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

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Roanoke County awarded federal money for improvements to Wood Haven Technology Park

Roanoke County has received $820,000 in federal funding to pay for infrastructure improvements at its Wood Haven Technology Park.

The money will help pay for the extension of additional water and sewer capacity at the site, the county said in a news release. U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, helped secure the funding, the county said.

The 110-acre park, which is located near the interchange of interstates 81 and 581, is served by the Western Virginia Water Authority with water from Spring Hollow Reservoir. The new work will bore under I-81 to install a second line that will provide a redundant supply of water, the county said in the release.

The total cost of the project is almost $1.5 million. In addition to the federal money, the water authority will provide $670,000 toward the work, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The site has been seeing greater interest from site selectors, the county said, and many projects require large water and sewer capacities.

“This is excellent news for the economic landscape,” said John Hull, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “It’s not uncommon for the Partnership to work with companies seeking expansions that require significant water utilities. This project will make the region more competitive for business investment, and thus, better employment opportunity.”

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Great Backyard Bird Count starts this week

Virginians are invited to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which takes place Feb. 17-20.

Each year over four days in February, millions of people count the variety of birds that they can see and hear in their own backyards. Participants log the birds that they count during a 15-minute period on at least one of the four days of the event.

The observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations. 

Anyone interested in participating in this year’s bird count can find an event or related program at one of several participating state parks, including Hungry Mother near Marion and New River Trail near Max Meadows.

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State to host information session about Clinch River State Park master plan

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is hosting a meeting this week to introduce the public to a draft master plan to develop Clinch River State Park, the state’s first blueway state park.

The recreational water trail system, which runs along the Clinch River in Southwest Virginia, is made up of anchor properties connected by multiple canoe and kayak access points.

The information session will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Russell County Government Center, 139 Highland Drive, Lebanon. Attendees will be able to review and comment on the draft plan.

Online registration is encouraged but not required.

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Prescribed burns planned for George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Managers of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests plan to conduct prescribed burns of more than 20,000 acres across the region this spring.

The burns, which could start this month, are intended to reduce forest fuels, improve conditions of wildlife habitat, restore characteristics of a fire-adapted ecosystem and better protect communities, according to a news release.

Planned burns will be scheduled in the following locations:

Montgomery County: The 715-acre Brush Mountain West burn unit is 2.5 miles north of Blacksburg and 2.5 miles south of Newport.

The 50-acre Brush Mountain East burn unit is adjacent to the Preston Forest neighborhood, 2.5 miles north of Blacksburg and 2.5 miles south of Newport. 

Giles County: The 597-acre Kelly Flats burn area is located north of Big Stoney Creek Road (County Road 635), northwest of the Glen Alton Recreation Area and north of Interior.

Craig County: The 369-acre Mill Creek burn is east of Fenwick Recreation site. Smoke may be visible from Fenwick Mines Recreation Area, New Castle, Barbours Creek and Oriskany. 

The 1,946-acre Sinking Creek burn is east of County Road 621 directly adjacent to the Caldwell Fields recreation area on Forest Road 630.  

The 808-acres Potts Mountain Unit 8 burn is east of Virginia 311 and 10 miles northeast of New Castle along Forest Road 277.1 and 176. 

The 728-acre North Mountain prescribed burn area is on the north side of North Mountain, east of Virginia 311 between Catawba and Abbott. 

Pulaski County: The 3,338-acre Tract Mountain Unit 1 burn area is north of the Gatewood Reservoir and 3 miles west of Pulaski along Gatewood Park Road.  

Botetourt County: The 2,553-acre Price Mountain burn area is on and around Price Mountain, north of County Road 606 and northeast of New Castle. 

The 352-acre Craig Creek Recreation burn area is in the Craig Creek Recreation site, 1.5 miles east of Oriskany off County Road 817.  

Dickenson County: The 4.2-acre Maynard burn unit is 1 mile northeast of Blowing Rock, 1.3 miles north of Skeetrock and 6.2 miles northeast of Clintwood. 

Grayson County: The 28.8-acre Johnson Tract burn unit is 1.7 miles northeast of Troutdale, 3.7 miles south of Sugar Grove and 10.2 miles northwest of Mouth of Wilson. 

The 6.6-acre Hemp Patch burn unit is 3.5 miles southeast of Sugar Grove, 5 miles northeast of Troutdale and 7 miles west of Comers Rock.

Scott County: The 8.5-acre Glades burn unit is 1.8 miles northwest of the Bark Camp Lake Recreation Area, 4.8 miles southwest of Tacoma and 5.9 miles northwest of Dungannon. Forest Road 291 may be closed during burn operations.

Smyth County: The 2,797-acre Glade Mountain burn unit is 3.5 miles south of Interstate 81, 5 miles southeast of Atkins and 6 miles northeast of Sugar Grove. Forest Roads 86 and 644 and a small section of the Appalachian Trail may be closed during burn operations. Smoke effects may linger in Smyth County and portions of Wythe County.

The 700-acre Snake Den burn unit is 0.83 mile southwest of Camp, 7 miles east/southeast of Sugar Grove and 8.25 miles south of Interstate 81. Forest Service Road 16, Virginia Highlands Horse Trail No. 337 and Horne Knob Trail No. 308 may be closed during burn operations. Smoke effects may linger in Smyth County and portions of Wythe County.

The 23.1-acre Pierce Tract burn unit is 2 miles east of Sugar Grove, 5.9 miles northeast of Troutdale and 11.5 miles northwest of Elk Creek. 

The 22.1-acre Halfey Hollow burn unit is 0.75 mile north of Interstate 81, 3.6 miles northwest of Atkins and 5.4 miles west/northwest of Rural Retreat. 

The 4.6-acre Currin burn unit is 3 miles south of Marion, 5.2 miles northwest of Sugar Grove and 6.8 miles north/northwest of Troutdale. 

Washington County: The 5.2-acre Whitetop South burn unit is 1.5 miles southeast of Big Hill, 2.4 miles south/southeast of Konnarock and 5.6 miles east/northeast of Taylors Valley. 

Wise County and Letcher County, Kentucky: The 5,033-acre North Fork Pound burn unit is 2 miles west/northwest of Pound and 3.2 miles south of Jenkins, Kentucky. 

Wise County: The 100-acre High Butte burn unit is 2 miles south of Exeter, 2.8 miles southeast of Keokee and 4.75 miles west of Big Stone Gap. 

The 12.3-acre Stidham Ridge burn unit is 3.2 miles northeast of the High Knob Tower, 3.2 miles southwest of Tacoma and 3.9 miles southeast of Norton.

Forest visitors are asked to be aware of fire crews and vehicles in these areas. Roads and trails may be used as control lines for the burn, and trails may be temporarily closed.  

For more information on the prescribed burn program, call the Eastern Divide Ranger District office at 540-552-4641, the Clinch Ranger District office at 276-679-8370 or the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at 276-783-5196; visit; or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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