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

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ARC awards $1 million grant to LMU vet school

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $1 million to Lincoln Memorial University to construct a new veterinary education and technology building in Ewing in Lee County, according a release from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.

LMU, based in Harrogate, Tennessee, founded the vet school in Lee County in 2014, with the first class graduting in 2018. According to ARC, an estimated 500 students will receive instruction and clinical training at the new facility and graduate with veterinary medicine degrees over a four-year period.

Griffith said the facility will “deliver a powerful economic boost to the region. This is a significant investment in Lee County.”

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GO Virginia awards two grants in Southside Virginia

The GO Virginia economic development board has awarded two grants, according to a release from the governor’s office.

  • $5 million to Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities for middle-mile fiber in the counties of Prince Edward, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Dinwiddie, Prince George and Sussex, plus the city of Petersburg. According to the governor’s office: “Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Inc. will build six middle-mile broadband infrastructure segments that will provide critical broadband connectivity and diversity in nine localities. The effort will extend middle mile open-access fiber optic infrastructure to critical business and industrial parks in GO Virginia Regions 3 and 4, increasing marketability, reducing future infrastructure extension costs and providing a robust fiber connection that will enable private-sector telecom carriers to support business and industry on strategic economic development sites.”
  • $482,330 for to build a talent pipeline of pharmaceutical workers in the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George, and the city of Petersburg. According to the governor’s office: “John Tyler Community College (JTCC), which is becoming Brightpoint Community College, has developed the Building a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Talent Pipeline (BPMTP) project to offer career-training programs and credentials to emerging advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing technicians. The project will address regional interest in growing a diverse pharmaceutical manufacturing talent pipeline, offer programs and credentials that meet the emerging global pharmaceutical manufacturing sector’s immediate workforce demands and grow a diverse regional pipeline of skilled, advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing technicians.”

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Sites in Covington and Wythe County named to Virginia Landmarks Register

The Virginia Board of Historic Resources has added nine historic places to the Virginia Landmarks Register. Two of them are in our part of the state, one in Covington, one in Wythe County.

Here’s what the board says about the two places:

The Rivermont School in the Covington exemplifies the Virginia Department of Education’s initiative to supply students with spacious, well-ventilated, and amply lit instructional areas. Constructed in 1938, it is one of the county’s most intact mid-20th-century educational buildings. In 1960 and 1970, new sections were built on the property to house additional classrooms and offices for changing educational curricula and increased enrollment. The Rivermont School served the neighborhood’s white children as part of the Covington Board of Education’s efforts to alleviate overcrowding in the city’s elementary schools. The school implemented progressive pedagogy and also functioned as a community gathering place throughout its years of operation.

In Wythe County, the 19th-century Fulton Farm was home to Andrew Steele Fulton, a prominent attorney, political leader, and industrialist of Southwest Virginia, and his family. Located in the southern part of the county, the property overlooks the New River and the New River Trail to the north, and features the Fultons’ two-story Greek Revival residence. Farm buildings surrounding the house include a large timber-framed barn with an integral wagon drive-through, a corn crib and granary likely dating to the 1850s-1870s, and a ca. 1920 Dickelman corn crib of steel construction.

Fulton served as a representative in the Virginia General Assembly (1840-41, 1844-45) and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Whig in 1846. In 1852 Fulton and his wife, Sarah Kincannon Fulton, purchased a large parcel near the lead mining community of Austinville, where they erected the farmhouse. An important figure in the area’s industrial development, Fulton operated a leadworks facility adjacent to the property that yielded $9,000 worth of lead products in 1860. In that same year, Fulton’s farm produced large crops of corn and wheat. Fulton sold the farm in 1875, and a succession of lead mining companies owned the property throughout the early 20th century.

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Warner, Kaine introduce bill to name Blue Ridge Music Center amphitheater after Boucher

U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, introduced legislation to designate the outdoor amphitheater at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax as the “Rick Boucher Amphitheater” after former Rep. Rick Boucher.

“Congressman Boucher is a pillar of Southwest Virginia,” the senators said in a statement. “We can think of no better way to honor his years of public service than by naming this amphitheater, which celebrates the culture and tradition of Southwest Virginia, after him.”

Boucher represented Southwest Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2011 and was an early supporter of the development of the Blue Ridge Music Center. (Disclosure: Boucher is a member of our community advisory committee, but committee members have no role in news decisions.)

The Blue Ridge Music Center is home to a visitor center, outdoor amphitheater, indoor interpretive center and museum that highlights the historical significance of the region’s musical culture.

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Forest Service delays opening of Bolar Mountain recreation area at Lake Moomaw

The USDA Forest Service will delay opening the Bolar Mountain recreation area at Lake Moomaw, according to a release from the Forest Service. Campground Loops 1-3, Sugar Ridge and McClintic Point campgrounds will not open until mid-summer, due to substantial maintenance needs at the wastewater treatment plant that require a complex contract for repairs. Reservations for sites at these campgrounds will not become available on until operational dates can be confirmed. Alternate campgrounds on the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts are available:

  • Blowing Springs Campground opens March 17, available as first come first serve. Cash fee or check is $12/night.
  • Hidden Valley Campground opens March 17, available as first come first serve. Cash fee or check is $15/night.
  • Morris Hill Campgrounds in the Coles Mountain recreation area on the south side of Lake Moomaw will open May 24. Reservations for Morris Hill Campgrounds are currently available at

The Bolar Mountain day use area, including the swim beach, will open for Memorial Day weekend. The Bolar Flats day use area, including the boat launch, is open year-round. The bathhouse and flush toilets at these day-use areas will be closed; portable toilets will be provided. Annual day use passes for the beach and boat launch are available for $30 by phone or mail from the James River and Warm Springs Ranger Districts at 540-839-2321. 

The Forest Service says that it is investing in the maintenance and repairs needed to keep the existing wastewater treatment plant operational until the new wastewater treatment plant can be constructed. See for more information on recreation opportunities across the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. 

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