Musician 3rd Class Jonathan Starr, a member of the United States Fleet Forces (USFF) Band, plays the trumpet during a performance at James Island Charter High School as a part of Charleston Navy Week, March 13. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jordan R. Bair/Released)

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

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Navy band to perform Sunday at Radford University

On March 13 at 3 p.m., the U.S. Fleet Forces Band wind ensemble will perform a concert in the Davis Performance Hall at the Covington Center for the Arts, located on the main campus of Radford University. 

The wind ensemble will perform a wide range of music to include traditional marches, popular  songs, patriotic favorites, and selections from some of the finest wind band literature. Admission is free and open to the public. 

U.S. Fleet Forces Band, under the direction of Lt. Joel Davidson, is the musical representative for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk. The band provides musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries and community events throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio River Valley region.  

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Lime Kiln announces staff, board changes

Lime Kiln Theater outside Lexington has announced several changes to its professional staff and its board of directors. 

Jeremy Franklin has joined the staff as Managing Director, and he is slated to assume the role of  Executive Director later this summer. Spencer McElroy, who has served as Executive Director  since 2013, will transition into the role of Artistic Director. 

Additionally, Kim Passmore, who joined the Lime Kiln staff in the fall of 2020, will assume the  role of Marketing and Outreach Director. In this position, Passmore will oversee a wide range of  marketing and communication initiatives for the theater, while also coordinating box office and  volunteer management. 

Lime Kiln has also announced the officers for its Board of Directors in 2022: Thom Gill will serve  as President, Margaret McClintock as Vice President, Chuck Smith as Secretary and Natalie  Garvis as Treasurer. Gill, McClintock and Smith all joined the board in January 2021, while  Garvis has served as a board member since 2013. 

Four new members have also joined the Lime Kiln board: Sidney Baker, Sarah Centorino,  Woody Harris and Michelle Hentz. They will serve alongside board members at-large Jon  Ellestad, George Huger, Kelly Nye and Lorri Olan, as well as past president Chuck Barger. 

McElroy, who spearheaded Lime Kiln’s revival prior to the 2014 season, will serve as Executive  Director through Franklin’s transition into the role. As Artistic Director, McElroy’s key role will be  booking and contracting artists for the theater’s annual Summer Concert Series. 

Along with his position at Lime Kiln, McElroy works locally with defense contractor Dynovis, Inc. as the Director of Operations.

Franklin served on Lime Kiln’s board of directors from October 2015 through this fall, when he  resigned in order to accept the staff position. As Managing Director, he will work alongside  McElroy to oversee all aspects of Lime Kiln’s day-to-day operations before assuming the role of  Executive Director during the summer. 

Prior to joining the Lime Kiln staff, Franklin spent 17 years as general manager of WLUR and  sports broadcasting at Washington and Lee University, supervising the campus radio station  and serving as the lead play-by-play announcer for W&L athletic broadcasts. He has also  broadcasted games for VMI and written for The News-Gazette. 

Outside of her role with Lime Kiln, Passmore serves as the Marketing Director for The Seclusion,  and she provides several Lexington-area businesses with marketing, design and social media  support. 

Details about this year’s schedule will be announced later this month. 

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Griffith to hold in-person service academy day in Wytheville on April 30

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, will host his 2022 Service Academy Day event on April 30 from 10 a.m.-noon at 333 Community Blvd., Wytheville.

The event will feature representatives from each of the U.S. Service Academies, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, the Virginia Military Institute and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs. For more information, contact Josh Hess at 540-381-5671 or

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ndrew Mays and his wife, Ashley, opened Southern Charm Décor LLC to offer affordable custom-made furniture and antique restoration as well as home décor items in their shop on Church Avenue in Lebanon. The business is a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant.

VCEDA awards grant to home decor store in Russell County

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $10,000 seed capital grant to Southern Charm Decor LLC in Russell County.

The business sells custom-made furniture and home decor items. It also offers and antique restoration. The business is owned by Andrew and Ashley Mays.

“Assisting new business owners in growing their entrepreneurship ideas is a primary benefit of the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant program,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “At the same time, these new businesses are creating jobs in our Southwest Virginia e-Region communities. Southern Charm Decor LLC projects one full-time and one part-time job within three years, but also indicated in its business plan and application that it has future plans to open additional locations in the region.”

Mays worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College in the development of his application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Russell County Industrial Development Authority.

Southern Charm Decor LLC is located at 109 N. Church Ave, Lebanon.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year old or less with fewer 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.

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New members appointed to Roanoke College President’s Advisory Board and Community Advisory Group

Four Roanoke College alumnae have joined the college’s President’s Advisory Board: Michelle Austin ‘93, Amy Hansen Geddes ‘92, Carrie Taylor McConnell ‘99 and Karen Rymers Winslow ‘02. In another appointment, Erin Burcham was appointed to the college’s Community Advisory Group.  (Disclosure: Burcham is also a member of Cardinal’s community advisory committee, but committee members have no role in news decisions.)

Michelle Austin ‘93 is the executive vice president – chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Bank of Botetourt. Austin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Roanoke College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Troy University. Austin is a graduate of the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia, where she is also now on the faculty. She is also a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. Austin serves on the Virginia Bankers Association Benefits Board of Directors. Austin is a member of the GO Virginia Region 2 Council, an initiative to drive private-sector growth, create higher-paying jobs and foster regional collaboration in every region of the Commonwealth.  From 2017 to 2021, Austin represented the Buchanan District on the Botetourt County School Board, serving two years as chair.   

Amy Geddes ‘92 has practiced law in Virginia since 1995 and concentrates her practice in the area of disability law involving both public and private benefits. She represents claimants at all levels of the administrative process and in federal court. Geddes was an English and history double major at Roanoke College and earned a law degree from Valparaiso University. She is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, Ted Dalton Inn of Court, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association and the Roanoke Bar Association. She serves on the board of the Roanoke Bar Association. Geddes is an active member of College Lutheran Church.    

Carrie McConnell ‘99 is the president of Ridge View Bank in Roanoke. McConnell has over 20 years of banking experience with extensive experience as a commercial lender. McConnell served as senior vice president of commercial lending at HomeTown Bank. Prior to that, she was instrumental in the development of a new bank that grew to over $550 million in assets before it was acquired. McConnell, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Roanoke College, is very active in her community, serving most recently on the board for the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia board and the Salem Family YMCA board. 

Karen Rymers Winslow ‘02 is a pharmacist and works for the Virginia Pharmacists Association. Winslow also is the recent past chair of the Richmond Alumni Chapter for Roanoke College, a position she held for 14 years. Winslow majored in biology at Roanoke College and earned a Doctor of Pharmacy at the Medical College of Virginia. She previously worked as a pharmacist for CVS, Target Corp. and the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Group.  

Erin Burcham was named to Roanoke College’s Community Advisory Group. Burcham is the president of Verge and executive director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. Verge is the regional technology alliance that includes affiliates of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, Valley Innovation Council and RAMP (the Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program), a Roanoke-based business accelerator. Burcham spearheads initiatives for technology, innovation, and talent development in the region including multiple GO Virginia projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in leadership with a focus on economic development from Virginia Tech.