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Community notes for Feb. 28, 2021

Community notes for Feb. 28, 2021

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Poplar Forest gets $10K tourism grant

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Recovery Marketing Leverage Program.

According to a news release from Poplar Forest, the program is “designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grant funds.”

“Poplar Forest will use the VTC Recovery Marketing Leverage grant funds to reach out to visitors throughout the Central Virginia region (Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Roanoke and Richmond) and inspire them to plan an excursion to Thomas Jefferson’s private retreat and other historic tours and locations in Bedford and Lynchburg, promoting architectural history tours at Poplar Forest and the downtown architectural walking tour, and the ongoing landscape restoration at Poplar Forest with the garden and retreat at the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum. These experiences illustrate the historical significance and richness of these themes from Jefferson’s era through the 1960s civil rights era,” the news release states.

Poplar Forest was the third president’s private retreat, notable for its octagonal shape, among other reasons.

Lynchburg housing authority gets $973K

The Lynchburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority will receive $973,030 in federal funding for affordable housing development, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced Tuesday.

The money was part of $46.3 million being distributed to 26 localities around Virginia. It was awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund, according to a news release from the senators.

“Access to safe and affordable housing is crucial to a family’s health and stability,” Warner and Kaine said in the news release. “We’re pleased that these federal dollars will help support housing authorities as they continue to provide necessary assistance to Virginians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Capital Fund “provides federal dollars to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and management improvements,” the release said.

BWXT gives $30K to Rosenwald school restoration

Lynchburg-based nuclear-services firm BWX Technologies is donating $30,000 toward restoring the Campbell County Training School in Rustburg.

The school is one of about 5,000 Rosenwald schools built in the early 20th century to improve the quality of education for Black children in rural America before schools were integrated.

In 2018, the school was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register, meaning the school was added to the historic records of Virginia and also became eligible for certain tax incentives.

An effort is underway to restore some of the school buildings for a museum, small-business office space and other uses.

BWXT, which among other things supplies nuclear fuel and services to the U.S. government, employs about 2,700 people in the Lynchburg region.

Red Cross seeks blood drive volunteers

The American Red Cross says it has an urgent need for volunteers to help with area blood drives.

“Just as blood donations are essential to the health of our communities, blood donor ambassadors are vital to our work at blood drives and donation centers,” the Red Cross said.

The ambassadors “ensure that blood donors have a pleasant and fulfilling experience, from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave,” the Red Cross said.

For more information, contact Betty Whittaker at or call (540) 525-9029.

Amherst school leaders honored

The Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor and Amherst County Public Schools, recently recognized Amherst Middle School leaders Kelly Holmes, Matt Giles and Kristen Maddox as Ambassadors of Kindness.

The Amherst school division nominated the three “because of their ability to personify servant leadership and incorporate daily acts of kindness in every facet of their school community,” according to a Feb. 16 news release from the school division.

“During the pandemic, it has become increasingly important to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of each student and their families,” Amherst Schools Superintendent Rob Arnold said in the release. “Our motto is ‘Every Child, Every Day’ and the team at Amherst Middle School has truly exemplified this value.”

Holmes serves as Amherst Middle’s principal, Giles is assistant principal and Maddox is a counselor. The trio was recognized during a Feb. 16 virtual assembly with Virginia Superintendent James Lane and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni in attendance.

From staff reports

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