The logo for the fishing tournament. Courtesy of New River CC.

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New River holds ACCE Bass Fishing Tournament Fundraiser 

New River Community College Educational Foundation is hosting the 2022 Big ACCE Bass Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 15 to support Access to Community College Education (ACCE) at NRCC for Pulaski County students. 

The fishing tournament will be held at Claytor Lake State Park with launch at 7:30 a.m. or first safe light.  Registrants must check in at the state park boat launch site the morning of the tournament, prior to the start. Weigh-in will be held at 3 p.m. 

Tournament registration fee is $100, with a 70 percent payback. Participants will be judged based on the weight of five total fish (including small, large, and spotted bass). An additional prize of $500 will also be awarded for the biggest largemouth and smallmouth bass. 

Onsite registration will begin at 6 a.m. on the tournament day, and online registration is available now through Oct. 13 at Paper registration forms are also available at Conrad Brothers Marine through October 14.  

Please note that parking at Claytor Lake State Park requires a $7 parking fee and $2 boat launch fee. 

Sponsors for the 2022 tournament include Conrad Brothers Marine, Claytor Lake State Park, and Edward Jones Investments, Andy Owens.

All proceeds from the event support student tuition at NRCC through the ACCE program.  For more information about the tournament, contact the NRCC Educational Foundation at (540)74-3600, ext. 4516 or email Erika Tolbert  

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Wytheville Community College to Host Literary Reading and Birdwatching Discussion

Wytheville Community College and Wytheville Chautauqua Festival Creative Writing Committee will host a reading and discussion, “Birding in Literature and at Rural Retreat Lake” on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at 7 p.m. in the Smyth Hall Learning Resource Center (library) at Wytheville Community College, 1000 East Main Street, Wytheville. 

Speakers for the event are Jim Minick, a local author, essayist, and poet; and Allen Boynton, a retired wildlife biologist who has researched the songbirds of Rural Retreat Lake. 

Jim Minick lives in Wythe County and is the author of six books, the most recent, Fire Is Your Water, a novel. The Blueberry Years, his memoir, won the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His poem “I Dream a Bean” was picked by Claudia Emerson for permanent display at the Tysons Corner/Metrorail Station. His work has appeared in many publications including the New York Times, Poets & Writers, Tampa Review, Shenandoah, Orion, Oxford American, and The Sun. His newest book is Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas, a nonfiction work forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in 2023.

Allen Boynton is a retired wildlife biologist living in Troutdale. Allen worked for 39 years with both the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. He is an avid birdwatcher and also enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and nature study. 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Deanna Bradberry, Public Relations and Development Coordinator, Wytheville Community College, at 276-223-4880 or email

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Mountain Empire holds Appalachian crafts festival Oct. 21-23

Mountain Empire Community College will host the college’s annual Home Craft Days Festival, October 21-23, featuring the unique music, crafts, food, and artistry of the Appalachian region.

The 51st Home Craft Days Festival will feature two full days of concerts, craft vendors, and demonstrations of weaving, pottery making, grist milling, wood crafting, basket weaving, broom making, quilting, tatting and more. A special free Friday night concert, with opening reception, will also be held.

Heading this year’s Friday night concert are Tommy Bledsoe, Rich Kirby, Tyler Hughes, and Todd Meade; the New River Railsplitters, and Tim O’Brien with Jan Fabricius. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. in MECC’s Phillips-Taylor Hall Goodloe Center.  Guests are invited to join us for free Dough & Joe and Kettlecorn while supplies last from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Back Draft Bar-B-Q will also offer a paid dinner option for guests. Mountain Rose Vineyard’s wine selections will also be available as a paid beverage option.

According to festival coordinator Lee Davis, “This year’s festival should be more exciting than ever. We have several new vendors in all three areas – crafts, food, and demonstrations. The staff at MECC love seeing our community come out to enjoy the music, food, & crafts.”

Craft and food vendors will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday only. Saturday’s music schedule includes featured performers: Todd Meade and Family, Tommy & Ben, John Haywood, Empty Bottle String Band with the Center Stage Cloggers, Sarah Kate Morgan, Town Branch Bluegrass, Four State Ramblers, Scott County Boys, Whitetop Mountain Band with Center Stage Cloggers, Bill and the Belles, Square Dance with The Crooked Road Ramblers, Trinity Valley Travelers, Wise County JAM, Trevor McKenzie, Rita Quillen, Joy Branham, Hillbilly Hippies, Joy Blair, Roxanne McDaniels, Richard Hood, Rose and Vine, Danny Whited and Friends of Bluegrass, The White Brothers, and Carol Moore. 

Sunday’s performers include: Rich Kirby & Nate Polly, Blue Ridge Girls, Oscar Harris, Gap Civil, Siegan, George Reynolds, Angie DeBord, Smith Family Singers, Appalachian Trail, MECC String Band, Mountain Melody School, Brandon Maggard, Richard Phillips, The Childress Girls, Travis Kern, Sulphuric Springs String Dippers, and Kelsey Rae Copeland.

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MECC Foundation to Host 50th Anniversary Gala Oct. 22

Big Stone Gap — The Mountain Empire Community College Foundation will host the MECC 50th Anniversary Gala on Saturday evening, October 22, 2022, at Mountain Empire Community College.

The gala is black tie optional and proceeds from the event will go towards the 50th Anniversary Fund supporting scholarships, infrastructure and unrestricted needs.

The evening will begin with a reception in the Slemp Commons of Phillips-Taylor Hall at 6:30 p.m., followed by a dinner in the Goodloe Center at 6:45 p.m. A short recognition program will follow dinner, and musical entertainment by John McCutcheon will top off the evening.

Tickets for the event are $50 each and can be ordered online at or by contacting MECC Foundation Annual Fund Coordinator Megan Gibson at 276.523.9078 or by email at