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

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Franklin County gets state grant for broadband

The state has awarded Franklin County $15.7 million to build out broadband in underserved parts of the county.

The grant comes through Virginia’s Telecommunication Grant Initiative. The county plans to invest up to $7.7 million of county funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act into these projects over 24 to 36 months, according to a news release from the county.  Additional investment of over $23.82 million will come from the private partners and other grant funding.

In a statement, Ronnie Thompson, chairman of the board of supervisors, said: “These projects represent a significant investment by the State of Virginia, Franklin County and our private partners in eliminating the digital divide in Franklin County. The county Board of Supervisors and Broadband Authority see these two comprehensive projects as a once in a generation opportunity where we could leverage a significant amount of Federal funding received by the County with available state funding for broadband.  The county looks forward to working with these partners to bring these projects to completion over the next 2-3 years.” 

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Warner, Kaine announce $24.4 million for work at Philpott Dam

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $24.4 million for work at Philpott Dam, $3.5 million for work at Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw and $2.2 million for other work in Southwest Virginia.

The announcement came from Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, who said the funding was was made possible by the recent federal infrastructure law, which was negotiated by Warner.

The money for Philpott Dam in Henry County will go towards land slide repair and slope stabilization. It will also go towards installing dam ASR anchors and gauges, creating plans and specs for the installation of vertical anchors, and conducting archeological/cultural resources surveys.

The money for Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw in Alleghany County will go toward repairing the intake tower.

It was not immediately clear which project in Southwest Virginia gets the $2.2 million.

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Virginia Tech wins award for entrepreneurship

Virginia Tech received the Model Program Award from the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship during the 2022 USASBE Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards held Jan. 8. The award recognizes bold and innovative programs making an impact in the field of entrepreneurship education with comprehensive, high-quality educational programs that successfully train future generations of entrepreneurs. 

Colleges and universities are selected for USASBE awards after a nomination process, where information regarding entrepreneurship programs is submitted and judged based on demonstrated innovation, quality, comprehensiveness, sustainability, impact and their potential replicability. Awards finalists are then asked to submit a video pitch. Finally, school representatives participate in a 15-minute Q&A session before a panel of judges.

Representing Virginia Tech in the Q&A session were Pamplin College of Business Dean Robert Sumichrast; Management Department head Devi Gnyawaliassistant professor of practice of management Ron Poffassociate professor of management David Townsend; and collegiate associate professor of management Chien-Chi Tseng.

Previous Model Program Award winners include Iowa State University in 2021, Purdue University in 2020, University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2019 and Syracuse University in 2018.

The number of students participating in entrepreneurship courses has doubled over the last five years, from around 600 students to over 1,200 students, Tech says. Currently, around 300 students are enrolled in the entrepreneurship major and entrepreneurship minor.

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