$1 mil awarded for ‘energy resiliency’ in Big Stone Gap


Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to [email protected].

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$1 million awarded for ‘energy resiliency’ in Big Stone Gap

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, have announced $1 million in federal funding for the Virginia Economically Disadvantaged Communities Energy Resiliency Study in Big Stone Gap. The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to the Virginia Department of Energy through the DOE’s Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) Funding Program, will be used to “improve energy resiliency as the country transitions to new energy technologies.”

The RACER funding program seeks to enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage solutions to prevent disruptions in power caused by extreme weather and other events, and to rapidly restore electricity if the power goes down.

In a statement, Warner and Kaine said that “this project will identify opportunities to use distributed energy resources, like solar-plus-storage, in order to maximize the benefits of energy resilience infrastructure and adequately respond to natural disasters. The project will also provide communities with tools to assess, plan, and visualize solar-plus-storage developments to meet their specific needs.”

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Renee Adair. Courtesy of VCEDA.

VCEDA awards grant to therapy center in Tazewell County

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has awarded a $10,000 Seed Capital Matching Grant to Adair Behavioral Services, LLC of Tazewell County.

Renee Adair opened Adair Behavioral Services, LLC in North Tazewell to work with children with Autism, developmental delays and other special needs. 

“Adair Behavioral Services, LLC is providing specialized services which not only help the families and the children they serve, but which also create jobs at the same time,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel, in a statement. “The new business, which projected eight full-time employees and three part-time employees within five years, has already exceeded its total employment goals in part-time employment with nine currently hired and is well on its way to achieving its five-year projection, with five full-time employees now employed.”

Owner Renee Adair said the clinic, located in North Tazewell at 146 Bluemont Lane, provides care for children who have been referred by their primary care physicians. Plans are also in the works to open a second clinic, Mountain View Behavioral & Educational Services, LLC, just across the state line to enable the clinic to serve children with West Virginia insurance.

“As the only ABA therapy clinic in the Tazewell area, we receive an average of two physician referrals a week for services,” Adair said in a statement.

ABA references Applied Behavioral Analysis and is based on the science of learning and behavior, Adair said. ABA therapy applies the understanding of how behavior works to real situations.

Services are available for children from ages birth to 18. Currently, Adair said the clinic has 15 children in its early intervention programs and 20 who come after school for therapy.

Adair is a licensed and certified behavioral analyst, special education teacher and teacher of the blind. She completed her undergraduate degree in special education at James Madison University; earned her Master’s Degree at Radford University; became certified to teach the blind through George Mason University; and earned her certifications as a behavioral analyst from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Adair worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in developing her application to VCEDA and received a letter of support from the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

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New River Valley group to hold ‘book walks’ for families

First Steps, an initiative of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, is holding “Book Walks” throughout the month of November to engage families and share resources about early education and childcare. First Steps is a network of early childhood professionals and advocates who want to help young children and families thrive.

Placed at several locations around the New River Valley, each Book Walk features pages of a children’s book spread out along a walking path that can be read as community members traverse the path. Currently, six book walks are available throughout the region, with plans to add two others. First Steps worked together with the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, United Way of Southwest Virginia, and Blacksburg High School DECA to develop the walks, and each one is generously sponsored by a local civic organization or early education provider,

Each book walk will feature several signs that share tips and activities designed to support healthy development and promote school readiness. They will also provide QR codes to access more information and resources, such as help finding quality childcare, accessing childcare subsidies, advocating for young children, and how to get involved in First Steps. The Book Walks will be available until the end of November. More information can be found at

First Steps Book Walks – Books & Locations

“Give a Mouse a Cookie”

  • Bisset Park in Radford City (23 Berkley Williams Dr, Radford) sponsored by Radford Child Development Inc.
  • Pearisburg Library in Giles County (209 Fort Branch Rd, Pearisburg) sponsored by Giles Early Education Project
  • Location TBA in Floyd County

“Give a Moose a Muffin”

  • Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg (705 W Campus Dr, Blacksburg) sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Child Development Center for Learning & Research
  • Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library in Christiansburg (125 Sheltman St, Christiansburg) sponsored by Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library
  • Location TBA in Giles County sponsored by Giles County Kiwanis Club

“Give a Pig a Pancake”

  • Randolph Park in Dublin (5100 Alexander Rd, Dublin) sponsored by NRCA Head Start
  • Wonder Universe: A Children’s Museum in Christiansburg (Uptown Christiansburg Mall, 782 New River Rd, Christiansburg) sponsored by Rainbow Riders

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