Kayla Warren, center, cut the ribbon marking the opening of her small business, Boutique 276 in Duffield, last year. Her business was recently named as a recipient of a VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Grant. Photo courtesy of VCEDA.

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

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Duffield boutique receives $10,000 VCEDA grant

Boutique 276, a shop in the Scott County town of Duffield that sells women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, has received a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

The business projects one full-time and two part-time employees within five years, Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA’s executive director/general counsel, said in a news release announcing the grant.

The shop opened last May. Owner Kayla Warren said she used the grant for signage and marketing.

“The VCEDA grant meant everything to me and VCEDA has been wonderful to work with,” she said in the release. “As a first time small business owner, I am grateful there are programs like this. Without the help of the grant, I would not have been able to do this. I wanted to bring something to my community. Everybody’s style is different, but we like to think we are able to offer something for everyone.”

Warren worked with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College in developing her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Scott County Economic Development Authority.

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VCEDA board approves $1.31 million for job creation, retention projects

Loans and grants totaling more than $1.31 million were approved for five projects in Russell, Tazewell and Wise counties, the Breaks Interstate Park and one regional project during a meeting last week of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority board, according to a news release from the board.

The projects are expected to help create up to 44 full-time jobs and 20 part-time jobs and to retain 67 existing jobs, according to the project applications.

  • A loan of up to $900,000 was approved for the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority to finance the purchase of real estate, building renovations and improvements to help with the retention and expansion of an as-yet-unnamed business. The project is expected to result in 67 retained jobs plus eight new jobs, for a total of 75 new and retained jobs.
  • A loan of up to $250,000 was approved for the Russell County Industrial Development Authority to finance renovations and improvements at the former Acme building and site located in Lebanon for an agricultural-related manufacturing and processing facility. The project is expected to create up to 35 full-time jobs in five years.
  • A grant of up to $50,000 was approved from the VCEDA Coalfield Workforce Development and Training Fund to assist with the continued development and implementation of an online interactive course in entrepreneurial skills for high school students through the Napoleon Hill Foundation.
  • A grant of up to $30,000 was approved for the Wise County Industrial Development Authority from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund to finance site development, building improvements, construction and renovations to help the town of Appalachia on as-yet-unannounced project.
  • A grant of $88,809 from the VCEDA Civil Penalties Fund was approved for the Breaks Interstate Park to develop infrastructure and improvements at the park.

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State geologists will be in 8 counties this year

A team of Virginia Department of Energy geologists will be in the field between now and Sept. 30 to gather data for geologic maps, according to the department. They will be in Amelia, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Louisa, Smyth and Wythe counties.

According to a release from the department: “Geologists will notify available landowners that they are accessing property they need to see for their research. They often look along streams or for outcrops — which are areas where rock is exposed. Geologists may take small samples back to their lab for testing. Geologists conducting field research will need to access private property. They are fully insured and covered under the Code of Virginia to perform these duties.”

Geologic maps are used to identify water and mineral resources and natural conditions that pose hazards, the department said. All of this information is available to the public via the Virginia Energy website.

This is part of a multi-year effort to produce geologic maps of targeted areas of Virginia as part of the U.S. Geologic Survey STATEMAP program.  

Anyone with questions or concerns about the geologic field mapping research can call 434-951-6240 or email vaenergy@energy.virginia.gov.

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National forest lists camping options

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest will offer limited camping options for the 2023 recreation season at Grindstone Campground, located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

The Opossum Loop of Grindstone Campground will open April 14 with 20 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. A portable toilet will be available in Opossum Loop and the backpackers’ parking lot. Other loops at Grindstone campground will be closed. Water will not be available and the dump station will not be in operation.

This is the first phase of a multi-year project. The project includes designing and then constructing a new wastewater system and decommissioning the current 50-year-old system. Funding from the Great American Outdoors Act supports the ongoing project work to restore services for visitors.

The Forest Service offers three alternative campgrounds located within 20 minutes of Grindstone: 

Beartree Recreation Area will open starting April 28 and includes hot showers, water and flush toilets, nearby hiking trails and a scenic lake. Campsites are popular with tent campers. There are no hookups, but RVs are welcome and easily accommodated. Beartree Recreation Area includes:

  • Chipmunk Circle, opening May 12, has 35 sites. Reservations for reservable sites can be made on recreation.gov. First-come, first-served sites also are available.
  • Beaver Flats, opening April 28, has 35 sites. Reservations for reservable sites can be made on recreation.gov.  First-come, first-served sites also are available.
  • Group Loop, opening May 26, has four tent clusters and four RV clusters. Reservations are available on recreation.gov.

Hurricane Campground opens April 14 and has 27 sites situated along a rushing mountain stream under the shade of hemlock and rhododendron. Access to the Appalachian Trail and other nearby trails is within walking distance. This site is not recommended for RVs longer than 30 feet. Reservations for reservable sites can be made on recreation.gov. First-come, first-served sites also are available.

Raccoon Branch Campground, opening April 14, has 20 campsites nestled at the base of Dickey Knob and adjacent to Raccoon Branch Wilderness. Raccoon Branch campground offers mountain views, hiking and cold mountain streams popular for trout fishing. There are bathrooms with flush toilets, but no showers. Five sites have water and electric hookups. Reservations for reservable sites can be made on recreation.gov. First-come, first-served sites also are available.

For more information on this project, contact the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area at 800-628-7202 or sm.fs.mrnra@usda.gov.

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Nationally syndicated public radio program ‘The Thomas Jefferson Hour’ comes to Radford University

The award-winning humanities scholar and author Clay Jenkinson, who portrays Thomas Jefferson nationwide on national public radio, is bringing “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” to campus.

The live recording, which is open to the public, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Sandra C. Davis and William C. Davis Performance Hall within the Douglas and Beatrice Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

The show features conversations through the persona of Jefferson and discussion on Jefferson’s views on events of his time, contemporary issues facing America and answers to questions submitted by his many listeners.

Jenkinson has hosted the “The Thomas Jefferson Hour,” which is broadcast on public radio stations, for more than two decades. He recently was featured as a narrator in Ken Burns’ documentary “Benjamin Franklin.”

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