Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks in Bristol at the Cardinal News Speaker Series. Photo Credit: Earl Neikirk/Neikirk Image.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks in Bristol at the Cardinal News Speaker Series in October 2022. Photo Credit: Earl Neikirk/Neikirk Image.

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

* * *

Youngkin announces tourism grants for Southwest, Southside Va. programs

Nearly $1.4 million in matching grant and sponsorship money will be awarded to tourism programs across Southside and Southwest Virginia, the governor announced.

That money will be divided among almost 100 grants of up to $20,000 each, supporting local festivals, marketing campaigns, website development and other endeavors.

The funding headed to Southside and Southwest Virginia is part of more than $3.2 million going to 236 programs across the state via marketing programs from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Monday, the start of National Travel and Tourism Week.

The VTC programs are designed to leverage local marketing dollars with matching state money to increase traveler spending and visitation, particularly overnight spending from out-of-state visitors, through next year, the governor said.

Examples of grant money going toward efforts in Southside and Southwest Virginia include $10,000 for the 87th Annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, nearly $11,000 to the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival in Halifax County, and $20,000 to the 74th Annual Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon.

A complete list of recipients is available here

“VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem,” Youngkin said in a news release.

* * *

People Inc. to host community forums on bridging the digital divide

People Incorporated will host a series of community forums called “Bridging the Digital Divide” to hear from Southwest Virginia residents about challenges to accessing broadband internet and digital devices.

The first forum will take place at 5:30 p.m. May 11 at the Washington County Public Library at 205 Oak Hill St. in Abingdon. Another forum will take place at 10 a.m. May 13 at the Trammel Community Church in Trammel. Both forums are open to the public with opportunities to be entered to win a raffle prize and food provided.

Feedback collected during the forum will be used to help develop the statewide Commonwealth Digital Opportunity plan in partnership with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. People Incorporated was awarded Digital Equity Act funds earlier this year to assist in identifying barriers to broadband and digital device access. This planning effort will address affordability of internet service and devices, technology skills and online privacy.

More forums are being planned for residents in Bristol, Buchanan County, Russell County and other communities in southwest Virginia.

Registration for the events is not required but is encouraged. Community members can register by visiting and navigating to the registration page.

* * *

TAP hosts free classes, programs in Roanoke

Total Action for Progress in Roanoke will host several community classes and events during the coming weeks. All events are free of charge. More details can be found at

  • May 20: Resource fair and fun day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Goodwill Jobs Campus,
    2502 Melrose Ave.
  • May 30 and June 15: Training for youth advocates (coaches, probation officers, teachers and more) that features evidence-based lessons proven to reduce violence among youth.
  • June 10: Free homebuyer class.
  • June 24: Free mindfulness training. Open to the community.