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

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Averett opens center for nursing program in Norfolk

Averett University opened its Norfolk Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Learning Center on Feb. 15.

The Averett School of Nursing launched its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in May, and already 60 students have enrolled. Some of those students joined others in officially celebrating the Hampton Roads space, where the first cohort began classes in 2021.

The Averett ABSN program has annual start dates in January, May and August. For more
information, visit .

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Virginia now taking applications for abandoned mine projects

The Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) has received a new round of funding for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization program and is now taking applications for proposals.

Virginia Energy oversees the grant which comes from the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement. The office has final approval over recommended projects. Proposed projects should have the greatest potential to achieve economic develop goals in southwest Virginia’s coalfields and be proposed on land that includes features associated with coal mining that occurred before 1977.

Virginia Energy will receive applications through April 15. Applications and information can be found via the Virginia Energy website and should be submitted electronically to Tarah Kesterson at

Virginia Energy received the initial $10 million in 2017 and has continued to receive that amount every year since. Those looking for places to propose projects can find an AML inventory on the Virginia Energy website that lists locations and features for each site. Virginia was one of six states chosen to receive $10 million to develop Abandoned Mine Land sites. This grant was part of the federal Omnibus Funding Bill. Projects completed with the funds will not only be designed to boost the economy of southwest Virginia’s coalfields but will also improve the environment, according to a statement from Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

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Averett presents ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ Thursday – Saturday

Averett University Theatre will be performing Peter and the Starcatcher, the Tony-winning play based on the best-selling novels, that upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan boy becomes the legendary Peter Pan. The show is set for three nights from Feb. 17-19 at 7 p.m. each night in Pritchett Auditorium in the Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center. For tickets, visit here.

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Shelley Lyons

Virginia Western adds grants administrator

Shelley Lyons has joined Virginia Western Community College’s Office of Institutional  Advancement as the Administrative Officer for Grants Administration. Lyons most recently was grant writer for Children’s Trust.