Danville Community College dental hygiene students are required to complete hands-on clinic hours before graduating from the program. These services are provided to the public at no cost. Courtesy of Danville Community College.

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

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Danville Community College dental hygiene program needs patients

Danville Community College dental hygiene students are searching for patients for the spring 2022 semester. 

Students are required to complete hands-on clinic hours before graduating from the program. These services are provided to the public at no cost.

“Each semester, our students provide free dental exams and cleanings to patients in our dental lab,” said Robin Mitchell, dental hygiene site coordinator for DCC. “We are currently experiencing a shortage of patients and we are looking for volunteers who would like to participate and receive these complementary services.”

DCC is equipped with a state-of-the-art dental lab that looks and functions much like a dentist’s office. Located on the corner of South Main Street and Kemper Road in Foundation Hall on the DCC campus, the dental lab allows dental hygiene students to practice their skills in a hands-on setting. Completion of care for new patients usually consists of between three and six appointments. 

Upon graduation, students are prepared to work as licensed oral health professionals who clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases, and provide other preventative dental care. Patients will also receive education on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. 

For more information, or to receive free dental exams and cleanings, call 434-797-8424 and leave your contact information.

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The “red barn” at the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell County. Courtesy of VCEDA

VCEDA awards grant to Historic Crab Orchard Museum

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund has awarded a grant of up to $50,000 to to be used to renovate and expand the Farm and Transportation Exhibit Building at the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell County.

The building, most often referred to at the museum as “the red barn,” houses museum exhibits, but is also used for musical events, educational and cultural meetings and has been used as a wedding venue.

“VCEDA is pleased to assist the Historic Crab Orchard Museum in its efforts to grow its tourism assets in Tazewell County,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The funds will be used for construction and expansion of the red barn space with the intention of attracting larger weddings, musical events and other educational and cultural meetings to the space, according to the museum application which projects within three years to add three additional full-time jobs and three additional part-time jobs over current staffing levels.”

Matching funding for the project has been pledged by Lynda Stuart.

The museum is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, non-stock Virginia corporation formed on June 1, 1978.  Its mission is as a regional Appalachian history museum, serving as a cultural heritage tourist attraction and as a center for special events, exhibits and educational programs.  The museum has a 23-acre campus located along U.S. 19/460 in Tazewell County. 

The red barn, which will be renovated, was built in 1988 as an additional exhibit space specifically for farm heritage and vintage transportation equipment. Through the years, the space in the red barn has been used for small weddings, family reunions and as a local meeting venue. The space that is not currently being used as an exhibit area has a capacity of 50 to 70 people.

The museum’s plans call for the VCEDA funds to be utilized to add on to the existing red barn structure, to update the exhibit area behind a plexiglass partition and to add restrooms and a catering kitchen.

A revised rental fee structure is projected to generate revenue to pay for expenses and will generate additional funds to help sustain the museum’s overall budget for years to come, according to the application for funding.

Currently, the red barn is approximately 2,800 square feet. The addition would increase the space by another 1,800 square feet with an additional outdoor patio area that can be enclosed if needed.  Those renovations will increase the overall number of people that can be accommodated in the expanded facility to a total of 150 to 200 people.

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VDOT to begin work on I-81 through Roanoke Valley

Starting in February and continuing into the early summer, work will be performed on the inside and outside shoulders along a five-mile section of both northbound and southbound Interstate 81 in Roanoke County and the city of Salem, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The shoulder strengthening is a part of $179 million design-build project to widen both directions of I-81 between mile markers 136.6 and 141.8 from two to three lanes. The shoulders will be built up before barrier wall can be installed for road crews to work behind. According to VDOT, drivers can expect the following lane closures and impacts on northbound and southbound I-81:

  • From mid-February to mid-April, daytime right shoulder closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday
  • From mid-March until mid-June, nighttime right lane and shoulder closures between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday
  • From mid-May to mid-June, alternating left and right lane and shoulder closures during nighttime hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday

 The widening project will begin in early 2022 and be completed in early 2026. Barrier wall will be installed along the shoulders in the spring and summer. Two lanes of I-81 traffic in each direction will remain open during the project with periodic lane closures scheduled during nighttime hours or outside of peak travel times as needed.  The new lanes will be built at locations along I-81’s right and left shoulders. The project also includes replacing six bridges, widening two bridges and installing approximately 2.6 miles of sound barrier walls along northbound I-81. Improving the southbound exit 137 off-ramp intersection at Wildwood Road and adding interchange lighting at exits 137, 140 and 141 are also included in the project. This project, which is being designed and built by Archer Western Construction, LLC of Herndon, is the first widening project of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program. The project is intended to increase capacity, lower crash rates, lessen delays, improve safety and enhance crash clearance times, VDOT says.

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Virginia Tech earns best workplaces for commuters recognition in 2022

Bestworkplaces.org has named Virginia Tech as one of its “best workplaces for commuters.”

More than 500 workplaces made the list.