Colby Farmer, Blockchain Lead & freshman at Mountain Empire Community College, Ally Connell, Deputy Clerk, Photo courtesy of Wise County.

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

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Applachian Regional Commission awards grant for Wise County records project

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $100,000 for the Wise County & City of Norton Records Workforce Development Project.

This funding, awarded to the Wise County Clerk of the Circuit, will be used to support recruiting, mentoring, career counseling, and job training of 24 high school graduates and college students over 14 months. In partnership with the United Way of Southwest Virginia, Mountain Empire Community College, and University of Virginia-Wise, the program will train students in land record abstraction and provide them with internships in the County Clerks and Land Records Office.

The grant was announced by Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virginia.

For background on this project, see our previous story: “Wise County may be first in nation with blockchain project.

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GO Virginia grants announced; one for computer science entrepreneurs in Roanoke and New River valleys

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced more than $1.2 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards for four projects focused on workforce development initiatives.

The projects are:

Accelerate  2023/2024 | $532,269
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William
George Mason University will advance Northern Virginia as a world-renowned center of excellence for innovative emerging technologies by holding a competition and showcase of the top tech companies in Virginia, benefiting the region and promoting economic growth. This project will create 100 new jobs, engage 80-120 entrepreneurs and raise $50 million in total capital.

Tech Talent Retention | $307,800
Region 9: Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Louisa, Madison and Nelson, and the city of Charlottesville
The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, in concert with various regional partners, will retain college graduates to launch their careers within the Central Virginia region by creating a talent pipeline for higher-paying jobs in Region 9’s targeted technology fields. Student ambassadors will raise awareness about local businesses and educate stakeholders about what students are looking for in choosing their careers. This project will create or retain 55 jobs, in addition to serving 100 businesses. 

Carver Food Business Incubator | $199,727
Region 9: Counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Orange and Rappahannock, and the town of Culpeper 
Culpeper County will complete a community kitchen by providing crucial specialized equipment, addressing the needs of businesses by adding value to local produce and preparing products for the interstate market. This project will create 93 new jobs, serve 68 businesses, release 35 new products to market and increase sales by 15%.

CS/root | $175,000
Region 2: Counties of Botetourt and Pulaski, and the city of Roanoke
The Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Office of Research and Innovation, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center and the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), will create a platform for computer science focused on entrepreneurship in the New River and Roanoke valleys. This project will stimulate startups in the pre-launch phase and intends to create four new businesses and 24 jobs, as well as engage 200 entrepreneurs and 40 mentors.

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Film on murdered Black politician to be presented in South Boston

On Thursday, October 13, at 6:30 p.m., The Prizery and One Community Halifax will present “154 Years: The Joseph Holmes Story,” a film by Will Johnson and Henry Basilica. This event is made possible by donations from Hitachi Energy and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Holmes, a former slave, was elected to represent Halifax and Charlotte counties at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1867-1868. For his stand on civil rights and education for all, he was murdered on the Charlotte County courthouse steps. (See our previous story, “Charlotte County remembers Black politician who was murdered on courthouse steps.“)

Johnson and Basilica filmed the short documentary for a senior class project at Longwood University. The film recounts Holmes’ story and features interviews with Charlotte County historian and archaeologist Kathy Liston, local educator and activist Monique Williams, retired educator Alex Haskins, and Holmes descendant Lisa Henderson. 

Following a showing of Johnson and Basilica’s film, there will be a panel discussion and audience Q & A.  Noted historian Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, the Endowed Professor of Virginia Black History and Culture at Norfolk State University, will be a featured panelist. 

The “154 Years: The Joseph Holmes Story” event is free and open to the public. The Prizery is located at 700 Bruce Street, South Boston, VA 24592.  For more information, please call The Prizery at (434) 572-8339.

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Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge presents travel film Oct. 1.

The Historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge is presenting a series of travelogue films. The first will be “The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” on Saturday, October 1, at 2:00 p.m.  The film was shot and produced by travel artist Rick Ray and he will be acting as guide in the auditorium narrating the film.

“The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” tickets may be ordered online at or you may pick up a ticket prior to the film.  The event is a Pay-What-You-Will event where you may pay whatever you feel is appropriate for admission. If ordering online, choose  “The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” event and click “donate” to secure your ticket.

For more information about The Historic Masonic Theatre’s fall season, please visit the Theatre website or Facebook page.