From left: Molly O'Dell of the Tuberculosis Foundation of Virginia. Carole Agee, vice president of the Tuberculosis Foundation. Linda Whittaker, treasurer of the Tuberculosis Foundation. Courtesy of Linda Whittaker.
From left: Molly O'Dell of the Tuberculosis Foundation of Virginia. Carole Agee, vice president of the Tuberculosis Foundation. Linda Whittaker, treasurer of the Tuberculosis Foundation. Courtesy of Linda Whittaker.

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

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Piedmont hospital in Nottoway County gets historical marker

The facility that once was Virginia’s Black hospital for tuberculosis patients has been recognized with a historical marker.

What is now Piedmont Geriatric Hospital in Nottoway County was founded in 1918 as Piedmont Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the state’s only hospital for Black TB patients. It was the Black counterpart to what was then called Catawba Sanitorium in Roanoke County. Catawba’s history was recognized in a historical marker that went up in 1948 but there was no such marker for the Piedmont hospital until now.

The Tuberculosis Foundation of Virginia and Tom Ewing, history professor and associate dean of graduate studies and research at Virginia Tech, submitted an application for the marker; it was approved last year by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

That marker was unveiled in a recent ceremony.

See our story on the history of the Piedmont hospital.  

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Rabid skunks found in Franklin County

Two rabid skunks have been found in the Glade Hill neighborhood of Franklin County, according to the West Piedmont Health District.

On October 13, a skunk testing positive for rabies was found in the vicinity of Old Franklin Turnpike and Brooks Mill Road. Most recently, on October 31, another skunk testing positive for rabies was found in a neighborhood around Crafts Church Road in Glade Hill.  Due to the relative proximity and timing of these cases within Glade Hill/Union Hall, the West Piedmont Health District wants to remind everyone, and especially pet owners, of the risks of rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system.  It is almost always fatal, unless preventive treatment is administered before symptoms develop. “Prevention is everything when you’re dealing with rabies,” said Dr. Kerry Gateley, director for the West Piedmont Health District in a statement. “We have to do everything we can to minimize exposures, from vaccinating pets to avoiding unnecessary human contact with unvaccinated animals. This includes not creating situations in which feral or wild animals might expose each other.”

Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats four months of age and older be vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, and that vaccinations be kept current.

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Dodson Fund at Virginia Tech tops $1 million

The Department of Entomology in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has received a gift from Roanoke-based Dodson Pest Control that takes the Bert Dodson Sr. Urban Entomology Enrichment Fund to more than $1 million.  

The Dodson Fund provides entomology faculty with support for a variety of projects, according to a news release announcing the gift.

Annual distributions from the fund support applied research, teaching, outreach and related activities that pertain to the management of urban pests in the area of urban entomology and urban arthropod pest management, according to the release.

Among the research supported by the fund is work by Dini Miller, a professor of urban pest management and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist, who used some of the funding to support bed bug research, the release said.

The fund was made possible by Dorothy Hayes Dodson, Bonny Lynn Dodson, Karen Dodson Whitt, Todd A. Dearborn and Bert Dodson Jr.

Disclosure: Bert Dodson Jr. is a donor to Cardinal News but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy.

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Ag department awards nearly $2.5 million for distance learning services in rural Virginia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $2,483,817 in federal funds to Virginia for distance learning services in rural areas.

According to a release from Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virginia, here’s how the funds will be allocated:

  1. $952,388 for Germanna Community College in order to equip 10 locations throughout Spotsylvania, Stafford, Orange, Culpeper, Wise, Page, and Madison counties with video conferencing equipment. Instructors at Germanna Community College will use that technology to deliver mental health and healthcare educational courses to benefit 5,372 students;
  2. $740,793 for Lee County School District in order to equip 12 locations throughout Lee County with interactive teleconferencing equipment. Instructors at Lee County Public Schools will use that technology to deliver instructional resources, professional development courses, and mental health services to benefit 5,545 students;
  3. $475,122 for Southside Virginia Community College in order to equip six locations throughout Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Charlotte, Nottoway and Greensville counties with a synchronous interactive video conferencing system. Instructors at Southside Virginia Community College will use that technology to deliver nursing and emergency management services simulation labs, and shared college courses to benefit 2,805 students; and
  4. $315,5134 for Virginia State University in order to equip 15 locations throughout Petersburg, Roanoke, Prince George, Sussex, Dinwiddie, Henry, Southampton, Franklin, Halifax, Louisa, Brunswick, Greensville and Mecklenburg counties with integrated interactive teaching rooms at the college sites and interactive digital white boards at the high school sites. Instructors at Virginia State University will use that technology to deliver dual credit college courses to benefit 183,288 students.

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Forest Service to temporarily close road in Craig County for repairs

The USDA Forest Service will temporarily close Tub Run Road (Forest Service Road 257) in Craig Count to replace culverts damaged in 2018 by Hurricane Florence.  

Tub Run Road will be closed to motor vehicles beginning at the intersection of County Road 632 and County Road 311, beginning November 12 depending on weather conditions. The road work should be completed by May 2024. Once the repair work is complete, the road will re-open.