, Front Row: Mayor of Wise Teresa Adkins, Wise Town Manager Laura Roberts, Back Row: Virginia Energy Director of Coal Programs Randy Moore, U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, Virginia Energy Manager of Economic Development Daniel Kestner, Town Councilman Ben Conway and Town Councilman Jeff Dotson. Courtesy of Virginia Department of Energy.
Front Row: Mayor of Wise Teresa Adkins, Wise Town Manager Laura Roberts, Back Row: Virginia Energy Director of Coal Programs Randy Moore, U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, Virginia Energy Manager of Economic Development Daniel Kestner, Town Councilman Ben Conway and Town Councilman Jeff Dotson. Courtesy of Virginia Department of Energy.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside:

Wise gets abandoned mine land grant

The town of Wise is receiving a $371,000 grant from the federal Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization program to install lighting at the Wise Sports Complex.

“It is great that the Town of Wise has received these AMLER funds to modernize their sports complex, specifically adding field lighting for an additional softball field, which will allow that field to be used for practice and increased tournament play,” said U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, in a statement. “Being able to revitalize and reuse abandoned mine land, like Wise has done with this beloved sports facility, is just one reason I worked so hard to expand the AMLER program to Virginia and beyond.”

The Wise Sports Complex is located near what was once a coal mine operation that was active in the 1970s — making it eligible for the funds.

The added lighting will open the Wise Sports Complex up to hosting travel ball tournaments, which have proved to be an economic success in other communities, according to the Virginia Department of Energy, which administers the abandoned mine funds. The park originally opened in the 1990s and hosts baseball, softball and soccer fields in addition to a cross country course.

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Ed Wright. Courtesy of Forest Service.

Wright named Area Ranger for Mount Rogers

Edward Wright has been selected Area Ranger for the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

Wright served as the Recreation Program Manager for the Mount Rogers NRA since 2019. He started his career with the Forest Service as Developed Recreation Manager on the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. Prior to that, Wright was a seasonal backcountry ranger for the National Park Service. He served six years and multiple deployments with the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Wright holds a Master of Arts in Global History from Columbia University, a Master of Science in International History from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Tech. 

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Department of Historic Resources launches Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has launched the Virginia Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund, a grant opportunity established by the Commonwealth’s General Assembly in April 2022 with the intent to support Virginia’s historically underserved and underrepresented communities through protection of their associated cultural and historical sites, according to a release from the department.

This fund will provide grants for the acquisition, protection and rehabilitation of tribal lands and historic and archaeological sites of significance that are associated with Virginia’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.

DHR is preparing to introduce the grant program with a free virtual information session on February 1, 2023, at noon, as a part of a webinar series with the Preservation Virginia 2023 Preservation Academy. The information session will provide further details on eligible projects and the application process, including important timelines and requirements for prospective grant applicants. To register for the session please visit here. The information session will be posted online following the live session on Zoom. DHR will also be hosting a series of virtual and in-person workshops on the grant program in late spring with those dates still to be determined.