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

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State euthanizes 40K trout at Southwest Va. fish hatchery after disease detected

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources euthanized 40,000 catchable trout after regular testing found whirling disease at the state’s Marion Fish Hatchery in Southwest Virginia, the agency said Thursday.

“This represents about a 20% reduction in normal stocking levels for Southwest Virginia and a 5% reduction statewide,” the department said. “Consequently, trout anglers are likely to see a reduction in trout stocking, particularly in Dickenson, Buchanan, Wise, Lee, Scott, Russell, Washington, Smyth, Tazewell, and Grayson Counties. DWR is working to reallocate fish as feasible to make up for shortfalls and is implementing measures to reduce the future impact of this parasite on trout production.”

Whirling disease — so named because some infected fish swim in a circular motion — is caused by a parasite, Myxobolus cerebralis, that penetrates the trout’s head and spinal cartilage tissue, which can lead to spinal deformities or a blackened tail. Nonetheless, fish with those distinct symptoms have not been seen in the wild or at state hatcheries in Virginia, the DWR said.

The disease is native to Europe but is “fairly widespread,” having been found in more than 20 states, including Virginia, since it was first detected in the United States in 1958, the agency said.

The parasite does not infect humans, even those who eat infected fish, the DWR said.

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Dream Launch Bootcamp now open for registration

The River District Association in Danville has opened registration for the sixth cohort of its Dream Launch Bootcamp.

The bootcamp is for anyone who wants to learn more about opening, owning and operating a business in the Dan River Region, according to a news release from the association. It’s also open to current business owners who would like to expand as well as to those who would like to audit the courses to prepare for opening a business in the future.

The program is free to participants. Classes will be held via Zoom beginning in mid-January with one in-person class in Danville.

Participants who complete all six sessions and plan to open or expand a brick-and-mortar location in the Downtown River District can apply to compete in the RDA IGNITE Business Pitch Competition for awards and incentives totaling $50,000.

Those who wish to open a business outside of the River District are eligible to compete in the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce Rev Up Pitch, which will have $50,000 available in awards and incentives.

RDA will also offer an additional workshop for food-related businesses. The Food and Beverage Workshop will be required for bootcamp participants who want to pitch to open a food and beverage business and optional for all other participants.

Registration for the 2024 RDA Dream Launch program is now open. Information can also be found at or on RDA’s social media pages. An information session also will be held from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 12; signups are open online.

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Mountain Gateway CC to open career center in January

Mountain Gateway Community College is scheduled to open its first career center at the beginning of the 2024 spring semester in January.

Rob Cantrell, who comes to Mountain Gateway from Blue Ridge Community College, where he served as a workforce and continuing education IT web design and program manager, will be the director of the new center. It will be located in Warren Hall on the main campus in Clifton Forge, according to a news release from the college.

Cantrell will organize job fairs, coordinate internships, maintain a job board and create programs to improve employability of Mountain Gateway graduates. The career center will be available to both current students and recent graduates, as well as to students enrolled in non-credit credential workforce courses.