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

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Appalachian says water levels may rise rapidly

Appalachian Power wants boaters, kayakers, tubers, and other recreational users downstream of Claytor and Leesville dams to know water levels on the New and Roanoke rivers could rise rapidly starting Tuesday, June 14, and continue to fluctuate throughout the week.

The National Weather Service is calling for high temperatures this week and PJM, the independent regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid in 13 states, has notified Appalachian Power it may need to increase power generation at its hydroelectric plants to maintain the reliability of the regional electric grid if called upon to do so, according to a release from Appalachian Power.

Below Claytor Dam, water levels could increase up to two feet in a matter of minutes the utility says. Water levels below Leesville Dam could increase as much as eight feet over a seven-hour period. Those considering recreating on the rivers should monitor AEP’s website for additional information and follow us on Smith Mountain or Claytor Facebook pages for updates.

Located on the New River in Pulaski County, the Claytor Dam is operated by Appalachian Power. The total installed electric generating capacity of the plant is 76 megawatts. Leesville Dam, with a generating capacity of 50 megawatts, is part of the Smith Mountain Project, a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River.

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Christy Harper. Courtesy of Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

Danville Pittsylvania chamber promotes Harper

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce has announced that Christy Harper has been promoted to the role of Director of Member Engagement, effective immediately.

Harper was hired in 2021 as Membership Manager and helped lead the Chamber through COVID and recent leadership changes. In her new role, Harper will develop strategic projects that focus on the execution of initiatives that drive results in member recruitment, retention, and engagement. She will also implement programs, events, and services that directly affect member needs and interests. Prior to her work at the Chamber, Harper worked at Middle Border Forward as Project Manager, and with the City of Danville.

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University of Lynchburg offers program on aging on Thursday

The University of Lynchburg’s Beard Center on Aging is offering a program at the Forest Library from noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. The library is located at 15583 Forest Rd. in Forest.

The program, “Improving Our Brain Health As We Age,” is part of a series on brain health that the Beard Center is offering this spring and summer:

The following sessions will be held on later dates:

Thursday, July 14, “Improving Our Brain Health As We Age,” noon-1 p.m. J. Robert Jamerson Memorial Library, 157 Main St., Appomattox

Thursday, Aug. 4, “Our Brains and Bodies As We Age,” noon-1 p.m., Staunton River Memorial Library, 500 Washington St., Altavista

Thursday, Sept. 22, “Improving Our Brain Health As We Age,” noon-1 p.m., Rustburg Library, 684 Village Highway, Rustburg

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Norton dedicated a historical marker Saturday about the 1951 teams that became the first Little League in the South to be integrated. Speaking at the event were House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (left) and Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem (second from right). They were joined by several players from the team and their descendents. Photo courtesy of Griffith’s office.

Norton dedicates historical marker

Norton dedicated a historical market Saturday about the 1951 teams that became the first Little League in the South to be integrated. See our background story.