SWVA Biochar logo.
SWVA Biochar logo.

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

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Floyd County manufacturer to expand

SWVA Biochar in Floyd County will expand its facility, creating 15 new jobs, according to a release from Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

The company makes biochar, a highly absorbent, specially produced charcoal with unique properties originally used as a soil amendment and is thought to be the key component in a carbon-negative strategy to resolve several current ecological challenges, according to the governor’s office. The expansion will add new equipment, including several new kilns.

The company was founded in 2021.

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State bonds on former Central Virginia Training Center now paid off

The state bonds for the former Central Virginia Training Center in Amherst County have now been fully paid off, or “defeased,” according to state Sen. Steve Newman, R-Bedford County. The action paves the way for the property to be sold. The shuttered site is considered a prime development opportunity.

Newman pushed for the state budget this year to include $25 million to pay off the bonds. In a statement, he said he hoped the bonds would be paid off in 2023 but that “the Youngkin Administration worked with Wall Street to dramatically move up this timeline.”

Newman also said: “Today is an exciting day for the entire Central Virginia region! The retirement of all state debt associated with the CVTC property enables us to proceed with important next steps to see the 350 acres of beautiful land on the James River redeveloped and revitalized a full 14 years ahead of schedule.”

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Two food distributions in Danville

Danville Community College will partner with Tyson Foods to give away 40,000 pounds of chicken products, or the equivalent of 160,000 meals, to participants, on Dec. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

There are no eligibility requirements and food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until supplies run out.

On December 21, Danville Community College (DCC), in partnership with Salem-based food bank Feeding Southwest Virginia, will be hosting a pop-up food distribution event from 1 – 3 p.m. For two hours, volunteers from DCC, the City of Danville, and PATHS, Inc. will load participant cars with ‘Holiday Boxes’ filled with shelf-stable food staples at no cost.

The Pop-up Food Distribution event will take place in the Temple Building parking lot on Bonner Avenue on the DCC Campus. All Virginia residents are eligible to participate with no ID or income requirements. Food boxes will be distributed to participants on a first-come, first-served basis until supplies are depleted. The line-up for food distribution will begin at 12 p.m.

For more information about these events, call 434-797-8429.

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Mill Mountain Theatre extends suspension of show due to COVID

Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke has extended the suspension of its production of “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” through Dec. 18 due to COVID cases among cast and crew. Earlier the closures ran through Friday, Dec. 16.

Mill Mountain Theatre is offering three options to our audience members. Patrons can transfer tickets to another performance of possible upcoming “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” performances, transfer tickets to any MainStage show in 2023, or give their tickets as a tax-deductible donation to Mill Mountain Theatre in exchange for a full refund. Contact the box office at 540-342-5740. 

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Speakers named for ceremonies at state veterans cemeteries

Speakers have been named for the wreath-laying ceremonies at Virginia’s three state veterans cemeteries on Dec. 17.

The speakers are:

Suffolk, 9:30 a.m. – Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and former Navy SEAL Jason Redman

Amelia, noon – Major General Timothy Williams, Virginia Adjutant General

Dublin, 1 p.m. – Daniel Gade, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Veterans Services

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Montgomery Museum of Art and History to create emerging leaders advisitory board

The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is creating an Emerging Leaders Advisory Board with a goal of “enhancing the accessibility, involvement, and engagement of young adults,” according to a statement from the museum.

The board will meet monthly, approximately one to two hours. For more information, contact Executive Director, Casey Jenkins at director@montgomerymuseum.org or Board Member, Leo Priddy at lnpriddy@vt.edu.

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Blue Ridge Institute to host Christmas event

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College will host its sixth annual “Christmas at the Farm” event on Fri., Dec. 16, from 4–7pm at the Farm Museum.

Visitors will find homemade cookies and cider; holiday shopping with a variety of vendors at the pavilion; and tours of the farmhouse, which will be lit with lanterns for the holidays. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit blueridgeinstitute.org, email bri@ferrum.edu, or call 540-365-4416.

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Rockbridge Community Table to host entire community Dec. 19

The Rockbridge Community Table will offer a free holiday meal to the entire community on December 19 at 6 p.m. at the Piovana Building in Lexington. TCT is open for indoor dining and invites the community to sit and enjoy their meal in person. TCT will also offer a drive-thru option for those interested. 

Blue Ridge Brass will serenade the diners.  

The menu will include the following: 

Christmas flank steak with a red wine sherry demi glace

Sauteed carrots, broccoli, and squash

Rosemary roast potatoes 

Fruited salad 


Following the holiday meal, TCT will be closed on the ensuing days:

Monday, December 26

Monday, January 2

Wednesday, December 21

Wednesday, December 28

Wednesday, January 4

Friday, December 23

Friday, December 30

Friday, January 6

TCT serves approximately 200 meals a week, from food that may be sourced from Blue Ridge Area Food BankRockbridge Area Relief AssociationCampus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, and other area donors.