicago area got together at the YMCA gymnasium on Chicago’s West Side for a six-hour clinic and new music reading session. Since then, it’s grown into a four-day international conference.

At the Midwest Clinic, UVa-Wise students also took part in classes designed for a wide range of music careers alongside professionals including music teachers of all levels, arts administrators, music students and musicians.

UVa-Wise Director of Bands Richard Galyean sponsors the annual trip. In a statement, he said: “In order for our students to know what greatness is, they must see for themselves what the very best music programs nationally are currently doing and hear from their directors how to get them there. It’s an example of how UVa-Wise students are receiving an outstanding, practical and personalized education that will prepare them to be leaders within our community in the future.” 

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Tricia Smith

Radford’s Smith co-authors chapter on first generation professionals

The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of National Association of Student Personnel Association and The Suder Foundation, has announced the release of First-generation Professionals in Higher Education: Strategies for the World of Work, a new book that investigates the complexities related to the transition from college or professional school to the work world of higher education, as well as the advancement from mid- to senior-level leadership, and how first-generation professionals navigate these transitions.

Patricia “Tricia” Smith, associate vice president for student life at Radford University, co-wrote the final chapter, “Pathways to Senior Leadership” with former Radford University president Brian Hemphill.

“Our chapter focuses on our journeys as first generation students who have risen to senior leadership positions on college campuses,” Smith said in a statement. “It includes reflections, words of wisdom, and best practices for that journey. This is exactly what we do for first generation students at Radford University – pull back the curtain, make the path clear, and live as possibility models.”

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Roanoke College names 2 to board of trustees

Micah Spruill

Two alumni have joined Roanoke College’s board of trustees. Micah Spruill ‘11 and Dan Strelka ‘89 each will serve a term through 2025.  The new trustees officially began their service in 2021. 

Spruill serves as managing partner and co-chief investment officer for S2F Capital. He founded MS2 Capital, an Atlanta-based digital asset management and consulting firm. Spruill also co-founded XSquared Ventures, a tech-focused angel fund. Previously, he was a managing partner at Aurora Investment Advisors, an Atlanta-based wealth management firm. 

Spruill has more than 12 years of experience as a trader and investor in U.S. equities markets and commodities. His background includes a wide array of practices ranging from scientific research to wealth management, trading, and serial entrepreneurship.  

Dan Strelka

Spruill holds a B.S. in biology from Roanoke College. Today, he serves as a Maroon Mentor, an alumni mentor program offering job shadowing, career mentoring experiences, internships, or job opportunities to students as they define their career path. Spruill also was a member of the President’s Advisory Board prior to joining the board of trustees.  

Strelka is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Carter Machinery Company Inc.  He joined Carter Machinery in 1997 as a finance manager. After holding various positions in accounting and rental operations, Strelka was named corporate controller in 2004 and CFO in 2007. 

Strelka earned a B.B.A, with an accounting major, at Roanoke College and an M.B.A. in finance from Virginia Tech prior to becoming a certified public accountant.