The Warm Springs Pools are in the town of Warm Springs, about 5 miles from the Omni Homestead resort in Hot Springs. Photo by Megan Schnabel.
The Warm Springs Pools are in the town of Warm Springs, about 5 miles from the Omni Homestead resort in Hot Springs. Photo by Megan Schnabel.

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

* * *

Salem Museum presents talk about Warm Springs Pools restoration project

The director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will talk about the restoration of the historic Warm Spring Pools in an online event presented by the Salem Museum.

Julie Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Photo by Megan Schnabel.

At 7 p.m. Jan. 19, Julie Langan, who was part of a yearslong effort to restore the Bath County pools, will talk about the strategies and tools employed by stakeholders who fought to save the iconic structures, and about how the bathhouses, a key component of the Bath County economy, transitioned from a preservation emergency to a preservation success.

[Read more about the project, and the emotional reopening of the pools, in our story.]

The pools, which reopened to the public last month, are now owned by the Omni Homestead resort.

This talk is part of the Salem Museum Speaker Series and will be presented on Zoom only. The link will be posted on the museum’s website,, the morning of the event. The talk will also be recorded and available via the museum’s website after the talk.

* * *

2 autism-focused nonprofits announce merger

Roanoke-based St. Vincent’s Home and the Virginia Institute of Autism, based in Charlottesville, have merged, according to a news release from the organizations.

The newly expanded Virginia Institute of Autism is one of the largest nonprofit providers of pediatric and adult services for autism and related disabilities in Virginia, the release said.

The merged organization employs approximately 300 people who provide services including applied behavior analysis, special education and speech-language therapy. It now serves more than 200 students, 175 outpatient families and nearly 100 adult clients across more than 28 localities statewide.

There was no reduction in staff as a result of the merger, the release said. Operational implementation of the merger was completed on Jan. 1.

* * *

NRCC to host reading of book of Civil War letters

The New River Community College Educational Foundation will host a reading next month of “The Whartons’ War: The Civil War Correspondence of General Gabriel C. Wharton and Anne Radford Wharton, 1863-1865.”

The book is a collection of letters between a Confederate general and his wife published by co-editors William Davis, an author and former professor of history at Virginia Tech, and Sue Heth Bell, the Whartons’ great-great-granddaughter, who discovered the cache of letters in her parents’ garage.

The book includes 524 letters from March 1863 to July 1865 between Wharton and his wife, Anne Radford.

The free reading will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at New River Community College in Edwards Hall Room 117. The reading will be followed by a book signing. An RSVP for the event is requested but not required. Contact the NRCC Educational Foundation at or 540-674-3618.

* * *

MECC announces new scholarship for Wise County students

A new scholarship will benefit Wise County students attending Mountain Empire Community College.

The Capt. Russell E. Cooper Memorial Endowed Buccaneer Scholarship will benefit students from Wise County in any discipline, according to a news release from the MECC Foundation.

Cooper, a graduate of Big Stone Gap High School, was killed in an airplane crash in the mountains of South Korea in 1963 while serving as an adjutant to the commanding general of the 38th Artillery Brigade. The scholarship was established by his brother and sister-in-law, Kyle and Bobbie Jean Cooper.

The Buccaneer Scholarship Fund was established by the Big Stone Gap Buccaneer Alumni Group more than a decade ago to honor notable alumni and teachers at Big Stone Gap High School. The fund, which started with one scholarship, has now grown to more than 15 individual scholarships and more than $1 million in endowed funds.

* * *

Cumberland Plateau outdoor recreation analysis unveiled

The Friends of Southwest Virginia and regional partners announce the release of the Cumberland Plateau Outdoor Recreation Economic Analysis and Development Plan.

According to a news release, project partners include the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, Friends of Southwest Virginia, the Thompson Charitable Foundation, Virginia Region Revitalization Commission and Virginia Tourism Corporation.

The plan was developed to identify and help support recreation, economic development and high quality of life across Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties.

The study identified several key assets and core anchor areas, including Breaks Interstate Park, the Clinch River and the town of Tazewell, as well as motorized and non-motorized trails. The plan builds on the initiative to identify strategies to further support and grow the outdoor recreation economy in a way that facilitates increased economic impact and investment in surrounding communities.

The public can access the overall plan and three additional guides: Trail Development Guide, Outdoor Recreation Community Guide and Outdoor Recreation Business Guide. To view the full plan and download the guides, visit here.