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Here’s a roundup of Southwest and Southside memoirs. Submit yours for possible inclusion at

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Applachian Regional Commission awards grant for Wise County Archives Project

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $100,000 to the Wise County & City of Norton Records Workforce Development Project, which would be the first in the nation to use blockchain technology to bring land records online.

This funding, awarded to the Wise County Clerk of the Circuit, will be used to support the recruitment, mentoring, career counseling and job training of 24 high school graduates and students over 14 months. In partnership with United Way of Southwest Virginia, Mountain Empire Community College, and University of Virginia-Wise, the program will train students in land record abstraction and provide internships at the County Clerks and Land Records Office.

The grant was announced by Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both D-Virginia.

To learn more about this project, see our previous article: “Wise County may be the first in the country with a blockchain project.

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Announcement of GO Virginia Grants; one for IT entrepreneurs in the Roanoke and New River Valleys

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced more than $1.2 million in Growth and Opportunity Scholarships for Virginia (GO Virginia) for four projects focused on workforce development initiatives.

The projects are:

Accelerate 2023/2024 | $532,269
Region 7: Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties
George Mason University will advance Northern Virginia as a world-renowned center of excellence for innovative emerging technologies by hosting a competition and showcase of Virginia’s top technology companies, benefiting the region and fostering growth economic. This project will create 100 new jobs, hire 80-120 entrepreneurs and raise $50 million in total capital.

Tech Talent Retention | $307,800
Region 9: Albemarle, Culpeper, Louisa, Madison, and Nelson counties, and the city of Charlottesville
The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, together with various regional partners, will retain college graduates to launch their careers in the Central Virginia region by creating a talent pool for higher-paying jobs in the region’s 9 targeted technology areas Student Ambassadors will raise awareness of local businesses and educate stakeholders on what students are looking for when choosing their careers. This project will create or maintain 55 jobs, in addition to serving 100 businesses.

Carver Food Business Incubator | $199,727
Region 9: Culpeper, Fauquier, Orange, and Rappahannock counties, and the town of Culpeper
Culpeper County will complement a community kitchen by providing essential specialty equipment, supporting business needs by adding value to local produce, and preparing produce for the interstate market. This project will create 93 new jobs, serve 68 businesses, launch 35 new products on the market and increase sales by 15%.

CS/root | $175,000
Region 2: Botetourt and Pulaski counties, and the town of Roanoke
The Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Office of Research and Innovation, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC), will create an entrepreneurship-focused computing platform in the New River and Valleys of Roanoke. This project will stimulate startups in the pre-launch phase and aims to create four new companies and 24 jobs, as well as to hire 200 entrepreneurs and 40 mentors.

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A film about a murdered black politician will be shown in South Boston

On Thursday, October 13 at 6:30 p.m., The Prizery and One Community Halifax will present “154 Years: The Joseph Holmes Story,” a film by Will Johnson and Henry Basilica. This event is made possible through donations from Hitachi Energy and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Holmes, a former slave, was elected to represent Halifax and Charlotte counties at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1867-1868. For his stance on civil rights and education for all, he was murdered on the steps of the Charlotte County Courthouse. (See our previous story, “Charlotte County remembers a black politician who was murdered on the steps of the courthouse.“)

Johnson and Basilica filmed the short documentary for a senior class project at Longwood University. The film tells the story of Holmes and features interviews with Charlotte County historian and archaeologist Kathy Liston, local educator and activist Monique Williams, retired educator Alex Haskins and Holmes descendant Lisa Henderson.

After a screening of Johnson and Basilica’s film, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience. Renowned historian Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, an endowed professor of Virginia Black history and culture at Norfolk State University, will be one of the guest panelists.

The 154 Years: The Joseph Holmes Story event is free and open to the public. The Prizery is located at 700 Bruce Street, South Boston, VA 24592. For more information, please call the Prizery at (434) 572-8339.

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The Clifton Forge Masonic Theater presents a travel film on October 1st.

The Historic Masonic Theater in Clifton Forge presents a series of travel films. The first will be “The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” on Saturday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. The film was shot and produced by traveling artist Rick Ray and he will serve as a guide in the auditorium narrating the film.

“The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” tickets can be ordered online at or you can get a ticket before the movie. The event is a Pay-What-You-Will event where you can pay what you deem appropriate for admission. If you’re ordering online, choose the event “The Promised Land: Adventures in the Middle East” and click “donate” to secure your ticket.

For more information on the Historic Masonic Theater’s fall season, please visit the theater’s website or Facebook page.

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