Brett Marston. Courtesy of Gentry Locke.
Brett Marston. Courtesy of Gentry Locke.

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

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Gentry Locke names new managing partner

The Roanoke-based law firm Gentry Locke has named Brett Marston as managing partner. Former Managing Partner Monica Monday will serve as chair of the newly formed executive board. Additional members of the executive board are Matthew W. Broughton, William Gust, and Gregory H. Habeeb. Monday served as managing partner from 2013-2022, and led the growth of the firm, including the addition of offices and attorneys in the Lynchburg and Richmond markets. The firm now has more than 80 attorneys. She will continue to lead the firm’s appellate practice.

As managing partner, Marston will handle day-to-day responsibilities on behalf of the firm and will lead the firm’s continued implementation of its strategic plan, including its focus on smart growth and practice development. Marston will also continue to serve clients through Gentry Locke’s Construction Contracting and Litigation practice group.

Gentry Locke will be celebrating its 100th year in 2023.

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VCEDA awards grant to study two properties in Dickenson County

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to finance a feasibility study on two pieces of property in Dickenson County to assist in the marketing and economic development of the properties.

The funds will be used to hire an engineering firm to complete a feasibility study for the “Green Lot,” located in Clintwood; and the “Haysi High School Lot,” located in Haysi.

“The IDA has indicated the feasibility study is needed to determine what type of structure and/or business would be the most practical based upon location and size and layout of the properties,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “When completed, it will serve as another tool to assist in the marketing of the properties to prospective businesses and industry.”

VCEDA approved a $300,000 loan in 2016 and a $60,000 loan in 2021 to the IDA to assist in the acquisition and development of an approximately 1.14-acre lot adjacent to Clintwood Lumber in Clintwood, which is known as the “Green Lot.”  

In 2020 and 2021, VCEDA also approved an up to $1.275 million grant to the IDA to assist in the demolition and site development of the old Clintwood High School near the Green Lot and old Haysi High School properties.

The IDA’s application for funding noted the completed feasibility study will be utilized by both Dickenson County and its partners to market the sites to the appropriate type of business and/or developer and to identify any unknown constraints. The study will take into consideration multiple factors, including economic impact, technical impact, demographics, legal feasibility and implications, operational feasibility and scheduling feasibility.

According to a statement from Dickenson County IDA Executive Director Dana Cronkhite, the IDA has been working to take action toward objectives and goals identified in the Strategic Economic Development Plan adopted by the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors in March 2022. As part of that process, the IDA and county are working to evaluate county-owned property and to assess the best use of that property by having feasibility studies conducted.

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Next Start-Up Slam in Danville is Feb. 23

The River District Association in Danville has scheduled the next Start-Up Slam event for Feb. 23.

Modelled after poetry competitions known as poetry slams, the event is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their idea an audience, which then votes on their favorite one with the winner keeping all the door proceeds. Admission is $10.

For more information and details visit:

The event will now be from 6 to 8 p.m. at 136 S. Ridge St. (River District Event Center).