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

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Park Service seeks volunteers for Blue Ridge Parkway

The National Park Service is recruiting volunteers for critical positions at three Blue Ridge Parkway visitor centers in Virginia. Visitor Service volunteers will work alongside park staff and partners to respond to visitor inquiries, provide information, orient visitors to the park and surrounding area, and provide high-quality customer service to park visitors.  
Visitor Services volunteers are needed at the following locations: 

  • Milepost 6 – Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, 
  • Milepost 43 – James River Visitor Center, and 
  • Milepost 86 – Peaks of Otter Visitor Center. 

Visitor Services volunteers must be willing to commit to a minimum of one, 4- or 8-hour shift each week through the busy summer and fall season. Ideal volunteers should enjoy working with people, have a basic knowledge of the Parkway and its surrounding areas, and feel comfortable working independently. Volunteers will be provided with training, a volunteer uniform, and any equipment needed to complete their assignment successfully. 

Interested volunteers can learn more and apply by searching for “Blue Ridge Parkway” on or by contacting the park’s volunteer office at

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Popular trail in Montgomery County will be closed May 14-15

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are working with partners to repair erosion damage to the popular Jacob’s Ladder trail (Forest Service trail #990), in the Poverty Creek Trail System in Montgomery County. The entire 1.3-mile trail will be temporarily closed on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the repair work.  

Volunteers with the Poverty Creek Trails Coalition will be using a mini-excavator donated by a Roanoke-based trail club to repair the trail tread and improve drainage to prevent future erosion issues.

The Jacob’s Ladder trail connects the Poverty Creek trail (Forest Service trail #1000) to Horse Nettle Trail (Forest Service trail #985) and is part of a system of over 24 miles of trail.
The Poverty Creek Trails Coalition is a volunteer non-profit dedicating to improving trails in the New River Valley.

For more information, contact the Eastern Divide Ranger Districts at (540) 291-2188, visitwebsite or follow on Twitter: and Facebook:

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Mountain Empire to hold summer teacher institute for STEM

Mountain Empire Community College will offer a continuing education course this summer for area teachers in STEM Career Education. EDU 295 will be held July 18-21 as an in-person course and is available at no cost to all regional educators. The course provides an understanding of STEM pathways in career education, through an exploration of careers in business and information technology, health sciences, industrial technology, and workforce/early education. Registration is limited to 30 applicants. For more information, or to register, please contact Matthew Rose, Dean of Industrial Technologies, at (276)523-7431 or by email at