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

* * *

Salem Museum to host virtual talk on Virginia Tech’s history

Virginia Tech is in the midst of its Sesquicentennial Celebration, marking the 150th anniversary of its founding. On Thursday, March 10 at 7 pm, Peter Wallenstein, professor of history at Virginia Tech, will look back at various episodes and people in Virginia Tech’s history. This program is presented by the Salem Museum on Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted on the Museum’s website,, on the morning of the talk.

The university that would become Virginia Tech officially opened on October 1, 1872, as Virginia’s white land-grant institution. Its founding name was Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.

* * *

Emory & Henry adds fund-raiser

Clay Rolston. Courtesy of Emory & Henry College.

Clay Rolston has joined the Emory & Henry College Office of Advancement to lead corporate and foundation giving efforts. The college recently announced development plans for apartments, a new Equine Center and Multi-sport Complex located on College property just off 1-81 at Exit 26.

Before joining Emory & Henry, Rolston served as the Executive Director of the Ballad Health Foundation in Johnson City, Tenn.  Prior to that Rolston served as the Director of Community Support for the Wellmont Foundation in Kingsport, Tenn. and business development roles for Pal’s Business Excellence Institute and Eastman Chemical in Kingsport, Tenn.

“I am thrilled to continue my not-for-profit fundraising career at Emory & Henry” Rolston said in a statement. “Because my father, the late Fielding Rolston, invested much of his volunteer time here to strengthen the college, I feel as though I am continuing an important family legacy.”

* * *

Annette Tomlinson, Connie Daugherty and Deborah McCoy opened Lee Driving School in Pennington Gap. The new business was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

VCEDA awards grant to Lee County driving school

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) has awarded a $10,000 seed capital matching grant to the Lee Driving School of Pennington Gap.

The new business is owned by Connie Daugherty, Deborah McCoy and Annette Tomlinson. Daugherty, Tomlinson and McCoy are lifelong educators, having served in multiple capacities. Additionally, each of them are active participants in the community where they grew up and currently reside.

“Lee Driving School is a one-stop business for multiple facets of driving,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “While providing a needed service, the new business projects creating six full-time jobs within five years.”

Daugherty, McCoy and Tomlinson decided to open the new business to offer additional components of driver education after hearing requests for additional services. All three are certified instructors through the state. Lee Driving School officially opened its doors last August.

“There are overwhelming requests for other components of driver education in addition to Driver Improvement classes,” Daugherty said, noting an adjacent county no longer offers the behind the wheel  portion in their curriculum; therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to obtain that service. Additionally,  services offered by Lee Driving School have provided home schooled students an opportunity that has otherwise been sourced outside the area.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.