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

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Franklin County seeks public input on strategic plan for economic development

Franklin County’s Office of Economic Development is asking for public input as it develops an economic development strategic plan that will identify short- and long-range recommendations to promote balanced growth, enhance quality of life for residents and enrich the future marketability of the county.

Click here to take an online survey for the Cultivate Franklin County Economic Strategic Plan:

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Edds to speak about new Northam book Wednesday in Roanoke

Journalist and author Margaret Edds will discuss her new book, “What the Eyes Can’t See,” at a free public event Wednesday evening in Roanoke.

The cover of "What The Eyes Can't See."

In her latest book — subtitled “Ralph Northam, Black Resolve and a Racial Reckoning in Virginia” — Edds looks at how the former governor survived early controversy during his administration and finished his term with the overturn of century-old laws supporting racial discrimination.

Edds spent more than 30 years covering Virginia politics and government as a reporter and editorial writer. Her other books include “An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington Jr.” and “We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson and the Legal Team That Dismantled Jim Crow.”

She will be joined for the discussion at Book No Further, 112 Market St. S.E. in downtown Roanoke, by Pulaski County community activist Michael “Mickey” Hickman and by Cardinal News Editor Dwayne Yancey. The event will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but registration is requested at

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VCEDA gives Tazewell pasta restaurant $10,000 seed grant

Bee Noodle’d LLC, a restaurant on Main Street in Tazewell that will focus on pasta dishes, has received a $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

Nick and Erin Keene, along with daughter, Bailee, will open Bee Noodle’d, a pasta concepts restaurant in downtown Tazewell, later this spring.

The business projects eight full-time and three part-time employees within five years, said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA’s executive director/general counsel.

Owners Erin and Nick Keene and their daughter, Bailee, plan to open the restaurant later this year, according to a news release announcing the grant. The menu will feature pasta dishes, soups, salads and bread. The Keenes said in the news release that they plan to use local ingredients as much as possible and will incorporate local honey into several recipes. Lunch and dinner will be the focus, with Saturday and Sunday brunch also planned.

The restaurant will offer seating for 40 to 50 people, Nick Keene said in the release. They also expect to renovate an outdoor deck that will offer seating for additional 20 diners.

Keene said the VCEDA grant will be used to help pay for kitchen equipment.

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George Washington and Jefferson National Forests receive habitat management award

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests’ habitat management in Bath County has been recognized by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

During its 50th anniversary celebration, the federation awarded the forests the “Making Tracks” award in conservation achievements for the Wallace and Marshall Tracts Wildlife Enhancement and Ecosystem Services Stewardship project, according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Wallace and Marshall Tracts are farmland acquired by the Forest Service in the 1960s. Prior to the acquisition, the fields were drained to make the land tillable, which disrupted their natural hydrology. The project restored natural floodplain hydrology and created early successional habitat, the release said.

The Forest Service shared stewardship with partners including the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Together, they harvested timber, controlled nonnative and invasive species, undertook prescribed fires and restored wetlands. These efforts improved habitat for wildlife including the wild turkey, American woodcock and ruffed grouse. 

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10 Virginia CDFIs receive new round of federal funding

Ten Virginia-based Community Development Financial Institutions have received a total of $10 million in federal funding to support their mission of expanding lending and investment opportunities in disadvantaged communities, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, announced.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Program.

The funding is distributed as follows:

  • $6.1 million to Capital Impact Partners in Arlington.
  • $797,900 to Freedom First Federal Credit Union in Roanoke.
  • $660,000 to the ECDC Enterprise Development Group in Arlington.
  • $560,000 to Arlington Community Federal Credit Union in Falls Church.
  • $510,000 to the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Inc. in Roanoke.
  • $510,000 to Appalachian Community Capital Corp. in Christiansburg.
  • $482,900 to RVA Financial Federal Credit Union in Richmond.
  • $125,000 to Foodshed Capital in Charlottesville.
  • $125,000 to Mobility Credit Acceptance LLC in Richmond.
  • $125,000 to Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union in Petersburg.

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