Mill Mountain Zoo gets grant. Wythe County gets federal funding for water.

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

* * *

Part of Blue Ridge Parkway closed for repairs

The Roanoke section of the Blue Ridge Parkway Parkway from U.S. 220 (milepost 121.4) to Adney Gap (milepost 135.9) which was previously open to cyclists and pedestrians is now fully closed to all visitors and recreation of any kind. Due to heavy equipment and contractors working in the area, a full closure is in place.  Repairs needed to stabilize slope failures along the route are expected to conclude by the end of September. 

Additionally, the Roanoke River Bridge at Milepost 114.7 is still anticipated to open by the end of June.   

* * *

Mill Mountain Zoo gets $1,000 grant

Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke was awarded a $1,000 grant for the installation of a moss wall next to the zoo’s lynx exhibit area, as part of Keep Virginia Beautiful’s 12th annual Green Grants program. It is the first of 30 grants to be awarded throughout Virginia in June. 

Every year, government, nonprofit, civic and service organizations in Virginia are invited to apply for grants ranging from $500 to $1,000 that will help address an environmental concern in their community. Grants must focus on one of the following priorities: litter prevention, recycling, cigarette litter prevention or community beautification. 

Green walls provide many benefits to the environment, including naturally cooling external air, mitigating air pollution and supplying natural thermal insulation for the interior of the buildings to which they are attached, according to a release from Keep Virginia Beautiful.

* * *

USDA awards nearly $4 million for Wythe County water

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded nearly $4 million to Wythe County for water service, according to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia. The funding comes in the form of a $1,932,000 grant and a matching 40-year loan, bringing the project total to $3,864,000.

This funding will go towards the construction and installation of approximately eight miles of water line, a pump station, 92 water meters, 28 fire hydrants, and related accessories, Warner and Kaine said.

Currently, residents in the area are served by private wells with both quality and quantity problems. According to water samples, over 60 percent of the wells have tested positive for Coliform and E. coli, posing a health hazard to community members. This project will correct these health hazards and reduce iron and manganese levels in the water for 214 residents.

* * *

Sorensen Institute names high school leaders program class

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia announced the names of 32 Virginia high school students selected as members of its High School Leaders Program Class of 2022.

The 2022 program is supported by a generous grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation. Established in Richmond in 1955, the Reynolds Foundation provides assistance to community causes such as science, education, healthcare, the environment and the arts.

Sorensen’s 2022 HSLP class represents a strong and diverse group of students from high schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Class members will focus on the structure and current state of Virginia politics and governing, how sustainable public policy is developed, and developing both advocacy and consensus-building skills.

Two are from the western third of the state:

Lucas Addison, John I. Burton High School, Norton

William Hunt, E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg

The others:

Annie Adamson, Saint Gertrude High School, Goochland

Aditi Bhattacharjya, Oakton High School, Vienna

Jacob Bowen-Glazeroff, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County

Thomas Chapman, Woodberry Forest School, Woodberry Forest

Shahnoor Chaudhry, Glen Allen High School, Glen Allen

Richard Comstock, McLean High School, McLean

Elina Coutlakis-Hixson, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington

Sophie Dechant, Alexandria City High School, Alexandria

Karan Dholakia, Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington

Abigail Garber, Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg

Samantha Giles, Glen Allen High School, Glen Allen

Dagmawi Girma, Woodberry Forest School, Woodberry Forest

Katherine Harbour, Alexandria City High School, Alexandria

Zahraa Hassan, Thomas A. Edison High School, Alexandria

Tyler Heron, Albemarle High School, Charlottesville

Abigail Muscato, Williston Northampton School, Northampton (Arlington)

Kai Nielson, Langley High School, McLean

Prasidha Padmanabhan, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County

Rebecca Paul, Chantilly High School, Chantilly

Vivian Quint, Charles J. Colgan High School, Manassas

Valencia Rodriguez, Fairfax High School, Fairfax

Matthew Savage, George C. Marshall High School, Falls Church

Saanvi Siddhi, Oakton High School, Vienna

Emma Stallings, StoneBridge School, Chesapeake

Andrew Taylor, Oakton High School, Vienna

Georgia Thompson, Atlantic Shores Christian High School, Chesapeake

Michele Togbe, South County High School, Lorton

Jayla Underwood, Bruton High School, York County (Williamsburg)

Callie Walsh, West Potomac High School, Alexandria

Natalie Wike, Potomac Falls High School, Sterling

The High School Leaders Program participants will meet for two weeks at the University of Virginia and receive three college credits.

Many of the nearly 2,500 alumni of Sorensen’s programs for students and adults play key roles in the civic life of communities across Virginia. They include a governor, members of Congress, as well as many General Assembly members, Virginia cabinet members and local elected officials.