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

* * *

Appalachian law students get hands-on experience on appellate cases

Students at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy are getting the chance to work on criminal appeals with the state attorney general’s office through a new clinic program.

Students in the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Program work on appellate cases with attorneys from the criminal section of the attorney general’s office. The students review the court records and write briefs, which the attorney general’s office reviews and then submits on behalf of the state.

According to a news release from the school, this is the only program of its kind in Virginia.

“The program gives students an amazing opportunity to work on actual criminal appeals and work with attorneys who are experts in appellate work,” Shelly James, a professor who works with the students and coordinates the program, said in the release. “Students even have the possibility of arguing before the Court of Appeals if their cases are set for oral argument.  It is a very unique clinic program, and we are very excited for our students.”

Distinguished Professor Larry Elder, a former judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals, also works with the students, guiding them through the process of researching and writing legal briefs.

“Judge Elder provides invaluable, practical assistance to the students,” James said. “His assistance and oversight is one of the reasons that the Attorney General’s Office considered starting the clinic program with ASL.”

* * *

Ferrum graduation is Saturday

Ferrum College will celebrate its 106th graduating class at 10 a.m. Saturday. More than 180 seniors are expected to receive their diplomas during the ceremony, which will include a keynote address by New York Times bestselling author Beth Macy, who wrote “Factory Man,” “Truevine” and “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” as well as the presentation of student and faculty awards. (Disclosure: Macy is a member of our community advisory committee but members have no role in news decisions.)

* * *

Kaine seeks small business success stories

The office of Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, is looking for stories about small businesses that survived, and thrived, during the pandemic.

Virginians can nominate a small business through the Virginia Small Business COVID Success Stories portal. The stories will be shared on Kaine’s website during National Small Business Week, May 1-7.

“Amid COVID-19, many small businesses have faced difficult challenges, and Congress responded by providing them with federal support,” Kaine said. “As I’ve traveled around Virginia, I’ve heard from many small business owners about how federal COVID relief has helped them get through the pandemic – including restaurants that expanded outdoor seating or retail shops that expanded to e-commerce. As we approach National Small Business Week in May, I want to share more positive stories about the resilience of small businesses that have adapted to the pandemic, kept workers employed, and supported their communities. I encourage Virginians to nominate a small business to be featured on my website during National Small Business Week to shine a spotlight on Virginia success stories and highlight the importance of supporting our small businesses.”

* * *

Fralin elected to Roanoke College Board of Trustees

Robert Fralin. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

Robert Fralin has been elected to the Roanoke College Board of Trustees. Fralin, of Roanoke, is president of R.P. Fralin Inc., a real estate company specializing in land acquisition, land development, home building, commercial and multi-family construction, and property management. Fralin will attend his first meeting this week. 

Fralin holds a B.A. in rhetoric and communications from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. with a concentration in construction engineering/construction management from Virginia Tech. 

Fralin currently serves on the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission, the Hotel Roanoke LLC Board and the Roanoke Business Council.

Fralin’s previous service includes work on a variety of nonprofit boards in the Roanoke region. He was president of the Kirk Family YMCA and was a corporate board member for the Greater Roanoke Valley YMCA. He also served on the United Way of the Roanoke Valley Board of Directors and the board of Foundation for Roanoke Valley (now the Community Foundation for Western Virginia). In addition, he was a board member for the Virginia Tech Foundation and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. 

* * *

W&L student awarded Fulbright

Mallory Keeley. Courtesy of W&L.

Washington and Lee University senior Mallory Keeley ’22 has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. At W&L, Keeley is double-majoring in business and German. A Lexington native, Keeley graduated from Rockbridge County High School.

The Fulbright ETA Program is designed to help teach English to students and promote cultural awareness between the United States and other countries. Keeley will live in a German community assigned in the coming months for one academic year to teach English to students in a local school.

Roger Crockett, professor of German at W&L, has mentored and taught Keeley during her time on campus.

Keeley is a member of the Delta Society and German Club, and for the last three years, she ran on W&L’s women’s cross country and track teams and was a phonathon caller for the university’s Annual Fund. As a senior, Keeley has become more involved in the Outing Club. She also tutors elementary school students in reading and writing, volunteers at a local preschool and enjoys boxing at Hinojosa Gym in Buena Vista.

After Keeley returns to the U.S., she will work at Axon Enterprise Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she will participate in its business leadership development program.

“I feel honored to have been selected for the Fulbright ETA program and owe thanks to several individuals who played significant roles in my development at W&L,” said Keeley. “I want to thank my family, friends, the W&L German Department and Fellowships Committee. Specifically, I want to thank W&L professors Loar, Youngman, Crockett, Prager and Gilbert for the excellent guidance, support and encouragement they’ve given me over the last four years.”

* * *

New River Valley Leading Lights honors 36 volunteers

New River Valley Leading Lights recently honored 36 community volunteers at a ceremony held April 12 at the German Club at Virginia Tech.  

The New River Valley Leading Lights organization’s mission is to acknowledge and honor volunteers across the New River Valley who are making community-changing impacts through volunteerism, culminating in an annual celebratory banquet. Past Leading Lights honoree Martha Ann Stallings of Blacksburg served as this year’s guest speaker. 

High school nominees included Camden Hite, Gabriella Martin, Krystal Mattson and Gwendolyn Puckett, Pulaski County High School; Josiah Shrestha, Blacksburg High School; Grace Trent, Narrows High School; and Thai Yuvanavattana, Floyd County High School. 

Aaron Howard and Abigail Ridpath, both New River Community College students, represented college nominees. 

Morris Fleisher was nominated from Giles County. Nominees from Floyd County included Kamala Bauers and Jack Wall, Jane Cundiff, Karen Grosshans, Paul Tremblett and Jean Woods. Nominees from Montgomery County included John Beasley, Sherri Blevins, Teresa Cassell, Donna Christian, Sandra Hagman, Andrae Hash, Polly Myers, Peggy Rasnick and Vern Simpson. Nominees from Pulaski County were Sybil Atkinson, Harriet Berry, Dave Dobyns, Jason Golden, Gary and Meghan Hash, Pete Huber and Hazel Wines. Garnie Dishon and Amanda Jimenez Thornton were the Radford nominees. Dora Butler of Radford, Susan Icove of Floyd County and Lester Karlin of Montgomery County were all nominated in the Lifetime Achievement category. 

From the 36 nominees, 11 were chosen as Distinguished Recipients. The 2022 Leading Lights Distinguished Recipients honored were Grace Trent (high school), Thai Yuvanavattana (high school), Aaron Howard (college), Abigail Ridpath (college), Harriet Berry (Pulaski County), Teresa Cassell (Montgomery County), Garnie Dishon (Radford), Morris Fleisher (Giles County), Vern Simpson (Montgomery County) and Jean Woods (Floyd County). Susan Icove of Floyd County was named as the Lifetime Achievement Distinguished Recipient.  

The community Distinguished Recipients receive $500 to direct to a nonprofit of their choice, and the Lifetime Achievement recipient receives $1,000 to direct. The nominees’ volunteer efforts include work with food pantries, emergency response, afterschool programs, libraries, COVID-19 vaccinations, community groups, clothing drives, community cleanup, education and environmental causes. 

NRV Leading Lights was established in 2007, prompted by the outpouring of voluntary service after the April 16 shooting that year at Virginia Tech. The first Leading Lights recognition event was held in April 2009. These annual events highlight the extraordinary compassion of ordinary citizens who united in service to others. To learn more about NRV Leading Lights, visit NRV Leading Lights will be seeking volunteer nominations later this year for the 2023 awards. 

* * *

W&L hosts art exhibit, lecture on Ukraine

Washington and Lee University will present a public lecture titled “Portrait of a Village, Ukraine” by Lida and Mišo Suchý at 5 p.m. April 28 in Northen Auditorium. The lecture complements a photography exhibition of the same name that is currently displayed on four walls and two levels in Leyburn Library on campus.

The lecture and art exhibition are free and open to the public.

Lida Suchý is an award-winning photographer who for more than 25 years has captured communities primarily through portraiture. As a Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow art photographer, her work has focused on Ukraine. She’s also a first-generation American and the daughter of Ukrainian refugees. She earned her master’s degree from the Yale University School of Art.

Mišo Suchý, an associate professor in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, where he teaches film, is originally from Czechoslovakia. He works with both still and moving images; photography and film often intersect and complement one another in his creative work.

The Suchýs are the parents of current W&L student and Johnson Scholar Marko Suchý ’24.

Lida Suchý began the project that culminated in part of the collection currently displayed at W&L in the early 1990s, not long after the Soviet Union collapsed. The photographs featured in the exhibition are from the village of Kryvorivnya in Ukraine.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, she contacted W&L President Will Dudley to propose the idea of an exhibit of her work documenting a village in Ukraine. The university’s Center for International Education, the Museums at W&L and the University Library subsequently collaborated to coordinate the exhibition.

Lida Suchý’s photographs are in public collections at the Brooklyn Museum, the Eastman Museum Rochester in New York, Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and the Ivan Franko Museum in Kryvorivnya, Ukraine.

* * *

Hospital association elects officers

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association this week elected its 2022-23 slate of officers to its board of directors, including several members from Southwest Virginia.

Peter Mulkey, CEO of Clinch Valley Health in Richlands, was elected chair. Tim McManus, Capital Division president of HCA Healthcare, was named vice chair, and Eric Deaton, chief operating officer of Ballad Health, was chosen secretary-treasurer. Other officers include Steve Arner, executive vice president and COO of Carilion Clinic, who is immediate past chair, and Sean Connaughton, VHHA president and CEO.

The executive committee also includes Dr. Michael McDermott, president and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare; Joanne Inman, president of Sentara Leigh Hospital; and Mark Nantz, president and CEO of Valley Health System.

* * *