The logo for the Federal Reserve conference.
The logo for the Federal Reserve conference.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Federal Reserve sets conference in Roanoke

The Federal Reserve is holding a conference in Roanoke in April that will focus on “Investing in Rural America.”

Presenters will include Roberto Gallardo, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development; Heather Stephens, director of the Regional Research Institute at West Virginia University; and Shannon M. Monnat, director of the Center for Policy Research, Lerner Chair in Public Health Promotion and Population Health, and professor of Sociology at Syracuse University. 

On day two, attendees will hear from keynote speaker Anita Brown-Graham, director of the ncIMPACT Initiative and the Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina’s School of Government. Breakout sessions will feature a mix of experts from throughout Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas. The afternoon plenary session, moderated by Thomas Watson of Rural Support Partners, will highlight how leaders in Old Fort, North Carolina, are building regional partnerships to transform their town’s economy. 

Additional speakers will include Heidi Binko, executive director and co-founder of the Just Transition Fund; Maggie Sauer, director of the North Carolina Office of Rural Health; Telly Tucker, president of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research; Colleen Roberts, Public Information Office and Brand Manager, City of New Bern; and Brandon Dennison, CEO of Coalfield Economic Development Corporation.

View the full agenda.

Registration is now open

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Boones Mill gets $50,000 grant for downtown plan

The Town of Boones Mill has been awarded $50,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to create a Downtown Revitalization Plan to eliminate blight and encourage new investment in Downtown Boones Mill. This plan incorporates public input gathered during the planning process. The adopted plan is available for download below via the Town’s website at:

The plan presents four initial high-priority initiatives that are façade improvements to existing structures, Main Street improvements in the form of a more defined streetscape, intersection improvements at Church Hill Street and Easy Street, and a creek walk along Maggodee Creek. Future initiatives are included in the plan as well. Additional items in the plan include an economic restructuring plan and market analysis. 

The Town will use this plan to apply for a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) Community Improvement Grant that will provide funds to implement the plan. CDBG Community Improvement Grants are competitive grants that aid eligible localities in implementing projects that will most directly impact the community’s greatest needs. This application will be submitted in the spring of 2023. 

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New exhibits set to open at Montgomery Museum of Art and History

The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is hosting an open house, “Art x History,” which will feature two new art exhibits and two new history exhibits. This event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the museum.

This exhibit will showcase a 1920 Maxwell automobile, courtesy of Jackie Shelton and her family. Additionally, the museum will bring back “Lewis Miller’s New River Valley.” Miller’s travel-journal-style artwork and sketches offer a glimpse of New River Valley history and stories.

The museum also will present two local and regional artists, David Petersen and Tom Jenssen. Petersen’s art exhibit, “Tranquility,” is a display of local and distant tranquil places depicted in painting and photography, in color and black and white. Jenssen’s pottery exhibit, “From Earth to Stone,” features glazed ceramic with melted glass and painted imagery.

This free community event will provide a chance to meet artists Petersen and Jenssen. Free wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served and live music will be provided by Appalachian folk singer-songwriter Ash Devine.

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Floyd Country Store announces February shows

The Floyd Country Store has released its February schedule of special performances.

  • 7 p.m. Feb. 4: Carson Peters & Iron Mountain

Carson Peters and Iron Mountain has logged numerous trips to the Grand Ole Opry and multiple international appearances. The band is made up of Carson and Jamie Peters, a father-and-son duo from Piney Flats, Tennessee, along with another father-and-son duo, Ben and Eric Marshall from Mount Airy, North Carolina, plus Austin Tate from Marion and James McDowell from Hendersonville, North Carolina. Tickets are $20

  • 7 p.m. Feb. 11: Old Time Dance with Five Mile Mountain Road. Five Mile Mountain Road brings old-time music with a fresh approach, from the old-time sounds of Charlie Poole and the fiddle music of Clark Kessinger to ragtime and jazz. Tickets are $12
  • 6 p.m. Feb. 14: Handmade Heart Strings: A Valentine’s Fundraiser. The Handmade Music School’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser dinner starts with appetizers, drinks and music at 6 p.m., with the meal and more music beginning at 7 p.m. Music performed by Handmade Music School students and teachers including Jesse Smathers and Corbin Hayslett. Donations support Handmade Music School’s Share the Music Scholarship Program and general 0perating fund. Tickets are $45 per person, $80 per couple and $160 per four-top table.
  • 7 p.m. Feb. 18: John Cowan & The Newgrass All-Stars (sold out).
  • 7 p.m. Feb. 19: John Cowan & The Newgrass All-Stars (second show added). John Cowan, also known as the Voice of Newgrass, has been singing for more than 40 years, applies his powerful pipes to genres from country and gospel to soul and rock-and-roll. Tickets are $38.
  • 6 p.m. Feb. 21: The Foreign Landers. The Foreign Landers are a trans-Atlantic folk duo: Mandolinist David Benedict grew up in South Carolina while Tabitha Agnew Benedict started playing five-string banjo at a young age in her homeland of Northern Ireland. Tickets are $15
  • 7 p.m. Feb. 25: The Legendary Ingramettes. Inspired by the Black gospel male quartets of the 1940s and ’50s, The Legendary Ingramettes is a gospel quintet that brings roof-raising harmonies and powerful vocals, all driven by the voices of women. Tickets are $28 general admission and $33 reserved seating.