The Christiansburg Institute. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

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

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Christiansburg Institute to host fundraiser, info session

For 100 years, the Christiansburg Institute served as one of the only schools for Black Americans in Virginia. 

Founded in 1866 just a year after the Civil War put an end to slavery, Christiansburg Institute eventually expanded from a single schoolhouse to a sprawling 185-acre campus with 15 academic buildings and dormitories. Education giants such as Booker T. Washington served as superintendent to its thousands of students who came from as far as New York.

But in 1966 school integration finally took hold in Virginia, and Christiansburg Institute’s legacy was quite literally whitewashed away. Its academic buildings were shuttered. Its students scattered to previously whites-only schools. Its land was subdivided and sold off. Today all that’s left is four acres and the abandoned Edgar A. Long building.

On Tuesday, the nonprofit created by its alumni, Christiansburg Institute Inc., is hosting an information and fundraising event at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke. Open to the public, the event will feature a pop-up museum exhibit, screening of the BUZZ television episode on CI that aired in 2021 on Blue Ridge PBS, and a panel discussion curated by Christiansburg Institute and BUZZ creator Buzz4Good LLC.

More info at

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Forest Service names new James River and Warm Springs district ranger

Kevin Kyle has been selected James River and Warm Springs district ranger for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

Kyle has served with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest for almost a decade, including working as a silviculturist on forest’s North River and Lee ranger districts. He has also worked with the U.S. Forest Service in California and Colorado, and as a forestry consultant and in private industry.

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Waterline work will affect Creeper Trail

Project work in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest along a section of the Virginia Creeper Trail in Taylors Valley will lead to some trail closures over the next two months, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Work to extend a waterline that runs parallel to the trail started this week. Washington County Service Authority crews will use a mini-excavator to bury 800 feet of new waterline that will serve homes in the area.  

Intermittent closures of the trail are expected in the coming weeks. During closures of this trail section, riders will be routed around construction using a detour to Taylor Valley Road. 

For more information, call the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at 800-628-7202. 

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Griffith invites retired Saltville educator to State of the Union

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, has invited a retired teacher and school principal from Saltville as his guest for Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

J. Sanders Henderson III is a member of the Washington County School Board and is a 30-year veteran of Virginia public schools. He has taught and coached in Carroll, Smyth and Tazewell counties and most recently served as principal of Chilhowie Elementary School before retiring.

“I’m honored Sanders Henderson has accepted my invitation to be my guest at this year’s State of the Union Address,” Griffith said in a statement.

“Mr. Henderson has been a staple in the education field for more than three decades and remains an important advocate for our schools in Southwest Virginia. As a member representing a largely rural district, I always look for ways to promote greater awareness of the unique needs and functions of rural school systems.”

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