Virginia Western Community College. Courtesy of the school.

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

* * *

Virginia Western sets CCAP enrollment record

A record 630 students are attending Virginia Western Community College tuition-free this fall through the Community College Access Program, the Virginia Western Educational Foundation announced Tuesday.

CCAP, which is funded by a public-private partnership, provides up to three years of tuition for recent high school graduates who meet program requirements. More than 3,872 Roanoke Valley students have participated in the program, which was launched in 2008.

The prior peak of CCAP participants was in fall 2015, with 551 students, the foundation said.

“This 14 percent increase in participation is largely driven by increased funding from our locality partners, which are eager to open doors for more students to receive CCAP support,” Amanda Mansfield, the foundation’s philanthropy director, said in a news release. “We are heartened that they recognize the critical link between Virginia Western students achieving degrees and certificates and building a stronger workforce. Our special acknowledgements go to to Roanoke and Botetourt counties for their dedicated expansion efforts.”

Roanoke Valley high school seniors may apply for CCAP support for fall 2023 by filling out an online application by Feb. 1. In-person and Zoom information sessions will be held through January; registration is required at

* * *

Tina Shipley opened Grain Bin Market LLC, earlier this year. The business is located in an old grain bin shipped in from Kentucky and put together on site. Shipley, second from left, is pictured with her sons, Dalton and Ethan, and husband, Eddie. Courtesy of VCEDA.

VCEDA gives grant to Gate City home decor business

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant to the Grain Bin Market in Gate City.

The business offers home decor items. The Grain Bin projects two full-time employees and five part-time employees within five years, according to VCEDA.

Owner Tina Shipley worked with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College in developing her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Scott County Economic Development Authority.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties and the city of Norton.

* * *

Salem Museum to show historical film

A film about the history of Salem’s 1845 Williams Brown House will premiere next week.

“The Stories Within These Walls” was commissioned by the Salem Museum to share the surprising history of the house, which is the heart of the museum but has been put to a variety of uses in its nearly 150-year life. The film was made possible through the support of the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson Jr. Foundation Trust.

Filmmaker Chloe Shelton will present the film at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10. The talk will be presented in person and on Zoom, although it will not be recorded. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s website,, on the morning of the talk.

Shelton is a storyteller and an award-winning writer/director. She is the recipient of five Regional Student Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as over 80 laurels for her films. She was named the Young Preservationist of the Year for 2020, a statewide honor, by Preservation Virginia for her efforts to bring local history to life through film.

Shelton was also named one of the top “40 Under 40 Community Leaders” of 2021 by Roanoker Magazine.

* * *

Harrisonburg gets SolSmart designation

The city of Harrisonburg received a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Energy. The department partners with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service to serve as a no-cost technical advisor with the program.

Virginia communities interested in the SolSmart designation can find more information via the Virginia Energy website. All municipalities, counties and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program.