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

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UVa-Wise writing project seeks teachers for newly funded Appalachian storytelling program

With $75,000 in new funding, the Appalachian Writing Project at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise will work with local schools to collect and share the diverse and seldom told stories of the region.

This month, the National Endowment for the Humanties awarded  funding to the National Writing Project which, through a competitive process, handed out subgrants to state writing projects.  

Of those subgrants, the only program in Virginia to receive funding was AWP, which received $50,000. For more than 20 years, AWP has provided an array of writing programs designed for professional development and training of Southwest Virginia K-12 teachers and young writers. AWP is a nonprofit affiliated with UVA-Wise.

The year-long grant project is focused on the theme: “(Re)Telling Our Stories: Central Appalachia’s Cultural Contributions in Oral History and Artifact.”

The Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap and the Appalachian African American Cultural Center in Pennington Gap are partnering on the project. In fact, AACC provided an additional $25,000 earmarked  to focus on telling the untold stories of slavery in Central Appalachia, founder Ron Carson said. 

Only twenty-five teachers, third through 12th grade, from across central Appalachia — including Eastern Kentucky, East Tennesee and Southwest Virginia — will selected in a competitive merit-based process to participate in the year-long project from fall 2022 through spring 2023.

If accepted, teachers will attend a week-long summer institute starting June 6. They will also go on field trips to museums and attend other culturally relevant programs during the year. 

Teachers will work with an educational specialist at the Southwest Virginia Museum to learn about artifact curation, preservation and interpretation.

Local teachers interested in participating in the project will be able to apply in the coming weeks. They should be on the lookout for emails from their districts and watch the Appalachian Writing Project Facebook page. They can also contact Clark at for an application.

To learn more about the Building a More Perfect Union grant, visit

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Danville Community College sets graduation

Carlyle Ramsey. Courtesy of Danville Community College.

On May 14, Danville Community College will host its first in-person graduation ceremony since the beginning of the pandemic on Daly Field at the Frank R. Campbell Stadium at Averett University’s North Campus. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with seating opening at 8:30 a.m. Guests must have a ticket to be admitted.

This year, DCC has tapped President Emeritus Carlyle Ramsey as commencement speaker. Ramsey served as president of DCC for more than 20 years before retiring in August 2013.

Ramsey began his tenure at DCC in 1992 as the college’s fourth president. Prior to the acceptance of this role, Ramsey served as the assistant vice chancellor of the Virginia Community College System from 1989-92. He also served as the dean of instruction and student development at DCC from 1987-88.

The 2022 DCC commencement will feature a bagpiper to lead the processional, an alumnus performing the National Anthem on saxophone, and more than 500 graduates who will receive a variety of credentials and degrees. The ceremony will honor fall 2021 and spring 2022 graduates, as well as summer 2022 candidates for graduation.

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Appalachian Council for Innovation reschedules employment session

The Appalachian Council for Innovation, in partnership with Genedge and local workforce development boards, is organizing a “Second Chance Employer” informational session for businesses in the region. The goal will be to provide businesses with knowledge of the various benefits and incentives that are available to them, should they choose to hire previously incarcerated individuals. The group also hopes to compile a list of employers who would like to be considered “Second Chance Employers” in anticipation of launching the Appalachian Council for Innovation Workforce Recovery Program.

The first event was held this week in Lebanon. The second is set for April 21 in Abingdon at
at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center at 8 a.m.

The third session in Big Stone Gap, originally set for April 28, will now be May 4 at the Goodloe Center at 8 a.m.

Register here: tickets-303966310417

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Forest Service will conduct prescribed burns in Aleghany, Bath and Wise counties.

The U.S. Forest Service will conduct two prescribed burns — one near Pound in Wise County, the other on the Alleghany-Bath county line.


Location: Big Wilson burn area is located two miles southeast of Hot Springs and is located on lands administered by the USDA Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. 

Date and Time: Forest Service fire specialists together with The Nature Conservancy will continue burning a portion of the Big Wilson burn area on both Forest System Lands and Nature Conservancy lands on Friday, April 15. The ignition-phase planned for April 15 on Forest Service lands will be completed in one day; however, larger areas of the burn unit are planned to be burned next week, weather permitting. You may see smoke from this prescribed burn for several days. 

Purpose: Prescribed burns improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape. Safety is the Forest Service’s top priority, and Forest fire managers will conduct prescribed burns only under appropriate weather conditions. 

Additional Information and Road and Trail Closures: Sandy Gap Trail (Forest Trail 637) will be temporarily closed for the duration of the burn. Dolly Anne Road, also called Smith Creek Road, (Forest Road 125) will have increased truck traffic. The prescribed burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in the surrounding area. 

The Wise County burn:

Location: Cable Gap burn unit is located three miles northeast of Pound, 2.7 miles southeast of Jenkins, Kentucky, and approximately 1.8 miles southwest of Gaskins and Burdine, Kentucky. 

Purpose: This burn will improve wildlife habitat by restoring open woodlands and grasslands to the forest landscape.

Additional Information and Road and Trail Closures: Pine Mountain Trail (Forest Trail #201), Austin Cemetery, South Mountain Road, and part of White Oak Creek Road may be closed. For your safety, please follow posted signs and trail closures when they occur. The controlled burn is expected to have lingering smoke effects in Wise and Letcher counties. Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers in these areas may see or smell smoke. Firefighter and public safety is our number one priority. This prescribed burn has been rescheduled several times over the last few weeks in order to ensure that weather conditions are appropriate.