Taking part in the March 31 announcement and award event for Sandy River Distillery in Rice are, from left, Economic Development and Tourism Director Chelsey White, Prince Edward County Industrial Development Authority Chairman Brad Watson, Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Odessa Pride, Sandy River Distillery Owners Mark Smith and Candice Smith, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia The Honorable Matthew J. Lohr, and Prince Edward County Administrator Doug Stanley. Courtesy of Prince Edward County.

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

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Distillery to open in Prince Edward County

A new distillery will open in Prince Edward County as part of a growing cluster of outdoor attractions around High Bridge State Park and Appomattox River in the Rice area near Farmville, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has announced.

Sandy River Distillery will be part of Sandy River Outdoor Adventures Resort. This project will lead to the creation of ten new jobs, over $500,000 in new investment and the purchase of more than 20 tons of Virginia-grown corn, berries and rye. An 1840s log cabin relocated from nearby Prospect, Virginia has been rebuilt on-site to serve as the farm distillery’s tasting room.

Sandy River Distillery will produce a line of grain-to-glass whiskey and gin in addition to a line of canned specialty cocktails. The company plans to source as many ingredients from Prince Edward County as possible, including berries grown on Sandy River’s farm, according to the governor’s office.  All whiskeys will be made using Virginia-grown grains and aged in new White Oak barrels produced by Speyside Bourbon Cooperage in Atkins in Smyth County.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Prince Edward County and Sandy River Distillery, Inc. to secure this project for Virginia with a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which Prince Edward County will match with local funds, according to the governor’s office. This is Prince Edward County’s first ever AFID Facility Grant award, an economic development tool to help localities support new and expanding agriculture and forestry based businesses.

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Canadian company buys Amherst County manufacturer

A Canadian company has purchased England’s Stove Works (ESW), a manufacturer of wood-fired and pellet-fired hearth products in Amherst County, according to a release from the compny.

ESW was a family business started in 1976 by Bob England and his son Ron and later by Carroll Hudson, according to a release from Amherst County. The company has more than 100 employees and its products are sold in national stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware andTrue Value. 

The purchser is Stove Builder International (SBI), located in Saint-Augustin, Quebec, Canada. It is a subsidiary of the Empire Group. While SBI’s primary market is Canada, it also distributes into the US, South America, Europe, and Australia. SBI operates a 60,000 square foot distribution center in South Bend, Indiana.   

SBI’s President Marc-Antoine Cantin said in a statement that purchasing ESW’s assets makes sense, both from a business and cultural standpoint.  “Englander has built an excellent brand recognition over the past 47 years, and we intend to build on that legacy. This acquisition also enables SBI to add production capacity in the US, something we had been contemplating for a while.  The purchase of ESW’s assets is a testimony to our commitment of maintaining a culture of operational excellence, right here in North America. We are thrilled to welcome ESW’s employees into the SBI/Empire family.”  

Through this asset purchase, ESW’s two Virginian plants will become SBI factories and will continue to build and market the Englander products.  The current ESW legal entity will continue to service its customers until June 17th, 2022.  Starting Monday, June 20th, 2022, all orders for Englander products will need to be placed with SBI.  The months of April, May and June will offer sufficient time for customers to transition to SBI with regards to purchase orders, agreements, and product selection for 2022. All customer service functions will continue to be handled by the existing team in Virginia. 

ESW’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Terrell, says that he sees more growth coming as a result of this acquisition.

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Virginia Department of Energy now accepting applications for abandoned mine land work

The Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) is accepting  applications from companies with three or more years of mining and reclamation experience and that are interested in bidding on Abandoned Mine Land projects. These projects result in removing safety hazards and environmental issues caused by coal mining that occurred before 1977.

Approved applicants will be able to bid on projects without holding a Class A contractor’s license due to the contractor exemption option within the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

“Virginia Energy is slated to receive a significant increase in funding for AML this year. Because of that, we hope to complete a record amount of projects and we need boots on the ground to meet those goals,” Randy Moore, Virginia Energy’s director of coal programs, said in a statement.  “There is also a focus to use the federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation (BIL) to put coal miners back to work and by adding coal companies to our list of contractors, we hope to see that specially trained workforce back on a payroll.”

Virginia has several thousand AML features in inventory. Due to a lack of funding in previous years, the commonwealth has only been able to complete those projects labeled Priority I, meaning they pose the greatest danger to personal safety or the environment. The BIL will allow reclamation of lower-priority projects. Virginia is slated to receive nearly $23 million for that AML cleanup for the next 15 years.

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Emory & Henry professor named elected President-Elect of Southeastern Psychological Association

R. Christopher Qualls. Photo by David Grace

R. Christopher Qualls, Ph.D., professor of Psychology at Emory & Henry College has been elected to the position of President-Elect of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) at the 68th annual meeting held in Hilton Head, S.C.

Qualls served as SEPA’s Secretary-Treasurer, and before his return to full-time teaching at Emory & Henry College he served as the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at the college from 2006 until 2011. The President-Elect of SEPA holds the title for one year before entering the role of President for the following two years. SEPA is the regional psychological association affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA). Members of SEPA include psychologists from southern colleges and universities.

In addition to the academic responsibilities of his position at Emory & Henry College and the duties of the President-Elect of SEPA, Qualls evaluates and treats children as a clinical psychologist at the Mount Rogers Community Service Board, a regional mental health clinic, and at Highlands Pediatrics, a pediatric practice. Qualls’s recent research has focused on examining the influence of mood disorders on children and adolescents with ADHD.

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ABC accepts enrollment for youth program

Enrollment opens on Friday, April 1, for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s (ABC) Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). 

YADAPP is a unique peer leadership opportunity fostering healthy communities and the prevention of substance use. The annual program begins with a kick-off conference which will be held virtually July 11-14. Participation requires the registration of a team of four high school student participants and one adult sponsor. 

During the conference, students attend topical workshops facilitated by peer leaders, hear from well-known motivational speakers, learn peer leadership and prevention best practices and develop a Strategies To Act Now (STAN) Plan to address substance use among their peers. Teams compete for $250 mini-grants to use as seed money for their STAN Plan and the $500 Wheeler Award to sustain their continued prevention efforts. 

Early enrollment opens April 1 and offers the discounted enrollment rate of $100 per team ($20 per person) until April 30. The price then increases to $125 per team until the June 1 enrollment deadline. The fee includes conference materials, as well as year-long coaching and support for adult sponsors as they aid their team in implementing its STAN Plan throughout the school year. 

Since its inception in 1984, approximately 450 different high schools and community organizations and more than 12,000 students have participated in YADAPP. For more information and to enroll, visit the YADAPP website, http://www.yadapp.com.

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