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

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Bland County water company announces expansion

Wilderness Mountain Water Co. will create 55 new jobs as part of an expansion of its water bottling operation in Bland County, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

Wilderness Mountain will upgrade the former 3300 Artesian Bottled Water Co. facility that it bought in February 2022 and will add new equipment that will allow it to create new products and increase production, according to a news release. The facility is based around a century-old artesian well.

The company currently has about 28 full-time equivalent positions, which includes some temporary labor, Shane Emmett, a Wilderness Mountain partner, said in an email Thursday. The Bland County facility is the company’s only location.

While the release said the expansion will be a “multi-million-dollar” project, Emmett said that the company is not disclosing the specific size of the investment.

The first phase of the project will be largely complete by the end of the year, Emmett said.

According to the news release, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Bland County and the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Glenn Youngkin approved a $90,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Bland County with the project. Funding and services to support employee training will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

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New jobs board launches in Roanoke region

The Roanoke Regional Partnership has launched a new regional jobs board.

The board is an effort of Get2KnowNoke, the talent attraction arm of the partnership. It’s free for employers and job seekers to use and includes listings for companies in Roanoke, Franklin, Botetourt and Alleghany counties, the cities of Salem, Roanoke and Covington, and the town of Vinton.

Job seekers can filter jobs by job category or employer, or use the search bar to filter by key terms. According to a news release from the partnership, listings are pulled from a platform called Jobs EQ, which scrapes data from more 14,000 websites, including LinkedIn, Indeed and ZipRecruiter. Employers also can submit their internal websites to Jobs EQ.

Get2KnowNoke also plans to launch a portal next year that will feature livability assets, neighborhood guides, employer resources, internships and networking opportunities, the release said.

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United Way of Southwest Virginia expands online child care tool

United Way of Southwest Virginia has expanded a tool to help connect families and child care providers in one centralized location.

The newly updated online portal, the Birth to 5 Hub, includes participating family day homes, child care centers, Mixed Delivery providers, Head Start programs and public school VPI programs available to families in Southwest Virginia.

More than 150 child care providers across the region are now in the system, according to a news release from United Way.

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Wise County eatery receives $10,000 VCEDA grant

The Shack at Lonesome Pine LLC has received a $10,000 seed capital matching grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. 

Rebecca and Joe Baird, owners of The Shack at Lonesome Pine. Photo courtesy of VCEDA.

The restaurant, which started as a food truck, opened last month at Lonesome Pine Country Club and is open for lunch and dinner and will provide catering for events. The food truck also continues to operate.

Rebecca Baird, who owns the fast-casual restaurant with her husband, Joe Baird, said in a news release that the grant was used to pay for renovations and food inventory.

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA’s executive director/general counsel, said the business expects to have two full-time and five part-time employees within five years.

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The Montgomery Museum of Art and History in Christiansburg has received a $2,500 grant from the International Bluegrass Music Association’s foundation.

The museum will use the grant to develop a concert at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg called “Cultural Crossroads in Traditional Music.” The program will explore interactions and intersections between bluegrass music and African American, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latino and European cultures.

The concert is expected to be presented this fall. 

The museum was one of nine recipients of the grant, which came through the Arnold Schultz Fund. Schultz, who died in 1931, was an African American musician from western Kentucky who was best known as a guitarist and fiddle player.

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Luna Innovations to provide monitoring services for Dominion offshore wind project

Roanoke-based Luna Innovations will provide monitoring services for Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, the company announced Thursday.

The company’s EN.SURE long-range power cable sensing system will be used to monitor the wind farm’s export cable system, which will transport power to shore.

The $9.8 billion wind farm is the largest offshore wind project in the U.S. It will start 27 miles off the coast at Virginia Beach and is slated for completion by the end of 2026, Dominion has said. (Disclosure: Dominion is one of our approximately 2,500 donors, but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.)