This photo from September shows work at the 200-acre Pure Salmon site in Tazewell and Russell counties. Project manager Paul Inskeep said he expects that 500,000 to 750,000 square feet will be under roof by the time the facility opens. The company expects to start hiring in 2023. Courtesy of Pure Salmon.

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

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ARC awards $2 million for water projects in Southwest

The Appalachian Regional Commission has $2,067,003 in federal funding for three projects to improve water service in Southwest Virginia, according to a release from U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virignia. The biggest award is $1 million related to the salmon farm under construction on the Russell County-Tazewell County line. For background on that project, see our story “A project of faith takes shape in the coalfields.

The funding is broken down as follows:

1.       $1,000,000 for the Project Jonah Water and Sewer Improvements to provide water and sewer service improvements in Tazewell.

2.       $525,000 for the Upper Clip Mountain – Phase II Water Project to extend public water service in unserved areas in Scott County.

3.       $542,003 for the Ocoonita – Miller Smyth Chapel Interconnect Project to connect two separate water supply systems in order to provide greater reliability of water supply in Lee County.

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Virginia Museum of Natural History receives $25,000 grant for festivals

The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville has received a $25,000 grant from the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust in support of the 2022-23 Virginia Museum of Natural History Science Outreach Initiative.

Through the initiative, the museum will implement a series of festivals and exhibits that provide educational science-based experiences for regional, statewide and national audiences.  Festivals and exhibits that are part of the initiative include:

Bonez & Booz Festival

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, the museum will host its first-ever Bonez & Booz festival, merging science with fantasy. The event will include special bone and fossil displays presented by museum scientists, along with Halloween-themed entertainment offerings ranging from fire performances to magic shows.

Reptile Festival

On April 21 and 22, 2023, the museum will offer a special event focusing on the reptile life that resides in Virginia and beyond. The event will feature numerous live animals, specimens from the museum’s scientific collections, and will serve as a celebration of the museum’s upcoming herpetology research program that is set to launch in Fall 2022.

Dino Festival

The museum’s annual 2-day dinosaur extravaganza will take place July 21 and 22, 2023 and will feature life size-cast skeletons of some of the most iconic dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, a wide variety of dinosaur fossils presented by renowned paleontologists, as well as dinosaur-themed activities and crafts led by museum educators.

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas

From February 11, 2023 through January 20, 2024, the museum will host an immersive traveling exhibit curated by the American Museum of Natural History that showcases the world of modern paleontology. The exhibit provides a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them, while exhibiting how advanced technologies allow scientists to look at fossils in fresh ways.”

The Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust has been a long-time supporter of the museum, including supporting the museum’s first Science Outreach Initiative that was introduced in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about the museum and its programming, visit

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Roanoke book store to read banned books on Saturday

The Roanoke book store Book No Further will host a day of “Reading Dangerously” on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11 am – 4 pm to commemorate Banned Book Week. Selections, read by community volunteers, will include classics such as Charlotte’s WebFahrenheit 451 and When Aiden Became a Brother, which was recently pulled from the shelf at Roanoke County’s Herman L Horn Elementary School.

“One of the most important roles of a bookstore is advocating and facilitating the flow of ideas in our community,” said Doloris Vest, Book No Further co-owner iin a statement. “We are willing to do whatever we can to bring to light these efforts, especially local efforts, to censor ideas or suppress freedom of expression where we can.”

The readings will occur on the hour and half-hour throughout the day.

For more information, call 540-206-2505. The store is located at 112 Market St SE. Roanoke 24011.

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Jeanne Bollendorf . Courtesy of VCT.

Virginia Children’s Theatre names Bollendorf as managing director

Virginia Children’s Theatre has named Jeanne M. Bollendorf as managing director. She has served as the Director of Development with the Roanoke-based VCT since 2017. 

The newly created position “will help to define and execute the theatre’s strategic direction and ensure VCT’s continued excellence, both artistically and financially,” according to a release from VCT. Bollendorf, who will report to producing artistic director Brett Roden, will oversee finance, operations, marketing, development and fundraising, and human resources as Managing Director. 

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The Great Bedford Valley Road Ride brings 100 cyclists to region this weekend

Drivers in the Bedford area will need to be cautious on Saturday, Sept. 24, as 100 cyclists participate in The Great Bedford Valley Road Ride.

All routes start and end at Falling Creek Park (1257 County Farm Road, Bedford). Four of the five routes will launch at 7:30 a.m. The fifth and shortest route will launch at 8:30 a.m. Bedford CenterFest is also underway on Saturday in Downtown Bedford, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Most cyclists will have completed their routes by approximately 3 p.m. However, there may still be some cyclists on the roads into the early evening hours. The Great Bedford Valley Road Ride is a Gran Fondo, which is a large group ride that is not a race or competition.

There are three stops on this route that cyclists will visit to refuel. They are located at Gross Orchard (6808 Wheats Valley Road, Bedford), Chamblissburg Baptist Church (9226 Stewartsville Road, Moneta), and Pecks Baptist Church (1020 Pecks Road, Bedford).

Destination Bedford, Bedford County’s tourism department, is the presenting sponsor for The Great Bedford Valley Road Ride.

For detailed maps showing the five ride routes, check out The Great Bedford Valley Road Ride’s website.