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

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Historical marker to Samuel Kelso to be unveiled Tuesday

A Virginia Historical Highway Marker honoring Samuel F. Kelso, who introduced a resolution at the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1867-68 calling for the founding of free public education in Virginia, will be unveiled at a 5 p.m. ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Lynchburg City Schools Administration building on Court Street in downtown Lynchburg.

Kelso, who was born into slavery, also taught at a school in Lynchburg set up by the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War, and was a trustee of the Polk Street school, organized by the local Black community. In 1869 he was a delegate to the National Convention of the Colored Men of America, which protested the continued denial of civil rights to Black Americans.

Kelso was well-known in Lynchburg at the time but like many formerly enslaved people, little was documented about his life prior to 1865. Among those attending the unveiling will be a great-great-great-niece from New Jersey who has more information about his family.

Jane B. White, who proposed the marker, said that she considers Kelso “the founder of public education” in Virginia. She’s been responsible for getting at least 25 markers, many honoring African Americans, placed in Lynchburg and will explain the process Tuesday. She was also instrumental in the re-birth of Lynchburg’s historic Old City Cemetery which includes the marked and unmarked graves of many notable citizens, Black and white, from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Lynchburg School Board Chair James Coleman and School Superintendent Crystal Edwards, Mayor Mary Jane Dolan, and Ted Delaney, director of the Lynchburg Museum System, will discuss Kelso in remarks prior to the actual unveiling of the marker, which was sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Brennan with additional sponsorship from Charles B. White.

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The future Patrick & Henry Community College opens. Courtesy of P&H.

P&H Community College sets 60th anniversary events

This year marks Patrick & Henry Community College’s 60th anniversary – a milestone traditionally known as the “Diamond Anniversary.”

To celebrate its Diamond Anniversary, the college is planning activities and events throughout the year, including a birthday party in March in recognition of the House of Delegates passing an appropriations bill on March 5, 1962 which officially established the college as a branch school of the University of Virginia. Almost a decade later the college joined the Virginia Community College System as one of the state’s 23 community colleges.

Additional events include a special 60th anniversary themed season of Patriot Players productions (which will be announced soon), a homecoming tailgate event for students, alumni, and community members in early fall, as well as a Diamond Gala event in late fall. 

Outside of these larger events, the college will be commemorating the milestone throughout the year on its social channels and on a special 60th anniversary website. Alumni, community members, and businesses will have the opportunity to participate in the anniversary celebration, learn more about the college’s history, and recognize their friends and loved ones who are making a difference in their communities after getting their start at P&HCC.

 “We know there are numerous success stories out there, from both students and businesses alike, that highlight the true impact Patrick & Henry has had in this community,” says the Director of the P&HCC Foundation, Tiffani Underwood. “Whether P&HCC is where you got your start, or it’s where you changed your career and your life, we want to hear from you.” 

To share a success story or to learn more about P&HCC’s 60th Anniversary, visit

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Cooperative Extension wins award

The Virginia Cooperative Extension has been recognized for its efforts with the Virginia MarketMaker Program and received the 2021 Farm Credit MarketMaker Innovation award for their “Equitable Food Oriented Development powered by MarketMaker” program. The program is a partnership between Extension and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

MarketMaker is a national collaboration of land-grant universities, departments of agriculture, and food and agricultural organizations with a common goal of improving market opportunities for agribusinesses and food access for all individuals.

MarketMaker software, a virtual information-sharing infrastructure, was created by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004 and has since been utilized by organizations across the nation as a helpful tool to connect the agriculture community.

Each year, Farm Credit recognizes one organization with the innovation award for its ingenuity in using the software. This year, Extension took the top prize.

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Virginia to get $15 million for electric vehicle charging stations

U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, announced $15,745,244 in federal funding for Virginia to build electric vehicle charging stations. This funding is the first of five installments totaling $106,375,132 for building EV charging stations across the Commonwealth over the next five years. 

The funding comes from the recently-passed federal infrastructure law.

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Author to speak at University of Lynchburg Feb. 22.

“Unleashing Individuality” author to speak at University of Lynchburg on Feb. 22.

Glenn Llopis, strategist and author of “Unleashing Individuality,” will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Hall Campus Center’s Memorial Ballroom. 

The event is cosponsored by the University of Lynchburg’s College of Business and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. Following the lecture, there will be a Q&A, panel discussion, reception, and book signing.

You can read more about the event on the University of Lynchburg news site.

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Bluefield University to present ‘Our Town’ Feb 24-27

The Bluefield University Department of Theatre will present Thornton  Wilder’s classic of the American stage, Our Town, February 24, 25, and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and on February 27 at 3 p.m. in Harman Auditorium on the Bluefield University  Campus. Reserved tickets are $10 for adults/$5 for students and senior adults. Tickets  will be $12 and $7 at the door. 

Our Town opens Thursday, February 24, and runs through Sunday, February 27.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on  Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/senior adults in advance, and $12  and $7 at the door. To make reservations visit  

Our Town opens Thursday, February 24, and runs through Sunday, February 27.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on  Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students/senior adults in advance, and $12  and $7 at the door. To make reservations visit