U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. Courtesy of Warner.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner. Courtesy of Warner.

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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Warner urges Virginians to doublecheck the FCC’s broadband coverage map

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission released a new map with their best estimates of broadband coverage across the country. Now U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, is urging Virginians to review the FCC map to ensure it accurately reflects the current broadband options available at their address. Funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be allocated to states proportionally based on the number of individuals living in each state who do not have access to high-speed internet.

“If Virginians disagree with the information in the map, they should challenge the map through the FCC website,” a statement from Warner’s office said. “While challenges will be accepted on a rolling basis, Virginians must submit their challenges by January 13, 2023 to ensure that it is adjudicated prior to the allocation of IIJA funding.”

“There are folks all over rural Virginia who know that the FCC broadband map isn’t always accurate,” Warner said in a statement. Now is the time to make sure that the FCC is using the best data available, he said, “so Virginia can get the investments to which it is entitled and achieve the goal of universal broadband access.”

In an email sent to constituents, Warner asked households to look up their address on the FCC Broadband Map website and make sure that the information available matches their broadband experience. If the FCC has incorrect information about either the address or coverage options, individuals can submit a “Location Challenge” or “Availability Challenge” directly through the website in order to accurately reflect current accessibility.

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Mill Mountain Theatre cancels Wednesday matinee

Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke has canceled the December 21st, 2 p.m. matinee of “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn.” At this time, no decisions have been made about the 7:30 p.m. performance on the 21st, according to a statement.

Mill Mountain previously cancelled last week’s performances due to a COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement, Mill Mountain said: “The cast and creative team will use this time to regroup and rehearse after a week of shutdowns due to COVID-19 infections. The cast and creative team are eager to salvage the remaining performances, if possible. As those infected have recovered, we as a team are cautious about pushing performers beyond their limits – we want to guarantee everyone returns safely, to put on the best performance possible.”

Mill Mountain Theatre is offering these options to affected audience members. Patrons may transfer tickets to another performance of possible upcoming “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” performances, transfer tickets to any MainStage show in 2023, or give the tickets as a tax-deductible donation to Mill Mountain Theatre; or in exchange for a full refund. Please contact the box office at 540.342.5740 or at boxoffice@centerinthesquare.org.

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Highlander Hotel Radford now accepting reservations

The Highlander Hotel Radford is now accepting reservations for visitor stays and special events beginning April 1, 2023.  

The hotel, located adjacent to Radford University at 600 Tyler Avenue, 24141, is now taking reservations for this spring and can be booked directly on the new hotel website, highlanderradford.com.

The $40 million Highlander Hotel Radford development project began in April 2021 and was made possible by a public-private partnership between Radford University, the Radford University Foundation, design firm Blur Workshop, Preston Hollow Capital, S.B. Ballard Construction Company, and Aimbridge Hospitality.

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Russell County IDA Chairman Ernie McFaddin, left, accepts a ceremonial check for $350,000 from VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher to be used for additional site development on the IDA’s “Russell Place” property. Courtesy of VCEDA.

VCEDA issues loan for site development in Russell County

An up to $350,000 loan from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to the Russell County Industrial Development Authority to be used for additional site development needs at the IDA’s Russell Place property was closed recently, according to a statement from VCEDA.

The funds will be used to finance site development, building demolition, building construction, building improvements and other improvements in the continued development of the IDA’s Russell Place property located at 122 Haber Drive in Lebanon.

With the assistance of a $900,000 loan from VCEDA last year, the IDA purchased and partially renovated the “Russell Place,” a vacant industrial building and its approximately 12 acres. As part of the renovations, demolition work on some older sections of the building which were in poor condition were started, the statement said.

“With the need for additional industrial buildings in the region, the IDA has decided it would best to plan how to further develop the Russell Place property,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher in a statement.  “These funds will help the IDA make additional improvements to prepare the property for future development and will add to the property’s marketability to prospective job-creating tenants.”

Additional improvements, according to the IDA’s application, include further site development, demolition work, the reconstruction of one wall of the existing 52,000-square-foot metal building when the brick section is removed, garage doors and electrical connections. 

According to the IDA’s application, the IDA has secured $303,500 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission to assist with the project.  The VCEDA funds will be used to match the Tobacco Commission funds to allow the IDA to complete the project.