The logo for the event. Courtesy of Branch Group.

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

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Roanoke company to host construction event for girls Oct. 22

The Branch Group will hold an inaugural G.I.R.L. (Girls in Real Life) Construction Experience, at its headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia, on Saturday, October 22, 2022. The free event will be held from 10 AM to 2 PM and is open to pre-registered girls ages 5 to 18.

This event, hosted by the Branch Group and the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline, and supported by other construction partners and contractors, will offer real-life, kid-friendly experiences covering all facets of construction.

“By the time girls enter high school, less than 12% will consider a career in STEM. It is important that girls are exposed to every aspect of construction, science, technology, engineering, and math as early as possible,” said Nikki Williams, CEO for Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council in a statement. “At Girl Scouts, STEM is one of the four program pillars upon which all programming is based. Because we know that, when given the opportunity, girls thrive in these areas, which they’re often not encouraged to explore outside Girl Scouts. 77% of Girl Scouts say that their Girl Scout experience has prompted them to consider a career in technology, which is considerably higher than the national average for non-Girl Scouts. If we want to close the gender gap in construction and STEM fields, we must ensure that all girls have access to high-quality construction and STEM learning experiences. Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline is proud to partner with Branch Group, and we are thrilled to support the efforts for girls to expand their learning in the construction field,”

Some events girls will be able to experience include the Girl Scouts’ Mobile STEM Center, excavator tennis, BIM (Building Information Modeling) constructability, soldering, surveying and measuring, design, and safety demonstrations. Roanoke and Salem city schools will be in attendance to talk to parents about programs and courses available to their kids.

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Community Foundation of the New River Valley makes grant catalog available

For the third consecutive year, the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) is offering its online Grant Catalog for the public to assist with the foundation’s Responsive Grants process. Each year, the foundation has enough money available to fund approximately half of the requests received, so the Grant Catalog serves as a way for community members to engage in the process by making donations that help provide larger grants to more organizations.

The foundation’s Responsive Grant application invites any nonprofit and unit of government (such as a library) serving the New River Valley to apply for up to $4,000 in operating support, which is unrestricted funding that enables an organization to address ongoing or pressing needs. The CFNRV has dozens of funds set up by donors that are available to issue full or partial Responsive Grants to these organizations. In the areas where the foundation runs out of funding, the team opens the Grant Catalog to encourage the public to learn more about these important organizations and encourages them to contribute to the overall funding organizations will receive this year.

The Grant Catalog will be open until Monday, October 31. Community members can visit to read more about each organization, view how much money has been awarded so far to each organization, and make a secure, online contribution to their favorite organization.

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Historic Roanoke cemetery to hold walking tour Oct. 9

Roanoke’s Evergreen Burial Park will hold a free walking tour of Roanoke’s oldest cemetery on Sunday, October 9th. Their stories tell the history of Virginia, Roanoke, and America, all unfolding in the 17th annual guided Walking Tour of Roanoke’s oldest cemetery. The tour begins at 2 p.m.

This year the tour will feature Sam Winkler portraying Tipton Fishburn, a pioneer citizen who helped organize National Exchange Bank and Roanoke Memorial Hospital in addition to being part of the investor group that helped bring the railroad to Roanoke. Doug Camper will portray Captain Robert Henry Day, Evergreen’s sole Union soldier and founder of Roanoke’s streetcar system in the late 1800s. Kyle Inman will portray Herbert Davies, who spent his career with Virginia Bridge and Iron, which later became part of US Steel, of which he was vice president.

Others buried in the cemetery include former Governor J. Lindsay Almond; World War II flying ace, Bill Overstreet; and Martha Anne Woodrum Zillhardt, Virginia’s first instrument-rated female aviator, founder of Woodrum Flying Service, and first woman president of the Virginia Aviation Trade Council; Carter Burgess, who served as Secretary of the General Staff to European Commander Dwight Eisenhower, was selected to hand deliver the D-Day plans to France’s Charles DeGaulle, and after the War served in a leading staff position at the San Francisco conference that established the United Nations.

 The tour begins at the cemetery offices at 1307 Summit Avenue SW, in the city’s Wasena section.