Over the next few months, convenience centers in Wythe County will undergo routine maintenance, as workers will make necessary repairs to equipment, repaint dumpsters and service the twelve facilities located throughout the county.

Work has already completed at the Ivanhoe and Austinville facilities and is scheduled to resume this Wednesday at the Barren Springs Convenience Center.

Officials from the Wythe County Solid Waste Department say the type of maintenance will require each facility to be closed for two days as workers make needed repairs to the equipment.

“By working on only one convenience center per week, we are able to keep the eleven other facilities throughout the county operational – allowing alternatives for individuals who must dispose of their solid waste during the two days of repair,” said Billy Bowers, Director of Solid Waste for Wythe County.

In addition to servicing equipment at the sites, Bowers said that all surfaces will be pressure washed and then spray painted.

“The fresh coat of paint will serve as a safeguard against rusting,” said Bowers, adding that the price of a single dumpster is roughly $4,200.

Below is a schedule highlighting when each convenience center in Wythe County will be closed to undergo maintenance:

Barren Springs, May 20-21
Fort Chiswell, May 27-28
Max Meadows, June 3-4
Kents Lane, June 10-11
Pump Hollow, June 17-18
52 North, June 24-25
Apple House, July 1-2
Rural Retreat, July 8-9
Speedwell, July 15-16
Slate Springs, July 22-23

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG: Wythe County Parks Open for Season

With over 100 miles in hiking trails and dozens of playgrounds, campgrounds and recreation parks, Wythe County tourism officials are touting the many outdoor recreation opportunities available to visitors and county residents.

This Friday, May 15, the Rural Retreat Lake & Campground Park will open to campers for the 2015 season.

The campground, which is managed by the Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation, is located on the banks of the Rural Retreat Lake – a 90-acre impoundment owned by the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

The price for camping at the lake is unchanged from last year at $18 per night for primitive sites and $28 per night for sites with water and electricity. Wythe County residents will receive an additional 10% off their purchase price.

Highlighting the campground’s opening weekend will be the Youth Fishing Day, slated for Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. During this time, fishing at the lake’s stocked trout pond will be reserved exclusively for children ages 15 and under. Adult supervision is required for all participants – the Rural Retreat Lake will remain open to anglers of all ages throughout the entire day Saturday.

In addition to the Rural Retreat Lake & Campground Park, the county also manages parks in Wytheville (Ager Park) and Max Meadows (Max Meadows Community Field).

Ager Park is an 18-acre recreational park located near Fairview Industrial Park in Wytheville. The park features a +10,000 sq. ft. children’s playground, two baseball / softball fields, two tennis courts, batting cage, picnic pavilion and a basketball court.

The Max Meadows Community Field offers a quarter-mile long walking track and multi-purpose field for baseball, soccer and community events.

The county’s parks and recreation department allows private citizens the opportunity to reserve the Max Meadows Community Field and pavilions at Ager Park and Rural Retreat Lake.

Residents wishing to make a reservation for the fields, pavilions or campsites are encouraged to contact the Wythe County Parks & Recreation Department 276-223-4519.

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This morning at approximately 10 a.m. the Wythe County Consolidated Dispatch Center received an E-911 call from a resident of the Speedwell community who stated that she had observed what appeared to be oil in Sugar Run Creek, a small tributary of Cripple Creek which runs parallel to U.S. Route 21 (Grayson Turnpike).

The Wythe County Emergency Coordinator and Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department were first dispatched to the scene.

Upon arriving at the scene, Jason Kinser, Wythe County’s Emergency Coordinator, confirmed that the waters were in fact contaminated and immediately began implementing containment measures with the aid of the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) was notified and officials from VDEM and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) arrived sometime later.

Officials say they were able to successfully locate the source of the contaminant – a leaking underground heating oil tank on private property.

According to Kinser, Sugar Run Creek will remain unsafe for drinking – both for humans and livestock – for the next three to five days as booms and other containment efforts are in place to purify the waters.

The contaminated area runs from the 5200 block of Grayson Turnpike to Cripple Creek.

Kinser says the sheer ratio of water contained within Cripple Creek versus that of Sugar Run will be enough to dilute any residual amounts not captured by the containment efforts.

“DEQ and other governmental agencies will be monitoring the water over the next week,” said the county’s emergency coordinator, adding, “Farmers should keep their livestock away from the water for three to five days as the contaminated water is filtered.”

The Wythe County Consolidated Dispatch Center has sent a citizen notification alert to the phones of residents who live near the contaminated area.

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Local businesses and community organizations throughout Wythe County are teaming together in support of the Rural Retreat Fiddler’s Convention, scheduled for July 3rd and 4th of this year. The fiddler’s convention is being organized by the Rural Retreat – Wythe County Fair Association and will be held at the association’s fairgrounds, located on Rural Retreat Lake Road, just south of the community of Rural Retreat.

The event will feature at least thirteen different competitions, offering over $3,500 in prizes and rosettes to winners.
Competitions will include old time banjo, old time fiddle, bluegrass banjo, bluegrass fiddle, guitar, autoharp, mandolin, harmonica, dance, folksong, old time band, bluegrass band and youth.

The youth competition will kick the event off Friday, July 3rd, at 6 p.m., while other events will be held throughout the following day, Saturday, July 4th.

In addition to the competitions, the 2015 fiddler’s convention will also include a performance by the renowned bluegrass group known as “Spirit Fiddle,” who is slated to perform following youth competition Friday evening.

“Spirit Fiddle” has performed at a wide range of venues throughout the world, including The Boston Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Fiddler’s Grove Festival, the oldest continuous old time fiddler’s contest in North America.

Jim Lloyd, who is a director with the Rural Retreat — Wythe County Fair Association, is helping to organize the festival.

According to Lloyd, registration for the competitions will take place at the fairgrounds and camping fees for the event have been set at $10 per night.

“We want to encourage people to come out and celebrate America’s independence by enjoying some old fashioned Appalachian pick ’n,” stated Lloyd.

The festival is just one of more than eight different events scheduled throughout Wythe County for July 4th, according to Wythe County Tourism director Jeremy Farley.

“Whether you’re interested in music, car racing or traditional fireworks, Wythe County will have something for you this Independence Day,” said Farley, who encourages county residents to check out the calendar of events on the county’s official tourism website,

“It’s been a long cold winter and we’re excited to kick-off summer with so many community events scheduled for 2015,” remarked the tourism director.

Individuals wishing to obtain more information concerning the Rural Retreat Fiddler’s Convention are encouraged to contact Jim Lloyd: 276-686-5976 / [email protected].

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The Wythe County Department of Tourism has announced that the county will again be participating in the second annual “U.S. 21 Road Market,” scheduled for July 24, 25 and 26, 2015.

The three-day road market is the product of the multistate initiative known as “Take a Break from the Interstate,” and is designed to encourage economic activity along U.S. Route 21.

This year’s road market has expanded by more than 30 miles and will stretch from Wytheville to Harmony, North Carolina, featuring hundreds of yard sales, street sales and community events along the historic route.

“Going into last year’s inaugural road market, no one really knew what to expect,” stated Wythe County Tourism Director Jeremy Farley, adding, “By the end of the weekend, we were hearing stories of downtown restaurants having record sales days. I think there’s no question that the event did what it was supposed to do – bring people into Wythe County.”

County officials are encouraging residents who live along U.S. 21 (Grayson Turnpike) to consider hosting a yard sale during this weekend in order to maximize Wythe County’s participation in the multi-state initiative.

“Our goal is that motorists from North Carolina who travel north for the road market event will choose to stay in Wythe County and enjoy the many community events scheduled for this weekend,” said Farley.

According to the county spokesperson, Wythe County will be hosting a litany of events for visitors and county residents to choose from during the Road Market weekend:
• The Listening Room House Concert at Ron Ireland Studio (7/24 at 7 p.m.)
• The Rural Retreat Heritage Day Parade (7/25 at 11 a.m.)
• Mountain Top Music at Big Walker Lookout (7/25 at 2 p.m.)
• Dirt Track Racing at Wythe Raceway (7/25 at 7:30 p.m.)
• Rural Retreat Concert featuring Gene Watson & Johnny Lee (7/25 at 8 p.m.)
• Barrel Racing at Rural Retreat Fairgrounds (7/26 at 2 p.m.)
• Mountain Top Music at Big Walker Lookout (7/26 at 2 p.m.)

Individuals wishing to learn more about the U.S. 21 Road Market are encouraged to visit the initiative’s official website,, or call the county’s tourism office (276-223-4522).

A limited number of yellow “Take a Break from the Interstate: US 21” yard signs are available to residents in Wythe County and the Town of Wytheville. The signs may be obtained at the Wytheville Heritage Center, located at 115 W. Spiller St. in Wytheville.

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Rural Retreat, Va. – Wythe County’s Rural Retreat Lake Campground Park will be hosting “Kids Fishing Day,” Saturday, May 16th.

The annual initiative, which is intended to encourage youth to become anglers, is made possible thanks to a cooperative partnership between the Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation and the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF).

Registration for the free event is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the lake’s trout pond, with youth fishing commencing at 9 a.m. and lasting until 1 p.m.

During this time, fishing at the lake’s stocked trout pond will be reserved exclusively for children ages 15 and under. Adult supervision is required for all participants.

Upon registering, participants will be entered into a drawing for multiple prizes – county workers will be drawing winners throughout the day.

In addition to having DGIF wildlife experts on site, instructors from Trout Unlimited will also be providing participating children and their parents with instructions on how to fly-fish.

“This is an annual event which seems to keep getting better each year,” stated Kevin Williams, Wythe County Parks & Recreation director.

Williams said members of the Rural Retreat Wythe County Fair Association will be setting up a concession booth at the lake’s camp store, selling drinks and hotdogs to park visitors during kid’s fishing day.

“We’re excited about the level of participation the local community has shown for this year’s kids’ fishing day – local businesses donating prizes, community organizations promoting it, even families participating – all of this is necessary,” said Williams.

Though the lake remains open year round for fishing, boating and hiking, the campground opens to the public on Friday, May 15th.

“We’re hoping local families will make a weekend of this event and camp at the lake Friday night, then participate in the youth fishing event Saturday morning,” stated Williams.

According to park officials, campers who reside in Wythe County will receive a 10% discount throughout the entire 2015 season.

The trout pond will reopen to the general public after the event has ended. The Rural Retreat Lake will remain open to anglers of all ages throughout the entire day Saturday.

Individuals interested in camping at the Rural Retreat Lake Campground are encouraged to make a reservation by calling 276-223-4519.

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