Groundbreaking at LewisGale Hospital Montgomery. Courtesy of LewisGale.

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

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A rendering of the LewisGale Hospital Montgomery project.

LewisGale Hospital Montgomery breaks ground on project.

Officials with LewisGale Hospital Montgomery held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to celebrate a $15.9 million expansion of the hospital’s surgery department.

The 7,500-square-foot addition to its existing surgery department will include two operating rooms, a 15-bed post-anesthesia care unit, storage, and support space. The project also includes renovating 4,800 square feet of the existing surgery department.

The surgical improvement and expansion project brings the total capital investment since 2019 to nearly $35 million, including recently renovated state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization, advanced medical equipment, new patient safety, and quality efforts.

The improvement and expansion project is scheduled to complete in spring 2023.

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Emergency work underway at abandoned mine in Wise County.

Crews are stabilizing a landslide that posed a danger to three homes in Coeburn, according to the Virginia Department of Energy.

The department said it declared the project along Pepperhill Road an emergency which got contractors to the site quickly to begin moving material.

An Abandoned Mine Land  grant of $243,720 will repair the landslide and remove the potential for any further slides, the department said in a release. The department oversees the AML program that develops projects to reclaim issues caused by coal mining before 1977.

The area above and around the landslide was deep mined and surface mined by several different mining companies prior to 1977. At that time, material collected from mining was pushed over the hillside and left. Water associated with the old mine works began saturating that material and caused it to move downhill—sliding in the direction of nearby homes and a public road.

McFall Excavating, Inc. was awarded the contract for this project. The crew began work Feb. 11 to remove the sliding material. They will also properly route the water coming from this historic mining to avoid future landslides. The project should be completed next month.

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Danville schools partner with Danville Community College for ‘early college’ program

 Danville Community College, in partnership with Danville Public School System, is introducing the “Early College” program to area high school juniors and seniors.

The Early College program will allow qualified high school juniors to opt into courses that provide both high school and college credit to satisfy their graduation requirements, completing their last two years of high school at DCC. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate high school with an advanced studies high school diploma and an associate of arts and sciences degree in liberal arts.

“The Early College program will give students a leg up on completing the process of attending college,” said Cornelius Johnson, vice president of academic affairs and student services for DCC, in a statement. “Upon graduation, these students will only have to attend college for an additional two years to attain their baccalaureate degree. Not only are they completing their degree quicker, but they are also saving two years’ worth of college tuition.”

To participate in this program, students in the Danville Public School System must complete an application that evaluates their GPA, attendance, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and other recognitions and awards. 

The Early College program is free of charge for all participating students. For more information on the Early College program, or to submit an application, call Cathy Pulliam at 434-797-8538.

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Salem Historical Society announces two grants

The Salem Historical Society has been awarded two significant grants to fund a major new exhibition slated for later this year at the Salem Museum.

The Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia has provided a $18,000 grant from its Community Catalyst Funds for this new exhibition exploring local history. The Community Foundation provides opportunities to strengthen local non-profits by making creative grants for current and future community needs and opportunities; offering comprehensive services to encourage and advance effective philanthropy; and promoting and participating in collaborative efforts to shape a healthy, caring community.

Additional funding of $7,040 for digital humanities content has been provided by Virginia Humanities from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan initiative.

These two grants are making possible the development a new permanent exhibition to provide an overview of local history, dating back long before Salem’s actual founding in 1802. The exhibition will demonstrate how citizens in this small Roanoke County town played a role in, and were affected by, the sweep of national and world events.