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

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Success Mindset program graduates 6 startups in Southside

A crop of six graduates emerged from this year’s Success Mindset business startup accelerator in Southside.

An annual program, the accelerator is the result of a partnership between multiple local agencies along with Martinsville, Henry County and the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. The accelerator puts local startups and recently formed businesses through a crash course on surviving the first year in business. The eight-week course touches on a myriad of topics, including planning and finances. 

On Tuesday, participating owners pitched their businesses in a competition for seed funding: E & K Caskets, Front Runner Logistics, Gill Fitness Training, J&H Market, MHC Elite Cheer and Dance, and SWAM. The businesses received awards ranging from $1,600 to $3,000.

This year’s graduates came from all over Martinsville and Henry County, unlike in past years when the competition was more centralized around Martinsville. 

In a press release, chamber president Brenell Thomas talked about the impact the program has had. 

“With today’s graduates and awards, this initiative has had 266 graduates, awarded 54 businesses with over $354,622 in cash and in-kind funding,” Thomas said. “This group will build on the accomplishments of … businesses that have created over $3,556,000 in new capital investment and created 190 new jobs while maintaining an 87% success rate in comparison to the nationwide 50% average for small businesses.”

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University of Lynchburg program partners with PA Moms, offers tuition discount

The University of Lynchburg’s doctor of medical science program has partnered with PA Moms, a global organization that supports mothers in the physician assistant medicine community.

Through this partnership, PA Moms members are eligible for a tuition discount when they complete the 100% online DMSc program at the University of Lynchburg.

According to its website, PA Moms — which boasts more than 15,000 members — aims to “provide each other with support, friendship, and camaraderie, while offering a safe space to share each other’s medical knowledge. As mothers and medical professionals, we recognize the hardships of balancing life at home and our fulfilling careers as PAs.”

For more information about the DMSc and its partnership with PA Moms, contact the DMSc program at or 434-544-8770.

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Virginia Land Conservation Foundation opens $14.1 million grant round

The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation is now accepting applications for $14.1 million in land conservation grants.

According to a news release announcing the grants, the foundation provides grants to support conservation in the following categories: farmland preservation, forest preservation, historic preservation, natural area protection, and open spaces and parks. 

A total of $16 million for fiscal year 2024 was approved in the state budget adopted in 2023. Of that amount, $4 million automatically goes to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, leaving $12 million for VLCF grants. Another $2.1 million from previously awarded VLCF projects that came in under budget or have been withdrawn was added to that amount. 

The program provides 50-50 matching grants for localities and nonprofit conservation entities. State agencies and federally or state-recognized Indian tribes may receive 100%. 

The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Aug. 18. 

A virtual workshop for potential applicants is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 8. Details about the workshop, the grant manual and application will be posted at

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New River CC announces new dean of health sciences

New River Community College recently announced Helen Wolfe as the new dean of
health sciences.

Helen Wolfe. Photo courtesy of New River Community College.

“Helen brings an array of knowledge, skills and professionalism to lead a dynamic, student-focused division of talented faculty and staff,” Peter Anderson, the school’s vice president of instruction and student services, said in a news release.

Wolfe, who currently is NRCC’s interim coordinator of nursing, will begin in her new position on July 1.

Wolfe holds a master of nursing education degree and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governor’s University, an associate degree in nursing from Wytheville Community College and a certificate in practical nursing from New River Community College. She has more than 40 years of full-time experience at various levels of nursing.