Sister Hazel. Courtesy of the Harvester Performance Center.
Sister Hazel. Courtesy of the Harvester Performance Center.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside:

Sister Hazel to play the Harvester

The alternative rock ensemble Sister Hazel will play the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount at 8 p.m. Sept. 16. 

Named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the Last 15 Years” by Performing Songwriter magazine, the Gainesville, Florida, band topped the adult alternative charts during the summer of 1997 with its single “All For You” from the album “… Somewhere More Familiar.” The record eventually achieved platinum status. 

Since then, the band has had four back-to-back Billboard Top Country Albums Chart entries and the group’s debut at the Grand Ole Opry. 

Tickets start at $37 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at

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Danville fund announces another business ‘exit’

The Launch Place, an investment fund in Danville, has announced its third exit since making its first-ever investment in January 2014. This comes after its longtime portfolio company, Roobrik, raised a $3 million Series A investment from growth equity firm Jurassic Capital in October 2022.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Roobrik markets an online assessment and decision-science platform that engages adults and caregivers as they browse senior living or aging service providers’ websites. While educating visitors on their options, Roobrik simultaneously helps its partners tap into a “hidden audience” of consumers at key moments in the shopping experience, according to a release from the Launch Place.

The Launch Place provides capital, mentorship and support services for promising startups, focusing on software services, internet of things, and medical, health and green technologies. The organization is based in Danville and has a second office in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Its initial investment typically ranges from $200,000 to $250,000, with potential follow-on investments reaching $750,000. It has raised $23 million to fuel its investment funds and entrepreneurial ecosystem-building efforts in the Dan River region. TLP’s original and biggest funder to date is the Danville Regional Foundation. (Disclosure: The Danville Regional Foundation is also one of our funders but funders have no say in news decisions; see our policy.)

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Nonprofit launches fundraising drive for upkeep of Roanoke’s Villa Heights

Restoration Housing, the nonprofit that owns the Villa Heights mansion in Roanoke that now serves as a community center, has launched a fundraising drive for upkeep.

Restoration Housing says 100% of gifts made between now and May 31 will go to this project. Donors of $500 or more will be celebrated on a recognition plaque installed in thegrand entrance hall at Villa Heights with all donors receiving a “Villa Heights Steward” decal. Complete campaign details including a before and after video may be found at

Villa Heights was originally constructed circa 1820 for War of 1812 veteran, Lt. Col. Elijah McClanahan, and his wife, Agatha Strother Lewis, as a two-story, one-room deep home in the Federal style. The McClanahans were a prominent family, with Elijah McClanahan helping to establish the Presbyterian church in the Roanoke Valley and serving as representative for Botetourt County in Virginia’s General Assembly.

Villa Heights remained largely unchanged until Sallie S. Compton purchased the property in 1910 and added the two-story rear ell, adding a kitchen, additional bedrooms and a lavatory. The house turned over in 1923 to Ernest E. Bateman. Under his direction, the Classical Revival details including the dramatic two-story portico and interior trim, mantels, doors and chair rail were added.

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Forest Service to conduct prescribed burn in Giles County and Smyth County

The U.S. Forest Service will conduct prescribed burns in Giles County and Smyth County on Wednesday.

The Giles County burn will be in the 597-acre Kelly Flats area north of Big Stony Creek Road (County Road 635), northwest of the Glen Alton Recreation Area, and north of Interior. It is expected to last two days.

The southwest portion of this project uses the Appalachian Trail as a fire line, and hikers may experience some short delays during the burn.

Smoke may be visible from County Road 635 and residents may smell and see smoke for the duration of the burn.

The 700-acre Smyth County burn is located approximately 1 mile southeast of the Camp community.

The ignition phase of the project will be performed in a one-day period, but residents and visitors may see and smell smoke for several days. 

Portions of Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and Horne Knob Trail inside the project area and Forest Road 16 (Dry Creek Road) will be temporarily closed.

Smoke may be visible in the Camp community and along the Cedar Springs Road corridor for the duration of the burn.

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Virtual event set for end-of-life planning

The public is invited to join experts from Carilion Clinic Hospice for a free, online conversation about the values, wishes and goals that emerge during an emergency or end-of-life as part of National Healthcare Decisions Day.

The virtual event will be noon to 1 p.m. April 13. Participants will learn how to honor their values and wishes and translate them into a plan of care that they and their loved ones deem essential to decision-making.

Topics covered include:

  • Advance care planning
  • Empowering yourself by making future health care decisions when there may be a time you can no longer speak for yourself
  • Engaging your family in conversations concerning your wishes
  • Important legal steps necessary to ensure your wishes are met
  • Medical plans and more

Registration is required.

(Disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.)