WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – The Wythe County Administrator’s Office is pleased to announce a partnership with the Fort Chiswell Exxon station that is located off I-81/77 Exit 80. 

Under the terms of the partnership, the gas station will donate five cents for every gallon of gasoline sold between now and May 31, 2020, to the Lead Mines Rescue Squad and the Rural Retreat Volunteer Emergency Services.

The offer comes at a time when volunteer emergency services across the nation are facing unprecedented struggles due to the economic downturn, as the organizations rely heavily upon donations.

Curtis Crawford, Wythe County’s Emergency Coordinator, said, “The offer of the Fort Chiswell Exxon station was extremely generous and will go a long way in helping to supplement what would normally be contributions from private citizens during better economic times.”

Crawford went on to say that the two squads average making roughly 2,500 calls each year, adding, “The costs to running and maintaining a fleet of ambulances and a squad is astronomical — the ambulances themselves are close to a quarter-million dollars each and maintaining them in top working order is a major expense for our community.”

Dharmendra Patel, owner of the Fort Chiswell Exxon said that he is honored to host the fundraiser for the volunteer rescue squads, saying, “The people at the rescue squads do a wonderful job for our community and during these times of financial distress, we feel like this is a great way for us to say thank you.”

Patel said that he will be opening a station in Rural Retreat within the next few weeks and will include this station in the fundraising drive.

Brian Vaught, chairman of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors expressed his gratitude in a statement saying, “Members of the Board of Supervisors join me in expressing our appreciation to the Fort Chiswell Exxon for their generosity in donating to our local volunteer rescue agencies.  We’re proud of our volunteers and the businesses that make Wythe County an exceptional place to live and work.”

Small Business Loan Fund Established for Wythe & Bland Counties

Three local organizations have launched a loan program to support small business sustainability in Wythe and Bland counties during this challenging time.

The Joint IDA of Wythe County, the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Wytheville Incorporated have jointly funded a $60,000 loan pool to support small business needs during this time of economic uncertainty.

Executive Director of the Joint IDA David Manley commented, “Although we know our community is resilient, we should help each other when we can. We are offering business loans up to $2,000 each that will be repayable over two years at zero interest.” He added, “We know this is not likely to make or break many businesses, but it might help offset expenses while cash flow is down, and zero percent interest is hard to beat.”

Each organization represents different geographic territory, so the loans from 2020 Fund will be distributed proportionately to those areas:

“The application and process are both simple and we will work to have this money out in the community as quickly as possible,” commented Jennifer Atwell, Executive Director of the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce.

Loan applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Simple financial statements including 2020 first quarter balance sheet and profit and loss are required as are some basic qualifications including articulable impact from COVID-19. Acceptable uses of the financial assistance include operational expenses like rent, payroll, and utilities, as well as purchase of inventory and marketing.

“It is important that we support our small businesses not just with words but with resources,” added Todd Wolford, Executive Director of Downtown Wytheville Incorporated. “This is one way we can do that.”

Please visit or any of the partner websites for the loan guidelines and application.

Share this article with your friends on Facebook:


WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – The Joint Public Service Authority of Wythe and Bland Counties will be hosting its annual Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

The event is open to all Wythe and Bland residents. The day will be held at the Transfer Station located at 169 Kents Lane in Wytheville, Va. from 8 a.m. to noon.

According to officials, acceptable items for the disposal day include: computers and monitors, copiers, TV’s, ballasts, fluorescent lights, batteries, paints, poisons and corrosives.

Acceptable items also include: all kitchen cleaners, bathroom cleaners, gardening supplies, pool chemicals, poisons, all automotive fluids, floor care products, glues, wood preservatives, varnishes, paints, solvents, stains, creosote products, mercury products, rust removers, drain openers, coal tar products, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, driveway sealers, mothballs, inks, dyes and paint thinners.

Officials have indicated that in the previous years they have received a large quantity of empty/dry paint cans that could be disposed with regular trash. According to officials, once the paint becomes a solid, it is no longer hazardous waste.

This event provides residents with an excellent opportunity to clean up around their homes for fall. Officials with the Joint Public Service Authority of Wythe and Bland Counties stated that the contractor will have sole discretion over the acceptance or denial of any substance brought to the collection event. Appointments and scheduling are not necessary for the event.

Prohibited items will include all waste from small businesses (commercial or industrial entities, including home-based businesses), as well as explosive, radiological, asbestos or biomedical waste. Items including dynamite, nitro glycerin, blasting caps, ammunition, grenades, and fireworks are also prohibited.

Residents who have questions concerning the event are encouraged to contact the Joint Public Service Authority at 276-228-4907. As part of an initiative to keep Southwest Virginia clean, the hazardous waste collection day will provide local residents with an opportunity to dispose of unwanted items that typically are not accepted at local convenience centers. There is no cost to the resident for this event.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Wythe County officials, please call Blake Stowers at 276-223-4522 or email Blake at [email protected]

Presbyterian Children’s Home of the Highlands to Celebrate 100 Years Sept. 21

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The Presbyterian Children’s Home of the Highlands started at Foster Falls in Wythe County in 1919. It has been home to thousands of children from throughout Southwest Virginia during its 100 year history.

According to Executive Director Billy Rice, PCHH started in a two story cinder block building.
“It started as an industrial home for girls,” Rice said. “A year later it started taking boys and we’ve been co-ed ever since.”

Rice said the children stay in cottages with house parents at PCHH. He said a great majority of the children come from the 19 counties west of Roanoke.

“The kid’s get up, do chores, go to school,” Rice said. “They have free time and study time. They are involved in counseling to deal with issues that they brought with them. We try to show them what a normal day would be like. Some come from homes where they would go home and worry about who’s going to hit you or worry about who’s going to be on drugs. Academics are an afterthought in homes like that. We work with them here and make sure they have academic opportunities.”

Rice said seeing children grow into trusting individuals is the best part of his job.
“One of the truest joys of what we do is to watch a child go from unable to trust anyone or feel that they should be loved and watch them blossom into a person that can do that,” Rice said. “To react to a different kind of life, a life where you don’t have to live the way you were treated. It’s the ultimate reward to have a family come back and to see them raising their family and not us.”

PCHH Administrative Director Wynette Yontz said she is excited to celebrate 100 years of helping children from across the region.

“I’m excited,” Wynette Yontz said. “I’ve been here 43 of those 100 years. When I first came we had 30 children, pretty much all the time. When you see a child come back and say I don’t know what would have happened to me if it wasn’t for the children’s home. When people ask me our success rate, I say 100 percent because they get to learn there is a different way of life. There are so many that don’t realize what their experiencing is not normal.”

Rice wanted to thank all the faithful donors that make the children’s home possible.

“We couldn’t have done any of this without the faithful donors over the past 100 years,” Rice said. “Thousands of people have lived here. This is where they live while they are here. There are lots of success stories. We have a long term resident that’s getting ready to graduate from UVA-Wise as a Darden Scholar.”

PCHH Development Director Dale Yontz said unconditional love and a family atmosphere are two of the concepts that help influence the children’s lives in a positive matter.

“The children’s home is something that provides to children of all walks of life,” Yontz said. “We’re able to impact children through showing them unconditional love. We’re able to influence children from different backgrounds and expose children to a true family atmosphere.”

The 100th Anniversary event will be held on September 21st, 2019. Officials encourage everyone to come and help celebrate 100 years of service to children.

“Places like ours become even more important as a resource as time goes on,” Rice said. “We are committed to be a children’s home into the next century of our service.”


WYTHEVILLE, Va. – With students heading back to school across the county, the Rural Retreat Pool will be taking on an abbreviated operating schedule.

Operating hours from August 17th to September 1st will be Saturday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.  In addition, the pool will be open on Labor Day, Monday September 2, from 12 noon to 6 p.m.  

Wythe County Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Williams commented on the great summer season at the Rural Retreat Pool.  “The amount of hot sunny days has been numerous this year,” Williams said. “It aided in the success of a great pool season. I am appreciative of our manager and lifeguards who did a magnificent job at keeping the pool clean, safe, and inviting. They also did a great job at providing a refreshing location for our citizens and campers.”

The outstanding weather and high demand resulted in the pool being open seven days a week during the month of July.  However, with students returning to school this week it is necessary to be closed during the week days. 

The pool will close for the season following the Labor Day Weekend. 

Williams also said the last day of camping for the season will be September 8, 2019. The lake remains open 365 days a year.

For more information or to learn more about Rural Retreat Lake call 276-686-4331 or visit:

Camping and shelter rates can also be found online at the Rural Retreat Lake website: Rural Retreat Lake is a 90-acre impoundment owned by the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. Located just south of the community of Rural Retreat, Va., the lake is surrounded by the Rural Retreat Lake Park, a recreational facility operated by Wythe County.


WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The spring Shape Up Wythe Sheffey programs finished up with excellent results for participants.

Carolanne Shockley took part in this year’s program.

“It’s an excellent program with certified instructors and trainers,” Shockley said. “I loved the program. I’m very proud of how they have started it from the ground up. I had a great nutritionist.” 

The twelve week program provides students with three days per week of exercise and nutrition education. The program concluded in June with a revealing of assessments and a healthy dinner for participants. The spring program included two classes, Shape Up Wythe Sheffey and Shape Up Step Two.

“It’s a free program funded by the Wythe-Bland Foundation,” Wythe County Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Williams said. “Several organizations make this program happen: Jinger Covert and A Step Above Concepts, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Heartland Rehab Services and the Virginia Department of Health.”

Within the two classes, 27 people participated and lost a total of 159 inches and 111 pounds.

The program is held at the Sheffey Community Gym. Williams said a fall session is starting after Labor Day. For more information about the program please contact Williams at 276-223-4519.


WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The green flag is ready to drop on the Indoor Motocross Winter Series Finale this weekend at the APEX Center.

“We have a total of 36 classes,” Victory Sports President Sam Gammon said. “Three of the classes are ATV’s and the rest of the classes are motorcycles. This is our 27th annual season for the FMF Indoor Motocross winter season.”

Hundreds of riders from across the East Coast will be at the APEX Center this weekend. The Pro class will be racing for a $10,000 purse.

“This is the first time we’ve come to Southwest Virginia,” Gammon said. “We’re excited to come to the new APEX Center. This is the finale for the whole series.”

There will be classes for all ages at this event. Pee Wee, Youth, Beginner, Amateur, Intermediate, Veterans, and Pro classes will provide a racing opportunity to riders of all skill levels. Beginner classes are available for all size bikes: 50cc, 65cc, 85cc, 250cc, thru 450cc.

Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 4 to 11. Children under four years of age are free. Tickets are available at the door only. The main event starts at 6:30 p.m. both days.

The APEX Center is the Commonwealth’s premier civic center west of Roanoke. It provides a venue for events ranging from MMA to Monster Trucks as well as concerts, rodeos and dozens of other regional and national events. Motocross Racing and Titans of the Cage MMA are just a few of the items on the agenda during the next several weeks.

Virginia Indoor Motocross will take place from March 8 thru March 9. The Titans of the Cage MMA event is being held at the APEX Center on April 13.

The APEX Center is located at Exit 77 off of I-81 in Wytheville. The arena is located approximately 1/4 of a mile from the interstate.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Wythe County officials, please call Blake Stowers at 276-223-4522 or email Blake at [email protected]


WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Racing’s future stars recently competed on a track inside the APEX Center with big results.

Cale Yarborough’s grandson, Austin Yarborough, won four races to snag a $20,000 purse during the Appalachian Indoor Showdown.

Millbridge Speedway Promoter Jeremy Burnett said Yarborough is 20 years old. Burnett said it is rare for a driver to win four races during one night of racing.

“He raced in all four flat kart classes,” Burnett said. “It does not happen very often. It is pretty hard to win four classes especially with the level of competition that was at this race.”

Dale Earnhardt’s Granddaughter, Karsyn Elledge, was also among the racing legacies at the APEX Center. Elledge, 18, raced in the open division during the Appalachian Indoor Showdown.

The Appalachian Indoor Showdown featured eight classes of kart racing. The highlight of the night was the Open Division Outlaw Karts. There were also Intermediate, Beginner Box Stock, Box Stock, Clone Heavy, Clone Heavy Pro, Predator 375, and Predator 400 classes at the event.

“The racing action went great,” Burnett said. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with how everything went. We want to thank everyone for their support, and we look forward to doing it again in the near future.”

The APEX Center is the Commonwealth’s premier civic center west of Roanoke. It provides a venue for events ranging from MMA to Monster Trucks as well as concerts, rodeos and dozens of other regional and national events. Motocross Racing and Titans of the Cage MMA are just a few of the items on the agenda during the next several weeks.

Virginia Indoor Motocross will take place from March 8 thru March 9. The Titans of the Cage MMA event is being held at the APEX Center on April 13.

APEX Center Hosts Blue Ridge Bash Demolition Derby

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – A car crushing, gear jamming indoor demolition derby will take place at the Appalachian Regional Exposition Center on February 16.

Carolina Derby Promotions Owner Billy Monroe said drivers will take the green flag at 6 p.m. and the event will last until 10 p.m.

“We’ll have three big classes that night,” Monroe said. “We’ll have 80 drivers from around North and South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee. It’s going to be a good show. Most of the classes are filling up. It should be a good event.”

There are several different classes of vehicles that will take to the arena on February 16. The Full Size Class will be fighting for a $2,000 purse. The front wheel drive Compact Class will be battling for a $1,000 prize. There will also be a Mini Van/Mini Truck/SUV Class that will be brawling for a $500 prize.

Monroe said there will also be a Power Wheels Derby for kids ages 4 to 8.

“They pop balloons with their Power Wheels cars,” Monroe said. “If you’re interested in that you can check out Carolina Derby Promotions on Facebook.”

Tickets can be purchased online at 

Facebook page link: 

The APEX Center is the Commonwealth’s premier civic center west of Roanoke. It provides a venue for events ranging from MMA to Monster Trucks as well as concerts, rodeos and dozens of other regional and national events. Outlaw Kart racing, Motocross Racing and Titans of the Cage MMA are just a few of the items on the agenda during the next several weeks.

The APEX Center provides approximately 2,000 permanent seats and has a total capacity of over 5,000. The arena alone is the size of a football field. The total size of the facility is 90,000 square feet. The facility sits on the south side of I-81 at Exit 77 in Wythe County, Va.


If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Wythe County officials, please call Blake Stowers at 276-223-4522 or email Blake at [email protected]

Junior Appalachian Musicians Program Starts Up


WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The sounds of banjos, fiddles, guitars and a host of students filled the Fourth Street Civic Center recently as the Junior Appalachian Musicians held their second class.

The Junior Appalachian Musician program or the aptly titled JAM program, for short, focuses on preserving traditional music and investing in local students.

JAM Regional Director Jim Lloyd is excited to be working with students in Wythe County.

“It’s great,” Lloyd said. “This is the best start-up class I have ever had. They do an hour of enrichment and an hour of study with us. We want to thank the community for all the support.”

Lloyd said learning about enrichment means studying about the history behind the instruments and music.

Sixty-four Wythe County students from grades fourth through eighth are learning the banjo, fiddle, upright bass and guitar through the JAM program.

Sheffey Elementary fifth-grader Dietrich Walker was ready to learn more about the guitar at the second Wythe County JAM session. Walker said he has been learning guitar for about a month. “I think it’s pretty cool, because my mom plays the guitar too,” Walker said. “I’ve got to make a lot of new friends.”

Rural Retreat Middle School sixth-grader Ginny Grace Hale said she has been learning the bass for about a month. “I have learned a few cords so far,” Hale said. “It’s a really good opportunity to learn about Appalachian culture and Appalachian instruments.”

Lloyd said JAM was founded about 18 years ago by Helen White, who started the program in Sparta, North Carolina. Lloyd said officials added seven JAM programs to the itinerary in Tennessee and one in Wythe County this year.

The Wythe County Board of Supervisors recently awarded $2,000 to the Junior Appalachian Musicians program to help with its expansion into Wythe County, Va.

The program will take place from January 31, 2019 to April 4, 2019. It is taught by master musicians from throughout the region.

“It’s really great to see 60 plus kids learning about the area’s musical heritage,” JAM Wythe County Site Coordinator Sarah Nucci said.


If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Wythe County officials, please call Blake Stowers at 276-223-4522 or email Blake at [email protected]