UVA-Wise Oxbow Center

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise recently opened their high tech facility officially. It has been designed to encourage academic growth by allowing access to powerful telecommunications infrastructures that allow information technology people to perform their tasks remotely, and will also help entrepreneurs to go into new businesses. The Oxbow Foundation originally gave the center to the UVA-Wise Foundation in 2016. For more information on this, visit www.oxbowcenter.com.

Nature Conservancy Applies for Grant

In Lee County, the Nature Conservancy has applied for an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant to mitigate some of the known environmental impacts on a piece of land located roughly two miles west of the town of Jonesville on Route 662. Their intention is to give the 71+ acres of land to the Virginia Department of Conservation for inclusion into the Cedars Natural Area Preserve.
A Public Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday morning, November 27th at the Department of Conservation Abingdon Office, located at 355 Deadmore Street. For a copy of the proposal or additional information, contact akassoff@ee-consulting.com.

 

Mark Bates Arrested on Multiple Charges

Virginia State Police along with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to an Armed Robbery call last Friday evening. Saturday morning saw one man arrested in connection with the crime. The Dot Grocery, was robbed at gunpoint late November 15th, according to Sheriff Gary Parsons.
According to a Virginia State Police report, Mark Bates has been arrested and is being held at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail, located in Duffield. At this time Bates is facing multiple charges including, Abduction by Force, Robbery of a Business with a Firearm and Trespassing.

 

Brian Patrick Williams Sentenced

Brian Patrick Williams, age 37 was sentenced last week in Wise County Circuit Court, according to their Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp. In a recent Press Release, Slemp revealed that Williams had pled guilty to Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, and Felony Abduction, without any plea agreement offered from prosecutors. Williams was given 18 years in prison, with ten of them suspended, and upon release from prison will face an additional ten years of probation.
Furthermore, evidence was shown that on numerous prior occasions, Williams had pulled a gun on the victim during prior domestic disputes. The Wise County Sheriff’s Office investigated the crimes, and Senior Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Josh Newberry prosecuted the case.

 

New Economy Network of Southwest Virginia

According to the latest from the New Economy Network of Southwest Virginia, they intend to host a community forum this Thursday, November the 14th, to discuss issues of land access and absentee ownership of land in the Southwest Virginia region. The event is slated to begin at 6pm in the Appalachia Town Council Chambers located at 508 West Main Street.
The forum will include an expert panel of locals that have first-hand experience with various land matters such as access, leases and studies. These local experts intend to cover subjects such as navigating leases from land-holding companies, the effects of absentee ownership on land taxation and the tools for identifying these land owners. Wise County Extension Agent Phil Meeks, Land Use Ethics Philosopher David Rouse, and local Cattle Farmer Bobby Branham will be among those speaking.
This regional citizens’ group, was created to focus on both sustainable economic development and transition in southwest Virginia. The non-profit organization, Appalachian Voices has an office in Norton that focuses on community and economic development as well as environmental protection in our region. For additional information or to register for the forum, you may contact Tyler Hughes at Appalachian Voices by phone at 276-207-8686 or by email at tyler@appvoices.org.

 

Schedule Changes Nov 12th, 2019

Lee County Schools are closed today!

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Napier and Southard Sentenced

Travis Napier, age 26, of Harlan County, was sentenced to 181 months in Federal prison last week, on multiple charges relating to Armed Methamphetamine Trafficking. According to his plea agreement, his vehicle was stopped and searched and law enforcement located a box containing several ounces of Methamphetamine, as well as a firearm and ammunition.
On the third occasion, law enforcement located a firearm elsewhere in the vehicle, along with brass knuckles, a hatchet and nun chucks. The investigation revealed evidence that Napier had been traveling to Louisville to pick up Methamphetamine, and then returning to sell it in Harlan County.
Napier’s cohort in crime, James Southard, had been previously convicted and received a sentence of 125 months for his role in the crimes. Federal law requires both to serve 85% of their sentences, and then remain under supervision of the United States Probation Office for a term of five years upon release.

 

Board to Preserve Military Heritage in Harlan County

The Board to Preserve Military Heritage in Harlan County, which is more commonly known for getting area roads and bridges named after fallen servicemen, has just been declared a nonprofit organization. Retired Army Veteran, and former Benham Mayor John Dodd, issued heartfelt thanks to numerous organizations, as well as others for their support, adding that the work would not have been possible without them.

24th Annual Festival of the Trees

The 24th year of the annual event, Festival of the Trees, at the Southwest Virginia Museum is up and running, now thru December 31st, 2019. This event is the opportunity for volunteers from businesses, churches, families and others to create a holiday memory of decorated trees, doorways and other holiday displays that visitors can see. Each section is decorated by volunteers and can be seen during regular operating hours and regular admission prices apply. Group rates are available. For additional information contact the Southwest Virginia Museum at 276-523-1322.
 

Gate City Man Wins Virginia Lottery

Retired Gate City man recently won one million dollars in the Virginia Lottery. Edgar Baldwin was unaware that he had won until his father heard it announced that someone in Gate City was a major winner. While he missed the powerball number he did match the first five numbers on his ticket. The winning ticket was an Easy Pick in which he allowed the computer to randomly generate the ticket numbers. He wasn’t the only winner, the store he purchased his ticket at also received a ten thousand dollar bonus from the Lottery.