Blue Ridge Parkway sign.

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

* * *

Blue Ridge Parkway announces early closure of Otter Creek Campground 

Otter Creek Campground, located at milepost 60.9 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, will suspend operations for the season on Aug. 24 due to a staffing shortage, parkway officials announced.

Anyone who holds a reservation for the campground will be contacted about refunds and other camping options, according to a news release from the parkway.

The parkway’s remaining seven campgrounds are expected to remain open through Oct. 31.  

The parkway had a smaller than expected applicant pool for seasonal jobs and was able to hire only 64% of the workers it needed across North Carolina and Virginia this year, according to parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout.

* * *

Public input sought on future direction of Roanoke City Market Building

The board and staff of the Roanoke City Market Building want to hear from residents, businesses and visitors about the future of the iconic downtown attraction.

To prepare for an update of the Market Building’s brand and discussions of its future direction, they’ve launched an online survey that asks participants how often they visit the building, what they like about it and what they would change if they could.

The survey is being done in partnership with Eddy Alexander, a marketing and growth strategy consulting firm that will be working with Market Building staff over the coming months.

The survey will remain open until midnight Sept. 11.

The survey can be taken anonymously, but participants who provide their name and contact information will be entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes including a Roanoke City Market Building gift certificate, a Downtown Roanoke gift card or a pair of tickets to Party in Elmwood.

* * *

Virginia Tech recognized for fundraising

Virginia Tech has been recognized with CASE 50 membership by the Council on Advancement and Support of Education.

The designation is reserved for the top 75 advancement institutions globally, based on a five-year rolling average of cash received, new gifts and commitments raised, and peer recommendations, as reported through the annual CASE Insights on Voluntary Support of Education survey, according to a news release from the university.

Virginia Tech’s Advancement Division raised more than $224.7 million in new gifts and commitments during the fiscal year that ended June 30. It was the third consecutive year of more than $200 million in new gifts and commitments.

New gifts and commitments averaged $231 million over the past three years. The Advancement Division aims to grow that average to $300 million this decade, according to the release.

* * *

Roanoke hosts Prepareathon to educate residents about natural disasters

Roanoke’s stormwater utility and emergency management departments are hosting the 2023 Prepareathon, an initiative with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that encourages residents to be prepared for flooding and other natural disasters.

The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Berglund Center.

The event will offer residents the opportunity to learn about local hazards, meet local rescue teams and explore rescue equipment and vehicles. Food and ice cream will be provided, and attendees can enter to win preparedness kits and other prizes.

Residents, business owners and property managers from Roanoke, Roanoke County, Vinton and all surrounding areas are invited to attend. For updates, visit Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor or the event website.