Volunteers replaced the sign at the Dragon's Tooth trailhead this month. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Women’s volunteer crew completes Dragon’s Tooth sign project

The U.S. Forest Service partnered this month with the Appalachian Conservation Corps to lead a group of young women volunteers to complete a sign replacement project in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

The group traveled from Roanoke’s GO Fest to the Dragon’s Tooth trailhead and parking lot, where they worked alongside staff to install a new entrance sign, according to a news release. The Virginia Environmental Endowment funded this crew.

Funding for the sign replacement was provided through the Great American Outdoors Act.

Earlier this year, the Forest Service also announced a partnership with Appalachian Conservation Corps and the Virginia Environmental Endowment to employ young women in the Roanoke area on a summer conservation crew.

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Roanoke chamber announces small business award winners

The Roanoke Regional Chamber this week named Chris’s Coffee & Custard its 2022 Small Business Inspiration Award winner.

Beth Woodrum and her son, Chris Woodrum, opened the Roanoke cafe in spring 2021. It employs a number of young adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, including Chris, who has Down syndrome.

Joyce Waugh, president and CEO of the chamber, said Chris’s was the unanimous choice for the award.

“The Inspiration Award was created to recognize small businesses with exceptional stories. Stories that motivate us to try harder, to do better, to be better. Stories that show how one of the best ways to overcome whatever life throws your way is to have a positive mindset,” Waugh said in a news release.

The chamber also presented these awards Thursday night:

  • 2022 Nonprofit People’s Choice Award: Good Samaritan Hospice
  • 2022 For-profit People’s Choice Award: Olde Salem Brewing Co.
  • 2022 Best New Small Business: Oya Construction

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Mary Baldwin launches nursing anesthesiology program

Mary Baldwin College has launched a new nursing anesthesiology program with a cohort of 25 students, the school announced this week.

The program is one of three in Virginia and about 120 in the nation, according to Mary Baldwin. The school received more than 100 applications within a few weeks of its official launch.

Founding program director Johanna Newman cited a “major shortage” of nurse anesthetists and said graduates of the program will be in high demand. She has developed partnerships with hospital systems in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina that will provide medical experience and a pipeline for jobs, the release said. 

The school plans to expand the program’s annual cohort to about 35 and hire two more professors within the next year or so.

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Community square dance coming to Bristol

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol is hosting a community square dance Nov. 4.

The event will start at 7 p.m. and will be held in the museum’s special events gallery. It’s free, but an online RSVP is required.

Caller Tyler Hughes will lead the evening. No partner or previous dancing experience is necessary. Participants are asked to wear comfortable, sturdy dancing shoes — no heels, please, to protect the gallery floor.