WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The Wythe County Engineer’s Office is notifying residents who drive along US 52 / Fort Chiswell Rd. near Exit 24 to expect delays on Monday, May 2, 2016, as the final stages of waterline installation will consolidate traffic to one lane throughout much of the day and possibly into Tuesday.

“Workers will be performing an open road cut near the intersection of Fort Chiswell Rd. and Old 52 Rd.,” said Wythe County Engineer Bill Vaughan.

According to Vaughan, the work is part of an effort aimed at delivering county water to Jackson Elementary School.

Vaughan said that connecting the elementary school to the county’s water system will provide a higher level of water quality for students and faculty – the school is projected to be on the county system prior to the upcoming school year.

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Safety & Security Class Being Offered for Religious Establishments

Jeremy T.K. Farley — April 27, 2016

Wythe County’s emergency management team is encouraging local churches and religious establishments to attend a security training seminar geared exclusively toward faith-based organizations and houses of worship.

The safety and security event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at the Abingdon Church of Christ (19508  Dennison Dr., Abingdgon, VA), lasting from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The free training program will provide a presentation on how religious organizations can be welcoming and also safe at the same time. Topics will include violence in places of worship, addressing potential threats, policy and planning for violence and safety in outreach. This training is open both to public safety personnel and members of houses of worship.

The class will be lecture-based and dress is business causal. Meals will not be provided, however, time will be made available for lunch.

Sponsored by the Virginia Fusion Center, the Safety for Faith-Based Organizations event is just one of many ways the Virginia Fusion Center seeks to fulfill its mission of fusing together key counterterrorism and criminal intelligence resources from local, state, and federal agencies as well as private industries in a secure, centralized location.

Individuals interested in attending the security event must register at the following link: https://www.research.net/r/NTM9HBX

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Special Agent Austin White of the Virginia State Police: 804-674-2237, [email protected].

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Jeremy T.K. Farley — April 15, 2016

Wythe County citizens are invited to gather at the Wythe County Court House Friday morning as the locality will be welcoming dozens of World War II and Korean War veterans.

The war veterans, many from Tennessee, will be making a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., in order to visit monuments erected in their honor and the group is slated to pass through Wythe County around 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

“We want to roll out the red carpet for these American heroes as they pass through our community,” said Chief Deputy Charles Foster of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, adding, “It would be impossible to appropriately thank these men for their sacrifices, but we’re going to do our very best.”

Fourth Street in front of the county’s courthouse will be closed and a color guard will be in place to welcome the veterans.

Ceremonies will also include a bag pipe player and light refreshments for veterans.

Foster said that the sheriff’s office has reached out to local VFWs and are extending the invitation to all war veterans throughout Southwest Virginia and beyond.

Following a brief ceremony, a police escort comprised of the Virginia State Police, Wytheville Police Department and Wythe County Sheriff’s Office will lead the bus load of veterans out of town.

“Each year, we lose more and more members of our greatest generation. The public is encouraged to come out and thank these individuals for making the last half-century possible,” concluded Foster.

Local citizens wishing to come out and welcome the war veterans are encouraged to gather in front of the Wythe County Court House on the Fourth Street side sometime before 9:15 a.m. on Friday, April 22.

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Though the actual date is still more than three months away, tourism officials in Wythe County are already busy preparing for one of the most trafficked annual events in the region – the U.S. 21 Road Market.

Like previous years, the +100 mile long three-day road market will stretch from Wytheville to Harmony, North Carolina, passing through a dozen localities along historic U.S. Route 21.

The multistate road market is part of an initiative known as “Take a Break from the Interstate,” a committee comprised of tourism leaders from western North Carolina and southwest Virginia.

Slated for July 29 – 31, 2016, this year’s third annual U.S. 21 Road Market will feature hundreds of yard sales, sidewalk sales and community events along the route.

Wythe County Tourism Director Jeremy T.K. Farley said road market officials are seeking to get the word out about the dates for this year’s event as early as possible.

“Each year, this single event brings thousands of tourists into our community – translating to tens of thousands of dollars going directly into the pockets of local residents and businesses,” said Farley.

Bobby Primm, co-owner of the Lakes to Florida Grill, just south of the town limits of Wytheville, said that his restaurant saw 907 transactions in a single day.

“Many of these transactions had five or six people – for a little country restaurant, that’s huge,” said the restaurant owner.

Last year’s road market produced record sales for eateries along Wythe County’s Grayson Turnpike and county officials are hoping that this year’s event will be even larger.

“At this point, we’re simply encouraging residents to save the dates of July 29-31, 2016. The road market has proven to be a huge deal for our community and we want to make for sure that residents are aware of this year’s dates,” said Farley.

Additional information may be found on the U.S. 21 Road Market’s official website: www.us21roadmarket.org.

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Wythe County’s first responders are now enjoying nearly 300 new portable and mobile radios. The newly purchased radios will provide additional safety features for first responders, as well as GPS mapping capabilities for the county’s 911 dispatchers.

Purchasing the radios was made possible thanks to three separate successful grant applications the county made, totaling to over $300,000.

The Wythe—Bland Foundation provided two separate grant funds totaling to more than $225,000. Thanks to the foundation’s endowment, the county was able to purchase 150 portable radios (handheld radios that are attached to the first responder) and 60 mobile radios (radios that are mounted inside the truck), as well as several other necessary emergency equipment items.

The new radios also include GPS mapping capabilities, a function Darlene Lang, Director of Wythe County’s Consolidated Dispatch Center, says will allow 911 dispatchers the ability to see where each emergency response vehicle actually is and aid in routing – helping to cut response times

“This feature will prove to be very helpful in situations where roadways are obstructed and rerouting is necessary,” said Lang.

In addition to the Wythe—Bland Foundation, the county also received $75,000 in grant funding from the Virginia Department of Health’s Rescue Squad Assistance Fund.

All portable radios include the “Man Down” function, which enables a firefighter trapped inside a building to issue a call for help.

“Many of the portable and mobile radios that were being used by local emergency responders were becoming outdated and obsolete,” said Wythe County’s grant coordinator Jeremy T.K. Farley.

“We’re extraordinarily grateful to these grant awarding organizations for making these purchases possible,” said Farley.

The new radios and GPS mapping capabilities are only the latest phase in a comprehensive county initiative aimed at making emergency communications throughout the county more reliable.

Like nearly all of Southwest Virginia, Wythe County’s mountainous terrain creates a challenge for effective radio communications. The county plans to make additional grant applications with the goal of solving these problems in the days ahead.

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UPDATE: Wind Damage in Wythe County

Jeremy T.K. Farley — April 3, 2016

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Last night Wythe County experienced wind gusts in excess of 50 mph in some places – resulting in hundreds of power outages across the Southwest Virginia locality.

Fortunately, according to the county’s consolidated dispatch center, no wind-related injuries or fatalities were reported over the night; though a countless number of trees were downed, blocking roadways and downing powerlines.

First responders were dispatched to a fire on Cedar Springs Rd. near Rural Retreat, last night, when a downed tree sparked a fire after crashing into a powerline. Crews were successful in containing the blaze before the fire could spread.

Hundreds in the county were without power earlier today, however, as of 1:16 p.m. Appalachian Power was reporting only 173 customers are without electricity in Wythe County.

Compared to many other areas in our region, Wythe County officials say the locality was fortunate to have escaped last night’s wind storm with only minor damages. Nearly 1,000 customers are still without electricity in neighboring Carroll County and more than 18% of Grayson County’s population is presently without power.

Wythe County residents are encouraged to check on their neighbors – especially those who are still without electricity.

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