Kathy Hosig (second from left) with Virginia Cooperative Extension's award at the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit in Atlanta on May 10. Photo courtesy of Kathy Hosig.

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

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Virginia vaccination project wins national acclaim

Virginia Cooperative Extension has been recognized by the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit for a vaccination project designed to get more shots in adults’ arms.

The summit named Extension an “Immunization Neighborhood” Immunization Champion, according to a news release from Virginia Tech. The summit, which addresses adult and influenza immunization issues, is made up of over 700 partners across the United States. Extension was chosen from 25 nominations for the national award. 

The Virginia immunization project focuses on areas in the state with the lowest vaccination rates, getting the word out about COVID vaccination through extension agents and faculty. Outreach has ranged from vaccine clinics to education booths to opportunities for residents.

[Read Cardinal News’ previous coverage of the vaccination initiative here.]

The ultimate goal is to increase adult vaccination as a whole. Several vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine, are given exclusively to adults, and adults need boosters for some vaccines they received as children.

“The ultimate goal of this work is to get more people vaccinated,” Kathy Hosig, who spearheaded the project, said in the release. “CDC worked with Cooperative Extension across the country through Extension Foundation because we have presence in all the communities and we know the communities.”

Hosig is an associate professor at Virginia Tech, the director of the Center for Public Health Practice and Research at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and a public health Extension specialist.

Virginia Cooperative Extension recently received two more years of funding for the initiative.

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Giles County launches public transit survey and study

Giles County and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are conducting a feasibility study to better understand how public transit may help residents get around the community.

There is currently no public transit in the county, and officials are looking for feedback from residents to create a strategy plan for possible transit service.

Giles County has launched a transportation needs survey to gather input from the community. The survey will help answer questions about current travel patterns, the demand for public transit and what kind of transit would be most beneficial for residents. The survey is open until June 30.

For more information about the transit study and survey, visit https://virginiasmtnplayground.com/transitstudy/.

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Redevelopment of Dickenson chip mill site receives $217,000 VCEDA grant

An effort by the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to redevelop an abandoned chip mill has received a grant of up to $217,000 from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

The funds will be used to repurpose the abandoned chip mill site in the Red Onion area of the county and to provide a build-ready pad of approximately 23.5 acres, according to a news release from VCEDA.

In 2021, VCEDA approved a loan to the IDA of up to $1.175 million to finance the purchase of the former Mountain Forest Products chip mill site, a 433-acre parcel in Dickenson and Wise counties that’s adjacent to the Red Onion Industrial Park.

A previously announced substance abuse rehabilitation facility will be the first occupant of a portion of the chip mill property. VCEDA is providing a loan of up to $4 million to the IDA for that project, which is projected to create 52 jobs.

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GO Virginia board approves state funding for Montgomery County site development

The GO Virginia state board this week approved $324,000 in state funding to help with site development at Falling Branch Corporate Park in Montgomery County.

According to a news release about the award, the project is intended to raise the site from a Virginia Economic Development Partnership Tier 4 site to a Tier 5 site to increase its marketability.

The project will entail grading a 20-acre pad; installing water, sewer, natural gas and stormwater lines; extending electricity; and building a road to the site.

Partners on the project include Montgomery County, the town of Christiansburg, the Montgomery Economic Development Authority and Onward NRV. Targets for the site include advanced manufacturing, transportation and autonomy, life sciences, data centers, and high-growth software development companies, the release said.

GO Virginia is a statewide public-private economic development initiative.