Local Farmers can receive funding to improve Clinch-Powell watershed

Farmers in the area can now apply for funding through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to install conservation practices that will enhance agricultural productivity while also improving local water quality in priority Clinch-Powell Watersheds.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to help eligible farmers in Tennessee’s Hancock and Claiborne counties, and Virginia’s Lee, Scott, and Russell counties plan and implement agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Now in its second year, the $4.5 million public-private partnership project has already helped more than 45 producers support regional water-quality protection efforts through streambank stabilization, alternative water systems and livestock exclusion practices.

The Clinch and Powell River watersheds are critical natural areas with remarkable biodiversity. In addition to providing drinking water for local communities, the rivers are home to more than 48 vulnerable aquatic species, including 29 rare species of freshwater mussels. These rivers and their surrounding watersheds are also crucial to the region’s economy, supporting agriculture, outdoor recreation, tourism and other important industries.

Production farmers who are in the RCPP Project area and would like more information on how to enroll in the program should contact their local NRCS office: Hancock County: 423-272-0217; Claiborne County: 423-626-3811; Lee County: 276-346-1531; Scott County: 276-386-9241; and Russell County: 276-889-4650.

For more information on the Clinch-Powell RCPP project, visit www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov or www.va.nrcs.usda.gov. To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or your local USDA service center.


Scotty County Police Searching for Burglary Suspect


Police are investigating a Sunday burglary at a Weber City convenience store, saying the suspect made away with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

According to a Monday press release from the Scott County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred early Sunday morning at Discount Tobacco, located on Highway 23. Surveillance footage reportedly revealed a white male suspect with a goatee, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, khaki or tan pants and white shoes.

Police say he made away with several thousand dollars worth of goods, including cigarettes, tobacco related items, candy and lottery tickets.

Anyone with information on the case or suspect pictured is asked to call Scott County central dispatch at (276) 386-9111, or the Sheriff's Office detectives at (276) 386-1351.



Klondike Hollow Haunted House opening Sept 30

Klondike Hollow Haunted House will be open beginning September 30 and will continue every Saturday in October and the Friday before Halloween, beginning at 7:00 pm nightly. Everything is indoors so weather will not matter.

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WCSO Weekly Activity Report

September 14, 2017
The Wise County Sheriff’s Office reports the following activities for the period of 09/04/2017 through 09/10/2017.
Wise Central Dispatch received a total of 1,691 calls for this seven-day period.
Of the total calls received 329 were dispatched to the Sheriff’s Office
Total number of Domestic calls for this period was 10.
Criminal Process for this period:  Served 10 Felony Warrants, 32 Misdemeanor Warrants, 3 DUI Arrests.
Civil Process Served: 489 Civil Papers
Traffic Accidents:  5
4 Additional Criminal Investigations were initiated and 16 Cleared by Arrest.
Sheriff’s Office provided 214 man-hours of Court Room Security.
Unlocked Vehicles: 11
Escorted Funerals:  2
The Sheriff’s Office Total Transport for this period:  3
Total Transport Hours:  53.25
1,732 Visitors to Courthouse.

Lee and Wise County Receive Urgent Need Funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $2,352,994 in Urgent Need funding from the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) Program to assist the Counties of Lee, Sussex, and Wise and the Towns of Wakefield and Waverly with their long-term rebuilding efforts in response to natural disasters, including severe flash flooding and tornado damage. This program makes funding available to eligible localities to enable prompt response to existing serious and immediate threats to local health and safety and to support long term recovery. 

“I am pleased to announce these grant awards to five localities that need critical assistance as they work to rebuild their communities after these natural disasters,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “The projects announced today are key community development initiatives that will support short and long term recovery efforts for the localities. I’m thankful to our first responders for their immediate actions and our community leaders for leading the charge in the wake of these events.”

The CDBG Urgent Need projects in the Counties of Lee and Wise are in response to homes damaged during two large winter storms in 2015 that resulted in severe flash flooding. Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storms and the Administration worked on short term needs. These projects will focus on the rehabilitation of ten homes and the substantial reconstruction of eight homes that were significantly damaged and where insurance was not available to assist with the repairs.

The CDBG Urgent Need project in Sussex County is in response to the destruction of businesses, homes, and infrastructure during the nine-mile wide Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF) Category 1 Tornado in 2016 in the county and the Towns of Wakefield and Waverly. Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency as a result of the severe weather event that caused tornado damage and this CDBG grant will provide critical rebuilding assistance to these communities. This regional project will provide housing rehabilitation for 27 homes, substantial reconstruction of six homes, façade improvements for two commercial businesses, and repair damaged infrastructure such as drainage and sidewalks. 

“Through the Urgent Need fund within the CDBG program, we continue to provide necessary resources to communities throughout Virginia as they continue their recovery efforts,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore. “By partnering with our localities, we are ensuring a better quality of life for the residents in these communities.”

Since 1982, Virginia receives approximately $16.5 million annually for the federally-funded CDBG program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. CDBG funding benefits low- and moderate-income persons, prevents slums and blight, and/or addresses urgent needs in response to declarations of disasters or issues of particular urgency.


Lee County

Lee County Winter Storm Urgent Need


Wise County

Wise County Winter Storm Urgent Need


Sussex County, including the Town of Wakefield and the Town of Waverly

Sussex County and the Towns of Wakefield and Waverly Urgent Need Regional Project




School Board to hold multiple meetings to discuss facility plan

The following is a list of dates and meeting times for Division administration and the School Board to present the facility plan that is on the ballot in November. We will plan for all meetings to start at 6:00 p.m.

Our first meeting will be at the School Board Office tomorrow, Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. There will be a presentation and then an opportunity for public comment.

We are hoping that the following schedule will afford you the opportunity to participate If you are unable to attend tomorrow or are interested in attending multiple presentations. The presentations will not differ much in content or format.

Pennington Middle – Tuesday, September 12

Jonesville Middle – Monday, September 18

Rose Hill Elementary – Tuesday, September 19

St. Charles Elementary – Tuesday, September 26

Dryden Elementary – Thursday, September 28

Thomas Walker High – Tuesday, October 3

Elk Knob Elementary – Tuesday, October 10

Flatwoods Elementary – Monday, October 16

Lee High/Career Tech Center – Monday, October 23

Elydale Elementary – Monday, October 30

Jonesville Middle – Thursday, November 2



The Lee County School Board (School Board) met on Thursday, July 27, 2017 and adopted a facilities plan concept that was presented by OWPR, Inc. and Branch and Associates, Inc. and requested funding from the Lee County Board of Supervisors for $65,773,500 in capital funding to support the construction and renovation of schools.


The School Board met again on Thursday, August 10, 2017 and adopted an amended facilities plan concept that was presented by OWPR, Inc. and Branch and Associates, Inc. and accordingly changed the capital funding request to $44,965,210. The funds are currently allocated per the attached plan.


The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 to allow this request to be added to the election ballot onNovember 7, 2017.


The School Board and Division administration will be conducting meetings at each school over the next two months to discuss the details and share the proposed plans for both construction and renovation. More details about the current conditions of the school and facilities are available in the Facility Study that was presented on February 8, 2017.


More information can be found here.

LCSO August Activity Report

Total calls received by Dispatch: 6,974.
Total calls received that Deputies responded to: 901.
There were 412 calls dispatched to other agencies.
There were 217 Rescue Squad calls and 22 Ambulance calls.
There were 34 Fire Department calls dispatched.
Fifteen funerals escorted.
Forty-Two vehicles were unlocked for citizens.
Deputies served 104 warrants and processed 90 people.
Deputies served 183 subpoenas, 34 show cause summons and 379 other various civil papers.
Four search warrant was executed.
Deputies traveled a total of 62,318 miles with 3,294 miles being on transports.
Deputies transported one juveniles, seven mental health patients and four prisoners from other jurisdictions.
Deputies along with inmates from Duffield Regional Jail picked up 1,024 bags of trash from our county roads.
Lee County Reserve Officers volunteered 104 hours to the community this month.

Lee County Fair Running Aug 29- Sept 2nd

The Lee County Fair 2017 sponsored by the Pennington Gap Lions Club
The Theme this year is “Lee County Fair, Jam Packed with Fun”

Tuesday – August 29th
Exhibit barns will be open from 10 AM – 6 PM to accept entries. 
Twenty or more entries will receive a FREE ticket to the fair.

Wednesday August 30th 
Kids school spirit Night. Wear school colors kids get in free
Beauty pageant sponsored by Pennington gap woman’s club 6pm 
Admission $5 adults, $2 Kids 12-5yrs, 4 under FREE

Thursday August 31st 
Pet Show Starting at 5
Family Night Free admission
Gospel music by WSWV 6pm
FREE Admission

Friday Sept 1st
Car Show Starting at 6
On stage; The Van-Dells 7pm
Antique Tractor Pulling contest 6 pm
Admission $10 adults, $2 Kids 12-5yrs, 4 under FREE

Saturday Sept 2nd
Dyno Competition 12pm 
ATV and Diesel Truck Drag race
Demolition Derby 5:30pm
Admission $10 adults, $2 Kids 12-5yrs, 4 under FREE

Sunday Sept 3rd 
Pick up Barn entrees


2017 Lee County Fair Event Hours:

WED: Midway opens 6 PM – 10 PM; 
Wristbands will be $22; 
$2 coupon will be available
THURS: Midway opens 6 PM – 10 PM; 
Wristbands will be $22; 
$2 coupon will be available.
FRI – SAT: Midway opens 6 PM – 11 PM; 
Wristbands will be $22; 
$2 coupon will be available.

Court denies Coeburn convicted felon right to possess firearm

A Coeburn man originally convicted for eight felonies in 2009 will not be allowed to possess a firearm, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp.

Floyd Mack Monroe Smith, 29, was convicted for eight felonies, including breaking and entering, grand larceny, conspiracy, and delivery of a firearm to a prisoner. Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored his civil rights on Dec. 6, 2016. Smith then requested that the Wise County Circuit Court grant him permission to possess a firearm. Slemp filed a formal written objection opposing the petition, citing public safety risks and concerns that McAuliffe’s restoration of Smith’s civil rights was invalid.

Slemp announced Wednesday that the Wise County Circuit Court granted the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss the petition filed by Smith.

“My office will continue to strenuously oppose petitions like the one filed in this case by violent felons seeking a right to possess a firearm,” Slemp said.

Evidence showed that Smith broke into a Wise County business in 2008 and stole several items, including firearms. Smith then gave three stolen guns to a convicted felon who was serving a sentence on home electronic monitoring at the time.

When Smith’s civil rights were restored by McAuliffe, he was still on probation for his crimes.

“Cases like this should concern us all,” Slemp added. “Governor McAuliffe rushed to restore the civil rights of a violent felon who was still on probation at the time.  The Governor’s rush to judgment puts the safety of our Commonwealth in jeopardy because it clears the way for requests like this to be made for a violent felon to possess a firearm.  To be clear, I strongly support the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. I also support the idea of redemption, rehabilitation, and forgiveness for those who have paid their debt to society.  I am pleased that the Court dismissed Smith’s case today.”



LCHA approves letter of intent to sell LRMC to Americore

On August 24, the Lee County Hospital Authority Board of Commissioners voted to approve a letter of intent with Americore Health, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, under which the Authority will sell the former Lee Regional Medical Center to Americore for use as a hospital and additional health care services such as enhanced laboratory services, behavioral health services, detox rehab programs, and veterans care.

Prior to the vote, the Board of Commissioners met in closed session to receive separate presentations from Mountain States Health Alliance and Americore Health, LLC. Following extensive discussion of the proposals, the Board adopted a motion to select the proposal presented by Americore, with certain amendments presented by the Board and agreed to by Americore. Prior to the final vote on the Americore proposal, a proposed amendment that would have required Americore to provide financial assurances for their performance of their plan, such as a letter of credit or performance bond, failed on a 5-3 vote. After the vote on the amendment, the Board of Commissioners voted 5-3 to approve the Americore proposal.

The vote concluded deliberations by the Board of Commissioners for over ten hours during four separate gatherings, which started on August 9, 2017. “We all felt it was time for a decision,” said Vice Chairman Ronnie Montgomery, “and we appreciate the interest of both Americore and Mountain States in working with us.” He added. “We also appreciate the support of everyone in the community during this process and even though the final vote was divided, we all committed to support the decision of the board and move forward,” said Montgomery.

The Authority initially started working with Americore during the fall of 2016 and Americore has provided interim financing through a loan to the Hospital Authority secured by the former Lee Regional Medical Center building of $131,424.00 to cover the costs of maintaining the facility.

As summary of the major terms of the Americore letter of intent follows:

  • Americore will purchase the former Lee Regional Medical Center for $2,000,000 paying $500,000 at closing and issuing a promissory note for $1,500,000 payable beginning in three years. Americore may require the Authority to subordinate the building purchase loan to other debt financing necessary to re-open the hospital.
  • The existing loan from Americore to the Authority will be cancelled upon the purchase of the building.
  • Americore will use commercially reasonable efforts to assist the Hospital Authority to reopen a critical access hospital and establish additional health care services in the region, including enhanced laboratory capability, behavioral health services, detox rehab programs, and veterans care.
  • The Hospital Authority will retain a right of first refusal on the building to purchase the building for the fair market value if Americore receives an independent bona fide third party offer.
  • If at any time during the first five years following the date upon which Americore receives the license to operate the hospital Americore decides to cease operation as a a hospital, Americore will provide the Authority 120 days notice to purchase the building at fair market value.
  • Americore will undertake all steps necessary to re-open the hospital including repairs to the building, obtaining required equipment, hiring required personnel, and consulting with the Authority to obtain the necessary licensure.

"We are so excited about Americore,” said Diana Pope. “We feel their potential to provide medical care for the citizens of Lee County can be the finest in the region," she added.

The letter of intent also establishing a target date of August 31 for the execution of the Asset Purchase Agreement and the parties hope to close the transaction within 30-45 days.