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

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New co-working space opens in Roanoke

The Williamson: Coworking Office Space opened Tuesday on Williamson Road in Roanoke. Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, Sr. and Phil North of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors formally cut the ribbon.

The Williamson is an initiative of the The Greater Williamson Road Area Business Association. It was made possible through a 2022 Virginia Statewide Business District Resurgence Grant.  The grant was awarded through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to fund the “Entrepreneurial Support Hub for Businesses on the greater Williamson Road Corridor.” 

Located in Williamson Road Plaza, The Williamson provides private offices, desk hotels and conference room rental. Offices and desk ‘hotels’ can be rented by the day, week, month, or year, while the conference room can be rented by the hour or day. There is also a shared kitchen café and informal huddle areas.

It’s first two long-term tenants are LS Virtual Office and Upward Financial Planning.

LS Virtual Office focuses on providing professional services both virtually and in-person to individuals and business-owner clients, including taxes, notary public services, translation, andinsurance. Founder Ivana Savany says a significant portion of her clientele come from the Hispanic community.

Upward Financial Planning is fee-only financial planning firm that specializes in helping clients plan for retirement by crafting comprehensive financial plans for investments, insurance, tax mitigation, retirement, and estate planning. Daniel Colston is President and CEO.

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Virginia Tech wins new contract for drone studies

Virginia Tech has won its sixth major federal contract to lead research on an increasingly urgent question: How to safely manage drone traffic. 

The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) has been selected to lead one of two teams participating in the Federal Aviation Adminitration’s (FAA) UTM Field Test, a research project designed to evaluate the technology and standards being developed to help safely coordinate and prioritize drone flights as drone activity in the low-altitude airspace ramps up. “UTM” is short for “unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management.”

MAAP is one of seven FAA-designated drone test sites. For this project, it will be teaming up with a sister test site, the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. MAAP, the Texas test site, and eight companies leading the charge on developing technology in this area will collaborate with the FAA and NASA on the project. 

Testing will unfold at four sites: Kentland Farms, a rural test facility outside Blacksburg where MAAP has often conducted complex research flights; suburban Christiansburg; and two sites in urban Corpus Christi. 

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Natural history museum receives grant for science equipment

The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) in Martinsville has received a grant of $37,780.32 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in support of the museum’s Scope it Out! initiative aimed at bolstering the museum’s science education programs and outreach activities. Primarily, the initiative will establish a one-of-a-kind Exploration Lab featuring research-quality microscopy equipment that will foster discovery, problem solving, and critical thinking via eyes-on and hands-on learning opportunities for students of all ages.

At the K-12 level, the lab will primarily be used by VMNH educators for programming targeted at school groups, including homeschool families. VMNH curators will also use the lab to teach groups of high school and college students, as well as citizen scientists, such as participants of the Virginia Master Naturalist program.

Featuring all new, research quality microscopy equipment, the Exploration Lab will consist of 15 student workstations equipped with Leica EZ4 educational stereomicroscopes and three instructor workstations equipped with two Leica EZ4-W and one Leica S9i stereomicroscopes with built-in cameras, Wi-Fi capabilities, monitors, and imaging software. Using the digital capabilities of the EZ4-W and S9i microscopes, students will be able to observe specimens under the instructors’ microscopes, and then repeat the same process at their own workstations. This advanced setup is especially helpful for younger students and students with special needs, who will be more easily able to repeat the actions of instructors in a step-by-step fashion.

“Beyond the desire to implement research-quality equipment, we want to make sure the lab is established in a way that promotes accessibility and provides a learning experience conducive for all age levels and needs,” said Deatherage.

Although the Exploration Lab will be primarily dedicated for educational programming, it will also be accessible to VMNH scientists, visiting researchers, and citizen scientists who are conducting specimen-based research.

The Exploration Lab, which will be located in the research wing of the museum facility, is planned to open during the 2022-23 academic calendar.

To learn more about the museum, including more information about its educational offerings, visit

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The Wall of Valor in Covington. Courtesy of the VFW auxiliary.

Wall of Valor erected at Covington post office

Auxiliary VFW Post 1033 has put up a Wall of Valor at the Covington post office to recognize local World War II veterans. Those honored at present are:

A/1C Raymond Berkley Mays, United States Air Force.  Served July 1, 1954, to September 12, 1957.  He received the National Defense Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

SP4 Gary Brackenridge, US Army.   Served in Vietnam May 11, 1970, to May 1, 1976.

PFC Dillard Gene Earehart, 115th Infantry Division, US Army.  Earehart was part of the D-Day Invasion and was killed in action in St. Lo, France on July 18, 1944 just 21 years old.  He was buried in an American Cemetery in France and was awarded the Purple Heart.

1st Sgt. Joseph Law, US Army.  Served in World War II and Korea.  Law was born June 15, 1915 and passed away on Veterans Day, November 11, 1989.

Cpl. Gilbert P Smith, Jr., US Army.  Served September 7, 1952 to July 26, 1954 in Korea.  Smith received the Korean Service Medal (Bronze Service Star), the United Nations Service Medal, the ROK (Republic of Korea) Presidential Unit Citation and the National Defense Service Medal.

CPL James C Tucker, United States Marine Corp.   Vietnam 1966 to 1968.

PFC Stewart Tucker, US Army.   Vietnam 1965 to 1967.  

Lance Corporal Calvin Eugene Wolfe.   Served June 5, 1968, to February 13, 1970.  Vietnam Combat Service December 24, 1968, to December 12. 1969.

Wall of Valor will continue to change every 3-4 months.   The auxiliary asks people to send pictures of their loved ones to or call 843-496-2664.   The next board will pay tribute to women in the military.