The Harvest Foundation logo.
The Harvest Foundation logo.

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

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Mental health services to expand in Martinsville and Henry County

The Harvest Foundation has made a $685,993 grant to the Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness to grow its telepsychiatry program.

Disclosure: The Harvest Foundation is one of our donors, but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.

Telepsychiatry comes to Martinsville-Henry County as the need for access to psychiatric care has dramatically increased, largely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation said in a statement.

“This expansion of telehealth services results in strong, trusted systems that everyone can access for healthcare services, regardless of their financial situation or other barriers they may have,” Sheryl Agee, senior operating officer at The Harvest Foundation, said in a statement. “It also further increases the network of high-quality professionals available to our community. It’s especially important as we, unfortunately, live in a culture where often a negative stigma is attached to mental health symptoms and services, which hinder people from seeking the care they need. By integrating behavioral health services into a system that already provides a variety of healthcare services, patients can feel more at ease when accessing any care they may need.”

The use of telehealth has increased substantially in recent years and accelerated rapidly with the COVID-19 pandemic, said Marcus Stone, executive director of the MHC Coalition for Health and Wellness in a statement.

“In rural communities like ours, where there are fewer behavioral health providers, telehealth can connect patients with providers in other locations,” Stone said. “This not only increases access to behavioral healthcare services, but it can also increase their privacy and protect their anonymity.”

The foundation said this investment supports its strategic plan priority of developing a vibrant community by building a strong healthcare safety net system and expanding behavioral health services for Martinsville-Henry County residents.

To find out more about telepsychiatry at the MHC Coalition for Health and Wellness, visit or call  (276) 629-1076 (Bassett Family Practice); (276) 956-2233 (Ridgeway Family Health) or email

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Appalachian Regional Commission awards grant for broadband in Carroll County

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $582,479 to Carroll County for a broadband project, according to release from U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia.

The Pipers Gap Fiber Project will install 8.2 miles of fiber to expand wireless broadband and fiber to expand access to 402 households that currently do not have high-speed internet.

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VCEDA awards grant for dance company in Russell County

Jasmine Adams. Courtesy of VCEDA.

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has given a $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant to Elite Motion Dance Company, Inc., in Lebanon.

The business projects three full-time employees and five part-time employees within five years, said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel in a statement.

The business is owned by Jasmine Adams. She currently has as many as 60 regular students who range in age from six months to 18 years and just recently started an adult fitness and conditioning group. Additionally, she manages a competitive dance team, which competes March to May in several age divisions. Training for the competitive teams, however, she said, is a year-round initiative.

Adams worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in developing her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Russell County Industrial 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.

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Finalists in Bristol Casino pitch competition announced

Virginia Community Capital and the Hard Rock Casino Bristol have announced ten finalists in the final round of the SWVA Regional Bristol Casino Pitch Contest. Finalists include: 

▪ Alpha Lit – Washington County 

▪ Anne Vaughan Designs – Floyd County 

▪ Beagle Ridge – Wythe County 

▪ Clinch Life Outfitters – Wise County 

▪ Clinch Valley Printing – Tazewell County 

▪ Rising Sun Breads – Henry County 

▪ Stormbrew Farm – Washington County 

▪ The Orange Bandana – Montgomery County 

▪ The Pakalachian Truck – Washington County 

▪ Virginia Mountain Vineyards – Botetourt County 

An awards ceremony will be held in partnership with the Virginia Small Business Administration, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator, and the SWVA Small Business Development Centers. The ceremony and reception will be hosted by the Hard Rock Casino in Bristol. Judges and community partners will view the three-minute pitch videos of the applicants and five winners will be selected to receive $10,000 each towards business expenses.  

All applicants that entered the pitch contest will be considered to become vendors at the casino. Winners of the contest will be announced December 8.