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Santa Train program to distribute in southwest Virginia, but without the train

For decades, business throughout southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee have supported the running of the Santa Train, in which Santa Claus rides from eastern Kentucky through southwest Virginia to Kingsport, Tennessee, distributing toys to coalfield children at whistlestops along the way.This year, CSX, Food City, Appalachian Power, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and Soles4Souls are being forced by ...

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Pal Barger passes away: Founder of Pal’s Sudden Service was 90 years old

America’s first restaurateur to earn the nation’s highest honor for quality, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, died Oct. 29 at the age of 90. Barger worked in the restaurant industry for more than 70 years as the owner and operator of Pal’s Sudden Service, as well as Olde West Dinner Theater, Skoby’s Restaurant and Sharon’s BBQ. In 1956, Barger opened the first Pal’s location in downtown Kingspor ...

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Northam conducts COVID roundtable with southwest Virginia business, government leaders

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam kicked off a listening tour of Virginia by taking part in a virtual roundtable with southwest Virginia business, education and local government leaders Friday morning. The meeting was hosted by the United Way of Southwest Virginia’s COVID relief council. That council has been meeting since March to coordinate relief efforts across southwest Virginia. To date it has invested m ...

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FTDD Foundation reconfiguration continues for potential economic development hub

By Scott Robertson Legal recommendations have been presented to Mayors Richard Venable of Sullivan County and Joe Grandy regarding potential bylaw changes for the First Tennessee Development District Foundation, though the mayors are not yet in full agreement on when the foundation will be ready to house a regional economic and community development hub. “The attorney is helping reformulate the bylaws into ...

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Food City CEO receives national Employer of the Year award

Steve Smith K-VA-T Food Stores President and CEO Steve Smith received the Employer of the Year award during the Oct. 23 opening ceremonies of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Career Development and Transition (DCDT). The award is presented to an employer or business that has shown remarkable commitment to promoting or providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities. ...

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Contura board faces challenge from activist investors

Pictured above, David Stetson Activist investor group MG Capital, which owns 5.8 percent of Contura Energy Inc., is demanding the company replace half of its board of directors. In a letter dated Oct. 7, Michael Gorzynski, managing member of MG Capital, says, “After recently assessing all of our concerns pertaining to Contura’s trajectory, we concluded that the Company’s Board – in particular, legacy direct ...

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NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership’s October surprise

Pictured above, Mitch Miller (left) and Clay Walker The economic development organization threw out a collaborative document a year in the making in favor of its own brand new plan. Reactions ran the gamut from disappointed to delighted. By Scott Robertson Three meetings this week revealed a new level of clarity regarding the positions of major players for and against efforts to create a regional economic d ...

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TRI asks legislators for help with funding to allow airport to build-to-suit potential Aerospace Park tenants

Tri-Cities Airport (TRI) Executive Director Gene Cossey took the occasion of a Tuesday morning Legislator’s Breakfast to make it known that the airport will likely be able to bring tenants to Aerospace Park sooner if it has funds on-hand so it can offer to erect a building as an incentive. Gene Cossey “This is by no means to negate all the money and all the work that was put into making this facility in the ...

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First Tennessee Development District receives nearly $1.3 million U.S. Department of Labor WORC Grant to develop “Recovery to Workplace Pipeline”

The First Tennessee Development District (FTDD) has been awarded nearly $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor through its Workforce Opportunities in Rural Communities (WORC) grant to fund the Caring Workplace Initiative. Lottie Ryans According to Lottie Ryans, Director of Workforce & Literacy Initiatives for the FTDD, “Our region has had various programs working to assist people in recovery and ...

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Griffith touts EnVision Center in Lebanon

U.S. Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-9) was on hand this week to cut the ribbon for a new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) facility in Lebanon, Va. HUD’s EnVision Centers are tasked with offering support for assisted families to help them achieve self-sufficiency and, thereby, make limited federal resources available to others awaiting assistance. The centers are premised on the idea that f ...

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