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

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Warner and Kaine announce nearly $400,000 in funding for the Blue Ridge Parkway

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $393,193 in federal funding for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation “to accelerate the region’s economic recovery after the pandemic,” according to a release from Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia.

The funding comes through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the covid-related stimulus package that Congress passed last year.

According to the senators’ release, “the funding will engage community leaders in all 12 Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway counties and associated independent cities to establish a strategic plan to enhance tourism, outdoor recreation, and economic development in the region. It will also increase employment opportunities, spur private investment, and promote economic resilience. The 12 counties include Augusta, Nelson, Rockbridge, Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Roanoke, Floyd, Patrick, Carroll, Franklin, and Grayson.”

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P&H Community College holds “signing day”

Patrick & Henry Community College took part in the NC3 National Letter of Intent Signing on April 26. This event sponsored by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) mirrors the NCAA’s National Signing Day for athletes who commit to play sports in college. It is designed to honor students who are entering a technical field and to celebrate the vital work done in these fields.

This year, P&HCC participated in this event with over 65 institutions across the country. Students from Bassett, Magna Vista and Patrick County High Schools attended the event signing their intent to join P&HCC in the fall, similar to an athletic signing.

Adding an additional cause for celebration, P&HCC  received the honor of announcing two Skilled Trades – 3M Transformational Scholarship recipients. This national scholarship, provided through 3M and the National Coalition of Certification Centers, is worth $1,000.

The first scholarship recipient announced today was Wesley Dyckman a student at Magna Vista High School who plans to pursue Industrial Electronics Technology at P&HCC in the fall. The second scholarship recipient of the day was Riley Brim who is currently a student at Patrick County High School and plans to pursue Welding at P&HCC in the fall. These students will also participate in the national scholarship reception with fellow scholarship recipients later in the spring.

The Martinsville and Henry County students who were recognized for their commitments to P&HCC and to the pursuit of technical fields were:

CADD: Hailey Renee Ashworth.

General Engineering Technology: Hunter Nicholas Eanes.

Industrial Electronics Technology: Xavier L. Ashley, Cole D. Burgess, Kaedon Anthony Byrd, Kaden Elias Collins, Wesley M. Dyckman, John Nathan Glenn, Mason E. Newman, and Jeffrey Ethan Wallace.

Motorsports Technology: Christopher Charlie Cline, Tiquise Jorod Fitzgerald, Shawn Foley, Omarion Hairston, Nicholas Alexander Jacobson, Christian Pounds, Dwain Jelene Ross Jr., Joshua Michael Tusinger, Steven Allen Whorley, and Chase Reid Wilson.

Precision Machining: Austin Wayne Gammons.

Welding: Bryce Boothe, Avery Harrison Brown, Austin Gammons, Kamierion Omar Haith, Jordan R. Hartsock, Trinity Grace Hylton, Rodney William Gage Ragans, William Alexander Ryan, Jake Hunter Sharpe, Nickolas Stoneman, Acoryon Quamaine Tinsley and Paxton Medlock Tucker.

The Patrick County students who were recognized for their commitments to P&HCC and to the pursuit of technical fields were:

Motorsports Technology: Zachary Lee Heath.

Welding: Justus Cole Baker, Riley Quinn Brim, David Colton Bryant, Jeffrey Garrett Parsons, Jacob Daniel Payne, Austin Kyle Rorrer, Nash Corbin Thompson, and Joshua Walker Wright.

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Radford sees big Highlander Day attendance

Nearly 900 people attended Radford University’s Highlander Day on Saturday, April 23 About 315 of those attendees were students accepted to the university, including students and their families on sponsored busses from the Tidewater and Richmond areas of Virginia. This was the highest attended Highlander Day event this year and one of the largest on record, according to the school.

Highlander Day welcomes students and their families and friends to tour and interact with all of what Radford University has to offer as they make their enrollment decision for next fall. For many students, this visit marks their first time on campus as admitted students. During their daylong experience, they had the opportunity to hear directly from current students, faculty and staff members about the opportunities available for them on campus.

Admitted students also witnessed their future professors and programs in action through tours and demonstrations. Current Radford University students welcomed Highlander Day guests into their residential halls for tours. Attendees also had the chance to eat in campus dining halls, meet with academic advisors and learn how to finance their college experience.

This was the third and final Highlander Day event of the academic year. In total, about 1,800 people attended the Highlander Day events, more than 600 of those were admitted students.

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Two census tracts in Campbell County granted special economic development status

Campbell County Economic Development has announced that two census tracts in the county, including the Town of Altavista and a large area encompassing Gladys and Long Island, have been officially granted Governor-designated HUBZone status. The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program, run by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The HUBZone program’s goal is to award at least 3% of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified companies each year. HUBZone-certified small businesses can be awarded these contracts even if their quote is up to 10% higher than non-HUBZone certified competitor quotes. 

Virginia is only the third state to have taken advantage of the opportunity to grant “Governor-designated” HUBZones since they were added to the program through regulatory changes in 2020, according to a release from Campbell County.

Nina Rezai, Economic Development Manager, initiated the nomination request with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBDC) in coordination with Carl Knoblock, District Director of the SBA in Richmond in 2021, near the end of then-Governor Ralph Northam’s term in office. Campbell County Economic Development worked with the administrations of both Northam and Gov. Glenn Youngkin to be nominated for the HUBZone designations.

“We would like to thank both governors, as well as Virginia Delegate Matt Fariss, for their assistance in securing these designations, which can not only benefit current Campbell County businesses that qualify, but also help attract new business to the area,” Rezai said in a statement. “Having two HUBZones in the county provides us a competitive advantage when federal contractors or sub-contractors are searching for a new business headquarters location.”

In order to qualify for HUBZone certification, a business must employ staff who live in a HUBZone and maintain a “principal office” in one of these specially designated areas. Once a business has received certification as a HUBZone small business, they will need to recertify with the HUBZone program once a year. There is no limit to the length of time a business can participate as long as it continues to qualify.

Small businesses with principal offices in these new Governor-Designated Covered Areas may visit for more information about the HUBZone program and how to become a certified HUBZone small business.

Reach out with questions to the Economic Development department by visiting, calling (434) 332-9595, or email

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O’Quinn will be graduation speaker at Mountain Mission School

Del. Israel O’Quinn. Courtesy of O’Quinn.

Delegate Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington County, will be the commencement speaker at Mountain Mission School, according to an announcement made by the Grundy school this week.

Twenty-six seniors in the Class of 2022 are expected to receive their diplomas during commencement exercises which will get underway Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m. in the school gymnasium.