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

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Radford gets grant for cyber education

The U.S. Department of Education has announced $1,223,553 in federal funding for Radford University’s Professional Accelerated Cyber Education program. Congress allocated additional funds this past spring to the original $9.9 million pool associated with the U.S. Department of Education Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development grant program.

The grant program is specifically aimed at supporting rural students who face unique economic and social barriers to pursuing education beyond high school according to a release from Radford. The grant also aims to support the development of rural student career pathways aligned with high-skill, high-wage or in-demand occupations, according to Radford The grant duration for these awards is up to 36 months.

“As our economy continues to recover from the pandemic, it’s important that we’re providing educational and job training programs for Virginians in every region of the commonwealth. We’re excited to see that Radford University is receiving significant federal funding to develop a high-quality cybersecurity program that will prepare students for 21st-century jobs and help us build a strong and safe economy,” said Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner, both D-Virginia, in a joint statement.

“This funding fits strategically for the university, the Vinod Chachra IMPACT Lab and our partners who will be supporting us in this effort,” said Angela Joyner, Ph.D., interim chief of staff for Radford University in a statement. “This is a great opportunity to align this work with university, state and workforce initiatives and build pipelines in high-demand areas for the future.”

Matt Dunleavy, Ph.D., executive director of the IMPACT Lab, is the primary investigator for the grant.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said in a statement: “Increasing educational opportunities will open up doors for the young people of our region and make it more attractive to employers. Cybersecurity promises to be a critical sector, and this grant will help reach more students who can develop skills in this area. I congratulate Radford on earning this grant, which demonstrates the university’s value as an educational institution and economic asset.”

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Appalachian again warns of rising waters downstream from dams

With the potential for high temperatures this week, the PJM power grid 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.

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 21, and continue to fluctuate throughout the week.

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Bluefield University names new provost

Michael Salmeier. Courtesy of Bluefield University.

Bluefield University President David Olive has announced the  appointment of BU’s next Provost, Dr. Michael Salmeier.  

Salmeier is a scholar, author, administrator, and professor. He completed his  undergraduate work in Bible Theology at Life Pacific University, obtained his master’s  degree in New Testament and Theology from Biola University, and holds a Master of  Studies in Theology and a Doctorate in Theology from the University of Oxford (UK).  

He comes to BU following the retirement of Provost Dr. Marshall Flowers, who  has served at Bluefield University since 2015. 

Salmeier has taught for over 20 years at Life Pacific University, Asia Life University,  Azusa Pacific University, and Biola University. He has also served as Vice President for  Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer for over 13 years at Life Pacific University in California.

Salmeier is the author of Restoring the Kingdom: The Role of God as the ‘Ordainer  of Times and Seasons’ in the Acts of the Apostles, which explores Luke’s  characterization of God.

He will take office August 1.

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Smith Mountain Lake Center announces first board members.

The Smith Mountain Lake Center has announced seven of its inaugural board of 14 members. The board’s goal is to purchase and renovate the 40,000-square-foot former Grand Home Furnishings showroom at Westlake Corner into a community center.

Vicki Gardner, President of the Board. She served as Executive Director at the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce for 17 years.

Jack Phillips is a retired engineer who has lived at the lake operating Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast for the past 10 years.

Trish England is a retired architect who moved withher late husband moved from Delaware to the Smith Mountain Lake in 2007. Over the years she has been a member of various lake organizations, including the American Association of University Women, 100+ Women Who Care and the SheDoos. As an architect, she principally designed minor league baseball stadiums. When she became aware of plans to develop a community center, England contacted the Board to offer pro bono services for preliminary design and cost estimating.

Kathy Hodges is the Executive Director of Workforce Development for Franklin County.

Jerry Hale ia a retired marketing executive who vacationed at SML for 18 years before moving here full time in 2003. He was involved in planning and coordinating scores of activities as part of SML’s 50th anniversary in 2016.

James Tarantino moved from New England to Smith Mountain Lake in 1997 with his late wife Michele; he previously worked in radio broadcasting and software development.

Matt Karris lived in Manhattan for most of his life, where he was an award-winning musical theater director for more than 30 years.

The rest of the board will be announced later.