Program to fund up to 20 new community projects

ChangeX, supported by a Community Empowerment Fund award from Microsoft, launched the Southern Virginia Community Challenge on Wednesday, a $35,000 fund for local community groups, schools and organizations that want to create thriving communities across the region.

The Challenge aims to support up to 20 teams to get new projects kicked off for the benefit of the local community.

People can choose from 12 ideas that have already proven to have a positive social or environmental impact, both in the US and Europe.

Among the ideas groups can choose from are “Pollinator Partnership,” a program to help neighborhoods protect pollinators to ensure healthy ecosystems and food security, “Cycling Without Age,” a Danish program that allows older people in nursing homes to maintain healthy connections with the local community through regular bicycle rides or a “Girls Who Code” club, a free extra-curricular program teaching girls about computer science in a fun and safe environment.

Upon applying to the Challenge, each team has 30 days to build a small team and design an action plan to be eligible for seed funding. The Challenge grants range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the selected idea.

Read more ...

SVHEC’s Career Tech Academy awarded grant

svhecThe Career Tech Academy (CTA) at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is getting a boost thanks to a grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation.

According to CTA administrator Stephanie Robinson, the academy has been awarded $5,000 through Dominion’s Environmental Education and Stewardship Program. This annual program considers grant requests from eligible nonprofits and schools that focus on specific, short-term projects that promise measurable results to improve the environment.

“Through the partnership with the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation, we are excited to have been selected to receive this grant, which will be put to great use,” Robinson said. “As our K-12 partners and the Virginia Department of Education move forward developing the new 17th career cluster – energy – the CTA has been working toward training our level one and level two students on the educational career pathways.

Read more ...

Hospital sleep lab receives accreditation

The Sleep Lab at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital recently received program accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

“The Sleep Lab Team at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital has worked diligently to meet the requirements to receive this accreditation,” said Starann Ballou, RN, MSN, and manager of Patient Care Services. “We are pleased to be able to provide this valuable service to the members of our community and surrounding areas. Under the guidance of our Board-Certified Medical Director, Dr. Alan Goldberg, we will now be able to provide in-lab sleep testing, as well as home sleep studies for adult patients.”

To receive accreditation for a five-year period, a sleep center must meet or exceed all standards for professional health care as designated by the AASM. These standards address core areas such as personnel, facility and equipment, policies and procedures, data acquisition, patient care and quality assurance.

“The ability to diagnose and treat sleep disorders is a valuable service to our community,” said Sherri Bee, RN, MSN, NE-BC, director of cardiovascular services and quality. “As we work diligently to improve the health of our community every day, we are proud to be able to offer these expanded services.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited its first sleep disorder center in 1977. Today, there are more than 2,500 AASM-accredited sleep centers across the country. The AASM is a professional medical society for clinicians, researchers, and other health care providers in the field of sleep medicine.

For more information about sleep services at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, visit

From The Gazette Virginian

High school leadership class visits TMI

The Halifax County High School leadership class recently visited TMI AutoTech. Students learned about extensive design, engineering, fabrication and manufacturing capabilities that AutoTech offers to meet the needs of their clients.tmi

New flower shop blooming in downtown South Boston

w1Downtown South Boston has a new business on the block. Wisters flower shop has opened its doors at 441 Main St.

The fragrance and vivid colors of mingled flowers greeted the crowd that gathered Friday morning for the first day of Wisters’ two-day grand opening, a bright spot in the cold, gray January day. Owner Amanda Rose welcomed the crowd into her shop.

“I want people to come in here and feel that they are really comfortable and at home,” Rose said. “I want everyone to feel welcome here.”

Rose named Wisters after her grandfather John Wister, who always kept his door open for friends and neighbors and supported her projects and interests.

She has had the help of her mother Rhonda Day and her aunt Lisa Wilkinson in preparing for the business’ grand opening. Preparations included redoing the flooring and repainting the walls of the building.

Rose believes the building across from South Boston Town Hall is the prime spot for her business. The last business at the location was Sweet Cee’s Gifts & Kids Consignment.

“I just love this location. I feel there’s a lot of growth down here,” Rose said. “I feel at home here.”

Read more ...

Assistant director selected for IDA

tmA South Boston native has been hired to fill a leadership role at the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

Tracy G. Mallard will start her new role as IDA assistant director on Feb. 1.

IDA board members welcomed Mallard to her new position at their monthly meeting Friday morning.

“We’re excited to have her on board,” said IDA executive director Brian Brown. “I think she will be a true asset to this office. I look forward to partnering with her for multiple projects for the betterment of Halifax County.”

Mallard, who has spent the past five years working as a data analyst for Noblis in Danville, said she is happy to have the opportunity to turn her focus to her hometown.

“For me, there’s no greater honor than to serve and advocate for the place where you’re from,” Mallard said. “I care so much about Southern Virginia as a whole, but to get to serve in my hometown is such an honor.”

Mallard said she looks forward to building upon the workforce development pieces that are already in place here, such as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and the Information Technology Academy at the center, to help recruit talent and industry to Halifax County.

Brown shared with the board at Friday’s meeting that he believes this is the perfect time for Mallard to join in the IDA’s efforts to promote economic growth in Halifax County.

Read more ...

Danville’s Institute to host first Hemp Grower Expo in January

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) will host the region’s first event focused specifically on meeting the needs of area hemp growers. The 2020 Hemp Grower Expo, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, at IALR, will allow producers to network with peers, connect with providers of hemp seeds and clones and discuss ways to successfully prepare for the next growing season.

“We are a tool for our community to thrive and grow, and one of the important audiences we serve is growers, especially since agriculture remains Virginia’s largest private industry,” said Mark Gignac, executive director of IALR. “While hemp is an exciting opportunity for diversification, as an emerging industry, there are still many guidelines and best practices to work through. We look forward to offering this platform for growers to openly discuss challenges and solutions and to connect with hemp seed and clone providers.”

The 2020 Hemp Grower Expo will occur from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The agenda will feature a networking and exhibit showroom of hemp seed and clone providers the entire duration of the expo.

From 11 a.m. to noon, IALR’s own Yimeng “Jack” He, Analytical Chemist, will present “Unraveling the Mysteries of Hemp Testing.” His remarks will address the testing process and the six causatives IALR has identified regarding lab-to-lab discrepancies.

Gignac also will discuss the ways IALR is using its research assets and expertise to help inform guidelines and best practices moving forward as consensus methodology is developed for hemp testing.

Read more ...

County recognized for workforce development achievements

5ddd955d5c07f.imageHalifax County was recently recognized for its workforce development achievements over the past year at the ACT Workforce Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The annual summit, which brings together experts in business, education, workforce and economic development, included the ACT Work Ready Communities Awards Ceremony and Recognition.

Meagan Owen, coordinator of learner success and engagement for Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC), accepted the award on behalf of Halifax County for completing a new set of goals to maintain its certification as a Work Ready Community.

“We are so happy to recognize and award our Work Ready Communities at our annual convening of workforce experts,” said ACT president of measurement Suzana Delanghe. “These participating communities have demonstrated a commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, which is paramount to building stronger communities and fostering business and economic growth.”

Read more ...