Roanoke College logo. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

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

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Roanoke College to add competitive cycling program

Roanoke College announced that it will launch a competitive cycling program for women and men. The announcement was made by Tom Rambo, dean of students, at the announcement of the courses for the 2022 USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships, which will be held in the Roanoke Valley from June 29 to July 2. 

Although cycling as a sport is new to Roanoke College, there is a strong connection between Roanoke College and cycling, the school said. Roanoke College soccer captain Shelley Olds ‘03 became a world class cyclist after graduating from the College in 2003. She was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the 2012 London Olympics.  

Roanoke College has registered both men’s and women’s teams with USA Cycling, competing this fall as a club sport. The teams, for men and women, will elevate to varsity status within a few years and at that time will compete as part of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC.)     

The college will begin the search for a cycling coach this summer.

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Live music to begin at five places on Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Blue Ridge Music Center are launching free Milepost Music  presentations on rotating Sunday afternoons at five destinations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

These intimate outdoor concerts will showcase regional musicians playing traditional music at Humpback Rocks, Peaks of Otter, Roanoke Mountain Picnic Area, Mabry Mill, and Doughton Park. The first session is from 1 to 3 p.m.,  Sunday, June 5, at the Peaks of Otter at milepost 86 in Bedford.

Performers include The McKenzies, Twin Creeks Stringband, The Bouncers, Big Ron Hunter, Ashlee Watkins & Andrew Small, Harmony Hill, Beverly Street String Band, His and Hers, Root 2 Music, Eric + Addie, Uncle Henry’s Favorites, and more.

Milepost Music sessions are offered from 1 to 3 p.m., on the following dates, from June through September.

Humpback Rocks, milepost 5.8 (near Visitor Center & Picnic Area)

Third Sunday of the month (June 19, July 17, Aug. 21, Sept. 18)

Peaks of Otter, milepost 85.6 (near the Peaks of Otter Lodge)

First Sunday of the month (June 5, July 3, Aug. 7, Sept. 4)

Roanoke Mountain Day Picnic Area, milepost 120.4

Third Sunday of the month (July 17, Aug. 21, Sept. 18)

Mabry Mill, milepost 176.1 (in the Old Mill Village)

Second Sunday of the month (June 12, July 10, Aug. 14, Sept. 11)

The Bluffs Restaurant, milepost 241 (near the lodge at Doughton Park), North Carolina

Fourth Sunday of the month (June 26, July 24, August 28, September 25)

Milepost Music is a collaboration between the Blue Ridge Music Center, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and National Park Service. 

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Communication tower to be installed on Whitetop Mountain

The USDA Forest Service advises visitors to drive with caution and expect increased truck traffic along Whitetop Mountain road (Forest Service Road #89) in Grayson and Washington counties, Virginia as American Electric Power contractors work to install a new communication tower on Whitetop Mountain.

When construction begins on June 6, the road will remain open, but visitors can expect to see heavy trucks using the roads. Slow down and be prepared to pull over if necessary to give trucks more room to pass. Temporary lane closures are expected for limited times when large equipment is being moved. Closure signs and personnel will direct traffic during temporary closures, which are expected to last up to three hours at a time.

Construction is expected to be completed in July.

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Traffic on Forest Service road in Giles remains restricted

Vehicle traffic on Pocahontas Road (Forest Service Road #972) in Giles County remains restricted as logging operations resume and the USDA Forest Service undertakes road repairs through a contracting firm.

Visitors in the area can expect increased truck traffic in and out of Pocahontas Road. Day visitors accessing the Appalachian Trail should avoid parking in front of the gate on Pocahontas Road.

The logging operations are part of vegetation management project aimed at regenerating oak trees defoliated by the invasive spongy moth (Lymantria dispar). The spongy moth caterpillars feed on oak tree leaves and are one of the most destructive pests threatening the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Logging on Peters Mountain along Pocahontas Road will take place on 65 acres and is expected to finish this summer.

Road improvement project will recondition 5.7 miles with culvert cleaning and replacement. These repairs will help ensure safety, improve drainage during storm events and help protect road surfaces from excessive erosion. Road repair survey work is expected to begin this month.