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

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Health district advises people in Danville to keep their cats on the property

The Pittsylvania-Danville Health District is advising the public residing near the Walmart on Mount Cross Road to keep their domestic cats contained within their property as efforts will be taken to corral a group of feral cats that may have had contact with a rabid fox.

Last weekend, the public was advised a rabid fox, roaming in the vicinity of Mount Cross Road and Tyler Avenue in Danville, had bitten at least two individuals. Anyone who may have been in contact with the fox or any other animal near Walmart on Mount Cross Road or near Tyler Avenue should contact the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District at (434) 776-9800.

As a public health precaution, local animal control officers in collaboration with the Danville Police Department will be attempting to capture those cats in an effort to prevent further spread of rabies. Traps will be strategically placed in areas where the feral cats have been reported for the next three weeks. Cats that are captured will be temporarily held for 10 days at the Danville Area Humane Society.

Due to this trapping period, domestic cats that are not contained by their owners may inadvertently find the traps where they will then be transported to the local animal shelter. If any residents find they may be missing their pet, they are encouraged to contact the Danville Area Humane Society at (434) 799-5306.   

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal.  Any person or family pet bitten or scratched by an animal should be reported to the local health department in order to determine any risk of rabies exposure and to receive recommendations for medical care.

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Five airports receive federal funding

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, have announced a total of $5,511,125 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for five regional airports in Virginia.

The funding is distributed as follows:

·         $4,555,463 for Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise for the final phase of rehabilitating runway lighting.

·         $450,090 for Chesapeake Regional Airport in Chesapeake for the removal of non-hazard obstructions in order to comply with FAA standards.

·         $216,688 for Blue Ridge Airport near Martinsville for the final phase of expanding the existing terminal apron to accommodate increased use.

·         $178,200 for Freeman Field in Louisa County, for the construction of new taxiways.

·         $110,684 for William M Tuck Airport in Halifax County for replacing path indicators, end identifier lights, and runway lighting systems.

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Appalachian Power to issue RFP for battery storage

Appalachian Power says it is moving forward with plans to incorporate battery storage to improve electric service reliability and help meet clean energy requirements under the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act.

The utility says it will issue a  formal request for proposals from battery energy storage system manufacturers on Monday. The company is seeking three systems totaling 7.5 megawatts for installation on the rural Glade-Whitetop circuit that provides power for customers in Washington County.

Battery storage systems work by filling the gap when the normal flow of electricity is interrupted for reasons such as lightning or fallen trees, Appalachian says. Outages will still occur, but with battery storage customers on the Glade-Whitetop circuit will experience fewer interruptions.

“Reducing the frequency and duration of outages in heavily forested, remote areas is a challenge,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer, in a statement. “Deploying technology is one way to improve reliability, while also meeting our goals under the Virginia Clean Economy Act to add a mix of renewables and battery storage to our energy portfolio.” The VCEA requires Appalachian Power provide 100 percent carbon-free energy in its Virginia service territory by 2050.

Proposals must be submitted by October1, 2022. Businesses seeking to submit a proposal can access criteria, required forms, and other specifics online at

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BWX names new president for Lynchburg operations

BWX Technologies, Inc. has appointed Sharon H. Smoot as president of BWXT’s Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. in Lynchburg, according to a release from Campbell County’s economic development office. In this role, she will have full responsibility for the group’s mission to provide a complete range of nuclear components and services, including the manufacture of nuclear reactor components for U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers and other nuclear and non-nuclear R&D and component production.

Smoot devoted more than 30 years of her civilian career to the U.S. Navy, including her final senior executive service assignment as executive director for logistics, maintenance and industrial operations for the Naval Sea Systems Command. She also held positions of increasing responsibility in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Throughout her career, Smoot earned numerous awards and honors, including the Department of the Navy Civilian Distinguished Service Award, NAVSEA Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Presidential Rank Award. She holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.

Smoot succeeds Joel W. Duling, who is retiring from BWXT. Smoot will begin her new role at BWXT on August 1, 2022.

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Richmond Fed president to speak in Lexington

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President and CEO Tom Barkin will speak to a breakfast meeting of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce on August 5. The price is $25 a ticket. RSVP is suggested. You can register here.