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

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The Danville Community College Educational Foundation has scholarships available for eligible individuals who need tuition assistance while enrolled in a program and attending Danville Community College.

In concert with federal financial aid, the DCC Educational Foundation awards approximately 300 scholarships annually, totaling $500,000 in financial assistance, according to a statement from the school. The priority deadline for scholarship applications to be submitted is March 31, however, the DCC Educational Foundation is extending the deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year applications.

Registration for the upcoming summer and fall semesters begins on April 1. New students who are interested in beginning their educational journey at DCC should complete a college application, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and a DCC Educational Foundation scholarship application.

To learn more about DCC Educational Foundation Scholarships, visit

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Appalachian Adventures & Outfitters Inc. was a recent recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Grant. Owners, from left, Brian Ratliff, Brianna Ratliff and Brad Ratliff opened the business to provide UTV rental services in the area to outdoor enthusiasts looking to ride Spearhead Trails’ Jawbone Trail. Courtesy of VCEDA.

Richlands business receives VCEDA grant

Appalachian Adventures & Outfitters Inc., in Richlands is a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority seed capital matching grant.

The business, co-owned by brothers Brad Ratliff and Brian Ratliff and Brian’s daughter, Brianna Ratliff, offers rentals in four- and eight-hour segments and is also developing plans to offer guided tours of the trails. Kayak rentals are planned for later this spring. Southwest Virginia regional memorabilia, Spearhead Trails permits and memorabilia and custom-made knives are available in the business shop, as are Tazewell County-made Blue Wolf cleaning products and outdoor gear and snacks.

“As the tourism economy in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region continues to grow, VCEDA is pleased to see business ventures like Appalachian Adventures & Outfitters step up to add services to the economy and create additional jobs,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher in a statement. “Appalachian Adventures & Outfitters projects two full-time jobs and three part-time jobs within the first year.”

“Tourism is a growth industry throughout the Southwest Virginia region,” Brad Ratliff said. “Thanks to the advent of the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority, also known as Spearhead Trails, adventure tourism has grown exponentially during the past five years.”

In deciding to open the new business, Ratliff said among the considerations was the fact that the nearest ATV/UTV rental group was located in Pocahontas, more than an hour away and it was not connected with the Jawbone Trail. Appalachian Adventure’s location, on U.S. 460, is directly across from the Jawbone Trail system trailhead.

The Ratliffs worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College in developing their application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority.

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.

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Blue Ridge Parkway sets volunteer work day for April 23

The National Park Service will hold a single-day volunteer project on the Blue Ridge Parkway on April 23.

The fourth annual Project Parkway is intended to help complete much needed work at various locations across the park. Volunteers will work alongside staff and experienced NPS volunteers to prepare the parkway’s campgrounds and several picnic areas for their spring 2022 opening. Work identified for each location offers tasks appropriate for a wide range of skills and ages. Projects may be anything from leaf blowing and limb clearing to leveling tent pads and other maintenance tasks. Tools and safety gear will be provided. Participants must wear durable footwear and dress for changing weather conditions. Volunteer projects will begin at 9 a.m. and last until noon at most locations. 

Safety precautions are being taken to follow CDC guidelines pertaining to COVID-19. All work will be performed outside,  and group sizes will be limited. Pre-registration is required. 

This event is the culmination of National Park Week 2022, a week-long celebration dedicated to raising awareness of our National Parks. In 2021, more than 150 participants came out to help the parkway during this event, helping park staff prepare for visitors during a critical time of year.  If you are interested in participating, please email and indicate a preferred work location from the list below: 

Humpback Rocks, milepost 8.4, near Waynesboro

Otter Creek Campground, milepost 60.8, near Glasgow

Peaks of Otter Campground, milepost 85.9, Peaks of Otter

Roanoke Mountain Day Use area, milepost 120.4, near Roanoke

Smart View Picnic Area, milepost 154.5, near Foyd and Meadows of Dan

Cumberland Knob Picnic Area, milepost 217.5, near Galax

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Forest Service sets prescribed burns in Augusta County

The USDA Forest Service will conduct prescribed burns in Augusta County through late May. Prescribed burns keep the public and homes safe by reducing the buildup of dried leaves and wood in nearby forest land that can lead to uncontrolled wildfires. They can also improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape.

Augusta County: The 6,300-acre Archer Knob prescribed burn unit is located on Great North Mountain, 2.7 miles southwest of Craigsville and 7 miles northwest of Deerfield. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with road closures when they occur. Phillips Lick Road (Forest Service Road 381), Hite Hollow Road (Forest Service Road 82) and Archer Run Road (Forest Service Road 382) and the Hite Hollow shooting range may be temporarily closed during the burn. Residents of Craigsville and Deerfield and travelers on Little Calfpasture River Road (Virginia 42) may see or smell smoke. Ignition will take a minimum of three days to complete and depending on wind direction, this controlled burn may have lingering smoke effects.

The 1,118-acre Elkhorn prescribed burn unit on Elkhorn Mountain is approximately 4 miles southwest of Stokesville. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with road closures when they occur. North River Road (Forest Service Road 95) may be temporarily closed during the burn. Campers in the North River Campground and residents of Stokesville or Staunton may see or smell smoke. Ignition will take a minimum of one day to complete. and depending on wind direction, this controlled burn may have lingering smoke effects. Interior burning and residual smoke can be expected for several days following ignition unless precipitation occurs.

The 897-acre Grindstone Mountain prescribed burn unit is located 1 mile west of Stokesville. For your safety, please follow posted signs and comply with road closures when they occur. Smoke may be visible along sections of County Roads 101 and 95, and Tillman Road (Forest Service Road 101) for the duration of the burn. Residents of Stokesville, West Augusta, Briery Branch and Bridgewater may see or smell smoke. Ignition will take a minimum of one day to complete and depending on wind direction, this controlled burn may have lingering smoke effects.